Nebraska Dismantles Washington, 56-21: Are Huskers Great or Huskies Terrible?

Paul HeidrickContributor INovember 21, 2016

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The good news for Jake Locker: He was his team's leading rusher, passer, and scored the most TDs.

The bad news: That totaled 130 yards, and his only passing TD was to a wide-open receiver due to blown coverage by the Nebraska secondary.

That was about as good as the afternoon got for the Huskies.

Washington's other two scoring drives were ones in which Locker didn't throw a pass. A Nebraska fumble inside the 20 set up a short field that Washington took full advantage of, running for a TD.

The other was a long drive, their best of the game. It composed of inside and off tackle handoffs, finishing with Locker running outside to the pylon and scoring.

The story couldn't have been more opposite when Nebraska had the football. After running four plays, they had two touchdowns. At halftime, Nebraska was maintaining a two-touchdown lead.

The third quarter opened with an 80-yard touchdown run by Taylor Martinez, his third rushing touchdown on the day and fourth total touchdown. The next drive saw Roy Helu run 65 yards for his second touchdown of the day. Rex Burkhead would add one more rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to end the scoring.

The Pelini brothers run a matchup zone defense, a scheme that is typically only run in the NFL. Learning this defense takes unprecedented commitment to teach and learn at the college level. It also puts up roadblocks for an opposing team to prepare for because it is so unseen in college.

Bo and Carl Pelini do such a good job teaching it that the payoff can be similar to what we saw Saturday afternoon. Jake Locker came into this season as a Heisman Trophy candidate and put up the worst performance of his career.

The results: Locker completed four of 20 passes for 71 yards, two interceptions, and one TD to a wide-open receiver. The Huskies totaled 246 yards and averaged four yards per play for the game. Nebraska totaled 533 yards of offense, averaged over eight yards per play, and had three 100-plus-yard rushers.