I'm glad I didn't.
From that point on, #operationRaincloud became the dominant opinion. Four of Nebraska's next five drives went three-and-out. All told, after Nebraska took that 21-3 lead, Nebraska had just eight first downs and 146 yards of offense. And most of that occurred after UCLA flipped that 18 point lead to a 17 point deficit.
I suspect most fans are upset about the defense; I'm not as worried about that. In my opinion, Nebraska's offense is it's biggest issue right now. We knew the defense was a rebuilding project, but the offense was supposed to carry the team.
That isn't really happening. The running game is average, at best. The real disappointment is the passing game. This offseason, I've felt Nebraska had the best receiving corp in the Big Ten. I still think that. But for some reason, offensive coordinator Tim Beck seems content to just throw screen passes to them. High percentage passes, I suppose. But it doesn't stretch the field, and frankly, when you do it over and over, it encourages defenses to stack the box...and it only makes it more difficult to run the ball.
Taylor Martinez wearing boot on left foot. Says he's fine but that injury is something that happened prior to today's game.Today's offensive ineptitude probably was magnified by Taylor Martinez's ankle; after the game, it was in a boot, which probably explains why Martinez lost 13 yards rushing today. Martinez pretty much was one-dimensional today, which makes Nebraska much easier to defend. So why on earth do you call that many option plays (which Martinez doesn't run particularly well to begin with) when he's obviously injured?
— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) September 14, 2013
I'm not as down on the defense as it seems other fans are. I see good things from the young defensive line and linebackers. Avery Moss and Randy Gregory each had eight tackles, and were disruptive at times. (How he missed Randy Hundley on that one scramble in the third quarter is an amazing testament to Hundley's ability.) The secondary is a huge disappointment. Stanley Jean-Baptiste had another interception, but that seemed to be it. Ciante Evans got schooled at times, and Andrew Green is just as out of position at safety as he was at cornerback. Harvey Jackson missed a couple of tackles that enabled that third quarter meltdown, and while Corey Cooper led with tackles, his personal foul for a late hit led to a touchdown instead of a field goal.
So which is the real Nebraska: the one that led UCLA 21-3, or the one that got blown out 38-0 over the last 35 minutes? I lean towards the 21-3 version, personally. Open up the passing game and utilize those "best receivers in the Big Ten". Loosen up the secondary to allow Ameer Abdullah and the other backs to get some yards. Get some first downs and get the young defense off the field.
My e-mail is full of calls for tar and feathers. People comparing 2013 to 2007. Folks, it's September 14th. UCLA might turn out to be a pretty good team. But in my opinion, Southern Cal wasn't what got Bill Callahan fired. It was the narrow escapes against Ball State and Iowa State. It was the blowouts by Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Kansas, and Colorado.
And despite all of that suckage, Bill Callahan stayed to the end of that bitter season. So no, Bo Pelini isn't going to be fired tonight. Or tomorrow. Or Monday. No matter how many people scream on Twitter, CornNation.com and on Big Red Overreaction. Now, if Bo Pelini can't start giving us more football like the first half and less (much less) like the second half, we'll have that conversation after Thanksgiving.
But not before the autumnal equinox.