And yes, that's sarcasm.
We'll start right off the bat with what was good today. Ameer Abdullah, except for that fumble. Unquestioned leader of the offense. And many Husker fans' favorite pincushion, Taylor Martinez. Is he 100%? No. But whether he's 70% or 80%, he's clearly Nebraska's best quarterback. We didn't see Ron Kellogg or Tommy Armstrong take a snap, but Martinez still made enough plays by himself that the other quarterbacks can't. Take that 35 yard zone read run. Take some of that presence to step up in the pocket and deliver a pass.
Problem is that Abdullah and Martinez didn't have much help. Quincy Enunwa had multiple drops that could have kept drives alive. Kenny Bell had a couple of drops, but those probably belong on Martinez for a pass that wasn't perfectly thrown. And that's to be expected, with Martinez spending the last six weeks in a boot on the sideline. Could Armstrong have made those throws? Maybe. But more than likely not, especially when you remember that ridiculous catch Kenny Bell had to make against Illinois that should have been intercepted, in all honesty.
Ra'shede Hageman earned some serious money today, though he won't be able to cash in until next summer. He was disruptive enough in the pass rush to keep Nebraska out of sync offensively.
But the biggest problem of the day for Nebraska was the inability to stop the Gophers running the ball. Minnesota wisely scouted last year's Big Ten championship game and saw how Nebraska discombobulated defending the jet sweep. The Gophers don't have anybody that could match Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, so they didn't actually hand the ball off that much. They didn't need to, not when just the jet sweep action was enough to provide enough of a distraction to allow David Cobb to find a seam.
Minnesota read the book on Bo. Switch personnel every play. Shift. Motion. Play action. Young LBs are lost. #Huskers
— Blake Lawrence (@Blake_Lawrence) October 26, 2013
Combine that with poor tackling, and you have the makings of a debacle on defense. Late in the fourth quarter, ESPN showed Cobb with 94 yards after contact. Almost assuredly, he topped the 100 yard mark on yards after contact.
This will sting Nebraska: Minnesota OC Matt Limegrover says Gophers built game plan somewhat based off film of B1G title game last year.— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) October 26, 2013
Frustrating as all hell. We had hoped that the defensive improvement we saw earlier in October was real, but today was a huge step backwards. Credit Minnesota for exploiting Nebraska's youth on defense, and Nebraska's young linebackers were all too frequently suckered out of position. Who's fault is that?
That falls on Bo Pelini and his coaching staff. We've seen this coming as Nebraska tried to recover from recruiting mistakes in 2010 and 2011. Now we're feeling the pain of the youth movement. Sometimes they play well, sometimes they don't. And today they didn't.
Many people are going to be out there calling for Bo Pelini's head this weekend.
Do I need to say anymore?I'm not going to join that call, as I've seen enough from this young defense to see things to be optimistic about down the line. That doesn't mean that I'm excusing what happened today. That doesn't mean that I'm happy about this. That doesn't mean that I don't think that changes are needed in Lincoln.
— Tommie Frazier (@TouchdownTommie) October 26, 2013
I just don't think that firing Bo Pelini, a consistent winner, is the answer.