I still believe that.
But when Wisconsin guts, filets, and disembowels Nebraska yet again, it's past time for excuses. It demands questioning everything. I'm not calling for Bo Pelini to resign or be fired. But something has to change.
Thing is, this game didn't start that way.
1st Quarter Stats #Huskers - #Badgers: pic.twitter.com/6KV7hNFdQ8
— Brandon Vogel (@brandonlvogel) November 15, 2014
The defense looked great in the first quarter in forcing three fumbles and locking down on Melvin Gordon. Huskers led 17-3, and fans should have been feeling pretty good. Wisconsin made a few adjustments to spring Gordon free, and Nebraska imploded.
Eight straight touchdowns. Gordon sets an NCAA record with 408 yards. And the Badgers leave the field with a 59-24 victory.
This was the worst game in the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska. The 2012 Big Ten Championship Game was really bad; this was worse. At least in Indianapolis, you had an offense that at least tried. And I also felt that the answers to the defensive issues were already underway. Guys like Vincent Valentine and Greg McMullen were redshirting. Randy Gregory and Maliek Collins were being recruited. And Zaire Anderson was recovering from ACL surgery.
Those guys weren't the answer today. And for all of Taylor Martinez's foibles, he's still ten times the quarterback that Tommy Armstrong has been in recent weeks. Especially today. 6 for 18 passing for 62 yards. 17 yards rushing. Add in bad offensive line play and a clearly not 100% Ameer Abdullah...and you've got a completely impotent offense.
Everybody other than Abdullah needs to be questioned. Start with Tim Beck and not doing something - ANYTHING - to get the ball to playmakers not named Ameer. Where was De'Mornay Pierson-El? Where was the diamond formation?
And frankly, when it was clear that Armstrong didn't have it, where was Ryker Fyfe or Johnny Stanton? It's not like Armstrong's issues are a one-game thing. He's struggled all season long for the most part. And if Armstrong is clearly the best we have at Nebraska, then the problem is even worse than we think it is.
Remember, Abdullah is a senior and won't be back next season.
Defensively, we saw the same thing we've experienced in past beat-downs. Poor tackling, out of position, and nobody available to bail things out on the third level. Is it scheme? Nobody else has allowed Gordon to rush for more than 250 yards in a game. Is it coaching? Who's supposed to be teaching these guys fundamentals?
I don't know what the answers are, but it's pretty clear that something needs to change. I don't know if it means that Pelini himself should be fired, but some changes have to be made on the staff on both sides of the ball.
It's time to question everything.