This week, Nebraska built up a big enough lead in the first three quarters that the Huskers couldn't blow it late. That's the glass half-full take on this game.
The fact that Nebraska tried to do just that is the glass half-empty take.
One difference between this game and the last two was the return of the intermediate passing game - and it started on Nebraska's second offensive play: an 11 yard completion to Jordan Westerkamp. The third play was pretty good as well: a 69 yard Terrell Newby touchdown run.
That being said, Nebraska still shows a disturbing obsession for throwing the ball deep, and in this game, at inopportune times. Take the fourth quarter: Minnesota has just scored to pull to within two scores at 38-22. Terrell Newby starts the drive with a 16 yard run, which is exactly what Nebraska needs to do in this situation. As the clock nears the eleven minute mark, Tommy Armstrong drops back to pass, and you can hear the collective groans across the state of Nebraska. Which only get louder when the pass falls incomplete, because you know what is happening next. A second down pass play. Also incomplete. Which, of course, means a third down pass play.
Also incomplete. Nebraska punts, and only runs a minute off the clock. And Minnesota promptly moves the ball downfield and scores. Week after week we see Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf fail miserably at clock management; it's simply something that Nebraska fans are going to have to get accustomed to. This coaching staff thinks nothing of throwing the ball on three straight plays, but running the ball three plays seems to be an anathema to them. They only ran the ball three plays in a row twice in this game, and the string of consecutive running plays ended with points on the scoreboard. But throwing the ball up for grabs into double coverage? YOLO! De'Mornay Pierson-El somehow tipped the ball back to himself for a touchdown, but don't expect that to happen again.
On my CornNation report card last week, some thought I was too hard on the secondary, saying that the pass defense was better last week. Well, it wasn't better this week. Minnesota's Mitch Leidner threw for 301 yards; he threw for 59 and 72 yards the last two weeks.
And that fourth quarter? Leidner racked up 132 yards through the air, continuing the pattern of fourth quarter defensive breakdowns. So yeah, if Mitch Leidner can do it, anybody can. And will. It's happened over and over and over again.
But it is a win, and Husker fans should celebrate every win. Maybe that's the lesson we need to take from this season. Another lesson that fans - and former players - need to take is to quick knocking the players for this supposed "lack of buy-in" or "needing a culture change." The players don't need Jason Peter pouting about the previous staff and trying to throw players under the bus. Simply stop manufacturing ridiculous opinions about the mentality of this team. Maybe take the lead of Alex Lewis instead, who pumped up his teammates this week with a positive talk about how to play.
Yes, that's right. I said Alex Lewis. Some Husker fans are upset with Lewis' actions off the field, but the rality is that he was simply reacting (and reacting badly) to the garbage being thrown his way. Wisely, he shut his Twitter account down and is learning to turn a deaf ear towards the numbnuts out there who have no probably with trash-talking a 300 pound offensive lineman.