For three quarters, the Nebraska-Wyoming game seemed to live up to my prediction that the game would be closer than the Vegas point spread. Wyoming had just cut the Huskers lead to 24-17, and seemed to have the momentum after instant replay correctly ruled that a deep pass from Tommy Armstrong to Brandon Reilly had slipped out of Reilly's hands and onto the ground ever so briefly. My Twitter feed showed fans at home didn't see it, but the HuskerVision screens found a replay that showed the ball on the ground. And even before the officials had a chance to announce the call was being overturned, both teams began walking back to the other end of the field.
Nebraska did score on that drive at the start of the fourth quarter, and then Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen became a turnover machine. How bad? Four turnovers on Wyoming's next nine offensive plays...and suddenly, a 24-17 nailbiter was now a 52-17 blowout.
As a self-proclaimed "run the ball" guy, I wasn't terribly pleased with Nebraska's game plan in this game, as I think the Huskers were too quick to give up on the running game. Or at least the coaches were too quick to give up on the I-backs. Granted, Devine Ozigbo wasn't terribly effective all day, but Terrell Newby looked OK on his four carries. And let's be clear: four was also the number of I-back runs in each quarter of the first half.
Was that offensive approach all that effective? Well, Nebraska led 14-10 at halftime; debate that if you wish.
I would point out that in that decisive fourth quarter, Nebraska ran the ball 17 times and only threw six passes, but most of those runs came in garbage time. It wasn't offense that won this game, it was defense.
I've been fairly impressed with John Parrella's new defensive line, though to be honest, this group hasn't been really tested yet. They will be next week by the Oregon Ducks. Nebraska won't be able to wait for the fourth quarter to put the game away against Oregon.