Charting Maryland – Seniors Go Out in Style

2012.  Until this year, that was the last time Nebraska ran the table at home.  Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2001 to find another Husker team that held serve at Memorial Stadium for an entire year.  That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for this year’s team, and they capped it off this weekend on Senior Day with a heavy contribution from that senior class.

Some of it was expected, and some of it certainly was not.  As he’s done most of 2016, Terrell Newby closed his career in Memorial Stadium in productive fashion, rushing 22 times for 98 yards and 3 TDs.  Jordan Westerkamp snagged 8 receptions for 85 yards and a TD, and seniors Brandon Reilly, Alonzo Moore, and Cethan Carter chipped in another 9 catches for 78 yards.  And of course there was the man of the hour, Ryker Fyfe.  It came against Maryland, but Fyfe’s workmanlike 220 yards passing along with 1 TD is no small feat for a guy who spent much of the last five years watching from the sideline.  Anytime you can win with your backup QB, you’re doing something right.

And most importantly, the senior class has put itself in position to be the first senior class since the Class of 2006 to win 11 games in a year.  Find a way to beat the Hawkeyes and then close the show in a bowl game.  That is a long way from where we were last year at this time.  Let’s take a look at how we got there in the Maryland game.

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Charting Minnesota – Too Many Athletes in Red

Welcome back Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer.  These two major parts of Nebraska’s offensive provided much need relief from the struggles that have marked the last few weeks.  Though by no means was this an explosive offense performance against the Gophers, it was largely an efficient one, with the Husker offense rushing for 4.91 YPC and throwing for 7.8 YPA.  That’s the highest YPC that Minnesota has allowed this year and the third highest YPA as well.  On the Nebraska side of the ledger, that was also our second highest YPC in conference play and third on the year

How did Nebraska do it?  By getting back to more balance in the run game, attacking both inside and on the perimeter, along with a large dose of working the ball out to the Savage Professionals in space on screens.  Add it up, package it with a dominant second half from the Blackshirts, and you end up with a 24-17 win in a game where Nebraska played the backup QB a notable number of snaps.  It’s not great, but I’ll certainly take it.

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Ohio State – Lost in the Abyss

The good news is the election is over.  The bad news is I’m still not done re-living the Ohio State game on this site.  I thought about skipping a play breakdown this week, but offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, in what was otherwise a wasted game, showed three new looks we haven’t seen this year. So this week we’ll take a look at a couple of new running plays to try and take some of the heat off the offensive line, as well as a new passing concept designed to get Jordan Westerkamp the ball.

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Charting Ohio State – Next Game Please

Woah.  I said before the game that I didn’t think Ohio State was a great match up for Nebraska and that I wouldn’t be shocked to see Urban step on the gas, but I didn’t see it being 62-3 bad.  Though inflated a bit from playing Ryker Fyfe for so long, Nebraska was never in that game from the first minute.  Just complete and utter destruction (no pun intended) by the Buckeyes.

We’ve discussed for the last few weeks how the wheels were falling off the Huskers’ offense because of line issues and injuries, and to a lesser extent, steadily regressing QB play that seemed anchored to that nosediving offensive line.  The Ohio State game was more of the same, but unlike the Badgers, Boilermakers, Hoosiers and Illini, the Buckeyes had offensive talent and a College Football Playoff committee to impress.  

Chalk it up to an unfavorable match up, one team playing its best game in a month, and the other playing its worst game of the year.  When that happens with the current talent discrepancy between the two teams, it gets ugly fast.  In any event, let’s look at what worked for Nebraska, which was pretty much nothing.

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Wisconsin – Dusting Off a Couple of Old Friends

Wisconsin was the type of game on which you don’t usually do offensive write ups.  305 total yards, 3.5 yards per carry, and a 39% completion rate don’t exactly rate high on the excitement meter.  That said, I’ve got to write about something, and while the Blackshirts would be the obvious choice because of their stellar performance, there simply weren’t enough All 22 shots to make that viable this week.

So off we go with the offense.  The Wisconsin game saw us bring back a friendly play from the Taylor Martinez Era (oh boy), and it also saw us continually work from Bunch and Tight formations to take advantage of natural rubs in the passing game.  In this post, we’ll take a look at the repackaging of Nebraska’s Inverted Veer play, along with the Mesh and Spacing concepts we used to give Tommy Armstrong (allegedly) easy throws on key downs.

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