Instant Takes: Minnesota 30, Nebraska 23
Here are three instant takes from Nebraska's disappointing 30-23 loss to Minnesota.
Worst start of the season
Nebraska’s entire team started flatfooted.
The Huskers began with the ball and jogged off the field shaking their heads after three plays: a tackle for loss and two incomplete passes.
Its defense allowed a 61-yard, five-minute touchdown drive as the Golden Gophers had their way and Nebraska merely reacted to each play. Minnesota’s quarterback Tanner Morgan was relaxed in the pocket as his passing and the team’s running game were both clicking.
After the Golden Gophers went up 7-0 in the first quarter, Nebraska had two plays over 20 yards, a pass to tight end Austin Allen and an option pitch to running back Rahmir Johnson. However, the drive was shut down as Martinez was sacked for an eight-yard loss. Kicker Connor Culp sailed in a 50-yard field goal, 7-3 Minnesota.
Cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt shifted the momentum slightly as he blew past the Golden Gophers’ offensive line for a tackle for a loss of 12 yards, forcing a 2rd-and-19 situation. Minnesota couldn’t convert and missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
The Huskers crept down the field with a 27-yard gain on a reverse with Zavier Betts and a 20-yard pass to Allen for a touchdown but Culp missed the PAT, 14-9 Minnesota.
Under Frost, Nebraska has not been good at playing catchup, which is what they were doing during the entire first half. A major key for the Huskers for every single game is to start hot and strike early on both offense and defense. They did neither against Minnesota.
Nebraska’s defense, who has been playing lights out this season, looked the worst it had all season. They gave up 247 yards and allowed Morgan to have his best half of the season by going 14-of-15 for 171 passing yards.
Luckily for the Huskers, they made half-time adjustments and came out swinging on defense and inspired more production from the offense but it wasn't enough.
Defense did everything possible in second half to help NU win but offense let them down
Nebraska's defense played one of its worse halfs of football in the first half against Minnesota. However, the Blackshirts made major half-time adjustments and returned to their typical selves.
The Huskers picked off Morgan on Minnesota's first two drives of the third quarter. Taylor-Britt ripped away a pass from Mike Brown-Stephens in the endzone for a touchback. After the offense had a three-and-out including two incomplete passes, Deontai Williams intercepted Morgan again on the second play of the drive.
Nebraska's offense capitalized with a 30-yard pass to Allen and a one-yard touchdown run by Johnson, his second of the game.
The Blackshirts and Taylor-Britt took care of business again with a three-and-out and a four-yard tackle for loss by Taylor-Britt on the first play of the drive.
NU's offense marched down the field and stalled out in the red zone and was stood up four times knocking on the door of the taking the lead.
Game after game, I write the same thing and game after game, it's true. When Nebraska needs its defense to step up and help them score/win, the Blackshirts give the offense opportunity after opportunity.
Yet for some reason, its offense and/or special teams finds a way to lose every single game. (See the Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma games for reference.)
The defense finds multiple ways to win and does everything possible besides scoring themselves.
Nebraska plays its worst games against Minnesota
The Huskers have lost three consecutive games against the Golden Gophers and all three of them, they were favored.
In 2019, Minnesota ran it down Nebraska's throats and physically overpowered them in every way possible.
Last season, the Golden Gophers came to Lincoln with a very limited roster due to COVID-19 issues and beat the Huskers 24-17, in what was arguably NU's worst loss in the Frost Era until its 2021 game versus Minnesota.
In 2021, in a game that could very well be the deciding factor for a bowl game, the Huskers started slow and couldn't get its offense or special teams to score when they desperately needed them too.
With a last-minute touchdown from the offense, the Huskers made it a one-score and consequently lost its 16th one-score game in four years under Frost.