The Weekly Rundown: What can Nebraska take from their win over Fordham?
What can Nebraska take from their win over Fordham on Saturday? We start your Monday off with the Weekly Rundown column.
You have to feel pretty good about these things right now:
Nebraska's Super Seniors on defense: Nebraska's three 24-year old super seniors all came up big on Saturday when the Huskers needed them.
JoJo Domann had a key interception and sniffed out a double reverse play. Deontai Williams had two interceptions and Marquel Dismuke blocked a field goal. These three players picked the Huskers up after a slow start on offense.
WR Samori Toure: 11 touches for 168 yards and one touchdown on offense. That's exactly the type of production the Huskers are looking for out of the grad transfer from Montana.
LB Ryan Greenhagen: The most impressive performance Saturday arguably came from Fordham linebacker Ryan Greenhagen. The Patriot League defensive player of the year had 30 tackles on Saturday, which tied a Memorial Stadium record.
Nebraska's kickoff specialists: Nebraska has 13 touchbacks through two games. In all of 2020, they had just 12 in eight games. It's safe to say NU has addressed that area this off-season with Brendan Franke and Kelen Meyer.
The Red Carpet Experience: The Red Carpet Experience was a hit. Major props should go to Athletic Director Trev Alberts and Dr. Lawrence Chatters from NU.
The Omaha World Herald's Dirk Chatelain really captured what the program meant, as a group of 50 students from Winnebago traveled to Lincoln with around 15 adult chaperons. What a wonderful experience for all.
These were my surprises of the week:
TE Chancellor Brewington: Other than Austin Allen, not much has been predictable with Nebraska's tight end room through two games. Travis Volkolek remains out, as does Thomas Fidone. Walk-on FCS transfer Chancellor Brewington has now entered the conversation, and he played the second-most tight end snaps Saturday, only behind Allen.
Brewington saw 25 snaps, compared to just nine snaps from Chris Hickman who was the No. 2 tight end in NU's loss at Illinois.
Seven running backs saw carries on Saturday: You knew we'd see a lot of guys play in Saturday's game, but to see all seven guys in the running back room get carries was a surprise. Very rarely does a game work out like that.
Stadium capacity number reduced: Buried in the news of sellout 376 on Saturday was the overall announced attendance capacity has been reduced again, presumably with some more seat widening in the upper-end zone sections. In 2019, NU's announced crowds were around 89,000. On Saturday, the sellout announced crowd was just under 86,000.
The highwater for announced stadium crowds at NU was the 2014 season, where the average crowd over seven games was 91,249.
The jury is still out
Questions still surround these things:
RB Gabe Ervin Jr.: Nebraska's starter for the first two games of 2021 has not produced at a consistent level. Has Gabe Ervin Jr. lost his job to Markese Stepp? It sure felt that way after Saturday.
Also, give me some more Jaquez Yant. It's hard not like the way he runs, especially when he squares his shoulders up.
The offensive line: Nebraska did what they were supposed to do against Fordham, but in all reality, it was still a very subpar performance by the offensive line. We didn't see a big push up front, especially early in the game. Most of NU's success came as the Rams simply ran out of gas.
The question is, will over 95 plays of work on Saturday make this group better going forward?
Big Ten West: Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois all have a loss already in this young college football season. Only Purdue and Iowa remain undefeated from the Big Ten West.
What do we know about the West right now? Today Iowa looks like the best team after Week 1, while the Badgers have an elite defense. After that, everything seems up for grabs, especially after the injury to Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim.
This has my attention
Moving forward, this has my attention:
Cam Taylor-Britt's benching: After Cam Taylor-Britt's muffed punt in the third quarter, Scott Frost benched his junior captain.
The television cameras caught the exchange from Frost and Taylor-Britt, as it was awfully emotional. How will Taylor-Britt respond to being benched in the third quarter? That's the first time we've really seen something like this happen under Frost at Nebraska. I also think it's something fans can respect, as a guy that makes a costly mistake two weeks in a row needs to be held accountable.
Buffalo's 69-7 opening win: I think Buffalo's 69-7 win over Wagner got people's attention, but let's also remember Wagner is 1-13 since 2019.
With that said, the Bulls are a veteran team that played for the MAC championship last year. The Huskers are only a 12 point favorite on Saturday. Last year they were bigger home favorites over both Illinois and Minnesota and lost those games.
Injured Huskers: No Vokolek, Casey Rogers, Broc Bando or Oliver Martin. How many of these players could be back this week for the Huskers?
Sean Callahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can be heard each day at 6:45 am and 5:05 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap-Tuesday's at 7 pm.