Nebraska football: Takeaways from loss to Ohio State

nebraska football

Week 1 is in the books and for the first time since Scott Frost took the head coaching job in Lincoln, Huskers fans should be excited for the rest of the season. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are returning to Lincoln at 0-1. Ohio State beat Nebraska 52-17 in the season opener for both schools. Yet, Nebraska football fans shouldn’t see it as a 35-point defeat. What Nebraska fans should see is improvement.

Two QBs are better than one

Nebraska football stormed down the field for its opening drive of the 2020 season, marching 75 yards in less than two minutes to take a 7-0 lead against No. 5 Ohio State. The effectiveness of this drive relied on the skills of two different quarterbacks. Drives such as this should send a warning to the rest of the Big Ten. It’s difficult enough to prepare for one dual-threat quarterback, but two, and on the field at the same time.

The two quarterbacks went a combine 16 of 20 passing for 160 yards and accounted for 165 out of 210 of Nebraska’s total rushing yards. Adrian Martinez looked calm and collected in the pocket. The junior quarterback looked more like his old self and with the combination of young Luke McCaffrey teams in the Big Ten need to take notice.

Huskers need to limit mistakes

The Huskers shot themselves in the foot during the second half. Nebraska fumbled the ball three times during key drives, losing two of them. Ohio State forced a Martinez fumble on its own 45, then proceed to scoop and score making it a four-score game. Simple issues such as ball handling were the difference between winning and losing this game. The Buckeyes simply made fewer mistakes and had a little help from their Heisman candidate quarterback Justin Fields who went 20 of 21 passing.

Nebraska had eight penalties for 90 yards which cost it big on key plays. Both Cam-Taylor Britt and Deontai Williams were ejected for targeting. Both players play a key role in Nebraska’s defense and their departure was felt, as Ohio State proceed to score on multiple posses after their absence. The two players will have to sit out the first half of the Wisconsin game this coming Saturday.

As the season continues to progress issues such as these will hopefully lessen. If the Huskers have any hope of defeating elite competition like Ohio State, they have to begin taking the steps to clean up these mistakes.

Defense needs improvement

Nebraska proved it could stop the run, only allowing 4.5 yards a carry. That is positive news seeing as the Big Ten can be a run-heavy league. The Nebraska secondary will have to step up its game in the coming weeks. Justin Fields only missed one pass the entire game, as Ohio State receivers ran circles around the Huskers for all 40 minutes. The Huskers left open gaps, and the Buckeyes took full advantage.

This coming Saturday, Nebraska football will take on a Wisconsin Badgers team that proved they can pass the ball as well. Wisconsin freshman quarterback Graham Mertz went 20 of 21 against the Illinois Fighting Illini. Mertz was reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, and whether or not the young QB will take the field against the Huskers remains uncertain.

Photo by The Daily Nebraskan