1. Hageman Is A Man Amongst Boys
Senior defensive tackle Ra'shede Hageman at 6-6, 311-pounds is almost unblockable one on one and demands double teams. He displayed his strength and athleticism against a Nebraska offensive line as he put pressure on Taylor Martinez all game. One he literally ran over a Cornhusker offensive lineman like a freight train coming down the tracks and he was on the tracks. Not only did Hageman beat his man, he also sacked Martinez, but was flagged for grabbing his facemask. Next play, he came back and did that exact same thing without grabbing Martinez's facemask. After his performance, NFL scouts see how high his potential and talent level truly are and he will likely go in the first few rounds of the draft.
2. Minnesota Has Found Their Workhorse Back
The Gophers have had a musical backfield with Roderick Williams, Donnell Kirkwood and David Cobb early in the season, but one back has really taken the reins to the position. Junior running back David Cobb has emerged as that workhorse back the Gophers have been looking for and showed why against Nebraska as he had 31 carries for 138 yards rushing. He has a good blend of speed and size. Arm tackles won't get it done in getting Cobb down and he has sneaky speed to evade tacklers. He showed he can handle a lot of carries and produce, so I think Minnesota has found their featured back and he could be the next great Gopher back to hit the 1,000 yard mark in a season.
3. Defensive Adjustments
Things didn't look very promising for Minnesota as Nebraska drove down the field pretty quickly to score a touchdown on their opening drive. The defense tighten up under interim head coach Tracy Claeys, who is also the defensive coordinator. They understood they couldn't completely shut down the Nebraska offense, so they made their offense one dimensional by only letting them run the ball effectively with Ameer Abdullah. Martinez did move the ball through the air, but not consistently. The Gophers forced a fumble on Abdullah and recovered it and also picked off Martinez, but ultimately did not let the Cornhuskers get anything in rhythm. Those adjustments made by this defensive coaching staff really showed and made an impact.
4. Special Teams Matter
This game was on national television and many eyes were watching a underdog Minnesota squad square off against a top ranked team in Nebraska. In games like these, special teams can cost you a game. Kicker Chris Hawthorne was good on both of his field goal attempts and was good on his extra points. Punter Peter Mortell did his job on giving the Cornhuskers a long field to work on some of their drives and not getting any of his punts blocked. The little things in a game that many overlook are some of the most important things in a game. Minnesota didn't have any errors or mistakes in that department, which made they a lot more harder to beat.
5. Golden Gopher Program Taken Next Step
Head Coach Jerry Kill wanted to establish a winning tradition at Minnesota after years of many lows before he came. He brought his veteran coaching staff to Minneapolis and has the program on the up. After beating Northwestern on the road, to come back and beat a ranked Nebraska Cornhusker team the following week really is highlighting that the program is moving in the right direction and things are starting to come together.