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GopherIllustrated GIF Rewind 2nd half: Nebraska

GopherIllustrated takes a look at Minnesota's road loss to Nebraksa 24-17 through GIF's of the plays that mattered in the second half.

Third quarter

Richardson can't buy a flag

Check out Gophers defensive tackle Steven Richardson on this play. Absolutely bowls over the center on a bull rush and then the right guard escorts Richardson to the ground with a grab on his back.

Now. 

I'm no Big Ten referee, but if I see a guy being held from behind there, I may want to throw the yellow garment there. Alas, Armstong finds the receiver in the soft spot in the zone between Lynn and Celestin and the Huskers extend the drive on third down. 

Poor tackling leads to another Nebraska score

Nebraska runs a play that the Gopher faithful is clamoring for, and that's a screen to their running back. 

Linebacker Jack Lynn is blitzing on the play, and Jonathan Celestin is kicked out by the center and Newby is off to the second level. Newby starts to high step at the 20 and that's able to mess with Daletavius McGhee just enough to where Newby and push him off and keep moving up field. Damarius Travis slows down thinking McGhee is going to get the tackle, and then only throws a shoulder, not wrapping up, and Newby bounces off that into the end zone as Nebraska ties the game. 

Poor, poor execution from Minnesota's secondary leads to a Husker score. 

Senior to senior for the first down connection

Quarterback Mitch Leidner stays in there and delvers an accurate throw to his trusted wide out Drew Wolitarsky for the third down conversion. 

Leidner can't put the ball anywhere else as the defender is all over Wolitarsky, and Minnesota keeps the chains moving. 

Cashman just keeps making plays

Blake Cashman continues to make plays on pass rushing situations. Gophers rush five, and Minnesota executes a stunt to perfection where the right guard and tackle are confused and Cashman is essentially able to get to Ryker Fyfe with minimal resistance. 

Cashman has a nose for making plays in key pass rushing situations. 

Third quarter score: Minnesota 17, Nebraska 17

Fourth quarter

Deep play action isn't there

For the first time seemingly since the second quarter throw to Rashad Still on the sidelines, Minnesota decides to go play action and try and take a shot deep. 

Leidner gets plenty of time thanks to a max protect with a tight end and running back blocking, the issue is Leidner doesn't see anyone open down the field and eventually has to check it down to Rashad Still for a nine yard gain. 

I'm in that boat begging for deep shots in games like this when the Nebraska safeties are clearly cheating toward the run, but Minnesota's receivers just don't get open down the field on the play. 

Gophers can't get one yard on either down

Minnesota attempts to run twice here on second and third and one, and both end in tackle for losses and eventually a Gopher punt. 

It's power with the center and right guard pulling, and Minnesota just gets out-physicaled at the line of scrimmage. The right tackle gets thrown to the ground, the right guard gets put five yards down field and Brooks never has anywhere to go.

This isn't even a situation where Minnesota is losing numbers in the box, as it's even with six vs. six, and Minnesota just loses the battle.

Nebraska coverts third and long

 

I'll point out first that this play should have never even happened as the left tackle jumps before the ball is snapped, and it should be 3rd and 16, but that's missed by this Big Ten refereeing crew. 

Blake Cashman is almost able to get home to the quarterback again, but just arrives a split second too late, and Armstrong is able to complete the 16 yard pass to Alonzo Moore to keep the chains moving. 

Minnesota could not get off the field on this drive, and on third down in the second half as this drive ended up being 13 yards for 91 yards and a score. 

Armstrong puts the Huskers on top

Nebraska goes read option and Armstrong is able to turn the corner and front flip into the end zone for the Husker score. Damarius Travis gets sucked into the middle of the field as he reads the running back with the ball, but is too late to recover once he realizes that Armstrong keeps and it's a Nebraska score. 

Nebraska takes the lead 24-17.

Throw and catch short of the sticks

This play call is a head scratcher. 

It's clear that the first read is to Rodney Smith on an out route here, but he runs a three yard out, instead of a five yard out and only gains three because of it, and Minnesota doesn't get the first down. Safety Nathan Gerry reads this play from the onset and makes that Smith can't turn up field to try and get those two extra yards.

Not sure why the call would be a three yard out here, so maybe this is on Smith for not getting to the sticks first, because you look at the other receivers here and Wolitarsky gets eaten up and you're not throw a deep route to Wozniak at the top of the screen, so just a perplexing call here on third and five. 

Leidner keeps the play alive

Minnesota gets the ball back with 2:58 on the clock at their own 27 and this is the third play of the drive. 

Leidner feels the pocket collapse around him, and some how he's able to find Rodney Smith sitting near the line of scrimmage as he's falling down and Minnesota gets the first down. 

Hell of a play by Leidner to find an open receiver and not take the sack. 

Tyler Johnson makes the play

Minnesota continues to play with tempo on this drive as the Huskers defense is on their heels, and Leidner completes the deep comeback to true freshman Tyler Johnson for the big gain. Johnson ducks the corner on the catch, side steps a safety at the 20 and ends up getting down to the 17 for the 25 yard gain. 

That's the type of play making ability that Minnesota's receivers have been lacking all season. 

Why. Why. Whyyyyyyyyyy

A lot of talkers on this play as Leidner forces a ball to Wolitarsky, it's intercepted and the game is over. 

My first question would be as to why Minnesota is still playing with pace. I get it before this play as the Husker defense was on their heels, but now after that Tyler Johnson reception, you're in the red zone with 90 seconds on the clock. There's zero reason now to rush, as you don't want to leave the Huskers with too much time where they can drive 40 yards and kick a field goal to win the game. Look at the Vikings game from two weeks ago against the Lions, where Minnesota doesn't run the clock down far enough, and they score with too much time left, the Lions drive the field for a field goal that forces overtime and the Vikings lose then. 

Just slow down and huddle up at this point. You have 17 yards to get in 90 seconds. That's plenty of time, and you have a time out. Disappointed Minnesota continued to hurry up here.

Secondly, I have no idea what Leidner saw here. You can see from the bottom GIF that Wolitarsky is essentially double teamed, and there's ZERO reason to force that throw. Zero. He locked on to Drew from the onset, and decided he was going to throw that ball no matter what, and it ends up as an interception. 

Leidner has to value the ball more in critical game situations, as this isn't the first time he's given up a critical turnover in this type of game situation. 

Nebraska ends up running out the clock, and the Gophers lose in Lincoln.

Final score: Nebraska 24, Minnesota 17


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