The Hilkemann Overview: Minnesota

We didn't learn much following Nebraska's 41-14 victory over Minnesota on Saturday; everything has to be taken with a grain of salt when playing against a challenged team. The Golden Gophers were bad. Possibly not even as good at Tennessee-Chattanooga, a 1-AA team the Huskers played in the opener. However, there are a few things that can be taken from Nebraska's 6th victory of the season.

First off, Taylor Martinez was impressive for the second straight game. As much as he was criticized after the Wisconsin game (with good reason) he has responded well against Ohio State and Minnesota with two clean, efficient games. He didn't turn the ball over (although an errant pitch near the goal line comes to mind) and made good, safe decisions. As long as he doesn't try to do too much, he gives Nebraska a chance to win.

Overall the Nebraska offense was solid. They spread the ball around, their play-makers made plays in space, and they didn't turn the ball over. The 91 yard drive at the end of the 3rd quarter, following Minnesota's first touchdown was impressive. We didn't get to see much of Brion Carnes, but some other young guys got a good amount of playing time. The offensive line dominated like they should have and the Rex Burkhead had his usual stellar performance. Nebraska did leave some points on the field however. They can't have as many drops as they did on Saturday and they will need to improve their red zone offense.

It's difficult to say if the Husker defense made any strides in the game considering how anemic Minnesota's offense is. But it was good to see them create points off of a turnover: that will be something that will be needed down the road against better opponents. Before the game I was interested to see how Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Chase Rome would perform in the first start of their careers. Jean-Baptiste did well: he is definitely a force against the run with that big body of his. It was disappointing to see Rome receive the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That's obviously not going to help him if he wants to stay on the field. Overall Saturday's performance didn't convince me that the Blackshirts are back. They will have to prove themselves against much better opponents.

Bottom line, the Huskers did what they had to do: they put the hammer down early and left Minneapolis healthy (and bowl eligible) with an easy win. It will be interesting to see how much momentum they will be able to carry over into next week when the Spartans come to Lincoln.

Edited by Josh Harvey


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