By: Joe Franco
Nebraska: 43 Fresno State: 10
GAME STATS: Nebraska 43, Fresno State 10.pdf
Offensive Player of the Game: Devine Ozigbo
Ozigbo, didn’t log the start, but had a career-game in the first game of the year. He finished with 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 17 attempts.
Defensive Player of the Game: Kieron Williams
After not receiving a Blackshirt, the junior had a little extra motivation with something to prove, and he did. Williams led the team in tackles with 10 and also had an interception.
The Moment It Was Over: The first play of the fourth quarter was a 57-yard touchdown grab by Alonzo Moore. This touchdown put the Huskers up 18, 28-10 and sucked the life out of Fresno State.
Quote to Note: “I thought our guys went toe to toe with them for a pretty good bit and then they broke our will a little bit in that fourth quarter. I'm proud of our guys' effort, but it wasn't close enough to beat a good team like Nebraska on the road in this kind of environment.” – Fresno State Head Coach Tim DeRuyter.
What A Nebraska Win Means: A win in the season-opener already sends Nebraska in an improving direction this season after starting the year 0-1 last year. While Nebraska didn’t play their best game, they have to be happy they still won by 33 points.
· * Head coach Mike Riley earned his 100th career win and also won his first season-opener at Nebraska. Has to feel good to start off with a winning record.
* Nebraska threw the ball 13 times the whole game. They have clearly shown they are a run-first team, with 51 attempts on the ground.
* Yellow flags were flying through the air. The theme of the post-game press conference was to “clean things up.” Nebraska had seven total penalties, with a handful of personal foul calls and even a targeting and ejection of Luke Gifford.
* Defense stopped the run. Fresno State had just 31 rushing yards in 26 attempts. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker said that Fresno State “lost confidence in the run game,” and he felt that they eventually abandoned it. Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said that Nebraska “blew us up more than they have in the past. We had a really tough time getting our run game started.”
* Special teams were out of all sorts of whack, and need cleaned up next week. Nebraska had two instances on a punt return where the ball may have touched a Nebraska player and continued in play. The also had a punt blocked, to which Riley said, “Games get cloudy for me when you get a punt blocked,” implying that mistake stuck with him in his mind. Nebraska also had a kick-catch interference penalty, and had a player run into Westerkamp as he was about to receive a kick.
* True freshman Tre Bryant had a fantastic debut late in the second half. He finished the game with five rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown. He showed he is a physical runner that will be tough to take down upon initial contact. The freshman back definitely looked ready and comfortable in his first college game.
* Nebraska’s defense adjusted and played very well in the second half. After what looked like a sloppy secondary, they made their halftime adjustments and held Fresno State scoreless in the second half. Chris Jones and Kieron Williams each had an interception and Joshua Kalu, true freshman Lamar Jackson and Ross Dzuris all had a sack (Dzuris had two). Other players that played well were Dedrick Young, Aaron Williams, Marcus Newby and Chris Weber.
· * Nebraska paid a great tribute to Sam Foltz. Before the game, the special teams units ran out on the field with his jersey and presented it to the student section. Drew Brown was also awarded the Sam Foltz Memorial Scholarship before the game with his family, as well as the Foltz family. They ended their highlight real in the tunnel walk video with “#27 Sam Foltz.” Finally, a few members of Foltz’ family walked with the team during the Tunnel Walk.