questioned simply scheduling
The great thing is, a team like that should be a perfect tune-up as you prepare for the "real" teams on the schedule.
The only problem was, someone
forgot to tell
|Maine geared up to stop Ross|
"Just in the overall timing, we were off a click."
The frustration in the running
game was felt as well in the passing game, Zac Taylor ending the contest,
completing just 15 passes on 36 attempts and throwing two interceptions.
Callahan chose not to focus on the stats in regards to
If there was a story, though, it
was about momentum and that
1st possession: Ross runs
for a 16 yard gain up the middle for a first down – 4 plays later,
It wasn't until just over five
minutes were left in the half, when
"His kickoffs were exactly where we wanted the ball placed. He hung it like we thought he could and allowed the coverage to get down and make some plays."
To that end, Nebraska held Maine to 18.4 yards per kick return, bettering their average last season of 24.73, which ranked them as one of the worst teams in the country in that area.
In the punt return department,
another sore spot for Nebraska special teams last season, the Huskers bettered
that category as well, averaging 5.8 yards a return last year, but averaging
19.8 a pop against Maine, Terrence Nunn totaling 135 yards in punt returns on
only 4 attempts. In all,
The main bright spot for the
Huskers was the defense, because while
|Bo Ruud has career day against Maine|
Nebraska tallied a school record 11 sacks for 69 yards in loss, Adam Carriker, Le Kevin Smith and Stewart Bradley each tying for the team lead with 2 sacks a piece. Some newcomers got into the act as well, true freshman Barry Turner along with Bo Ruud, Corey McKeon and Blake Tiedtke all getting into the act.
What set up the solid pass rush was what Smith called what every team has to do in games; stifling the run. "You always have to stop the run before you start playing the pass," he said. "It's a way you can keep a defense on the field and get them tired."
"(we) completely shut down their running game (and) forced them to pass. When you've got those two things working for you, your defense dominates."
Adding to the frustration of the
Ruud also had a fumble recovery and totaled five tackles, along with a pass break up.
Stewart Bradley added to the prolific linebacker performances, appearing at the very least, unblockable at times, Bradley finishing second on the team in tackles with six, three of those for loss, including the aforementioned sacks and two quarterback hurries as well.
The defense did take a hit, however, promising junior college transfer Steve Octavien going down with what was reported as a broken fibula. Callahan said after the game that the injury was season-ending. "You saw his ability to run and be active and obviously, use his athleticism to make plays," Callahan said. "We'll certainly miss him." Playing less than half a game, Octavien still ranked 6th on the team in tackles, totaling 4, including 2 for loss.
On the game,
hauls in 73 yard reception from |
If you wanted to wrap this game up in a word, it would be vastly different depending on which side of the ball you were talking to. For the defense, while statistically dominant, even Smith admitted that the score wasn't to their liking. For the offense, frustration might be the word for the day, because just when things started to go well, they took a decided turn and a passing game that was expected to be vastly more efficient simply wasn't, much to someone's angst.
"There's a lot of throws I'd like to have back," Zac Taylor said. "I'm lucky it's the first game, we got out with the victory and I can watch film tomorrow and learn from that stuff."
There's probably little else you can say of a game, where the theme should have been disparity, but in certain areas, it wasn't as much as the staff or players might have hoped. In home-openers, though, especially when playing so many newcomers (nine true freshman played), there are often unexpected bumps in the road.
"So, there's a lot of factors, a lot of things to draw from that are positive, but obviously a lot of things that we have to go back to the practice field and improve."