Nebraska probably wasn't planning on making this kind of statement the first two games of the season, but it's doubtful anyone will complain. Not since 1962 has Nebraska had three defensive touchdowns and that was what turned what could have been an interesting game into a comfortable win for NU, the big red besting the demon deacons 31-3.
Linebacker Corey McKeon recalled
after the game how he and fellow linebacker were ribbing linebacker Stewart Bradley that he hadn't got a touchdown of his own. Ruud got his in game one,
taking an interception back for a score, while McKeon started the fireworks for
the Husker defense, taking a Benjamin Mauk pass back 38 yards for a touchdown of
forces and recovers a fumble, taking it|
back for a
touchdown, one of three defensive
touchdowns for the Huskers against
Wake. Photo -
Bradley had to wait until just
over 10 minutes was left in the game when he got his, running back a Mauk miscue
43 yards for the touchdown. McKeon and Bradley's touchdown along with the strip
by safety Daniel Bullocks
and subsequent 30-yard
run in for the score was the first timeNebraska
had three defensive scores since
Mckeon liked Bradley's return,
but still had a complaint about Bradley's speed heading to the end zone. "He
could have ran harder so I didn't have to make anymore blocks," he said.
McKeon's attitude, quite jovial
and even entertaining after the game was seemingly a reflection of the entire
defense's state of mind. One that is a stark contras to last year. "We are
having so much fun, it doesn't matter if you are making plays, if your teammate
is making plays, it's fun," he said.
The defense was having fun, but
the offense wasn't sharing that mind-set, especially early on.
The game got off to a rather
Nebraska going for it on fourth
down twice in the first series, duplicating the effort from
of last week, both
drives ending up in the Huskers turning it over on downs. Callahan said of the
mind-set behind doing that, stating that it was just a show of confidence in his
team. "I believe in them," Callahan said. "I have confidence that we are going
to make it."
"Against a team that really likes
to stretch the game out, we did take some risks early, but it was important for
us to start fast and we did that, but we didn't do it on offense, we did it on
There were questions about
Nebraska's performance against Maine, the Huskers
tallying a record 11 sacks on the Black Bears. The "Blackshirts" weren't
expecting that coming into this game, Wake Forest primarily a running attack. It was
about stopping them at the line and limiting the running game and their potent
two-back combo of senior Chris Barclay and redshirt sophomore Micah Andrews, who
substituted for Barclay last week against Vanderbilt and ran for a single-game
all-time record for Wake Forest of 254 yards.
The duo combined for 124 yards
and no scores. The entire team netted 130 yards, almost 140 yards under the
output from last week's contest.
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove attributed much of the
success to the unity of the team, something they had seemingly none of last year
and the depth as well. "I think we are all on the same page
Barry Turner and Bo Ruud team up for a |
tackle on WR Chris
Davis - Photo/R.J. Meyer
right now," he said. "We are having a lot of fun (and) that's how
it should be."
"(Plus) We're fortunate we have
that ability," Cosgrove said of being able to substitute frequently. "We didn't
have that last year. We're fortunate to be able to do that and it's important
for all the kids to get that experience and that's good, because we are going to
With the defense hitting on all cylinders
at certain points during the game, the lack of an offense became increasingly
more glaring. Zac Taylor, coming off a 15 of 36 performance against Maine, where he also
threw two interceptions and no scores, completed just 14 of 33 passes in this
contest, throwing one interception, but getting his first passing TD, a 4 yard
completion to Frantz Hardy.
"I missed some really easy throws
and just need to get my feet set,"
said. "I think we were off
"We had some good drives, and
next week we'll be even better."
Through two games, Taylor has completed 29 of
69 passes (42 percent complete), for 306 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
While not impressive, it's still better than where Nebraska sat in the
passing game last year at this point, Joe Dailey throwing for 6 touchdowns, but
also throwing just 37 percent of his passes complete, along with 7
"I think you see abilities by
his ability to throw the football, his ability to throw accurately," Callahan
said. "Obviously, we've got a couple of things to work on, to shore up, but we
took a very aggressive approach tonight and I think you can see by all the
movement we tried to create on the perimeter, I felt that we were successful in
some spots and shoddy in others."
Nebraska did open up the third
quarter with a scoring drive, highlighted by a 57 yard run by Cory Ross, the
senior ending up with a 6.2 yard per rush average, totaling 123 yards on the
The contrast was in the overall
team effort, Nebraska as a team actually running for less
yards than what Ross posted on his own, the rest of the team combining for 10
rushes, equaling negative 3 yards. "They create some problems with all the
movements," Callahan said of Wake Forest 's rush defense.
"There were times when we showed
some consistency, Cory's long run, but I think overall we didn't commit to it.
We tried to create a balanced attack and we leaned a little more towards pass
because of all the man coverage that they were playing on us on the early
Nebraska was actually out gained by
in total yardage,
Nebraska totaling 234 yards
Forest 's 247 and
Nebraska lost the time of possession battle as well,
holding onto the
ball for 35:20 to the Huskers' 24:40.
"I'm not going to make a big deal
out of it here publicly, but we address it privately with our football team,"
Callahan said of the team's inconsistencies. "Our players understand where we
are at and where we need to go."
"They have a better handle on it
than you might think."
Nebraska moves their record to 2-0 on the season and will
next week, the game scheduled to be aired on ABC at 2:30 P.M. CST. Pittsburgh is 0-2 on the
season, dropping their season-opener to Notre Dame and in their most recent
game, lost an overtime game to former Husker head coach Frank Solich and his
Ohio Bobcats, 16-10.