Nebraska's forte used to be line up and run 'em over when it came to their offense. More recently you had an offense struggling to find it's identity and an attitude of trying to take what they want failing.
The game planning and decision-making impressed me, for the most part, by the coaches and Zach Taylor. The ability to stretch the field isn't there still because the ineffectiveness of the long-ball and 9-10 in the box every time for Cory Ross is making the running game ineffective.
So what do you do? Well there is that great intermediate range of the field that just hasn't been tested. What about screen plays? Hooks. Slants. Crossing patterns. Spreading the ball around in all different directions.
Nebraska also did something else that I was waiting for. What didn't you see today? You didn't see a lot of motion and in return you had limited amount of procedure penalties. Simplification led to production or at least not counter production.
Taylor comes alive
Statistically speaking this year has not been the year that many thought Taylor might have or expect. I am sure that he would say the same. However, this is a wheel here that is missing a few spokes.
What do I mean when I say missing a few spokes? Irresponsible play-calling when it came to trying to get bigger plays as opposed to first downs and an offensive line that finally, finally seems to be coming together.
Taylor had a record setting day today and it's all coming at a very good time. That time is conference time and looking at a very good, very stout Texas Tech team that will be coming into Lincoln next weekend trying to repeat a 70-10 performance.
Ross for President
I'll admit, I just didn't think that you would only see Cory Ross in the backfield today. I had been hearing about multiple ways of getting Brandon Jackson, Cody Glenn and Marlon Lucky involved in the game plan.
Was it a smoke screen? Possibly, but I am leaning towards saying no. This is an offense that leaned on Cory Ross last year for consistency, for big plays and for leadership. You need that this year more than ever in trying to right the ship on offense.
Now, don't get me wrong I would like to see new faces on the field in the backfield. However, are you willing to put in a player with limited experience with a game on the line to get people reps or just gain experience at the cost of possible errors or turnovers?
Ross really had one costly play all day and that was him going one way and the entire offense going another at about the ten. We ended up turning the ball over and giving ISU a chance to win.
In the end though, Taylor was the ABC Game MVP, but in my eyes without Cory Ross and the end of that screen or in the two overtime periods this game is lost without him.
Defense still reigns supreme
I thought that Nebraska's defense matched up well with Iowa State's offense before the game. I thought that they did even more after the game.
While there weren't any forced turnovers to speak of from up-front pressure from the defensive line or linebacker pressure from Nebraska, keeping Meyer off-balance with pressure was the best way to get Iowa State's offense off the field.
Every game I get more and more impressed with Cory McKeon. Why? I think that he is a risky playmaker and maybe isn't a very athletically gifted linebacker, but he makes plays and is constantly around the ball.
I think that instinct is far too often not included when it comes to looking for a strength in a linebacker. McKeon has a lot of it. But what has been the most impressive for me in him has been his emergence as a leader and a great player for this defense.
I had a feeling that our ends would have big days today. I thought that Barry Turner and Jay Moore did. Adam Carriker wasn't named too much tonight, but I think that was because Iowa State knew that they needed to hold him in check.
I was impressed with the up-front four pretty much all of the night. I thought that there were a lot of holding, both ways, that weren't being called, but Iowa State was doing it a lot more than Nebraska was from what I saw.
I am beginning to wonder when we will see Cortney Grixby and/or Tierre Green replaced by Zach Bowman? I don't trust either of their coverage abilities although they are both extremely gifted. Given Grixby's height, or lack thereof, he could easily slide into a nickel position and have Bowman move in as the full-time guy.
I also wasn't as impressed with Grixby as I was with Terrence Nunn when it came to punt returning. Nunn just hits that top speed a lot quicker, takes some chances looking for lanes and is capable of the big play.
Mulkey and Swift to the rescue!
Now these are two names that I think that you are going to start hearing more and more of this year. I think that their presence in traffic in the middle of the field and ability to be possession receivers will help Nebraska continue to improve on offense.
Nebraska is going to need to get tough at the passing game and catch the ball. This game shouldn't have come down to what it did. There were two possible first half touchdowns that didn't happen because of dropped passes.
Taylor and this offense don't need to be perfect, but they can't afford dropped passes and precedure calls to keep drives alive and to put points on the board. It doesn't help either that you still don't know what you have at place-kicker.
There is just not a weapon there that Nebraska can put their hat on like they normally have had. I have said it time and time again; I have not been impressed with either of the kickers that Nebraska has brought in over the past two to three years once they got to Nebraska. Something has got to change here.
Wrap it up
All in all, Nebraska still won the game in dramatic form. Taylor set a record, Ross looks like he did last season but healthy and the passing game with just a few more completions looks "West Coast".
Now, where do we go to from here? Balance. There were not enough rushing yards this game for me to be happy and maybe stats aren't what I should worry about, but the ratio of rushing yard to passing yards should be better.
One could make an argument that Nebraska is finally taking what they are being given though by the opposing defense and this is good. The idea that we take what we want needs to be canned for a while until you can polish out some rough spots and get some personnel in there to help out.
I was pleased today. Pleased by the simplification and the play calling. Pleased by the determination of this team. Pleased again by the defense who is all heart. Pleased by the play of Ross and Taylor on offense. But in the end, I was pleased for the win. This is a top 25 team that Nebraska, did require overtime to do, but still did beat.