SjT: Painful Loss to Watch

It sure wasn't pretty, and once again a team from a smaller conference picked us apart, but Steve Truog has a few comments - both positive and negative

It was painful to watch -
but I did find some hope for the future in this game, namely in Kafka's gutsy performance. However, he looked a bit too hurt at the end and throwing floaters off of his back foot instead of on the run really doesn't make him look good.

But a total team loss tonight -- much like New Hampshire, we played well enough to win in most aspects of the game, but that turnover ratio just killed us.

I guess it's to be expected with a young quarterback - but it's hard to watch at times, and our heralded O-line, while much better on the run tonight, is still pretty inept at pass blocking.

As for the D, unfortunately we just get picked apart by an experienced quarterback, and the Big Ten is loaded with them this year. Our only chance against a fellow newbie QB will be next week at State College and 106,000+ Lion fans more than compensate for that.

As for special teams - bad all around. Missed kicks, blocked kicks, fumbles. We had a nice return in the second quarter but did nothing with it. Ugh.

For awhile there, it looked like we were going to have a nice comeback win for a tough young QB coming of age in the second half ... but the injury and replay really swung momentum around. Yes, he was out of bounds, but they got more than their share of generous spots on the night and that replay 1st down hurt a lot.

But that's something we'll probably see a lot this year. We're not exactly a team that blows others out a lot and what we're seeing this year is the difference an experienced QB like Baz made. We're pretty much 4-0 if we hang on to the darn ball - we gave New Hampshire and Nevada early leads with turnovers and tried to play catch-up with a freshman QB, never a good idea.

The good news is that we're close -- cut out the giveaways and free 1st-and-goals and we're not too far away. Getting Kafka's confidence is key and it looked like we were close to boosting that big-time tonight with a win.

The bad news is that we're in Big Ten play from now on, and unless we can grow up in a hurry, those freshman mistakes that gave away games in the nonconference will lead to early blowouts and big confidence-killers against the Big Ten, especially in Happy Valley, Madison, Ann Arbor and Iowa City.

We knew this was going to be a tough year - yes, it's tough to watch us hand over games we should win. But I saw some improvement and effort Friday night. We just gotta hang on to the gosh darn ball!!!
GO CATS!!!
-SjT

Stephen J. Truog, former NU Marching Band member and now educator in Arizona, comments on the Wildcats from both the sidelines and his couch
He has his own NU oriented Web Site - Visit SjTonline

You can send your direct comments or "back door" information
directly to Coach Roy [CoachRoy74 on AIM]
[or comment on the Purple Boards]
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