1. Double Trouble – Rutgers had every excuse not to run well with a stacked Nebraska box and struggling offensive line but sophomores Josh Hicks and Robert Martin impressed. They represented 38 percent of the team’s first downs and combined for 4.2 yards per carry.
2. Good Study – Defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins said postgame that defensive coordinator Joe Rossi prepared for the screen based off of film study, and led to the interception at the line of scrimmage.
3. Keep it Tight – The Rutgers defense, although it gave up more than 30 points for the sixth straight game, made some good adjustments at halftime. Nebraska threw too often into the wind, but Rutgers was a better pressure team after a rough start and players were in better position to make plays. Rutgers held Nebraska to 10 points (three came on a very short field) and 133 yards in the second half.
4. Where Was Owens? – A week after coach Kyle Flood said that he played true freshman receiver Dontae Owens while down by 30 points at Michigan to get him ready for the final three games, Owens only saw the field on punt coverage.
5. Lack of Awareness – Quarterback Chris Laviano cost Rutgers a key drive when he lost track of the first-down marker. Laviano should have converted a 3rd and 9 but slid too early to move the chains. A Carlton Agudosi drop on 4th and 2 sealed the win for Nebraska.
6. Wrong Time to Roll Dice – Credit Rutgers for a few innovative attempts to move the football, but the third-quarter fake punt was the wrong call. The Rutgers defense had some momentum and Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong suffered an injury on his last play. The decision gave the Huskers a gift with the short field and game-ending field goal.
7. Wide Open – Nebraska must have seen some film on Rutgers, because it exploited the same coverage weaknesses as other opponents during the four-game, 2,000-yard stretch. The Huskers’ biggest plays came when it attacked Kiy Hester deep, Kaiwan Lewis over the middle and Andre Hunt in passing sub-packages.
8. Wasted Clock – Rutgers blew a timeout on first down after a kick return when Laviano could not get the offense set on time. That wasted timeout haunted the offense when it ran out of ways to stop the clock on a halftime drive that resulted in a failed Hail Mary.
9. Closing Speed – True freshman cornerback Blessuan Austin single-handedly forced a three-and-out on Nebraska’s second drive. Austin closed immediately on a first-down TFL. He did the same on third down with a stout tackle on a third and long completion short of the chains.
10. Trench Power – Nebraska won the strength battle on both sides of the ball, and it was never clearer than on a third down sack. The Huskers pushed right tackle J.J. Denman back so far that Denman bumped into Laviano for what became the second sack of the game.