Official Husker Locker Blog
2010 Nov 21
NU-A&M: Report Card
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Running back Rex Burkhead. Ran hard in his home state – especially in the second half – never fumbled, and seemed to give NU that little spark it needed to get over the hump on its second field goal drive. He also pass blocked well.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: LaVonte David frankly made a compelling case for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with a virtuoso performance of 14 tackles, including a sack and three more for loss. He obviously won't get near the publicity, but he's been as good of a defensive JUCO recruit as Cam Newton was on offense. David's really come into his own here. He could be a very exciting player next year.
QUARTERBACK: D Taylor Martinez couldn't do much after he reinjured his ankle; he had played pretty well on the initial drive, you'll recall, leading NU to a field goal. But it's on Martinez if he insists he's OK to play when he's not really, and if he's going to press himself into service when he can't step into throws or scramble out of trouble, he has to take the hit for the grade. He looked confused in the loud atmosphere, he had to burn timeouts because he wasn't always picking up the plays, and he wasn't remotely an accurate passer. Cody Green threw an interception, nearly fumbled the ball away on an exchange and just generally doesn't inspire confidence in head coach Bo Pelini. You wish Zac Lee had been healthy tonight.
RUNNING BACK: B Burkhead and Roy Helu both ran with toughness and poise, ripping off some long runs. Neither had much help in the way of holes from their offensive linemen until the second half. This tandem combined for 126 yards against the Big 12's best run defense. You can live with that.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D The penalties! Oh, the penalties killed Nebraska, and several came right from this spot. Beyond that, the Husker offensive line didn't protect that well on passing plays and rarely created holes – until the fourth quarter – on running plays. It is not fun to watch this bunch try to zone block. They're much better at pulling and trapping on wide plays – even if none of those worked vs. A&M.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: D One costly drop by Niles Paul, two by Brandon Kinnie and 30 yards in penalties from Ben Cotton. On top of that, Ted Gilmore's substitution system has guys getting on the field who have no business being there in a big game, or take too long to relay plays. The lone bright spots tonight were a nice catch-and-run by Paul and Kyler Reed consistently getting open.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+ Very good. With a four-man pass rush NU generated plenty of pressure, got to A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill often and gummed up the big holes for A&M running back Cyrus Gray. I thought this unit got a little winded in the second half at times and it showed on some of A&M's longer drives.
LINEBACKER: A+ David, as often the lone linebacker on the field, was magnificent. The best player out there. Smart, fast, physical – this kid has truly bailed out NU this season. What a recruit.
SECONDARY: B+ Gave up a few key routes – that 36-yarder to Jeff Fuller stung a little – and committed a couple pass interference penalties, one of which set up a field goal. Eric Hagg and Dejon Gomes probably the best. They were the most active. Corners Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard were their usual stingy selves, but they didn't create any turnovers.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C Meh. A&M's specials were pretty awful, frankly. Picking up two personal foul penalties from Eric Martin – one on kickoff and kickoff return – was pretty costly to field position. Alex Henery nailed his two field goals.
GAME MANAGEMENT/PLAYCALLING: D The sideline looked as it was just about to melt down during the game. There's chaos and frustration and I think NU picks up on both feelings. The lack of composure was pretty startling, as the Huskers caved in more than they needed to.
Permanent Link to this Blog Post