Official Husker Locker Blog
2010 Nov 06
NU-ISU: Report Card
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Running back Rex Burkhead. He ran the Wildcat with expert precision – and had to catch some pretty rotten snaps from Mike Caputo just to get the play going. In the second half, he bulled his way for tough yards. Burkhead was the spark – indeed, just about only one – NU had on offense Saturday.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Safeties Austin Cassidy and Eric Hagg We knew that Austen Arnaud would finally make a mistake throwing the ball against NU's defense, and when he did, Cassidy was there to read the throw, step in front, and make the game-defining play, a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown. Hagg, meanwhile, had two terrific interceptions – including one of a two-point conversion that saved the Huskers' Big 12 hopes.
QUARTERBACK: C Cody Green is not a dynamic runner unless he gets a full head of steam. And he fumbles just too much. But it must be said: He made one big throw after another in the second half. Kid converted four straight third-down passes, and none of them were easy throws. Green showed in that second half that, yes, he can lead these Huskers in a pinch. Because he just did. If Green ever had a half-season to work out the kinks, he could be a pretty good starting quarterback.
RUNNING BACK: A Man's game from Burkhead, who just ran like a plow through ISU's arm tackles. Roy Helu's one fumble was a joke – if five guys are holding you up for the sake of trying to strip the ball, the play's over – and he otherwise ran quite well. These two carried the offense, especially Burkhead.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B A little leaky on a few pass plays when the rush got to Green, but the run blocking was pretty solid, considering Iowa State was sold out to stop the run. Keith Williams bravely came back in the game after getting hurt early. He wants a Big 12 title bad, you can see it.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: B- Brandon Kinnie had a drop, but other than that, these guys played OK. Kyler Reed is quickly becoming the best receiving tight end in the conference. It's probably too late in the season for him to win any postseason rewards but he's really hard to cover one-on-one, and he's starting to gain confidence, too. The blocking, overall, wasn't great until Burkhead's touchdown run in overtime.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B Did their job against the run, holding up ISU's offensive line to free up lanes for linebackers and safeties to come through. Iowa State ran the ball 48 times for 157 yards. That's 3.3 yards. Not much. Cameron Meredith and Pierre Allen arguably played their best games of the year. Against the pass, NU preferred to use the blitz to slow down Arnaud, and sometimes it worked. Nice QB hurry by redshirt freshman Jason Ankrah, which forced a holding call and an interception.
LINEBACKER: C- LaVonte David had ten tackles – but he didn't play that well. He missed some tackles and allowed Alexander Robinson to beat him four times in the passing game, twice on third down and once for a 13-yard touchdown. He did cover a wheel route Robinson ran pretty well, though. Will Compton was only on the field for spot plays.
SECONDARY: C Cassidy and Hagg raise the overall grade, but the secondary, without Alfonzo Dennard, missed some opportunities and tackles. Ciante Evans and Anthony West both got picked on pretty good. Dejon Gomes struggled to match up with tight end Collin Franklin. He's really not a fit for those guys; Missouri's Michael Egnew did the same thing last week. Courtney Osborne and Cassidy filled like mad men against the run, though, Nice job there. Osborne is an aggressive son a gun. I like him. When he figures everything out.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C- Not good at all until Hagg's interception, which I don't even really count – since Hagg was the only one to sniff out the fake. Paul had the boneheaded fumble. Burkhead fair caught a punt on the 6-yard line. Alex Henery wasn't on his punting game Saturday. His boots against the wind were too high and errant to make much of a dent. NU botched two more kickoff returns. Iowa State frankly didn't play much better on special teams.
GAME MANAGEMENT/PLAYCALLING: C Nebraska burned several timeouts because of having the wrong guys in the huddle. NU incurred two substitution penalties. The Huskers blitzed quite a bit and put themselves out of position on certain plays as a result. On offense, Shawn Watson called a decent game, given he has little-to-no confidence in Cody Green's ability to throw against the wind. Watson put Green in some empty sets in the second half, which seemed to make Green more comfortable throwing down the field.
See also: Postgame Notes and What's Your Reaction?
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