LINCOLN, Neb. — As usual, it was a sloppy win for Nebraska on Saturday.
The 13-point win over Purdue helped Nebraska (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten Conference) remain undefeated with the Wisconsin game approaching next week.
But before Badger talk, some grades for the Huskers performance against Purdue:
As both coach Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said after the game, Nebraska had no rhythm and no consistency all afternoon against Purdue.
Against the worst run defense in the conference, the Huskers only conjured up 157 rushing yards on 37 carries. Senior RB Terrell Newby had a decent day with 82 yards on 22 carries.
Senior QB Tommy Armstrong had a decent day, too, getting 17 completions on 31 throws for 252 yards and one touchdown. He had one interception right before the end of the half.
Nebraska just couldn’t quite put it all together against Purdue, which isn’t a great sign for the next two weeks at Wisconsin and at Ohio State.
Most of this rating comes from Nebraska’s awful pass defense in the first half.
The Huskers gave up 231 yards to Purdue QB David Blough in the first half. Blough picked apart Nebraska with short throws and made it pay dearly on an 88-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Purdue only ran for a total of 24 yards on 22 carries, but it doesn’t run very often as it is, so though those are great numbers, it’s not really what Purdue does.
The Huskers defense showed up in the second half and shut down Blough, but the damage had been done. Not a great showing from the Blackshirts.
Special teams (5/5)
The Nebraska special teams had a perfect day.
K Drew Brown made 2 of 3 field-goal attempts, including a career-long 51-yard field goal. Freshman P Caleb Lightbourn pinned Purdue inside its own 10-yard line twice, including one at the Boilermakers’ 2-yard line.
Plus, freshman Tre Bryant took a kick return back 59 yards at the opening of the second half.
It’s not often the Nebraska secondary plays well, or even perfectly, but Saturday was a great way to showcase just how good this third facet of the Huskers can be.
The play-calling on Saturday was interesting.
Some of it had to do with injuries, which is why this rating isn’t worse, but there were some curious calls early on, including screen plays for sophomore RB Mikale Wilbon and post pattern throws to Bryan Reimers and not Brandon Reilly.
Something just felt off on the offensive side of the ball.
Nebraska played well in the second half, but that first half was so ugly it’s hard to say this was a good showing overall for the Huskers.
Not being able to run on the worst run defense in the conference, not being able to stop Purdue’s passing attack even though you know it isn’t going to run. These are things that a Top 10 team should be able to do, and Nebraska didn’t until the second half.