The Nebraska Cornhuskers' 30-28 loss to the Northwestern Wildcats this afternoon marks the Huskers' fifth loss of the season already, and they're suddenly in serious danger of missing a bowl game. The team is talented enough to win the Big Ten, but they've started 1-3 in a less-than-stellar Big Ten West. With the program reeling at this point in the season, here are four things we know about this team:
4) Tommy Armstrong has been solid
Armstrong hasn't been the perfect QB, but he's been much better as a pocket passer this season. He's also shown incredible heart and guts through seven games, nearly pulling off a huge comeback against Miami and leading the Huskers to Saturday's impressive win over th Gophers.. Armstrong has shown this season that he's good enough leader and playmaker to guide the Cornhuskers to a Big Ten title. If only he could get the rest of the team in order...
3) There still isn't balance here
The Cornhuskers will go on spurts when they look like they can beat anyone in the country, like when they took two double-digit leads over BYU and came back to tie Miami, but also go through spurts where they look terrible. They nearly added another loss to their current five-loss ledger when they jumped out to a 22-point lead over Southern Miss and almost blew it. We can talk about how much better this team should be, but that doesn't mean much due to the squad's all-around inconsistency.
2) Nebraska can't close out the close ones
Honestly, Nebraska is only a few plays away from being 8-0 this season. They lost on a Hail Mary to BYU, lost in OT to Miami, on a touchdown on the last play of scrimmage agaisnt Illinois, on a last-minute field goal to Wisconsin, and now by two to Northwestern - all of which are games that Nebraska could have won easily. Had they done that, Nebraska winning the Big Ten West would be on the docket, but they haven't been able to make the plays down the stretch when they've needed to.
1) Mike Riley is the wrong fit
Riley is 96-84 as a college head coach, while Bo Pelini was 67-27 over his seven seasons (plus one game) at Nebraska. Pelini got plenty of guff from Nebraska fans and national football analysts for being "Mr. Nine Wins" - but that's much better than the six wins per season Riley has averaged throughout his career.
That's also an alarming trend. Nebraska's struggles this year aren't an anamoly - they're par for the course for Riley. Mediocrity isn't tolerated at Nebraska, and Riley has been mediocre his entire career.Back to the Nebraska Cornhuskers Newsfeed