Close, But No Cigar

What we learned from Nebraska's down-to-the-wire loss to Oklahoma

In the aftermath of Saturday's "Sooner Showdown," we learned several things:

  1. If Oklahoma was the #3 team in college football, then Alabama needs to be in the NFL.
  2. Sooner QB Spencer Rattler will not likely win the Heisman this year.
  3. The Huskers are a better football team this week than they were in Week 0.
  4. Through 3⅓ seasons under Scott Frost, the Huskers still find new and creative ways to lose football games.

Yes, the Huskers went on the road and took the #3 team to the wire and came within a play of either tying or winning the game at Norman. Most Husker fans would have liked their team's chances of being down by just 7 points late in the game with the football in the hands of Adrian Martinez.

But Nebraska either doesn't want to win, or can't seem to figure out how to beat a good opponent. In order to become bowl eligible, Nebraska is going to have to find a way to win at least four games out of the next eight. Where are the wins?

Last Saturday changes a lot of things for Nebraska. I may be wrong, but I believe the rest of the Husker games are toss-ups.

No one knows what's going to happen to Nebraska this year. But the way the Huskers played Saturday should send a message to the rest of their opponents that Nebraska is not a team to take lightly.

With the praise comes a warning: Keep missing field goals, getting kicks blocked, making dumb mistakes and committing costly penalties and the Huskers might not win another game all year.

The good news is the Huskers are scoring 29.5 points per game and are allowing just under 16 ppg. The Huskers are 0-0 in turnover margin for the year. Those are good stats.

Yo Adrian!

And what about Adrian Matinez? He's completed 65.7% of his passes for 1,017 total yards and has run for 290 yards so far this season. He's becoming a field general. Keep up that kind of play and Martinez will put NU in a position to win games. Yes, he had a fumble returned for a TD (@Illinois) and Saturday, he threw his first INT of the year on a desperation pass attempt. But if Nebraska is going to find its way to a bowl game, Adrian is the key. Let's hope he stays healthy.

Up Next: @Michigan State

Don't look now but a game that looked this summer to be a winnable game for the Huskers may need to be moved to the toss-up column. Yes, Sparty just beat Miami Saturday night in Miami to give the Spartans a 3-0 start for the first time since 2015. So State is going to be favored in Saturday's game with Nebraska, right? Yes, and I'm guessing by about 3 or 4 points.

So how good is Sparty? Are they world beaters? Can the Huskers play with them come Saturday night? I think so.

So far, Sparty is 3-0 with wins over Northwestern, 38-21, Youngstown State, 42-14 and Miami, 38-17.

Northwestern (1-2) lost to Duke Saturday. (Duke was 2-9 in 2020.) Youngstown State went 1-6 last year and is an FCS school. Miami is not the Miami of old. They lost to Alabama 44-13 in the Hurricanes' opener. They edged Appalachian State, 25-23 and got punked by Sparty.

Okay, so how good is Sparty's win over Miami? If Nebraska had gone down to Miami and beaten them, we'd all be dancing in the streets. But how good are the Hurricanes this year? Good question.

Miami made the preseason top 16 but has struggled so far this year. The Hurricanes are averaging 18.3 points per game on offense while giving up a whopping 35.0 ppg. And for the year, Miami has committed 7 turnovers (4 INTs and 3 lost fumbles). Scary stats.

So I'm just not willing to crown the Spartans as world beaters just yet, but they could end up beating the Huskers. Something tells me Nebraska is going to be a tough team to beat Saturday night in East Lansing, Mich.