Skip to main content

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said earlier in the week that the team lacked enthusiasm two years ago at Minnesota.

After the 30-23 loss Saturday, he said the same thing happened.

"There wasn't as much juice but we got more of a veteran team now that I looked businesslike, just wasn't as much juice as the last two weeks," Frost said after Nebraska fell to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play. "For two weeks we've been playing in the best environment in college football, and the juice comes with that.

"We needed to bring it ourselves today and I don't think it was terrible but we lost a lot of one-on-one battles in the first half.

That lack of "juice" saw the game start out in ideal fashion for the Gophers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten).

Minnesota forced a three-and-out in the first minute of the game to take over on offense. Nearly eight minutes later, Minnesota held a 7-0 lead.

Following a Connor Culp 50-yard field goal to get Nebraska on the board, Minnesota burned another four minutes off the clock before scoring again to go up 14-3.

Another three-and-out for Nebraska gave Minnesota a chance to really blow the game open, but a questionable trick play ended in a big loss for the Gophers. The long field goal was missed.

The Huskers took advantage with a touchdown drive, but Culp missed the extra point wide.

Minnesota used nearly four more minutes before tacking on another touchdown, leading by what would be the halftime score: 21-9.

In the first half, the Huskers managed 134 yards to Minnesota's 247. Of the 30 minutes of play in the first half, Nebraska had the ball for just 8:45.

But the second half began with some momentum, courtesy the Blackshirts.

Cam Taylor-Britt intercepted a pass in the end zone, starting a drive that ended in a touchdown for the Huskers. The next pass for Minnesota was picked off by Deontai Williams.

This time, Nebraska got to the Minnesota 2-yard line.

A Rahmir Johnson run was stopped at the 1-yard line. Johnson was shaken up and replaced by Jacquez Yant.

Adrian Martinez was stopped short of the goal line on third down.

On fourth down inside the 1-yard line, Martinez took the shotgun snap and handed the ball to Yant. The freshman running back tripped and fell short of the goal line.

Frost said he considered going under center and run a quarterback sneak but decided against it.

"I've watched every snap of (Minnesota's) tape this year and they've done a pretty good job against sneak," Frost said.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Minnesota punted again, setting up Nebraska at midfield. Five plays later at the Minnesota 9-yard line, the Huskers opted to try a field goal.

It missed.

"We talked about (going for it on fourth down) a lot on the headset," Frost said. "I'm kinda scratching my head with (the miss) because we make a 50-yarder then miss a PAT.

"We gotta be more consistent."

Neither team managed points on their next possessions. Nebraska then took over on their own 11- yard line with 4:53 to go in the game, trailing by five.

Martinez tried to evade pressure, backing up into the end zone before throwing the ball away. It was ruled intentional grounding, giving Minnesota two points and the ball.

The Gophers were running out the clock before ripping off a 56-yard touchdown run.

Nebraska answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive in 60 seconds, but the ensuing onside kick failed.

Minnesota picked up a first down and ran out the clock.

"We're all upset," Frost said. "I want this (to work out) for the kids first. I want it for Nebraska second. I'm at the end of the list.

"These kids won't quit."

Martinez was off for much of the game, missing throws high as well as watching a couple passes dropped. The fourth-year starter was 18-for-33 through the air for 241 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson turned in another stout game from the running back position. He ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, adding a catch for six yards.

Eight different Huskers caught passes. Austin Allen led the group with five receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Levi Falck, Omar Manning, and Zavier Betts all reeled in multiple catches to tally more than 30 yards.

Despite the pair of turnovers in the second half, the Blackshirts were carved up by Tanner Morgan and the Minnesota offense.

Morgan finished with 209 yards passing and two touchdowns, going 20-for-24. On the ground, Bryce Williams carried the ball 17 times for 127 yards and a score.

Minnesota was without its top two running backs who were out with injuries and a starting offensive lineman who entered the transfer portal last week.

Frost has talked ad nauseam about this program being close, but at some point the close losses to top-10 teams don't matter when the program suffers consecutive losses to both Illinois and Minnesota.

The loss also increases doubt for a first bowl game appearance in the Frost era. Nebraska must now win three of four against Purdue, No. 6 Ohio State, Wisconsin and No. 2 Iowa.

Nebraska is off next week before hosting Purdue Oct. 30.

Related: HuskerMax game page