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Northwestern at Nebraska: First Half Takeaways and What to Look for in the Second Half

Five key takeaways from the first half of the Northwestern-Nebraska game.

It is halftime in Lincoln and it has been an ugly one for the Wildcats. They go into the locker room trailing 35-7 and have very little to be positive about so far in this one. Read below to get the key takeaways from the first half of this one and what to look for going forward.

Another game, another early hole

Northwestern has struggled this year with slow starts and has a tendency to fall behind fast, resulting in their inability to complete comebacks. That was the case yet again as the very first play from scrimmage was a 70-yard strike from Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez, followed by a Martinez touchdown run to make it 7-0. The Huskers would score on their first three possessions to put Northwestern into a 21-0 hole. 

Defensive struggles continue

In what has been a reoccurring theme for this Wildcat defense over the course of the season, as they continually were gashed both through the air on the ground by this Husker offense. An opening play 70-yard strike from Martinez, a 64-yard run by running back Jaquez Yant, all in the first half of the first quarter alone. They allowed over 200 yards of total offense in the first quarter alone and three Martinez rushing touchdowns. 

Adrian Martinez is electric

Adrian Martinez has absolutely shredded this Northwestern defense in the first half. In the first quarter alone he rushed for three touchdowns on the first three Nebraska possessions. He hasn't just done it on the ground as he had 99 yards through the air at the end of the first, including a 70-yard strike to start the game. Martinez would finish the half with 164 yards passing to go with 50 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.

Offense starts slow, shows signs of life

The Northwestern offense started off slow to start the game but showed some signs of life at the end of the quarter. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski connected with wide receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. for gains of 32 yards and a 28-yard touchdown. Hilinski, while not perfect, showed some potential as he finishes the half with 189 yards and a touchdown through the air.

Northwestern run game a no show

In the first half, the Northwestern offense came away with -2 yards rushing. That is not a typo, they had negative rushing yards.. You cannot win a football game if your rushing yards are in negatives. If the Wildcats want any hope of coming back in the second half, they must get the ground game going to any extent or this will only get uglier. 

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