At the conclusion of the opening game in the season there are often times more questions than answers; more “if he plays like this all year” comments than “that answers that.”  This game against the Hilltoppers is much the same.  A few questions were answered, chief among them, whom would start for the Huskers at quarterback and what our offensive identity might look like.  Other questions, like what the re-tooled linebackers, the Peso, and the new safetys would look like.  Here are some of the key items I took note of in the Huskers’ opening game.

Taylor Martinez Looked Good

And I don’t mean that in the “he’s so dreamy” kind of way that I’m sure every freshman girl on campus instantly decided upon.  Martinez showed the burst, the lateral movement, and the quickness that it seemed the coaches at NU have lauded for the past few months.  He was decisive in the read option, accurate on his short-range passes and managed the offense without any of the usual issues that seem to plague first-year starters (see: John Brantley, Florida and his fumbling-ass ways).

In watching Martinez weave his way through the defense and de-cleat opposing defenders with juke moves it was hard to ignore the whispers of “Eric Crouch” that seemed to be murmuring throughout Husker Nation.  While I think it is wise to avoid these comparisons until we play a team that has at least won a single game in the last 21 attempts, he did show flashes of big play ability that have been missing for years.

Martinez’s stat-line: 127 yards on 7 carries, 136 yards through the air, and a new school record in drunk girls offering themselves to a 19 year-old.

Lavonte David Came Through in a Big Way

David, a Ju-Co transfer playing in his first game for the Big Red, stepped into the gaping hole that is the Cornhuskers’ linbacking corp and managed a pretty damn good patch job.  In fact, David ended up shining as he collected a team-high 13 tackles on the night.  Much was made of the injuries that seem to be plaguing the LB’s this season and to see David flying around, making athletic tackles for a good portion of the evening was a welcomed sight.

That being said. . .

The Defense Didn’t Look That Impressive

I know that it’s a lot to ask for a defense to come out and dominate as a cohesive unit in their first game on the field together.  We have new safetys, new linebackers, and no #93 ripping through offensive lineman like wet Kleenex.  All of these adjustments will take a while to fix.

That being said, the defense looked sloppy at times.  The Hilltoppers seemed intent on pounding the ball with their one man version of “Little People, Big World”: Bobby Rainey.  This 5’7″ back carried the ball 30 times against the vaunted front line and, frankly, had some success.  For those of you keeping track, that’s 5.2 yards per carry.  The team as a whole averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

These numbers wouldn’t be all that disconcerting. . .if they were against our practice squad.  299 total yards of offense for the Hilltoppers seems like quite a bit.  Again, ignoring the extenuating circumstances, this number if much too high.  Early in the game the Husker defense came out fired up and really seemed to have the shifting, multiple-look offense of Western Kentucky under control.  Several breakdowns in the 2nd half and the Huskers found themselves in unfamiliar territory: giving up touchdowns at home. 

Had it not been for Dejon Gomes’ incredible hustle play to deny Rainey a long touchdown run and the Huskers would’ve given up 17 points.  Which is more than they gave up to Texas.  And Oklahoma.  Combined.

I’m not going to be the town cryer here, warning all of NU’s upcoming doom when they finally face a quality opponent.  No, I’m merely stating that the Huskers have a good deal of work to do if they ever want to live up to the Pelini Bros’ expectations.

One Final Note

DeJon Gomes is the man.  I know it’s insanely high praise to heap on the guy, but does anyone else see a little Bob Sanders in him?  Gomes has the innate ability to miraculously appear in the midst of opponents would-be big plays and then blow them up.  He’s like the “Jumper” of the Nebraska Football team.  Except he’s way more badass than Hayden Christiansen.

“It looks like Chris Rainey could go all the. . .”  *POOF*, there’s Gomes, vanishing into thin air.  *POOF* He’s suddenly right next to the guy with the ball.  “FUMBLE!”

One Final Note-er

Did anyone else think that my “This Month’s Poll” was going to come true in the very first game?  Crick nearly gave me whiplash just watching that.  Airbags would’ve deployed on that hit if he’d hit a Hummer H2 with that kind of force.


  1. Sue Tolles says:

    sure they were able to run, score some points, but……… we still have the better mascot. What was that red thing running around?

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