After falling to Troy 24-19, Nebraska will have started a season 0-2 for the first time since 1957. Counting from last season, the Huskers have now lost six consecutive games.
Though Troy wasn’t expected to win this game, it was always going to be tough one for Nebraska. Adrian Martinez was unavailable today due to his knee injury, so back-up QB Andrew Bunch had to step in for his first career start. However, those are paltry excuses for a Husker team that should have two wins under their belt.
Nebraska had time to salvage a victory with minutes left in the 4th quarter, but it was not to be. Bunch threw a late interception to kill the drive and the Husker’s chances of winning.
“The same little things bit us today. Spotting them points… [Committing] dumb penalties,” head coach Scott Frost said after the game.
Nebraska’s offensive line missed several key blocks, and were even bowled over a handful of times by a hungry Troy team which beat LSU in Death Valley last season. The Huskers seemed to regress in performance from last week. Bunch performed admirably, but still made rash decisions, forcing the ball where he shouldn’t of, which resulted in a pair of interceptions.
Though they only lost one fumble, Nebraska lost the football four times. Ball security was one of the key issues the Huskers needed to focus on from last week, but it didn’t look like the point had been driven to many of the players.
There were also several broken plays that Troy took advantage of. Cedarius Rookard of Troy, returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown early on in the second quarter to put the Trojans up 10-0.
Things were made worse when B.J. Smith scampered into the end zone midway through the second quarter to make it 17-0.
Nebraska was able to cut the lead down to fourteen after Barret Pickering made a 32 yard field a few minutes before halftime, but the hole the Huskers had dug was too deep to escape from.
“It was the explosive plays that got us,” Senior nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg said. Troy rushed for 143 yards, with many of those yards coming from just a handful of plays. Troy QB Kaleb Barker caused issues on his feet as well, scrambling and making throws outside of the pocket.
“We needed the Blackshirts and the pipeline to win this game for us today,” Frost said. Both of those units came up short today, and with a tough game on the road against a ranked Michigan squad, Nebraska is in serious danger of starting out the season 0-3.
“They’ve been working hard,” Frost said. “They deserve to win, as hard as they’ve been working.” Senior offensive guard Gerald Foster put it more bluntly.
“Not quitting and winning are not the same thing,” Foster said.
Nebraska will have some serious soul searching to do after this one. You can catch Nebraska’s game against Michigan on 1400, KLIN next Saturday. Pregame begins at six in the morning. Kickoff is set for 11 A.M.