Nebraska vs. Minnesota, 10.16

Nebraska running back Jaquez Yant (0) rushes the ball for a first down against Minnesota in the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

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Parker Gabriel weighs in with his report card from the Huskers' game against Minnesota.

RUNNING GAME (C)

Rahmir Johnson got loose for 25 on an option pitch and NU creased one run with Jaquez Yant, but Nebraska could not consistently move Minnesota up front early on. Johnson got going in the second half, but had to come out of the game due to an injury. Yant then tripped on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 and got stuffed. The Gophers did a good job of mitigating quarterback Adrian Martinez in the run game. 

PASSING GAME (D)

Martinez missed six of his first seven, and he and his receivers looked out of sync the entire first half (6-of-14 for 62 yards). In the second half, the Huskers got rolling, but Minnesota's pressure still showed up big in key moments. The biggest: a fourth-quarter safety that extended UM's lead to 23-17. Martinez hit some big throws in the second half and missed some, too. Austin Allen had the best receiving game of his career with five catches for 112 yards and a TD. 

AGAINST THE RUN (C)

When Minnesota took the field with 7:11 left in the game and a five-point lead, it had rushed 32 times for 91 yards. Its big, physical offensive line looked good at times, but the Huskers held their own for the most part. Minnesota didn't do much for more than 3½ quarters, but got a first down and then a 56-yard Bryce Williams touchdown run to put the game on ice with 2:12 remaining. Before that carry, UM's longest on the day was 14 yards. 

AGAINST THE PASS (C)

Minnesota entered as the worst passing offense in the Big Ten, but shredded NU. Tanner Morgan completed 14-of-15 for 171 and a pair of TDs in the first half alone, and wildcat QB Cole Kramer threw in a TD pass for good measure. Receiver Chris Autman-Bell's first half? Nine catches on nine targets for 100 yards and a highlight-reel TD. Morgan completed a school-record 16 straight before Cam Taylor-Britt and Deontai Williams intercepted him on back-to-back attempts in the third quarter. A tale of two halves if ever there was one. 

Scott Frost talks about Nebraska's flat start and the little details after the loss to Minnesota.

SPECIAL TEAMS (D)

Senior kicker Connor Culp hit a 50-yard field goal into the wind to get NU on the board in the first quarter, but then missed an extra point in the second quarter and a 27-yard field goal to begin the fourth. William Przystup had a solid day punting. For the second straight week, a Przystup punt that should have been downed deep was allowed to trickle into the end zone for a touchback. 

GAME MANAGEMENT (D)

Minnesota dominated from the start. The Gophers won the coin toss, forced a three-and-out and then held the ball for 21:15 in the first half. 

Nebraska went three-and-out in 45 seconds to open the game and three-and-out in 52 seconds with its first drive of the second half. That played right into UM's hands. 

Frost trusted his kicker to hit from 50 early and got three points out of it. He trusted his kicker to hit from 27 out to get within two points in the second half and it backfired. Essentially, Frost counted on Culp to make two more kicks by opting to try to get within a field goal in the first place. That's living dangerously (or maybe recklessly) this year.  

OVERALL (F)

Nebraska started flat, fell behind fast and played from behind the entire game. After getting beat up in the first half, Nebraska responded with a strong third quarter, but it only turned into seven points because the Huskers came up empty twice. Overall, Nebraska took the field four times in the second half with a chance to take the lead and came away with zero points. Mistakes, penalties, missed kicks, unexpected twists and turns. The Huskers played all the close-game hits in this one. They really needed a win going into the bye week and instead have a long two weeks (and even longer bowl odds) ahead. 

 

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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