SOC - Nebraska

Sep 29, 2017

I predicted 3-9. I still think we're going to go 3-9. We've looked a little better than I expected (at least in certain spots like the defensive line), but we've gone even younger than I expected, which means there are still a lot more mistakes to be made. So I think that leaves me in the same spot: 3-9. Which means we have one more win in us.

For the nine Big Ten games, I think that will be the question as I sit down to write these: is this our win? None of this is a bad thing - we're the youngest team in the country, there's mountains of hope to be found in all of these freshmen who are already starting, we're seeing the beginning of something I think will eventually be great - it's just that we're so, so young. Ten true freshmen started the last game.

So looking over the schedule, where is the likely win? Rutgers is probably the only Big Ten game where we'll be favored, but that one scares me. I just don't think we match up very well. Right now, I honestly feel better about a game like Indiana than I do Rutgers. Indiana is a better team, but my gut right now says we lose to Rutgers but beat Indiana. I also expect us to be better in November than October, so maybe it's Purdue or even Northwestern where we get that win. Lots of opportunities.

But I don't think it's tomorrow night. I don't have a good feeling about this one at all. The reason: Tanner Lee has thrown nine interceptions. If Tanner Lee had thrown 2 interceptions, Nebraska is 4-0 and ranked #18 coming into Champaign. But he did, and so they lost, and so everyone thinks they suck. I don't think they suck. I just think Tanner Lee has to stop throwing multiple pick sixes and handing games to teams like NIU.

As you know, as a #turnoverluck guy, I always look to the opposites. Tanner Lee has thrown nine so far, and I'm guessing he throws 15 on the season, which means he only has six more to spread over eight games. Will he be kind enough to let us have one of them? I'm not sure he will. He's had some really bad luck so far, which means good luck is on its way.

It's one of those things I look for when previewing games. Iowa is +13 in turnover margin? That's going to balance out soon - I suddenly feel better about beating them. Tanner Lee has thrown nine picks? That's going to balance out soon - I suddenly feel worse about beating them. Whenever there's a turnover trend, I look the other direction.

Now, I should say, this is a pretty decent matchup for us. They're a bit like Western Kentucky, and we've shown we can stop a team like that. I could see a scenario where we're consitently getting field goals here and then, find a way to score defensively, and win a low-scoring affair.

But then I think of all the freshmen and feel like this thing could get out of hand quickly. If Lee isn't throwing picks, and especially if sophomore tailback Tre Bryant returns from injury, I'm not sure we have the roster to stop Nebraska. I could see it getting out of hand quickly.

So that means I think I'm landing on "turnovers are the key tomorrow" (duh). If they start handing them out, we're certainly accept, perhaps all the way to the win column. If there aren't any, I'm not sure how we can keep up. I haven't seen the offensive fire power necessary to sustain drives against Big Ten opponents.

Which means I can't see us winning. And I can't see us covering. Until we show some signs of life on offense, I just don't think we can win many of these games. Next year and (especially) 2019? Can't wait. September 2017 with ten true freshmen starting? Not there yet.

Nebraska 27, Illinois 10


Sweetchuck13 on September 29 @ 08:29 AM CDT

I don't see this one getting out of hand, but I think you're right that we're not quite there yet. I think it's relatively close throughout, and then they stack an extra TD mid-4th quarter to go up by 2 scores, and it holds. 31-17 Nebraska.

Illinimac68 on September 29 @ 08:30 AM CDT

I'm not sure I see us winning. I see this game as a tossup depending on the breaks. That said, I can't see us beating Indiana at this stage but I'm pretty confident about Rutgers because it's at our place and they're really no better than we are.

thumpasaurus on September 29 @ 10:16 AM CDT

If Mike Riley loses his mind like he did two years ago or like the first half of Rutgers last week, we have a chance. Our defense is good enough against statuesque quarterbacks to keep us in the game, but we'll only be able to pull ahead if Nebraska makes some serious mistakes.

jdapisa on September 29 @ 02:33 PM CDT

Riley is also bound to find his mean coaching-wise. One coach can't continuously be this bad every game, right? I think they are going to pound the running game and I have little confidence our offense can move the ball. Not a good combination.

Hopeful the Nebraska staff gets cute and we can create some turnovers, but otherwise I don't like this game either.

28-10 Huskers.

danny on September 29 @ 02:52 PM CDT

I'm seeing an Illini W. Lovie will have had 2 weeks to prepare, the team is getting 2 defensive players back and the Illini are playing at home. Nebraska is traveling on a short week and they haven't looked good this season. The Illini isn't playing the Nebraska of the past. Have faith in Lovie, it's why JW bought him to Champaign. He will be the difference tonight.

HiggsBoson on September 29 @ 07:15 PM CDT

Already another ejection for targeting. Lovie's boys seem to like dirty play.

HiggsBoson on September 29 @ 07:36 PM CDT

The all orange uniforms look like prison pajamas.

This team desperately needs a quarterback.

HiggsBoson on September 29 @ 08:27 PM CDT

I've lost interest in watching a beat down. I'll let it record in case they put George in and manage to score a touchdown. This team, has the worst inside the 10 yard line offense I've seen in many years.

HiggsBoson on September 29 @ 09:21 PM CDT

Serious question. How long can Lovie's recruiting survive repeated 3-9 seasons?

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