LINCOLN – It was a dreary afternoon which saw the Huskers fall to the Boilermakers 42-28. The overcast skies and soft drizzling rain pattered the turf at Memorial Stadium. It couldn’t have been the easiest conditions to play under.
But that’s one of many meaningless excuses that didn’t decide this game. Yes, there was poor officiating. Plenty of it, in fact (the roughing the passer call on Freedom Akinmoladun on the third down and 20 comes to mind. He was pushed into David Blough, the Purdue quarterback).
None of that matters. This is a team that save the Michigan game, should have won every game they’ve played in. But Nebraska can never seem to get out of their own way.
“We honestly looked like one of the most undisciplined teams in the country, and it kills me,” an impassioned Scott Frost said after the game. “We got back-ups and reserves dancing on our sideline while we’re losing. They look like they love losing.”
The Huskers allowed Purdue to convert seven of their 16 third down plays. What made matters worse, was that Nebraska had 11 penalties, many of which came from the defense on third downs or otherwise, negated huge plays. Combined, the penalties cost the Big Red 136 yards in total.
Frost has a reason to be emotional, which he certainly showed at the podium. “We got a bunch of guys that are warriors,” Frost said. “I’d go to battle with them.”
Frost continued the rhetoric about culture, and the urgent need to fix it. “I got a sense of why, and I don’t really want to say why [the team is having so many mental lapses]. Because this is my team, and not somebody else’s team.”
The implication is clear – Mike Riley drove this program into the ground. It’s not necessarily an unfair charge, but it’s deeply concerning that nobody knows when or how this team will turn things around.
A good number of Husker players don’t have bad habits that need getting rid of, however. Devine Ozigbo had a monster game, rushing for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Adrian Martinez, even though he made some freshman mistakes,he threw for 323 yards,and had two touchdown passes. He also rushed for 91 yards. Ben Stille had the lone sack for the defense.
When Frost was asked when the intangibles of winning will be ingrained in his team, Frost fired back “I have no idea. I’ll let you know.”
The candidness of Frost’s reply drew some chuckles. But it’s likely that the laughs will be few and far between in the coming months.