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7-2 a Season of Questions (Northwestern Game Review)

Well, we're not very good.  That said, we're not all bad either.  

 

After what looked like a terrible start of the season, at least defensively, I though we were going to be in a lot of trouble at this point in the season.  I started wondering if we'd even be bowl eligible.  But here we are, 7-2, my preseason prediction for where we'd be at this point.  Granted I thought we'd lose to Michigan State, not North Western.  Wisconsin beat us more than I thought they would, but 3 interceptions against a good team will do that to anyone.  

 

I have seen the O-line improve, and Taylor is doing better.  By that I mean they're calling plays that put him in fewer positions to screw up, and use his abilities.  Rex is the heart of the team, but even Superman can be stopped.  This offense will get us enough points to win, but can't afford to turn the ball over, not with this defense.

 

What is the deal with the D?  Well, they were recruited to play in the Big 12.  They aren't big enough to stop the Big 10 running game, and our backs are too young to allow for us to stack the box.  It's going to continue to be a problem until we get some experience and some bruisers up front.

 

So Northwestern... A game of "IF ONLY"'s

If only we didn't fumble a sure Touch Down.  We win the game.

If only we didn't fumble a pass reception that had us in field goal range at the least.  We'd be in overtime.

If only we didn't break on 4th down conversions.

If only we held them to 3 on one of the touchdowns.

If only we were that team.  But were not.  I see at least 1 more loss this year.  

 

We're a team that can't afford turn overs.  We're not very good.  But hey, we're not all that bad either.

 

 

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Game Day: Northwestern holds off rally, upsets Huskers
Nice read.....to say I'm upset with our D's performance today would be an understatement.

Daemon, I totally agree, the D was recruited to play agianst pocket pure-passers and nimble RB's like in the B12, in stark contrast to the B10 offenses.

I also totally agree that the DB's are too young/inexperienced to allow us to stack the line, and the LB's are split between coverage reads in 2-zone/zone-man plays the Pelini's favor.  The safeties are also consistently failing to pick up the deep route recievers across the middle (todays game, the UW game, etc...).

I also agree that the O-line, despite the new names/injuries, etc... has actually been playing decent ball for the majority of the year.  Notable exceptions include the first half of the OSU game, and the Wisky game (and maybe today).

T-mart is improving and is making smarter choices, and beck is calling better plays for him.  Tmart had a good game today.

 

The thing is-good teams find a way to win despite all these issues-e.g. 'bama is brilliantly coached-their defense is an efficient system; ditto for penn state's D, or Boise state x 5 years.

The tackling, etc.... these are fundamentals, while I still support the Pelini brothers-I think they are underperforming this year.

Our D-line was bad with crick...and potentially looks miserable w/o him.

 

There's always next year.

This year isn't a loss yet.  7-2 at this point isn't that bad.  Especially when you look at how the year started.  I see a loss at either Penn State, or the Michigan game.  I'm thinking the Michigan game at this point, though earlier in the year I thought it would be Penn State.  Two more wins is very possible here, and a 9 win regular season is pretty good.  There is still a possibility of playing for the B1G Championship (though things have to happen that we can't control), and a bowl win could still get us to a 10 or 11 win season.  I'm not counting on that, but it is still a possibility.
I will try to remain positive with you eventhough I am not really expecting our last games to go well for us.  I just expected more out of us against Northwestern.
I totally disagree on the O-Line.  If they are our bright spot, then we are in some real trouble.  They are the reason we are in 3rd and long all of the time.  I noticed they were not that good when we ran the first play up the middle against Chattanooga and got no yards.
I certainly didn't say the O-line is our bright spot.  Just that they've improved.  Northwestern came in today with a plan to shut down our running game.  We probably should have passed more, especially in early downs, but that isn't something I really want to see Taylor doing.  They are better.  Better than last year, better than earlier this season, but not great.
So much for home field advantage. We might have won our last game.  We go to snow packed, 100,000 + "Happy Valley" where the last time we got throttled. Then come home to host the best dual threat quarter back and we couldn't tack care of Northwestern's back up, whom I think is actually better than Persa. We are awful with quarter backs who can run, Russell Wilson, Braxton Miller, Cain Colter and the Pelini's never change anything, so look for our corners and safeties to be do most of the "shoe string" tackling on Dennard Robinson. You know the defensive plan give up the first down just dont give up a touchdown. Iowa seems to be a lot like Iowa State has been to us lately. Lose to teams like Minnesota but be more than ready for us, now we fall into that category. We have a teaser of a team. We look like we have a chance after the Ohio State  comeback, feeling really lucky with the Michagan State win. Then we looooose to Northwestern. Northwestern! Northwestern!. Las Vegas had us favored by what 14 or so? lose to some one like that and you are not good. We couldn't score more than 25 on the purple wildcats and of course they ran at us, through us and past us.    7- 5 season. Then again these Huskers might tease us with one more win. I'll certainly delete this game. Glad no one at work is a Northwestern fan, I'll have enough trash talk from the Iowa and Ohio State guys.

Never underestimate Iowa.  Ferentz is an excellent coach.  Would not surprise me at all if they beat MSU in Iowa City next week.  2 losses still likely good enough to get at least a share of the Legends.

 

PS...we have Michigan on the road; but Michigan IS NOT that good.

You're right that Michigan is not that good, but they have the type of team we don't seem to be able to defend.  Robinson will likely give us fits. 

 

I think Iowa seems to play down to lesser teams (Minnesota), but will be more than happy to end their season, even crappy ones, with wins against their Nebraska neighbors.  

I've got to hang this loss squarely on the defense and Carl Pelini.  I realize we are "thin" up front, but knowing that and still allowing gaping holes for NW to run through and not making any adjustments led to 200+ rushing yards against and inability to stop their drives.  Seems like Super Pelini Bros think the problem will fix itself once teams get tired of running the same plays and their RBs getting gassed from running so many yards.  T-Mart played well and i agree it's because he's put into better situations to not screw up.  He threw the ball better today.  Wish Brandon Kinnie would use some stick-em, because he tends to drop 1-2 easy passes or more each game.  I know Austin Cassidy made an INT, but i still think he shouldn't be a starter at the Division I level, very little speed and out of position most of the time.

Our offensive line is average at best.  Our defensive line is average at best.  There in lies ALL of our problems.  A football game is won or lost in the trenches.  The rest is just the decoration on top the cake.

 

From this point on, I cannot make any predictions, because I have no idea what is going to happen.  Bottom line is NU has to win out, and Michigan has to lose one.  PSU might be distracted because one of their longtime coaches is allegedly a pederass and supposedly the administration covered up for him. I'd say that's an embarrassing scandal to say the least.

 

Michigan and Iowa, again I have no idea.  I can better predict what the DJIA will close at on the penny next Thursday than I can predict what will happen in these games.

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