With a sophomore walk-on quarterback making his first Power Five start, Scott Frost wanted to take the pressure off Andrew Bunch.
In Frost's words, "ugly the game up."
Putting it another way, "just dominate up front," Bunch said.
After paving the way for 329 rushing yards last week against Colorado — and wanting to avoid putting too much on Bunch's shoulders — Nebraska's offensive line struggled against Troy on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Sure, first-year Huskers Greg Bell and Maurice Washington had several nice runs, but the Huskers were never able to get the running game in gear in a 24-19 loss.
"I don't know; I have to watch the film," said Frost when asked if the offensive line regressed this week. "We certainly didn't run for as many yards. Now, if I was the D-coordinator on the other side, and I saw another quarterback … making his first start, I'd get a lot of people in the box, and that's what they did."
Nebraska finished with 187 rushing yards on 48 attempts — an average of 3.9 yards per rush.
Washington, the true freshman, provided a spark, ripping off some big runs. However, of Nebraska's 45 true rush attempts — not counting the three sacks — 22 went for 2 yards or less, including several negative plays.
The struggles in the running game showed in key moments.
A promising drive stalled in the second quarter when the Huskers failed to convert 3rd-and-1 at the Troy 11-yard line. Bell was stopped for a loss on the play, and Nebraska followed with a missed field goal.
The Huskers recovered a Troy fumble inside the Trojan 10-yard line early in the third quarter. Two 1-yard runs and an incompletion later, the Huskers were settling for three points.
In the fourth quarter, Nebraska was unable to convert third-and-2, and facing 4th-and-1 from the NU 43 on the next play, the Huskers punted.
Troy's defensive game plan: Pack the box, give the Huskers the underneath routes while taking away the deep ones.
"Really the way to beat it was an intermediate passing game, maybe some quarterback runs," Frost said. "We just didn’t want to sell out with that game plan. We thought we’d be able to run it on them, and at times, we did. Just not consistently enough."
Nebraska also had trouble at times protecting Bunch, who was flushed out of the pocket on several throws. Troy had success with pressure up the middle.
Senior offensive guard Jerald Foster said the Huskers struggled against Troy's movement.
"Just got to get used to it," Foster said. "That's how it usually rolls. When you don't pick up stuff, teams will use it again. So we'll definitely figure it out before we play our next game."
Nebraska especially had trouble against Troy WILL linebacker Tron Folsom, who finished with a game-high 14 tackles.
The Trojans finished with 10 tackles for loss, a week after recording 15 against Florida A&M. Troy, by the way, set a school record last year with 112 TFLs.
Now the Huskers' must prepare for one of the nation's top defensive fronts in the country in Michigan.
"We need to just work on our details," Foster said. "Detailing is what everybody does around the nation. After you get your detailing down, then the schemes, the plays that your coaches spend hours on. They work really well. We have a great coaching staff, we've got a great scheme and plan for us. We’re going to figure out our detailing, because we keep hurting ourselves."