Just as we’re getting used to the new Nebraska football schedule under interim head coach Mickey Joseph, boom, we’re back on a Monday.
The wrinkle comes courtesy of Nebraska suiting up on Friday night against Rutgers as opposed to a Saturday, so NU shifted its schedule up a day.
Nebraska volleyball was off on Monday, so no updates from coach John Cook.
Here are my four takeaways from Monday’s football media session:
1. Casey Thompson’s injury update
Through Nebraska’s first five games, quarterback Casey Thompson has been sacked 14 times and hit several more times. With that comes aches and pains.
“My body overall is just sore today,” Thompson said. “... I threw today and I practiced today and it was fine. We just have to continue to monitor the hits that I’m taking and continue to get treatment and just try to stay healthy one week at a time.”
Of course, there's the shoulder injury he sustained against Indiana, but he’s been working through other lingering nicks and bruises, too, and ran down the list of those.
Here’s the list Thompson provided Monday: Left calf contusion, hip pointer, left wrist sprain, AC joint issue, sore jaw after taking two hits to it, shoulder injury.
Thompson said it doesn’t hurt him when he takes standard hits, but the one he took in the third quarter against Indiana was a little different.
“It’s the worst whenever you have a 300-plus-pound lineman plus my body weight on top of my shoulder,” Thompson said. “There’s not really pads or shoulder pads that are meant to bear that kind of weight.”
But Thompson isn’t worried about that moving forward. He’s been there, done that. Remember, he played through a significant thumb injury last season with Texas that should have ended his season and required offseason surgery.
“I’m not coming off the field unless it’s a season-ending injury,” Thompson said. “If I’m gonna practice, then I’m gonna play in the game.”
2. Building momentum
Last Thursday, before the Indiana game, I asked Mickey Joseph what a win would mean to him and to the team.
Here’s what he said: “It would be great for me, but it would be even greater for the coaches and the players. I want them to get a win because they deserve it. They’ve worked hard since I arrived on campus. I want to get a win for them. So if we get a taste of it, maybe we might take off from there.”
That win came to fruition last week with NU beating Indiana 35-21 for the program’s first Big Ten win in 364 days.
Even though the final score had Nebraska winning by 14 points, it was all knotted up heading into the fourth quarter, so that gave the Huskers their first close win since the 2020 season.
What does that do for this team’s psyche?
"It's huge,” tight end Travis Vokolek said. “Now that we finished a close game, guys can see it can be done. That definitely gives us confidence. We understand that we’ve done it once now so now we need to do it for every game in situations that arise and where we have to finish football games. Definitely a confidence-builder.”
3. Nebraska is still in contention for the Big Ten West title
With that win, Nebraska — even with its 2-3 record — is still in the running for the Big Ten West title.
As of this week, Nebraska is a six-way tie at 1-1 with Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Iowa. The only West team not at 1-1 in league play is Wisconsin — the preseason favorite to win the division. After its 0-2 start in the Big Ten, Wisconsin shockingly fired its coach on Sunday.
Nebraska isn’t necessarily thinking ahead to potentially winning the West, but they are aware that it’s still within reach.
“It’s the wild west right now,” Joseph said. “Everybody’s fighting. If you look at the games, the games are coming down to the fourth quarter. It’s tough games.
“... The West is wild right now.”
Chris Kolarevic added: “We’re still in it, obviously. We’re trying not to look too far ahead, but if we handle our business, we can control what we can control, we can end up where we wanted to be at the end of the season and that’d be amazing.”
4. Still waiting to hear from Big Ten office on Turner Corcoran
Nebraska still has yet to hear from the Big Ten Conference office as it pertains to the ejection of Turner Corcoran.
Corcoran was ejected in the first half after allegedly punching an Indiana player. After the game, Joseph said that Corcoran said he didn’t punch the IU defender.
“We’re waiting on the Big Ten right now before I comment on it,” Joseph said Monday. “I don’t wanna say how I feel and then the Big Ten says something. I don’t want to get some bad enemies because I said something I had no business saying. I’m gonna let them comment first.”
Photos: The scenes from Indiana vs. Nebraska at Memorial Stadium
A Funk native and graduate of Lincoln Southeast, Amie Just joined the Journal Star as sports columnist after spending five seasons covering football for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Missoulian in Missoula, Montana.