RUNNING GAME (D)
Coaches and players keep saying the running game “will be fine,” but it’s looking more and more like it won’t be. You could argue it makes no difference which player is in the backfield, given the lack of running room, but it’s also hard to understand this running back rotation. Would sticking with one player make that much of a difference?
PASSING GAME (C)
Another critical interception, this one leading to a Missouri touchdown before halftime. That’s five for Joe Ganz this season. Also, he would’ve been best served by throwing the ball out of bounds rather than taking a costly sack on Nebraska’s second series. Ganz, though, made some nice throws on the run. Protection wasn’t the greatest.
AGAINST THE RUN (C)
Nebraska had been doing a decent job of defending the run until Derrick Washington’s 43-yard touchdown burst in the third quarter. That sent a lot of Huskers fans to the exits.
AGAINST THE PASS (C)
Considering the competition, Nebraska did an OK job, really. Early in the game, Nebraska hit Chase Daniel, and hit him hard. Give Daniel and the Tigers credit, though. This is a high-powered outfit, and Missouri seemed to adjust nicely to the one shifting defensive lineman.
SPECIAL TEAMS (C)
Hard to understand why Adi Kunalic squibbed the opening kickoff when he had a 20-mph wind behind him. That 3-yard punt in the third quarter sure was a stinker. At least the Alex Henery field goal was positive. (Henery, by the way, made a pre-game kick from 60 yards).
GAME MANAGEMENT (F)
This team isn’t very disciplined. How else do you explain the growing number of penalties? Just when the offense got going, it went backward. And Missouri’s offense doesn’t need an extra 15 yards here and there. What’s with all the timeouts on defense? I’m sure Shawn Watson would’ve liked to have at least one in his pocket on the drive before halftime.
PLAY CALLING (A)
The game plan was sound. Nebraska did what it needed to do early to stay in the game. A nice mix of runs and short passes to keep the chains moving. The Huskers had the ball for 9:50 in the first quarter. Execution, of course, was another story. That can’t affect this grade, though.
You can’t question the effort or desire of this team. Bo Pelini has this group playing hard. The mistakes, though, are glaring, especially against a top-five team. Missouri didn’t make any, and Nebraska had a long list. An interception. A shanked punt. A fumble. Missed blocks. And, oh, those penalties. We knew Pelini had a project on his hands, but was it really going to be this bad?