RUNNING GAME (C)
There were bright spots, but not enough of them. Freshman Maurice Washington ran with abandon en route to 14 carries for 92 yards. But Troy stuffed a third-and-1 at its own 10 that led to Barret Pickering's missed field goal. The Huskers had a couple of broken plays. Bottom line, NU averaged 3.9 yards per carry after averaging 6.1 last week.
PASSING GAME (C)
Andrew Bunch gunned the first touchdown throw of his NU career into a tight window. He has some gunslinger in him, which can be costly. To wit: He rolled out and forced a pass, leading to his first-quarter interception. He nearly threw his second pick of the day midway through the second quarter when he forced a throw into a crowd. His final numbers: 19-for-27 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, with two picks. He was sacked three times.
AGAINST THE RUN (C)
When Troy backup quarterback Sawyer Smith broke loose for a 57-yard run, it reminded us of Minnesota quarterback Demry Croft running wild last season. Every Husker defender of consequence bit hard on a fake hand-off, helping Smith find wide-open space. Nebraska defended the run OK much of the time, but B.J. Smith's 26-yard touchdown run with 6:45 left was a backbreaker.
AGAINST THE PASS (C)
Lamar Jackson's first-quarter interception was a big one because Troy would have had the ball at Nebraska's 7-yard line. Damion Willis had Jackson beat on a deep route but Jackson closed hard on a ball that was under-thrown. Safety Tre Neal's breakup on a fourth-and-5 in NU's territory also was critical. But Troy converted two third-and-long tries on passing plays in the fourth quarter as it tried to put the game away.
SPECIAL TEAMS (D)
This area was sub-par for the second straight week. Nebraska, on its first punt, drew a flag for having a player lined up in the backfield. Then, in the second quarter, Cedarius Rookard returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Trojans' lead to 10-0. Then, Pickering was wide right from 33 yards. But in the second half, Cam Taylor helped matters greatly when he recovered Troy's dropped punt at the Trojans' 8, leading to Pickering's first collegiate field goal.
GAME MANAGEMENT (D)
Penalties once again became a major issue, especially late in the first half when Mohamed Barry was ejected for targeting. On the next play, Tyrin Ferguson was flagged for smacking an offensive lineman upside the head. Seriously? Later, Mike Williams' holding penalty negated a TD pass. On the bright side, it was an excellent challenge win by the Nebraska coaching staff to identify Troy being 2 yards short of a first down on its opening series.
Bunch's try for a touchdown via a fade route to Stanley Morgan on third down in the third quarter was a particularly conservative (or unimaginative) call. Scott Frost also chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from Nebraska's 43 down 17-13 with 11 minutes remaining, probably an OK move considering the way Troy was blowing up the middle of NU's line. Just a so-so day all around.
Nobody said Frost faced an easy reclamation project. That said, Nebraska losing six straight games on its home field is unacceptable, with No. 6 coming to a rather ordinary Troy team.