Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 10/7/17

Nebraska running back Devine Ozigbo (22) high-steps away from Wisconsin safety D'Cota Dixon (14) in second-quarter action at Memorial Stadium on  Oct. 7.


Devine Ozigbo seems to be playing the best football of his career. He had 17 carries for 96 yards at halftime against a defense that had been allowing 74.3 rushing yards per game. However, Wisconsin's rush defense clamped down hard in the second half, holding him to 16 yards in the final 30 minutes.


Tanner Lee's night began in nightmarish fashion, with his swing pass bouncing off Ozigbo and into Chris Orr's mitts. Orr rambled 78 yards to paydirt, Lee's fourth pick-six of the season. Lee, though, responded well. His 80-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan in the second quarter was a perfect throw. Credit Nebraska coaches for moving Lee out of the pocket to buy him time. Also, credit the line for good protection much of the night.


Jonathan Taylor showed his power and good footwork right away with a 30-yard run during Wisconsin's opening possession. He then flashed impressive speed on his 75-yard touchdown run near the end of the first half. The Badgers flexed their muscles in the second half, pounding away on the ground relentlessly even when the Huskers knew it was coming.


Junior safety Aaron Williams' 14-yard pick-six tied the game at 17 early in the third quarter. He reads offenses well and read that play to a "T." Nebraska's pass rush was OK. The Badgers did hit a few big plays at key moments.


Caleb Lightbourn's 69-yard punt in the second quarter was a highlight, and he added a 57-yarder in the third quarter. The 69-yard boomer pinned the Badgers at their 9-yard line at a critical time in the first half. Meanwhile, it was startling to see Drew Brown push his 33-yard field goal in the second quarter wide-right. Shortly after that, Kieron Williams' block in the back negated a nice return by De'Mornay Pierson-El.


Danny Langsdorf will draw criticism for the swing pass on third-and-2 at the Wisconsin 17. Nebraska was running the ball effectively. On the other hand, the play should be relatively easy to execute. Ozigbo didn't get his head around to the ball on time, Mike Riley said.


Wisconsin was extremely sloppy early, drawing four first-half penalties before Nebraska received its first flag. Late in the first half, Joshua Kalu was caught holding tight end Troy Fumagalli, extending the Badgers' drive. But the Husker defense held firm. As for clock management, Nebraska's decision-making at the end of the drive to a field goal was extremely questionable. David Knevel's false start preceding that field goal was a head-scratcher.


Let's face it, the result was predictable, except that Wisconsin's run game battered Nebraska's defense even more effectively than many of us imagined.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


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