Husker report card: Texas A&M
RUNNING GAME (C): Nebraska started out in great shape on the ground, but it wasn’t so great by game’s end. Brandon Jackson had nine carries, only one more attempt than Zac Taylor. That’s never a good sign. Some tough running by Cody Glenn early in the game. Great to see him bull over a defender for a touchdown. Marlon Lucky was the main man today with 12 carries and 52 yards.
PASSING GAME (B): The fantastic final drive put aside, the passing game was never in sync in the second half. Zac Taylor was pressured too often and sacked four times. Maurice Purify is a hero for the game-winning TD reception but had some uncharacteristic drops. The swing pass struck again with huge success. Outstanding job by Taylor — and by some seldom-used receivers — on the final drive. Unbelievable.
AGAINST THE RUN (C): How about two grades? One for first-down and second-down plays (A) and another for third-down plays (F). The Huskers had no trouble stopping big boy Jorvorskie Lane (6 carries, 13 yards) but let Mike Goodson and Stephen McGee get loose on two big third-down runs that accounted for 110 of Texas A&M’s 155 rushing yards.
AGAINST THE PASS (C): Texas A&M shouldn’t have this much success (288 yards) throwing the football. Lane’s long halfback pass to Chad Schroeder should’ve never been completed. Look for the ball, defensive backs. Again, big plays through the air on third down. However, give credit to Steve Octavien and Bo Ruud, each of whom batted down key third-down passes in Nebraska territory.
SPECIAL TEAMS (A): Can’t stress enough the importance of Barry Turner’s blocked field goal. Incredible stuff. Jake Wesch is improving on kickoffs. He had three touchbacks in as many attempts in the first half. Punting wasn’t flashy but was adequate. Lucky had a 28-yard kickoff return and made wise decisions on downing the ball on other attempts.
GAME MANAGEMENT AND PENALTIES (B): The last 2 minutes played out perfectly, from the use of timeouts, to the blocked field goal, to Taylor’s masterful operation of the 2-minute drill. Penalties, though, cropped up at inopportune times. Would’ve liked to seen Jordan Congdon attempt a 45-yard field goal on fourth-and-5.
PLAY CALLING (C): Too conservative in the second half, and it nearly cost Nebraska the game. Coaches say poor field position didn’t help matters, but even so, too many runs on first down. Overall, it wasn’t very imaginative after the Huskers got up 21-7.
OVERALL (A): Wow. Big win? Signature win? Defining win? Whatever you call it, the Huskers came through, and in a manner we haven’t seen. Great leadership by Taylor. Key plays by seldom-used receivers. Appropriate sack by a senior, Adam Carriker, to end the game. Perhaps this one makes up for Texas (and Texas Tech last year). Finally, we can put to rest the ridiculous scenarios in which Kansas State can win the Big 12 North. That finally belongs to Nebraska.