After a very unimpressive performance against the Wyoming Cowboys to open up the season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers get another game that should be no problem. But like everyone watching saw last week, the Huskers’ defensive struggles, that have been the team’s most discussed topic since the end of last season, continued.
Nebraska gave up a total of 602 yards and 35 first downs to a Wyoming offense that didn’t put up that many yards or first downs in any game last season. Needless to say, the Cowboys didn’t play anyone of the Huskers caliber last season, except for Texas and Boise State. Nebraska’s defense was exposed in a way that makes one think they played Oregon, not Wyoming from the heavyweight Mountain West Conference. To add insult to injury, the Huskers have given up more yards in a three game span than any other team in the B1G, dating back to 1996.
So what does this mean heading into this weekend’s tilt against Southern Mississippi?
Hopefully nothing. Maybe the lack of defense against Wyoming was just a one-time thing; an isolated incident that shouldn’t be seen as a sign of things to come.
Or maybe everyone was right about the Huskers defense. Maybe they allow Southern Miss to score thirty-plus points and gain way more yards than they ever should. My bet is they won’t, but as they have proven time and again, one can never be too sure.
Southern Miss was the only team from the FBS last season to go 0-12. They have lost their last 13 games stretching back to 2012, including last week’s loss to Texas State, which is entering its second season as an FBS program. The Golden Eagles could barely score 15 points, and didn’t look like a team that could move the football all that well.
If the Huskers live up to the hype of their highly talented and deep offense, this shouldn’t be much of a game. But that is what nearly everyone was thinking last week before Wyoming nearly pulled off a huge upset. Granted, Southern Miss isn’t nearly as good on the offensive side of the ball as Wyoming, but nonetheless, the Huskers need to really lock down on defense. With another performance like last week, Big Red’s chances against UCLA and their stud quarterback Brett Hundley won’t be looking too good.
And while the defense didn’t look great last week, the offense was busy rushing for 375 yards, which included two 100-yard performances by running backs Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross. Taylor Martinez was very efficient, passing for 155 yards and three touchdowns while completing 17 of his 22 attempts. The offense should put up even better numbers against Southern Miss, but only time will tell how long the offense will be able to carry the team without some help from the defense.