Saturday was a historic day for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Before then, the team never started a season 0-6. Fans are understandably frustrated as head coach Scott Frost, the man promised to lead the team back to greatness, has yet to pick up his first win.
The morning started with a frost advisory, and thousands of Chicagoans broke out their ice scrapers to clear their car windows and drive to the game. The Sea of Red drowned out the home purple at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
You can’t make this stuff up. Every sign pointed to a Husker victory.
Nebraska played their best first half of the season only to have their efforts squandered under a warm sun that thawed the morning chill.
The Huskers lost in overtime against Northwestern. It should not have been that close.
Nebraska led Northwestern 31-21 before Drew Luckenbaugh knocked in a field goal with 2:27 left in the game. After recovering the onside kick, Nebraska ran the ball three times failed to gain a first down to seal the game.
A fantastic punt pinned Northwestern inside their own one-yard line, though defensive penalties, including a roughing the passer in the endzone, helped the Wildcats drive the length of the field and score a touchdown with twelve seconds remaining.
Nebraska got the first crack in overtime and tried for a fourth-down conversion. It was a good decision, Nebraska’s kicker Barret Pickering missed a field goal and an extra point earlier in the game, but the snap went through the legs of true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. Under pressure, he heaved a prayer to the endzone that landed in the hands of a Wildcat.
Luckenbaugh made the game-winning field goal the next series.
“They deserved to win that game,” Frost said of his players in a post-game press conference.
Sorry Husker fans, but Scott Frost is wrong.
In football, the team that deserves to win is the team that does win. Northwestern tried their very hardest to give this game to the Huskers, and yet they came out on top.
Nebraska gave up not one, but two fourth-down and long conversions during Northwestern’s 99-yard drive. The offense failed to pick up a first down to win the game. Yellow flags flew like meadowlarks as the defense gave up automatic first downs throughout the game.
“Some of the things that are happening to us this year, I haven’t ever really seen before,” Frost said. “There’s a hundred ways we could’ve won that game.”
Frost has made it clear that he feels his team should have won against Colorado, Troy and Purdue, and that they could have beat Wisconsin if they made a few more plays.
Yet those plays have not shown up on the field, despite Frost denying fatigue and execution errors as causes for their lack of success.
“They made more plays than we did,” he said. “There’s no other reasons. We have to cover better. We have to pass rush. And we have to make one more play.”
The season is not over, but with the chances of reaching a bowl game almost zero, barring an incredible turn-around capped by a win at Ohio State, it is difficult for Husker fans to see the light.
Frost is the right man for the job, but that job is going to be much harder and take far longer than anyone anticipated. Realistically, plan on another year and a half for him to put out the dumpster fire started by his predecessor Mike Riley before the team even threatens for that now-coveted no. 25 spot.