2 fumbles, a blocked punt, and a roughing the kicker call. Saturday wasn’t a great day to be a special teamer for the Cornhuskers. John Papuchis’s squad was not sharp on Saturday.
I’ll let Richards have his “roughing” the kicker back. That was a flat out horrible call. He had no intent to injure the punter. He dove, ducked, and just barely brushed his leg. If he didn’t try to get out of the way and drilled the punter, then yes, that’s the right call.
Maher has been fantastic all season long. I can’t begin to imagine how he dropped it. I also can’t imagine how horrible he felt afterwards, especially after it looked like he was seriously injured (but thankfully not). He did make a great kick into the wind, easily could have been good from 60.
Bell and Marlowe also lost fumbles on kickoffs, which would give Michigan great field position, and pretty much seal the victory for them.
The kick return unit was decent at best. Nebraska averaged 22.7 yards per return on their 7 attempts. Bell had a good one at 33, but fumbled it away.
To me, it seems like this unit is pressing to much. Earlier this season, every time the ball was kicked, there was an excitement building in the crowd. Now, it’s as if the players feel they have to make it happen every time and are forcing the issue.
The returners would do themselves a world of good if they would just slow down and not force the issue. Your not going to hit the home run every single time, but take it as it comes. Do the best that you can, and let your offense finish it.
This was an uncharacteristic game from the special teams, and it’s one Papuchis will make sure this won’t happen again. Expect them to come out with an edge on Friday, and let the Hawkeyes know who this squad really is.