The Nebraska Cornhuskers suffered a devastating loss on Saturday, dropping a matchup to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. This latest loss for the team from Lincoln will most certainly eliminate any BCS discussion for the Huskers football team.
It may also end their hopes of representing the Legends division in the Big Ten championship game at the end of the season. Also, this loss will undoubtedly drop the Cornhuskers from the current ranking of 24th nationally out of the rankings completely.
The Huskers got off to an early lead once again in moving the ball against the Minnesota defensive line which features two NFL-caliber talents, Ra’Shede Hegeman and D.L. Wilhite. The Huskers were off to a 10 -0 lead in somewhat reminiscent fashion of their early season matchup with UCLA.
An omniscient person might have foreseen what was in store for the Huskers in the second half. They were once again outplayed and out-coached in the latter half of the game. At least in the matchup with UCLA, the Bruins had arguably equal talent to the Huskers. In this game, the Huskers possessed superior talent at all positions except the defensive line, and they were just outplayed.
The Golden Gophers were once again forced to play with their head coach Jerry Kill relegated to the press box because of his ongoing bout with epilepsy. In his limited role, defensive coordinator Tracey Claeys has filled in outstandingly. Perhaps the Big Ten coach of the year should be awarded to the entire Minnesota coaching staff this season.
Claeys allowed his fellow assistants to do their jobs and trusted them to put the Gophers in a place to win. Claeys also outcoached the highly-touted Pelini in terms of defensive game-playing. The Gophers were able to limit the very talented and explosive Huskers offense for the majority of the game with the exception of another standout performance by i-back Ameer Abdullah, whose only mistake of the game was one fumble.
Abdullah was able to rush for nearly nine yards a carry in this contest, and still the Huskers were unable to outscore their opponent. The Huskers may be young defensively, but the talent is present on that side of the ball. Even if the defense is struggling with Abdullah and the most talented receiving corps in the Big Ten, the Huskers should be able to outscore a team like Minnesota.
Coach Pelini’s Huskers have won every game since Taylor Martinez sat down with his turf toe, yet coach Pelini choose not to play either of the quarterbacks who have led his team to victories.
Here is a glimpse of the difference between the winning coaching staff and the losing coaching staff in this contest. Much of the Minnesota staff has risen up the ranks of college football together. Claeys has coached with Kill for over 20 years. Even though Kill was not on the sideline for the game this week, the fact that the two men have been working together for so long allowed the team to function as if Kill were coaching in his full capacity.
The Huskers coaching staff features many assistants who are still becoming familiar with one another. In recent years, the Huskers have lost defensive coordinator and coach Pelini’s brother Carl Pelini to another coaching opportunity. The Huskers also saw the architect of their high scoring offense Shawn Watson move onto another position.
The Huskers seem to be lost and confused on the sideline, while their opponents often seem to be well composed and prepared to handle any possible situation. Coach Pelini needs to take a good look at his game preparation and game management if he intends on keeping his job in Lincoln. He has already had tumultuous year, and losing games to teams with less talent who are coached by an assistant coach will not reflect well on the Huskers coach.