Going into today’s game, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were ranked No. 62 in the nation against the run, allowing an average of about 157 yards per game to their opponents on the ground.
Today’s game at Minnesota was a depressing sign for Nebraska fans. It shows how much of an issue the inability to stop the run currently is, and foreshadows the potential damage that could be done if improvement isn’t made quickly.
The Golden Gophers ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries today, averaging exactly five yards per rushing attempt. The Minnesota running game, especially in the 16 first downs, led to issues with possession. That was a huge factor in the Golden Gopher’s 34-23 victory.
The Cornhuskers suffered their first Big Ten loss in a fashion that is discouraging to their hopes of defending their Legends Division title. Yet to play on their schedule, are some teams with talented running backs that could continue to make life miserable for Nebraska.
Facing Northwestern’s Kain Colter next week will be followed by the double-headed attack of Devin Gardner and Fitzgerald Toussaint of Michigan. Then a Michigan State team that ran for over 300 yards against Illinois will be awaiting Nebraska. In the final game of the season, Mark Weisman and the Iowa Hawkeyes come to Lincoln.
Four of Nebraska’s five remaining opponents have running games effective enough to beat the Cornhuskers if this pattern continues. Unless Nebraska finds a way to plug up the holes in its defense quickly, this season will be trodden under the feet of the opponents’ running backs.
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