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Quick Thoughts on Northwestern-Nebraska

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Northwestern could've beaten Nebraska, but blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost by a single point.

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Rough loss. Really, really rough loss. Northwestern wasn't the better team, but when you have the two score lead in the fourth quarter at home against Nebraska on national TV, it hurts to lose a little bit.

  • Simply put, you gotta win that game. Nebraska put the ball on the ground three times - twice on punt returns! - and Northwestern recovered three times. The end result? Seven points. If it's ten or 13, Northwestern wins. That's true about a lot of things - the almost-safety in the first half, Jeff Budzien's oh-so-close last-second field goal that just went wide right, an almost-interception - but Nebraska gave Northwestern the opportunities to win this game and they didn't take it.
  • The obvious conversation is going to be about Trevor Siemian, who attempted 35 passes - completing only 15, for 116 yards - while Kain Colter attempted two. I won't rag on Siemian's talent, but what he's putting out there isn't enough to get it done. Part of it is that he's being put in bad situations - every throw he's being asked to make seems to be to a streaking outside receiver 30 yards downfield - and part of it is that he just isn't making the throws - some underthrows again today. I don't know what's going through Mick McCall's head with regards to utilizing Kain Colter, but it has to change. Ten punts!
  • Any way you break it down, NU was too dependent on Siemian's arm. He had more passes than Colter and Venric Mark runs combined.
  • I thought the defense played well for most of the game, but Taylor Martinez ended any jokes at his expense in the fourth quarter. They couldn't get the stops against Nebraska's passing attack when it counted.
  • Ain't nobody sayin nothin bad about those uniforms. The surprise black helmets were a nice touch.

All in all, a disappointing loss and one that should've been a win, even though NU was outplayed. Northwestern's hypothetical Rose Bowl dreams are more or less dead, although we can expect two wins in the remaining four games, and a bowl placement against a very good team from some other conference that will do unfortunate things to us. On to Iowa, I s'pose.