In its inaugural season in the Big Ten, the Huskers enter a bye week 5-1 following a historic comeback against Ohio State which probably saved the season and avoided a Boston Red Sox like fan meltdown. Facing a 27-6 deficit with a little more than ten minutes remaining in the third quarter in their first ever Big Ten home game and on the precipice of what looked like a defeat which would end of the Huskers’ Division and Conference Championship hopes, the Huskers outscored the Buckeyes 28 – 0 over the final twenty-five minutes of the game to pull one of the greatest comebacks in Husker history. Despite a miserable performance over the first thirty-five minutes of the game, the Huskers stuck with an offensive game plan of pounding the ball on the ground and taking the will of the Buckeye defense in the third and fourth quarter. On the other side of the ball, the Blackshirts were able to overcome an embarrassing start and controlled the game for the final twenty five minutes with big hits and big turnovers.
So, about halfway through the Huskers first year in the Big Ten, we now know at least five facts. First, and for only the second time in Bo Pelini’s tenure, the Offense is outpacing the Blackshirts. A surprise to many, to say the least. Second, a return to Nebraka’s football roots with a power and option running game followed by a play action passes has begun the resurrection of what had become a non-existent offense. Third, the amount of speed at the talent positions is a pleasant surprise and reminds one of the days when wingbacks would run wild in Memorial Stadium. Fourth, the Blackshirts need to find an identity. Whether it was the play of Phillip Dillard or Ndamukong Suh, Bo Pelini’s Blackshirts of the past always seemed to find an identity. In 2011, the Blackshirt defense is still searching for that identity and needs to locate it pretty soon. Fifth, between Bret Maher and Ameer Abdullah, the special teams have been a pleasant surprise. This is no small feat following the departure of Alex Henery and Niles Paul.
Prediction – the Blackshirts will come out of the bye week improved and refined.