Nebraska fends off Southern Mississippi
Final: Nebraska 36, Southern Miss 28
Telling stat: Nebraska wins rushing battle 242-111
Clearly, the Huskers dominated the line of scrimmage for the majority of this one, and shut down the Golden Eagles without the likes of Michael Rose-Ivey and Vincent Valentine. Terrell Newby didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday, but that didn’t seem to prevent the Huskers from winning convincingly. A lot of that was because of Andy Janovich, who ripped off a 25-yard run on his first carry since 2012. That would’ve been his best run of the day until he busted loose a 28-yard gainer. He also had a 53-yard catch in the first half. That’s never a bad thing when your fullback does that. It’s amazing that it took a second Freedom Akinmoladun sack on the final play to close it out. With the way the Huskers controlled the ball, there’s no way that should’ve been as close as it was.
Key play: 10-yard TD pass to Taariq Allen
Nebraska’s offense had its issues in the red zone. As a result, Drew Brown’s record-setting day happened. It wasn’t until Tommy Armstrong hit Allen for a 10-yard score in the fourth-quarter that the Huskers could exhale a little bit. They went nearly three quarters without reaching the end zone, but got a big lift to make it a 22-point game. The Huskers needed every bit of that to fend off Southern Miss. 21-point fourth-quarter comeback.
–Brown ties NCAA record with five first-half field goals
Speaking of Brown, Nebraska’s red zone woes made for a productive first half, to say the least. Brown drilled all five chances in the first half to prevent the Huskers from several wasted opportunities. He tied a Memorial Stadium record for the most field goals by a kicker in a single game, and also set the Nebraska record for the most kicks ever in a home game. He did shank a 51-yarder in the second half. But let’s be honest, Brown did more than enough on Saturday.
-Westerkamp’s career day
Even though he didn’t have any catch go viral, Jordan Westerkamp was impressive once again for the Huskers. Tommy Armstrong hit his go-to guy on the first drive of the game for a score, which marked Westerkamp’s fifth straight game with a touchdown. By day’s end, Westerkamp had a career-high with 10 receptions. Quietly, Westerkamp is having one of the best season’s of any B1G receiver. Without De’Mornay Pierson-El, who could be returning sooner rather than later, that’s been huge.
What it means: Nebraska is average
I hate to say it, but this is an average football team right now. The offense is productive, but not necessarily efficient. The Huskers haven’t put together a complete defensive effort against any team besides South Alabama. To allow Southern Miss to score 21 points in the fourth quarter and be in position to force a tie on the last possession is concerning. This team has work to do if it wants to be in the B1G West title hunt. Mike Riley knows that.