This Husker fans know: It’s Mike Riley’s third season in Lincoln and he continues to lose well, which he did again this past Saturday in Eugene.
What we witnessed in person at Autzen was football ugly. From the opening kickoff, the game seemed like a painless scrimmage for the Ducks.
Here’s one honest press report for all Husker fans to weigh:
Long passes, big runs and a raucous Autzen Stadium had a dizzying effect on a young group of Blackshirts still learning the ins and outs of regular playing time and a new 3-4 defense.
The carnage report at intermission was equally disorienting: forty-two Oregon points on 409 yards of offense.
NU was within a touchdown of tying the most points it had ever allowed in a first half (49 vs. Oklahoma in 2008).
It’s hard for me to relate to this team. These Cornhuskers in no way resemble the tough-nosed teams I once knew. I still love Nebraska and I love my people of the Corn, but I do not relate to a defense that’s soft like room temperature butter. I watched intently on Saturday for any kind of pressure on the QB. Herbert was never touched. He may as well have had his red practice jersey on. That’s how easy it was for him to pick Nebraska apart.
Once the Huskers were down 42-14 at the half, I was hoping for the full Ducks treatment. Putting up 84 points on Nebraska would have been the kind of thing Grandpa Riley could never explain away. The fact is Nebraska was never in this game. And the second half was as off-putting as the first. Oregon was asleep and Nebraska is simply bad.
As a fan, it’s tough to take and harder to understand. The University of Nebraska can hire any coach they want, so why is this now the third coach in a row that has little clue about where they are, or how to conduct themselves in a winning fashion?
It’s fair to ask if “Nebraska Nice” is a real thing? Not on the gridiron!
I don’t care how nice he is—if the Nebraska football coach fails to win 10 games a year, he’s not a good cultural fit in Lincoln. Thus far, Riley is 16-12. That’s a winning percentage of just .571. Will this be Riley’s breakout year? One look at this team and the slate of conference games ahead and the answer is as clear as a dinner bell on the prairie.