Sjuts' Slant: Huskers lose big in Minneapolis

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – It wasn’t the outcome the Husker football squad was looking for when they traveled to Minnesota on Saturday, as Nebraska fell to the Gophers 34-7.

The loss drops the Huskers to 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

Minnesota remained undefeated, improving to 6-0 on the year.

The game was decided between the tackles, as Minnesota dominated on the ground, rushing for 322 yards.

The game marked the first start for sophomore quarterback Noah Vedral, as the Wahoo native was called on to replace Adrian Martinez, who didn’t suit up due to a leg injury.

Also on the injury front, star freshman wide out Wan'dale Robinson was carted off the field in the second quarter after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury. His status is currently unknown.

Vedral completed 14 of 23 passes for 135 yards. He did rush for 71 yards on 15 attempts in his starting debut.

J.D. Spielman was the leading receiver for Nebraska, hauling in three passes for 59 yards.

The Huskers offense struggled as a whole, totally only 299 yards of total offense.

“I thought we had a team that was ready to play….we got pushed around on both sides of the ball up front,” Head Coach Scott Frost said after the game.

Frost added that he sees his players working hard in the weight room, and the physicality on the field should resemble that.

"When you move that much weight you shouldn’t get pushed around," he said.

The Huskers enter their bye week before battling Indiana on Oct. 26.

SJUTS' SLANT
-Let's start with the positives. JD Spielman played and appeared fully healthy. Kade Warner had his first catch of the season. Jaron Woodyard made his first career start. And the snaps were much better.

-Now to the negative. That was a poor performance by the Huskers. Minnesota beat Nebraska in every phase of the game.

-Nebraska was manhandled up front by Minnesota. Beyond the stats, the Golden Gophers' linemen just looked bigger while standing at the line of scrimmage. Nebraska won't win the Big Ten West without getting better along the line.

-One step forward; two steps back. Nebraska's offense had some nice plays, especially in the first half. But it seemed each big play was off-set by a negative one. For instance: JD Spielman catches a 51-yard pass. Immediately following the play was back-to-back sacks. Also: Noah Vedral runs for 22 yards late in the 1st quarter. Next play was flagged for a false start. One more (and this is the big one): Vedral hits Wan'Dale Robinson near the sideline. Robinson takes it inside Minnesota's 5 yard line. Play is negated by a penalty near the line of scrimmage.

-Don't play the outcome on the weather. It wasn't as cold as most expected, though the constant drizzle and/or snow throughout the game was annoying. Its fall, Ma Nature.

-Noah Vedral completes 14-of-23 passes in his first career start. He also rushed for 49 yards. Pretty efficient. It didn't look like Nebraska changed the offensive game plan much, despite the change at quarterback. The Huskers worked in designed QB runs on multiple occasions.

-Minnesota's Lion King Cam may be the best in-game element in the Big Ten. Its where an adult(s) picks up a kid and lifts him/her to the air (ala Simba in the Lion King).

-Had to look up what channel number Fo Business is again.

-Muffed punt. Fumbled kick-off return. 5 penalties. Mistakes happen. But in Year 2 when the coaching staff preaches progress, there needs to be fewer mistakes.

-Wan'Dale Robinson's injury doesn't look good.

-Glad the Huskers gave Andrew Bunch some action at QB in the second half. Remember, Bunch started a game for the Huskers last year.

-Scott Frost seemed to regret calling a fake punt in the third quarter. I disagree. The team needed a spark. An aggressive play call could've done it. Austin Allen was inches from getting the first down.

-Minnesota's crowd chanted "We hate Iowa" multiple times during the game. The Gophers student section also had a few choice words for Wisconsin, too.

-TCF Bank Stadium is clean, easy to navigate and user/fan-friendly. Signs everywhere to help you navigate around the stadium. Unlike Colorado.

-Hard to say where Minnesota ranks in the Big Ten. The Gophers are a good team, but they played Nebraska on a night where the Huskers really struggled. On the season, Minnesota has an 6-0.

-The Golden Gophers averaged nearly 7 yards-per-rush. They had more than 200 rushing yards before hallftime.

-Qualifying for a bowl game shouldn't be assumed any more for the 2019 season. The Huskers have 3 losses with 5 games to play. Upcoming opponents include Wisconsin and Iowa.

-Immediately after the game Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan shook hands with Adrian Martinez. Morgan asked , "Are you going to be okay?" Martinez responded: "I'll be fine." Great, sincere moment between competitors.

-Nebraska needs its bye week badly. Regroup, refocus and get healthy. Goals may need to be altered, but there's still plenty to play for in 2019.