Not pictured: Ndamukong Suh
In what was supposed to be the Big Ole Game of the week, Nebraska’s first visit to the Big House looked a lot like the ‘Huskers’ first visit to Camp Randall to open their first season of Big Ten action this season. The visitors gave up three fewer points to the Wolverines than they did to the Badgers, losing to Michigan 45-17. (The Wisconsin score was 48-17. Maybe Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told Nebraska that there was a hard scoring cap in place for all new conference members?) Nebraska’s quarterback did not look comfortable in the pocket, the position, his uniform, or his throwing motion on Saturday, and the Cornhuskers’ special teams coughed the ball up repeatedly on the afternoon to give Michigan’s offense great field position.
One quibble I had with the Michigan fans’ assessment of their opponent’s struggles on the day and mixed results in the conference this season was their comparison of Nebraska to Penn State when the latter became the Big Ten’s eleventh team in 1990 and, despite prior success, struggled in its first few years in the conference. The important difference the Nebraska comparison ignores is that PSU had been independent prior to joining the Big Ten, while Nebraska had been a member of the Big XII. I buy the argument that Penn State’s early difficulties were due to adjusting to playing competitive teams every week, rather than the mixed schedule of an independent school. In Nebraska’s case, the Big XII may be down, but it’s conference schedule isn’t comparable to that of an independent. Moreover, Nebraska’s conference play this year really has been mixed, rather than down. They certainly had trouble with road games against Wisconsin and this one against Michigan, and they lost at home to Northwestern, but they also dominated Michigan State. I’d say the jury’s still out on Big Ten Nebraska, and if they end up having a hard time, I don’t think the Penn State analogy helps explain why.
Before the game, I teed up a Friday jam for the visitors from Lincoln that was pretty upbeat. In light of how things went, though, this may be more appropriate:
Previous Live Coverage:
B1G Roadtrippin’: Michigan at Illinois
Nashville recap: Georgia escapes, 33-28
B1G Roadtrippin’: Michigan at Northwestern
The Little Brown Jug stays in Ann Arbor
Recap: Detroit Red Wings’ Red & White Game
Motor City recap: Tigers win, 2-1
Music City recap: Vanderbilt wins, 45-14
Concert report: Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Concert report: An evening with Bruce Hornsby, Béla Fleck, the Noisemakers, and the Flecktones