Nebraska Cornhuskers Fall in OT in Miami, Return Home to Face Southern Mississippi
These are trying times for new Nebraska head coach Mike Riley, his football team, and the Cornhusker fan base.
It's not just that the Big Red lost at Miami, in overtime, 36-33, last Saturday; it's how things in South Florida unraveled for the first 50 minutes against the Hurricanes. Seven dropped passes by Nebraska receivers, a host of big plays allowed by the Husker defense, and a dozen penalties, all led to a 20-0 Miami lead at halftime, a margin that grew to 33-10 with eleven minutes to play.
Nebraska finally started clicking in the fourth quarter, stringing together touchdown drives of 75, 80, and 87 yards to reel off 23 unanswered points, forcing overtime, before falling by three.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers' Greg Sharpe about the loss, which saw Nebraska drop to 124th in the nation in penalties, averaging more than 10 a game. We also discussed the Big Red defense, which continues to have trouble getting to the quarterback, stopping big plays, and staying healthy at linebacker.
Nebraska has one game left to figure things out before opening Big Ten Conference play, October 3 at Illinois.
The Huskers host Southern Miss, Saturday in Lincoln. The Golden Eagles have just six wins in their last 39 games, but they are 2-1 so far in 2015, beating Austin Peay and Texas State, and losing to Mississippi State from the SEC.
Southern Miss has an accurate passer in Nick Mullens, who's completing 64 percent of his throws for better than 300 yards a game. The Eagles have busted 18 plays of 20 yards or more this season, and are in the top five in the nation with 13 plays of 30 yards or more. That against a Nebraska defense that has given up 13 plays of 30 yards or more, third worst in the country.
Defensively, Southern Miss has struggled against the run, allowing their two FBS opponents (Mississippi State and Texas State) to combine for close to 500 yards. Nebraska desperately needs to establish their running game heading into Big Ten play, and should get that chance Saturday.
Kickoff is 11:00 AM in Linicoln. You can follow the Cornhuskers all season long on ESPN 99.1!
Here is my complete interview with Greg on the Miami loss and the match-up with the Golden Eagles: