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Nebraska Football: What You Should and Shouldn't Be Concerned About After Week 2

Published by Bleacher Report on Tue, 09 Sep 2014

Nebraska football fans got a huge scare in Week 2 against FCS opponent McNeese State. The Cornhuskers were tied with the Cowboys 24-24 with 20 seconds left, and the FCS squad had all the momentum before Ameer Abdullah took a checkdown pass from Tommy Armstrong, made five tacklers miss and ran 58 yards for the winning touchdown.Predictably, Nebraska fans were in varying stages of panic after the near miss to a second-tier team.Dear McNeese State Cowboys, Please go undefeated the rest of the year and win the FCS Championship. Love, Every Nebraska Fan Shane Johnston (@shanetjohnston) September 7, 2014WHAT IS YOUR POINT DARREN RT @darrenrovell: Athletic department budgets: Nebraska ($103 million) vs. McNeese State ($9.5 million) Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) September 6, 2014But with the benefit of a little time to reflect, lets think about what Nebraska fans shouldand should notworry about as a result of this win.Dont Be Concerned About Nebraskas Physical PlayTheres no doubt Nebraskas contest against McNeese State was a strange sight to behold. Nebraska dominated its FCS opponent in the first half, with the score remaining close only because of a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown. Some second-half adjustments and Nebraskas superior talent and depth should win out, right'Right'Obviously that didnt happen, and the second half was truly the more frightening. The Cowboys had 19:56 time of possession in the second half, as opposed to Nebraskas 10:04. Nebraska was one of seven on third-down conversions. Prior to the Ameeracle play where Abdullah went 58 yards for the game-winning touchdown (yeah, Im willing to go with the building meme), Nebraska had run 23 plays in the second half.For 52 yards. Which is an average of 2.26 yards per carry. Against an FCS opponent.As Brandon Vogel from Hail Varsity observed, it appeared that Nebraskas offensive line appeared to get handled by an FCS front. And given the statistics above, its hard not to come to that conclusion.So is that true' Was McNeese States line really physically stronger and able to push Nebraskas line around'Clearly not. If that was the case, then theres no way Nebraska could have averaged 7.37 yards per play in the first half. Nor could Nebraska have averaged 8.52 yards per play against Florida Atlantic last week, an FBS program (although, admittedly, probably an inferior team to McNeese State).So, if the problem isnt physical, what is it'Be Concerned About Nebraskas Mental StateSure, there were some X's and O's reasons as to why McNeese State was able to be successful against Nebraska. The Cowboys stuffed the box, daring Nebraska to throw, and Nebraska never challenged that single coverage. Abdullah only had 17 carries, meaning McNeese State was able to scheme Nebraska away from its best offensive weapon.But that alone doesnt explain the near upset. And given how Nebraska performed earlier, its almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that Nebraska wasnt right mentally against the Cowboys.Abdullah said it himself, as quoted on Huskers.com.I feel like our level of respect for the game this week was not good enough. It definitely showed. That's on me as a captain. I have to assist that as the week goes on, but I was reluctant to say something, and I promise that it is the last time that will happen."So theres your answer in black and white. Nebraska didnt respect the game enough during the week, meaning that the Huskers' preparation for an FCS opponent wasnt sufficient. Couple that with injuries to key contributors like Randy Gregory, Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner, as well as quarterback Tommy Armstrong getting tentative after the pick-six, and you get an anemic performance that almost led to the biggest upset in Nebraskas modern history.Does that mean Nebraska fans shouldnt worry' In the short term, perhaps. Nebraska, under head coach Bo Pelini, has a history of bouncing back and performing well after a subpar showing. Even with the travel and the strange start time (9:30 p.m. CT), Fresno State is nowhere near the 11-2 BCSbuster of a year ago. A committed performance from Nebraska should be more than enough to take care of business next week.But for the rest of the season' When Nebraska yet again falls prey to mental lapses causing the team to underperform, as it has done throughout Pelinis tenure' We got the answer to that question from senior cornerback Josh Mitchell, as reported by Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star.I see 9-4 all over again.For a different look at Nebraska football, check outThe Double Extra Point.Or you can use the Twitter machine to follow@DblExtraPoint.
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