If there was one word to describe Nebraska’s play in their 37-29 victory over UCLA, I would choose “relentless”. The relentless rushing attack the Huskers channelled provided 326 rushing yards. True freshman Devine Ozigbo and a resurgent performance from Tommy Armstrong led the way for Nebraska, while Josh Rosen led the Bruins with 319 passing yards and three touchdowns en route to the Huskers upset.
Relentless Rushing Attack Fuels Huskers Upset
It was a calm, collected, and solid performance from Nebraska’s embattled QB. Armstrong accounted for 250 yards and two touchdowns while taking much better care of the football.
Running Back: A
Devine Ozigbo looked like a steal against Illinois, then he proceeded to disappear for the next seven games. Well Ozigbo is back, rushing for 80 yards on 20 carries. Imani Cross, Terrell Newby, and Andy Janovich were solid as well, combining for 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B
Nebraska’s receivers didn’t get a ton of chances, as Nebraska only put the ball in the air 19 times. With the exception of a rare drop by Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska’s receivers didn’t miss out on their chances. Brandon Reilly led Nebraska with 3 catches for 38 yards, while true freshman Stanley Morgan had a tremendous one handed touchdown catch to put Nebraska in control of the game.
Offensive Line: A
Nebraska ran for a season high 326 yards, most of which came from running behind freshman Nick Gates, and kept Tommy Armstrong well protected for all 60 minutes. This was by far Nebraska’s best offensive line performance of the season. Kudos to junior Paul Thurston, who came off the bench cold and did a tremendous job replacing injured starter Ryne Reeves.
Defensive Line: C
Nebraska did fine against the run, allowing just 69 rushing yards. Where Nebraska struggled was in pass rush, as Nebraska got virtually no pressure on UCLA’s freshman quarterback. Nebraska’s D-line did finally get some pressure on UCLA’s final play, forcing Josh Rosen to throw an interception.
Nebraska played almost exclusively out of their nickel and dime packages, so the linebackers didn’t get a ton of chances to show their stuff. Banderas got the majority of the snaps and played well, while Michael Rose-Ivey pressured Rosen into the game clinching interception.
Nebraska spent the entire second half with 2 true freshmen and two true sophomores in their secondary due to Nate Gerry’s awful ejection due to a bogus targeting call. This allowed Josh Rosen to pick apart the secondary on his way to 319 passing yards and three touchdowns. Nebraska does deserve credit for bowing up late and intercepting Rosen’s final pass to seal the game.
Special Teams: B
Sam Foltz was solid as a punter, and Drew Brown was good except for his bizarre shanked field goal. Nebraska once again got little from their return units, but were tremendous in coverage.
Great, gutsy performance by a team that has been through hell this season. Armstrong was poised and motivated and was completely in command of a tremendous offense. A young defense fought through adversity and did enough to win against a good opponent. And finally, a coaching staff that has been questioned came up with a tremendous game plan to beat a more talented team. Great performance that should give Nebraska ample momentum heading into the final stretch of recruiting.
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