Grace Harmon, senior sports editor: Nebraska 17, Rutgers 21
While I still might be in utter disbelief from Saturday’s loss to Northern Illinois, I’m trying to remain somewhat positive. But right now, losing by four points to Rutgers is about the only positivity I can muster.
Saturday’s performance against NIU was painful to watch, and there’s no way around that. I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again. Nebraska has some major adjustments to make before its homecoming matchup with Rutgers this Saturday.
While the last two weeks’ adjustments needed to come from the defense, this week, it’s the offense that needs an overhaul. After three games, Tanner Lee leads the nation in something that no quarterback wants the title of — the most interceptions thrown — clocking in with seven. But despite his struggles, the offensive line is where my main concerns lie. It gave up three sacks and nine quarterback rushes on Lee, and at points in the game against NIU, looked like a joke.
Although Rutger recently snapped an 11-game losing streak, they did it in dramatic fashion with a 65-0 win over Morgan State. While Rutgers’ opponent isn’t the same caliber team that the Huskers are, neither was Nebraska’s opponent, Northern Illinois.
While I could be persuaded that the Huskers might squeak out a small-margin win this week, I’m not overly optimistic for the rest of the season.
Zach Markon, assistant sports editor: Nebraska 21, Rutgers 13
The Huskers defense is no longer my main source of concern. That honor goes to NU’s offensive line.
I’m going to look at things with the slightest hint of optimism and assume the Huskers offensive line will use its abysmal performance against Northern Illinois as motivation to make some serious changes in practice.
This week, Mike Cavanaugh will be under a microscope. Without some major changes in the Huskers’ o-line, Cavanaugh’s job could be on the line, and I think he knows that. Tanner Lee has the mechanics to be a good quarterback. He showed that against Arkansas State. His flaw is an inability to perform in the high-pressure situations he’s being forced into as a result of his offensive line failing to protect him.
If the Huskers’ offense can get in sync and actually do its job, Nebraska’s offense and defense actually stand a solid chance against Rutgers, which has struggled defensively.
Rutgers will enter the game with a 1-2 record, the same as Nebraska. While I’m very aware that this season will be a year of growing pains, I do think Rutgers will be one of the games that Nebraska is more than capable of winning.
Rutgers did post a 65-0 win last weekend against Morgan State, which seems impressive when looked at by itself. Still, that win broke an 11-game losing streak. The Scarlet Knights are 1-11 in their last 12 games. I think if the Huskers make some significant changes, they could force that record to 1-12.
Anna Gleason, assistant sports editor: Nebraska 17, Rutgers 14
“Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” should be engraved on the Memorial Stadium entrance this season. Saturday’s game is now a battle for the bottom of the Big Ten with the loser as the laughing stock of the conference.
The Huskers’ game against Northern Illinois was embarrassing to say the least, and it didn’t leave me with much confidence for the rest of the season. The game against Rutgers should be interesting in that the teams may be equally matched in mediocrity.
Once again, I think Nebraska can squeeze out a win. Rutgers defense isn’t strong either, and their team has been pretty bad historically. The Blackshirts seem to be getting the hang of the new defensive scheme and should be able to hold the Rutgers offense.
There’s a lot I could say that’s already been said about the Nebraska offense, so I won’t go into too much detail. I think they can put up a few points against a weak defense, but I wouldn’t expect a high-scoring game.
All in all, I’m unenthused by this season. But I hope the Huskers can avoid falling all the way to the bottom.