You know all those mistakes that plagued Nebraska in its season-opening loss to Colorado last week? Well, those were all on display again against Troy.
The Huskers, now 0-2 to begin the Scott Frost era, went down 17-0 early to the Trojans (2-1) and lost their second pay-for-play game in Lincoln in as many seasons, 24-19.
The Huskers turned it over three more times (now six on the year with just one takeaway), committed 10 more penalties (now 21 on the year) and went 5-for-15 on third down. With just over nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Nebraska had a defensive penalty that turned a third-down stop into a Troy first down.
As a team, the Huskers ran for 187 yards, outgained Troy 364-253 and had more first downs (22-12)
Of course, none of that matters in a loss. And Troy put the game to bed midway through the fourth quarter.
A drive that spanned 10 plays and 62 yards over 4:34 included three third-and-long conversions, the aforementioned penalty (a pass interference on safety Aaron Williams) and was capped with a 26-yard touchdown run by Troy running back B.J. Smith. It stretched the lead to 24-13 and though Nebraska made things interesting late, it proved the nail in the coffin.
The Husker offense, led by sophomore backup Andrew Bunch wasn't sharp but still moved the ball. Bunch, making his first career start in place of the injured Adrian Martinez, went 19-for-27 for 177 yards, two scores and two picks interception. Freshman Maurice Washington showcased flashes of what made him such a sought-after recruit, running for 91 yards on 14 carries and showing maybe the most natural ability of any back the Huskers have.
Junior Greg Bell also had a solid day, totaling 64 yards on 14 carries.
For the second game in a row, Nebraska had a chance on its final drive to win the game. An 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive engineered by Bunch on the team's second-to-last possession cut the Trojan lead to five. Nebraska's defense forced a three-and-out and gave the ball back to the offense.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Bunch threw an out-route to wideout JD Spielman too high and it was picked off.
The 0-2 start is the first at Nebraska since 1957. The Huskers face No. 19 Michigan (1-1) on the road on Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. CT.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.