The Huskers lost the first game of their season to Illinois. The 30 points allowed by the Huskers were not a sign of how the Blackshirts played on a hot day in Champaign. Special teams are responsible for the two points on the safety. One touchdown was the direct result of a scoop and score by the Illinois’ defense.
A solid defensive game is what defensive back Quinton Newsome saw from his teammates.
“I would say other than other than the 50-yard deep ball we gave up, I feel like we played a solid game as defensive backs,” Newsome said. “I feel like we played a solid game as a defense as well, to be honest. It was just certain things we got to clean up and we’re cleaning it up. We are really just focused on Fordham right now.”
The 21 points that the defense gave up should win you a lot of games in today’s college football. It’s a one game sample size. That many points would have placed Nebraska fifth in the conference last season. The Huskers would have ranked just behind Indiana and ahead of Ohio State.
The message that the defensive players got from defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was good. He agrees with Newsome that the unit played well overall. This is despite a couple of lapses in the game. The defense will continue to work toward cleaning up the penalties. By and large, they did their jobs on Saturday.
In a vacuum, the defense has a lot it can build on heading into Week 1 against Fordham. Things feel worse than they are for the defense because the team lost. That took the wind out of the sails of a program. The team still hopes to get off the ground in the fourth season under coach Scott Frost.
More news and notes:
>> Junior offensive lineman Matt Sichterman has been around the program as long as any on the team. He relayed the message to the football team on Monday as the team tries to bounce back from Week Zero.
“The message was really what we had been preaching all week and preaching all camp which is that we have to hammer in those details,” he said. “Those self-inflicting wounds and some of those things that didn’t go our way on Saturday are ultimately what beat us. That’s going to be the continued messaged and finding new ways to hone in on those details and really cleaning up our game so that we’re not beating ourselves and so we play cleaner.”
>> There was a lot of chatter about the Huskers not having music at practice on Monday. Defensive back Myles Farmer explained what that was supposed to accomplish.
“Just be locked in,” Farmer said. “It was a practice to correct the mistakes from Saturday. I believe we did that. No music at practice is just a normal practice. Practice with music is a normal practice, but it didn’t change anything.”
Quinton Newsome said that no players asked why the music was cut but he understood the purpose too.
“I would say it kind of helped us focus more,” Newsome said. “It was just we are locked in to what we’re doing. We don’t really need music, we got to bring our own energy. Basically.”
>> It was freshman running back Gabe Ervin Jr.’s first start on Saturday. The true freshman got a taste of college football in a Big Ten game. Things didn’t go as planned for the offense or the running game.
“We had a good game plan going versus Illinois,” Ervin said. “It’s just simple mistakes, like not fitting a block that could be a 70-yard touchdown. We just got to clean up on those things and we’ll be fine in the run game.”