Photo Credit: Eric Francis

The Good, Bad and Unexpected: Nebraska Versus Purdue

October 16, 2022

With a little time to have now absorbed what we saw in Nebraska’s 43-37 loss to Purdue, it’s time to review. Here is the good, the bad and the unexpected from the Huskers’ loss.

The Good

Trey Palmer: Ask wide receiver Trey Palmer about his record-setting night against Purdue and he won’t give you much.

“I just play football and I got the result but I really wanted the team win,” he said post-game. “So I’m not really worried about the record.”

That record he referenced? It was his 237 receiving yards, which marked the most receiving yards in a game in Nebraska football history. He eclipsed the previous record of 209 yards, which was set by JD Spielman on Oct. 6, 2018. Palmer and Spielman are also now the only two Huskers with 200-yard receiving games in program history.

Palmer isn’t focused on that though, nor is he focused on his 72-yard touchdown reception. That was a career-long catch, for what it’s worth, and was part of a career-high 297 all-purpose yards on the night. Those 297 yards marked the fifth-highest total in program history and the most since Ameer Abdullah set a school record with 341 all-purpose yards against Rutgers in 2014.

But that’s not all. Here are two additional notes, as provided by Nebraska Athletics:

  • With two touchdowns, Palmer has caught touchdown passes in four straight games, becoming the first Husker with a touchdown catch in four straight games since Spielman had a touchdown catch in four consecutive games in 2018. All five of Palmer’s touchdowns in those four games have covered at least 27 yards. 
  • Palmer’s 60-yard run in the third quarter marked Nebraska’s longest run of the season, setting up a Husker field goal. The previous long was a pair of 46-yard runs by Anthony Grant. Palmer has accounted for Nebraska’s longest rush and two longest receptions (71 vs. Indiana, 72 vs. Purdue) of the season.

Palmer deserves all the praise for his performance against Purdue, even if he’s not personally looking for the recognition. Of course he’d rather have the win, but he was still a very bright spot for Nebraska on Saturday.

The Fight: No moral victories, but credit to Nebraska for staying in the fight. That was the theme across the board post-game on Saturday and it started with interim head coach Mickey Joseph.

The Bad

Turnovers: Purdue scored nine points off its two interceptions of Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson. That’s less than ideal, especially when you consider that Nebraska lost by six points. In a game like the one Nebraska and Purdue played Saturday, every point counts and those turnovers—and the fact that they resulted in points for the Boilermakers—only made things more difficult for the Huskers.

Offensive Line: Nebraska made some adjustments to the offensive line, but the pain points still persisted up front. Broc Bando was out, so Henry Lutovsky (RG) and Hunter Anthony (RT) made their first starts. Things were pretty rough in the first half—Nebraska allowed four sacks for 38 yards in losses—but it turned around. The Huskers, for what it is worth, gave up zero sacks in the second. It’s still not enough to move the o-line off “the bad” list just yet though.

Missed Tackles: The tackling issue plagued the Husker defense once again on Saturday, which is something the Huskers will have to address in the bye week. The defense wasn’t awful against Purdue—the Huskers were able to hold the Boilermakers to field goal attempts instead of touchdowns when needed—but the tackling remains a sore spot.

The Unexpected

Rahmir Johnson: On the last drive of the first half, running back Rahmir Johnson made his first—and only—appearance. He had one carry for 17 yards, and that was it. Odd.

Purdue’s Rushing: The Boilermakers rushed for 217 yards against Nebraska. Why was that unexpected? Well, because the Boilermakers had struggled to find consistency on the ground coming into Saturday’s matchup. In the previous week’s matchup with Maryland, Purdue only ran for 13 yards (when incorporating in sack yards). Purdue entered Saturday with a ground game ranked 103rd nationally (119 yards per game).

Devin Mockobee was a star, as Purdue’s redshirt freshman and walk-on ran 17 times in the first half for 115 yards. He finished the day with 178 yards. He was a major part in helping Purdue finish the night with more total rushing yards (217 yards on 47 carries) than it had against any Big Ten Conference opponent since the 2018 season.

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