Texas Longhorns-Nebraska Cornhuskers Game Review
By Bryan Dietzler (Featured Columnist) Bleacher Report
The 3-2 Texas Longhorns traveled to Lincoln to take on 5-0 division rival Nebraska in a game that many felt would end up being a huge win by the Cornhuskers.
As it turns out the Longhorns were the better team in this, a game that not too many people felt that they would win. In the end, the Longhorns (previously unranked) beat the previous No. 5 Nebraska 20-13 in Lincoln.
Texas overcame an inept passing game by using their running game more in this one to control the ball and the clock, thus keeping it out of the hands of what has been a powerful Cornhusker offense.
Their defense really stepped up in this game, limiting the Cornhusker offense and showed us that Texas is a good team with a solid defense but a young and growing offense.
The following is a review of the Longhorn’s game against the Cornhuskers this past Saturday.
The Longhorns got on the board first in this game after they scored three points on a Justin Ticker 28-yard field in the first quarter to put Texas up 3-0. Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert would tack on seven more points with a 3-yard run, still in the first quarter, to make it 10-0.
The Cornhuskers would get the first points of the second quarter after kicker Alex Henerey booted a 45-yard field goal to bring Nebraska to within seven and put the score at 10-3. That would be the last score that Nebraska would get for a while.
Gilbert added another touchdown on a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Longhorns up 17-3 heading into halftime. Would the Longhorns be able to pull off an “upset”?
Texas made it 20-3 in third quarter thanks to another Tucker field goal, this one 29 yards. Nebraska would claw just a little bit closer and make it 20-6 after a 28-yard Henery field goal still in the third quarter.
After an ill-advised punt in the fourth quarter, the Cornhuskers Eric Haag returned that same punt 95 yards for a touchdown which put the score at 20-13 and brought the Cornhuskers within a touchdown of the Longhorns. But Texas would stand pat and not allow Nebraska to score again. The final score was 20-13.
Stud of the Game
Gilbert had a great game rushing for two touchdowns and not throwing any interceptions, but he only had four completions for 62 total yards. It was the Longhorns rushing attack that really helped them win this game, and Gilbert helped lead the way with 71 yards and those two critical touchdowns.
Dud of the Game
In the reverse, the Longhorns passing game was pretty bad in this game and needs to improve if they plan to win any more games. Another dud came when head coach Mack Brown decided to punt the ball towards the end of the game instead of kicking a field goal.
The punt was returned for a touchdown and brought Nebraska to within seven of the lead. Had the Cornhuskers managed to tie things up and win, Brown and the Longhorns would have looked ridiculous.
No one really gave the Longhorns a chance to win this game and in the end, thanks to a great defensive effort and ball control on behalf of the Longhorns offense, they ended up winning and moved back into the top 25 (now they are 22nd). This was a good effort and one that was needed in order to help keep the Longhorns on track.
If anything, the win really proved that the Cornhuskers were not the team that everyone felt that they were heading into this game, and the Longhorns exposed them. In contrast, Texas was felt to be a much more inferior team struggling with problems, and they proved that even though they have some issues on offense, their defense is strong and they have the desire to overcome problems and win games.
That’s usually the sign of a team that is well-coached, and this team is well coached to a point. You have to take some of the points that Brown earned away, though, for almost giving up the game on that punt return. That was a critical mistake that could have really cost the Longhorns in this game.
We really haven’t talked enough about the defense. The Longhorns defense held the Cornhuskers massive rushing attack to 125 yards rushing and no touchdowns (the sole touchdown for the Cornhuskers came on that punt return), so this was a huge win for the defense. The Longhorns defense hasn’t been that bad in all reality but instead, they have had irresponsible penalties at critical times and didn’t get a ton of support from their offense.
Hopefully this game will get the Longhorns back on track as they play some “softer” teams in their schedule. Let’s see if they can somehow still win the Big 12 and get into a good bowl game at the end of the season.
The Longhorns will host the Iowa State Cyclones next Saturday. The Cyclones are 3-4 coming into this game.