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NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things We Saw Versus Wyoming

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

 

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By Erin Sorensen
Nebraska travelled to Laramie, Wyoming last Saturday to face the undefeated Cowboys for the first of a three game series to be played over several years. The Huskers had a lot to prove and fans were anxious to see just how the team would fare on the road.
While some individual performances still gave cause for concern, the contest helped positively reinforce that this team is ready for Big Ten conference play. What did Nebraska fans end up seeing from the game?
1.) A Win on the Road
Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium sits at an impressive 7,220 feet above sea level. This alone left Nebraska players exhausted and ready to get back to “The Good Life” immediately after the game ended. Regardless of whether or not altitude had an effect on the players, Nebraska still won by a comfortable margin.
While Camp Randall Stadium will be an entirely different environment, Wyoming’s venue proved to be a good testing ground. Nebraska fans saw a team that responded no differently to the surroundings of Laramie and its altitude than Lincoln's own Memorial Stadium.
Fans can take heart knowing that when this team says Wisconsin is just another game on the schedule, they mean it. The win against Wyoming proved a solidified mentality that no game is more important than another.
2.) Defensive Dominance
Alfonzo Dennard made his return, leaving many fans relieved to see him play again. However, despite his season debut, the defense didn't seem complete as Jared Crick sat out due to an injury he sustained against Washington. It was a tough game for Dennard as he worked to find a rhythm, and it was even tougher for Crick to stand on the sideline.
Injuries aside, the Nebraska defense once again showed weaknesses. The secondary struggled mightily as Austin Cassidy made poor judgments that ultimately led to touchdowns for Wyoming. While Dennard was getting back in the swing of things, the defense looked sluggish and tired.
Corey Cooper was even seen vomiting at one point. Regardless of whether Cooper's stomach troubles were due to altitude or nerves, the Blackshirts are running out of time to correct the issues before Wisconsin and it is going to take a lot of leadership to make it possible.
3.) Tim Beck’s Play Calling
Many fans wondered whether or not Tim Beck would hold back on the offensive razzle dazzle against Wyoming. With Wisconsin just one week away, it would seem that Beck would want to keep a fair amount of tricks up his sleeve.
Saturday’s game against Wyoming featured starting quarterback Taylor Martinez rushing for only 37 yards and one touchdown. Rex Burkhead continued to pound the ball, racking up 170 yards and two touchdowns. Nebraska fans saw an offense against Wyoming that was about sharing. It was less about Martinez taking control and more about simply doing what it takes to score.
The Cornhuskers kept the ball on the ground during Saturday’s matchup, something that will not be as easy against Wisconsin. Martinez did not show off too much of his throwing arm, potentially letting fans see that Beck may have been holding back.
4.) Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner
Both Turner and Kinnie got in on the action last Saturday. Turner had two catches for 23 yards and Kinnie had three catches for 31 yards. Kinnie said afterwards that it was a good game for him to build confidence in, but head coach Bo Pelini was quick to state that he has shown more than enough already. Whatever the case, Kinnie found his mojo once again and Turner continued to progress.
While the rest of the receiving corps was relatively quiet, Kenny Bell caught his first career touchdown on Saturday. Bell’s score once again showed the cohesiveness of Rich Fisher's unit. If the rest of the team can take anything from the receivers, it’s that strong leadership and teamwork overcome adversity. Both Turner and Kinnie are proof of that.
5.) Red Out
War Memorial Stadium’s official capacity is 29,086, but by the time the Cowboys were done bringing in additional bleachers, the stadium seated around 32,000 for Saturday night’s game.
By kickoff, it was clear that Nebraska scarlet had filled Wyoming’s stands by nearly 40-45 percent. While the Big Ten still has no idea what is coming, Nebraska fans gave those watching glimpse of just how dedicated Husker fans are. It was a good trial run for those who will be “packing their black” for Madison.
Saturday’s game was a good test for Nebraska. While Wyoming wasn’t the fiercest foe, the Cowboys provided a good challenge for Nebraska. Husker fans saw plenty of positives from Saturday’s game, but will the Cornhuskers be able to resolve the glaring issues by the time they enter Madison?
Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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