The most important thing we Nebraska fan’s learned after Saturday’s unravelling against Michigan State is that it’s going to be a long time before turnovers are a thing of the past.
The most important thing college football learned after Saturday’s game is that the hype surrounding MSU’s defense is undeserved, at the least.
They’re good, but not great. They aren’t the defensive juggernaut that analysts and journalists verbally fellate.
Three turnovers on the FIRST THREE POSSESSIONS has got to be some kind of record at Nebraska.
2 fumbles and an interception in Nebraska's first 3 drives. This is why MSU's defense is #1
— J-Dawg (@JustinMcCallum9) November 16, 2013
Ohhhh boy. Here we go. I’ll let my friends help explain this to you.
Turnover number 1: Newby fumble on option pitch. Armstrong pitched it behind him. Wasn't forced was given.
— Joshua Shaw (@ShawHusker) November 17, 2013
PLUS HE WAS LOOKING STRAIGHT IN THE SUN.
And an interception. Armstrong pull your head out. #GBR
— Jessica Wilson (@Dubbz17) November 16, 2013
…of your ass. I assume that’s what she meant. Tommy Armstrong had Sam Burch wide open on the sideline. Ugh. Mental error.
TA2 interception. Hey, the defense will stop them, right?!!!! OWhOOO!O!!!
— CornNation (@CornNation) October 12, 2013
They did. THEY DID! How awesome is that?
On to the next one.
— Lee Barfknecht (@leebeeowh) November 16, 2013
Westerkamp may have the best hands but he might be the worst punt returner I've ever seen
— Jake Juracek (@JuracekPark20) November 16, 2013
So sad. He’ll be back. He’s young. He’ll learn.
Mike Sadler's 56-yard punt is mishandled by Jordan Westerkamp; fumble caused by Kurtis Drummond is recovered by Taybor Pepper at the NU 8.
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) November 16, 2013
This inflates stats and drums up hype. Kurtis made the tackle. There was no ball contact. Westerkamp let his arm and ball leave his body creating an opportunity to fumble the ball. An opportunity that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Westerkamp fielded that punt at the 8-yard line. He should have let it go, and it hopefully bounces into the end-zone. Even if he doesn’t do that, he should fair-catch that fuckin’ thing because he was about to get drilled.
Let the punt roll, no fumble. Fair-catch, no fumble. Two mistakes led to the fumble mistake. An error in execution, if you will.
These are not forced turnovers. These are what I like to call collective fuckery.
Tommy fumbled two more times, and of course, only one of those was forced.
Another fumble! Shilique Calhoun with the forced fumble! #StateNation
— Hussein Hammoud (@sunie28) November 16, 2013
This is correct.
— Scott Stewart (@stew248) November 16, 2013
Sparty causes 4 turnovers in first half! Calhoun causes a fumble, recovers another…is 89 MSU MVP? They led 20-7 at half
— Drew Lane (@Drew1051) November 16, 2013
NO NO NO NO NO. You’re only half right. Calhoun caused the fumble. A lack of execution caused the others.
Saying Shilique Calhoun caused/recovered a fumble is like saying a Kenyan just won a marathon. #Spartans
— Jay Scott Smith (@JayScottSmith) November 16, 2013
I just face-palmed so hard I broke my nose.
So what about the last fumble? Nebraska the proud new owner of a buttfumble.
"alright we're gonna run power right, quarterback fumble. On 1 on 1, ready break" -Armstrong
— Justin Stanton (@JustinStanTALL) November 16, 2013
Tommy Armstrong mishandles the snap; the fumble is recovered by Trae Waynes at the Nebraska 3. #MSUNEB
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) November 16, 2013
Tim Beck says Tommy Armstrong never had the ball in his hand on the center-exchange fumble late in first half. #Huskers
— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) November 17, 2013
@mitchsherman how can the fumble be blamed on TA if he pulled out early, Pensick hit him
— ron rangel (@Hskerfan63) November 18, 2013
Pregnancy, much like fumbling, cannot be blamed on you if you pull out early enough. Remember that, guys.
Cole Pensick mis-timed his movement. TA2 pulled out early. It created the fumble fucker. This was on our own 1-yard line. Sparty recovered on the 3, and scored on the next play. It was inevitable. It’s not a stretch of the imagination that even a wonky defense can score from three yards out.
In conclusion: MSU’s defensive stats, and points after turnovers (24), were handed to them. The starting field position for each score after a turnover? Nebraska’s 40, 22, 8, and 3. All resulted in a touchdown except for the drive that started on the 40, which resulted in a field goal after 12-yard drive.
The interception in the first quarter led to a drive that started on the Nebraska 46 and was moved to the MSU 44 after a holding call. Nebraska still gave up 12 yards, but managed to get the punt. Without that holding call? That’s 3 more points on the board fro MSU. We got “lucky” there.
But MSU was luckier. The defense didn’t do a whole lot to give the MSU the ball all the time. WE did it. We gave up the ball. We gave them the opportunity to pound their chests and boast about the defense. We gave the MSU offense a gazillion chances to show they aren’t incompetent.
Think about this: Nebraska only had the ball for 21 minutes, 23 seconds, and STILL put up 28 points on MSU. WITH A PATCHWORK OFFENSE. Everybody is hurt. The line is held together with spit and glue. We’re torn up.
And THAT Nebraska offense, with so little time and wasting FIVE opportunities on turnovers, still managed to run for 182 yards and pass for 210 yards. No TEAM has rushed for more than 100 yards, and Ameer Abdullah did it with plenty of room to spare.
Only once had anyone rushed for more than 20 yards on one play against MSU, yet Imani Cross had a 51-yard run that resulted in a touchdown, after being touched by a total of zero Spartans. Ameer added another 29-yard run.
Sam Burtch had a touchdown catch of 32 yards after being covered by a total of zero Spartans. Kenny Bell had a touchdown jump-ball catch for 38 yards.
Nebraska took 1:48 to move the ball 75 yards on their last-ditch drive of the game when Ameer scored the last touchdown. With a third-string quarterback.
392 total yards. That’s what MSU gave up. Good. But not great.
All of the above is not characteristic of a team that gets the hype that it does, especially against an offense that’s “not that great.”
In a game with hundreds of What Ifs, lets take a look at one of them. Lets assume the game goes exactly as it did instead of one drive.
What if Tommy doesn’t fumble on the goal line? Lets say that the drive goes exactly as planned, and Nebraska scores. MSU never scores. That’s a 14-point swing. Plus 7 in our favor, minus 7 for MSU. 35-34 Nebraska. Oh, and then that’s 491 yards racked up on the best defense in the country. But the defense didn’t save MSU from giving up those extra 99 yards. That would be NEBRASKA’s miscue.
You can play that scenario with any of the three turnovers that resulted in touchdowns. It’s how the game works though, the mistake cannot be reversed.
What if there were NO turnovers. Or just one? What if the Blackshirts were lights out? What if every turnover resulted in a score for Nebraska. Take 24 points off of MSU. Add anywhere from 15 to 35 points for Nebraska.
could have should have gone a million other ways with Nebraska winning. But it didn’t, thanks in no small part to barfy ball handling skills. Nebraska punted 5 times. MSU 7. This makes me think Nebraska’s defense is better than MSU’s, and the numbers show it. But a steadily improving defense is often overlooked when there’s a steadily declining defense whose reputation still resonates for some reason. Hellooooo OSU smoke show.
Some people think otherwise.
— Brian Plantz (@RealbrianBlade) November 18, 2013
My Predictions for College Football: BU loses to Ok State OSU loses to MSU UA loses to AU AU jumps ORE NCG: FSU vs AU #Crazyprediction
— Jeremy Melton (@jwmelton_33) November 20, 2013
Oh fuck it, lets get to the people that agree with me:
still say MSU defense is overrated if with 5 turnovers Nebraska has over 300 yards of offense
— Stinky McStinkface (@kelitos_way) November 16, 2013
@ESPNCFB Nebraska gave it to them. MSU defense is trash they got exposed.
— John Jacobsen (@JacobsenJohn) November 17, 2013
MSU was suppose to have a Beast Mode defense , Really??? We had a patchwork OL and still gashed them in the run game .
— Steve Reddick (@SmooveRedd1) November 17, 2013
NU outgained MSU running and passing for 392 yards. 5 turnovers and 4 were unforced. Uh, yeah about that vaunted MSU Defense…
— Chris Moses (@csmoses81) November 17, 2013
Did ESPN analysts not watch MSU at NU? They say Michigan State's defense can stop the run but Nebraska ran all over them #stupid
— Tim (@Timeichler6) November 17, 2013
— Jonathon Casalou (@goodtimejon) November 18, 2013
— Spartan Sports Page (@SpartanSports) November 19, 2013
From the mouth of babes.
College football daily doing a feature on MSU's defense. Shut the tv off. #overrated
— Steve Montgomery (@SteveMontgome17) November 20, 2013
Says anyone that isn’t a Spartan fan.
But the best tweet about this entire situation goes to…
MSU is ranked #1 in CBB and the Chiefs have the best defense in the NFL. We're a Korn album away from blasting back to the 1990's.
— Parker Thomas Truax (@parkerttruax) November 20, 2013
You may have noticed I skipped over the fake field goal attempt. MSU’s “Charlie Brown” that was supposed to be a “Lucy” but actually neither of those because the holder was supposed to read the defense and go through with the kick, but he misread the defense and came up with some Linus bullshit and got the first down.
However, if I’m drunk at a bar in the midafternoon and I can see that field goal coming, the coaches should have too. A coach jacked up on the kool-aid about his stupid fuckin’ defense that has a 6-pt lead in the 4th quarter? Yeah, he’s gonna tell his kids they have the option to fake. And guess what? By their own admission, they shouldn’t have. But they did, we fell for it, and the whole situation on MSU’s sideline became a clusterfuck of inflated defensive egos, amateur psychology, misread defense, and a made-up running route combined to make Nebraska look stupid. It was a collision of mistakes for MSU that became a happy accident.
I’m not bitter though.
Follow me on twitter @blackshirtfresh so you can hear me whine more.