Two weeks of the college football season are in the books. Huskers 2, Opposition 0.
No huge surprise there as Nebraska was playing two foes Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State that it was expected to beat and did 49-3 and 38-9 respectively. The true test for how good Nebraska is at the present time will come Saturday when it visits Blacksburg, Va. for a battle against Virginia Tech, which entered today’s 52-10 win over Marshall rated No. 14. The Hokies, who lost 34-24 to No. 4 Alabama one week earlier, held off the Huskers 35-30 in Lincoln last season.
Again, the rubber will meet the road – more on that throughout the week. The first two victories on the surface might reveal very little about how good Nebraska is right now. However, I find it mildly annoying how people like to criticize the Huskers for playing two Sun Belt teams that are basically equal to a mid-level WAC or MAC team. Listening to some National media members and anti-Nebraska fans, you would think the Huskers were the only team to schedule such foes. Those people are a bunch of chumps! Those people are so stupid it takes them two hours to watch 60 minutes.
Anyhow, now that I’ve released that suppressed anger, one thing you must keep in mind is that during the past six years, Nebraska has played nonconference foes that it should have dominated only to scuffle for a win or even lose.
In 2002, the Huskers needed two DeJuan Groce punt returns for touchdowns to overcome Troy 31-16. In 2004, Nebraska gifted-wrapped 12 points in a 21-17 home loss to a Southern Mississippi team that didn’t even finish on the Top 25 radar.
In 2005, Nebraska struggled to 25-7 (Maine), 31-3 (Wake Forest) and 7-6 (Pittsburgh). Maine is a Div. I-AA team and not a very good at that but yet the Huskers clinged to a 15-7 lead in the fourth quarter before pulling away. The Wake Forest win was somewhat deceptive because keep in mind Nebraska scored three defensive touchdowns.
In 2007, Nebraska was a missed 55-yard field goal away from losing to Ball State of all teams before holding on for a 41-40 win. In 2008, Nebraska led San Jose State 14-12 early in the fourth quarter before pulling away for a 35-12 win.
Nebraska’s two decisive wins, however, will not decide how Saturday’s game in Blacksburg transpires. Nonetheless, it was important to allow second and third teamers the reps they need to develop.
More on VaTech later.