I wrote in my preseason preview about all the new faces around the offense. Despite the new players, the game looked the same. QB Casey Thompson moved the ball well down the field, but the potential game-winning drive ended in a turnover. The offensive line struggled. A bad call by the refs hurt the psyche of the team. And a crucial special teams mistake, this time by the coaches, was too much to overcome. This Northwestern team had the second pregame worst ELO of any team the Scott Frost Huskers have lost to. Perhaps in December, Northwestern is playing in Indianapolis and Ryan Hilinski will have lived up to his four-star recruiting ranking. The heat was turned up a few more degrees on Scott Frost with this game.
The defense was the biggest disappointment against Northwestern for me. After a strong 2021, I expected some regression in 2022. However, the Blackshirts gave up the 3rd most yards of the Scott Frost era trailing only Justin Field’s 2019 Ohio State team and Jonathan Taylor’s 2018 Wisconsin squad. Northwestern frequently had open receivers and the Husker’s pass rush failed to generate pressure. If the Huskers don’t improve their tackling, they might give Braelon Allen a free trip to the Heisman ceremony in New York.
Casey Thompson looked very sharp early in the game. He finished the game with the 16th most passing yards in a game of any Husker QB since 2000. The ball sometimes seemed to have too much zip, leading to drops from the WRs. Anthony Grant finished with a nice stat line, but if you remove his long 46-yard TD run, he only averaged three yards on the rest of his carries. He did have an impressive two-yard run to keep the opening drive alive. The OL will have to improve its run blocking to help Grant be more than just a potential home run hitter.
|1||Joe Ganz||Kansas State||30||40||75.0||510||7||0||239.9|
|3||Sam Keller||Ball State||29||37||78.4||438||3||1||199.2|
|5||Zac Taylor||Iowa State||36||55||65.5||431||2||0||143.3|
|8||Tanner Lee||Penn State||26||41||63.4||399||3||0||169.3|
|11||Sam Keller||Southern California||36||54||66.7||389||2||2||132.0|
|13||Tommy Armstrong Jr||Southern California||32||51||62.7||381||3||1||141.0|
|14||Tommy Armstrong Jr||Wyoming||20||34||58.8||377||3||1||175.2|
|15||Tommy Armstrong Jr||Southern Mississippi||23||35||65.7||368||2||1||167.2|
|17||Taylor Martinez||Southern Mississippi||26||34||76.5||354||5||0||212.5|
|19||Joe Ganz||Texas Tech||36||44||81.8||349||2||1||158.9|
|20||Joe Ganz||Western Michigan||20||36||55.6||345||4||2||161.6|
Another one-possession loss moves the Huskers closer to some more records. The 2021 Huskers set the record for the most one-possession losses in a season since 1970. The 2021 season was also the capstone on the records (or a share of the record) for most one-possession losses in a two-year, three-year, four-year, five-year, seven-year, and eight-year span. The 2022 Huskers need just one more one-possession loss to tie for the most in a six-year and nine-year span. Including interim coaches, four different men have coached the Huskers to one-possession losses since 2014. It has been a long decade in Lincoln.