The streak continues.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers fell to the Wisconsin Badgers for the tenth straight time, continuing the losing streak at Camp Randall until 1966. After going up 14-0 in the first quarter, the Huskers would only score three points the rest of the game. Now, the quest of reaching bowl eligibility rests on Friday, Nov. 24, when Nebraska hosts the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-2).
Here are thoughts after the Huskers’ loss on Saturday.
Thoughts after Nebraska Football’s 24-17 Loss to Wisconsin
Another Starting Quarterback
Sophomore quarterback Preston “Chubba” Purdy started his first game of the 2023 season on Saturday. He began with a 55-yard scramble and reached the endzone. On the next drive, Purdy found freshman receiver Jaylen Lloyd for a 58-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.
Unfortunately, that would be the last touchdown scored by the Huskers. He finished the game completing 15 of 24 passes for 169 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The interception came on the final play of the game, in overtime.
Overall, Purdy did something that the Nebraska faithful haven’t seen all season: decent quarterback play. He did a decent job finding what the defense gave him and ran the ball well. Purdy led the Huskers in rushing yards with 14 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The question is, who will be starting against the Hawkeyes? After his performance against the Badgers, seeing who is given the nod will be interesting.
The Huskers have had three different starting quarterbacks this season, starting with junior Jeff Sims, who started the first two games. After suffering a high ankle sprain, Sims was replaced by sophomore Heinrich Haarberg, who started every game until the game against Wisconsin.
Defense Did What They Could
Again, Nebraska’s defense did what they could at stopping the Badgers on offense. In years past, Wisconsin dominated the Huskers’ defense on the ground, averaging around 300 yards a game for the last 10 matchups. This time, the Blackshirts held junior Braelon Allen and the Badgers’ rushing attack to only 156 yards as a team on 40 rushes. Allen was born to only 66 yards on 22 carries. The only issue was he scored twice on the ground, both on the goal line.
The problem was where Wisconsin started with the ball. Multiple times, the Badgers started with favorable field positioning due to poor special teams performance. On the Badgers’ second scoring drive, which ended with a field goal with two minutes left, Wisconsin started on their 49-yard line.
The defense ultimately did what it could but fell short, especially against the pass. Senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai’s passing and rushing ability significantly kept the Badgers in the game.
The defense gets another chance on another excellent performance against Iowa on Black Friday. The Hawkeyes have one of the worst offenses statistically.
Special Teams Woes
Special Teams had a rough performance in Madison, Wisconsin, which starts with senior punter Brian Buschini. Buschini has been consistent this season but had a challenging game against Wisconsin. He punted five times, averaging only 35.2 yards per attempt, which allowed the Badgers to have decent field position for a good portion of the game.
Punt returns were next to nothing against Wisconsin, only gaining 6 yards on two returns. Freshman Kwenton Ives could only return one kickoff for 23 yards, with the others being touchbacks.
The kicking was rough as well. Freshman Tristan Alvano went 1/2 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points. The miss came right before halftime, which played a significant role. If Alvano had made the kick, Nebraska could have walked it off instead of going to overtime.
As mentioned, the Huskers host the Hawkeyes for this year’s Hero’s Game. Nebraska will continue its quest to make a bowl game for the first time since 2016, and it comes down to a matchup with its rival. The Huskers got their first win over the Hawkeyes in seven years last season, and they will look to keep the trophy in Lincoln, Nebraska.
They kickoff at Memorial Stadium on Friday, Nov. 24, at 11 a.m. CST on CBS.
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