Nebraska assistant Rick Kaczenski said the Husker defensive line knew what to expect up front against Minnesota, and talked about it all week.
The Gophers were going to line up and come at NU with their offensive line that averaged 311 pounds per man and their 220-pound tailbacks and quarterbacks. And they did that in running for 271 yards in their 34-23 win.
“There was no surprises,” Kaczenski said. “They didn't pull any punches. They just lined up and got after us. It was really plain and simple. They were the more physical football team.”
That creates a challenge for Kaczenski, who said “it comes back to me” as he continues to work with a young defensive front. One area where his linemen have to get better, he said, is with getting off blocks.
“If you can't stop power in this league,” he said, “it's going to be a long five weeks.”
NU struggles to protect QB
Nebraska struggled with pass protection as it officially began life without Spencer Long, who had made 33 straight starts at right guard before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Purdue.
The Huskers allowed four sacks after coming into the game with three, tied for the fewest among FBS teams. Another was negated by a face-mask penalty by Minnesota.
NU also dropped from No. 10 to No. 13 nationally in rushing offense (271.1 yards per game), from No. 21 to a tie for 33rd in total offense (467.0) and from No. 10 to a tie for 16th in scoring offense (39.9 points a game).
Another loss in turnovers
After either winning or breaking even in the turnover battle in its first five games, Nebraska has now lost it in two straight.
The Huskers failed to force a turnover for the first time all season at Minnesota. NU gave up the ball with an Ameer Abdullah fumble in the second quarter and a Taylor Martinez interception on its final offensive snap.
Nebraska is now minus-three in its last two games to slip to plus-two for the season.