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Tom's Takes: A cooler full of ice water dumped on Nebraska's signs of progress

Tom's Takes: A cooler full of ice water dumped on Nebraska's signs of progress

Luke McCaffrey

Luke McCaffrey was asked to run a lot on Saturday, and he racked up 122 rushing yards, but he also threw three interceptions.

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his quick thoughts on the Huskers' 41-23 loss to Illinois.

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1. This game is why you write columns about piano players. Illinois 41, Nebraska 23. And the Illini were getting 16 points. If you saw this one coming, you could have made a lot of money in Vegas and bought a golf course so you don’t have to spend Saturday yelling at the TV. How in the wide world of sports did this happen? Especially after last week’s feel-good performance against Penn State? I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse game at Nebraska, and that’s covering some miles. There’s still games left, but this throws a whole cooler of ice water on the idea of progress and changes the conversation on Scott Frost in Nebraska. I'll have more in my column.

2. I had no problem sticking with Luke McCaffrey to open the second half. What they should have changed was the game plan, the blocking, the defense and everything else. Mostly, the game plan. It doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback if your offense is to run the quarterback over and over. McCaffrey fought but struggled in the passing game, too. Now is the rest of the season a two-quarterback race again? Paging Mario Verduzco. In Year 3, the quarterback position is hardly what I or anyone else thought it would be under Frost.

3. The Big Ten officiating was the usual slapstick, but it had nothing to do with this result. Nebraska didn't show up. Still, I'd love an explanation on the first play. It looked from replays that McCaffrey threw a forward pass. If nothing else, shouldn't the officials bother to look at a replay? It certainly set the tone for the game. Again, I'm not going to blame this one on that play. But there needs to be an explanation given from the Big Ten. In three ... two ... one ...

Photos: Nebraska hosts Illinois

Omaha World-Herald: Big Red

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