Scoggins: Minnesota-Nebraska gulf still wide

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2012 - 9:45 PM
hide

Nebraska's retiring athletic director and former head coach Tom Osborne is flanked by Tim Marlowe (6) and Rex Burkhead (22) and head coach Bo Pelini.

Photo: Dave Weaver, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LINCOLN, NEB. - Curse those dastardly Cornhuskers.

It wasn't enough for them to be favored by nearly three touchdowns against the Gophers on Saturday.

It wasn't enough to have a talented quarterback, a powerful running game, better athletes, an aggressive defense and an offense that averages 482 yards and 37 points per game.

It wasn't enough to have a ticket to the Big Ten championship within their grasp.

It wasn't enough to have one of the best home-field advantages in all of college football, 325 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium, dating to 1962.

Nope, the Huskers had to reach into their history and bring goose-bump emotion to the game as well.

The Huskers invited legendary coach Tom Osborne to lead the team out of the locker room, down their traditional tunnel walk and onto the field as an army of 85,000 red-clad worshippers bathed in nostalgia.

Game, set, match.

The Gophers had a snowball's chance of shocking the Huskers on this day, and the outcome was predictably one-sided as Nebraska imposed its will in a 38-14 victory.

This one was 10 shades of ugly and not even remotely competitive.

"This is definitely a learning experience," freshman quarterback Philip Nelson said. "Going into a place like this and experiencing what we just went through is definitely going to help in the long run. We're a young team right now, and getting this out of the way is only going to help us in the future."

The Gophers achieved their season benchmark by becoming bowl eligible a week ago, but they once again discovered just how far away they remain from competing with the Big Ten's upper echelon, especially on the road.

They looked completely overwhelmed and physically overmatched on both sides of the ball. They couldn't run the ball or stop the run. They gave up big plays and failed to produce them. Their offense couldn't stay on the field, the defense couldn't get off it.

They managed only 177 yards on offense. They gave up 444 yards on defense. They punted 11 times, including one that traveled 7 yards.

"We don't have any excuses," coach Jerry Kill said. "They just dominated us from a defensive standpoint. Our defense was asked to be on the field too much."

Saturday marked the Gophers' first trip to Lincoln since 1990 -- they got steamrolled that day too, 56-0 -- and they received an education in big-time football. Osborne was the architect for much of that success and the school rolled out the red carpet in celebrating his final home game as its athletic director, which also served as his 500th game at Nebraska as either a coach or administrator.

The Gophers played the role of gracious guests, which happens too often when they line up against the Big Ten elite. Nobody really expected them to beat the Huskers, but it would be nice to see the Gophers play more competitively. Make the game more than a layup for their opponent.

"There's no question it's a great environment to play in," Kill said. "If it did anything, it should help you get excited about playing. I just think their defensive football team dominated us up front."

The Gophers have made incremental progress this season and playing in a bowl game should provide some benefits. But if they're going to take the next step in their development, they need to prove they can physically compete with Wisconsin and Nebraska and the rest of the Big Ten's heavyweights. Their performance Saturday represented another stark reminder of their deficiencies in that area.

"You learn that you've got to step it up," Nelson said. "You've got to be able to get faster, stronger to be able to play with teams like this in an environment like this."

Maybe they're right and that taking these lumps will help them down the road. Maybe they'll use games like this as a measuring stick that guides their offseason workouts. The Gophers are convinced they're on the right track, but they still have a long way to go to close that gap.

"It's hard on those kids," Kill said. "They're giving us everything they've got. I can't say they're not busting their tail end. We'll keep making improvements and it takes some patience."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Cincinnati
Memphis 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Portland 9:00 PM
Sacramento
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Phoenix
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Columbus
Los Angeles 6:30 PM
Detroit
Anaheim 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 8:00 PM
Calgary
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Temple
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
Wyoming
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 am
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close