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Nebraska vs. Bethune-Cookman: Tracking the offense, defense

October 29, 2018 GMT

Tracking the offense

The game plan

Nebraska’s first drive was heavy on passes to Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman on the edges. From there, it became apparent the Huskers could pretty much do what they wanted — as 151 rushing yards and 213 passing at halftime attested. An interception and late field goal were the only two drives out of seven before intermission that didn’t end in NU touchdowns.

The adjustments

Bring in the reserves. Backup quarterback Noah Vedral played the entire second half around a new offensive line and scored NU’s only touchdown after the break on a 20-yard keeper. This wasn’t garbage time for the Huskers, who wanted to get game reps for younger players and see what they could do in live action.

Nebraska star

Stanley Morgan: The senior receiver did almost all of his damage in the first quarter while finishing with team bests in catches (seven), receiving yards (82) and touchdowns (two). Morgan is up to 20 career TD receptions, five behind Johnny Rodgers for the school record.

Stat of the game

Four: Possessions in five tries resulting in Nebraska touchdowns to begin the game — and effectively end it. All traversed at least 65 yards and lasted six to eight plays.

Final word

Adrian Martinez wants his interception back, but NU did what it had to against an overmatched FCS foe at home. Playmakers made plays, the backups played an entire half and everybody stayed relatively healthy. Coupled with the 53-point outburst vs. Minnesota, this unit has more confidence than ever with Ohio State next up.

Tracking the defense

The game plan

Bethune-Cookman broke a 54-yard pass play on a blitz that led to a field goal on its second drive. But the Blackshirts — working mostly in a base look with their starters — were active in the first half as Ben Stille tipped a pass that Peyton Newell intercepted and JoJo Domann punched a ball free. And the unit was aggressive without committing penalties.

The adjustments

Most of the starters lasted into the third quarter before giving way to a slew of Huskers making either their overall or position debuts in college. Nebraska still blitzed at times, but the reserves managed to preserve the three-point Bethune-Cookman total until the final play of the game running mostly base looks.

Nebraska star

Deontai Williams: The junior college transfer recovered a fumble forced by Domann and later rose up to snag an interception in the end zone. The 6-foot-1 sophomore also broke up a pass and recorded two tackles in limited duty. With more playing time, Williams could make a big impact in the season’s last four games.

Stat of the game

Three: Turnovers Nebraska forced — a season high, topping two-takeaway showings against Troy and Northwestern.

Final word

Nebraska was set to allow its lowest point total since Michigan State in 2011 until the last play. But the bigger picture was more important in this one. The Blackshirts were responsible for one penalty and generally stayed assignment-sound outside of a few BC chunk plays. This group may not be ready for the big stage, but signs are pointing to a more disciplined and dynamic November.