Nebraska-Minnesota: Five things we learned, still don’t know

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Five things we learned

1. Nebraska learned how to win again. Minnesota played Ohio State close a weekend ago, and Nebraska manhandled the Gophers in the first half and found a way to hold off their comeback. In the past 12 months, the Huskers haven’t been good at starting games or finishing games. On Saturday, they did both.

2. Adrian Martinez and Maurice Washington are going to be a special backfield. Heck, they’re already a special backfield. Martinez completed his first 11 passes and ran for almost 100 yards in the first half. He finished with 125 on the ground and completed 25 of 29 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Washington finished with 109 rushing yards and a score, but was never more jacked than when he threw a block to break open a 22-yard Martinez run. The kids are special. And they’re 18.

3. Nebraska can play a (mostly) clean game. The Huskers had five penalties for 28 yards through three quarters. They finished with six for 43 yards.

4. Minnesota’s run defense was among the best in the conference. But Nebraska had three 100-yard rushers for the fifth time in school history. If the Huskers can get a ground game going, they can compete with most teams in the Big Ten.

5. When the Huskers needed a stop, they came up with a pick. Linebacker Dedrick Young caught a tipped pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter, all but sealing the win. That’s what Erik Chinander has been waiting for.

Five things we still don’t know

1. How does the team handle success? With Bethune-Cookman up next, it doesn’t figure to be a huge test for Nebraska. But the Huskers have to continue to get better. Do they handle this week of preparation the same, or do they relax?

2. Why, when Ozigbo was averaging 19.9 yards per carry — as he did through three quarters — didn’t Nebraska feed him in the second half while Minnesota was on that 22-point run? Why is he forgotten so often?

3. What can Nebraska take from the Minnesota win and use over and over defensively and offensively? Frost opened the playbook with Statue of Liberty plays and even a halfback pass. Do we see a more liberal offense in the latter half of the season?

4. Will the state of Nebraska have enough air in the surrounding atmosphere to handle the collective deep breaths Husker fans will take all week when they remember Nebraska finally won a football game?

5. How much of an impact will this win have on the program in terms of recruiting, morale and culture? An early guess? It’ll be a breath of much-needed fresh air.

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