Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nebraska Cornhuskers 2010 Review

2010 Record: 10-4 (6-2), Tied 1st Big 12 North
2010 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl, Lost to Washington, 19-7
2010 Schedule/Results: Western Kentucky, W 49-10, Idaho, W 38-17, @ Washington, W 56-21, South Dakota State, W 17-3, @ Kansas State, W 48-13, Texas, L 20-13, @ Oklahoma State, W 51-41, Missouri, W 31-17, @ Iowa State, W 31-30, Kansas, W 20-3, @ Texas A&M, L 9-6, Colorado, W 45-17, @ Oklahoma, L 23-20, Washington, L 19-7


     The Huskers were one of the more maddening teams in America for their fanbase in 2010. After a red hot start against admittedly lesser competition, the Huskers seemed to drfit off against South Dakota State, and were harrassed all day by a team that the Huskers should have more than handled. The following week after the SDSU scare, the Huskers seemed to be back with a resounding Thursday night televised thumping of an improving Kansas State team. Then the bottom started to drop, when the Huskers fell at home to a reeling Texas club, one that the Huskers should have more than handled. The moral of the story at the end is that the Huskers really played up for teams they should have struggled against, and then played down to teams that they should have dominated. And then the shocker in the Holiday Bowl, where the Huskies were thoroughly dominated by a Washington team that they had beaten by 5 TDs in Seattle in September. It was a loss that made no sense on so many levels, and it seemed as if nobody associated with the Husker program even wanted to be in San diego on that December night.
     Taylor Martinez is an enigma at QB. Understanding that he had injury problems, but he went one week to the next just kind of floating on a current that changed violently from one game to the next. He looked like a savior some games, and like a fool in others. Probably a part of being so young, but he struggled more in the passing game than he should have, which is strange being that he was a passing maniac at Centennial High School in Corona, California. When all was said and done, Martinez had played in 13 games, and had finished with 1631 yards passing with 10 TDs and 7 picks. Martinez did manage to be the second leading rusher for the Huskers, as he ran for 965 yards and 12 TDs. Cody Green and Zac Lee both played as well, but nobody is seriously pushing Martinez for the job in 2011.
     Roy Helu really had a very nice year for the Huskers. Helu busted loose for 1245 yards and 11 TDs, averaging 6.62 yards per carry. Husker fans had been waiting for this moment, and although 2009 was solid as well, he got better. Rex Burkhead was a real bull as well, and he became the posterchild for the blue collar RB club. Burkhead rushed for 951 yards and 7 scores, and really was the pit bull that the Huskers could call in during clutch situations. With Helu heading onto the NFL, Burkhead should be the primary back in 2011.
     The passing game struggled, so the receivers struggled along with it. Niles Paul was the leader, but his numbers were pedestrian at best. He posted a line of 39-516-1 for the season, which is not what you hope for in your lead receiver. Brandon Kinnie led the team in receptions with 44 for 494 yards and 5 TDs. Kyler Reid and Mike McNeill, both TEs, were the 3rd and 4th receivers respectively, and they combined to post 43-741-9.
     LB Lavonte David was a beast amongst beasts in 2010. David was all over the field, as he collected 152 tackles on the season, averaging 10.86 over 14 games. DeJon Gomes was second with 99 tackles on the season, and nobody else came close. David was also highly active behind the line, with 12.5 TFLs, but Jared Crick posted a better number with 14.5 TFLs. Crick was the undisputed leader up front, as he also led the team with 9.5 sacks.
     Prince Amukamara was a busy guy in the secondary, with 13 passes defended on the season, but never picked off a single pass. He is rated as one of the more promising DBs in the draft, but you would expect your lead corner to have picked off something at some point during the season, even if teams try to throw away from you. Eric Hagg led the team with 5 picks on the season.
     Alex Henery was the epitome of automatic in 2010. He nailed 18 of his 19 FG attempts, and so the senior was a given for points to be scored basically whenever he walked on the field. He connected on all 54 of his PATs as well. Henery was also amazing as a punter, averaging 43.22 yards per punt. That's what I call a top flight senior season.
     Niles Paul made it so opposing teams wouold not kick to him. He averaged 11.43 yards per return on the season, but only received 14 opportunities. He gained 500 yards on his kick returns as well, and took one in for a score.


You could not have been happy with the way the 2010 season ended as a Husker fan. The Holiday Bowl was an absolute embarrassment, and the effort was not even close to good. The Huskers have once again gotten close, but flamed out with a great chance on the table to slap the Big 12 in the face on the way out the door as they head to the Big 10 next season. Instead, the Husker looked like a team departing with their tails between their legs, getting slapped down by a team that they had beaten by 35 just a couple of months earlier. Concistency will be key in 2011, as the Husker make their first run in a very winnable Big 10.

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