October 23, 2014

Huskers may really need to have Randy Gregory make an IMPACT this week (AUDIO)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

If there was ever a week for Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory to make an impact, Rutgers would be the team to do it against. As defensive coordinator John Papuchis likes to point out the Scarlet Knights don’t mind going toe to toe with you in an old-fashioned grind it out type of game.

Gregory is one of 20 defensive players around the country named a quarterfinalists for the 2014 Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, presented to the nation’s most impactful defensive player. Gregory has 28 total tackles, including six tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Gregory also has an interception, a fumble caused, two pass breakups and a team-high nine quarterback hurries.

Gregory is one of two defenders from the Big Ten on the list, joining Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Gregory and Calhoun are among six defensive ends on the Lott quarterfinalists list.

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Armstrong doesn’t throw any touchdowns, but comes up big on third down plays

The first three meetings between Nebraska and Northwestern were all close and after the first half it looked like it would come down to the end again, but the Huskers scored 24 unanswered points in the second half for 38-17 win.   Bo Pelini was happy with the finish.

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 18-of-29 passes for 221 yards. He did not throw an interception or a touchdown pass, but he made a couple of big third down completions.  He was 5 of 6 passing on third down in the second half, able to convert and sustain drives.  He did haul in his first career touchdown catch, a 16-yard reception from freshman wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El after a reverse handoff from Abdullah.

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Pelini was tired of playoff talk back in August (AUDIO)

The Huskers have been practicing for the past couple of days, yesterday it was in full pads and the Big Red hit the field again today at 3:45, this bye week comes at nice time. They’ve played half of their schedule and now have an extra week to re-assess the team and where they’re heading for the second half of 2014. Pelini was asked about the talk of the four-team playoff. Pelini thinks it’s a major distraction, going all the way back to August and fall camp.

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Armstrong wants another shot at Michigan State (AUDIO)

It was a weekend full of upsets in college football, as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 8th ranked teams were all upset this past week…Five of the top ten schools lost. The Nebraska Cornhuskers did everything they could in the fourth quarter to make Michigan State the 6th top 10 team to lose, but the Huskers had too big of hole to dig out of, losing 27-22.

A 43-yard pass to Alonzo Moore gave the Huskers the ball at the Michigan State 37 with just under a minute to play, but Armstrong’s pass to the end zone fell incomplete, and Trae Waynes came up with his second interception of the game. Armstrong who went 20 of 43 for 273 yards and two picks wants one more crack at the Spartans

I mentioned during last week’s reports that something was going to give in the run game. Nebraska entered the game ranked No. 2 in the nation in rushing, and Michigan State was No. 4 in rushing defense. That matchup wasn’t much of a contest. The Huskers managed only 47 yards on the ground — they had been averaging 355. Ameer Abdullah was held to 45 yards rushing, scored on a pair of short runs in the fourth.

The Huskers have a week off and then they’ll travel to Northwestern who upset #17 Wisconsin. One of the other upsets in the Top 25.

Armstrong and other focused on eliminating turnovers against Michigan State (AUDIO)

Last year when the Huskers lost to Michigan State, Tommy Armstrong threw two big touchdown passes…a 32 yarder to Sam Burtch in the first quarter and a 38 yarder to Kenny Bell late in the third. Ameer Abdullah gained 123 yards on 32 carries. It was the first time a team was able to gain more than 300 yards of offense against that defense as NU racked up 392 yards. They also turned the ball over five times and that was the difference.  Armstrong says the Spartans are no fluke team.

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