Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts explained at Big Ten Media Days in July why he wouldn’t attach a win total to fifth-year coach Scott Frost’s job security.
"So you guys can spend the whole year go Alabama State Hornets Jerseys ing, 'Well, this was the total,'" Alberts said. "'Now this is how many games they have to get there … '"
Alberts knows that game well from his days as an ESPN analyst. Narratives won’t die unless something is done; one continued Saturday in Nebraska's Week 0 opener at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
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The Huskers, who were two-touchdown favorites against Northwestern, lost 31-28 in a battle of teams that went 3-9 in 2021. Frost's second-half de Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles clothes cision to try an onside kick will be second-guessed longer than the flight back to the States. An Irish reporter gave Frost a direct question to ponder on the way out: "Is there any point in time where you would consider stepping down?"
"Absolutely not," Frost said. "I love Nebraska. I’m going to fight with the guys as long as I can fight."
The number that's being talked about isn’t the win total; it's Frost's 5-21 record in one-score games. The loss to the Wildcats played out in almost identical fashion to last year's Week 0 loss at Illinois. This isn't a traditi Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Jerseys on Nebraska wants to be known for.
Things were supposed to be different. New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, whose system helped Pitt’s Kenny Pickett develop into a Heisman Trophy finalist, and Texas transfer quarterback Casey Thompson were supposed to get the offense back on track.
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Things looked promising on the opening drive. Protection was tight. Receivers made plays. Thompson hit 5 of 6 passes for 68 yards and a 32-yard TD to Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda for a quick 7-0 lead.
Was it going to be that easy? C'mon now. If you know, you know.
The Huskers threatened to build a two-score lead in the second quarter, but Garcia-Castaneda fumbled after a 24-yard gain and Northwestern’s Greyson Metz pounced on the ball. It was a bad call by the officials, but that has been part of the one-score bad luck.
That doesn't excuse Nebraska's pass defense. Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski completed 20 of 23 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The Wildcats led 17-14 at intermission.
Nebraska battled through that adversity. Thompson made an incredible escape out of the pocket and spun arou Arkansas Razorbacks Jerseys nd before launching a 58-yard pass to set up a TD run by Anthony Grant.
The Huskers then converted a Cam Porter fumble College Operation Hat Trick Apparel into a Grant 46-yard TD run for a 28-17 lead with 9:09 remaining in the third. That's when Frost, who became more involved with the special teams this offseason, opted for an onside kick.
Northwestern recovered, and, we told you once: IYKYK.
The Wildcats scored on the next drive. Thompson threw two fourth-quarter interceptions. Northwestern scored the go-ahead TD and gobbled up much of the fourth quarter with 157 of its 214 rushing yards.
Frost took the blame for the onside call.
The problem is, the Huskers might have won the game by making a stop while up 11 points. The decision is hard to figure, especially when you consider Nebraska allowed 527 yards to a team it beat 56-7 in 2021.
Now the heat lands entirely on Frost, a program icon whose struggles at his alma mater are further magnified with each one-score flop.
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"I give Northwestern a lot of credit,” Frost said. "They were more physical than us up front at times today. That was probably the difference, and we've got to get this turned around.”
Northwestern was the more physical team. That has to gnaw at a program that's 25 FSU vs. Miami Rivalry Jerseys years removed from a national championship and is still trying to find its footing in a soon-to-be coast-to-coast Big Ten Conference.
Thompson did pass for 355 yards, and Gant had 101 rushing yar Brenau Golden Tigers Jerseys ds and two TDs. Whipple's offense can be prolific, but Nebraska can't have the turnovers, the defensive breakdowns or the questionable special teams call.
Yet Frost used the loss as an opportunity to throw shade at his offensive assistants.
"I think our offensive staff has to learn you've got to be a little more creative in this league," Frost said in the postgame press conference.
There is a reason Alberts won't put a number on Frost's future. The Huskers play No. 9 Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 17, and there's a brutal stretch in November with Minnesota, No. 8 Michigan, No. 18 Wisconsin and Iowa. Assuming the Huskers lose all of those games — they will be underdogs in them — then they have to be perfect everywhere else just to get 6-6.
That math isn't easy, esp Clovis Community College Bulls clothes ecially after losing to Northwestern. If it gets worse, then it's possible Frost could be out and Whipple could take over on an interim basis.
"You've got to win in this business to keep a job," Frost said. "That's the way it is. I love Nebraska, love the state of Nebraska, love these fans that sacrificed to come over here."
That love might not be enough for much longer.
Not when that win total is all anybody will talk about the rest of the season.