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Knee-Jerk Reactions: BYU Cougars vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Never let it be said that BYU-Nebraska 2015 wasn’t worth the price of admission. While the opening game of the Mike Riley era ended with a Hail Mary touchdown pass, it wasn’t celebrated like the one Jordan Westerkamp had versus Northwestern in 2013.

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Here’s what Husker fans can take away from the 33-28 loss:

- If you’d have told me Tommy Armstrong was going to duplicate scrimmage numbers and throw for 319 yards, three touchdowns and one interception during live competition, I’d have laughed in your face.

Armstrong has shown he can lead this offense. Keep in mind he started hot and got into a funk, one which he would not have recovered from last season.

- The running game wants to be there (this will be partially addressed in a moment) and Nebraska’s 2015 edition of the WeBacks have talent across the board. However, the coaches need to figure out what each back is best capable of across the board. They now have game film of that.

- The offensive line looks like… well, an offensive line learning how to accommodate a new rushing attack and pass block for a new scheme. Anyone who expected perfection going into this game was looking to be disappointed.

 I will say that it was encouraging to see this unit come out in the second half and use momentum to simply impose their will downfield. Time for offensive line coach Cavanaugh (not me) to work his magic.

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- I have absolutely no qualms with the wide receivers. Once they get even more familiar with their routes, this looks to be a very dangerous passing attack. That’s saying something as Armstrong got the football into eight different players’ hands via the pass in game one.

- Apparently defensive adjustments are allowed at the half. Who knew?

- Aside from Greg McMullen, the defensive front four came correct as expected. It was a pleasant surprise to see Freedom Akinmoladun get involved right off the bat. 

- Luke Gifford is no Michael Rose-Ivey. The good news is MRI comes back for South Alabama and ideally he won’t need to leave his starting role again. Josh Banderas played like a leader and Dedrick Young certainly didn’t look like a true freshman.

- This is a secondary that was clearly having opening game lapses against towering receivers. When you face two wideouts that are 6-foot-5 and another who adds an inch to that, it’s going to be a tough ball game. 

Give credit where it’s due, though. Josh Kalu showed why he earned a Blackshirt. Daniel Davie didn’t exactly play up to the standard, though. 

- Hopefully Sam Foltz isn’t too banged up. Slammin’ Sammy needs to be on the field.

- There’s no such thing as a good loss, but there’s a lot to learn from this one. While I don’t expect Nebraska to win the College Football Playoff, like Ohio State last season, the Big Red may end up better for the experience.

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.