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Knee-Jerk Reactions: South Alabama Jaguars vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Tommy Armstrong

Tommy Armstrong

After a game that could’ve done a tremendous amount of damage to Nebraska’s psyche in their loss to BYU, there were plenty of questions this week. Would Tommy Armstrong continue to look the part? Would the running game finally show up? Would the Huskers simply tank?

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Here’s your rundown:

- Armstrong looked excellent again, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, distributing the ball to six different receivers. The number of throws off of his back foot seems to be decreasing.

- Don’t let anyone tell you quarterbacks can’t block. Armstrong was throwing them effectively left and right to make room for his teammates.

- Not only did the running game return to Lincoln, but the back-by-committee system got tossed out the window. Terrell Newby toted the rock 28 times for 198 times and two touchdowns.

Perhaps what was most impressive about Newby’s day is that every carry looked like his first. He appeared very fresh.

- Looking at the offensive line, there were positives and negatives as the left side looked to slack off yet again. For whatever reason, senior Alex Lewis doesn’t engage for the entirety of plays.

I’m not sure if he’s actually injured or just lazy. Either way, if he doesn’t shore his play up, someone on offense is going to get hurt.

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- The defensive line played well despite Jack Gangwish being on the sideline. I was very impressed with Freedom Akinmoladun. I’m not ready to call him No. 95’s full-time replacement just yet, but his work next week in Miami should tell us a lot.

- Not having Josh Banderas or Dedrick Young available at linebacker made for an interesting storyline going into the game. That said, Michael Rose-Ivey came to play while Luke Gifford and Chris Weber were serviceable. Against South Alabama, serviceable was enough.

- The question’s officially out there: Should Daniel Davie have his Blackshirt yanked? He was beaten repeatedly on long fade routes, had to get penalty calls from being burned and essentially gave up a touchdown until a South Alabama penalty brought it back.

This is a deep secondary and we saw Chris Jones step up and take his place. It’s safe to say that whoever manages to cover a deep fade well likely has the inside track to wear the Black at corner opposite Jonathan Rose.

- Not only did Drew Brown nail two field goals, one was a 42-yarder. That ain’t bad.

- If Nebraska can keep the need for punts down to three per game, things should be fine. Otherwise, get well soon, Sam Foltz.

Bottom Line: a great rebound that shows Mike Riley can run a balanced system. Defensively, there were errors (specifically Davie, but he’s been raked over the coals enough).

However, considering two starting linebackers were out and Nebraska ended up with a positive turnover margin, that’s an overall victory.

Don’t worry about Miami for now, Huskers. Just enjoy a very satisfying win.

— 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.