Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the disastrous loss Nebraska suffered to Northwestern in Dublin on Saturday, and debate what it means for the rest of this season for the Huskers.
DAN WETZEL: I want to start with the Debacle in Dublin. We've talked a lot about the Cornhuskers and the perilous fate, you would think, of Scott Frost's future there. But Nebraska was leading 28-17 on Northwestern. It looked like, hey, here's a shot for Nebraska to win, to cover, to feel good about itself. They're rolling along.
Onside kick, about 9 minutes left in the third, and the game was never the same. Northwestern came back and won 31-28 in Ireland. Pat, I will start with you because you seemed greatly offended by the onside kick.
ROSS DELLENGER: Because he picked the Huskers.
PAT FORDE: I mean--
ROSS DELLENGER: Like you.
PAT FORDE: I was-- I-- I just-- I'm not sure I've seen a more profound act of self-sabotage in a must-win game, or near must-win at least, than that one by the great Scott Frost. I mean, your career is on the line this season, and this is one of those 50/50 kind of games.
Really, 60/40 you should win, and you're up 11, and that's when you decide, oh, let's get cute. Let's be aggressive. Let's be creative. Let's catch them off-guard.
No! Let's turn the whole game around and just give it to Northwestern to come back. I just-- I-- I was astounded. I mean, Scott Frost has done a lot of stupid things in four years at Nebraska and is very fortunate to have his job for a fifth year. And then you start your fifth year by doing that?
It blew up, like so many other things in Scott Frost's tenure, and yet another close loss. As I said last week, 5 and 20 in one-score games? Make it 5 and 21, buddy.
ROSS DELLENGER: So I didn't see a lot of explanation of what he said afterward except that he regrets the call.
DAN WETZEL: Be aggressive. Being aggressive.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah.
PAT FORDE: Mm-hmm.
ROSS DELLENGER: Being aggressive, right. Yes, aggressively stupid, I think, some might say. So I don't get it, and now it just-- that felt like a win or be-fired game. Right?
I mean, it just felt-- it just felt that way. Like, if you can't beat a Northwestern team that won three games last year, you're probably not going to get to that mark, this year, that would keep you as coach. But that's just how it feels.
DAN WETZEL: All right, I didn't like the call. I mean, look, you're up two scores on Northwestern. Historically, that's enough. This is not--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Not playing against the '03 Hurricanes here, OK, where you're like, ah, they're getting 60. I gotta keep going. It's Northwestern. You punt them deep, and you make them go a long way, really slow. That's their thing. They just aren't a quick-strike offense.
So I don't get it. I get the aggressiveness. Look, if they had done it, we'd be going, oh, he seized the job-- I don't know. Dumb idea.
I was more concerned-- you look at that defensive line. It was not good. There was no pass rush. They got gashed.
That's recruiting. That's development. That's coaching. Like, you can't just get grounded and worn down at the end of the game by Northwestern. It doesn't bode well.
Scott Frost, this was not win or go home. It was close. If he can beat Oklahoma in a couple weeks, he has a chance to survive. But you are-- (LAUGHS) you are now really on the edge. If he loses to Oklahoma big, he may not make it past that.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: But, either way, he's in a in a world of trouble. The program just doesn't-- there's nothing you saw. Casey Thompson, inaccurate once the-- once Northwestern made some shifts on defense. The passing game changed. I mean, just there was nothing you saw Saturday that says, OK, this team, you know, they botched it or something.
You can see good teams botch it. Right? A fumble on a punt or something like, you know, some crazy play, but that wasn't it. This was just like you're getting gashed at the end. You could not stop Northwestern. Your D-line got worn out in this game, and this is not the most physical team you're going to play this year.
PAT FORDE: No.
ROSS DELLENGER: The O-line lost the battle at line of scrimmage too, and they're the ones that threw up like 15 times a day during camp.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah.
ROSS DELLENGER: So that obviously didn't work. Something didn't work there.
PAT FORDE: All that puking for nothing!