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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Nebraska Edition

What went right, what went wrong, and everything in between Vs the Huskers. Plus team grades.

Eric Francis

The game started out so positive for Miami.

But in the end, we are all left with the same unanswered questions, especially on defense.

I think we will all be seeing Ameer Abdullah in our nightmares.

UM has little time to lick its' wounds, with defending Coastal Division Champion Duke coming to town next weekend.

Let's break it all down.

The Good:

  • Insane atmosphere from Lincoln (Memorial Stadium record 91,585 in attendance):

  • Great opening series by Miami featuring nice catches by Malcolm Lewis & Clive Walford, big runs by Duke Johnson (including the capper), great play calling by OC James Coley, and calm and accurate Brad Kaaya in a very hostile environment.
  • Brad Kaaya staring down the barrel and delivering great passes under pressure.
  • Duke Johnson was unstoppable catching passes out of the back field. Johnson had a new career high in yards receiving in the 1st half, and finished with 4 catches for 74 yards.
  • Thurston Armbrister continues to make big time plays all over the field. He needs help.

  • Deon Bush with the huge hit on Tommy Armstrong that forced a first half fumble. It was a perfect form tackle with a little something extra. Miami needed much more of THAT.
  • Clutch drive down 24-14 in the 3rd quarter, finished off by an amazing TD catch in the corner of the end zone by Lewis.

  • Miami shows some fight, literally (particularly Standish Dobard) when again down 10, to stay in the game, albeit temporarily.

The Bad:

  • As spectacular as the 'Canes opening offensive series was, the D was equally awful. They were terrible defending the read option, and Kenny Bell was wide open for the 40 yard equalizer.
  • The tackling, although not many can square up Abdullah.  Miami's D gave up way too many yards after contact nonetheless.

  • Also this about summed it up:

  • With the 'Canes fighting back after an absolute gift on an INT by Armstrong, Duke Johnson was stripped as he picked up a 1st down.  Crushing.

The Ugly:

  • Walford's effort on the first quarter INT by Nebraska's David Santos.  The pass was too far inside but you have to come back and make a play on the ball to at least break it up.
  • Tracy Howard's attempt at a tackle on Abdullah near the sideline in the first quarter.... "O-Lay!"
  • Two delay of games to start drives? It was noisy yes, but that should never happen.
  • After a failed 4th down conversion things got ugly.  It should be noted that the first 2 penalties were offensive linemen sticking up for Kaaya after Huskers star DE Randy Gregory roughed him up.

Team Grades:


Kaaya threw two horrendous picks (one negated by penalty). But he did have some nice moments as well.  Duke Johnson has a very nice game, but unfortunately his second half fumble is all anyone will remember from this game.



Miami knew what was coming, and couldn't do a thing to stop it.  Abdullah is a special player, but much of what we saw tonight was a defense that is still a long, long ways from ready for prime time.  UM's best defensive player, Denzel Perryman, was basically a no show.  346 yards rushing allowed is not a typo.


Special Teams:

Michael Badgley nailed his first FG from 34 yards.  No huge mistakes, but no big plays produced either.



Coley had some very nice calls on offense. Perhaps a few too many bubble screens.

Mark D'Onofrio however took a far too conservative approach on D, in my opinion. With Nebraska chewing up the Miami front, nary a blitz or 8 man front. Why not dare Armstrong to beat you with his arm?

Circle drill in pregame was cool, nice way to fire up the team.   It fired up RT Taylor Gadbois, sure, but the D took the brunt of  Nebraska's aggression tonight, instead of delivering it.  Some of that has to fall on the coaches.


If not for some improved offensive play calling this could easily be an F as well.  The defense was dominated, and it's up to this staff to explain and remedy it.