NU MIDSEASON REVIEW
Coming out of Nebraska's bye week, The World-Herald takes a look back at the first half of the season and how the Huskers got to 4-2. From the top offensive and defensive plays to team MVPs, relive the first six Husker football games of 2012. Full coverage
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Tim Beck stood in the chilly Ohio night and conceded that the inconsistency of the Nebraska offense against Ohio State — the turnovers, the penalties — was the “story of the season.”
The Huskers are sitting on some lofty numbers at the midway point — even leading the Big Ten in scoring, total offense and rushing — but those statistics haven't always taken them where they want to go.
So Beck was asked how NU goes about repairing what needs to be fixed.
“I don't know,” the Huskers' offensive coordinator said after a short pause. “We'll see.”
Nebraska had a bye week to reflect on what went right and wrong in the first six games and to try to fix the problems. One must for the Husker offense will be taking better care of the football over the next six weeks.
>> Only Illinois has committed more turnovers among Big Ten teams than the Huskers, who now have 15. With the NU defense not generating nearly the same number, Nebraska ranks last in the Big Ten — and tied for No. 101 nationally — in turnover ratio at minus-6.
>> The 10 lost fumbles tell only half the story. The Huskers actually have put the football on the turf 17 times, including five in two Big Ten games by quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Most of the concern stems from the struggles after a 24-point first half at UCLA, the slow start against Wisconsin and the seemingly all-or-nothing performance at Ohio State.
Otherwise, Nebraska has gone through some stretches where it has almost looked unstoppable.
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The Huskers are averaging 507.3 total yards and 43.7 points per game. Even taking out the 73-7 rout of Idaho State, those figures are still 495.0 and 37.8.
They also have managed at least 223 rushing yards in all six games, even though All-Big Ten I-back Rex Burkhead has missed two full games and parts of two others because of knee injuries. That has given backup Ameer Abdullah a chance, and the sophomore has responded with a team-high 514 yards and seven touchdowns.
Martinez started the season by throwing for a career-high 354 yards and five touchdowns against Southern Mississippi. After saying he wanted to complete 70 percent of his passes this season, the junior is at 66.4 percent.
But after throwing just one interception in NU's first five games, Martinez had three against Ohio State (reminiscent of the Wisconsin game a year ago). And the Buckeyes turned the Huskers' four turnovers overall into 21 points.
The week before, two NU fumbles led directly to 14 points for Wisconsin.
Again, it has been about consistency.
“You can't live on the edge with having your eye on a big play or a big-time comeback,” NU assistant coach Ron Brown said. “You have to develop some momentum, and to do that you have to have consistency.”
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