LINCOLN — To Husker Nation, the performance of the Nebraska offense in a 35-21 season-opening win over South Alabama was no laughing matter.
The Huskers had 210 yards on 49 plays at the half, but finished the game with just 276 total yards on 66 plays.
That means the Nebraska offense produced just 66 yards on only 17 plays in the second half.
There were some reasons for that, like Eric Lee’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown followed by JD Spielman’s 76-yard punt return for another score. Because of those plays, the Husker offense didn’t take the field until the 6:47 mark of the second half.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska defense had one of its better days in quite some time with five turnovers. That includes a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown by Alex Davis after a sack by Cam Taylor separated South Alabama quarterback Cephus Johnson from the ball.
Taylor had two tackles for losses to go along with a 48-yard interception return that ended a South Alabama scoring threat.
In the end, the Husker defense and special teams scored 21 points in the game while the offense had 14.
And the defense let the offense know about it — in a joking way that is.
“We tell them that we got more points than them,” Taylor said. “That’s a thing for us this year. They may put up 21, and we’ll try to put up 21 on defense. That’s a great game for us.”
But Taylor said the thing to remember is this wasn’t the same Husker offense that the defense went against in fall camp.
He knows what the offense can do, as does head coach Scott Frost.
“It was just a bad game,” Taylor said. “We went against this offense in fall camp and they’re very explosive. They have a lot of weapons. When they get the ball in their hands and get things clicking, Frost is going to get it going and Adrian Martinez will do his thing.”
So there’s nothing to do but move on to the next game, which is against old rival Colorado, a team that beat Colorado State 52-31 on Friday night.
Taylor is hoping Deontai Williams, who sat out Saturday’s game with an injury, is back on Saturday. Taylor, a sophmore from Alabama who has family and friends in Colorado, is certainly looking forward to the trip to Boulder.
“I had last year’s game circled on my schedule and I have this year’s game circled on my schedule,” Taylor said. “Being able to go play against those kids, and I know a lot of the kids on their team. I’m just excited to go back out there and take CU down.”
Linebacker JoJo Domann is equally excited. The junior from Colorado Springs said tickets are tough to get, but he’ll probably have 12 to 14 family members in the stands.
“It’s a homecoming for me,” Domann said. “I get to go home and play in front of a lot of family in a state I love where I was raised in. It means a lot.”
Domann was one of the defensive players who didn’t receive a Blackshirt when those coveted jerseys were handed out a week ago.
That could be partly because he was late to fall camp while rehabbing from an injury.
But Domann made his share of plays Saturday. He was credited with four tackles, including two for losses, and a pass breakup.
The pass breakup was a missed opportunity for Domann. It was an interception if he had held onto the ball. But all in all, it was a good day for Domann.
“It felt good,” Domann said. “Like coach Frost was saying, play fast and cut it loose. Those are the two things I try to do. I missed my first tackle of the game, but I came back and it made me hit the guy even harder the next play.”