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November 26, 2010Nebraska clinched the Big 12 North for the second year in a row on Friday with a 45-17 victory over Colorado.
Here's the final report card grade out from Friday win over the Buffaloes. The Huskers (10-2, 6-2) will play in the Big 12 Championship game next week in Arlington.
Nebraska didn't ask Cody Green to win this game by himself. The beauty of this game plan was it allowed Green to get comfortable and as the game wore on his confidence continued to grow. Green's touchdown passes to Kyler Reed and Brandon Kinnie were things of beauty. He also did a nice job running the ball at times. The question now is do you go with Green next week or if Taylor Martinez is ready do you give him the start knowing his running ability is limited?
Running back: A+
Nebraska couldn't have asked running back Rex Burkhead to do more for them on Friday. Burkhead passed for two touchdowns and ran for over 100 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. I think we all knew Burkhead was going to throw the football one of these weeks, I don't think any of us envisioned him having two TD passes though. His second TD pass to Reed where he rolled out right and went back left was arguably the best play we've seen from Nebraska this season on offense. Overall, the Huskers ran the football a season-high 59 times for 265 yards. It was also good to see sophomore Dontrayevous Robinson get in the ball game with some solid work. Robinson finished with 55 yards on 13 carries.
Wide receiver/tight end: A
Without Niles Paul in the line-up we all knew some new faces would see some playing time, but nobody expected ex-baseball player Joe Broekemeier to be that guy. In his first major action of the season Broekemeier caught three passes from Green on third down, two of which resulted in first downs and extended scoring drives. I also thought Brandon Kinnie and Reed obviously stepped it up and made plays to take some of the pressure off of Green. There were also no drops by NU's wide receivers.
Offensive line: A
Nebraska went old school on Friday by running the football as season-high 59 times. The offensive just flat out got after it and wore Colorado down at the point of attack with consistent runs of 4 to 6 yards on nearly every play.
Defensive line: B+
Nebraska's defensive line had a solid day and didn't let Rodney Stewart break off any long runs. Jared Crick also tipped a pass that was returned for an interception. There were no quarterback sacks for NU on Friday.
There were a few times the linebackers got beat in coverage, but overall it was a solid day for both Lavonte David and Will Compton. David had eight tackles and two pass break-ups, while Compton finished with 7 tackles.
I know NU's secondary was beat twice for deep touchdown passes, but they also forced three turnovers that led to 21 points. I thought NU's senior led secondary couldn't have asked for a better way to end their careers at Memorial Stadium. Eric Hagg had an interception, while DeJon Gomes had a pick and a fumble recovery as well, too bad they couldn't have gotten this last week in College Station. Prince Amukamara also had a couple of "Mel Kiper highlight reel" pass break-ups. There's no question this group of DB's will be remembered as one of the best in school history.
Special teams: A
Alex Henery placed three of his four punts inside the 20 yard line, including one on the 7 yard line on Friday. Henery also nailed a 42 yard field goal into the wind. The kickoff coverage was solid for NU and they didn't allow a kickoff return longer than 23 yards.