Game replay: Wisconsin 41, Nebraska 24
MADISON, Wisc. — Four keys from Nebraska’s 41-24 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, including a peculiar play, a questionable call and more.
* * *
Nothing too bizarre, but Nebraska finally chose to give punter Caleb Lightbourn a seat after a 23-yard shank off the side of his foot. Lightbourn, coached hard and constantly last season, has regressed in his habits and performance. His replacement, Isaac Armstrong, immediately uncorked a 59-yarder that went for a 39-yard net. Will NU ride with Armstrong for a few games?
Scott Frost’s decision to go for a fourth-and-11 at the Wisconsin 37 will likely get questioned, but NU trailed by 10 at the time and had hit a few passes on the previous drives. Frost sent a relatively good message to his team in that moment, but it backfired when NU didn’t convert. Wisconsin then drove 63 yards in 91 seconds for a touchdown, giving the Badgers a 20-3 halftime lead.
NU’s offensive line committed four first-half penalties, two of which negated first downs, all of which put the Huskers behind the chains. Those plays were killers, but only one came on a run play, and Martinez’s habit of holding onto the ball until the last second is going to prompt some penalties from his linemen. As Martinez matures, he’ll learn to get rid of the ball quicker, helping his line protect without picking up protection flags. The quarterback also has to get better at letting bad plays die a painless death, instead of extending them into turnovers or flags.
Maurice Washington is a live wire every time he touches the ball. He probably doesn’t touch it enough, but, when he does, something exciting seems just about to happen. He finished with four catches for 53 yards and five carries for 27 yards. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s running backs, Jonathan Taylor, Garrett Groshek and Taiwan Deal, are big, tough runners. All had good days against NU’s defense, which didn’t always seem too interested in tackling them.