Tom's Takes: This was one the Huskers had to win — and they came up short again

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 31-27 loss to Purdue.

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1. The loss to Purdue means this will likely be another season without a bowl game. You can say what you want about preseason hype and predictions, but nobody had that one. This was one of the last four the Huskers had to have. When Nebraska is playing at its best, it could give Wisconsin or Iowa a half of a game. But the Nebraska team that makes mistakes shows up too often. At this point, you have to wonder what the state of mind and effort will be going forward.

2. We had the tale of two quarterbacks in this one, the two different Adrian Martinezes. For most of the game he missed plays, receivers and chances to run and still made wrong decisions. Then he rallied late, played decisive and looked a little like his freshman self on those QB keeps for touchdowns. The sophomore has been a mystery all season. He might be the most talented quarterback on the roster, but when he's not playing well, he's not the best, and Noah Vedral, if healthy, should play. We'll see if No. 2 turned a corner with his aggressive play late in the game.

3. Scott Frost was quick to defend his defense, saying they played well in the first half. But the Blackshirts also gave up 304 yards passing and 145 rushing to a Purdue team that didn't have its best player (Rondale Moore) and the game-winning drive to the third-string quarterback. Jack Plummer was sacked twice, but when pressure did come, most of the time he was able to find an open man. The last touchdown was too easy. Purdue's David Bell said Nebraska always plays man in the red zone, so the Boilers knew the reverse would be there. Erik Chinander will catch heat again. I don't expect Frost to make any changes after this season and for continuity sake, I don't think he should. The defensive players have been through too many defensive coordinators. But looking at who is coming back next year, I'm also not sure how the defense gets better.

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