Published Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm / Updated at 11:23 pm
FOOTBALL
Notes: Huskers looking to get a handle on their fumble problems

LINCOLN — Nebraska fumbled three times — and lost two of them — against South Dakota State during Saturday's 59-20 win, a problem that will again be a point of emphasis for the Husker skill players this week.

With no game to prepare for, offensive coordinator Tim Beck said, the focus will be fundamentals. And ball security's at the top of the list.

Juniors Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell both lost fumbles Saturday. Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong fumbled once, but a teammate recovered it.

“When guys are stretching and reaching for yards, we seem to carry it loosely as we made cuts,” Beck said. “It wasn't actually physical contact, it was that kind of stuff. We've got to be better there.”

The Huskers have fumbled 11 times in four games, including four times in a 41-21 loss to UCLA. Only three teams in the nation have more.

Enunwa piling up catches, TDs

Quincy Enunwa went scoreless Saturday for the first time this season, but the senior matched his career high with six receptions (for a season-best 78 yards) against South Dakota State.

Enunwa has 17 receptions through four games, one behind Bell for the team lead. Enunwa leads the Huskers with 202 receiving yards, and his five touchdown receptions are tied for sixth nationally.

“I think I just kind of took this offseason and told myself that nobody was going to work harder than me,” Enunwa said. “Some of the things I did in the offseason I didn't do before, and it definitely helped me out this year.”

Also Saturday, Bell logged the 100th reception of his career, becoming only the seventh Husker to reach that plateau.

Fyfe impresses in debut

Redshirt freshman Ryker Fyfe made his Husker debut at quarterback late in the game Saturday, and Beck was impressed.

Fyfe, the walk-on from Grand Island, directed Nebraska's final two drives.

“I like what he does,” Beck said. “He's been patient. He just keeps plugging away.”

Beck mentioned a zone-read option play specifically on which Fyfe kept the ball, made a defender miss and nearly picked up the first down with a 3-yard run. He completed his only pass to redshirt freshman Brandon Reilly for 5 yards.

A welcome break for defense

The Nebraska defense has something coming this week that it might need as much as anything right now: a chance to catch its breath.

The Huskers have a bye week before starting Big Ten play Oct. 5 at home against Illinois.

“We've got to take full advantage of it,” NU freshman linebacker Nathan Gerry said.

Gerry said the Huskers need to weed out some of the mental mistakes that have been adding up through four games. NU senior cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste said he expected some work on tackling and going over assignments.

“We're going to go back to the basics,” Jean-Baptiste said.

* * *

Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini talks after the game:



Video: Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong talks after the game:



Video: Nebraska QB Ron Kellogg talks after the game:



Video: Postgame analysis with Sam McKewon:



Video: Jack Hoffman and others get their own tunnel walk:

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust

rich.kaipust@owh.com    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

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