Nebraska opens season 0-2 for first time in over 60 years with loss to Troy

Scott Frost’s Nebraska team has done something that hasn’t been done in a long, long time in Lincoln. No, that thing is not good.

Nebraska lost Saturday to Troy 24-19 to fall to 0-2. It’s the first time a Nebraska team has started the season 0-2 since 1957. That team went 1-9 in William Jennings’ first season as Nebraska coach.

When you combine the 0-2 start with four-straight losses to end the 2017 season, it’s also the first time Nebraska has lost six-straight games since, you guessed it, 1957. 

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There are a few caveats to Nebraska’s 2018 futility. The team’s first game of the season against Akron was canceled because of thunderstorms. That probably would have been a win. And dynamic quarterback Adrian Martinez suffered a knee injury late in a Week 2 loss to Colorado. He missed Saturday’s game, meaning walk-on backup Andrew Bunch was forced to start the game.

But let’s be real. Nebraska shouldn’t be losing to Troy. Just like it shouldn’t have lost to Northern Illinois at home in Week 3 in 2017. That loss dropping the Huskers to 1-2 led to the firing of athletic director Shawn Eichorst later that week. Coach Mike Riley was fired after the season.

There won’t be firings in Lincoln after Saturday. Nor should there be. But the first two weeks of Nebraska’s season are a wakeup call to Husker fans that Frost and his staff are going to need some time to get the program going.

Nebraska last started 0-2 in 1957. Troy sent the Huskers to 0-2 on Saturday. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
Nebraska last started 0-2 in 1957. Troy sent the Huskers to 0-2 on Saturday. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

Defensive breakdown led to clinching score

Troy got inside the Nebraska 5 with less than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter on a run by quarterback Kaleb Barker. But it was called back for a hold and Troy was forced into a 1st and 15 at the Nebraska 26.

That was absolutely no problem. Barker handed the ball off to B.J. Smith who ran through a crater-sized hole in the middle of the Nebraska defense untouched for his second touchdown of the day.

The Troy TD put the Trojans in front 24-13. Nebraska got a touchdown with less than three minutes to go but Bunch overthrew his receiver on the two-point conversion.

Huskers turned ball over on potential game-winning drive

Troy went three-and-out after Nebraska’s touchdown, but Nebraska’s final drive lasted two plays. Bunch was intercepted off a tipped pass. Troy simply ran out the clock the rest of the way.

Bunch finished the game 19-27 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. With Tristan Gebbia’s transfer, he’ll be the guy until Martinez is healthy enough to play.

The win is a big bounceback for Troy, one of the top teams in the Sun Belt. The Trojans were beaten soundly by Boise State at home in Week 1

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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