January 29, 2023

Casey Thompson confident Huskers have become closers

Nebraska Cornhuskers Football

Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson drops back to attempt a pass in the fourth quarter against Iowa Friday November 25, 2022 at Kinnick Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Huskers snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes Friday, and they put together a complete performance in their quarterback’s eyes.

It didn’t matter to Casey Thompson that he accomplished what his predecessor Adrian Martinez couldn’t. He was just glad to get the victory for the his teammates, coaching staff and Big Red Nation. After all, Thompson has looked like a new and improved gunslinger since he returned to the gridiron, with five touchdown tosses and no interceptions over the past two games.

His three touchdown passes against Iowa were a season-high. And that’s light years ahead of the 10 interceptions Thompson threw through Nebraska’s first eight contests. Which is why Thompson believes the Huskers have turned the corner in terms of closing out games.

“I think there’s really a stigma of Nebraska doesn’t know how to finish and close games,” Thompson said.

Over the last few years the Huskers have been the poster boys for coming up short in the clutch. Those shortcomings had a lot to do with Scott Frost’s firing. However, after Friday’s win, Thompson feels the team has changed the narrative.

Although Nebraska came from behind and beat Rutgers on the road in game six, Thompson believes it was different winning at Kinnick. It was a game that the Huskers never trailed and they kept their foot on the gas. The signal-caller thought the offense left some plays on the field though. Thompson feels he should’ve thrown for 500 yards if the offense kept passing the ball. The Oklahoma native knows that performance was a testament of how much the offense has improved.

“Regardless of how many years it’s been that this football team hasn’t finished games in the fourth quarter, I think we broke that streak this year,” the 24-year old said. “That doesn’t mean we’re always going to win games in the fourth quarter, sometimes the ball rolls the other way.”

Unfortunately winning the Heroes Trophy was bittersweet for Thompson and his teammates. They were glad to win it for Mickey Joseph, but barely had time to celebrate and take it all in because of the outside noise about Matt Rhule. On top of that Thompson revealed during the post game press conference that he’s been playing with a tear in his right labrum.

The Huskers aren’t going to a bowl game, so he has yet to decide on whether or not he’ll have surgery. In the meantime the six-foot, 195-pounder just wants to rest and get healthy. There’s no denying it has been a long season for Thompson and the physicality of the Big Ten took its’ toll on him and his teammates.

“The demands of playing quarterback at this level here at the University of Nebraska it’s a blessing,” he said. “But it’s a curse sometimes because you have to deal with so much.”

No doubt the fans are passionate and loyal as expected. All Big Red Nation wants is to see Nebraska back to competing for championships again. Thompson is confident the program is headed in the right direction. And beating Iowa for the first time since 2014 is proof in the pudding.

Being mentally tough and having veteran leadership goes a long way in winning close games. Accomplishing it also builds confidence. There’s no denying closing out the year with a win is going to generate positive momentum for the offseason. In Thompson’s mind, Nebraska (4-8) has nowhere to go, but up, despite the new leadership.

“I know what this team is capable of, and I’m excited for what’s in store.”