The University of Nebraska fired head coach Scott Frost on Sunday after a 45-42 loss at home to Georgia Southern and a disappointing 1-2 start to the season. When he was announced as head coach in 2018, Frost was hailed as the man that would bring Nebraska back to the glory days of the 1990s. However, things obviously didn’t play out that way. His tenure will be remembered for close losses and bad coaching decisions. Here is a look back at his time as head coach of the Cornhuskers.
2018: The Beginning of the One-Score Loss Saga
The Scott Frost era began as it would so often continue – with a loss by one score. Nebraska opened the season against former Big 12 rival Colorado and lost in heartbreaking fashion, 33-28. Colorado scored the game-winning touchdown with only 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
In week two the Huskers again lost by one score, falling to Troy 24-19. Nebraska fell behind 17-0 in the first half and couldn’t complete the comeback because of three untimely turnovers.
As conference play began, Nebraska was blown out by Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin in three consecutive ugly games. Frost’s Nebraska team was 0-5, desperately searching for their first win.
It appeared that first win was inevitable the following week as Nebraska had a 31-21 lead at Northwestern with less than six minutes remaining. However, Northwestern stormed back to force overtime, and the Cornhuskers eventually fell 34-31.
Frost’s first win finally came in week seven as Nebraska handled Minnesota 53-28. The next week the Huskers improved their record to 2-6 as they easily beat FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman 45-9.
Nebraska was on a mini winning-streak as they went on the road to face #8 Ohio State. Scott Frost had a chance to show that the program was heading in right direction, and an upset win could have turned the season around. But again the Cornhuskers lost by one score, 36-31.
After an easy win against struggling Illinois, Nebraska beat Michigan State 9-6 in a cold, snowy game. The Huskers had won two straight again and finally won a one-score game.
The final game of the season was on the road against Iowa. It was a back and forth game but the outcome was all too familiar for Frost and Nebraska. Iowa kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to win 31-28.
Frost’s first season was in the books and the Cornhuskers finished 4-8. But things had to get better, right?
2019: High Expectations, Bad Results
Nebraska began the 2019 season ranked #24 in the preseason poll, and Cornhusker fans expected a turnaround. The Huskers edged out South Alabama in their first game and dropped to #25 for their week two rematch at Colorado.
Frost and Nebraska blew a 17-0 halftime lead, and a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter. Colorado fought back to force overtime with less than a minute left. The result was the same as the previous year, as Colorado won by one score. Nebraska dropped out of the top 25 and would never be ranked again under Frost.
The Huskers rallied after the loss to beat Northern Illinois and Illinois the following weeks, and a showdown with Ohio State loomed.
College GameDay came to Lincoln as the 3-1 Cornhuskers took on the undefeated #5 Buckeyes. It was Frost’s chance to finally notch a signature win, to finally put Nebraska back on the map in the college football landscape. Ohio State won 48-7.
After the lopsided loss, Nebraska fans’ faith in Frost began to dwindle. His team was incredibly unprepared and was outplayed from the opening kickoff. It was an embarrassing loss on a nationally-televised, primetime stage.
Nebraska then bounced back to beat Northwestern before going on a four-game losing streak with a couple one-score losses mixed in.
Nebraska ended their losing streak with a blowout win over Maryland. Frost had the chance to salvage a .500 season with a win over Iowa. But like the previous year, Iowa kicked a game-winning field goal on their final drive and Frost finished his second year with a 5-7 record.
2020: More of the Same
The COVID-shortened season in 2020 began with another blowout loss to Ohio State and yet another one-score loss to Northwestern. Frost began to feel the pressure as his career record was 9-17.
Nebraska bounced back with a close win over Penn State, but followed it up with a blowout loss to Illinois and another one-score loss to Iowa.
The Huskers then beat Purdue by 10, lost by one score to Minnesota, and finished the year with a seven point victory at Rutgers.
Year 3 was finished and Frost again had a losing record of 3-5.
2021: The Best 3-9 Team of All Time?
Frost began the 2021 season with a 12-20 record and Nebraska fans questioning his ability to produce winning football. The Cornhuskers opened the season at Illinois and lost 30-22. The one-score loss set the scene for one of the weirdest seasons in college football history.
Nebraska went 3-9, despite posting a positive point-differential. Frost’s team scored 335 points while allowing 272. How could a team that is +63 in scoring only win three games?
The answer is what plagued Scott Frost for his entire Nebraska tenure; one-score losses.
The Huskers had eight losses by one score, but the three wins came by a combined 119 points.
In 2019, Nebraska faced six opponents that were ranked in the top 25 and lost five of those matchups by less than seven points. Frost and many Nebraska fans believed that the team was close to finding a winning formula. If they could find a way to win the one-score games, the team could have a successful 2022. However, Frost was still on the hot seat as his record sat at 15-29.
2022: Scott Frost on a Short Leash
Frost knew he had little room for error going into the 2022 season. So during the offseason, he reshaped his coaching staff. He hired Mark Whipple as offensive coordinator, Mickey Joseph as wide receivers coach and associate head coach, Bryan Applewhite as running backs coach, and Donovan Raiola as offensive line coach.
He was still on a very short leash and an extremely hot seat as the Huskers traveled to Dublin, Ireland to kick off the season against Northwestern in the first high-profile game of the college football season.
The Huskers trailed 17-14 at halftime in another close game. Early in the third quarter, Nebraska scored two touchdowns in less than a minute to take a 28-17 lead.
Then it happened. The onside kick heard ’round the world. Frost decided to try an onside kick while up by 11. Northwestern recovered the kick and snatched away all the momentum Nebraska had just earned.
Northwestern scored the final 14 points of the game, and won 31-28. Another one-score loss for Frost, his hot seat now scorching.
Nebraska was rolling in the third quarter.
Then Scott Frost got in his own way.
Huskers outscored 14-0 after this failed onside kick attempt. pic.twitter.com/6hfjGvq6Cu
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 27, 2022
In week two, Nebraska beat FCS North Dakota in a game that was much closer than the 38-17 score would suggest.
Then on Saturday, Nebraska faced Georgia Southern. Frost’s team came into the game as 23.5 point favorites, but the visitors were able to rip apart the Nebraska defense en route to a 45-42 victory. The Cornhuskers defense couldn’t stop Georgia Southern, allowing 642 yards of total offense. The next day, Nebraska announced that Scott Frost had been fired.
Frost’s time at Nebraska finally came to an end after a miserable 16-31 record. The coach that was supposed to take Nebraska back to the Promised Land had driven them into obscurity and turned them into the laughingstock of the Big Ten. It was fitting that Frost’s final game was a one-score loss.
Nebraska named Mickey Joseph the interim head coach on Sunday. The Cornhuskers host #6 Oklahoma on Saturday at 12:00 ET.
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