by David Max
the Baylor game was a tale of two halves and it is good that we were the
ones that got our act together in the second half. It is nice to see shutoff
ball that second half and come back to win when being behind at half time
for the first time in a long time.
Pelini can't say it publicly so I will. I think the game was officiated
by Larry, Moe, Curly and their close cousins. There has been a lot of
commentary in the papers and online and some of it goes along the lines
of Pelini should be focusing on the game and not the refs and you can't
"work" the officials in football like you can in basketball.
Something needs to be done to insure consistency. I lost my voice from
yelling at the officials in the first quarter right after the call against
Cody Glenn and the tackle out of bounds on the Baylor side line. I asked
my good friend Arleen Heibel "Who are these guys?" and she handed
me her program. I couldn't find out who they were as they don't seem to
be listed in the program. Must be a reason for that. In a previous commentary
I made the statement that the players should run more steps than Jerry
Murtaugh if they get any more personal foul penalties. I doubt my comment
had anything to do with it but the next week they ran "gassers".
For this game I would give the players a Mulligan as there wasn't a single
obvious personal foul penalty as bad as the one they missed on Marlon
Lucky. The missed face mask on Marlon Lucky's long run was far more flagrant
than anything any Nebraska player did and it didn't get called. I would
sincerely hope the Big 12 Office does review this pattern that seems to
be developing of calling every ticky tack foul against Nebraska and missing
the obvious ones against the other teams that don't get called with regularity.
Maybe the officials should be running "gassers" for every call
they miss. Might even the playing field a little bit.
the poor officiating aside, the team played through that adversity and
came through when it mattered. That goal line stand was a thing of beauty.
We are continuing on the road to respectability and it is games like this
one that help build the foundation. I expect it to carry forward into
next week on the road against Oklahoma in that hostile environment. We
will be respectable. I was re-reading some of Johnny Rodgers book Era
of Greatness and several players talked about the mutual respect that
Nebraska and Oklahoma have for each other. I think the Oklahoma fans,
especially the older ones, realize that what happened in Norman four years
ago with Coach Callahan's unfortunate comment that was captured on tape
is not representative of how the Nebraska fan base feels about Oklahoma
fans. We respect the NU-OU rivalry and I wish it could be played every
year on Thanksgiving like we used to. Maybe the current Athletic Directors
can revisit the idea playing each other in our non-conference schedules
during those off years. It should be a no-brainer and would be good for
remember where I was during the Game of the Century. I was at Greg Gentry's
house on 1307 South Elm in Shenandoah, Iowa and we were in the basement
watching the game on TV. His parents were gone and somehow or another
there was plenty of beer in the refrigerator for us less than 21 year
olds to drink. When Johnny made that punt return it was a surreal moment.
I just knew we were going to win after that. That return overshadows the
fact that the other four touchdowns Nebraska scored that day were by Jeff
Kinney. It doesn't really matter who carried the ball across the goal
line. It was a team effort on both sides of the ball. Years later when
we lost all the "Sooner Magic" games I took solace in that fact
that Nebraska would always be the winner of the Game of the Century.
had our 70-71 team reunion dinner prior to the VA Tech game this year
and it was a real pleasure to see 19 of the team members (18 players and
one manager) from those two National Championship teams in the same room
together. Like always, they gave 100% as every one that gave an RSVP did
show up at the dinner. They still have the mutual respect for each other
and they are still part of the "team" that is the Nebraska legacy.
You can feel that coming back with the current team and it is a pleasure
for this 50-something year old guy who remembers when Jerry Tagge played
and is in his "need to get a colonoscopy" age group to see that
those relationships are being developed again with the current team. The
future at Nebraska is bright. We still need to keep realistic expectations
for this transition year. The goal of a bowl game is still intact. The
possibility of beating a Top 19 team can probably only happen this season
on Saturday as Kansas has fallen out of the Top 20. Stranger things have
happened this season in college football and it would be another surreal
moment if this year's team could get that monkey off their back this year
with a win on the road in Norman.
week we will be showing video clips from that National Champions teams
dinner including Jerry Tagge who I had the pleasure of meeting for the
first time. Other speakers will be Doug Dumler, Dave Mason, Jerry Murtaugh,
Jeff Kinney, Joe Orduna, and Bill Kosch. I wish we would have had time
for all 19 of them to speak as I am sure they all have a unique story
or two to tell.
my 2 cents. What about yours?