the most enjoyable Husker game in awhile…at least since last
year against Missouri. Lo and behold, we have played four games and
have nearly matched last year’s win total. I have almost nothing
but nice things to say. But first things first…
Why, oh why, do some fans
and internet pundits (like, for instance, here at the Scarlet Commentary)
whine when the team wins by one point, yet say nice things when the
team wins in double overtime the next week?
Well…because of how
we looked in doing it.
Taylor played as non-Dailey-like
as Dailey ever managed against anyone other than Baylor. Having an
extra week, and going against the number one defense in practice,
seemed to help Taylor a lot. He played like someone whose starting
position was on the line. It is distressing, still, that we had only
13 points to show for his record passing yardage at the end of regulation.
Dropped touchdown passes, missed field goals, and blown fourth down
plays could cost us sometime down the road, if they continue. Taylor
would have been remembered as the goat of this game if Iowa St. had
scored after his 4th quarter fumble. His cool play in the overtime
periods was fantastic to watch, though. We haven’t had a true
“in the clutch” QB performance in awhile. Cheers.
Corey Ross catching passes
for over 100 receiving yards—while altering my paradigm of a
Nebraska running back—was a pleasure to see. Watching Terrance
Nunn make all the plays he has this far…I have repeatedly been
thankful that Callahan kept recruiting this particular Solich recruit.
Nunn’s punt returns are great. When the coaches use Grixby instead
of Nunn as a punt returner in the first half this year, it seems they
are being needlessly charitable to opposing teams. But whatever.
Our defense keeps making
plays when they need to. Watching the D-line, I find myself hoping
that John Blake sticks around recruiting guys like this awhile (before
he gets offered another head coaching job somewhere). Daniel Bullocks
must have favor with the officials or something, because he pulls
off pass breakups that earn other players interference penalties.
I hope his favor doesn’t wane in some important game later in
the year. I remain concerned about the cornerbacks (other than Bowman).
But if we keep getting sacks, the coverage doesn’t matter as
much as it did last season.
Iowa St.’s RB Hicks
being limited in this game helped us a lot. His backup played okay,
but Hicks would have made things even more dicey. As it was, the game
was double-overtime. Our first ever. I like how NU consistently ends
up on the winning side of overtime games. The real journalists at
the OWH or the LJS should do a story on major Div. 1-A team records
since college football adopted its OT model. I’ll bet NU stacks
up pretty well. (Missouri 1997, Colorado 1999, Notre Dame 2000, and
Iowa St. 2005. All wins.) 4-0 and 4-0. Isn’t it lovely?
The season’s fifth
win will not come easily. I’ve always been big on gut (not to
mention working on having a big gut). Here is my current vibe, take
it or leave it: Tech isn’t quite the monster they were last
year. If we can get hits on their QB Hodges like the ones Bradley
and Turner delivered against Iowa St., we have a chance this week.
If we get a few bone-jarring sacks, and/or turnovers, this game can
be ours. (Hodges fumbled four times against KU last week.) If we don’t,
and/or the offense reverts to the one we had during the nonconference
games, this one could end up in the “L” column.
I dread bringing up this
example, but in 1995 we beat Arizona St. in Lincoln 77-28 (including
a 63-7 halftime score). The next year, playing at home, they beat
us 19-0. Sure…Tech beat us 70-10 last year in Lubbock, but our
defense is better now (the line and ‘backers are considerably
better overall, which might make up for the shakiness in the secondary),
and our offense is not the turnover machine it was then. Does this
equate to 60 points better? I don’t know. Hopefully our home
crowd makes up for a few of those points. What is Memorial Stadium
worth? Tech should find out…ideally in memorable fashion.
The voice of Scarlet Commentary is Jeffrey A. Leever, a Nebraska native also stuck behind enemy lines in Jefferson County, Colo. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska (Kearney) and a freelance writer and author. Some of Jeff’s writings of the nonfootball kind can be found online at Barnes & Noble (1, 2), Amazon.com (1, 2), and MenofIntegrity.net (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.