HUSKERS CLIP 'CLONES 35-17
BIG WED WAP-UP
For the second week in a row, Husker linebacker Bo Ruud intercepted
an opponent's pass and returned it for a game-changing, momentum-turning
touchdown. Last week, his 34 yard interception helped the Huskers claw
back to beat Ball State. Saturday, his 93 yard interception for a touchdown
took the starch out of a pesky Iowa State team that had built 10-0 lead
in the 2nd quarter.
Maybe Bo should change his name to "Mo" as in momentum-changer.
IOWA STATE OF MIND
Husker fans looking to see the Husker D rebound from a near disastrous
game with Ball State last week, saw the 'Clones who are one of the worst
offensive teams in all of college football, run an amazing 102 plays
for over 400 yards of offense, consume over 40 minutes of game clock
and score 17 points.
To be sure, this was the screwiest game since the '05 home game with
Pittsburgh. The Huskers had a turnover on each of their first three
possessions and then committed silly fouls (roughing the kicker, off-sides
etc.) that allowed ISU to continue drives that the defense otherwise
LAW OF AVERAGE
Right now, almost mid-way through the regular season, the Huskers are
an average football team at best. All the pre-season hype, so far, has
been unfulfilled. That is not to say the Huskers can't or won't improve.
And at 4-1, the Huskers are right where most everyone thought they'd
be. The only loss has been to No. 1 ranked Southern California. Husker
fans also know that 3 of those wins are over Nevada, Ball State and
Iowa State-not exactly powerhouses.
At this point of the season, there are more question marks than answers.
Clearly, the best player on offense is Sam Keller (he's getting better
each week). The Huskers' best defensive player clearly is Cortney Grixby
who Saturday may have had his best game as a Husker.
SCRATCH 'N SNIFF
The Huskers have players capable of making big plays on both sides of
the ball. It's just the inconsistency that has everyone scratching his
Husker fans who are screaming for the heads of Cosgrove, Callahan, Pederson,
Perlman and who want to bring back Bo Pelini as D.C, fuggeddaboutit.
It ain't gonna happen. No matter how much booing and swearing you do,
no matter how much Maalox you chug-a-lug worrying about all this, no
personnel changes are going to happen at this time.
You "fans" have a couple of choices-find another team to embrace
(Notre Dame's unavailable) or be patient and let this team grow. The
season is still young. Last weekend, the Sooners were embarrassed at
Boulder and the Longhorns were ripped at home by K-State. This is a
crazy year of college football that will have additional upsets.
Saturday was the first Husker game I've been to this season. We sat
in the NW end zone, 87 rows up. From that vantage point, the game was
a rumor. The new mega-jumbo video screen can't be seen from there. To
follow replays and to keep track of the down and distance, people who
sit in that part of the Stadium, have to rely on the video screen in
the SE end zone-about 150 yards away. If you don't have binoculars,
you're outta luck, pal.
BIG RED BREAKFAST
Last week, I attended my very first Big Red Breakfast at the Holiday
Inn Central in Omaha. The featured speaker was Husker Offensive Coordinator,
Shawn Watson. He's a classy guy-he knows his football and has a great
deal of charisma. One day, he'll be a head coach-maybe college, maybe
in the NFL or maybe both.
He talked about when, as an assistant at Miami of Ohio, he lived in
the neighborhood with legendary NFL coaches Paul Brown (inventor of
the West Coast Offense) and Weeb Eubanks former coach at the Jets and
the Baltimore Colts. Shawn invited Weeb to critique his (Shawn's) coaching
methods, to give him pointers etc. Weeb attended many of Shawn's practices,
offering advice when he could. After a while, the two of them would
hunker down in Weeb's basement, looking at old 16 mm game film of Johnny
Unitas tossing passes to Raymond Berry and Joe Namath running the Jets'
IN A ZONE
There is a local (Omaha) radio sports call-in show called "Unsportsmanlike
Conduct" heard afternoons on AM 1620
The Zone. The two hosts, the mild mannered Kevin Kugler and his
faithful companion, Mike'l "Don't Forget The Apostrophe" Severe
are a good combination. Each weekday afternoon, they banter on about
a variety of sports topics, including Husker football. The show features
several funny segments, the best of which is the weekly telephone interview
with "Bill Callahan". Of course it isn't really the Husker
head coach calling in, but the guy who plays Callahan is spot on in
his impression. When I called the station this week, I was told they
could not reveal the identity of the Callahan impersonator. The "Callahan"
segment can be heard Thursday afternoons at about 4:45.
BIG RED BETTY
One of the Huskers' long-time, biggest fans, Big Red Betty of Lincoln,
California is in need of our help. Betty has been a huge Husker fan
since the early 50s when great players like Tom "Train Wreck"
Novak starred for the Huskers. She also was there the day Bobby Reynolds
made his incredible touchdown run against Missouri at Memorial Stadium
In 1954, she and her husband moved to California where she now resides.
This summer, Betty received some very bad news regarding her health.
As a result, she is in the fight of her life.
A couple weeks ago she received a phone call from Tom Osborne. She thought
the call was a prank-she couldn't believe it was actually Coach Osborne
on the phone. Betty didn't have any idea who set up the call, but later
found out that it was one of her friends who is a big Colorado Buffalo
"I'll never say anything bad about the Buffaloes again," she
Betty is a classy lady who really knows Husker football. She has also
been a great supporter of Husker Dan's Army. I know all Husker fans
will want to keep Betty in your prayers. Get well, Betty. We love you.
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY
As many of you know, Husker Dan's Army was formed just over a year ago
with the sole purpose of sending Husker goodies to our men and women
serving overseas in the military. With a big assist from Gary McGirr,
president of the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska in Topeka, Kansas, and
Shot Kleen with HuskerVision in Lincoln, we have been able to provide
members of our armed services with game DVDs and Husker Care Packages.
With every $100 we raise, the Red Zone in Omaha sends a box full of
Husker memorabilia-media guides, T-shirts, caps etc. to any soldier
who sends a request to either Gary or me.
HDA officially began over a year ago when Sgt. Joshua Howard wrote me
from Iraq, asking if I could help him and his fellow soldiers get some
game Husker game DVDs. I immediately contacted Gary who took charge
and made Husker Dan's Army become a reality.
Josh is back in Lincoln, working and attending classes. Since Gary and
I were going to the Iowa State game, we arranged to meet Josh and some
of his Iraqi war buddies at the Huskerpedia tailgate party. We had a
great time visiting with Josh. We thanked him for his service to his
country. The real American heroes aren't those for whom we cheer on
Saturdays, but are the brave men and women who are serving in our armed
services. They don't ask for much, so when Josh asked for help, Husker
Saturday, David Max with Huskerpedia, donated a helmet poster that had
been autographed by Johnny Rodgers, Roger Craig, Vince Farragamo and
will be auctioned on Ebay. The proceeds will go to Husker Dan's Army.
We can't forget, that without David's help and the worldwide exposure
of Huskerpedia.com, Husker Dan's Army would never have been possible.
I would encourage all Husker fans to become a member of Husker Dan's
Army. Just contact Gary McGirr at neks4nebraska.com.
There is a link to Husker Dan's Army that allows you to contribute whatever
amount you can. To Josh and your fellow service men and women: We are
very proud of you!
FROM CORNSTALKS TO ROSES
Mrs. Husker Dan and I were in Portland, Oregon the weekend of the Ball
State game. We were there to see our new little granddaughter who now
is the ripe old age of 3 weeks. Before the game, I emailed Beal Essink,
watch party chair with the Oregonians For Nebraska, telling him that
my daughter and Mrs. Husker Dan and I planned to come to their Husker
watch party to see the Huskers on TV.
Beal directed us to the Refectory, a sports bar in Portland. There were
about 150 Husker fans all decked out in red. Every TV in the place was
turned on to the Husker-Ball State game. You would swear you were in
Omaha or Lincoln on game day. After each Husker score, the PA system
cranked up, "There Is No Place Like Nebraska" and every Husker
fan stood, sang the lyrics and clapped to the music. It was awesome!
I would encourage any Husker fan within driving distance of Portland
to attend as many OFN game watches as you can. You don't even have to
be a member (but I'm sure they'd welcome your membership).
OFN raises money for scholarships, works with the local food banks-they
even made a contribution to Husker Dan's Army. I want to thank Beal
and the rest of the OFN chapter for their generosity.
At the half, there was a football toss contest and some great door prizes
given. After the game, I had a chance to talk Husker football with a
bunch of hard core Husker fans. Thanks so much for making Mrs. Husker
Dan, my daughter and me feel so at home.
All you need to know about this week's game with Missouri in Columbia
is that neither team has shown much ability to play defense. It's no
big secret that the Huskers are going to try to run the ball Saturday.
If they succeed, they should be in the game in the 4th quarter. The
Huskers are going to have to eliminate turnovers on offense and get
some take-a-ways on defense. The kicking game and special teams will
be very important.
Conventional wisdom says this game will be high-scoring and because
of an 8:15 p.m CDT kickoff, the game will won't likely end until sometime
early Sunday morning.
I'm not going to predict the score. The Huskers haven't won at Missouri
since Eric Crouch's amazing 100+ yard touchdown run in 2001 that earned
him the Heisman trophy that year.
The home field advantage and late kickoff and home crowd (can we say
lickered up?) will make it a very difficult place for the Huskers to
win. If the Huskers trail at the half, that's not a good sign for Nebraska.
Most, if not all, the pressure will be on Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkle
to win this game. His team has been picked by many to win the Big 12
North and his Tigers have the Huskers at home. The table is set for
a possible upset. Let's hope Kevin Cosgrove and the Blackshirts bring
the napkins and silverware.