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H U S K E R    D A N


HUSKERS' "GONE WITH THE WIN" TRAGEDY;  HOKIES ESCAPE 16-15
HUSKERS GET "COALE" IN THEIR STOCKING, LOSE 16-15
HUSKERS END GAME IN A 16-15 "HEARTBREAK 'BO'-TEL"
HOKIES HAVE "WORILDS" OF FUN EDGING THE HUSKERS, 16-15
Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech was truly a team effort on the part of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  People who want to throw Husker safety Matt O'Hanlon under the bus for allowing Hokie receiver Danny Coale to get behind him late in the game, should cease.  There were so many things the Huskers did wrong Saturday, it would take up too much space in this column to include all of them.
 
The Huskers did not-I repeat-did not deserve to win this game.  Time and time again, the Huskers when given golden opportunities for touchdowns, had to settle for field goals.  Punch in just one of those drives and the Huskers get their first signature Top 20 road win since 1997.

LAST YEAR'S MELTDOWN
Last year in Lincoln, Ndamukong Suh's questionable late fourth quarter personal foul, coupled with Bo Pelini's 15 yard personal foul when he, er, um "criticized" the official's call on Suh, allowed the Hokies to set up shop deep in Nebraska territory, where they scored and were able to seal the game.

CHECKS AND BALANCES
There are checks given to all of us in life, sometimes we're smart enough to cash 'em in, but all too often, we don't.  Think of that, if some one were to write you a check for, let's say, $1,000, who wouldn't take it immediately to the bank?  We'd cash that sucker faster than a Verdigre minute.
 
And Saturday, the Huskers were given several checks, many times more valuable, but unfortunately, chose not to redeem them. 
 
The Huskers committed too many critical penalties, dropped too many passes, missed too many assignments and yet somehow, managed to lose by only one point.  What a shame.

NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Bo said that this was as painful a loss as he's ever had in coaching.  (I think last year's Texas Tech OT loss ranks above this one.)
 
Husker fans must remember that Zac Lee was making just his third career start-his first road start and the first time he's faced a good team in a very hostile environment.  Frank Beamer and his Hokies knew if they could pressure Lee, their chances of winning the game would increase dramatically.

WORILDS OF FUN
Although the Hokies never sacked Lee, Va. Tech head coach Frank Beamer threw Jason Worilds at him, forcing Lee into making several bad throws and a number of quarterback hurries.
 
This is a young Husker team that played, in my view, better than I thought they would.  Zac at times looked very good.  The defense, save a couple of plays, performed magnificently.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Yes, it's very unfortunate to lose the way the Huskers did Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg.  However, I think they will take something from that loss and use it to their advantage especially when they travel to Columbia, Lawrence, Waco and Boulder.
 
I would rather the Huskers play a game like this against a good team in a hostile environment, than have them beat up on a patsy at home in Lincoln.
 
This is a Husker team that isn't quite there yet-one that is emerging and trying to find its way.  Right now, I like what I see-a bunch of good (not great) players who are trying to be over-achievers.  Stay tuned.

RANDOM THOUGHTS
1.)  Punting on 4th and 1 late in the game was the right call, but I wonder if given the same circumstances next time, would Bo go for it?
2.)  Alex Henry is increasing his NFL stock with each game.  Five field goals?  A 76 yard punt?  Are you kidding me?  And on the run?!!!
3.)  The Red Zone for the Huskers looked more like the Pink Zone. 
4.)  The call on Holt's dropped pass was the right one. 
5.)  You wonder if Nate Swift would have caught the ball.
6.)  You know he would have.
7.)  Great kickoff return by Niles Paul.  I'm proud of the fellow North High Viking alumnus.
8.)  Ross Jernstrom was recently named the new Sports Director for WOWT in Omaha, succeeding long time Dave "Corncob" Weber who retired last month after about 100 years with Channel 6.  (Just kidding, Dave!)  It must be noted here that Mrs. Husker Dan was Ross' sixth grade teacher here in Omaha.  And that makes ME old...

HUSKER FANS' SALUTE TO THE TROOPS WEEKEND
The featured speaker for our Sunday morning brunch was Heisman winner, Eric Crouch; the MC was current Voice of the Huskers, Greg Sharpe; former Husker wingback Anthony "Slick" Steels sang the National Anthem and Ron Brown (Husker Receivers Coach) delivered the blessing.  But the true heroes of the day and of the weekend were the veterans who came from as far away as North Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Colorado to attend the second annual "Husker Fan's Salute To The Troops" weekend at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
Saturday morning, veterans, troopers and their families were bussed to Memorial Stadium for an all access tour of the new Husker athletic facilities.  They also got to enjoy a special Tunnel Walk ceremony that allowed them to run onto the football field to the Tunnel Walk music.  And for a little while that morning, children and grown-ups got a chance to image what it would be like to be a Husker football player. 
 
That afternoon, about 300 people were treated to a Husker Football Watch Party.  (Note to self:  Next year, let's get a win.)  There were Runzas, hot-dogs, cold cuts, cookies, brownies, popcorn, beverages and even a children's play area.  There were door prizes like Husker autographed footballs, posters, caps, DVDs, pictures etc.  It was a great time to meet and visit with the real heroes of our time-the men and women who have defended and protected this great country of ours.
 
There were veterans from WWII, the Korean War, Desert Storm, as well as from the War on Terror.  Walter Witt, 87, told me that when he was 18, he was in the Army Corps of Engineers and traveled from North Africa to Sicily, to Italy and into France and Germany.  He talked about when he was at Dachau Concentration Camp, the Corps was responsible for digging the trenches that the corpses were buried.
 
"I don't understand those who deny the Holocaust.  I was there.  I saw it with my own eyes," he told me.
 
Another man came up to me near the end of the Virginia Tech game and wrote a check for Husker Dan's Army.  The he told me about his daughter who had just returned from Afghanistan.  "When she was in Iraq, she was hit by an IED.  Her hand was badly damaged, but the doctor who was treating her said, 'Today's your lucky day.  I'm an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery.'"
 
The man went on to tell me that as a result of his daughter's experience, she was awarded a Purple Heart and thankfully, is doing fine.  And this guy felt compelled to donating money to Husker Dan's Army?  I told him, you've given enough already!
 
It was stories like those that made the weekend really special.  Plans are already underway for next year's event, targeted for September 18th-19th for the Washington away game.
 
To keep track of all the latest, go to www.huskersalute.org.
 

Send your comments to huskerdan@cox.net. For past Husker Dan columns, click here.

 
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