LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 3:
Nebraska 42, Iowa 13
An important event happened 50 years ago this week -- U.S. troops reached the
38th Parallel, prompting General MacArthur to boldly call for the surrender
of dastardly North Korea. The suggestion, of course, was promptly ignored by
his enemy, and war raged on. On Saturday, in honor of that moment in history,
Nebraska launched a balanced offensive attack (one Cornhusker even wears No.
38, too) against a suprisingly game opponent. Led by its own masterful field
general, the Huskers ended up mirroring their blowout over the Hawkeyes a
year before. Though the Hawks refused to surrender, Nebraska won this battle
... but it remains to be seen if they'll have enough ammo to win the war.
A few takes:
AIR-IC CROUCH: It was clear from this game that Iowa's rush defense has
gotten much more manly since the last time these two teams met up. Just ask
Iowa DB Mikkel Brown, the poor joker who Eric The Red planted into the
Kinnick Stadium turf on one of his several TD runs last year. On Saturday,
Brown and his fellow birds refused to allow NU a single rushing score, but in
the end that footnote turned out to be as relevant as a series of feminist
essays written by Darva Conger. Instead, it was Crouch's arm that buried the
Hawkeyes. Crouch proved that he still likes to pick on Brown, too, by
pump-faking the poor DB out of his socks on that first-quarter TD strike to
Matt Davison. The national rap on Crouch -- he runs like a deer, but he
throws like one, too -- was effectively squelched with his record-tying day,
which probably did more for his Hypesman chances than five scores on the
ground ever could have.
HERKY JERKS: Every school has its share of complainers and whiners, but the
fans in black and gold elevated this practice to an art form Saturday.
Particularly, some Hawk backers thought that Solich was running it up in the
final minutes by getting a couple of late scores. Of course, since Iowa needs
the aid of the Hubble Telescope to even get a glimpse of the Top 50, their
fans likely don't comprehend the workings the various margin-of-victory poll
formulas and the necessity for such tactics, unsportsmanlike as they may
seem. In fact, many Hawkeye fans think "BCS" is a typo for the network David
Letterman stars on. Besides, this kind of black-and-gold griping is what
happens when your team has lost 19 of its last 20 games.
INTERIOR DESIGN: As the 2000 season unfolds, it is becoming more obvious than
Demi Moore's chest enlargement that the Big Red's defensive line is a bit
rough around the edges. Actually, I take that back -- the rush ends stepped
up nicely in the second half, but it seemed that the interior linemen were
having about as much success reaching the ballcarriers on Saturday as Tom
Osborne's congressional opponent is with reaching third-district voters. All
the preseason hullabaloo was about filling the big Brown shoes on defense,
but methinks the Husker Nation now truly appreciates the work that the
departed Steve Warren put in last season. A suggestion to Bohl: Give more
snaps to one Patrick "Green Mile" Kabongo, who is so large he actually has
moons and satellites orbiting him, and see what happens.The only thing it
will hurt is the opposing offensive line.
HAWK A LOOGIE: Y'know, this year's theme for Husker opponents should be "Spit
Happens." Two weeks ago a Domer fan tried to hock a goober on Crouch after
No. 7's game-winning touchdown sprint. This week Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, in
an attempt to charge up his team, launched some discharge toward a ref after
his QB was flagged for grounding for that dribbly little fourth-quarter pass.
Or maybe he was shooting saliva because UI could only spit out 88 yards in
the second half. Still, Kirk's antics reminded me of the days when Barry
Switzer would walk along the Memorial Stadium sideline, his clipboard in one
hand, a pack of Red Man in the other and pinch between his cheek and gum. It
looks like the red men are still making opponents spitting mad a decade later.
GANG GREEN: Despite Wisconsin's meltdown against TCU-whippin' boy
Northwestern on Saturday, it wasn't a completely bad day for the Big Ten's
better clubs. Michigan State, 13-10 winners over Missouri last weekend, stuck
Notre Dame with its second loss on a last-minute touchdown pass by reserve
Spartan quarterback Jeff Smoker. MSU was forced to go with Smoker after the
two quarterbacks in front of him, Joker and Midnight Toker, were unable to
play because of injuries. It's too bad, too, because as underwhelming as the
Big 12 has looked so far, NU needs its outta-conference victims to give good
performances all year long.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Recently, ESPN began a new quiz show called "Two Minute
Drill." On this week's episode, the bonus round question ought to be "What do
the name of this show and Nebraska's offensive production have in common?"
Three of NU's six scores came in the final two minutes of each half on
Saturday, definitely giving ABC's sister network some highlights to show.
Unfortunately, next week's game will not be broadcast by ABC/ESPN, but
instead by Fox Sports Net, home of Missouri alum and long-ago Husker nemesis
Kellen Winslow. The Tigers, certainly, are no strangers to Nebraska's
two-minute offense, either -- remember 1997? The Husker Nation also seems to
be in a rush to judge the Huskers this year, but this game should provide
Frank & Co. ample opportunity to send a (two-minute) warning to the rest of
the nation. Nebraska 45, Missouri 13.
Red. White. Loon. Show your true colors in The Pond,
Home of Nebraska's RED CLAD LOON.