R E D C L A D L O O N
LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 6
Nebraska 48, Iowa State 14
It is fairly common knowledge that most of the names we give to places in the
Cornhusker State come from Native Americans: Ponca. Otoe. Omaha. Nemaha.
Winnebago. Garsh, even the word "Nebraska" pays homage to an Indian phrase
loosely translated as "flat river." But did you know that the word "Iowa" is
also an Indian word? It is, quite seriously, translated as "one who puts to
sleep." This was no more evident than on Saturday, when the Ames College
Cyclones brought their football team -- including dudes with Native-sounding
first names like Seneca and Hiawatha, no less -- to Lincoln. After knocking
ISU flat in a first-half deluge, NU went to sleep in quarters three and four.
But regardless of how you think Frankie did in the second half, Nebraska
still beat the Cyclones like a tom-tom.
A few takes:
IT'S A BLACK THANG: Much tumult rent the air in the Husker Nation this week
when it was learned that the Slyclones were handing out black shirts to their
defensive studs. Them's Fightin' Words! But quietly mixed with that disdain
was the worry that Seneca Wallace, who was Tecmo in going 22-for-24 vs.
sadsack Baylor en route to being named Big 12 Player of the Week, would give
the 100 Percent Cotton Blackshirts fits with his arm. That concern lasted all
of five plays, when Keyuo Craver's 57-yard INT return ended ISU's little
insurrection right quick. In fact, for all the pre-game ballyhooin' that went
on over ISU's wunderkind quarterback, he looked quite ordinary. Sure, he
popped off a few big gainers on busted plays, but on the pass the guy had
worse mechanics than the Downtown Calcutta Jiffy Lube. Those trademark
meaningless touchdowns for ISU (motto: "We Shine In Garbage Time") looked so
familiar, I could have sworn they were scored by Troy Davis. Or maybe it was
Darren Davis. No difference, I guess.
TAKING WING: In the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," the heroics of the
506th Airborne's Easy Company in Dubya-Dubya Aye-Aye are deftly chronicled.
Easy Co. jumped on D-Day and, once in France, identified each other in the
dark with a single code word. Like many a red-clad minion at Memorial Stadium
these days, they'd yell out "THUNDER!" at various times of the evening (if
the other guy yelled "FLASH!", they refrained from shooting them). On
Saturday, we all saw great flashes from our very own Thunder, wouldn't you
know. Mr. Collins, with the help of that little dinky-doo shovel-pass
reverse-option play that is the latest toy in Frank Solich's Sharper Image
catalog, shattered the Cycrumb defense like a locked door in a Chuck Norris
movie. The Booming One also sparked a long touchdown drive with a 45-yard
option run in the first half. Yes, Crouch set a pair of records Saturday, but
doesn't that happen every week? Our game ball goes to No. 1.
PATSY-CAKE, PATSY-CAKE: Ames College Headman Dan McCarney -- who with the aid
of high-tech aging photography resembles what Charlie Brown would have looked
like had Charles Schultz allowed him to grow up -- always comments about how
much the Clones have closed the gap on the Huskers. After watching Saturday's
48-14 clowning, it's clear that he's right, you know. The last time ISU
trotted those ugly uniforms onto the Killing Field, they got whacked upside
that bird decal by a score of ... 49-14. Now that's progress. Another
positive for ISU is that this year they had only one punt blocked vs.
Nebraska. Hell, Dan, the only Gap that got closed Saturday was the one at
Southpointe Shopping Center on South 27th Street.
TV OR NOT TV: We're not exactly Warren Swain groupies here in The Pond. But
on several occasions during Saturday's contest, we were tempted to pull an
ol' KFAB on the flub-ups from FOX -- that is, turn down the TV sound and tune
into the radio waves for some semi-competent commentary. Is it too much to
ask that Rupert Murdoch's professional broadcasters get basic facts straight?
James Lofton gets a mulligan, I guess, for calling Nebraska the "Huskies"
during his insightful pregame analysis (which consisted of "Nebraska must run
the ball to be successful") -- but by the time all was said, he and Joel
Meyers had left a trail of gaffes littered around Tom Osborne field that
looked like Cyclown defenders in the wake of a Crouch TD run. I enjoyed
watching No. 98, Demonty Adams, play defense, though I'm worried about the
injury to No. 5, Deon Groce. And undoubtedly Tony Davis was surprised to
learn that his kid's name is actually Judd Davies, who grew up in the town of
Ahora, Colo. Oh, and don't forget about Santo DeAngelis and Aaron Ruud,
either. Thank Devaney that they didn't mess up Ennis Haywood's
phallic-sounding phirst name -- the broadcast would have been slapped with an
WHITEWASH: Or, as they say in Oklahoma, "Wyatt-Worsh!" In yet another classic
Red River Shootout, Texas' battering defense picked up where Kansas State's
had left off, turning OU starting QB Nate Hybl in a pile of crimson-colored
goo in the OU backfield. That was OK for the Okies, though, cuz they had
another kid who looked just like him waiting to take snaps. Don't be fooled
-- Jason White is not exactly Michael Vick. But Stoops' backup signal-caller
was game in Big Red South's biggest game of the year (so far). Not like he
had to do a whole lot, mind you; the Schooners' doberman defense shackled the
Whorns all day. Chris Simms was so confused out there, he looked like the guy
from "Sling Blade" on Celebrity Jeopardy. New world record for restraint: The
wiseacres on ESPN waited until after the first commercial break on the
post-game show to mention Major Applewhite. Poor, poor Texas. It's worth the
prospect of having NU play OU twice to see Mack Brown waddle off, befuddled
in defeat, once again.
THE BOTTOM LINE: As Nebraska and Iowa State were preparing to kick off
Saturday evening, suddenly Iowa State's smack seemed to take on a mild level
of credibility. Sports tickers around the country began to back up the
Cyclones' Stay-Puft conquests -- there was mighty Ohio, going toe-to-toe with
nationally ranked Toledo. And there was Baylor, the conference's only
parochial school, pulling a near-upset of mighty Texas A&M. Holy moley ...
had the Bears prevailed, I might have scrambled for my Holy Bible and tried
to find meaning in the Good Book's final chapter. Luckily, such drastic
measures weren't needed. If Kevin Steele's disciples would be able to knock
off the Cornhuskers next week, however, it would be an upset of biblical
proportions. But we all know that just isn't going to happen. Hey, no
"parting of the Red Sea" or Jammal "Praise the" Lord references here --
suffice it to say that it will be no big revelations next Saturday. The
Huskers will prey, and prey easily, on the Bears. Nebraska 51, Baylor 9.
Look your sexiest on Saturdays.
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