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LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 6
Nebraska 48, Iowa State 14
10.6.01

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 'R' rating.

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.

==STEVE==
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