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LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 7
Nebraska 48, Baylor 7
10.13.01

It seems that every dadgummed one of these Texas teams has a goofy hand signal to signify their school pride. Think about it: Texas has the insipid "Hook 'em" sign. Texas A&M uses the "Gig 'em" gesture. Texas Techsters flash that gunslinger thing. Shee-yoot, even fans of lowly Baylor, just to prove that Baptists know how to get down once in a while, whip out the old "Bear Claw" sign. Hey, Nebraska's got a hand signal, too, you know -- they raise four fingers at the end of the third quarter each week. It stands for fourth-quarter dominance, which Baylor had to learn the hard way Saturday. But in this record-setting NU romp, it also signaled a career day for No. 4, Judd Davies. And it tallied the number of Cornhuskers who raced past the 100-yard rushing mark, too. In the end, Nebraska handled the Bears, the weather and a bad case of the yips to win ... hands down.

A few takes:

GROUND BEEF: Coincidence? I think not: In the days before each week's game, Nebraska's foe chirps about how much they've improved since the last time NU ripped 'em apart last season, that things will be different this time around, that they've discovered their inner child, etc. This week, it was Baylor's defense, which held Texas A&M's underwater yoga offense to 16 points a week ago, that was being blown up to Herculean pre-game status. Yeah, OK. The result: A must-be-a-misprint, PlayStation-style 641 rushing yards. Key to the fact that Judd The Studd, Eric The Red, Flash and Dee Dee each rang up a silver-dollar-plus-change on the ground was the effort of the fat men up front. The O-Line blew Oprah-sized holes in the Baylor defense all day long, rendering them about as relevant as a nearsighted Taliban anti-aircraft gunner on two hours' sleep. To paraphrase NU's fullback, all that the Husker skill guys had to do Saturday was carry the rock. The rest was just details. A punishing, steamrolling game ball to The Pipeline. Simply put, they reigned in the rain.

WHAT A SHOCKER: As usual, there were lots of corporate sponsors inserted into Warren Swain's post-touchdown commentary Saturday. But he was missing the most appropriate one: Alka-Seltzer. After all, the theme of this 48-7 win was "relief" -- as in that feeling of security when NU put together that pretty third-quarter drive to forge an insurmountable two-touchdown cushion. And, after playing on a sloshy surface that resembled the set of "Survivor: The Everglades," relief eventually came from the wind, lightning and driving rain in the second half. Also breathing a sigh of relief were assorted cliche-meisters in the sports media, who have been wringing their hands in anticipation since Thunder Collins first stepped foot on campus so that they could roll out all those trite, weather-related metaphors. Please, spare us the lyrics from the AC/DC ballad "Thunderstruck," hacks. That's about as clever as a fullback trap on third-and-18.

HERE COMES THE SON: The 19 or so fans who stuck around at Floyd Casey Stadium for the end of Saturday's game witnessed a bit of history -- and caught a glimpse of the future, too. The first touchdown for Nebraska's Great White Hope, sophomore I-Back Josh Davis, wasn't exactly Mike Rozier's '83 run against UCLA. But given No. 25's work on special teams this year, the TD blast was a well-deserved tally. The only downer about his late touchdown run, actually, was that it allowed Nebraska's extra-point team to keep on their one-flubup-a-game pace. Meanwhile, Tony's kid has shown a knack for busting big kickoff returns -- have Husker fans seen a recent return man who sets up his blocks better than No. 25? -- and is starting to see more action in the regular offensive scheme of things. With the Okies lurking, it's good to know that Solich is starting to get all his offensive weapons on the field.

BLACKSHIRTS: They're men. 'Nuff said.

THESE HAPPY DAYS ARE YOURS AND MINE: As the saying goes, sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger; sometimes you're the ball. On Saturday, we Loons were swinging for the fences. Think about what transpired around the country: Nebraska rolls in an Osborne-style patsy-caking. Bobby Bowden is predictably befuddled as Florida State takes it in the shorts ... again. Auburn rips Steve Spurrier's cold, black heart out of his chest -- "Temple of Doom" style -- by snitching a last-second win. Lou Holtz's team lays an egg in Fayetteville. And Kansas State continues to play like stink. Throw in a plethora of strength-of-schedule-boosters by Troy State, Notre Dame and Rice, and you've got a situation that's more satisfying than Puff Daddy accepting the Best Album Grammy from celebrity presenter Jennifer Lopez. K-State's epic crash-and-burn has changed the landscape of the Big 12, leaving the C-Buffs as the Huskers' main threat in the North. I know there are many Loons who get Yearlong Colorado Ulcers, but if you have visions of the Bluffs in Irving, Texas, on Dec.1, consider this -- the Vermin still have to go to Austin and, yes, Ames before hosting the 'Skers in late November. Odds are that NU will have a ticket to God's Spitoon all but sewn up by the time they head west to Boulder for their yearly cardiac arrest.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Since returning to the Cornhusker State in March, it's been interesting to rediscover some of the inherent quaintness of the Fatherland: American flags fly on Sundays. Corn and cattle prices are big news. And, in small-town weekly newspapers, there's almost always an opinion column title that cleverly substitutes "K"s for the letter "C." In various hometown rags, there are columns named "Keyboard Krunch", "Kurt's Komments", and "Karen's Kraft Korner". But it appears this hokum is not limited to the Husker Nation. Case in point -- Texas Tech's starting quarterback is named Kliff Kingsbury. As you know, the Red Raiders are koming off a kwality 38-19 kold-kocking of KSU. So, naturally, they're klamoring for respect as they plan their trip to Nebraska's Kapital City this weekend. NU will give them kredit for their konkwest, that's for sure. But don't expect the Cornhuskers to kave in to Tech like the 'Kats did. No, that would be too krazy to even kontemplate. Nebraska 38, Texas Tech 17.

==STEVE==
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