R E D C L A D L O O N
LOON DROPPINGS, Vol. 8
Nebraska 41, Texas Tech 31
If you're a TV watcher, you know Saturday means two things: Cartoons in the
morning, college football at night. But by the looks of NU's 41-31 win at
Memorial Stadium, you'd think FOX messed up their programming. Indeed,
Saturday's animated win would've made a fine feature by Looney Tunes -- Texas
Tech rolled out its Yosemite Sam-lookin' mascot, while Nebraska worked the
Bugs out of its passing game. But in the clutch, NU returned to their
Roadrunner ways and bailed out a pass defense that at times smelled like Pepe
Le Pew. And, while Schlecta's final sack had Loons (finally) saying
"Th-Th-Th-That's All, Folks," a look at the injury list prompted a
less-welcome catch phrase: "Eh, What's Up, Doc?"
A few takes:
TO AIR IS HUMAN: In forging a No. 1 pass-efficiency ranking through its first
seven games, Nebraska's defense had been tougher to get through than
"Showgirls" and "Meet Joe Black" in back-to-back showings. But on Saturday,
Nebraska's D went from top-ranked to, well, just plain rank. Still, for all
the running around that the Red Raiders did, they netted a mere three points
in the second half. That's heartening, especially as we embark upon the
inevitable wave of hype that is Oklahoma Week. Sure to emerge in the pregame
prattle is this oh-so-familiar theory: Texas Tech runs the same offense that
Oklahoma does, and because OU is better than Tech, they will take apart the
Blackshirts with the precision of a elite team of Army Rangers. To this I
say: Bullcrap. Even before Kliff Kingsbury went Tecmo on the 'Shirts, this
Loon was saying that Techsas Tex's offense would be the most dangerous that
NU would face all year. The Huskers survived ... barely. If OU's Jason White
duplicates Kliff's feats next week, I'll do more than eat my hat. I'll eat my
DON'T PASS ME BY: Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Nebraska's offense continued
to gallop along. Operating with the comfort level of a grocery run along the
Gaza Strip, Crouch & Co. responded with flying colors. True, no one is going
to mistake Nebraska's quarterback for Kurt Warner. But EC had Tech's DC
spinning like a top with his double-threat trickery. Tech would play the run,
and Crouch would throw. Tech would play the pass, and Crouch would run. Eric
The Red gets lots of attention, but also key to this win was a quiet 157
yards by Dahrran (In the) Diedrick (the Glory). Not only did Dee Dee pick up
some huge yards when Nebraska needed 'em, but he kept the Huskers from having
to get into a throwing contest with Tech. In a game that drug on longer than
Mel Tillis singing "Stairway to Heaven," it was good to see some of those
clock-burning carries. Not the obvious choice, but the Loon's game ball goes
to No. 30.
THE EYES OF TEXAS: Were upon Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Longhorns? Oh,
heavens no. I'm talking about that slow-talkin' head referee with the Texas
drawl who was in charge of Saturday's ballgame. The zeebruhs had the
Cornhuskers' number, too. There haven't been that many flags inside a stadium
since the '98 World Cup. America's Classiest Fans let the officiating crew
know exactly how they felt about that, too -- that "Refs Go Home" chant was
just swell -- but in all honesty there were, shall we say, interesting calls
on both sides of the ball. Before cursing the zeebs on Sunday, first say a
few Hail Devaneys that Wes Welker's second punt return score was called back.
And that Kingsbury's fourth-quarter fling into the endzone wasn't called a
touchdown after Lornell McPherson shoved his man out of bounds. Sometimes,
it's better to be lucky than good -- or, failing that, learning how to take
advantage of a bunch of inept officials to sneak out a home win. 'Nuff said
on that, lest I be deemed unpatriotic.
THE BOTTOM LINE: They say football is a game of inches. But more and more,
it's becoming a game of feet. Or, more precisely, ankles. And knees. And even
shoulders, too. Yes, I'm talking about ill-timed injuries to our Cornhuskers,
who are suddenly more dinged up than that 1979 El Camino with a "Huck the
Fuskers" bumper sticker on it I saw at Gateway last weekend. Untimely wounds
are part of the game, but it seems Nebraska has sustained more than their
share of aches and pains. Particularly if they're looking to lay the hurt on
next week's opponent, defending National Champ Oklahoma. For OU fans, Stoops'
Troops' big run has helped ease years of pain in the Sooner Nation. Part of
that came last year in Norman, when the Sooners put the ouch on Crouch. Time
heals all wounds, as the saying goes -- but the Huskers haven't forgotten.
Come health or high water, Nebraska wins at home. Huskers 17, Sooners 14.
Red. White. Loon.
Show your true colors in THE POND,
Home of Nebraska's RED CLAD LOON.