Articles by Tad Stryker

Stryker: Husker commentator can’t recognize once-proud football program

11/11/17 | Tad Stryker
On the whole, Matt Davison would have rather been sitting courtside with Kent Pavelka at Pinnacle Bank Arena to watch the Husker basketball team open its season. Instead, the Husker Sports Network’s color commentator, who knows what a cohesive, well-led team looks and feels like, had to witness a Nebraska football team which has become convinced it belongs in the…

Stryker: Questionable competence predicts weak finish for Riley

11/4/17 | Tad Stryker
Mike Riley’s last stand in Lincoln ended just the way you might have predicted it would. When one last push would have clinched a victory, when the Cornhuskers could have given themselves and their embattled head coach some late-season momentum, they could not deliver the blow. At crunch time, with shadows lengthening and the game — and Riley’s last realistic…

Pregame Perspective: Current of dissatisfaction runs deep

11/4/17 | Tad Stryker
This week’s Pregame Perspective reveals a Nebraska fan base that clearly was looking for something better than a .500 football season. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they are not satisfied with NU’s 4-4 start. Late Saturday morning, before the Cornhuskers played Northwestern, I talked to Husker fans along 12th Street, near the Nebraska Union on campus and around Memorial Stadium,…

Stryker: Early Husker retreat fails to ward off home-field massacre

10/15/17 | Tad Stryker
Going into Saturday night, Ohio State had never won a game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, but it really didn’t take long to change that once the game kicked off. Within the first ten minutes of playing time, it was clear to anyone watching the game that Nebraska was a thoroughly beaten team, simply waiting for the inevitable outcome. It…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Ozigbo, Morgan cited as most valuable Huskers for first half

10/14/17 | Tad Stryker
With half the college football regular season behind us, this week’s Pregame Perspective focuses on which Cornhuskers have performed best thus far. On a cool, drizzly afternoon before the Nebraska-Ohio State game, I asked 100 people this question: “Who ws Nebraska’s most valuable player during the first half of the season?” Two clear leaders emerged, both on offense. In a…

Stryker: Soft September in Lincoln

9/16/17 | Tad Stryker
Endless Summer. That sounds like carefree days indeed. Were the Beach Boys thinking of Mike Riley’s Nebraska football program when they recorded that album? Unfortunately for Riley and his coaching staff, it’s September now and they have to play real football games. After a brutally disappointing 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois, the Huskers are 1-2 and reeling. A coach who…

Stryker: Scary B-movie finish ends well for Big Red

9/3/17 | Tad Stryker
Did you ever have one of those dreams where you’re almost safely home, but out of nowhere, a pursuing monster comes closer and closer, and the harder you run, the slower you move? Yeah, a real B-film climax. That’s what Nebraska-Arkansas State degenerated into. Luckily for Nebraska fans – at least the ones who stayed to the final play –…

Stryker: A bad year for Pipelines

12/20/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: A bad year for Pipelines Cavanaugh, punchless o-line dragged down Huskers with late-season swoon BY TAD STRYKER ON 12/30/2016 The long, slow improvement of Nebraska’s offensive line looked slightly ahead of schedule in September. But then something happened. Several things, actually, and almost none of them good for coach Mike Cavanaugh and his young pupils. After Terrell Newby broke a 63-yard…

Stryker: Fyfe gets a win on Senior Day

11/19/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Fyfe gets a win on Senior Day Blackshirts shut down Maryland running game, clinch unbeaten home season BY TAD STRYKER ON 11/19/2016 It’s welcome back to the upper middle class for Nebraska, which made it back to the nine-win mark without Tommy Armstrong and without second-half drama. Breaking out of mold they’ve cast for themselves, Nebraska played three nice quarters of…

Stryker: Hawkeyes 40, Huskers 10: This one leaves a stench

11/19/16 | Tad Stryker
Hawkeyes 40, Huskers 10: This one leaves a stench Collapse in Iowa City shows how Armstrong-dependent NU has become BY TAD STRYKER ON 11/19/2016 The Nebraska senior class of 2016 gave the Cornhusker State a lot of golden moments this fall. But Friday’s dismal performance at Iowa City has left a dramatically different taste on this season. Thankfully, gold cannot tarnish, but…

Stryker: Devastating loss in Columbus starts with poor o-line play

11/5/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Devastating loss in Columbus starts with poor o-line play Huskers need someone to succeed up front — and soon BY TAD STRYKER ON 11/06/2016 A Nebraska football team with a fragile, paper-thin offensive line is a sad sight to behold. When an offensive line can’t stand and fight, all its playmakers are nullified, and soon it puts the entire team in…

Stryker: Huskers can’t break through in Madison

10/30/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Huskers can’t break through in Madison Talent-depth deficit, lack of precision by Armstrong prove costly BY TAD STRYKER ON 10/30/2016 Grit and heart can carry you a long way, but as Nebraska found out Saturday night, eventually a lack of depth and talent catches up with you. Whether by a little or by a lot, Wisconsin continues its advantage in the…

Stryker: Ugly but undefeated: Huskers are stressed in win over Purdue

10/22/16 | Tad Stryker
Ugly but undefeated: Huskers are stressed in win over Purdue Blackshirts shine, o-line struggles as NU prepares for Wisconsin showdown BY TAD STRYKER ON 10/22/2016 For Nebraska football, victories in October have been a precious commodity over the past decade. So for that reason alone, Nebraska’s unconvincing 27-14 win over a weak Purdue team is nothing to sneer at. But I can’t…

Stryker: Huskers keep believing, stay unbeaten at season’s midpoint

10/15/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Huskers keep believing, stay unbeaten at season’s midpoint Chris Jones leads strong performance by defensive backfield as NU wins seventh in a row BY TAD STRYKER ON 10/15/2016 What in the world is a new generation of Husker fans to make of their football team? A hang-on-by-your-fingernails 27-22 win over a talented and very respectable Indiana team that threw a lot…

Stryker: Steady Huskers figure out how to finish off Illinois

10/1/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Steady Huskers figure out how to finish off Illinois Terrell Newby, beat-up offensive line spark another decisive fourth quarter BY TAD STRYKER ON 10/1/2016 I have to confess that near the end of the third quarter, when Illinois led Nebraska 16-10 and ESPN pulled out the graphic that showed the last time the Illini beat Nebraska in back-to-back seasons (1923 and…

Stryker: Armstrong helps Huskers avoid drama, beat Northwestern

9/25/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Armstrong helps Huskers avoid drama, beat Northwestern ‘Steady as she goes’ gets it done for Riley and the Big Red BY TAD STRYKER ON 9/25/2016 There was no drama. There was no last-minute comeback, no Hail Mary, no big-time controversy. And that was just fine, thank you. A Steady Eddie Big Ten road win is just fine. Especially when it comes…

Stryker: Riley, Nebraska grab their chance, break through against Ducks

9/17/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Riley, Nebraska grab their chance, break through against Ducks Big plays by Armstrong give Cornhuskers a pivotal victory BY TAD STRYKER ON 9/17/2016 Both the Nebraska football program and its head coach seemed to be running out of chances to break through to national relevance. Call it stage fright. Call it bad karma. Call it negative thought patterns. Call it lousy…

Stryker: Blackshirts’ five interceptions help finish off Wyoming

9/10/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Blackshirts’ five interceptions help finish off Wyoming Now Riley gets possibly his best shot at longtime nemesis Oregon BY TAD STRYKER ON 9/10/2016 It’s inevitable that Tommy Armstrong’s fingerprints were all over the wreckage of the Wyoming Cowboys after Nebraska’s 52-17 win Saturday. Armstrong deserves cheers for setting the Nebraska career record for touchdown passes (his 57 TDs eclipse the old…

Stryker: Staying the course, Riley, Huskers find fourth-quarter benefits

9/3/16 | Tad Stryker
Stryker: Staying the course, Riley, Huskers find fourth-quarter benefits Positive signs in offensive line, I-backs, turnover margin to name a few BY TAD STRYKER ON 9/3/2016 All kinds of bad things happened to Mike Riley at the end of games last season, so it was a nice change of pace to see a bunch of things go his way in the fourth…

Stryker: Great moments reborn while examining the Huskers by number

7/23/16 | Tad Stryker
Memorable moments are like cherished snapshots, and Husker football history is filled with them. As I look back at my favorite Nebraska football moments of all time, it quickly becomes obvious that not many of them took place last fall, but there’s one I’ll always remember. Although wins over Michigan State and UCLA were the highlights, and the Tommy Armstrong-to-Brandon…

Stryker: Iowa proves consistency beats cute more often than not

11/27/15 | Tad Stryker
Never underestimate the value of a quarterback who doesn’t beat himself and a defense that does not allow big plays. They made all the difference Friday as Iowa won its 12th consecutive game and kept itself in the hunt for the College Football Playoffs with a 28-20 win over Nebraska. The Hawkeyes were impressive in their refusal to buckle under…

Stryker: Huskers party on after snatching victory from unbeaten Spartans

11/7/15 | Tad Stryker
If you’ve ever watched a late-night party at Memorial Stadium, it’s like nothing else you’ve seen. If you were there in the gigantic old concrete cathedral Saturday night, you won’t soon forget it. It was a scarlet soiree. The Red Sea pitched and rolled in time with the high-decibel music that echoed through the house. The student section rocked. The…

Stryker: Return of Rose-Ivey highlights Riley’s first win at NU

9/13/15 | Tad Stryker
With three starters standing on the sidelines, the Blackshirts’ health took an uptick Saturday night against South Alabama. Small wonder – they had their heart back. Nebraska’s 48-9 victory over USA went about as well as it should have. The offensive line showed some promise, springing Terrell Newby for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore placekicker Drew Brown made both…

Stryker: Armstrong paddling hard under the surface to remain Husker QB

4/11/15 | Tad Stryker
Tommy Armstrong led the Nebraska offense last fall for Bo Pelini. Barring injury, he’ll do the same for Mike Riley this fall. It’s difficult to draw many solid conclusions from a spring football game, but here’s one. After weeks of hearing about A.J. Bush closing the gap on Armstrong in their race for the starting quarterback spot, Armstrong still has…

Stryker: Will Huskers learn from bowl loss to more talented Southern opponent?

1/1/13 | Tad Stryker
For those of us who say we long for old-time Cornhusker football, at least this game had some familiar themes. You had an academically high-achieving Nebraska team giving a good effort against a Southern team with more speed and athletic ability, but talent carried the day in Georgia's 45-31 victory Tuesday in the Capital One Bowl. It reminded me of…

Stryker: Wisconsin beatdown of Huskers stunningly inconceivable

12/1/12 | Tad Stryker
The story of Nebraska's 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game will possibly never be fully understood, nor will the catastrophic way the Blackshirts fell apart Saturday night in Indianapolis. How could a battle-tested, senior-dominated defense – one that had been improving each game throughout the second half of the season – make so many fundamental breakdowns…

Stryker: Return of Superman is a thing of beauty

11/23/12 | Tad Stryker
A national television audience may have thought Nebraska’s 13-7 win over Iowa on Black Friday was sluggish, even dull. But Husker fans around the nation recognized the beauty of Rex Burkhead’s return to action. After sitting out roughly the equivalent of five full games, Superman reappeared in the second half on a cold, windy day in Iowa City, and none…

Stryker: A cameo by the old master and consistency on the horizon

11/17/12 | Tad Stryker
There was a time not so long ago when Nebraska was a football program that could pretty much disregard what other teams were doing. If Nebraska was right, it really didn't matter how poorly or well the other guy was playing. It was only a matter of time before he'd fall to the Big Red. That was the process; if…

Stryker: Husker coaches make the right moves to shut down Penn State

11/10/12 | Tad Stryker
In Lincoln, it's not just the players who have learned to be resilient in the homestretch of the 2012 season. On Saturday in windblown Memorial Stadium, Bo Pelini and his coaching staff stepped up as well. It took a while for them to figure it out. They were thoroughly outcoached in a first half that went exactly the way Penn…

Stryker: Martinez the difference maker in East Lansing

11/3/12 | Tad Stryker
Someday, we’ll look back with the benefit of years of hindsight -- and we’ll still wonder exactly how Taylor Martinez and the Cornhuskers pulled this season off. In the 1980s and 1990s, Nebraska football teams methodically steamrolled their opponents using superior depth, talent and execution. Back in those days, Husker supporters sometimes complained about the games being boring. But this…

Stryker: Husker senior Blackshirts come up big against Michigan

10/27/12 | Tad Stryker
Bo Pelini had reason to celebrate as he walked off the field at Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Just a couple weeks after being on the brink of completely losing control of a season that was headed downhill fast, Pelini has his team in good position to win the Legends Division. This was a game he absolutely had to have, and…

Stryker: After edging Northwestern, Huskers on the brink of something

10/20/12 | Tad Stryker
That sinking feeling in your gut late Saturday afternoon was Nebraska’s proud football program teetering on the brink of irrelevancy in college football. Then again, that surge of pride – and relief – was Nebraska getting up off the deck and throwing punches, staging two gutsy fourth-quarter drives that showed resilience and character in a game where everything seemed to…

Stryker: Buckeyes’ Miller outclasses Martinez, Blackshirts

10/6/12 | Tad Stryker
This football team is in no condition to travel. A challenging road trip requires a dependable vehicle, but dependability is in short supply on the Nebraska football team. Ohio State's offense, which had struggled throughout the unbeaten Buckeyes' first five games, suddenly got quite healthy indeed against the Cornhuskers in a 63-38 rampage, It seems hard to believe that this…

Stryker: Has Martinez left ‘erratic’ in rearview mirror?

9/29/12 | Tad Stryker
Nebraska's second-biggest come-from-behind victory was a lot like its first, and Taylor Martinez was right in the middle of both. Last year, when NU roared back from 21 points down to beat Ohio State, Martinez had a forgettable first half and a memorable second. It was the same story Saturday night in Memorial Stadium, where Nebraska scrambled from 17 down…

Stryker: I-back quartet Huskers’ best since 1995

9/22/12 | Tad Stryker
Nebraska is rebuilding its identity as a power running team. The Cornhuskers are back in the top 10 for rushing yardage and have had four different players crack the 100-yard barrier so far this season. Much has been made of Taylor Martinez's new footwork and his prediction that he'll complete 70 percent of his passes this season. Those are important,…

Stryker: Huskers start a defensive youth movement?

9/15/12 | Tad Stryker
Now is a chance to start building goodwill in the Husker Nation. Nearly endless negativity was flowing throughout the kingdom last week in the wake of a disappointing loss to UCLA in Pasadena. Then we heard that Bo Pelini had been taken by ambulance from Memorial Stadium at halftime of the Arkansas State game. We saw the Nebraska defensive unit…

Stryker: Is there a playmaker in the house? NU defense needs to show up

9/8/12 | Tad Stryker
So, that West Coast trip idea didn't turn out real well for Nebraska. Looking back, here's a list of what the Cornhuskers accomplished Saturday night as they fell 36-30 to UCLA, dropping to 1-1 on the season: • Getting beat up on both sides of the line of scrimmage in the second half by a pastel-tinted football program that has…

Stryker: Retooled Martinez passes first test in a big way

9/1/12 | Tad Stryker
The much-anticipated 2012 Nebraska football season started with a flash of the old Rex Burkhead, but when the All-Big Ten running back went down early with strained knee ligaments, it opened up the game for what looked like a new Taylor Martinez. Round two of Tim Beck's reign as offensive coordinator began well as Nebraska recorded a 49-20 win over…