Husker Dan: Third and Two
Don’t look now, but the Husker team that couldn’t win any games in the first half of the season now has won three of its last four and has a chance to win five total games this year. Amazing, right? But I haven’t seen many Husker fans dancing in the streets. At least not yet.
The reason is simple. Nebraska has lost 7 games and the Husker victories have come against three bottom feeders: Minnesota, Illinois and FCS Bethune-Cookman. There hasn’t been even one “signature” win or a win over a team with a winning record. (OSU could have been Frost’s first such win and fans probably would have done some dancing.)
But the next two weeks give Nebraska a golden opportunity to beat two teams that at least have winning records. This Saturday, it’s 6-4 Michigan State and on Friday, November 23rd, the Huskers play at 6-4 Iowa.
Win them and Nebraska (and its fans) might have a bounce in their step going in to next year.
The 2019 season begins Saturday, August 31st with South Alabama, then it’s @Colorado, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Northwestern, @Minnesota, Indiana, @Purdue, Wisconsin, @Maryland and Iowa. With Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa at home, Nebraska just might take a step toward high conference and national rankings.
I’m not sure what Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer meant by his “Nebraska is a 2-7 football team that nobody wants to play right now” comment he made after his Buckeyes edged Nebraska 36-31 in Columbus a couple weeks ago.
He surely (and stop calling me Shirley) wasn’t including teams like Alabama, Clemson and Michigan, right? I can’t imagine Nick Saban being reluctant to play any team, unless it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. What Coach Meyer may have meant is, no defense wants to go against the Husker offense at this stage of the season. And he just might be right on that one.
Maybe the most improved player at Nebraska this year has been RB Devine Ozigbo. For about three and a half years, he’s been gathering dust sitting on the bench. But through hard work and determination, Devine has emerged this fall as one of the best running backs in the conference and is on the verge of reaching 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Not since Husker RB Ameer Abdullah did it in 2014 has Nebraska had a thousand-yard rusher. I’m sure there were many times when Devine could have (and some would say should have) transferred. But he didn’t. All he did was keep working and making himself the best he could be. Congratulations, Devine!
And Saturday will be the senior’s last time to play in front of 90,000 Husker fans at Memorial Stadium. Best of luck, #22. Hold your head high. And show the NFL what you can do.
This Saturday’s game with Sparty will be a really good test for the Husker offense. Can Michigan State’s great defense stop or even slow down Adrian Martinez & Company? Something tells me it can’t. Nebraska should be able to move the ball on both MSU and Iowa and if Nebraska can continue to mature and not beat itself, the Huskers should go 2-0 in those games. That would give Nebraska a 5-7 season, which would be an improvement even over last year’s four win season.
The Spartans’ starting QB, Brian Lewerke, is pretty banged up. If he doesn’t play, Michigan State will likely play freshman Rocky Lombardi from Clive, Iowa. And if he does play, it’s going to be fun to see him vs Adrian Martinez. Adrian and Rocky? You gotta be kidding me! Yo, Adrian!!!!
IT’S NO WONDER
Former Husker OG Rob Zatechka (’91-’94) tells the story about when he was playing for the Huskers.
“One day, there were several Husker players who wanted to keep lifting in the Husker weight room past the designated 6:00 p.m. closing time. The players insisted they be allowed to stay. The argument turned into a shouting match. The players almost came to blows with the guy in charge of the weight room!”
Contrast that with former Husker head football coach Mike Riley’s policy of telling his starters that weight lifting was optional. And it’s no wonder the Husker program was swirling the drain.
You may contact the writer at HuskerDan@cox.net.