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"Husker Dan Ponders the Pitt Game"

HUSKER HEADLINES
HUSKERS' LATE "PITT" STOP, EDGES PANTHERS, 24-17
PANTHERS HAVE NO "ANTHER"; HUSKERS ESCAPE, 24-17
HUSKERS STEAL ONE IN STEEL CITY, 24-17
BIG WED WAP-UP
It was ugly. It was a circus. It was the Marx Brothers. It was the Keystone Kops in the Keystone State. It was Pitt-i-full. This game will never make ESPN's Classic list, or anyone else's classic list, either.

But I'll take it.

In the blink of an eye, in a second, in a nano-second, in a heartbeat, in a New York minute.

I'll take it.

It is a "W" and Husker fans should be thankful for any and all wins the Huskers can muster especially early this year.
The win:
Was on the road.
Was Callahan's first road win.
Was on a wet, sloppy, natural turf field.
Was the most points (24) scored by Nebraska in the history of the series with Pitt, er, Pittsburgh going clear back to 1921.
Kept the young Huskers from skidding to 1-2 with possibility of having the only victory of the season consisting of a win over a Division 1-AA team.
ON THE ROAD
In the first half, the WCO clicked (at times) while the Panthers were repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. It looked as though the Huskers were on the road to a blow-out win. But the Nebraska receivers dropped too many right-on-the-money tosses by Joe Dailey; they botched a field goal attempt and gave up a first half 96 yard kickoff return for a Pitt, er, Pittsburgh touchdown.
TURNOVER GAME
It's true, the Husker offense gave up only one interception and the Blackshirts came away with 3 INTs and one fumble recovery and won the turnover battle 4-1, but the one mistake that didn't count as a turnover but was just as bad or even worse than one, was the kick return for a touchdown. This is the second kickoff TD return the Husker special teams have surrendered in the past 3 games. This is totally unacceptable. Mistakes like this will kill this young Husker team as they try to learn the complexities of the WCO.
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S SPUTTER
For the second straight week, the Huskers left a lot of points and yardage on the field. One would expect the offense to sputter at times, given the fact that the young Huskers are still struggling with a brand new offense. One might also expect the game to be close given the fact that two of our best defensive players didn't even make the trip, and a third, Fabian Washington had to leave the game due to a first half injury. NU defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove had little choice than to throw first year players Titus Brothers and Cortney Grixby into the mix at the same time.
SOAP OPERA
In view of the injuries and inexperience, I still get the feeling that if all the Huskers ever to show up on the same page on the same day at the same time, they could beat most anybody-soundly. In the meantime, the Huskers next episode of "The Young and the Inexperienced" will be when Nebraska faces their conference opener at home October 2nd, against the Kansas Jayhawks.

For right now, thank goodness for this year's schedule. Thank goodness for Western Illinois, Southern Mississippi and Pitt, er, Pittsburgh. And Kansas and, of course, Baylor. Let the young Huskers have time to mature, before we enter "The Big Time" against the likes of Oklahoma and Kansas State (?).
SPONGE BALL
Some fans who were at the game at Pitt, er Pittsburgh said that they heard that had the game had been played with Sunday's field conditions, the game would have been postponed. "The field was like a wet sponge", one fan said. It was close to being unplayable even on Saturday.
FROM THE EMAIL BAG
CELLAR DWELLER?
Dear Husker Dan:
I'm not necessarily a naysayer, but I believe our Huskers are where Kansas State was a few years ago, the doormat of the Big 12 and Big Eight for years. I feel as though we will go through a number of coaches in the next few years and will become even worse before things look up (if ever). We are light years away from a conference title, not to mention a national championship.
David H.
(No town, no state)
Dear David: Regarding your comments about K-State's record, it's true that in the years before Bill Snyder, the Wildcats were the doormat of the Big 8. However, in the last 3 years of the Big 8, K-State's record was 9-2-1, 9-3 and 10-2. In the years since the Big 12 was formed, K-State has gone 9-3, 11-1, 11-2, 11-1, 11-3, 6-6, 11-2 and 11-4-hardly worthy of doormat status. Read on.
NOT AN OPTION
Dear Husker Dan:
I can't understand some NU "fans" who continue the "bring back Frank" and "bring back the option" talk. Just shut up!!

The other most ridiculous thing I've heard is that we should bench Joe Dailey! He was not recruited to run the WCO. Scott Frost who did a pretty good job at NU came from Stanford and had to learn the NU offense (which is much easier to learn than the WCO) when he arrived. He had a whole season (plus spring and fall ball) because he had to sit out a year to be eligible, and if you'll remember, the Arizona State game (a 19-0 Husker loss), I don't think he did really well early in the season. Frost was also surrounded by a more experienced and more talented team.

After his first year, he showed great improvement and the year after that, led the Huskers to a national championship. I don't think any QB in the NFL could learn a new offense in 2.5 months and not make a lot of errors. Joe will be fine.

We have commitments from 3 of the best linemen in the country (Picou, Roak, Hickman). We already have one of the best QBs in the country (Beck) and the best Juco recruit in the nation (Bowman). Our coaching staff seems to be getting pretty much everyone they want.

We lose Barrett Ruud next year, but will get another linebacker who is considered to be the best in the country (Dillard). We are on the right track to getting back to dominance. The coaches are playing the best players on the roster which I don't think always happened in the past. We also have by far the best strength and conditioning staff in the country.

An did you see the butt-whooping Fresno State put on Kansas State? Our new line coach, Dennis Wagner, assembled and coached all of the offensive linemen on that team.

Our defensive line coach, John Blake, recruited 18 of the 22 starters who won the national title for OU in 2000, which is the only title the "vaunted" Stoops has.

When all the pieces are in place, we will be just as dominating as NU was in the 90s. But it can't be done overnight.

As far as the loss to Southern Mississippi goes, the offense, with all its inexperience and 5 turnovers had more total yardage that the previous two meetings against the Golden Eagles combined!

With all the injuries and inexperience, I challenge any school in the country to come as far as NU has in the short time they've done it. We will no longer get out-coached or have to put up with defenses loading 9 guys in the box and daring us to throw the ball. So to all of you "loyal" Husker fans out there, keep the faith. NU is headed back to contending for national titles.

If you whiners out there can't be positive and support the kids we have, then find a new team to follow.
Warren K.
Scottsbluff, NE
HUSKER STORIES
HIGH FIVES
Last week my eight year old son (Ben) and I attended the WIU game. There's something special about sharing the Husker experience with your son. Before the half was over, Ben and I went down to greet the players as they headed for the locker room. Ben was standing with little kids his age and younger. Some of the players gave high-fives and acknowledged the kids, which was very cool. One of the last groups off the field included Coach Callahan. Coach C broke out of the middle of his group and came right over to Ben and the other little kids. All got a high-five from the new coach and Coach Callahan got some new fans for life. TO or Frank would never have done that! Thanks Coach.
Tom S.
Sioux Falls, SD
KNOCK AT THE DOOR
I am a rabid Husker fan living behind enemy lines in Texas "Shorthorn" territory. Here are a couple of my stories.

This past Saturday, my middle brother was stuck in Tampa, Florida waiting out Hurricane Frances and was unable to get the game. No problem. Our youngest brother and I kept him on the cell phone and relayed the plays to him over the phone. I know we're pretty fanatical, but there is nothing we won't do for each other.

Also, I was sitting at home on game day recently, and the doorbell rang. My daughter answered the door and said there was someone who want to talk with me. There was an older lady standing there, smiling. She introduced herself and said she drives through the neighborhood quite often and saw my HUSKER flag and yard sign displayed in front of my house. She went on to say that she and her entire family are from Nebraska and are now living in the Dallas Metroplex area. We had a nice 20 minute visit and then exchanged names and numbers. It's truly amazing how the Husker Nation is like a giant family.
Husker Jim
Wylie, TX
Readers: All of you have a Husker memory or story you need to share with Husker Pride Worldwide. Your story might be about the first Husker game you ever saw; it could be about the last Husker game you shared with a loved one, or maybe it's a story of what you had to do in order to get Husker tickets. It could be a funny story or just a memorable one. Whatever memory you have, send them to huskerdan@cox.net and Husker Dan will post the best ones in his column.

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