OH-OH, LATE T.O. A NO-NO AS T-TECH WRECKS HUSKER COMEBACK, 34-31
BIG WED WAP-UP
THE REAL THING
Mark down the date, Saturday, October 8th, 2005. On this day, history was made. The Texas Tech game is one the Husker players, coaches and fans will be able to look back on one day and say this is where "it" all began.
The "it", of course, is the Turnaround. It is becoming quite clear that Coach C and his assistants know what they are doing. They have a plan and are slowly, but surely (stop calling me Shirley) getting the players and the experience they need, as Coach John Blake said last February, to "turn this mutha around!"
Look, I know it was a painful loss-a game the Huskers should have won. But I haven't felt this good about a Husker defeat since the '94 Orange Bowl game with Florida State. As with that game, Saturday's loss to the Red Raiders was a "good" loss because it showed how far this team has come since last year's 5-6 record and this year's early frustrations.
In the five years prior to Tom Osborne's '93 season, the Huskers were reeling from bowl losses to Miami in the '89 Orange Bowl (3-23), Florida State in the '90 Fiesta Bowl (17-41), Georgia Tech in the '91 Citrus Bowl (21-45) and Miami again in the '92 Orange Bowl (0-22). Those losses coupled with a regular season blowout at Oklahoma (10-45) in '90 , losses to Washing in '91 and '92 (21-36 and 14-29, respectfully) and the Husker faithful were starting to wonder if their once mighty Husker program was heading toward obscurity.
But help was on the way in '92. The most significant recruit, quarterback Tommie Frazier, came to Lincoln that year. He was accompanied by (amongst others) a bevy of defensive speedsters who would thrive in the Huskers' new 4-3 defense. Husker fans could see the program being transformed before their very eyes. That's why a narrow loss to the heavily favored Seminoles in the '94 Orange Bowl was a "good" loss and was considered to be the turning point of Osborne's "revamped" coaching career.
A FIRM FOUNDATION
And as everyone knows, the foundation that was set in '92 and '93, produced national championships in 3 of the next 4 years, winning Osborne's first in '94, his second in '95 and his last one in '97.
Spotting the number one offensive team in the country 21 points in the 2nd quarter, and rallying to take a late 4th quarter lead of 31-27, is something the Huskers can build on for the rest of this season, and perhaps for years to come.
This game was Rocky Balboa getting knocked to the canvas several times in the first few rounds by the heavily favored champion, Apollo Creed. Rocky wouldn't give up, kept hammering away until he had broken several of the champs' ribs before finally losing to Creed in the final round. Rocky was bruised and bleeding, but the Italian Stallion, indeed, had come of age.
And so have the Huskers.
Sure, there were mistakes-far too many of them. There were penalties, missed tackles, missed blocking assignments and poorly thrown passes, but all those problems can and will be corrected by coaching and with experience.
Maybe the Huskers don't have the talent to be champions just yet, but what they do have plenty of right now are things that can't be coached-heart, guts, determination, character, resolve and dedication.
To be sure, this team bares little resemblance to the one that opened last month at home against Maine-it's even different from the team that miraculously hung on to beat Pitt a couple of weeks ago.
The Huskers are now in a position to win every game left on their schedule. This Husker team will be hard to beat. Will they lose more games? Probably, but if the Huskers don't shoot themselves in the foot, this bunch will be awfully tough to beat.
Stay tuned. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY
LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS
(There were no letters this week.)
FROM THE EMAIL BAG
Dear Husker Dan:
I was just another face in the crowd at Memorial Stadium on Saturday for the Iowa State/ Nebraska game. But I had the privilege of going through the recruiting experience because of my nephew who is 6'5" and 220 lb. and plays football in Texas as a tight end and deep snapper. He's not ranked on Rivals but is smart and was an all-district basketball player last year at the 3A level school.
We also walked on the field sidelines before the game and we were standing next to Jordan McMichael, the #3 ranked tight end in the country from Minnesota. He's impressed with Boston College, but was also wowed with his Nebraska experience. We were at field level at the South/East corner of the stadium when the student body section started chanting his name... That was very cool !! and he acknowledged the cheering with a wave and a smile.
Of course the
Game was something to remember and the crowd noise was off the charts.
After going through a trip to SMU, TCU, and Iowa State my nephew was
taken to another level of experience. Thanks Nebraska! Thanks Nebraska
Fans and thanks to all in the athletic department for an experience
of a lifetime!
Its hard to believe a player would want to go anywhere else after the Big Red Experience! Go Huskers !!!
Des Moines, IA
HUSKER DAN SEZ
Okay, so this bunch from Waco is not your father's Baylor team. They are 4-1 and are coming off their first Big 12 Conference road victory in school history. Baylor head coach Guy Morriss' team won at Ames, last weekend, something the Huskers haven't been able to do since 2000.
The Bears have something this year that they haven't had in many years-an attitude, a belief that they can win any game on their schedule. Who are these guys, anyway?!!
UP THE LADDER
Last year's game in Lincoln, the Baylor Bears were the better team in the second half. They came out after half-time with a resolve they hadn't shown earlier in the game, but NU held on for a 59-27 win. You could tell even then that maybe the Bears were a team trying to make a move up the Big 12 ladder.
This Saturday's game in Waco (6 PM kickoff) will mark the Huskers' first road game in a season that as seen the Huskers play 5 straight at home to begin the year.
Bill Callahan's next conference road win will be his first, so I'm sure he'd like nothing better than to win this one Saturday in Waco.
Both teams are trying to shake off losing traditions, but Baylor's troubles are much deeper than the Huskers'. How will this year's Husker team perform on the road? In his last year as a head coach, Frank Solich's '03 team won just one conference road game-at Colorado in what turned out to be his last game as the Husker head coach.
To be sure, since 2000, the Huskers' record in conference road games has been a dismal 6-11, a whopping 35.3% rate. I don't think the Baylor Bears will be intimidated by the Huskers or with that record.
The one thing the Huskers have for them is talent and a team that just won't quit. The Huskers will be in every game they play this year, so it's hard not to pick the Big Red in this game.
ONE OF THESE DAYS, ALICE
One of these days, the Huskers are going to put all three phases of their game together on the same day. Will this be the day? I don't know, but even if they don't, the Huskers should still prevail.
The Cornhusker "Cardiac Kids" will bounce back from their last minute loss to the Red Raiders and will find a way to win. It may be ugly, but the Huskers will gut it out to pull down another "W".
WASCALLY WACKY WACO BEARS 21
Remember, if you would like to hear Husker Dan shoot off his big mouth at your next Husker function or you just want to tell him what YOU think about Husker football, email him here. For past Husker Dan columns click here.