NATIVE SON SHINES, BUT HUSKERS "BOWL" OVER 'CATS 27-25
BIG WED WAP-UP
CONFESSIONS OF A SPORTS WRITER
Husker Dan has a confession to make.
I've been to every Husker home game this season except Wake Forest and have stayed until the final out in every game. I saw the Husker-Pitt-iful game; witnessed the Huskers' double OT win over Iowa State; saw Le Kevin's fumble that helped T-Tech's last minute win. I was there when Zac Taylor's late 4th quarter pass to a wide-open Nate Swift sailed over his head and sealed the win for the Sooners.
THE LAST STRAW
But with about 5 minutes to go in the game in Lincoln Saturday, with the Huskers clinging to a shaky 24-22 lead over the K-State Mildcats, and right after Harrison Beck's pass was intercepted and returned to the Husker 9 yard line, Husker Dan and his long time football buddy, Bill, made a critical decision.
We had had enough. We headed for the exits.
Can you believe it? We headed for the freakin' exit and in doing so, missed out on one of the most exciting football finishes in Husker history. We missed the Blackshirts holding the 'Cats to just a field goal after Beck's interception. We missed Beck's 21 yard pass to Swift and the subsequent roughing the passer penalty that helped the Huskers get into field goal position. We missed all the excitement that led to Jordan Congdon's kick that sailed through the middle of the uprights in the North end zone, and of course, didn't see the ensuing celebration and the drama of the Blackshirts' last stand.
By the time we had reached our car, we heard, "And Congdon will tee it up...". Bill and I looked at each other and realized that the only possible way Jordan Congdon would be kicking off was if the Huskers had just scored! As we listened to Jim Rose's PBP, the final minute and five seconds of the game seemed to take an hour.
We could not believe it. The Huskers had rallied. They ("we") are going bowling. We are assured of having a winning regular season. Unbelievable.
I should have known better. This is a gang that is seldom out of a game. What this team lacks in talent, it makes up for in guts and determination. Time after time, the Huskers shot themselves in the foot, often escaping certain disaster, but some how, some way this team found a way to win.
SEARCHING FOR YUENGLING
I should have known better, especially since Dame Fortune had smiled on me earlier in the game, when a big gust of wind tore my fashionable Yuengling baseball cap from my head, tossing it (the cap) completely out of the Stadium. I raced from my perch in the East Stadium (the last row at the top), down the stairs and through one of the entrances. There, lying about a foot from the Stadium's foundation, was my cap, none the worse for wear. I made the long climb back up to my seat, thinking I was going to die in the process.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
To be sure, K-State is not a very good football team. Had this game been played in Manhattan, the Huskers probably would have lost. But it was played in Lincoln. The crowd was in the game. With every good play, Husker fans cheered wildly and with every Husker error (ant there were plenty of them), the crowd collectively groaned.
FROM THE EMAIL BAG:
Do you still feel that this Husker staff is one of the best in the nation? A lucky win over a very poor K-State team, a loss to lowly KU, tell me again how great Bill C., is with his potty mouth and gestures, how long will you give this guy?
The coach at Notre Dame has less talent and is winning as a first year Head Coach---CU could be a disaster!!! I'm not alone, look at the money not raised for the new program!!!
PS. I still pull for the players but can't pull for the coaching staff.
Time will tell how good (or bad) this staff is. My only concern is that BC be given time (3-4 years total) to get the players he needs to fit his system. If he and his staff are not given enough time, NU will go into a tailspin that they won't climb out of for many years. The talent level BC inherited was not good.
BTW, since you've labeled Saturday's win "lucky", do you call the Huskers' loss to Texas Tech, unlucky? Yes, the Huskers didn't play a good game at Lawrence. This team has lived on the edge all year. Last year, KU was in the game up until the final play and that game was played in Lincoln.
Regarding Callahan's "hillbilly" remark, I don't approve of what he said at Norman last year, but Husker fans who were at the game, saw Sooner fans verbally taunting Husker players and coaches. And if that wasn't bad enough, they reported Okie fans pouring urine on Husker fans. If the Sooner fans did that to Callahan and his team, I could certainly understand his remark. Again, I'm not approving of his behavior, but I can understand why he may have lost his cool.
This year's "Gesture-gate" is much ado about nothing. Had the officials thought his gesture warranted a penalty, he would have been tagged with one, but he wasn't.
As I said, Bill Callahan should be given 3-4 years to see if he can, indeed, restore the Husker program to national prominence. If there isn't significant improvement by then, the A.D. and Chancellor will have some tough decisions to make.
Regarding the talent at Notre Dame: Do you really think the talent at Lincoln is better than that in South Bend? You must be kidding! ND has always been able to recruit-it's Notre Dame, for crying out loud.
The Huskers will be big underdogs at Boulder. The only way the Huskers can make a game of it, and maybe win it, will be if all three phases of the Husker team show up for all four quarters. There have been glimpses of brilliance this fall, but not on a consistent basis. If the Husker team that played Saturday in Lincoln shows up at CU, the results won't be good for the Big Red.
Regarding the lack of donations for the Tom & Nancy Osborne Sports Complex: Look, when any football program doesn't win as often as the alumni and fans want, it's only natural that fund raising will suffer. BTW, have you contributed yet?
As far as your comment about rooting for the players but not the coaches, don't look now, but the players have embraced the coaching staff and are playing their guts out for them and their fellow players. To root for the players but not the coaches is absolutely silly.
Thanks for writing.
If you'd like to give Husker Dan a piece of your mind or if you would like him speak at your next Husker event (Husker Dan lives in the Omaha area), you may email him here. For past Husker Dan columns click here.