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H U S K E R    D A N


"Man, woman and child, did that put 'em in the aisles!"
(Lyell Bremser)
"Holy cow! Un-bee-leeev-able!"
(Kent Pavelka)
"We have just witnessed one of the most dramatic, aberrant, spectacular, absorbing, engrossing, enthralling and riveting performances in recent Husker history, Adrian."
(Jim Rose)
(Napoleon Dynamite)
As I headed back to Omaha after the game Saturday night, I was racking my brain (admittedly, there ain't much to rack) trying to think of a Husker game that was anything like the one I had just witnessed earlier that night.

The best I can come up with is a combination of the following memorable Husker games:
That year, the Huskers were ranked #2 in the country and were just coming off an emotional game that gave Tom Osborne his first win over Barry Switzer's Oklahoma Sooners. Missouri came into the game unranked at 6-4. On the second play of the game, before many people had even found their seats, Rick Berns raced 80 yards for a touchdown. Husker fans could just smell another big win, a trip to the Orange Bowl and a possible national championship. Former Husker player and assistant coach Warren Powers was in his first year as the Tiger head coach that year. (His Washington State team had come to Lincoln in '77 and upset the Huskers 19-10.) That day in '78, Missouri and the Huskers combined for almost 1,000 yards of total offense. Tiger running back James Wilder ran, well, wild all day (181 yards) and the Huskers suffered a 35-31 defeat (the Blackshirts gave up almost 500 yards of offense to the Tigers) that landed the Huskers in the Orange Bowl in a rematch will the *&^!%$ Sooners.

In '97, the Huskers went to Columbia ranked #1 in the country to take on the unranked (6-3) Missouri Tigers. Husker fans were thinking another win over the hapless Tigers and another possible national championship. Missouri wasn't buying any of that. Mizzou QB Corby Jones played an inspired game that day. The Tigers had the Huskers on the ropes with just seconds to go in the game, leading 38-31. The Huskers had to drive about 65 yards in the closing minutes and to score on the last play of regulation on, what would be called, "The Catch" by Matt Davison. The ensuing extra point was good, sending the game to OT. The Huskers scored first on a TD run by QB Scott Frost. The Blackshirts, who had surrendered almost 400 yards of offense that day, shut down the Tigers on their OT possession. The Huskers, who escaped Columbia with an incredible 45-38 win, had combined with the Tigers to score an amazing 83 points. Despite their heroics, the Huskers dropped to #2 behind Michigan, which would go on to share the national championship with the Huskers.
Louisiana Tech game into Lincoln in 1998, unranked and much overlooked and faced the #4 ranked Huskers playing in front of a Sea of Red . Every Husker fan thought this would be a cake walk, a stroll in the park, another Husker blowout. But the Bulldogs led by QB Tim Rattay and receiver Troy Edwards torched the vaunted Husker defense for 590 passing yards-still a Husker opponent record. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense that day in scoring 83 points. The Blackshirts gave up touchdown passes of 52, 94 and 80 yards. Husker fans were wondering, just who are these guys and how can they be doing that do our vaunted Blackshirts? (Rattay and Edwards went to play in the NFL.)
Last year, the unranked Huskers hosted the Iowa State Cyclones (#23) on television game in Lincoln. The Huskers held on to win in double OT 27-20 in one of the wildest home victories ever. Together, Husker QB Zac Taylor (431) and the 'Clones Bret Meyer (317) threw for almost 750 yards that day. Both teams scored in the first OT and only a drop of a sure interception by Cyclone defender Nick Leaders, enabled the Huskers to escape with a win.
What is stunning about last Saturday's game was how the Jayhawks, who earlier this year lost to that powerhouse Toledo in double OT and had managed only 13 points in a win over South Florida were able to push around the Blackshirts. KU played the Huskers with a second string quarterback who had been switched to tight end in the spring. The Jayhawks came into Lincoln Saturday with a defense that had lost 8 of its 11 starters from last year; were playing on the road in front of 85,000 Husker fans; had one of the worst offenses in the country but managed to rack up 32 points, 574 yards of total offense against the Huskers; ran 29 more plays than the Huskers; led the game with about 4 minutes to go and tied it with less than a minute in regulation. Only a miracle 3rd and 18 pass from Taylor to Hardy and a two point conversion pass to Nate Swift, kept the Huskers from losing in regulation.
How did this happen? How could a bunch of "average" KU players do that to the Blackshirts? After all, this wasn't Southern California we played Saturday night, or Texas, or Missouri or Ohio State-it was Kansas, for goodness sake!
Saturday night, KU quarterback Adam Barmann looked like John Elway; Jon Cornish looked like Adrian Peterson; Dexton Fields looked like Jerry Rice. What the heck was going on?
Through the years, I've learned to be very concerned when the Huskers score early (see the 1978 Missouri-Husker game), often and easily in a game. With a 17-0 first quarter lead, the Huskers were on cruise control, or so it seemed. Kansas was a 21 point underdog. The Blackshirts limited Kansas to 16 yards of total offense in the quarter.
But old Mo' seemed to change when we shanked punt. We seemed to lose our intensity. Barmann & Company got hot, we had some turnovers and bingo, the Jayhawks clawed back into the game.
When the Huskers did score, they scored almost too quickly. Meanwhile,Kansas, was able to mount long drives that kept our D on the field most of the night. KU ran 29 more plays than the Huskers, for a whopping total of 94 plays! The Blackshirts soon ran out of gas. We continued to make more mistakes. The Huskers looked like last year's penalty and mistake prone team. Credit the players and coaches for not caving in Saturday when things went bad for the Huskers.
And we learned this week, that the crowd noise that was so deafening for KU's offense, may have disrupted the Blackshirts' as well as they tried to make line calls just before Kansas snapped the ball.
There were so many great plays Saturday night-the 3rd and 18 completion to Hardy for a TD and the double extra point try that put the Huskers up by 7. But the play of the game may have been Brandon Jackson's recovery of an errant center snap on the play just before the 3rd and 18 pass play to Hardy. Had the Huskers lost the ball, the game would have been over. End of story.

I'm betting that Kansas won't play that well the rest of the year.
Fwantz Hawdee
When Kansas linebacker Eric Washington went down with a dangerous injury in the second half, the game was stopped for about 10 minutes. During that time, I couldn't believe what I saw. While this young player was lying motionless on the turf, some idiot Husker fans-a very small number of them, I might add, attempted to get the wave started! How freakin' stupid is that! Thank God their effort fizzled out. All the good that Husker fans are known for, would have gone out the window. My God, how stupid can some people be?
The 10th Annual Land Mine Convention
Kabooom, Nevada
Friday, October 13th
7:00 p.m.
Bellevue Kiwanis Club
Bellevue, NE
Friday, October 27th
Big Wed Weetweet
Mahoney State Park
Ashland, NE
October 30th
6:00 p.m.
Aunt Rosie Roast
The Millard VFW Hall
Omaha, NE
(right across from the Dairy Queen)
Friday, December 1st
7:30 p.m.
Hi Husker Dan!
My step daddy is letting me use his computer (and helping me type) as I am an 8 year old Cornhusker fan by the name of David Zacharia. I love reading about the Huskers!! I live in Las Vegas with my cat Jacob and my goldfish Allie. My step dad teaches me all about the Huskers and we read your commentary together when it is available (along with Scarlett Jeff and Col. Mustard). You are my favorite though. Keep writing and if you could send me a personal email at my very own email address below it would be great!
David Zacharia,
Las Vegas, Nevada (The Silver State)
David: Thanks for your kind words. It sounds to me that your step dad is doing an excellent job of raising you to be a good Cornhusker fan! Have you ever seen a Husker home game? It's a thing to behold. Some day (if you're really good!) your parents might top off your Husker Experience by taking you to Lincoln to see the Huskers in action. Please feel free to write me any time with your comments and thoughts about the Huskers. Thanks!
Husker Dan:
Regarding Brent Musburger's broadcasting of the Southern Cal-Husker game:
I would rather pull all my finger nails off before listening to him announce, not only our games, but anyone's. He is very biased and has no problem reflecting that in his announcing.
Go Big Red and everyone just keep the faith.
(No name, no town)
Okay, so tell us how you really feel.
A reader sent the following link to a music video that someone in Hastings, Nebraska had made. Thanks to the person who sent it.
Hi Dan:
Just a quick note to say thank you for all the e-mails you have sent in support of myself and the Huskers! I truly appreciate it and will respond when I can--probably get in trouble for writing to you all instead of my wife right now! I was born in Imperial, Nebraska and moved to Wyoming where I grew up. Everyone else in my family is a Wyoming native, so there is some friendly rivalry when we get together. Thanks to the response to my wife's e-mail. She is a Tennessee native whom I am rehabilitating to appreciate real football instead of the sissy SEC stuff she is used to!! I catch what news I can get--got to watch some of the USC game (got up at 0300 to watch it before going out of the wire for a mission) We can
play with those guys--give us another shot at them!!
Go Big Red!!!!!
Thanks again, SSG Toby Davis
<[email protected]>
So what are we to expect from the Huskers this week when they face the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames Saturday night? This looks like another Kansas game in the making. The 'Clones have a good offense with tall, fast receivers. That doesn't bode well for our altitudinally challenged secondary.

The 'Clones and their fans will be jacked up for this game-they know their team hasn't lost at home to the Huskers since 2000. ISU always seems to play to the level of competition, so expect the absolute best shot from the Cyclones.

The only thing Husker fans can find comfort in, is Iowa State's defense, or lack thereof. Get this: Iowa State is dead last in all of Division 1 schools in defense. And to top it off, opponents have an average pass completion rate of 70%!

Look for Zac Taylor to have a great night. If the Huskers can also run on the 'Clones, the Huskers should win. Don't be surprised if the Huskers trail in this game at the half. ISU coach Dan McCarney will have his team ready to go. This game will likely go down to the wire. Look for a nail-biter.

If you'd like to give Husker Dan a piece of your mind you may email Husker Dan at [email protected].  For past Husker Dan columns, click here.