SHAKE WAKE, 20-17
BIG WED WAP-UP
My buddy Mike in Omaha summed up the Husker-Wake Forest game by saying, "The Huskers wouldn't have won this kind of a game last year."
Good point. It's true, it was an ugly win for the Huskers, but several good things happened:
1.) The Huskers won the game.
2.) No one was seriously injured (Tierre Green is day-to-day.)
3.) They won a road game.
4.) They won a road game against a pretty good BCS team.
5. The Huskers won the game on the road while at times, they played poorly.
Last week, I wrote that it wouldn't make much difference if their starting quarterback were Riley Skinner or Brett Hodges. It seemed that both quarterbacks were very capable and it wouldn't make a difference who played.
I was wrong. I think had Skinner played the game, the Huskers probably would have lost. We'll never know, but because of Jeff Hodges' inexperience he tossed two interceptions, with the second being a game loser for the Demon Deacons.
To be sure, we got the Deaks' best shot-their backs were to the wall having lost their opener to Boston College the week before. Wake will win a number of games this year; Hodges will keep getting better and the DDs will play in a bowl game.
1.) Why did Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe chose to have the Huskers re-do the kickoff Adi "The Body" Kunalic sent sailing out of bounds at about the Deacon 35 yard line after the Huskers regained the lead just before the end of the first half? Adi's next kick sailed into the end zone and gave the Deacons the ball on their own 20. Didn't Grobe watch any film of Adi's kickoffs from the previous week?
2.) Why didn't the Huskers, on their possession right after Zack Bowman's 4th quarter end zone interception, run more clock? Mike M. a reader from Kansas City, alertly spotted the screw-up. The Huskers, instead of draining the clock as much as they could, left precious seconds on the board.
The drive began with 6:05 left in the game. The Huskers ran several plays before the play clock even came close to expiring. By the time Wake Forest took over with 1:54 to go in the game, the Huskers had left 118 seconds, or nearly two whole minutes on the game clock. In other words, if the Huskers would have used all the time they should have, the game would have been over.
The question is, why wasn't there any mention of the poor clock management either during the game or on any of the post game comments? Utterly amazing.
Kudos go to Marlon Lucky for his magnificent block on a Wake Forest corner blitz as Sam Keller's was in the process of completing a TD toss to Sean Hill just before the half. Marlon saved the day and saved Keller's bacon.
Much was made of Courtney Grixby's no call pass interference on Wake's final offensive play of the game. Perhaps it was a bad call, but there were plenty of holding calls that should've been called against the Deacons but weren't. So maybe things evened a bit.
THE COZ CAUSE
Much has been much criticism concerning the inability of the NU coaching staff to make 2nd half adjustments in close games. Wake Forest, which had totaled 335 total yards of offense through 3 quarters, managed only 41 total yards (32 rushing and 9 yards rushing) in the 4th quarter.
My buddy Doug S. from Omaha, who attend the game at Wake, had an unexpected surprise during his trip to North Carolina. He and his party took a side trip to the campus of Appalachian State, home of the Mountaineers whose 34-32 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor the week before, stunned the college football world. The score of that game was still posted on the ASU scoreboard when they visited the stadium. As luck would have it, ASU head football coach and former Husker assistant Jerry Moore was there to greet Doug's party. Coach Moore posed for photographs. Afterward, Doug said of Coach Moore, "He is a class act."
Mrs. Husker Dan and I became grandparents this week for the second time with the birth of our little granddaughter, Isabella. Of course she's darling and of course we'll spoil her. Welcome to the world, little sweetheart. It's Southern California week and there couldn't be a better time to become a Husker fan!
PAVELKA, PAVELKA PAVELKA!
Kent Pavelka, former "Voice of the Huskers" emailed me the other day with his new web site. I told him I'd give him a "Shameless Plug". His web page is: www.kentpavelka.com Click on the "Broadcasting Talent" part of his home page and listen to highlights from a couple of his Husker play-by-play broadcasts.
POLYESTER SUITS HIM
Many Husker fans have sent me the article written by a sports writer with the L.A. Times (I'm not even going to mention his name). Husker fans are in a lather about what this writer has to say about the state of Nebraska and its football fans. Until now, I have refused to comment on this hack because he is neither funny, nor is he original. He wants nothing better than to get Husker fans upset.
Listen to me: He flat ain't worth it. I mean, how many freekin' times do we need to hear about how a bunch of fudpuckers we all are? How we all drive tractors? Ha ha ha ha. Sigh... He needs to get new original material. Dude, polyester ain't hip any more.
THE HUSKER ELVISES
The Husker Elvises who are the greatest goodwill ambassadors for Husker football, will be performing this weekend in Lincoln. They will be at the Husker Football Banquet Friday night l and will be performing at various hotels, restaurants and bars in downtown Lincoln Saturday before the game.
The Husker Elivises will be short one man this fall. For years, the Husker Elvises have consisted of the four Brew brothers who grew up in Alliance, Nebraska. Sadly, Steve, who still lived in Alliance, passed away this summer. He has left a long and wonderful legacy. This year the brothers will be one man short, but they all know he'll be with them at every performance. Ironically, Steve, who was known for his big heart, died due heart failure. We will all miss you, Steve. God bless you and your family. Thank yew, thank yew very much.
DIARY OF A HUSKER
Last winter, I wrote a review of David Kolowski's book, "Diary of a Husker". David will be in Lincoln over the weekend and will be speaking at the Husker Football Banquet Friday night. David and I talked this week about how his book sakes have been going. He said he sent copies of his book to ESPN'S Game Day broadcast team. To his surprise, David got a voice message a few days later from Lee Corso, thanking David for the book. Lee said he'd read "Diary" on his way to Lincoln this week.
IT'S TIME FOR NUMBER ONE
Now we can all talk about the top ranked you-know-whos coming to Lincoln to play the Huskers on national TV Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ESPN's "College Game Day" will originate from Memorial Stadium that day. And even funnyman Will Ferrell will be at the game (he'll be a guest of Larry The Cable Guy). Talk about your Hollywood atmosphere. All that's missing is Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Arthur Hunnicutt.
Southern Cal is coming to town ranked number one in both polls. They bring with them a Heisman hopeful, quarterback John David Booty as well as 10 of the 11 starters from a defense that was nationally ranked last year. The Trojans have great talent 3 deep at nearly every position. They've won an astonishingly 57 out of their last 61 games. Their 4 losses have come by a grand total of 12 points.
If you want to know how good the Trojans are, just look at where the Huskers were in the mid-90s. These guys are fast, mean and will be looking to use the Huskers to impress the poll voters, some of whom have jumped on the LSU bandwagon.
Of course the Tigers will be rooting for the Huskers to upset the Trojans. And those who like to root for the underdog should find comfort in cheering for the Big Red.
THE PLAY'S THE THING
Thank goodness the Huskers played a game last week. I'm glad the Huskers didn't have a bye last week after hosting Nevada two weeks ago. Sam Keller needs all the snaps he can get. My sense is that it may take Sam about 4 or 5 games to get settled into the Husker version of the West Coast Offense. Too bad this will be only his 3rd game.
What will it take for the Huskers to up-end the Mighty Trojans? Or, can the Huskers even stay with SoCal? Do they even deserve to be on the same playing field with such a storied program?
Of course, we won't know for sure until about 10:30 Saturday night.
THE KEYS TO THE HOUSE
If the Huskers have any thought about winning Saturday night, they are going to have to be on an emotional pitch-not sky high, but at a championship level of intensity. The Husker script should go something like this:
"Tonight, Trojans, we're coming at you. We are coming at you all night long-every play-every time. There will be no let-ups. There will be no mercy tonight. You're in for four quarters of pure Big Red Hell. We are playing Husker Ball tonight and tonight is OUR night. This is OUR home. You're playing in front of OUR fans. We're going to out hit you and slam you to the turf all night long. We're going to run through you; we're going to pass over you and we're going to hit you so hard you won't be able to make it back to your huddle. We are going to knock you like a freight train every play all night long. We are going to come at you with a vengeance you've never seen before. And when we get you down, we're going to stomp on your heads and shove the ball down your throats."
I've said all I can. Huskers, are you listening?
SHAKE WAKE, 20-17