HUSKERS CLIP 'CLONES 35-17
BIG WED WAP-UP
For the second week in a row, Husker linebacker Bo Ruud intercepted an opponent's pass and returned it for a game-changing, momentum-turning touchdown. Last week, his 34 yard interception helped the Huskers claw back to beat Ball State. Saturday, his 93 yard interception for a touchdown took the starch out of a pesky Iowa State team that had built 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.
Maybe Bo should change his name to "Mo" as in momentum-changer.
IOWA STATE OF MIND
Husker fans looking to see the Husker D rebound from a near disastrous game with Ball State last week, saw the 'Clones who are one of the worst offensive teams in all of college football, run an amazing 102 plays for over 400 yards of offense, consume over 40 minutes of game clock and score 17 points.
To be sure, this was the screwiest game since the '05 home game with Pittsburgh. The Huskers had a turnover on each of their first three possessions and then committed silly fouls (roughing the kicker, off-sides etc.) that allowed ISU to continue drives that the defense otherwise had stopped.
LAW OF AVERAGE
Right now, almost mid-way through the regular season, the Huskers are an average football team at best. All the pre-season hype, so far, has been unfulfilled. That is not to say the Huskers can't or won't improve.
And at 4-1, the Huskers are right where most everyone thought they'd be. The only loss has been to No. 1 ranked Southern California. Husker fans also know that 3 of those wins are over Nevada, Ball State and Iowa State-not exactly powerhouses.
At this point of the season, there are more question marks than answers. Clearly, the best player on offense is Sam Keller (he's getting better each week). The Huskers' best defensive player clearly is Cortney Grixby who Saturday may have had his best game as a Husker.
SCRATCH 'N SNIFF
The Huskers have players capable of making big plays on both sides of the ball. It's just the inconsistency that has everyone scratching his head.
Husker fans who are screaming for the heads of Cosgrove, Callahan, Pederson, Perlman and who want to bring back Bo Pelini as D.C, fuggeddaboutit. It ain't gonna happen. No matter how much booing and swearing you do, no matter how much Maalox you chug-a-lug worrying about all this, no personnel changes are going to happen at this time.
You "fans" have a couple of choices-find another team to embrace (Notre Dame's unavailable) or be patient and let this team grow. The season is still young. Last weekend, the Sooners were embarrassed at Boulder and the Longhorns were ripped at home by K-State. This is a crazy year of college football that will have additional upsets.
Saturday was the first Husker game I've been to this season. We sat in the NW end zone, 87 rows up. From that vantage point, the game was a rumor. The new mega-jumbo video screen can't be seen from there. To follow replays and to keep track of the down and distance, people who sit in that part of the Stadium, have to rely on the video screen in the SE end zone-about 150 yards away. If you don't have binoculars, you're outta luck, pal.
BIG RED BREAKFAST
Last week, I attended my very first Big Red Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Central in Omaha. The featured speaker was Husker Offensive Coordinator, Shawn Watson. He's a classy guy-he knows his football and has a great deal of charisma. One day, he'll be a head coach-maybe college, maybe in the NFL or maybe both.
He talked about when, as an assistant at Miami of Ohio, he lived in the neighborhood with legendary NFL coaches Paul Brown (inventor of the West Coast Offense) and Weeb Eubanks former coach at the Jets and the Baltimore Colts. Shawn invited Weeb to critique his (Shawn's) coaching methods, to give him pointers etc. Weeb attended many of Shawn's practices, offering advice when he could. After a while, the two of them would hunker down in Weeb's basement, looking at old 16 mm game film of Johnny Unitas tossing passes to Raymond Berry and Joe Namath running the Jets' offense.
IN A ZONE
There is a local (Omaha) radio sports call-in show called "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" heard afternoons on AM 1620 The Zone. The two hosts, the mild mannered Kevin Kugler and his faithful companion, Mike'l "Don't Forget The Apostrophe" Severe are a good combination. Each weekday afternoon, they banter on about a variety of sports topics, including Husker football. The show features several funny segments, the best of which is the weekly telephone interview with "Bill Callahan". Of course it isn't really the Husker head coach calling in, but the guy who plays Callahan is spot on in his impression. When I called the station this week, I was told they could not reveal the identity of the Callahan impersonator. The "Callahan" segment can be heard Thursday afternoons at about 4:45.
BIG RED BETTY
One of the Huskers' long-time, biggest fans, Big Red Betty of Lincoln, California is in need of our help. Betty has been a huge Husker fan since the early 50s when great players like Tom "Train Wreck" Novak starred for the Huskers. She also was there the day Bobby Reynolds made his incredible touchdown run against Missouri at Memorial Stadium
In 1954, she and her husband moved to California where she now resides. This summer, Betty received some very bad news regarding her health. As a result, she is in the fight of her life.
A couple weeks ago she received a phone call from Tom Osborne. She thought the call was a prank-she couldn't believe it was actually Coach Osborne on the phone. Betty didn't have any idea who set up the call, but later found out that it was one of her friends who is a big Colorado Buffalo fan!
"I'll never say anything bad about the Buffaloes again," she confessed.
Betty is a classy lady who really knows Husker football. She has also been a great supporter of Husker Dan's Army. I know all Husker fans will want to keep Betty in your prayers. Get well, Betty. We love you.
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY
As many of you know, Husker Dan's Army was formed just over a year ago with the sole purpose of sending Husker goodies to our men and women serving overseas in the military. With a big assist from Gary McGirr, president of the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska in Topeka, Kansas, and Shot Kleen with HuskerVision in Lincoln, we have been able to provide members of our armed services with game DVDs and Husker Care Packages. With every $100 we raise, the Red Zone in Omaha sends a box full of Husker memorabilia-media guides, T-shirts, caps etc. to any soldier who sends a request to either Gary or me.
HDA officially began over a year ago when Sgt. Joshua Howard wrote me from Iraq, asking if I could help him and his fellow soldiers get some game Husker game DVDs. I immediately contacted Gary who took charge and made Husker Dan's Army become a reality.
Josh is back in Lincoln, working and attending classes. Since Gary and I were going to the Iowa State game, we arranged to meet Josh and some of his Iraqi war buddies at the Huskerpedia tailgate party. We had a great time visiting with Josh. We thanked him for his service to his country. The real American heroes aren't those for whom we cheer on Saturdays, but are the brave men and women who are serving in our armed services. They don't ask for much, so when Josh asked for help, Husker fans responded.
Saturday, David Max with Huskerpedia, donated a helmet poster that had been autographed by Johnny Rodgers, Roger Craig, Vince Farragamo and will be auctioned on Ebay. The proceeds will go to Husker Dan's Army. We can't forget, that without David's help and the worldwide exposure of Huskerpedia.com, Husker Dan's Army would never have been possible. Thanks, David!
I would encourage all Husker fans to become a member of Husker Dan's Army. Just contact Gary McGirr at neks4nebraska.com. There is a link to Husker Dan's Army that allows you to contribute whatever amount you can. To Josh and your fellow service men and women: We are very proud of you!
FROM CORNSTALKS TO ROSES
Mrs. Husker Dan and I were in Portland, Oregon the weekend of the Ball State game. We were there to see our new little granddaughter who now is the ripe old age of 3 weeks. Before the game, I emailed Beal Essink, watch party chair with the Oregonians For Nebraska, telling him that my daughter and Mrs. Husker Dan and I planned to come to their Husker watch party to see the Huskers on TV.
Beal directed us to the Refectory, a sports bar in Portland. There were about 150 Husker fans all decked out in red. Every TV in the place was turned on to the Husker-Ball State game. You would swear you were in Omaha or Lincoln on game day. After each Husker score, the PA system cranked up, "There Is No Place Like Nebraska" and every Husker fan stood, sang the lyrics and clapped to the music. It was awesome!
I would encourage any Husker fan within driving distance of Portland to attend as many OFN game watches as you can. You don't even have to be a member (but I'm sure they'd welcome your membership). OFN raises money for scholarships, works with the local food banks-they even made a contribution to Husker Dan's Army. I want to thank Beal and the rest of the OFN chapter for their generosity.
At the half, there was a football toss contest and some great door prizes given. After the game, I had a chance to talk Husker football with a bunch of hard core Husker fans. Thanks so much for making Mrs. Husker Dan, my daughter and me feel so at home.
All you need to know about this week's game with Missouri in Columbia is that neither team has shown much ability to play defense. It's no big secret that the Huskers are going to try to run the ball Saturday. If they succeed, they should be in the game in the 4th quarter. The Huskers are going to have to eliminate turnovers on offense and get some take-a-ways on defense. The kicking game and special teams will be very important.
Conventional wisdom says this game will be high-scoring and because of an 8:15 p.m CDT kickoff, the game will won't likely end until sometime early Sunday morning.
I'm not going to predict the score. The Huskers haven't won at Missouri since Eric Crouch's amazing 100+ yard touchdown run in 2001 that earned him the Heisman trophy that year.
The home field advantage and late kickoff and home crowd (can we say lickered up?) will make it a very difficult place for the Huskers to win. If the Huskers trail at the half, that's not a good sign for Nebraska.
Most, if not all, the pressure will be on Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkle to win this game. His team has been picked by many to win the Big 12 North and his Tigers have the Huskers at home. The table is set for a possible upset. Let's hope Kevin Cosgrove and the Blackshirts bring the napkins and silverware.