GET A KICK OUT OF BEATING BUFFALOES, 40-31
BIG WED WAP-UP
I'd be lying if I said that when it was 4th and 25 at the CU 40 yard line with just under two minutes left in the game that I thought Nebraska was going to win. The Huskers were history, or so I thought.
And when Nebraska lined up for a field goal attempt, I knew that in over 100 years of Husker football no Husker kicker had ever made a field goal from that distance. I was almost certain that unless a miracle happened, the game was over-go to the Sun Bowl at 7-5 and just be happy that the Huskers were actually going to a bowl game. And forget about playing on New Year's Day.
And when Alex Henery's kick sailed through the uprights, I couldn't believe it. Instead of being history, the Huskers made history.
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO LINCOLN
In the movie "Hoosiers", head coach Norman Dale, with his underdog Hickory Huskers trailing by one point with only seconds remaining in the Indiana state high school basketball championship game, sets up a play that has his team's best player, Jimmy Chitwood, used as a decoy. The team doesn't like the idea, so Coach Dale asks Jimmy for his input.
"Coach, I'll make it," he assures his coach. And in a typical Hollywood fashion, Jimmy hits nothing but net and the Huskers win the game.
And so it went Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Only it was Alex Henery playing Jimmy Chitwood and Bo Pelini playing Coach Dale. Hollywood had come to Memorial Stadium and the place went nuts.
But Just moments after Henery's amazing kick, Buffalo quarterback Cody Hawkins' pass was batted in the air by Husker DE Zach Potter and returned for a touchdown by Husker nose tackle Ndamukong Suh. And just before Suh got into the end zone, Hawkins, in his desperate attempt to make the tackle, was absolutely flattened by the 6' 4" 300 pound Suh.
With the extra point kick, the Huskers, who just moments earlier were facing almost certain defeat, now had an amazing two score lead. Those who turned off their TV sets or left the game early, missed one of the most incredible finishes in Husker football history.
WALK ON BY
Adrian Fiala, co-host of NET's "Big Red Wrap Up" (not to be confused with my lame "Big Wed Wap Up") was quick to point out on this week's show that the three main players involved in the record field goal (deep snapper T.J. O'Leary, holder Jake Wesch and kicker Alex Henery) all came to Lincoln as walk-ons.
THROUGH ALL KINDS OF WEATHER
Alex Henery and all of Husker Pride Worldwide had something else to be thankful for Friday. It was almost balmy for late November in Lincoln-moderate temps, dry conditions and no north wind.
However, the next day in Lincoln there was rain, sleet, snow flurries and a strong north wind. Had these conditions arrived Friday, Alex's kick likely would not have even been attempted. The wind would have ruled out the distance and the rain/snow would have made the football too heavy for it to sail through the uprights.
MAKE UP GAME?
Does this make up for the Texas Tech game in which the Huskers lost in OT on a Joe Ganz interception?
I'm afraid years from now, when Husker fans look back on Bo Pelini's first season as a head coach, they'll note that his team went 8-4 in the regular season and won the last home game in a somewhat comfortable fashion. They will be sadly mistaken. Credit Buffs coach, Dan Hawkins for getting his banged up players to play a good game. Of course, it didn't help that the Huskers' caused much of their own misery.
BACK TO REALITY
At 8-4 and going to a New Year's Day bowl game, Husker fans, coaches and players should be dancing in the streets, especially considering where this team was a year ago. The Huskers refused to quit, even after getting shelled by Missouri and Oklahoma and after dropping a heart-breaker at Texas Tech.
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND
But there remains so much work for this program to get back to respectability. Although the Huskers got eight wins, none was over a ranked team. And the record of the eight teams Nebraska beat this fall is a paltry (41-55) for a winning percentage of .42708. Of those eight teams, only two had winning records (9-3 Western Michigan and 7-5 Kansas).
But what was encouraging about Bo's first year as the Husker head coach was that Nebraska won the games they were expected to win. The only blemish was the loss at home to Virginia Tech. That was a game the Huskers could have and should have won. And many fans thought the Huskers would probably win a game this year they had no business winning. Of course, that was the OT heartbreaker at Texas Tech.
THE BIG 12 RULES
I like Texas head coach Mack Brown-he's a class guy and a good coach. And I feel his pain (I always try to think how Husker fans would feel if they got shafted the way his Longhorn team did this week.)
It should be noted that the Big 12 rules made it possible for Oklahoma to jump over the Longhorns this week to play for the Big 12 championship. It may not be fair, but the Sooners owe no one an apology for being in this game. By virtue of their remarkable play down the stretch, they have earned the right to play Missouri. And Texas still might get into the national championship game if Missouri were to upset the Sooners. It's possible. Raise your hand if you thought Kansas would beat Missouri last week.
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY UPDATE
BIG RED BETTY
As many of you know, the first money we every received for Husker Dan's Army came from a huge Husker fan, Big Red Betty Walker from California. It was because of her generosity that we were able to send our first Husker Care Package overseas to a needy soldier. The Care packages are sent via the Red Zone in Omaha to any trooper who registers with Husker Dan's Army. Since its inception about three years ago, we have helped 100s of American service personnel who are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We've also solicited the help of Shot Kleen with HuskerVision at UNL, to send game day DVDs of Husker football games. All a trooper has to do is register with us, and we'll get him on our list.
Getting back to Betty Walker, for those of you who might not know, over a year ago Betty was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was told she had only a couple of months to live. When I got the news, I posted it in my column. Husker fans responded by sending her over 100 emails wishing her well and offering her their prayers.
Well, the power of prayer can be a very powerful force. I talked with Betty over the weekend and we talked about the game and The Kick. We had a great time talking Husker football. She's not out of the woods, by any means. She's weak and still on pain medication, but she sounded great. I told her we'd all keep praying for her.
MYLES FROM HOME
The following email message arrived last week from Myles Frohling, Sr., who was the soldier who helped start Husker Dan's Army. It was Myles who asked if I could somehow help him get Husker T-shirts, baseball caps etc. that, as a gesture of good will, he could give to the Iraqi children he saw on his daily rounds.
Dear Husker Dan,
I know that it has been a very long time since the last time I have corresponded with you. In fact it has been nearly two deployments to Iraq since the last time I have talked to you. I will likely be home for the Bowl season this year and I have taken the first step toward making it a great Bowl season. I have purchased my tickets to the Gator Bowl. I know this is a little premature but I have faith. If the Huskers make it to Jacksonville I will finally get to expose two of my sons to "Husker Heaven". I truly hope that the rest of this journey ends with me watching Nebraska vs. whoever, instead of watching two other teams at the Gator Bowl. I am sure that it will be a great experience either way but we all know Huskers do it better when the team is in town. I would like the chance to catch up with you sometime and I will likely be in Nebraska in January. I would really like to meet you as well. Well I better close for now but with less than 30 days left in Iraq and the possibility of seeing Nebraska play again, who could be happier ;)
Go Big Red. Beat the Buffs. Please!!!
Myles A. Frohling Sr.
After I posted Myles' request three years ago, Husker fans responded overwhelming. He received so many boxes of Husker apparel, he didn't know what to do. So we decided to start Husker Dan's Army as a means of getting Husker Care packages to members of our armed forces who are serving in the Middle East. All a trooper has to do, is send me an email with his or her name and APO address. Troopers can chose between receiving Husker Care Packages or game day DVDs. Some opt to do both. Just email me at HuskerDan@cox.net If you request a DVD, we ask that the your CO send us an email authorizing us to do so.
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY T-SHIRTS
Husker Dan's Army T-shirts are now available for you to order. By buying a HDA T-shirt, you will help us to continue sending Husker Care Packages overseas. All purchases are tax-deductible. The shirts come in Large and X-Large only. The cost per shirt including shipping and handling is $20.00. Please allow two weeks for delivery. We will make every effort to get these to you in time for Christmas, but you must order quickly.
Make your check payable to:
Northeast Kansans For Nebraska Alumni Chapter
Att: Husker Dan's Army
Send your check to:
% Bob Elliott
Northeast Kansans For Nebraska Alumni Chapter
3405 Atwood Ave.
Topeka, KS 66614
Be sure to list your mailing address and size (L or X-L). neks4nebraska.com
THE HUSKER ELVISES
The Husker Elvises were Omaha and Lincoln over the weekend performing during the pre-game activities in Lincoln. They hit the Sidetrack, Embassy Suites and the Coloradans For Nebraska Tailgate Party in the Haymarket. Note the picture of them wearing the very stylish Husker Dan's Army T-shirts.
BTW, Larry Brew with T.H.E. is trying to get a sponsor(s) to help with the costs of going to the Gator Bowl New Year's Day in Jacksonville, Florida. Anyone who is interested in helping, can contact them at their web site huskerelvis.net
I'm still way behind in pieces I want to write. I will be posting an interview I had with Jason Peter about his new book and will do the final in my series about the Cornhusker Marching Band. I really apologize for the delays. My plate has been really full lately.
GET A KICK OUT OF BEATING BUFFALOES, 40-31