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H U S K E R    D A N


I saw something interesting at the end of the third quarter of last Thursday night's Husker game at Missouri.
A Husker player who was standing along the sideline (I couldn't tell who it was) raised his hand, showing four fingers. At that moment, I didn't know if he was referring to:
1.) The number of inches of rain that had fallen on Farot Field during the game.
2.) The number of "interceptions" the Husker defense dropped through the first three quarters.
3.) Or that somehow he was thinking that, as was the habit of the Nebraska teams of the 1990s, the Huskers would "own" the 4th quarter.

Based on the Huskers' dismal performance thus far in the game, it was easy to immediately rule out #3. After all, who in his freekin' right mind would be dumb enough to think Nebraska could own anything that night, let alone the 4th quarter?
To be sure, the Huskers' play calling for three quarters seemed to work right in to the hands of the Missouri defense. Shawn Watson was determined to keep passing the ball even though nothing was working. And special teams, a strong point of the Huskers all season, was self destructing.
In the 3rd quarter, I kept wondering where the $*&^*! Cody Green was, after all, the Huskers had nothing to lose and time was running out. As it turned out, Green was told to warm up, but after a Verdigre minute, Watson decided to stick with Zac Lee, a kid he strongly believes in.
In what turned out to be the pivotal moment of the game, the Huskers started the comeback when it stopped the Missouri monsoon with a perfect 56 yard TD strike from Zac Lee to Niles Paul that finally put the Huskers on the scoreboard.
And then it was Suh's turn to shine when he intercepted a Blaine Gabbert pass at the Tiger 18 yard line. Lee hit Paul with another TD pass and just like that, the Huskers led 13-12. Then it was Dejon Gomes' turn. He intercepted a Gabbert pass and took it to the Tiger 10 yard line, where a three plays later, Lee found TE Mike McNeil all by himself for an easy touchdown and a 20-12 lead.
Roy Helu, Jr. added an exclamation point to the game, with a 5 yard TD run late in the game that sealed the win for the Huskers at 27-12.

In all my years of watching Husker football, I've never seen a game like this one. Never. Nothing even comes close. (Some will point to the 1966 game at Colorado in which the Huskers trailed 19-7 going into the 4th quarter and rallied to beat the Buffaloes 21-19. Close, but no cigar.)
It's just speculation, but what if Shawn Watson had put Cody Green into the game at the start of the 4th quarter? And what if Green played really well and the Huskers pulled out a win? Would that be the end of Lee's career? Or if Green did play, but didn't play well and the Huskers lost? Where would that put Lee and Green? Would both of them be looking over their shoulders every time they'd come in to future games?

And if the Huskers had lost, what effect would the loss have on the Husker football program and the credibility of Bo Pelini and Shawn Watson? Thankfully, we'll never know.
Even though he knows Blaine's little brother Tyler has committed to Nebraska, Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel is in hot pursuit of him. The idea is that Tyler would become Blaine's successor, once he heads for the NFL in about two years. At first glance, that sounds like a good fit for Tyler. But you wonder if in the back of his head, Tyler is thinking that if he goes to Missouri, he'd have to face the nightmare of the Blackshirts for four years. Now that's a scary thought.
Some of you wrote me asking the origins of the term, "a Verdigre minute." As some of you know, I have had a long and deep tie to the town and people of Verdigre, a town of about 600 in northeast Nebraska. A "New York minute" is the one that is used the most, but to keep in touch with my Bohunk roots, I will continue to use the Verdigre reference (see above).
Rumor has it that some of Verdigre's denizens have decided that a Verdigre minute is the length of time it takes for one of them to consume three bottles of beer. Of course, that's just a rumor...
As you long time readers know, from time to time, and completely without any warning, I intentionally make mistakes just to see if anyone is paying attention.

But you readers have become too hard to fool. So far for the year, you guys (and gals) are batting 1,000%. It's getting to the point that I may have to discontinue the practice.

My latest "error": I wrote that the Huskers lost to Missouri at Lincoln '06 and later in the paragraph that it was Missouri that won the game! I even tried to disguise it so that I would at least be right once, but you are too sharp. Of course the Huskers beat the Tigers in '06. Heck, even Matt Schick knows that.
And speaking of Matt Schick, he teams up with former Creighton basketball player, Nick Bahe for a sports talk show that airs week days from 9-12 on Omaha radio station, 1620 The Zone (www.1620thezone.com). Matt left his job at KETV Channel 7 in Omaha to do the show. Matt is a very talented and very funny guy. We wish both Schick and Nick well.

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