H U S K E R D A N
November 18, 2009
A KANSAS STATE OF MIND
For those Husker fans who are wondering what happened to the Blackshirts Saturday in Lawrence when they allowed the Jayhawks to put together long scoring drives, let's review a few things:
1.) The Blackshirts didn't have much in their tank after an emotional, 87 play defensive performance the week before in Lincoln against Oklahoma. The Blackshirts held the Sooners without a touchdown for the first time since 1998, snagged 5 interceptions, and won 10-3. Clearly, the Blackshirts didn't play with that same venom Saturday afternoon in Lawrence.
2.) This was a road game against a Jayhawk team many picked to win the Big 12 North this fall. And why not? It was the only team in the North that had an experienced quarterback (Sr. Todd Reesing) who also had a good running back (Sr. Jake Sharp) and a couple of very talented receivers in WR Dez Briscoe and Sr. TE Kerry Meier. (This would be similar to what the Huskers had last year with QB Joe Ganz, and with go-to receivers Todd Peterson and Nate Swift.)
3.) It was Senior Day for the Jayhawks-the last time Reesing, Meier and Sharp would play at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. (It may have also been Dez Briscoe's last game because he may opt to enter the NFL draft.)
4.) With their returning offensive firepower this year and the depletions to the Jayhawk defense, it was easy to see that the strength of the Kansas football team lay in its offense.
5.) Reesing, despite the nagging injuries, played perhaps his best game. Clearly, this was a senior doing everything he could to keep his team in the game. Reesing who coming into the game had a penchant for making turnovers, had zero Saturday. He's a kid from Austin, Texas who none of the Texas teams seemed to be interested in, but who eventually found a home at Kansas. He's a player who will give you everything he has on every play. The problem is that injuries limited his play and as Todd went, so went the Jayhawks.
6.) Kansas came into Saturday's game nursing a four game losing streak. The Jayhawks were desperate. With their backs against the wall, they played valiantly, giving the Huskers everything they wanted. And with about 7 minutes to go in the game, it looked as if Reesing & Company were going to go out winners.
THE PLAY'S THE THING
Shawn Watson, with an assist from Tom Osborne, created a game plan that displayed wrinkles of the Husker offenses of the 80s and 90s. And guess what? The plan worked. The Huskers broke out of their scoring slump to score 18 unanswered points late in the fourth quarter to win 31-17.
This Saturday night in Lincoln, the Huskers will play the K-State Wildcats for the Big 12 North championship. Raise your hand if you thought before the season that the Wildcats would be the team the Huskers would have to beat to win the BTN. I didn't think so.
Memorial Stadium in Lincoln will be rockin' this Saturday. It will be loud. It will be crazy. And if the Huskers come out with a win, Lincoln will have a hard time going to sleep afterward. It'll be Bill Snyder, who has done a remarkable, if not stunning turn around this season at K-State, going up against Bo Pelini, who in his second year has managed to beat Oklahoma for the first time since 2001 and is on the verge of adding a Big 12 North championship to his list of accomplishments.
The last time Bill Snyder left Memorial Stadium with a win (38-9) was in 2003, Frank Solich's final year as the Husker head coach. (That loss probably sealed Solich's fate.) Should the Huskers win Saturday, it would give Bo Pelini a BTN championship in just his second year as head coach.
When I saw that Nebraska was a 15 point favorite, I cringed. Maybe a 4 or 5 points, but 15 points seems silly.
REMEMBER OUR MILITARY THIS THANKSGIVING
On Thanksgiving Day, let's remember those in our military who are far away from their families. Say a prayer and give thanks to these brave men and women.
H U S K E R D A N