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Nebraska 22, Texas 6

If Saturday's mechanical, methodical, meticulous demolition of the Texas Longhorns would have been an episode of "Sesame Street," it most certainly would have been brought to you by the Letter D. No other alphabetic candidate would have even been eligible for sponsorship. The Huskers D-ciphered the potent Texas offense and played like D-mons, using masterful D-coy maneuvers with its safeties, D-stroying the Horn front line and D-moted the Major to an average grunt. As a result, Texas was D-throned as the team to beat in the Big XII, and the Husker Nation went into a state of D-lerium and D-light. Because after Saturday, we all know that it's not the victory but the action; not the goal but the game; in the D, the glory.

A few takes:

OFF THE HOOK: Make no mistake about it. On Saturday, Austin Powers was as dead as an Oktoberfest celebration in downtown Havana. Turns out that the best way to nullify Texas' supernatural ability to pull off unlikely pass play s is to knock down their quarterback a whole bunch. Who knew? The Blackshirts were everywhere, ensuring there would be no late-game heroics for the burnt orange today. No early- or mid-game heroics, either, really. In fact, the doberman-like Husker D was so cruel to poor Opie that it made Charles Manson look like Father Flanagan. Game stats show that Kwame Cavil was Applewhite's favorite receiver (five catches); followed by that fat guy in the third row of the stands along the Alamodome's east sideline (four catches); and then the Cornhusker defensive backfield (three catches). Simply put, this was a masterpiece by McBride.

BUCK-HALTER TOPS: More than one Loon out there winced when news came that NU's Dan Alexander had sliced open the palm of his hand, the one he usually fumbles with, and would not be able to return to the game. But not Solich. Frank just stuck another I-back in there that looked just like him, 'cause when it comes to reproducing great players, Nebraska is an all-night Kinko's, baby. True to form, Buck ran like a man possessed, slashing through the Cows' defense while bouncing off tackle after tackle. The Big Train's yards, especially those 55 big ones to start the second half on NU's way to a 22-0 cushion, were key to this win.

REPEAT AFTER ME: By pounding the Orangebloods, Nebraska becomes the first two-time champion in the Big Red Conference ... er, the Big XII Conference. Sorry, Freudian slip. And now is the time to cheer for all other conference schools in the post-season. Adhering to that sense of brotherhood, Solich naturally wished UT coach Mack Brown good luck with his team's annual visit to the Cotton Bowl. But methinks those sentiments had all the sincerity of a defense attorney's tie rack. Frankie should have just spouted: "You know, your quarterback was right -- figuring out my defense WASN'T calculus. It was more like trigonometry with a dose of rocket science, mixed in with a little brain surgery and four years of med school all rolled into one. Enjoy your big vacation in Dallas against fellow SWC defector Arkansas." You just know that's what he really wanted to say.

TICKLE ME, ALAMO: The pre-game scuttlebutt said this game was basically a home contest for the Cattle. True, UT had about a 2-to-1 edge in the number of butts in the seats. But aside from the first few series, it appeared that the Big Red backers in the Alamodome were the ones making all the noise. 'Course, you actually have to have something to cheer about in order to make some noise. When Eric The Red bolted into the endzone in the first quarter, it was hard to tell what was louder -- the roar from the NU fans or the sound of all the motor homes outside the Alamodome with Texas plates getting revved up for an early exit back to Arlen.

LATER, GATORS: It appears that since Bob Stoops left Steve Spurrier's staff to coach the University of West Florida Sooners that the Florida Gators have regressed to their old ways on defense. Saturday, a kid wearing a red No. 15 jersey broke about two million Gator arm-tackles, then raced away down the right sideline for a 70-plus yard TD run. Sound familiar? Looks like the spirit of Tommie Frazier possessed Alabama's Freddie Milons on that play, which helped ice Bama's 34-7 SEC title game win. This laugher showed us that A) Florida, despite its rabid yet mostly shoeless fan base, does not deserve a BCS bowl; and B) A 10-7 game with Alabama might be kind of fun see inTempe. Guess we'll find out who the Big Red faces soon enough.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In Tom Clancy's "Op-Center: Acts of War," there is a very helpful passage where one of the characters explains how to survive physical torture after falling into the clutches of the enemy. "The key was not to be tense. Tension only tightened the flesh and focused the mind on the pain. Victims were told to try to count to themselves, to divide the suffering in manageable segments of three to five seconds. They had to think of making it to the next plateau rather than to the end." This is good advice, fellow Loons, on how to survive the next four-and-a-half weeks, in which I have noticed there are no Husker games to sustain us. Don't worry, though, Jan. 2 is not that far away. So let's all relax, kick back and savor NU's job well done -- the '99 campaign might be one October fumble from perfection, but I still declare it very, very good. Nebraska 11, Opponents 1.


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