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Nebraska 42, Troy State 14

It's often said that bad things come in threes. And if a guy thinks about it, there's a ring of truth to that assertion. Over the years, we've been subjected to such cinematic travesties as "The Three Amigos," "Three Men and a Baby", and "Lethal Weapon 3." There's rickety old 3Com Park, sticky-icky 3 Musketeers candy bars and Three Mile Island, too. This theory of threes was evident this Saturday in Lincoln, as well, where Nebraska was thrice denied inside the Troy State 10-yard-line. Meanwhile, Josh Brown's attempted three-pointer got stuffed back in his face, and a fumble by No. 3, Keyuo Craver, led to the TSU's first score. What do all these numbers add up to? A bunch of Cornhuskers who looked like they were already looking ahead to game No. 3, that's what.

A few takes:

NUTTER DAME: Coming into this season, senior Troy State quarterback Brock Nutter was 1,298 yards from becoming TSU's all-time yardage king. And after the sneaky QB put up a silver dollar's worth of yards in the first quarter, Loons everywhere were seeing exactly why. But, just like that, the Blackshirts stiffened like a member of Beta Sigma Psi making his first trip to The Foxy Lady. The fact that in the second half Nebraska had more quarterback sacks (four) than the Trojans had total yards (two) spoke well of Craig Bohl's in-game adjustments. It also warmed the cockles of my red-clad heart to see Jon Clanton doing his best Christian Peter routine on that fumble return for a sweet score. But until an opposing offense arrives that can move faster than an underwater tai chi lesson, it's difficult to say just how good this edition of the 'Shirts is.

SEEING RED: Sure, everyone's rankled about NU's lack of a finishing kick -- mainly because if they had gotten three more TDs, the Huskers would've threatened to cover that outrageous pointspread. But let's face it, Frankie's red-zone playcalling had all the sparkle and creativity of a car rental agreement. Shocker! No sense, really, in flashing too much of the playbook for the Davies of the world to see. In fact, Solich was ordering so much vanilla on Saturday, you woulda thought Baskin-Robbins had become the latest corporate sponsor to slap their logo all over Memorial Stadium. Expect to see a different offense take the field against the Domers next weekend. Well, different plays, at least.

TRUTH OR DAHRRAN: There are some things that are just so comforting in life: A home-cooked meal. A call from an old friend on your birthday. A kiss from your mom. A Nebraska I-back wearing No. 30 running loose after snaring the option pitch. Ahhh. Easy like Sunday morning, ain't it? Dahrran Diedrick's 25-carry, 177-yard debut was just what the doctor -- not to mention Eric The Red's shoulder -- ordered. Don't get me wrong, No. 2 I-Back "Tom" Collins is a capable runner who, if he can avoid being tackled by the various yard lines and hash marks painted on the field, can reel off those See-Ya-Later-type runs. But it was more obvious than Camryn Manheim in a size-four catsuit that Diedrick is the back that Nebraska needs to make its offense go. The Loon's game ball goes to No. 30, along with a warning: Stay out of Mickey's Irish Pub this week, Double D. It's sure to be packed with Domer fans, anyways.

SOCK IT TO ME: Every year, "Dollar" Bill Byrne has to quash panicky Internet rumors that Nebraska will be radically changing their hallowed, anachronistic outfits. Bill usually rolls out the same quote, in fact: "We think our uniforms are just fine the way they are." What Bill really is saying is that the athletic department plans to change them, all right -- just not all at once. In '95, they dropped the racing stripes off the pants. In '96 they added a Big 12 patch. '96 saw a bad stencil job for the players' last names. In '97 there was a new chest patch, in '99 a small 'N' showed up on the pants and last year, the word "Nebraska" graced the front of jerseys. This season, it's red, Abner Doubleday-looking stockings. These things look more out of place in the Cornhuskers' motif than an Abercrombie & Fitch in Haight-Ashbury. In fact, they kind of make the Huskers look like a Division III team, which perhaps explains why Troy State wasn't intimidated by the guys in red on Saturday.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Is H.G. Wells or Marty McFly in the house? My calendar shows it to be September 2001, but it appears that it could be 1997 all over again. That was the year, you may recall, that the Cornhuskers, with a quarterback wearing No. 7 and an I-back wearing No. 30, looked flat in their first two games -- especially the second one, against a team making its Division 1 debut (sound familiar?). The critical masses were half-expecting a loss the next week against mighty Washington, but the Big Red Machine fired on all cylinders that day. With this in mind, we now turn our (entire) attention toward Nebraska's contest with Notre Dame in Lincoln next Saturday. This game is a cash cow for the TV folks, not to mention every Tom, Dick and Herbie looking to make a quick buck off the matchup. Bob Davie also is banking on being able to hold NU in check and to get some support from Irish backers in the stands. Give Domer fans credit: The Emerald Empire will bring their green shirts and their greenbacks to avenge last year's "Sea of Red." But don't put any stock in these folks. Instead, expect Crouch & Co. ring up a grand total on Saturday and give every Husker fan who doesn't sell out their money's worth. Nebraska 27, Notre Dame 14.

Saving the World. One Loon at a Time.
THE POND, Home of Nebraska's RED CLAD LOON.