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Loon Droppings, Vol. 1

From my sketchy vantage point over the World Wide Web, it was tough to tell much of what was going on in Lincoln on Saturday. But one thing was clear: By the time kickoff arrived, it was hotter down on Tom Osborne Field than Charlize Theron's underwear drawer. In fact, local meteorologists are still trying to figure out what caused the temps to reach triple digits at Memorial Stadium. Some think it had to do with the Husker offense's blazing-fast start, but other fair-weather folks believe it was because the Blackshirts got burned to a crisp in the first quarter. At the very least, that left plenty of people hot under the collar.

A few takes:

DAN'S THE MAN: Though slimmed down from a year ago, it is doubtful that Dan Alexander will ever be mistaken for Kate Moss. This is unlike the lightweight San Jose State defense, however, which appeared to be nothing more than a series of cardboard cut-outs for Nebraska's big man to run over, around and through. Last year, D-Ax looked like a fullback playing I-back. But on Saturday, he actually looked like an I-back playing I-back. And given the opportunity, Dan exploded like Mount Pinatubo on a bad day. His 200-plus yards were evidence of some serious ash-kicking up front, too. Game ball to No. 38, and another to The Pipeline.

BLACKLISTED: In Spanish, Arroyo -- the last name of SJSU's top quarterback -- means "gulch." And because the Spartan QB was quicker on the draw than a New York police officer in a dark alley, the wide-open Spartan attack found some gaps and holes in the NU defense early on. Meanwhile, Deonce Whitaker, whose first name incidentally means "9.3 yards a carry" in Spanish, was more slippery than Bill Clinton wearing a Castrol coated teflon vest. By the time the first quarter and all of its missed tackles ended, Husker fans were bitching so hard it made Beck look like Ned Flanders. Look at it this way: What would you rather see from NU's D -- a slow start and a strong finish, or the other way around? Take heart in the fact that once the 'Shirts settled in, the Spartans went nowhere.

HOLDING PATTERN: While we're dwelling on the positives, did anyone else notice that the "F" word -- that's fumbles, potty-mouth -- wasn't brought up once on Saturday? Sure, Eric The Red and his trusty backup Jamal threw some picks, but those turnovers weren't exactly crucial. It's nice to see the Huskers getting into double digits on the scoreboard, but not in the number of fumbles for once. Good work, coach Gillespie.

THUNDERWHELMED: Today on Snap Judgement Theater --"Inauspicious Debuts: Thunder Collins." Fans who hung around to the very end of this laugher got a chance to see the most touted arrival since the days of swaddling clothes, wise men and mangers. In fact, rumor is that Thunder Collins has grown a beard, has taken to wearing long robes and has been seen healing sick people at Lincoln-area hospitals. And in his first carry as a Husker, he ran for one yard. The kid might be the next Mike Rozier someday, but if Dan and Correll keep running wild like they did Saturday, Thunder will have a better chance of eating french fries with a catcher's mitt than seeing action with the first-team offense.

POWDER-BLUE BULLIES: Start up the 'Fire Mike DuBose' bandwagon in Tuscaloosa, because the Crimson Tide is 0 1. Bama, ranked third to start the year, thought they could get over the loss of RB Shaun Alexander by snapping in another guy named Shaun -- Bohanon, that is -- but found out that the name doesn't make the man. Meanwhile, UCLA has a 'Shaun' of their own: DeShaun Foster, who had a rosy 187-yard day to key the Bruins' 35-24 upset and helped the Bruins prove that their conference should not be relegated to Division II. Welcome back, Pac-10. It's about time.

THE BOTTOM LINE: As the top team in the land, Nebraska is a bigger target than the entire Kennedy family tree, and seem to get an opposing team's best shot each week. Such was the case two years ago, too, when Louisiana Tech scorched the Blackshirts for big yards in the season opener. Some folks are comparing that track meet to Saturday's game, but I see a different parallel. Look back to 1996, when top-ranked Nebraska opened at home against a team called the Spartans. The week following that blowout win produced a buzzsaw in Tempe, Ariz., if I remember correctly. South Bend, Ind., with all its ghosts, traditions and stained-glass windows, could conjure up a similar scenario this coming week, too. The Irish are beaming with confidence after sticking it to Texas A&M, but at least two things tell me it's going to be a different storyline next Saturday. For one, Deonce Whitaker will be playing against Stanford next week. And, most importantly, Nebraska's offense has an arsenal that would make Rambo cry like a little girl. Wake up the uh-ohs, Domer fans ... and let's get ready to Rockne! Nebraska 35, Notre Dame 17.

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