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Nebraska 27, Notre Dame 10

A funny thing happened at Memorial Stadium on Saturday -- there was this political convention going on, and suddenly a football game broke out. The signs were everywhere, from Bob Davie's pregame politickin' about game experience, to a U.S. Senator jumping out of an airplane, to a polished cameo on ABC by Congressman Tom. Even Rush Limbaugh showed up, perhaps looking to give the right side of Nebraska's maligned offensive line a boost. And whaddaya know, it looks like NU's rush is right, after all.

A few takes:

OFF AND RUNNING: Three weeks ago, Dahrran Diedrick got into deep doo-doo for (allegedly) disturbing the peace at Mickey's Irish Tavern. This was nothing compared to how he made Notre Dame feel Saturday night. The Irish were touted as a staunch defensive club, but when they knocked heads against the Husker power game, they folded like a $4.99 barcalounger from Walgreens. Dee Dee's 133 yards were key to this win, but more important were the clock-killing number of carries -- 32 -- that it took No. 30 to get there. The fact that Eric "The Lincoln Navigator" Crouch had a lower-than-usual yardage output probably didn't secure him a truckload of Heisman votes. Go ask him whether he gives a crap right now. This win feels so good, there's got to be something illegal about it.

TRACEY TAKES ON: Back in the day, British comedian Tracy Ullman had a hit song that refrained, "they don't know about us." This must be exactly how another prominent Tracey must think opposing defenses view him, as well. Good grief, after witnessing No. 87's epic third-and-9 catch that saved Nebraska's bacon last year in OT, you'd think this year the Domers would have thought to cover the kid -- stick an arm out as he's passing by, try to trip him, anything. Evidenced by his play Saturday -- in particular the back-to-back snags to set up NU's final points -- it's clear Tracey Wistrom is one of the most important drivers of the hot rod that is the Big Red Machine. And against ND, he was both clutch and automatic.

BLARNEY RUBBLE: Last year in South Bend, the Huskers' 27 points were barely enough to push Nebraska to a razor-thin triumph. But the latest incarnation of the Blackshirts made Saturday's 27 points look fatter than Bob Devaney's bar tab on St. Patrick's Day. Lohr's injury aside, this was a shining night under the lights for NU's swaggering defenders, who suddenly look tougher to get through than "War and Peace" written in Chinese. It didn't matter who was behind center -- Matt LoVecchio, Belinda Carlyle Holiday, Joe Montana -- Notre Dame was rattled, shaken and scared, like a group of hayseed tourists who had planned on Disneyland but wound up wandering into Compton instead. Chief among those doing the rattling was No. 5, DeJuan Groce, who rung up seven tackles, a sweet pick and even a punt-return TD called back by penalty. The heroes on defense are too numerous to name -- suffice it to say this game was a beauty by Bohl.

GREEN ACHERS: Here was the scene outside Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday: "Hey, I need a ticket. Anybody got a ticket? Hey, you there in the red -- I drove all the way from South Bend and I need a ticket. Please?" The Irish brought their green(backs) to Lincoln, hoping to atone for selling out their stadium 364 days earlier, but the Husker Nation wasn't having any of it. The result was one of the reddest, most raucous crowds in recent memory. Even the Polly Esthers, whose only exercise in the last five years has been a mood swing, got into the act. This week's game ball -- 78,118 of them, actually -- go to the Loons in the stands.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Way back in the early days of Nebraska football, the boys who suited up for the university were often referred to as the Old Gold Knights. It was a good omen, then, that the Army's precision parachuting team, the Golden Knights, fluttered into Memorial Stadium to nudge ESPN's Lee Corso to pick the Huskers. It was a golden night, all right, one the Husker Nation will not forget anytime soon. But within the Cornhusker camp, the focus already has shifted to next week's opponent. The Rice Owls aren't exactly Notre Dame -- in case you were preoccupied Saturday, the Owls squeaked past perennial juggernaut Duke 15-13 -- but you can rest assured that one week after making a fine Irish stew, the Huskers will gobble up the next meal on their plates. Nebraska 38, Rice 7.

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