R E D C L A D L O O N
LOON DROPPINGS 8:
Nebraska 28, Ames College 0
In the vast annals of Husker football, Saturday's slapdown of the Cyclones probably won't rank up there with any of the biggest Big Red games that have been chronicled over the years. Nope, when folks from the future study the account of this Cornhusker win, the official record will likely give off the exact same impression as it does today. That is, this was a typical Nebraska-Iowa State contest, with the typical story -- a gaggle of big plays, an angry group of Blackshirts, a runaway Nebraska win. C'mon, let's face it: As soon as Cyclones stepped onto the field, they knew that they were history.
A few takes:
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: So, big shock, Nebraska did their typical we're-ahead- and-we-gots-a-big-ole-game-next-week-so-let's-go-beddy-bye-now routine again, which, unless watching three-yard gains between the 30s is your way of getting down, isn't much in the way of mind-blowing entertainment, really. Lord getting dinged did, however, provide Young Joe Dailey ample time to hone his skills. Or, in this case, to provide glaring evidence to the Coors-addled masses who chant his name after NU's first offensive series each week that the "J" tattoo on his left tricep does not, in fact, stand for "Jesus." To be fair, Joe exhibited his athleticism at times -- I haven't seen that kind of balance since Nadia Comenici won the all-around gold at Montreal '76 -- and from the looks of it, he was shackled with a second-half playbook so painstakingly unoriginal and predictable it should have had Jerry Bruckheimer's name inscribed on it. If Fox Sports' favorite cliche is true -- "Dailey's a passer who can run, not the other way around" -- then Barney wasn't exactly playing to Joe's strengths with the PlayStation2 (option left, option right, option left, option right) playcalling. Let's hope Lord's at 100 percent next week. Right? I said, RIGHT?
SWAT TEAM: Pssst. Hey, wanna know the difference between Bohlshirts and Boshirts? It's all in the hands, my friend -- as in, Nebraska's defenders seem to have learned how to use theirs over the summer. From Demorrio Williams using his mitts to stave off an offensive tackle twice his size en route to demolishing the QB to Josh Bullocks pulling in every pigskin in his time zone, to the defensive line batting down throws at the line of scrimmage to create long-yardage situations, it's clear that NU's defense really digs giving themselves a hand. Ruuuuud was everywhere, moving past some Big Freaking Names on the all-time tackles chart today with his 10 stops. And we all should've known that Never Mind the Bullocks was going to be involved in some kick-game craziness -- one, NU always blocks an ISU punt; and two, you can't spell "Bullocks" without B-L-O-C-K. These guys get better each and every week, a trend every Loon hopes keeps rollin' on along.
GREAT TWENTY-EIGHT: As it turns out, both the Huskers and Cyclones brought some razzle-dazzle into today's game: The Clones attempted a fake punt with a receiver named Steve Paris, while the Big Red ran a couple reverses to a kid from Ramstein, Germany. As is commonplace, Paris fell and the Germans rolled on. You'd be hard-pressed to find the last time a receiver led the vaunted Husker rushing attack -- perhaps as far back as the 1973 Orange Bowl rout over Notre Dame -- but that's exactly what transpired Saturday. When Isaiah Fluellen gets into the open field, you'd have a better chance of tracking down Osama bin Laden than you would No. 28. Watching ISU's defensive backs fade away into Floo's rear-view mirror (witnesses at field level reported seeing a blur) on his 39-yard TD dash brought back memories of Newcombe in '97. Frank and Barney must find a way to get Floo the ball down the stretch; kid's spooky fast.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Each week, it seems that a host of questions get answered just in time for a whole new crop of them to emerge. To wit: Cripes, why couldn't Nebraska get into the end zone in the game's final 38 minutes? Cripes, does anyone in the nation play harder on every snap than Patrick Kabongo? Cripes, could Iowa State quarterback Austin Flynn actually be Drew Bledsoe's kid? And cripes, why in the name of a Troy Davis garbage-time touchdown did Dan McCarney leave his starters in until the very last snap? Actually, only the last question is probably worth examining: As it turns out, it was a good thing for Nebraska to have to turn away a late Cyclone threat and preserve the shutout. If this contest showed anything, it's that football's a four-quarter game -- and the Big Red will need four complete ones next week as they travel to Austin for their first (and only) trip to the Lone Star State this season. If you had asked before the season about what Nebraska's chances were at Royal-Memorial Stadium, I would've told you that the Huskers were in deep. Really, really deep -- we're talking Isaac-Hayes-with-a-head-cold deep, son. But suddenly, an upset over the Cows doesn't seem out of the realm of possibilities, especially the way the Blackshirts are ripping the ball loose from opposing ballcarriers. This week, the Huskers went out and got ahold of Austin Flynn. Now let's see 'em go down and get an Austin win. Nebraska 21, Texas 17.
Baud to the Bone.
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