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Nebraska 51, Kansas 7

Usually when Nebraska digs in against the Kansas Jayhawks, it seems more like a funeral rather than a football game. Typically, the Huskers are coming off their first fatal blow of the year and are dying to resurrect their season, so the results tend to be, well, less than lively. Case in point: Remember a game two years ago where NU looked like death warmed over? Or last year's contest in front of a Memorial Stadium crowd that resembled the city morgue? Oh, but this season it's different -- the Cornhuskers' title chances are very, very much alive. And kicking. That being the case, it was plain to see Saturday that the hapless 'Hawks -- who had a quarterback named Dyer, dontcha know -- were going to be dead ducks.

A few takes:

STATS ALL, FOLKS: Let's face it, Loons. After last week's cataclysmic triumph over the Evil Empire, there was about as much anticipation for the NU-KU matchup as there is for "Modern Maturity's" annual swimsuit issue. For the Huskers, this game was good for one thing, and one thing only -- to pad the fat stats. Why else would Eric the Red still be in the ballgame deep into the third quarter, chucking his 22nd, 23rd and 24th passes of the evening? It made many a red-clad minion more uncomfortable than Penelope Cruz sharing an elevator with Nicole Kidman to see Crouch getting smacked, especially with the game well in hand, merely to nab some Hypesman digits. Far more comforting, meanwhile, was watching D-Drick spin, slash and rumble his way to one of the most overlooked 1,000-yard rushing seasons in recent memory. While the shutterbugs are buzzing around NU's J.Crew model quarterback, the Loon will quietly hand the game ball to Dee Dee. In this year's Big Red Machine, No. 30 is a steel-belted radial.

(ROCK) CHALK OUTLINE: Granted, football is not exactly king in Kansas -- down Lawrence way, the name "Roy Williams" doesn't really conjure up images of Oklahoma's stud safety or Texas' flashy wideout like it does everywhere else in Big 12 land. But you'd think after five years, Terry Allen would be able to put together an offense that could score more points in one season than the school's hoops squad scores in a game. Poor Pikachu... overscheduled and outmanned, he draws Nebraska just as they're hitting stride. Frankly, the 'Hawks were fortunate to get what they did against the mighty Blackshirts, who have proven to be rougher to navigate than St. Louis during a snowstorm at night. Like the Incredible Hulk, the madder NU's d-line gets, the stronger it gets. And trust me ... you wouldn't like to see them when they're angry.

SLOW RIDE, TAKE IT EASY: Hey, not to nit-pick over a 44-point piano-wiring of Baylor North, but there's something stuck in my craw. There's this Emmanuel Lewis-sized pattern emerging regarding when the Cornhuskers leave the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. During all three road games, NU has struggled through three quarters before putting the wood to their foe in the final stanza. 22-3 vs. Mizzou becomes 36-3; 21-7 vs. Baylor becomes 48-7; and 27-0 vs. Kansas becomes 51-7. Of course, Frank would say he'd rather have a slow start and a fast finish than vice-versa -- but with 2001's final travel date whisking the Big Red to Boulder, something has got to give. Folsom Field, as you recall, is Nebraska's traditional fast-start-but-a-slow-finish venue. Regardless, put those Yearlong Colorado Ulcers on hold for a while. Fear not -- in consecutive weeks, CU has barely stumbled past Okie State and Mizzou.

SOMETHING SMELLS RANK: Ah, autumn. This is the time of year when the air turns crisp, the aroma of popcorn and hot dogs fills the air, and the national championship is decided by a cadre of computeroids who make the members of Lambda Lambda Lambda look like Frank, Sammy, Dean and Pete. I don't know what's worse -- realizing I the only thing I know how to do with a scientific calculator is to punch "5318008" and then turn it upside-down so it reads "BOOBIES," or the fact that that is one more math skill than the network mafia possesses. Artie "Those Little Pins They Put In New Shirts" Gigantino, Fox's resident bobblehead, was actually spouting recently about how the Big 12 could have three teams in Bowl Championship Series games. Uhh, that would be against BCS bylaws, big fella. These guys should stick to making fun of the system, rather than trying to understand and, horrors, try to explain it to the masses. That's harder to watch than sausage being made.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Sometimes, numbers don't lie. For example, Nebraska is 10-0, so they are ranked at or near the top of most polls. And then, sometimes they do, such as the case with the Kansas State Wildcats, who historically are on the short end of a 71-12-2 series record vs. the mighty Huskers, but are still chirping something about "2 of the last 3" for everyone and their Bowden to hear. Well, as Meat Loaf once said, Two Outta Three Ain't Bad. But when the 'Cats come to Lincoln ... oh, it's cold and lonely in the deep, dark night. You might say KSU gets All Revved Up With No Place To Go. For Crying Out Loud, if you need more proof, just listen to the late, great Ed Stewart: "Nebraska is still Nebraska, and Kansas State is still Kansas State." You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth, my man. Huskers 34, Manhattan College 16.

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