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Kansas State Lots and Lots, Nebraska Not Much

Let's just say it: Nebraska got beaten Saturday. To a pulp. And I ain't talking about the stuff you find floating in your FedEx orange juice, either. Nope, it was more like the kind that is defined in the opening scene of the movie "Pulp Fiction," which went something like this: 'PULP (pulp) n. 1.- A soft, moist, shapeless mass of matter. 2.- A story containing lurid subject matter.' In many ways, actually, this gawdawful annihilation at the hands of the 'Cats was far more graphic than anything that epic Tarantino film could offer. There are probably a hundred ways to break down how the Huskers have lost their heads, but none are more fitting than by merely paraphrasing Bruce Willis' chopper-riding character at the end of Quentin's flick: The red's dead, baby. The red's dead.

A few takes:

ELL PLAYA LOCO: In engineering Nebraska's worst whipping in 34 years, KSU quarterback Ell Roberson didn't have to dig very deep into the purple playbook to discover a sure-fire method to run over, around and through the D-pleated Blackshirts. At Der Fuhrer's behest, Ell lined his offense up mano-a-mano with the Huskers and dared NU to stop the run. They couldn't; NU's d-line insead got flung around like a 100-pound stripper at a Lamda Chi party, leaving gaping holes for No. 3 to bolt through en route to a must-be-a-misprint 228 yards on the ground. Despite all of this, Nebraska was still in this ballgame in the third quarter, when they piddled away a trio of golden opportunities -- Josh Brown's doinker, Lord getting schmacked on a fourth-down keeper, Horne thinking that the ball was radioactive. But hey, don't fool yourself, kid. Had the Huskers converted on one, or two or hell, even all three of those chances, it would probably have only delayed the inevitable. Simply put, the Big Red was waiting for a chance to fold all day.

CENTER OF ATTENTION: In the spirit of a rushing performance that was jaw-droppingly stinky, NU center John Garrison fittingly opened his mouth and let the following series of nouns, verbs and adjectives roll out. "The heart of this team, I question it after this game. It's disappointing, it's not Nebraska football and it's not this team, either." Some may find a lot of pessimism in Mr. Garrison's words, but actually you should find some encouragement, Loons. Not because it shows a fire that is missing from too many others on the squad, but because it's evident that the leader of the O-Line has honed his game over the course of the season.Garrison -- who earlier guaranteed a Husker win over Iowa State -- is now waiting until after the games before making controversial statements into various microphones. I would've preferred that he would've fired off the ball during the game rather than fire jabs at his teammates afterwards, but at this point, what harm does it really do? The die has been cast.

DON'T GET ME STARTED: Here in the awful aftermath, a fair amount of red-clad energy has been spent on chirping about KSU pouring it on in the fourth quarter. True, the 'Cats left their starters in the game, and as a result they got so many sevens in a row that Wagner Field was being mistaken for a Craps table at the MGM Grand. The argument from America's Classiest Fans, of course, is that if things had been the other way around, a bunch of slow-footed in-state kids would have been in the game for Nebraska by the middle of the fourth quarter. They used to lovingly call those players "scrubs" in Lincoln, but today they go by a different term: "starters." And, for the record, THOSE players were in the game for NU in the waning moments, as well. Sure, it sucks that the Wildcats made Nebraska look like just another some preseason warmup biiatch from the MAC or WAC or SWAC. Sure, it's crummy that Snyder is an obsessive sadist who mercilessly flogs demoralized opponents right up to the final gun. And sure, it seems like an insult that star running back Darren Sproles is waterbugging down the sidelines late in the game. But unless you had bet the over-under or something, those things are no more insulting than if your bitter rival would have condescendingly taken pity on your beaten, broken team. It's Nebraska, man, you expect to take everyone's best shot -- even if they're better than you. Seeing a purple-hued equivalent of Mike Stuntz getting over on your favorite team adds a bigger insult to injury. And besides, if cheap garbage-time touchdowns make KSU feel better about themselves, so be it. In the end, it's still an Ell. I mean, an L.

THE BOTTOM LINE: First off, I would like to formally offer my congratulations to members of the 1998 Nebraska Cornhusker football team. On Saturday, they were officially cleared of charges of being TWNFTIFY -- that is, The Worst Nebraska Football Team in Forty Years. 'Course, when that label was affixed to Shevin Wiggins, Josh Heskew & Co., we were just coming out of the warm, amniotic sac of 60-3 and three outta four national titles. But, like the Olympics, we're seem to be in a much different place four years later. Back then, a bid to the Holiday Bowl was an insult -- today going bowling in San Diego would be a dream come true. Like in '98, this season will limp to a close with an anticlimactic home contest against Colorado, whose punishing running game has exposed Northern defenses for the second straight year en route to a return trip to the title game, to be played in early December in the Houston Texans' new home. The Buffs are hungry for another shot at the Big Red -- of the south, that is. But before they get their rematch with the Sooners in the Lone Star State, they've got to match up with some red-faced kids in Lincoln. I hate to say it ... but Houston, I think we've got a problem. Bad Loon: Buffs 30, Huskers 24.

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