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J U S T I N   P R E S T I D G E
Nov. 16, 2009

This Just-In...


Nebraska pounds the “Rock”; “Chalk” up another victory.
Huskers shoot down “Jayhawks” 31-17

Player of the Game: Roy Helu, 28 car, 156 yds, 2 TD
Niles Paul, 4 rec, 154 yds

Dejon Gomes Punch Out!!…
Back in 1987 Nintendo released “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! I recall playing this game for hours trying to reach Tyson, after beating up on the likes of “Glass Joe” “Bald Bull” and “Mr. Sandman”. The object of this game, obviously, was to knock out your opponent. You would get stars at certain points of the game that could be used as power punches, or uppercuts, to deliver the knock out blow. Needless to say we needed those saved up stars to deliver a one punch KO to KU on Saturday. Gomes’ well timed left uppercut may have been the difference in the game.
We have all been witness to our fair share of defensive meltdowns in the last few years and the way KU was moving the ball was surely to give Husker Nation bad flashbacks. Give credit to Gomes for keeping his head in the game and not giving up on a play, even when he was beat. KU drew up a perfect scheme to neutralize our defensive line (I didn’t think it would be possible) and Reesing played one of his better games this year against quality opposition. The Husker D gave up a few big plays, and at times couldn’t stop the Reesing-to-Meier connection.
All said holding a veteran Jayhawk offense to 335 total yards and 19-41 passing is not a bad outing. Was it perfect, no, but this defense can’t be expected to play perfect week in and week out. It held KU to 17 points and flexed its collective muscles in the fourth quarter when it mattered. A better defensive effort will be needed should Nebraska reach the Big 12 title game, but on this day, against an inconsistent, yet potent Kansas offense, our defense held its own.
It wasn’t pretty but sometimes all you need is one punch — just make sure that ear biting is left out of the game plan.

“Come, friend Watson, the curtain rings up for the last act.”...
This Sherlock Holmes quote may turn into the rallying cry that this offense needs going into a decisive game against KSU. Much has been said about Watson’s inability or unwillingness to adapt. Coaches, not unlike many other people, pride themselves in their knowledge and beliefs. Watson is no different, being quoted as saying that making a philosophic change was a bit of an ego hit.
For two weeks in a row, Watson has made a commitment to do what it takes to win. Now I’m not saying that he didn’t want to win before, however, his unwavering belief in his system was not translating to on the field success. Was this change one that he made on his own, likely not. I’m sure there were a few unpleasant conversations between Watson and Pelini on where they need to be going offensively.
Word is that even the old coach has put a finger on some of the changes. I imagine Osborne was casually walking by Watson’s office one Monday morning carrying a copy of the Fiesta Bowl victory over Florida in ’96. A frazzled Watson noticed that Osborne had dropped what he was carrying yet appeared uninterested in retrieving the item. Watson quickly picked it up and went to return the video to Osborne. “Hey coach, you dropped something”. “Why don’t you just keep it, maybe you can find some answers in there, it seemed to work for me.” Osborne quietly walked off.
The message: “Cut out the poetry, Watson.” In other words, enough fancy 5 WR sets, more power running, more play action. Put your inconsistent QB in a position to make simple throws. Trust in your offensive line and All Big 12 caliber RB to make enough plays to win the game. This formula may return our Huskers to the Big 12 Championship game for the first time since 2006.
Helu ran hard and the offensive line imposed its will, running on 10 straight plays and scoring a TD to seal the game. Niles Paul and Zac Lee showed they can be successful if given the chance. It did my heart good to see the old option pass, even if it did seem a bit awkward. Lee running for first downs? The offense stepping up to help the defense win the game? Who would have thunk it?? Watson needs to be commended for checking his ego at the door and doing what is necessary this year to win football games. It wasn’t pretty but it is working.
Somewhere Sherlock Holmes is smiling. “When once your point of view is changed, the very thing which was so damning becomes a clue to the truth.” Osborne could not have said it better.

In Conclusion...
Four touchdowns, 31 points. Where did that come from? I would have taken 20 if given the choice before the game. The defense gave up some ground and the defensive line was not a huge factor in the game. KU had a great game plan. Double up on Suh and get the ball out quickly. For nearly two quarters it was working. Then the offense showed some life and rescued a tired defense.
Now, it all comes down to beating KSU for the Big 12 North Crown. Beat KSU, we will likely be headed to the Holiday or Alamo Bowl. Victories over KSU and CU coupled with an OSU loss could mean the Cotton Bowl. Win the next two and upset Texas�well we can relive some fond memories in Tempe with a return trip to the Fiesta Bowl. There is still a lot more to play for this season, a night game in Memorial Stadium to decide the North Champion.
Bo remembers the game in 2003. Something tells me that a post game rant directed at Snyder for running up the score will not be necessary. The traditional “better luck next year” would be more fitting.


Justin Prestidge is a new contributor to this website. Born and raised in Scottsbluff, Justin is currently holding a low profile deep in the heart of Texas. A die hard Husker fan, Justin has been following Big Red Football for over 20 years, and has been a member of the North Texas Nebraskans for the last 10. You can e-mail him here.