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C O M M E N T A R Y
J U S T I N   P R E S T I D G E
October 11, 2009

This Just-In...

 

Mizzou has Milli Vinilli meltdown, blames it on the rain.
Huskers storm back 27-12

Player of the game: Ndamukong Suh; 6tkl, FF, Sack, Tfl, Pbu, Int, 1 BMF

 
It’s just another rainy night (without Helu)
You don’t have to be a Queensryche fan to understand that statement. Queensryche released their Empire album in August of 1990, which included the hit “It’s just another rainy night (without you)”. Three months later, the 1990 version of our Huskers would lose a game to some team from Colorado 27-12 after they rallied for 27 fourth quarter points. Eric Bieniemy played terrible for most of the game until it counted, accounting for four touchdowns in the final period to snatch a victory in Lincoln. History always seems to repeat itself. Nebraska figured to have a clear advantage on Thursday given the conditions. It is fortunate for us that we have a genius offensive coordinator in Shawn Watson, whose superior intellect had him throwing the ball into a category three hurricane a modest 33 times, 22 of which came in the first half. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad but I don’t think I was the only person screaming at the TV to “Run the #*(&$^ Ball”!! Yes, I know that Helu had to be flown in via care flight hours before the game, but Watson’s Punt, Punt, Pass strategy was one in which only Cheech and Chong would love. It was puzzling to see the running game completely abandoned during stretches of the game. So puzzling in fact, one began to wonder if Callahan was the honorary Offensive Coordinator this week. You would have thought that if we would have just tried to pound away at the Missouri D we would eventually break something. At the very least put us in 3rd and 5 situations, something much more palatable given the weather conditions. Turns out we did hit something big, but it came raining down from the Columbia skies rather than from the soaked field turf. Zac Lee delivered after nearly being benched in the third quarter. It all worked out in the end, and Watson is off the hook for another week. He knows what he is doing but the Callahan like stubbornness is still there. On a night where flooding was a major concern, we are glad that it was our Huskers who opened the flood gates on the opponent and delivered a night of “Silent Lucidity” to the Nebraska faithful.

Hey, put that “D” away, that’s just nasty...
Nasty used to be a word that described the Nebraska Defense. Then, one day, it just disappeared. We heard things like read and react, play your assignments, let them score so we can get the offense back on the field. Yes the last sentence is a bit harsh but deep down didn’t you used to get that feeling? I know I did. One thing is certain, we can now add “nasty” to the list of adjectives that we use to describe the 2009 version of the Nebraska Defense. We could go on and on about the play of Suh, or Mr. Suh as the ESPN so kindly called him. He is simply an unblockable game changing defensive player. He disrupts offenses like no other DT that I have seen play (no disrespect to the older NU players) and is starting to get some Heisman talk. In a game where the defense had to make a play, the Blackshirts delivered. Our defensive line may be the best in the country. Our young LB’s are playing well-seemingly anchored by a resurgent Phillip Dillard and the play out of the secondary is not so secondary any more. Time and time again Suh and company would go about their business biding time for our anemic offense to find a groove. This is the type of game that we would have lost by twenty or thirty points a few years ago. It just shows what a good head coach can do for your team and the focus on defense has really begun to shine. This defense is starting to gel and played exceptionally well against an above average offense. Nasty is back. No, not Chase Daniel picking his nose nasty, but a rock solid, swarming defense that will keep the Huskers in every game on their schedule this year.

In Conclusion...
That was a fun ride but near the end of the third quarter, it wasn’t so much fun. Guess that’s why the inventors of football made it four quarters long- a fact that Missouri seems to have forgotten. It was a good win, maybe a great win. We won’t know until we play a few more games but for now we have a reason to celebrate. The celebration, however, will need to be short lived with Texas Tech coming to town next week, a team which we have not beaten since 2001. We still have many problems that need to be addressed. Our punt returners have got to do a better job of fielding punts and the offense will have to start producing points. Tech will be able to move the ball on us a bit next week but I’d expect that our D-Line will have whom ever they run out at QB scrambling for his life. The secondary will get a test next week and something tells me they are up to the challenge. If we can pull out a victory next week over Tech, we could very well be looking at a showdown with Oklahoma at 7-1 and possibly a top ten rating. Our Huskers can learn a lot from this game, most importantly, not to congratulate yourselves until it’s over. Maybe Virginia Tech taught them that. It’s like Ru Paul always said “You gotta work.” Work. One simple concept that has been instilled since the Pelini brothers got here. Enjoy the win, but now we must get back to work.

 

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.