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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
September 15, 2009

This Just-In...

Hokies summon Houdini, magically erases late Husker lead.
Virginia Tech escapes 16-15

Player of the Game: Ndamukong Suh 8 tkls, 4 pbk, .5 sack,

The Touchdown is mightier than the Field Goal …
Remember math class? For me, this was usually the time of the day I would try to figure out how many points Nebraska would score that week against Pacific. x + y = z?? No, Lawrence Phillips + Ahman Green + Tommie Frazier = Major a## kicking. Guess that explains why my daughter goes to my wife for help with her math homework. This time I really tried to use math for a practical purpose, so my brain went to work and came up with this fantastic formula to calculate points left on the field or x:

(r*t) - (r*p) = x

Where: r = Redzone chances, t = value of a touchdown (assuming extra point), p= actual points scored inside redzone.

Using this revolutionary formula we are able to determine the exact number of points our Huskers could have scored if a) Lee could have completed a pass. b) Our receivers could catch said pass, and c) They legalize holding and false starts in football. Add it all up and it comes to 23 points left on the field Saturday. If we could have scored only 10% of those points, I wouldn’t have to explain to my family why I need Bob the Builder to come over to the house and patch that hole in the wall. Now who ever said we would never use this stuff when we grew up.

Offensive Helu-cinations …
Everyone expected that Zac Lee would be tested in his first start outside the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. What we were treated to was an offensive (I mean that literally) passing display. 11-30 for 136 yds and 2 picks. He was not helped by his receiving corps much either with some dropped passes and poorly ran routes. We have to give some credit to the Tech defense however, who basically turned an otherwise accurate passer into a Jamaal Lord Starter Kit. All that was missing was the pre-game trash talk. Something didn’t seem right with him as the game wore on. Was it the pressure? Was he hurt? Did the Tech staff slip some mind altering drugs into Zac’s pregame meal? It’s hard to tell for sure, but he will have to find the accuracy he had in the first two games quickly if we have any hopes of improving this year. Lost in all the mix was the great game that Helu turned in. He carried the offense on Saturday, and is slowly emerging as a big time back. The coaching staff should give Helu a green jersey and have the science department create a force field to surround him. We simply can’t afford to lose him to injury this year. The opportunities for the offense were there, but we were unable to capitalize on them. For now, we will put up the 3D glasses and hope that the offensive performance on Saturday was just that-a hallucination.

It’s a bird, It’s a plane, no it’s Suh-perman …
He may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but if you were to ask the Tech offensive line, I’m sure they would disagree. It’s hard to imagine where this defense would be without him this year. He does so many things that normal defensive tackles can’t or are unable to do. Lose Zac Potter to graduation? No problem, he can bat down passes as well. There was mention earlier in the game that Suh should be a candidate for “Dancing With the Stars.” I can’t confirm this but it appeared he was making his audition tape for it on the last play of the game. I’m sure that he was just doing what he was told and was playing containment, however, it would have been fitting to see him bull rush Taylor and sack him setting up a very long 4th and goal. I know that is being very nit picky, as Suh was nearly unblockable on Saturday. Just having him on the team has turned an average defense into a good one. If only he could play safety …

Don’t break my heart, my achy brakey heart …
Its games like this that makes me sometimes wish that I didn’t have an emotional attachment to a particular football team. An outsider watching the game would surely have enjoyed it from a pure entertainment perspective. Yes, our Huskers have seen more than their share of bad breaks in the last several years and just can’t seem to put the game away when it is needed. I’m sure it is only a matter of time (hopefully Missouri) that we will get over that hump. Husker fans needed that game on Saturday and for whatever reason, it is not our time. I’m glad that I am feeling that way again about a loss. Remembering back to 2007 (I know, we want to forget) with Nebraska trailing 38-0 at home against Okie State at halftime, I actually turned the TV off in disgust. On Saturday, the horror we witnessed in 2007 seemed like a distant memory. That alone was reason to celebrate-regardless of the result.

In Conclusion …
As I stated before, a loss to Virginia Tech would and should not ruin Nebraska’s season. The goal was to get to the Big XII title game again and let the cards fall where they may. It was very encouraging to see the defense play the way they did for 59 minutes Saturday. Yes, the secondary got burned worse than an albino in a tanning salon late in the game, but the overall defensive effort was solid. Zac will need to use the game next week to get his mojo back or risk hearing some more grumblings about a QB controversy, especially if he turns in another performance like Saturday. We can now look at our schedule and see there is really not a game that we can’t win. There are also very few sure wins. Missouri is looming in two weeks and that game will likely define our season. The plan is simple, take care of business this Saturday and use it to get the offense back on track. Taking care of business, sounds simple enough. Now it’s time for the Huskers to “give ’em the business.”

 

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.