Going into the game last night I wasn't overly excited. Sure I wanted to see Suh one last time, and I wanted to get a Husker fix till next season, but I thought we'd see the Husker team we have seen most of the season. A team that grinds it out, lets the defense win while the offense stays out of the way. And I thought NU would lose if they tried to go heavy, played conservatively, and tried to let the defense win the game. Most the of the predictions agreed with me, and the odds makers had the game a pick-em.
What we got was swagger. Domination. Meanness. We got a team that stepped on the Wildcat's throat, then kicked them in the face for 60 min. We got Niles Paul flexing after a long TD. We got a NU team that played a complete game. All 3 phases were clicking. The defense was even more dominate because the offense played so well. The offense never gave the defense a short field, they kept them off the field, heck the offense even scored enough points that the defense was able to play loose. The special teams played as well as they have all year.
So onwards and upwards to 2010 and on to the links.
Lee said he suffered a wrist injury Sept. 12 during the second game of the year against Arkansas State. The tendon tear, he said, developed as a result of the wrist problem.
I'm starting with this since it may explain why Lee struggled some during the season.
And make no mistake, this was an eye-opening beatdown; The Huskers and Wildcats came in with the same record, were barely separated in the polls and were considered dead even by the oddsmakers, who labeled the game a pick 'em. Instead, Nebraska strung up Arizona's offense in the first quarter and spent the next three beating on it with a stick, until 'Zona quarterback Nick Foles fell out in the fetal position
Stat of the game: Nebraska’s shutout was the first ever posted by a Big 12 team in the 94-game bowl history of the conference since it started play in 1996.
So many great stats and records from the game.
Arizona set Holiday Bowl records with only six first downs, 109 yards of offense, 51 offensive plays and nine punts. The Wildcats didn’t get into Nebraska territory until the first drive of the third quarter.
And here are some more!
And with this game, Nebraska sent out a not-so-polite notice that it should be the hot team going into the offseason and will be on everyone’s watch list going into 2010. Can the Huskers live up to the inevitable hype and not fall way short of expectations like Ole Miss and Oklahoma State did this year? With a defense like the one Bo Pelini is going to crank out, even without Suh, there might be a floor on how far, if at all, Nebraska can fall.
NU looks to be the "it" team next year. Even during the game the announcers were prepping the nation for the return of the Big Red,
"We wanted to fortify that we were the best team on the field," Suh said. "That’s the way we’ve been playing all year. We’ve been getting better week in, week out and we had one last chance to do it as a team in 2009. That’s why we wanted to shut them down and make them realize that they needed to respect us because we didn’t think they wanted to respect us at the beginning of the game."
Why oh why would you anger Suh?
"Throughout the week, Coach Stoops tried to be nice and let guys have a little bit of freedom. I think a lot of guys look advantage of it and it caused us to come out and play the way we did," Nelson said. "When you think you’ve arrived, that’s when you are going to get whacked. You can’t ever forget how you got here," Stoops added.
Did they not show up, or did NU have something to do with it?
Putting Things Into Perspective The 23-0 start was the best 1st half against a ranked opponent since jumping out 27-3 against Notre Dame in 2001. The 33-point margin of victory was the largest against a ranked opponent since beating Northwestern 66-17 in the 2000 Alamo Bowl. This was the first shutout of a ranked opponent since beating Texas A&M 37-0 in 1999, and NU's first ever bowl game shutout.
Yes, Nebraska went back to the spread after using "big" personnel and power sets for much of the second half of the season. The Huskers even unveiled their version of the "Wildcat." Didn’t see that coming, either.
Watson should have a better winter now.
"They were talking all game," safety Larry Asante said. "They were talking when we were out there warming up. They were talking, talking, talking. We'd just had enough." "We were sending a message," Dillard said. "Talk is cheap."
I had a friend play for NU when they played Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.
I don’t know about the Huskers being "five times better" next year. For one thing, a lot of pro-style offenses roll onto the schedule, and you can’t just trot Dejon Gomes out there at linebacker to stop the inside counter. The Huskers absolutely must find two or three serviceable linebackers.
Some things to think about as we head into next year.
In his post game radio interview, Bo Pelini stepped back from the "Nebraska is back" talk, pointing out that "back" means winning championships. Holiday Bowl trophies are nice, but Nebraska won't be back until they are back playing in BCS bowl games and hoisting conference championship trophies. We'll know when Nebraska's back when nobody asks or mentions it anymore.
Yep we're ending with penis jokes. Happy New Year everyone.