As I fist-pumped the air in celebration of a Facebook 2nd table victory over a shirtless Spaniard while Rocky broke rocks and lifted wheelbarrows in Russia on AMC in the background, it occurred to me that not much is going on these days, college pigskin-wise
I mean, does it really get any more dead than this? Spring ball talk is over. Fall practice is a couple of months away. Nothing much is going on in recruiting that we hear about anyway. Hell, summer workouts and 7-on-7's aren't even producing any rumors right now. Sounds like a perfect time for a look back at last season, does it not?
Now anyone could break things down into a serious game-by-game analysis complete with statistics and graphs but that doesn't sound like much fun. When I think of last year, I think of a big, wild party where the booze flowed like a Saturday at the Double Deuce. Yes, we stepped in puke with our bare feet once (read: Texas game), but as we raced to a 9-1 start, life was good. Of course, the last five games were the morning after complete with a Guns & Roses headache and rib-cracking dry heaves.
And who better knows how to guide us through a Hangover than Phil, Stu and Alan, the three best friends that anyone could have?
"Jesus, he's like a gremlin.
Comes with instructions and shit."
Nebraska 49 Western Kentucky 10
A 46 yard touchdown on the very first play. Really. Really?? 7 carries 127 yards and 18.1 ypc later, the Taylor Martinez era was off and running. Literally. After a spring and fall full of stories and chatter that had him rumored to be anything from Mickey Joseph 2.0 to a 205 lb. version of Dash from The Incredibles, we finally got to watch Bo take his new redshirted toy out for a quick test drive.
Sure, it was just a Hilltopper team coming off an 0-11 season, but football had started again and there was speed to burn in the spread. Sure, a few of his throws to wide open receivers looked a little shaky, but with those jets, who cared, right? Right??
"You can't just tase people because you think it's funny."
Nebraska 38 Idaho 17
But apparently you can pound a Nebraska native to the point that taking one IN THE FACE!!! would be preferable to taking the field again. After 5 INT's and 5 sacks, Nathan Enderle's triumphant return home must have felt like Apollo Creed's first round efforts against Drago.
The Husker ground game was on fire as Martinez added another 157 yards rushing and the Huskers averaged closed to 10 yards per carry while blowing to a 31-3 halftime lead. The 2nd half was far from pretty, but there was still no reason worry. Hey, Idaho had gone to a bowl the year before so this was a solid win against a quality opponent with an NFL caliber QB. That Top Ten preseason ranking is totally deserved.
"Okay, kids, you're in for a real treat today. These gentlemen have kindly volunteered to demonstrate how a stun gun is used to subdue a suspect."
Nebraska 56 Washington 21
Thanks for volunteering, Jake. Funny, but it sure feels like we sacked him more than once, but no matter. To watch the Blackshirts harrass the poor guy into the worst game of his life, you'd have thought that he sent the entire unit jpeg'sof himself in some starring in some homemade Caligula video with their sisters. Surely, a few articles about his impending draft status shouldn't have enraged the fellows so.
Their defense didn't fare much better allowing three 100-yard rushers in Martinez, Helu and Burkhead as the Big Red rolled to 533 yards and Taylor appeared to pass a major test as an icy cool freshman in one of the nation's loudest stadiums.
"Last night on the roof, before we went out......I slipped something in our Jägermeister."
Nebraska 17 South Dakota St. 3
This theory seriously seemed to make as much sense as any. I attended the first half of this "game" and can honestly say that I've never in all my experiences in Memorial Stadium heard so many respectable looking middle-aged folk say "What the f***??!!" in outside-voice volume that many times. Lavonte David appeared to be the only Husker not chilling on 'shrooms. Our first solid indicator that things might not end in the Top Ten had arrived.
On the upside, post-game tailgating with Jackrabbit fans was a delight - happiest bunch of bastards on the losing end of a game that I ever met.
"See kids, this is where we bring suspects in order to be detained. Trust me, you do not want to be sitting in these seats. We call this place 'Loserville'."
Nebraska 48 Kansas St. 13
I just call it Manhatten, KS. Andif nothing else, the point was driven home that order had been restored since the original Snyder resurgence. I'd always found the man to be a bit of an ass, personally, and of course those Wildcat victories over NU had something to do with it. But this is still the guy who left the starters in and aired it out on us in Frankie's last season and would have dropped all ranked conference opponents off his schedule if he could have found a way.
After the Ron Prince
jokeera, he then somehow returned with a rep as a sweet old guy and a crafty genius. Huh? Yep, that really showed on a 4th& 1 when he took his 230 lb Heisman candidate out of the game to run a sweep with a lead-footed Carson Coffman who couldn't catch up to his pulling tackle. Nice call, Bill Walsh.
Over the years, the fans were pretty special, too, with their signature move of lining the highway to heckle Huskers fans and players on their way out of Manhatten after K-state victories. You stay classy, Little Apple.
So yes, this one last beatdown was quite satisfying. I'll stop now.
"Funny fat guy fall on face!"
Texas 20 Nebraska 13
Boy, did we ever, but in retrospect, was that really a surprise? Let's face it - the Huskers were GEARED for this one from the 1st day of spring ball. Hell, they were probably still seeing burnt orange in that Holiday Bowl beatdown of the Wildcats. But then a strange thing happened.
Texas wasn't Texas anymore. They dropped two in a row including a laugher against Skippy's mighty Bruins. No more Colt and Shipley. I'm betting, although I'm sure they'd never admit it, that it dawned on some players that they could take this crew out 65-3 and it really wouldn't mean much. The revenge talk was there, but the heart wasn't in it. Overconfidence had set in without passion. Uh oh.
Add to this formula a few early runs, some called, by Gilbert that helped give Texas an early lead (and also exposed Watson'sinability to put together a semi-coherent offensive plan when trailing), our first dance with the Greg Burks Experience, and defensive "genius" Will Muschamp's strategy of having a 'Horn fake an injury any time the Huskers put a 1st down or two together (Note: a strategy that was vilified by the college football media weeks later when employed by Cali against the Ducks, but perfectly acceptable on this day), and the perfect storm for the upset was in place. (Yes, upset - these guys would only win one game the rest of the year...against Florida Atlantic)
OK, I'm still bitter. Does it show? The toughest thing about leaving the conference is passing on a chance to turn the tables on these guys.
"Listen, I'm gonna tell you something. I've known some sick people in my life. This guy is the craziest, wildest bastard I ever met in my life, man."
Nebraska 51 Okie St. 41
You've gotta admit, the Stillwater Shootout was fun. OK, it wasn't exactly an advertisement for the might of the Blackshirts. However, if the Psychic Hotline told the T-Boones beforehand that the outcome was unknown, but the result would be a 92 point shootout, you don't think they wouldn't have droped a $110 on themselves in a heartbeat??? To quote Clay Davis from "The Wire": "Sheeeeee-it."
But after a week of being crapped on by the Husker faithful for the Texas debacle, that wild, crazy bastard Taylor Martinez unleashed his game of the year. 325 yards passing, 5 TD's, and 119 more yards on the ground on the way to a 51-41 shootout that wasn't as close as it sounded after Bo & Carl shored things up on D in the 2nd half. Yes, the Cowboy defense was about as tough to score on as Lindsey Lohan after an eight ball, but it was still a good time lighting up Gundy and his visor. He's a man, you know?
"Think you gon'get away with it? Not up in here!"
"Not up in here!"
Nebraska 31 Misery 17
No, it wasn't the timely family job offers and lies of the Josh Freeman experience. Blaine Gabbert had committed to a coach instead of a program and that coach had been fired, perfectly understandable to look elsewhere. Nonetheless, the Blackshirts always seem to take it personally when they get their shot at a former decommit and apparently they had decided that Suh doing everything but dropping the Stone Cold Stunner on him at midfield the year before in Columbia just didn't drive the point home hard enough.
He was hit, harassed, hit some more and popped a few times just for good measure. Reporters said he was doing his best impression of a drunken...well...Gabbert in a pizza joint at the presser following the game. A 12-30 performance the following week against the 93rd ranked Texas Tech D showed the aftereffects of the punishment.
By the way, Roy Helu rushed for 307 yards.
"C'mon, man. I'll be your Doug."
Nebraska 31 Iowa St 30
But a healthy Taylor Martinez, Cody Green was not. Given another chance to prove himself in a starting role, Cody was thoroughly forgettable with 89 total yards at QB as the Huskers were outgained and outplayed for many stretches, including most of the 4th quarter, by a mediocre Cyclone squad on a windy day in Ames. With a combined 228 yards rushing, Burkhead and Helu were the offense.
And Pelini hopefully sent Rhodes the deluxe Hickory Farms gift basket for Christmas. The ISU head man'sdecision to go for two in the 1st overtime at home with momentum on his his side and one-dimensional offense led by Green on the other? Well, as far as bad ideas go, that probably ranks right up there with walking up to Christian Peter in a bar, peeing on shoes and announcing loudly that you took bigger shits than him in prison.
"Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It's not gambling when you know you're gonna win. Counting cards is a foolproof system."
Nebraska 20 Kansas 3
There was no danger of losing. None. But with the return of native son Turner Gill, the there was no bloodlust or adrenaline to be found. No offense, either. Even the the creepy man-crush guy behind me who normally screams "SEXY REXY!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs every time Burkhead gains more than 4 yards was subdued.
For the first of many times to follow, we were promised that Taylor was right back at 100% or damned close. He gutted out 167 passing and another 71 of the Huskers 230 rushing yards, but we knew something was off.
The Blackshirts took care of business against a middling 1-AA offense, but no one on either side of the field went home happy.
"You are literally too stupid to insult."
Texas A&M 9 Nebraska 6
Greg Burks and friends. The Cotton Colonoscopy. The Courtney Osborne "late hit". 16 penalties for 145 yards on Nebraska. 2-10 on the aTm, the Big 12's most penalized team. An absolute joke.
Well, this has been hashed over, raged about andpounded in to the ground. I'd only add that when the national commentators are all but openly mocking your calls, you're probably doing it wrong. I wouldn't accuse Beebe of masterminding this debacle because a) he's proven time an again that he's too stupid to "mastermind" anything and b) he was probably far too busy
making up death threat stories
"No Comment. I'm not talking about penalties. You all watched the game."
As for the game itself, it was a story of two teams - an offense that still could only move the ball in spurts and a defense that deserved the win by shutting down an offense that had run wild since inserting Ryan Tannehill at QB. A public meltdown by each Pelini was the cherry on top. And to watch all this, I passed on a chance to watch UNO knock off #1 North Dakota 1-0 on a goal with1 second left.
Quite simply, the worst night of fall, my favorite season.
"Plus, it's not a man-purse. It's called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one."
"So does Joy Behar."
Nebraska 45 Colorado 17
And so do those hackey-sackin', Phish-lovin', piss-tossin', fair-weather Colorado student fans that we've known and abhorred for years, I'd wager. The 2010 Soon-To-Be-Former Nemeses Beatdown Tour concluded witha satisfying thrashing of the Buffs behind 265 yards rushing, a "game-managing" Cody Green, 3 forced turnovers, and two unexpected TD throws from Burkhead out of the revived Wildcat. We'll miss the mountains, but not the Boulder buffoonery. Okay, maybe just a little bit.
10-3 BIG XII TITLE GAME
"Aw, man! Who does shit like that, man?"
"Someone who has a lotta issues, obviously. I'm a sick man."
BIG XII TITLE GAME
Seriously, who takes a running game that's working and just tosses it in the can? And after a 17-0 lead has turned into a 20-20 tie, starts calling the offense like we're down by 21? Louisville, you're about to find out.
One of my favorite quotes from a comment on Better Off Red: "Watson's the kind of guy who'd rather have 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing than 400 yards rushing and 0 yards passing."
Certainly seemed like it that night.
"You f*****g calm down! He drugged us! I lost a tooth! I married a whore!"
HOLIDAY BOWL REMATCH
Washington 19 Nebraska 7
It's as good an explanation as any for what transpired in San Diego. That and/or no one really giving half a crap. And let's not forget Bo's horrfying snub for not letting the Navy call a play. Ugh, I'm not reliving this one. I'm just not. Let's bring on 2011.