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Wednesday Reads: Unanswered Prayers Are Very Heavy

In our Wednesday Reads, I wonder why Bo Pelini looks so tired, whether Husker fans will ever be happy with Taylor Martinez and point out, that win or lose, I'm not doing what I did after last year's game.

I'm behind for a reason this week, and that reason is at the bottom of the page.

Pelini looks tired. I can't say I blame him - imagine what it's like to carry an entire state's unanswered prayers. Pelini would probably say it doesn't bother him; that he's entirely focused on his football team and the future, but there is no escape for him or anyone else on the football team.

Pelini says "execute" in one form or another many, many times. I realize Husker fans are tired of hearing him talk about it, but I'm not sure what else he's supposed to say. Would fans be happier if he grabbed a thesaurus and came up with some synonyms so you didn't hear "execute" so often?

We hear more about "the process" and I suppose some find that old hat as well, but again, I'm not sure what we expect to hear.

Red report: Turnovers still a bugaboo for Martinez, offense : Latest Husker News

"I think everyone on the whole team is -- especially Coach (Tim) Beck and Coach Bo (Pelini)," junior quarterback Taylor Martinez said Monday. "I think if we don’t turn over the ball we should be undefeated right now."

I've seen Husker fans making a big deal out of this comment by Martinez, and that they are surprises me. On one hand, he could be right, but that's not even the point.

The point is that Husker fans complain when Martinez doesn't say anything. Then they complain that he says something. It leads one to believe that no matter what he says, people will bitch about it. If that's the case, it's a wonder he bothers to speak to the media and the fans at all.

Plays of the Week: Venric Mark's Big Day - Sippin' On Purple

The offense against Minnesota was a one-man show put on by Venric Mark. This was partly a result of the weather, which seemed to limit the passing game and Kain Colter's ability to make moves in space, and partly a result of awful play from the Minnesota linebackers and safeties in the first half.

Remember the name Venric Mark. He's a small package, but lightning quick, and can make plays in the special teams (two punt return TDs this season) as well as the normal offense. He averaged 9.1 yards per carry against Minnesota, and is averaging 5.91 carries overall along with 792 yards on 134 carries and eight touchdowns. He has eight plays of over 20 yards, and 19 plays of over 10 yards.

Lake The Posts :: The Drive

Every program has at least one "the drive" – the signature drive that needs only the two word mention and the thought bubble becomes unified. I’d argue ours is Nebraska 2011.

After the loss last year, I sat staring at my television in a daze, drinking way too much gin, and ultimately eating two pounds of pico de gallo. I am not doing that again this year, although it scares the hell out of me how badly the internets will explode with angry Husker fans should we lose this year. I'm sure torches and pitch forks will be wielded.

This week in schadenfreude: Texas puts Mack Brown in the basement -

TWIS rounds up the most ludicrous reactions to college football weekly. This edition features some idiot taking his girlfriend to the Red River Shootout, Virginia fans demanding hip-hop they've never heard of, and Gernans. Plus a spider!

If other people's pain makes you feel any better, then TWIS will make you feel better. Everyone should take the list of how to have a proper meltdown thread and pin it to their fridge, just in case.

Hail Varsity: Tale of the Tape: Northwestern preview

After watching the Minnesota tape from last week, Northwestern maybe shouldn’t be 6-1. If you look at the box score from that game, it looks like the Gophers dominated it. Minnesota had more yards, first downs, third down conversions and fewer penalties, but they lost the turnover battle 3-0. Still, the Gophers did a good job defensively. The Wildcats final six drives, spanning the last 36 minutes of game clock, covered 54 yards and resulted in zero points.

Minnesota fans found out why Jerry Kill wanted Marqueis Gray starting at quarterback. Max Shortell may develop into a decent quarterback, but he did not have a good game against Northwestern, going 9-for-19 for only 103 yards. He couldn't hit an outside pass to save his life, and if Minnesota would have had a better quarterback, they'd have won the game.

Week 8: We predict all six Big Ten games " Big Ten Network

Nebraska (4-2, 1-1) at Northwestern (6-1, 2-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

Tom’s pick: Northwestern, 40-38 – Buckle up, folks! These teams will race up and down the field with their strong offenses. The difference? The Wildcats will make fewer turnovers and have the ball last. Evanston will erupt.

Brent’s pick: Northwestern, 31-27 – Both teams figure to find success on the ground, but I’ll take Northwestern’s healthy duo (Venric Mark and Kain Colter) and the offense that doesn’t put the ball on the turf with regularity.

Q&A with Husker offensive lineman Spencer Long -
The former walk-on from Elkhorn has started 19 straight games at right guard on the offensive line. He also is coming off a sophomore season in which he was voted second-team All-Big Ten by media covering the league.

16-year-old boy hit by best friend's arrow in Chaska dies |

Grief and shock spread across classrooms and social media Tuesday as friends and classmates of 16-year-old Spencer Swanson of Chaska learned he had died after his best friend accidentally shot him in the head with an arrow.

Both of these kids are my neighbors' kids. Needless to say, this has been a horrible week. There isn't a thing I can say to either family to make this better or to make it away. It is just heartache. The only thing I can do for them is pray that they can get through this difficult time and ask you to do the same.

I could write something here about how it's put everything in perspective, but, honestly, we shouldn't need tragedies like this in our lives to put things in perspective - we should already have perspective. As disgusted as we get about Husker football, it is just a game.