clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

They’re Taking The Knife Out Of The Cheese!: THE CORN NATION Q&A With Wisconsin

It’s a sorta obscure reference to the original Arthur. Just roll with it.

Nebraska v Wisconsin
Things looked brighter last year..
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

For those not familiar with original “Arthur”, here is the scene to which the article title refers:

I just felt this scene truly embodies Nebraska’s season in general and specifically what will be waiting for them on the field when they emerge from the tunnel before a soon to be quieted crowd.

Throw a haymaker to the chest and look proud of ourselves. Get the ever-loving shit knocked out of us by a tough, superior opponent. Knife in a wedge of cheese (that’s the Wisconsin connection. Get it?! Because Wisconsin is known for cheese). Then the superior opponent stabs us repeatedly and...

I’m getting ahead of myself. No one gets stabbed in Arthur. His old grandmother walks in, slaps knife-boy around a little and tells him not to screw with her, happy endings ensue. But unless Carol Frost suits up, I don’t think any tough, old broads are saving the day.

Anyhow, it’s time of week where we reach out to the enemy and ask them to answer our burning questions. Drew Hamm of Bucky’s 5th Quarter was kind enough to do so this week, so many thanks to him for taking the time. Without further adieu, let’s roll ahead:

Does it give you comfort to know that even if the Huskers do pull it together and give you a solid challenge, we will find a way to step on our d**ks before the day is over?

Drew: I suppose it gives me some level of comfort that Nebraska can’t get out of their own way this season. However, I’m always nervous about playing the Huskers in Lincoln as Nebraska has beaten the Badgers (2012) and only lost by two (2015) in the three games at Memorial Stadium. If this game were in Madison, I might not even watch it because I’d be so sure of a Wisconsin victory, but road games are tough. You may not remember this, I don’t think anyone does, but the Badgers lost at Illinois earlier this year. I know, crazy right?

Indiana v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

In Jack Coan, you seem to have found a QB who is more than just a PEZ dispenser who coughs out footballs to whichever Jonathan Taylor, Melvin Gordon or Ron Dayne or whoever (Russell Wilson rentals notwithstanding). How big a surprise has he been, especially after it seemed everyone outside the coaching staff had conceded the job to Graham Mertz before practice even started?

Drew: Coan has been pretty good this year. He has certainly been better than Alex Hornibrook simply because Coan rarely turns the ball over whereas Hornibrook thought it was only fair to share the ball with the other team every so often. The Badgers also possess the most talented (overall) group of receiving threats they’ve had in some time, which makes a quarterback’s job easier, but there is much (correct) consternation about how the play calling is utilizing all the talent (usually incorrectly). Coan is not a quarterback that will win you many games by himself, but he also won’t beat himself (usually) and makes smart decisions. He can even run for a first down here or there, which is always exciting.

There was a lot of excitement around Graham Mertz because the Badgers just don’t sign quarterback recruits like him. There was definitely a lot of people who wanted to see him get a chance to start (hell, my phone autocorrects his name to all caps because my friends and I shouted about him so much) this year, but that never really seemed like more than a pipe dream due to Coan’s comprehension of the offense. Mertz is undoubtedly more talented, but Coan gives the team the best chance to win every week.

Does Paul Chryst hate every team he plays? He appears to have been caught saying stuff (verified by CIA lip readers) during games. Would it help to say that we don’t hate Wisconsin back? We just want to get into your weight class at some point.

Drew: Coach Dad, as he is known because he’s not mad...he’s just disappointed, sometimes actually DOES get mad. We have a working theory that Chryst HAS to be very different when talking to players than his public persona because he is freaking boring in interviews but his players love him! The fact that “turnover chain my fucking ass” was caught on camera during the game against Miami is such a gift to Wisconsin fans. It shows us that the boring pile of sweatshirt oatmeal that coaches our favorite team has a little bit of fire to him. I don’t know if Wisconsin can ever truly hate Nebraska since the Badgers basically stole how the Huskers do things and now just do it a bit better.

Wisconsin v Purdue Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Tell us about 2 or 3 players on the defense that Husker fans should be watching.

Drew: The two best defenders on the team are OLB Zack Baun and ILB Chris Orr. They have both been able to pressure quarterbacks well this year and are also the vocal leaders of the defense. They will be key in keeping Adrian Martinez in check. For a more under the radar player to keep an eye on, look to true freshman NT Keeanu Benton. Starting NT Bryson Williams (a Lincoln, Nebraska native) will not play in this game due to injury and has actually missed a bunch of time this year because he has been hurt. Benton has filled in admirably in his stead and really helps against opposing run games. You won’t hear his name called much in the tackles department, but he does his job as a space-eater/block occupier extremely well for a freshman.

The loss to Illinois had to destroy Wisconsin’s chances of having a historical season. What is the best season you see at this point?

Drew: That loss to Illinois man...::stares out rain-soaked window in silence::

I didn’t think this Wisconsin team was ever as good as they seemed before the Illinois game but I also didn’t think they were bad enough to lose to Illinois, so what the hell do I know? The best season I can see at this point is sweeping all of the November division games and getting steam-rolled again by Ohio State in Indy. That is a definite possibility, but I don’t think it will happen. The god damn mother fucking Gophers seem to have some sort of black magic on their side and I don’t think they’ll lose two of their next three games to give the Badgers a shot. They’ll probably lose one (I’d wager they’re more likely to lose to Iowa than to Wisconsin) but two is out of the question. So, I see the Badgers entering bowl season at 9-3 with a nice, but underwhelming, bowl trip somewhere warm against Texas A&M or some shit.

What level of cheap booze consumption do you expect Nebraska fans to need on Saturday?

The running game is back on track and that’s probably the last thing Husker fans wanted to hear. If Jonathan Taylor can run for 250 yards against Iowa...anyways, I always encourage cheap booze consumption on gamedays (often to my detriment!) but a nice, modest buzz will get you through the game. No need to overdo it and ruin a nice, fall Saturday.