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    by Published on 09-21-2014 12:44 AM  Number of Views: 9419 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football,
    3. Athletics

    A rivalry was reborn Saturday night. With most of the national championship team of 1994 and a record crowd on hand, Nebraska and Miami reprised the Smashmouth vs. Trashmouth matchup that gave Tom Osborne his first national championship. By game's end, Ameer Abdullah stood tall and a new generation of Nebraska fans had reasons to disrespect the Miami football program.

    They also found reasons to be optimistic about the 2014 season, ...
    by Published on 09-18-2014 03:50 PM  Number of Views: 2124 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football,
    3. Athletics

    As if physicality wasn't bad enough, Saturday night's TV colorman described the potent Husker offense as having "explosivity." Maybe I missed something, but the last time I checked, the word explosiveness was still in the dictionary.

    Oh yes, and what about the repeated references to MAC-neeze State (last week's Husker opponent)? It's Mic-NEESE State. I know, picky, picky.

    A DRY HEAT?
    I won't devote much time to last Saturday's "Sauna Bowl" at Fresno State. With a kickoff temps flirting with 100 degrees, it's a wonder there were any players who were able to actually finish
    ...
    by Published on 09-18-2014 08:32 AM  Number of Views: 3353 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    Time for another edition of the Hot Takes.

    Husker fans, we have found our "Jump Around"

    As we've discussed before, Nebraska is unsure of how to fill the gap between the 3rd and 4th quarters. The goal is to replicate the excitement, fan involvement, and impact on the other team that Wisconsin's "Jump Around" has become. To that end, Nebraska has tried several things, most of which were failures. Here is a partial recap of what's been done in the last 10 years:

    • An ill-fated attempt to get one half of the stadium to chant “Can’t be beat”, while the other half responds “Won’t be beat”. Aside from the potential awkwardness of doing this chant should NU be down 14 points going into the 4th quarter, it was too hard for fans to know what to chant and when to chant it.

    • The HuskerVision version of the shell game (Valentino’s “Eye the Pie”, as well as an earlier Runza-themed version) where fans follow a pizza or Husker logo as it is shuffled around. Boy did that one get the fans fired up!

    • The NU drum line goes out on the field to do a drum cadence for one corner of the stadium (usually the students) while the flag line twirls neon rifles. It's cool for the corner of the stadium they pick, but the rest of us don't get the full effect.

    • The band plays “Hey ...
    by Published on 09-18-2014 01:28 AM  Number of Views: 4610 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football,
    3. Athletics

    Of course Nebraska and Miami are just as different as they are similar, but the similarities fit the narrative I can most closely keep on the rails so we’ll head down that track.

    Of the ten times NU and UM have played, only twice were the teams not similarly ranked or unranked; this will be the third, with NU clinging to a spot in the polls and Miami still paying for a first game loss to Louisville.

    Arguably each team’s greatest, ...
    by Published on 09-17-2014 10:53 PM  Number of Views: 2993 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    That was something, wasn't it?

    Not the game, although that was quite entertaining - if a little long at times. I'm talking about the experience of playing Fresno State in Fresno. A 9:30 CDT kickoff meant that the game started after the bed times for the youngest and oldest Husker fans. Thousands more probably didn't make it past halftime. For those fans watching in bars with 1:00 closing times, did you get kicked out before the game ended? And I'm guessing Sunday morning church attendance across the state really took a hit.

    For all the quirks and inconveniences of this game, it was an important one to play. Fresno State may not be the best team Nebraska has played in 2014, but they are the most respected brand name - and that does matter. It also matters to play the occasional game in the state of California if you intend to maintain a recruiting presence in the state. Short of a Rose Bowl appearance, late night in Fresno will have to do for now.

    So what did we learn?

    The defense showed flashes of dominance. Looking at the night as a whole, the defense had a pretty solid outing. The Blackshirts held Fresno to just over 100 yards rushing and 346 in total offense. One of the Bulldog touchdowns (the 66 yard keeper by quarterback Brian Burrell) was a busted play that snowballed. But other than that, Fresno did not mount much of a threat ...
    by Published on 09-14-2014 05:39 PM  Number of Views: 4711 

    When reviewing the McNeese State game last week I wrote, "Nebraska is going to show what they are made of and what kind of season they will likely have. If they can focus and prepare the way they should, they should come out and make a statement against the Bulldogs." I was interested in seeing Nebraska's mindset after winning in the final minute against McNeese State. Well, the Huskers came out and quickly answered that question. Nebraska made a statement against the ...
    by Published on 09-14-2014 02:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Football,
    3. Athletics

    On one of those hot summer nights where it feels good to rest your arm on the car door and feel the air rush in through the open window, Nebraska kept its cool in the heat of California throughout a three-hour, 41-minute game.

    Fresno State wouldn't stop trying to pass, so the Cornhuskers made road kill out of the Bulldogs with a notable assist from loud-and-proud freshman De'Mornay Pierson-El, who burned rubber on his first ...
    by Published on 09-12-2014 02:42 PM     Number of Views: 2599 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    Nebraska is renowned for having excellent fans who support their Cornhuskers to the end. The sellout streak at Memorial Stadium will reach 340 by the end of the 2014 season. But there has always been a divide among Husker fans in the stadium. There are those fans who want games to be raucous events, and some who would prefer to go, sit, and quietly watch the game. Typically, that latter group is labeled "blue hairs", as they tend to be some of the older fans who have had season tickets for decades. Over the years*, the blue hairs have been telling fans to sit down, shut up, and generally do things that one might consider counter to having a loud, intimidating environment for opposing teams.

    *I've ...
    by Published on 09-10-2014 02:31 PM  Number of Views: 4986 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    Walking into the stadium on Saturday, I was lamenting that this was going to be Nebraska's last game against a FCS opponent. I was mentally compiling arguments to lay out in this space for why NU should consider the occasional game against a lower tier school. I felt confident that although my opinion may not be popular, I could make a good case for dipping into the minor leagues every now and again.

    And then the game started.

    Three hours later, most of my arguments were trumped. I knew that McNeese State was the last FCS to enter Memorial Stadium without a ticket. The risks simply outweigh any reward that can be gained.

    That is the harsh reality of a Power 5 program - especially one with Nebraska's tradition - playing a team from the lower division: there is very little on-field upside. Seriously, imagine the best case scenario that could have happened on Saturday. In my mind, it's a 70-0 win where the stars put up big numbers, the backups get lots of game experience, and nobody gets hurt. That type of success only happens once in an Idaho State moon.

    Instead, Nebraska came dangerously close to the worst case scenario: a home loss to a FCS school that is a black mark on the program for years and years. As it was, Nebraska got a hell of a scare, lost some key players to injury, and took a hit to the program's credibility. Nobody cares that McNeese State would easily defeat Florida Atlantic (despite what ...
    by Published on 09-10-2014 02:28 PM     Number of Views: 374 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    There are few things I love more than a good old fashioned whoopin' - especially when Nebraska is on the giving end. But the challenge is having such an amazing offensive performance in the first game of the season. We spent all spring and summer calibrating our expectations and finding the holes on this team. Then the fall camp "Kool Aid Season" starts, when every second stringer is a future All-American. Now this - a complete and utter annihilation of a team that was bowl eligible last year. Certainly this means that those potential losses (at Fresno? Or Wisconsin? Or maybe Northwestern?) are a little more firmly in the win column.

    Or does it?

    That is the danger with first games. We draw far too many conclusions off of 60 minutes of football against a team that, frankly, wasn't very good. Yes, Nebraska looked great, covered the spread, and had several players post career bests. But none of that matters in October when Nebraska plays some big conference games on the road.

    Make no mistake, the talent is there. The potential is there too. I believe the desire is as strong as it has been in long time. Now it is time to see if this team can put those pieces together and navigate a schedule chock full of traps and mines. Who knows where this team will be on November 1. But on September 1, all is right with the world. The Huskers are back - and they look good.

    So what did we learn? ...

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