Tim Beck Mentioned for KU Job. Husker Fans Offer to Help Move.

Tim Beck‘s name was one of many that college football prognosticators plucked out of their magic hats as a candidate to replace Charlie Weis at Kansas.

Coincidentally, the last time Beck was involved with a squad that was undefeated so deep into a season was the 2007 Kansas squad that torched Nebraska 76 – 39.

The only positives from that game were finally getting to see what Joe Ganz could do and vicariously getting a taste of what’s like to be a Kansas fan. This guy was the lone invited Husker to a KU alumni meet up for that game. Many Jayhawk tears of joy were spilled on the day the mighty Big Red was finally vanquished.

But back to Tim Beck. You’d think a guy who’s helped get his team off to a 6 and 0 start and has his offense running like a top (thanks, Ameer) would get a little more respect.

From the Husker Extra Facebook page:
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Tim Beck Can Go To Kansas
Well, at least if Beck does get job get the job for some bizarre reason, at least he’ll know who he can call to get some help moving south of the border.

A pair of comments that deserve a special mention –  Husker Fans
TedandJulie- people who share Facebook pages aren’t simply weird, they’re flat out creepy. Despite the urban legends, you know Facebook accounts are free, right? How do the logistics of such an arrangement even work? Do you confer upon an opinion before posting it or just go rogue as you please? Or is this all part of a bigger plan to keep the ladies away from Ted? Seriously, being part of a conjoined twin would be easier and less stressful to pull off than sharing a Facebook account.

And Matthew, really? Tim Beck looked like “a deer looking at headlights“? You mean that time his friend and boss was carted away in an ambulance to the ER in a situation where death wasn’t a hard outcome to imagine. Is that the time you’re talking about?

Way to keep it classy, Husker fans.

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Recap: Randy Gregory Hits too Hard in Huskers’ Rout of Illini

Chief Illiniwek came to Lincoln and got wrecked for the second year in a row.

And by wrecked we mean that in a the-poor-Illini-had-to-square-off-against-Randy-Gregory kind of way, not a the Illini-team-bus-made-a-detour-at-the-Indian-Center-and-got-wrecked-at-a-tailgate kind of way, because alcohol is now banned there and we like to think of ourselves above making horribly dated and stereotypical jokes that would even make Redskins fans cringe.

Besides, the Illini needed all their available motor skills in order to create enough footage for this amazing highlight reel.

Is it just us or does Illinois’ announcer sound exactly like Greg Sharpe?

Saturday’s game against the Illini proved to be a good problem for the Huskers. While the Big Red won handily, the score could have been and should have been much worse than the 45 – 14 final. Were it not for some miscues and oddly stalled out drives, the Huskers would have hung 59 points at a minimum.

For 60 minutes, Memorial Stadium took a time warp back to the 90’s glory days with Ameer Abdullah doing his best Ahman Green to the tune of 208 yards on the ground and Randy Gregory dolling out an absolute monster of a hit that was classic Blackshirt thunder.

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Congrats, Randy. You finally upped Kenny Bell’s block against Wisconsin though that is up for debate.

For as impressive as Gregory’s laying the woodwork was, let the record show that one Ed Thompson did not approve of his soul rattling shenanigans.

From the Husker Extra Facebook Page

Randy Gregory Hit
Ed Thompson

Ed, we don’t even know where to begin in dissecting your comment and it seems neither do you.

From a possibly cold blooded and surgical trolling of the Big Red faithful to trying to walk back your initial bit of baseless insight moments later with an “I don’t even care about either team,” we can’t tell if we just witnessed the work of a master troll or someone who does a bang up job of being the “easily confused and flustered guy on the internet.”

Either way, your lack of punctuation and uncanny ability to bring a conversation with total internet strangers all the way back the the third grade has us drawn into your intriguing web of mystery and enigma.

Well played, Ed. Well played.

 

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Three things we learned in compiling this Nebraska – Illinois preview:

1. The Illinois Fighting Illini must have had one roll of film in their camera during the 1980’s. Case in point, a Google Image Search for Jeff George. There is not a single photo of him and his sweet mustache in an Illinois uniform to be found on the internet which really throws our plans for a sweet stache bash between George and Jordan Westerkamp for a loop.

Jeff George Mustache

2. If photos the most famous/notorious player to ever wear blue and orange barely exist, good luck finding a photo of Jordan Westerkamp’s dad Bob in action for the Fighting Illini.

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3. Jordan Westerkamp’s older brother Matt has an amazing mullet.

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Between Jordan’s stache and Matt’s mullet, the Westerkamp bros could give the Franco bros a run for their money.

Now that your mind is blown, here’s what you need to know about tonight’s match up.

Confidence: The Illini travel to Nebraska for the second year in a row (nice scheduling, Big Ten) and the outcome won’t be any different.

Scouting Report: According to Steven M. Sipple, the Illini run Tim Beck’s favorite offense – that multiple one. They come in to Lincoln with a 3-1 record- their lone loss a drubbing at the hands of a rebuilding Washington team. It’s also worth noting that the Illini’s first victory was at the expense of Youngstown State so it will be interesting to see if Bo Pelini goes for a little get back in honor of his hometown. Illinois might burn Nebraska a couple of times but look for the Blackshirts to have things on lock down by halftime.

Ideal Scenario: First and foremost the 8pm(!) kickoff should be late enough to scare away the blue hairs who would otherwise sit on their keisters and complain about the Huskers’ alternate uniforms.

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The helmet is killer. The actual uniform is still a little off. The reflective numbers and accents are going to wreak havoc for photographers.

Continue to see Ameer Abdullah go HAM. With Oregon off this week, ESPN will be Marcus Mariotta free so tonight is a great chance for Ameer to be in the spotlight and build his Heisman case, except that dang 8pm kick off (the blue hairs may have a valid point) means the game won’t end unit close to 1am on the East Coast. So here’s to Ameer going off in the first half.

The other storyline to consider is if Jordan Westerkamp will show any mercy to his home state team and his dad’s alma mater. Illinois and every other school recruited Jordan before he ultimately chose Nebraska. Here’s hoping his roommate slings a few big passes his way.

Look for the Husker starters to turn things over to the back ups by the early 4th quarter and start resting up for next week’s showdown at Michigan State. The Husker faithful stay in the stands until the very end unless making it to last call with time to spare becomes an issue.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 with the game on the Big Ten Network and a soft opponent, don’t look for Bo’s rage to be an issue tonight.

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Marching Band to Honor Ameer Abdullah. Husker Fans Outraged.

Tomorrow night, while Ameer Abdullah is taking a breather in the locker room, the Husker marching band will pay tribute to his so far amazing season with a ‘Fear Ameer’ homage of their own.

Naturally, this gesture has been met with resistance.

From the Lincoln Journal Star’s Facebook page-

Ammer Abdullah Journal Star
While the very premise of this site is to focus on the inane comments from the “most knowledgeable fans in college football,” we’ll be the first to admit we’re happy to be scraping the bottom of the comment barrel this far into the Huskers’ season.

With the team 4 and 0 and firing on most cylinders most of the time, Bo Pelini keeping his rage in check, and Tim Beck having lost the pages of his playbook that don’t involve getting the ball to Abdullah, this season has been drama free.

UNTIL THE DAMN MARCHING BAND ANNOUNCED THEIR PLANS TO GET CUTE.

We agree, Christy Sueverkruepp, you shouldn’t dare spell Fear Ameer without also spelling out Alexis Lewis, Jake Cotton, Mark Pelini, Mike Moudy, and Zach Sterup.

But why stop there? You gotta dream big just like those guys lower on the depth chart who are working just as hard as the starters. They deserve credit too. It just isn’t fair and we gotta say, seeing Chongo Kondolo spelled across Tom Osborne Field would look pretty bad ass.

However, Suzanne Brown, we do need to pump the brakes on your suggestion to honor the “smart students.” By your definition, what qualifies as “smart?” The several thousand student’s who make the Dean’s List each semester, or would you require someone with a 4.0 or even higher achievements? But then again, even though an ACT score of only 18 was required for this author to get into UNL, you do have to be pretty smart to even be in college.

And to borrow Christy’s logic, what about the professors who made the students so smart in the first place? If being a Heisman Trophy contender is grounds for getting your catchphrase spelled by the marching band, then Roger W. Mandigo deserves no less than John Philip Sousa‘s entire catalog for inventing the motherf’ing McRib.

Finally, in semi-related news, an Omaha World Herald employee has take to his employer’s Facebook Page to complain about the oppressively late start times of Husker games.
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Oh Joshua, we wish we could be in the same room as you when you find out tomorrow night’s kickoff is at the ungodly late hour of 8pm.

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Nebraska vs Miami: Breaking Down the Play of the Game

Before we turn our focus to Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Illinois, let’s take one final look at the Miami game – specifically the play that was the final nail in Hurricanes’ coffin.

It was a thing of Blackshirt beauty and was no accident.

The Huskers settled for a field goal to go up by 10 with nine minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Miami got the ball back starting from their own 25. Four plays and barely two minutes later, they were at the Nebraska 35 but had stalled out.

Looking down the barrel an absolutely crucial 4th and 4, Nebraska called time out and Coach Papuchis “saw something” and called for true freshman Josh Kalu to drop into zone coverage.

What Igor signaled was a classic example of pattern matching.

(Quick plug time: If you really want to learn about what makes a defense tick, Chris Brown‘s Essential Smart Football is the best $7.49 you will ever spend.)

Now back to the play at hand. It’s 4th and 4 at the Nebraska 35. The Huskers had finally found an answer for Hurricanes’ screen passes and had all but shut down running back Duke Johnson. The most appealing option left for Miami would be a pass along the sideline to one of their hoss receivers. This is a well they dipped into throughout the night with much success.

As Nebraska lines up for the snap, notice how deep Nate Gerry is playing.

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This is all just  a ruse. As Miami’s Brad Kaaya begins his snap count, Gerry creeps towards the line of scrimmage but he’s not blitzing.

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Notice how Gerry comes set at the exact moment Kaaya receives the snap.

The play begins and Kalu starts shuffling back to cover Miami’s slot receiver until he breaks to the inside. Instantly, Kalu hands him off to Gerry who is positioned perfectly to continue covering the receiver.

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Seamlessly “turning over” a receiver to another defender is a key element of pattern matching.

Kaaya releases the ball under the assumption that he’s throwing into one-on-one coverage, a situation where Miami’s receiving corps dominated the entire game- until Josh Kalu seemingly appears out of nowhere and intercepts the ball so effortlessly you’d think it was thrown to him on purpose.

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This pass had 1st down written all over it until Josh Kalu said otherwise.

Among all the big time plays Nebraska made Saturday night, this one was the biggest. A perfect, designed outcome in a clutch situation. Kalu’s grand entrance on the Blackshirt stage was reminiscent of an unknown kid by the name of Eric Hagg being turned loose at the end of the 2009 Gator Bowl and coming up huge with a pass break up and a sack when Clemson was looking at a 1st and ballgame from the Nebraska 10 yard line.

While the Husker peanut gallery would love a big play every time the Blackshirts are on the field, the years have shown Pelini doesn’t reach for the ace in the hole until his team is right on the edge of falling into one.

Think of it as the Blackshirt  version of Hulking up.

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Big Ten Power Rankings – Week 4

What a difference a couple of weeks can make.  The second Saturday of the 2014 college football season looked so dismal for the Big Ten that I was forced to eschew my normal conference power ranking in favor of this dubious list of impotence rankings.

Take, for example, this clip from a match two weeks ago.

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To the untrained eye, this might look like Illinois’ 42-34 win over Western Kentucky. But, believe it or not, it is a completely unrelated fight between two jack rabbits.

But now, in week four, things look a little different. The Big Ten posted a 12-1 record for the day while the mighty SEC went 7-4. Now, granted, three of the SEC losses were to other SEC teams. But that doesn’t change the fact that the only Big Ten/SEC match-up for the day resulted in a 31-27 Indiana win over defending SEC EAST Champions, Missouri.

So the Big Ten enjoyed a nice round of redemption in week 4. Enough to earn its first POWER ranking on this blog. But, while there was much to like out of the conference on Saturday, in terms of Big Ten hopes for a playoff berth, I turn to the famous words of Winston the Wolf:

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WEEK 4 BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS

#1 Nebraska (4-0)

Now, you might think that defending Big Ten Champs Michigan State would come in at #1 what with its domination of one FCS school and one 1-3 MAC team and one well-fought loss out in Eugene. But, when it comes to picking the cream of the conference so far this year, it’s simple arithmetic.

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At Nebraska, the tandem of 4s and number 8 have the Cornhuskers looking like the most complete team in the Big Ten. Say what you will about the last minute heroics against McNeese State, the Cornhuskers are a) undefeated and b) dominating their opposition like no one else in the Big Ten.

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For now, the Huskers are the top dogs.

#2 Penn State (4-0)

Now, you might think the defending Big Ten champs would come in at #2. After all , the Spartans just slobber-knocked Eastern Michigan by a 59-point margin. But look, the Nittany Lions are also undefeated — unlike the Spartans — and things have looked quite happy in Happy Valley with the news of PSU’s bowl eligibility reinstated.

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Penn State has used a crushing defense (ranked 6th in the country) to roll out to a 4-0 start. But the offense is a little worrisome, mustering just 21 points against Akron and 13 against Rutgers. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg gets a lot of national love. But the dude runs hot and cold.

I get the feeling that once conference play gets into the thick of it, PSU fans are going to see some shit that will turn them white.

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#3 Maryland (3-1)

Now, you might think Michigan State would at least get the third spot in the power rankings. Everyone from here on out has at least one loss, just like the Spartans. But the Terps have rolled in their three wins so far this year and they went to the wire in a three point loss to a West Virginia team that has shown a knack for hanging with the big boys (Alabama and Oklahoma).

#4  Illinois (3-1)

Now, you might think that surely, SURELY Michigan State ought to be ranked higher than fucking Illinois. I mean, look at these jack-ass Illini fans for fuck sake.

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But Illinois owns one more win than MSU and an equal number of losses. Granted Illinois’ 3-1 record is tenuous at best.  For now they should enjoy the view from the top third of the conference because, starting Saturday with a trip to Lincoln, the hot streak is likely about to come crashing down.

#5 Rutgers (3-1)

Now, you might think Sparty ought to at least be Top 5. Right? Not if you ask this guy.

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People understandably hate transitive comparisons in college football. Each match-up is uniquely good or bad based on team strengths and weaknesses. BUT, take a look at the Rutgers/Washington State/Oregon/Michigan State equation.  The Scarlet Knight’s three point win didn’t look so hot in week one against a program that has averaged three wins per season for the last decade. But did you see the Cougars give Oregon everything it could handle last Saturday? Sure WSU is off to another rough start with a 1-3 record, but Rutgers’ opening week win is looking a little better after Saturday, while MSU’s loss is looking slightly worse.

#6 Minnesota (3-1)

Now, you might think this power ranking has officially jumped the shark. Six teams – and no East Lansing brawlers? The same team that devastated Eastern Michigan to the tune of 49-0 in the first half. The same team that, for a brief moment, made Oregon think they wouldn’t hit their 46 points per game average.

But Minnesota just beat a Spartan team by 17 last week. Coincidence? Probably.

Now, you might think that any ranking that doesn’t have Michigan State at least in the top half of the conference is nothing but garbage.  And you’d be right. That’s why, rounding out the top half of Big Red Fury’s Big Ten power rankings is:

#7 Michigan State (2-1)

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Michigan State’s one game season (with two scrimmages) is all about one hell of 2nd quarter out in Eugene. If the Spartans can bottle that offensive magic for conference play, then a repeat trip to Indianapolis by season’s end ought to be a forgone conclusion.

#8 Wisconsin (2-1)

The Badgers have hammered a pair of cupcakes in the wake of their epic meltdown versus LSU (something that Mississippi State managed to avoid, by the way). Wisconsin has a fairly easy road ahead all the way to November 15 when Nebraska comes to Madison.

#9 Iowa (3-1)

Nice rebound against a previously unbeaten Pittsburgh. But still, the first three weeks of the Hawkeye season were atrocious.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have made progress in their eternal quest to win some kind of pig trophy.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have made progress in their eternal quest to win some kind of pig trophy.

#10 Indiana (2-1)

Indiana had the win of the week for the Big 10 on a Saturday that saw a full dozen conference victories. Can the Hoosiers ride their upset of Missouri on into a successful league run?  History doubts it.

#11 Michigan (2-2)

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First, Utah rained down on Michigan with special teams play and forced turnovers en route to a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. Then the sky rained down on the field with torrential storms and lightning. Then Michigan fans rained down on the parking lot leaving Utah fans free reign to move about the Big House once the two hour delay was over.

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Not a good showing for the Wolverines (the only Big Ten team to lose last week). Still, Michigan can take heart that the defense looked stout against an emerging PAC-10 program. And were it not for turnovers, Michigan’s offense (which out-gained the Utes) likely would have had the Wolverines in the game until the end.

#12 Ohio State (2-1)

That Virginia Tech loss is looking worse and worse by the week.

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#13 Purdue (2-2)

Southern Illinois may be the last victory the Boilermakers see this season. Unless Northwestern still stinks in late November.

#14 Northwestern (1-2)

The Wildcats got their first win of the season by hosting the FCS Western Illinois Leathernecks. They’ve got another one lined up in the middle of conference play on October 25. Along with Purdue, those may be the only remaining wins Nortwestern sees this year. Unless Pat Fitzgerald can pull an epic coaching job out of his rear.  Which he has shown to do from time to time.

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It’s Time Coach Papuchis Got a Nickname

Unlike the half dozen or so fans at our Husker watch site afflicted with a Tourette’s like compulsion to yell some variation of Papuchis any time there’s a Blackshirt miscue, I will proudly go on record and say that I love the guy.

While this love for John Papuchis isn’t quite at the level of a serious man crush, there is solid admiration for a dude of decidedly modest stature who can lead and motivate a legion bad asses and doesn’t melt when Bo Pelini’s rage goes thermonuclear.

Papuchis 1
Papuchis may not melt under the glare of Pelini but a little personal security is never a bad idea.

In fact, as the match up with Miami showed, it appears his third season as Defensive Coordinator is a charm for Papuchis. Watch as he harnesses Pelini’s rage into his own after the interception that was nullified due to a bogus roughing the passer call.

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Just look at that laser focus. Papuchis is like a lion cub stalking his very first prey. He ignores Kenny Bell’s plea to get out of the scrum and tentatively joins the polite conversation. Notice how he licks his lips and goes for the kill. You can clearly tell he’s saying ‘after his pass’ to hammer home Pelini’s argument. While his head veins might not have the same bulge as his boss’, it’s clear Papuchis has forgotten what it’s like to know fear- like a guy who has spent a lot of time being exposed to Heart of Darkness kind of stuff.

Seriously, just look at the way he bares his fangs. Papuchis might have a baby face but that is the look of a man ready to tear out his first throat.

Pelini Papuchis

But where have we seen this expression before?

John Papuchis vs Igor

Oh hello, Igor.

Before you say bestowing the nickname Igor upon Papuchis is rude, consider for a moment the monsters he and his master have created. These are but only two of their masterpieces.

Randy Gregory-2

Ndamukong Suh

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Recap: Husker Red Storm Sends Hurricanes Packing

As Saturday night’s slug fest entered the 4th round, this is what the Miami Hurricanes had to say on Facebook.

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While Husker Nation would probably chose different, non-misspelled F-word to describe the antics of the Hurricanes, Bo Pelini scoured his defensive playbook for that one play where the biggest bad ass on the field destroys the opposing quarterback.

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Oh Brad Kaaya, you’re so lucky Randy Gregory will be playing on Sundays next year.

After running back Duke Johnson got stuffed on the following play, Miami responded with the force of a Category 5 hurricane.

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14:35 later, the Canes would have to settle being the first team to ever to be booed out of Memorial Stadium and went back to Miami with their collective tail between their legs. There would be no strippers or blow waiting for them upon landing at MIA.

But at least they had well wishes of Kenny Bell to keep them company on the long ride home.

Of all the “big” wins in the Bo Pelini era, taking down Miami was by far the most satisfying. Provided they don’t slip up next week against Illinois, this could very well go down as the game that solidifies the Huskers for the season and perhaps years to come.

Miami took the field with all their swagger from the days of yore. After drawing first blood on the first drive of the game, the table was set for another Husker meltdown.

Instead, this generation’s Hurricanes were given a clinic in what Husker Power is all about. Tommy Armstrong responded by leading a touchdown drive of his of his own (capped by a 40 yard strike to Kenny Bell) and it was game on.

Every time there was a miscue (fumble, interception, dumb penalty) or fight that could have blown the wheels off the Husker Wagon, the team rebounded and stayed focused. This was by far the most mentally strong Bo Pelini’s Huskers have ever been.

For 60 minutes they went toe-to-toe, mano-a-mano, and didn’t take any shit from those shit talkers from the the 305.

Late in the game when the Canes stole a page from the Cobra Kai playbook and tried to rip Ameer Abdullah’s head clean off, the Huskers responded with the kind of play that got the blood of the East Stadium Blue Hairs pumping for the first time since the mid 90’s.

Ameer Abdullah's Neck
The look of a ref who’s afraid he’ll have to tell his boss that a player was decapitated on his watch.

While Nebraska’s final score wasn’t a full back trap up the gut, it was a thing of vintage Husker power football beauty.

Let’s break it down-

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 1
Hats on hats. By the looks of things, Ameer is in a one-on-one situation with a Miami player who’s already locked in on him.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 2Ameer starts to get low and crash the hole. That poor Hurricane has no idea what’s about to hit him.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 3Didn’t Miami watch the McNeese State film? An Arm tackle will not bring down Ameer Abdullah. And look what happened to our poor sap all set to engage. Mike Moudy uses the guy’s own teammate to absolutely truck him. It was a total 2 Hurricanes 1 Husker kind of situation.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 4
Ameer busts through and into the open like the Millennium Falcon flying out of the Death Star at the end of Jedi. Look at all that space.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 5
Ameer cuts to the right of Mark Pelini to shove one last TD down the gullet of Sebastian the Ibis.

We’ll see you next year, Miami.

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Miami Hurricanes

Welcome to Nebraska, Miami. Remember me?

Tommie Frazier

I’m the guy who did this…

Tommie Frazier Orange Bowl

Of all the times Tommie Frazier and his Haggar Wrinkle-Frees could have been trotted out from a pre-game pep talk, it’s tonight. Too bad the former Doane State head coach (3 – 17 record, yo) had to go and do that little Twitter meltdown on Coach Pelini last season.

On the bright side, maybe that meant Bo could go one name deeper on the 1994 roster and get Cory Schlesinger to say a few words about what means to drive a stake through the Miami Hurricanes.

As exciting as the Nebraska vs Miami match up is for anyone old enough to remember ’84 and ’95 (we’ll just forget about ’89, ’92 and ’02) one can’t help but wonder what this “storied rivalry” even means to kids who were barely out the womb in ’95.
Case in point, Miami’s signature trash talking has been reduced to heckling Jordan Westerkamp over Instagram.

Just when you thought there couldn’t be anything lower than arguing sports via YouTube comments.

Even fans of the Hurricanes aren’t much better these days.
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A pretty big Miami fan base in Nebraska? How does that even work when this is the Miami fan base in Miami?

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If Hurricane fans can even outnumber McNeese State fans, color this blog impressed.

OK now to the nitty gritty.

Confidence: This match up has all the makings of Missouri’s visit to Lincoln in 2010.  The Big Red has got this.

Scouting Report: Warren Sapp had the balls to trash talk directly to the media. The Hurricanes of today troll Instagram. Miami may get some early action from their “skill players” but look for the secondary to eventually shut down Phillip Dorsett leaving running back Duke Johnson to shoulder a very heavy load.

Ideal Scenario: Nebraska scores early and often. Ameer Abdullah breaks off not one but two highlight worthy runs in his first chance of the season to play against a team of a high enough caliber to prove he’s a legit Heisman contender. Randy Gregory goes beast mode and scores a TD for the Blackshirts. Jordan Westerkamp and his blistering 4.6 speed burns Miami deep.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 5. With the game on ESPN 2 they’ll probably even have a special Bo Cam. By the mid third quarter they stop checking in on him.

And on a final note: Here are Nebraska a Miami’s most famous fans.

Larry the Cable Guy and 2 Live Crew

Two things about this pic.

1. No offense to Larry the Cable Guy but we were really hoping to have a picture of 311 decked out in their Husker jerseys circa 1995’s ‘blue album’ or possibly 1994’s grass roots. No matter how hard we tried, the Google was no help when it came to digging up images from 311 album liner notes and being that it’s 2014 our CD collection is buried deep in the garage.

2. Why is Brother Marquis in a sling?

 

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A Bloody Odd Couple

Growing up in the 1980s, kids had a pretty standard set of villains haunting their nightmares. Freddy Kruger, Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees formed the unholy triumvirate that spooked most Gen-Xers in their formative years.

But the two monsters that kept me cold-sweating into the wee hours of the morning were Cujo:

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And fucking Sebastian the Ibis:

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Children of the Cornhusker State may have written Sebastian off as no more than the malignant alter ego of Donald Duck.  But I didn’t.  Beyond the cartoonish “tough-guy” sneer, this was a bird capable of (and ever willing to) rip the still-beating heart right out of your chest.

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Starting with the 1984 Orange Bowl and continuing on to the 2002 Rose Bowl, Sebastian and his Hurricane Horde frequently left Nebraska teams in physical and/or emotional devastation.  And, by extension, their wide-eyed fans.

I don’t need to recap the path of destruction Miami laid upon Husker history these past 30 years.  We all know it.

But as the Hurricanes get ready to storm Lincoln on Saturday, I’ve developed a strange sensation.  A bittersweet nostalgia. Which is not what I expected. I am , in many respects, still reeling from my one and only experience seeing these two teams clash in person — the Nightmare in Pasadena.

As rivalries go, Nebraska and Miami are an odd coupling. Nebraska’s quiet and reserved Felix Unger to Miami’s brash Oscar Madison.

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It’s hard to think of two locations in the country that have less in common.  And, yet, thanks to college football, Lincoln has often been on Miami’s mind and vice versa.

In the summer of 1994, as a second-year freshman at UNL, I flew out to LA to participate in a week-long media workshop.  The event was attended by two to three hundred Hollywood-aspiring college kids from all over North America.  The organizers of the event made a concerted effort to assure that students from varied backgrounds intermingled. For example, we were all housed in suites at UCLA’s Olympic village and, in my four-man dorm, I was joined by a guy from Montreal, another from Maryland and Heath, from Miami.

We all wore badges with our names and Universities on them. When Heath saw mine, he immediately bore a huge grin and said, “Cornhuskers.” Surprised by this greeting, I read his name tag and stammered, “Hurricanes.” We then became best buddies the rest of the week. Which weirded-out the dude from Maryland who saw Heath as a potential clubbing partner. Someone he could be wing-man to, because Heath — sure as shit — wasn’t going to be his.

Despite the organizer’s best efforts to scatter the participants based on backgrounds, students from the same colleges did end up grouping. Heath found a buddy from Miami. And I formed a mini-wolfpack with another UNL student and a guy from UNO. These two groups then became a college-football gabfest — reliving the rise of the Hurricanes and the folly of the Huskers. We were still six months away from Nebraska exacting its revenge in the 1995 Orange Bowl.

Now, beyond this (albeit) intense bit of mutual interest, Heath and I didn’t have all that much in common. He was attending the workshop as part of his dream to enter sports broadcasting. I, on the other hand, was an aspiring Francois Truffaut. As odd a couple as the Hurricanes and Huskers themselves. But there was something magical about this bonding. Kind of like a cool kid in high school taking a shine to one of the students who dwells in the periphery.

Sort of like the movie, “Lucas,” I guess.

So, the Ibis isn’t quite as scary as he used to be coming into Lincoln this Saturday. Much like his last appearance at Memorial Stadium. This will be the first meeting since then that the outcome won’t determine a National Title. An astonishing 5 such matches have been played in the interim (with Miami winning 4 of those).

Part of me is excited at the prospect of Miami’s offensive line being grossly outmatched by the Blackshirts on the other side of the trench. Seeing the Huskers walk all over da U would do a lot to wash away the bitter taste left by the 2002 Rose Bowl.

On the other hand, another part of me wishes it was the same swaggering Miami. The gnarly old bird gnashing its beak through the tunnel smoke. The dirty albatross around Nebraska’s neck.

A win against the mystique, after all, is the kind that forms bonds across the varied American patchwork.

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