Category Archives: Big Ten

Breaking Down the Badgers with Cousin Ben

Welcome to game week against Wisconsin.

As you may know, the undefeated Huskers are ranked number 7 while the Badgers are 5-2 and clinging to relevance in the 11th spot. A win for Nebraska means their lofty but “unearned” ranking has been justified. Another loss to the Badgers and it’s rambling think pieces and rambling blowhards on your TV reminding you that Nebraska still isn’t back. And then there’s a game at Ohio State to start worrying about.

Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, this has always been longest week of the season for me since the bulk of my family hails from that magical land where you’re not charged with a felony until your FIFTH DUI. You can find it on the map listed as Wisconsin.

My brother and I are our family’s lone Nebraska natives and Husker fans. Our representation is growing somewhat thanks to he and his wife’s rapidly expanding family but we are still hopelessly outnumbered.

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We really weren’t outnumbered 27-4 on the 4th of July. There was a fifth little Husker fan in a stroller somewhere.

Out of the Badger bunch you see above, my 16-year-old cousin Ben (front and center in the bucket hat) is the biggest fan of them all and he’s way more knowledgeable than your above average professional sports hack. He lives in Green Bay and is on his high school’s cross-country and basketball teams. He’s a sniper from beyond the arc so if you have an extra basketball scholarship to give away, check out his Hudl highlights.

Ben was nice enough to give a breakdown of what to expect when the Huskers roll in to Madison this weekend.

Here’s our interview.

First off, my condolences to you and the Badgers for falling out of the Top 10 after squeaking by Iowa. How’s life in the not-Top 10 been treating you?

I was extremely surprised that the Badgers weren’t in the top 10 again this week, but coming from unranked to start the season, 11 is pretty nice. I still have hope that we will be Big Ten West Division Champions, and hopefully get to the Rose Bowl.

The Badgers lost by a touchdown against Michigan and in overtime to Ohio State on consecutive weekends. How were you able to handle such demoralizing defeats? Did you need to take any time off from school?

The Michigan game was rough. I worked for the first quarter and part of the second and got to listen to Michigan’s kickers keep Wisconsin in the game. Then I had to go to my girlfriend’s dance in the fourth quarter and watched in agony as our DB got burnt and ultimately lost the game. My girlfriend made a comment that I didn’t look happy in any of the pictures. If only she understood.

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Ben and his girlfriend in happier times before the Badgers had to go and ruin Fall Fest.

I was lucky enough to be in the crowd for the Ohio State game (in a section of mostly Ohio State fans) and that one was soul crushing. Watching the defense play so well for most of the game and our offense move the ball efficiently just to lose was horrible. My thoughts of the OT: Ohio State’s receiver fully pushed off on the TD and should have been called for PI. Also, I don’t know why we didn’t have receivers in on 1st and goal, 2nd and goal, OR 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line. But needless to say, the Ohio State game was encouraging, yet, sad.

On a better note, you were at Lambeau for the Badgers’ win over LSU. How much fun was that game and how confusing was it to see the Badgers at Lambeau? Were LSU fans weird or what?

The Wisconsin vs LSU game was the second most fun college football game I’ve ever been able to attend, right behind Melvin Gordon’s 408 game (don’t think I have to explain that one any further). Lambeau was extremely hyped up and the game couldn’t have went better for the Badgers. I thought Green Bay was a perfect place to host the game and I’d be shocked if that’s the last college game at Lambeau. The LSU fans were very bummed and all said they were going drinking after the game. Oh, they also loved to complain about their QB, who I didn’t think was horrible other than his last mistake. But overall, very fun game.

The Badgers started the season with Bart Houston as their QB before switching to Alex Hornibrook. Then they both played against Iowa. What’s up with these guys?

Honestly, I have no clue. I’m not a huge fan of Houston, and I don’t know what Hornibrook did to get his playing time split. Hornibrook doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he makes good decisions and knows how to run the team. I don’t like seeing Houston in there.

How much is running back Corey Clement like Melvin Gordon? BTW, Melvin is on my fantasy team solely because of the way he ran wild on the Huskers.

I was a big Corey guy early in his career, but I think he started to get too injury prone, and didn’t work to get much better. I do think he’s stepped it up big time the last couple of games, and I hope he can continue his hot streak. I think he’s going to be a third or fourth rounder and hopefully can make some noise in the league.

How much of a beast is J.J. Watt’s 243 pound little brother, T.J.? He’s a fantastic player. I think he handled his big stage poorly against OSU, so if you’ve only watched that game, you’ll be extremely surprised this weekend.

Do the Badgers have any other monsters Husker fans should be worried about?

Jack Cichy is now out for the season otherwise, he would have been my first pick. But our whole defense is extremely solid: Vince Biegel is a beast. The offense will hopefully do enough. I’m a big Jazz Peavy guy (receiver) just because of his speed and agility.

Now that your sister is a freshman at Madison has she turned into a Badger super fan?

She goes to all the games, but I don’t think she could name more than one player on the football team. She’s more interested in the tailgating parties and Jump Around than the actual games.

If you had to choose between the Packers winning the Super Bowl or the Badger basketball team winning the NCAA Tournament, what would you pick? (I didn’t include the Badger football team since getting selected to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl isn’t exactly the stuff dreams are made of.)

Ummmm… The million dollar question. I think I’d have to pick the Badger basketball team because I follow them so closely and go to so many games. I mean, I named my dog after one of the players for gosh sakes. But the Packers winning the Super Bowl wouldn’t upset me at all.

What are your expectations for Bronson this season?

I think he’s going to be a beast. First team all B10, 17 PPG and lead the Badgers to the Final Four. (You have to make the tournament to make it there, so Nebraska fans may not know much about that.) Just kidding. But I have extremely high expectations for the Badger basketball team this year. Much higher than I had for the football team coming in. (I told myself as long as we made a bowl, I’d be happy.)

Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday?

The question I’ve been most waiting to answer. Camp Randall’s going to be rocking, and Tommy Armstrong n Co. won’t be able to handle a tough road test against a great defense. Hornibrook does just enough to keep us ahead, Clement and Ogunbowale (yes, that actually is someone’s name) each score one and Andrew Endicott nails 3 field goals. [Note: Rafeal Gaglianone is out for the season.] Wisconsin wins 23-10 and Nebraska ends up losing 4 out of 5, giving Wisconsin the right to play in the Big Ten championship.
[Note: Gee Ben, tell us how you really feel.]

Oh, and I heard my mom is watching you guys this week. Please tell me you’ve been tormenting her. She sent me some trolling texts during the Dodger/Cubs series so she needs some payback.

She’s threatening to throw a “Husker party” on Saturday, so I’m plotting ways to get back at her if that were to happen.

[Note: OK. This proves my mom is officially the worst when it comes to sports. She’s never once rooted for Nebraska when they’ve played Wisconsin.]


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Herbie vs. Herbie: An Investigative Report

Our good friend Kirk Herbstreit has gotten a lot of hate over the last few weeks for his childish demeanor towards Nebraska, not only online but also live on ESPN’s College Gameday.

It isn’t anything new but I decided to look into some of his antics and bring you the Best of the Worst of Herbie. I’m not sure if he actually hates Nebraska or just loves being a troll, decide for yourself.

Piece of Evidence #1: Kirk Herbstreit is a Whining Little Girl

Listen, I didn’t make the title of that video but it isn’t that far off.  Be a bigger baby, Kirk. You can’t. ESPN asked the fans to vote to decide the best CFB teams of all time and Kirk doesn’t like the results so he threw a tantrum for the history books. If Lou Holtz is looking sane, you have some self reflection to do.

Evidence Item #2: Twitter

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Kirk Herbstreit didn't mind Pelini because Kirk never won any big games either
The most annoying argument of all time

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Cameo by a Friend of the Fury, Brett Baker.

Piece of Evidence #3: October 15, 2016

Herbstreit and his gang of analysts predicted the Huskers would lose again, but this time they did it with sarcasm and disrespect. Guys, these are college kids, if you don’t think they are a top 10 team, at least show a little respect. They can’t do anything other than play the teams on their schedule and win. And so far, they have.

The Gameday hate didn’t go unnoticed, either. Several Husker players used it as motivation.

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Also, let’s just be clear about this, Kirk was being sarcastic when he picked Nebraska vs. Indiana. Kirk has been tweeting this week and trying to say he was sincere. Kirk must think Nebraskans are that stupid, but believe me, Kirk, I am well versed in the art of sarcasm. I know it when I see it, Kirk.

Now I have been showing all the evidence that might make it look like Kirk hates Nebraska. What about the evidence showing that he might like us?

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So yes, you will find some positive things that may suggest Herbie doesn’t actually hate Nebraska. But then you see this:

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Is he just bringing Nebraska up to bring them down?

Or is he finally starting to see the light?

Boys and girls, men and women, Kirk Herbstreit has spoken and I believe him. Kirk has probably decided to like Nebraska because he now hates Penn State.

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To be fair, I enjoy Kirk when he isn’t hating on dear old Nebraska U. Maybe the relationship is just complicated. Maybe Herbie wanted to be QB at Nebraska instead of Ohio State, which I would understand. Maybe he hates the best fans in college football. Or maybe I screenshotted all these tweets for nothing and am reading too far into this. I’m not declaring this a war yet, just an annoyance. Oh well, we still got to watch the Kirk Herbstreit is a Whining Little Girl video again, and that’s good enough for me.

P.S. How are Desmond Howard and David Pollack still employed? I guess that’s a different blog.


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Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Purdue Edition

If there’s ever a Husker game you have to miss, go ahead and circle Purdue as a bonus bye week.

The Huskers’ 27-14 win over the Boilermakers started off with a bang thanks the combo of Kieron Williams pulling down an interception game’s opening play that was immediately followed by a 22 yard touchdown run by Tommy Armstrong Jr. on the Huskers’ first offensive snap.

From that moment, the game devolved into a somewhat stressful snooze fest. This is a match up that no one, including the Huskers, seems to care about. Our local watch site, Sycamore Tavern (formerly known as The Happy Ending) was nearly as empty as it was last year when the 3-6 Huskers limped into Ross-Ade Stadium with Ryker Fyfe under center.

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This is the bulk of the crowd that turned up to cheer-on their top 10 Cornhuskers.
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Same spot last year when the Huskers’ season a reached rock bottom not seen since the days of Bill Callahan.

Even Husker super fan and co-host of the Big Red Cobcast Ryan Tweedy (buy his movie, yo) had “better” things to do.

The biggest takeaway from the latest chapter of this not-so-storied rivalry that gives national media giggle fits is that these Huskers simultaneously have the ability to find a way to win (somehow) while being able to incite mass hysteria among their fans.

I don’t want to say I was planning on the worst when Purdue went into their locker room with a 14-10 lead at halftime but I did spend the break stress eating an ice cream sandwich the size of a Personal Pan Pizza.

Let’s hope these last two weeks are nothing more than a mid-season lull as the players and coaching staff couldn’t help but be distracted by what looms ahead.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike Riley Happy Balloon
Mike won a game he had no excuse to lose and never went for it on 4th down so we’re back to the good ol’ regular happy balloon.

Our Score Prediction

Kudos to OG Fanny Pack Spider-Man. He’s been the only costumed weirdo this season to take enough pride in his work to insist on multiple takes.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

1,680: For the most fleeting of moments yesterday, the Huskers were on pace to hang 1,680 points on Purdue. Then the Boilermakers figured out it’d be better if their quarterback threw the ball.

98: Out the 239 points the Huskers have scored so far this year, 98 have come in the 4th quarter. And it’s probably worth mentioning that Husker opponents have scored a grand total of 13 points in the final period.

7:22: The Huskers’ 4th quarter time-of-possession advantage.  Their TOTAL advantage for the game was 6:38.  Last week against Indiana, the Huskers held the ball for 11:16 of the final period. If the other team can’t get the ball it’s going to be really hard to score. This is a brilliant strategy.

8: Eight different Huskers caught the ball Saturday afternoon and none of them were named Westerkamp or Carter. Hopefully they’ll both be back soon.

9: With his one carry for one yard performance, Mikale Wilbon has matched his total rushes from last season with nine. So far, he’s gone for 75 total yards at a brisk 8.3 yards-per-carry.  (Last season he was good for 35 at 3.9). Maybe by the time he’s a senior he will no longer be a mystery wrapped in an enigma.


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Sorry, Purdue. Mercy is For the Weak

What a difference a year makes, huh?

The last time the Huskers and Purdue Boilermakers squared off, Nebraska imploded worse than Donald Trump’s campaign. In a decade and a half that has been riddled with soul crushing and mind boggling defeats, losing to a horrible, even by their low standards, Purdue team 55-45 was easily the worst of them all. At least with the 70-10 loss at Texas Tech back in 2004, you can chalk that one up to the perils of Joe Dailey trying to run the West Coast Offense.

Side note: If your head is spinning because Donald was mentioned in a light less glowing than his complexion, feel free to substitute the Los Angeles Dodgers in the above analogy. I went to all three of their NLCS home games and spent two evenings that were far from very pleasant or good watching them play their worst baseball of the year at the absolute worst time. It has not been a good week.

OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to Purdue.

As you probably heard, their coach, Darrell Hazel, was kicked to the curb following the Boilermakers’ 49-35 loss against Iowa last weekend. Hazel went 9-33 in three and a half seasons and racked up a grand total of three Big Ten wins His teams took down Illinois (twice) and notched their signature victory at the expense of the Huskers.

Side note #2: The family that has seats next us at Dodger Stadium includes an Iowa alum. (I swear, these people are inescapable.) After she told me about Northwestern ruining her homecoming trip back to Iowa City, she took great joy in the fact that the Hawkeyes were able to regain a shred of dignity by being just bad/good enough to get a coach fired. She was so happy.

Well, apologies in advance to whoever (Gerad Parker, I guess?) is calling the shots for the Boilermakers today. You’re going to be in for a long miserable afternoon that will leave you questioning every life decision you’ve ever made.

You see, the 2016 Huskers aren’t the same sad sacks of confusion and disarray you  played last year. These guys are ranked #8 in the country and are on a mission to roll into Madison undefeated next week. You Boilermakers are just a diversion to kill the time until next week’s main event.

The best case for this game is Mike Riley shows no mercy and gets this one over by halftime. Then, he unleashes Ryker to finish the job.

We’re talking a full 30 minutes of sweeping Boilermaker legs.

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Mercy is for the weak, Ryker. Remember what they did to you last year.

I don’t know about y’all but my heart and psyche can’t take the stress of a tense Husker game immediately followed by playoff baseball two Saturdays in a row. Let’s have some laughs and a few hours of fun today.  (And don’t even mention what’s still technically possible for next Saturday.)

Huskers win this one 41-17.


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Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Indiana Edition

The Huskers’ 27-22 win over the Indiana Hoosiers wasn’t the prettiest but at the end of the day they found a way to leave Bloomington with their perfect record still intact.

If you can believe it, our Huskers are now 6-0 and your number 8 team in the country.

This game had all the makings of a good ol’ fashioned Husker rout when the Big Red jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead but then some ghosts of last season had to go and rear their ugly head.

There were special teams miscues (a blocked punt for a safety was far from ideal), Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a pair of interceptions, the second so mind boggling that peak 2015 Bad Tommy would have been all WTF, and the Blackshirts momentarily forgot how to play defense. Mike Riley made sure to get in on the action by forgetting how to manage the clock at the end of the first half. The Huskers started a drive at their own 35 with 1:14 to play and a couple timeouts to work with. They got as far as mid-field but went into the locker room without taking a shot to the end zone and their timeouts in Riley’s back pocket.

The start of the second half was such a pile of boredom that not even free shots of whisky could make the game exciting. There was seriously a 15 minute stretch where I read up on repairing cracks in stucco walls. The game was that bad.

Things certainly got interesting when Indiana made it 17-15 at the end of the third quarter when a 39 yard return of a 45 yard punt led to a two play, nine second touchdown drive for the Hoosiers.

The Huskers pulled away again in the fourth when Tommy connected with Stanley Morgan Jr. on a 72 yard touchdown pass that was arguably his most ridiculous TD strike since his 99 yard bomb to Quincy Enunwa in the Gator Bowl.

Indiana answered right away with a five play, 75 yard touchdown drive of their own to make it 24-22 with ten minutes left to play.

Husker Nation would not able to relax until economics major Aaron Williams made it a Black Saturday for the Hoosiers with a game sealing interception on the second play of their last ditch drive.

On to the fun stuff.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike Riley's Family Jewels
Yes, this is the same balloon watch from last game but if we make Mike’s stones any bigger it might be unbelievable.

Mike Riley’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from Indiana’s 48 with the Huskers clinging to a two point lead and nearly five minutes left to play took balls but it was the right call if you’re playing to win rather than playing to “hopefully not get beat.”

By getting the first down and eventual field goal, the Huskers put Indiana’s back to the wall by making it a touchdown or nothing situation, but that didn’t matter a whole lot since they were able to chew an extra four minutes off the clock and force Indiana use their remaining timeouts.

The Huskers might not have buried the Hoosiers on the scoreboard but their fourth quarter dominance continued via the clock. Nebraska held the ball for 11:16 of the final 15 minutes. Their final time-of-possession advantage was a mere 5:52.

Our Score Prediction

At least we got the seven right in the Huskers’ score.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

17: A Drew Brown field goal + a Terrell Newby TD run from four yards out + a Chris Jones pick six = the Huskers’ biggest first quarter offensive output of the season so far. Up until yesterday, the Big Red has been (mostly) reliable to score exactly one touchdown in the first quarter.  Only Northwestern has been able to pitch a shutout in the opening period.

360: The Huskers put up their lowest offensive numbers of the season with 152 yards rushing and 208 through the air. The only time they’ve posted a lower total on the ground was for 138 against Wyoming. That day, Tommy threw for 377, going 20 for 34.

*The last time the Huskers put up a lower overall total was 292 against Illinois in 2015 and we all know how that went.

8: Chris Jones, number 8 in your program, and Stanley Morgan Jr., also number 8 in your program, both had big days. Jones and had the aforementioned pick six and Stanley’s 72 yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty that made a trio of Indiana defenders look the Three Stooges. Oh, and in case you missed it. The Huskers are now ranked #8.

-4: Aaron Williams’ return yardage on his game sealing interception. As someone who’s still traumatized by the infamous LeKevin Smith interception against Texas Tech, it was a joyous sight to see Williams immediately slide to the turf.

.666: The Huskers’ batting average (6/9) when going for it on 4th down.  Mike Riley’s propensity to go for it and his beastly success rate makes you wonder if he struck a deal with a certain someone over the summer.

2: Terrell Newby’s 102 yards rushing and 140 against Illinois means he now has his first ever 100 yard game streak. Took him until his senior year to accomplish the feat but better late than never. Here’s hoping he gets to extend it to three when Purdue chugs into town.


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It’s been a strange season but are we really afraid of Indiana?

With the Indiana Hoosiers lurking in the shadows, the Huskers’ fall break is over with a vengeance.

DUN… DUN… DUN.

Hey there… remember this site? The one that seemingly fell off the earth faster than Barb after the Huskers rolled Illinois?

Well, there’s a good story behind that if only I could remember what happened. To keep it brief,  I went to see a concert the Tuesday evening of bye week and somehow had a random blackout episode (for the record I was still on my first beer) that sent me to the ER with a rather gnarly concussion.  Now that I’ve regained enough brain power to form mostly coherent thoughts, it’s time to get  back to what’s really important.

The Huskers rolling into Indiana and snapping some Hoosier necks like they have the power of telekinesis.

Since we last checked in, the Huskers  slid into the Top 10 thanks to other teams losing which has raised the question if the Big Red is really a contender, especially with their signature win coming against an Oregon team that’s now experiencing its worst season since their days of getting blown out at home 70-21 was a regular thing.

Look, it’s not the Huskers fault that they pummeled the Ducks so hard they ended up more mentally roasted than Eleven’s mom. That’s just a potential side effect from having Mike Riley’s team on your schedule. Get used to it.

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Will Mike Riley return to Indiana to steal the Big Ten Championship Trophy in December? He’ll need to beat the Hoosiers first. 

Even still, pundits are worried Indiana is going to be a trap game. This is the same Indiana that is currently 3-2 with a loss to Wake Forest and is coming off a 38-17 beat down by Ohio State. Granted, the Hoosiers’ most impressive win of the season came against Michigan State in overtime but let’s not overlook the fact that Indiana won thanks to the fact that the Spartans suck this year and  T-Magic’s brother Drake got called for a game changing leaping penalty (WTF?) during a field goal attempt.

Oooh, but they have an “uptempo offense” and some “playmakers.” You know what else they have? Shawn Watson, yes, that Shawn Watson, as the “quality control” assistant for the offense.

Big deal if Indiana doesn’t huddle. That just means there’s going to be less time for Michael Rose-Ivey and Nate Gerry wait before they get to tackle someone again. The only worry for the Blackshirts is if Chris Jones gets a blister from making so many interceptions. Hoosier QB Richard Lagow has thrown seven in five games. Meanwhile, our boy Tommy is holding steady at two. (He had six through five games last season.)

What kind of upside down world are we living in?

There’s no denying Indiana is a scary place. Between the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game and last year’s massacre at Purdue, there’s a lot to fear about playing football in the Hoosier State.

But the Hoosiers aren’t one of them.

Huskers win 47-24.


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Illinois Edition

Illinois clearly did not get the memo that this game was supposed to be a cake walk into the Huskers’ bye week.

After surrendering an opening touchdown on a 13 play, 75 yard drive, the Fighting Illini (along with some timely contributions from the Huskers and Bad Tommy) proceeded to send Husker Nation spiraling down into that deep, dark hole where last season’s bad memories are buried.

For three anguishing quarters, the 15th ranked Huskers looked a lot like the team that spent 2015 finding new and painful ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Then the 4th quarter started and the Big Red hitched their wagon to Terrell Newby. The senior running back answered the call and put together a career-defining game. He scored two of the final period’s three Husker touchdowns and sealed the game with a 63 yard blast that had him pulling away from Illinois defenders like he had little NOS tanks in his non-Yeezy Adidas.

By the final whistle, the Big Red faithful breathed a sigh of relief at what turned out to be a very tense false alarm as the new and improved “find a way to win” Huskers cracked the code on Illinois.

The upcoming bye week will hopefully give the slew of injured Huskers (Jordan Westerkamp, Cethan Carter, and Devine Ozigbo were Saturday’s casualties) a chance to heal. Westerkamp’s non-disclosed injury (likely a shot to a kidney) sent him to the hospital to get checked out but he was soon released. If he’s back on the field in time for Indiana it will be interesting to see if he’s wear some additional padding. Those hot pants he likes to rock really don’t offer much in terms of protection.

Let’s get to the fun stuff.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike Riley's Family Jewels

Going for it TWICE on 4th down at a time when merely getting a field goal would have been a perfectly acceptable call gets Mike the AC/DC treatment the week. This new look salty and vicious Mike Riley is turning out to be a lot of fun.

Our Score Prediction

A note about Fanny Pack Spider-Man’s performance: He was paid $6 for approximately 30 seconds of work. (Keep in mind the going rate on Hollywood Blvd is a buck or two a photo but we’re a big time operation.) The first thing he did was complain that he wasn’t being paid enough for his efforts. He then proceeded to completely brick it. Oh well, at least everyone was wrong on the one.

Two Tweets, Two 311 References

Seriously, why hasn’t 311 ever done a collab with the Huskers (aside from the part where they’re 311)? Someone needs to get P-Nut on the horn about this out of respect to the band that gave the world Omaha Stylee.

Randy’s Legendary Block One More Time Just Because

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

42: Did you know that Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Jordan Westerkamp have a secret roommate who can also catch touchdown passes? Senior Tre Foster seemingly came out of nowhere (or at least Illinois’ defense completely forgot about him) and hauled in a six yard touchdown pass to give the Huskers a little breathing room. Since his redshirt freshman year, Foster has caught exactly one pass per season. His career stats after today- a pair of six and nine yard receptions and two touchdown catches, his first coming against BYU last season.

69.5:  As wild as he was today, Tommy completed nearly 70% of his passes going 16/23 with one mind numbing interception. He threw for 220 yards while the Huskers gained 219 on the ground on 49 attempts. Hope Throw the Ball Guy and Run the Ball Guy are happy with those numbers.

10: How many different Huskers caught at least one heater from Tommy.

16:01: The Huskers’ time-of-possession advantage. For lack of a better word, that is bonkers.

0: Guess there’s no reason to punt when your coach has the stones to go for it on 4th down.

22: Illinois converted 22% of their third downs. Meanwhile, the Huskers moved the chains at a 71% clip.

17: The number of 4th quarter carries for Terrell Newby when he pulled a Greg Jennings and put the team on his back. His gutsy performance against Illinois will be one that Husker fans never forget.

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Side-to-Side: A look back at Northwestern and Ahead to Illinois

Last weekend in Chicago was a blast and I feel sorry for everyone who missed out on the fishbowls at Kirkwood. Then there was the actual game, which I have hardly heard about because before the game, they played the National Anthem. (I fully support our players kneeling for their beliefs and am glad they have people talking, even the stupid ones, because those idiots prove why they are needing to take a stand). But yes, there was an actual game played and it hasn’t really been talked about. The Huskers won. They are 4-0. You read that correctly, 4-0!!!!! I haven’t been this happy since the day Bo got fired (November 30 will always be a personal holiday).

Side note: There was a Northwestern player that really stood out to our group. #46 SB Eric Lutzen. Kid had energy for days and was the only Wildcat that I saw never give up. He cheered his team on more than anybody in that stadium. I need this kid to get some playing time. He’s got the most important intangible of all: heart. Get him out there, Fitz.

The only Northwestern player that I liked.
Eric Lutzen, the only Northwestern player that I liked.

A LOOK AT ILLINOIS

Lovie Smith was hired at Illinois so people would know the name of one person associated with the program. The last time Illinois won in Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge was president. The year was 1924. The 2016 Illinois squad is coming off two losses from Western Michigan and North Carolina. If I were a betting woman, I would guess that ESPN will remind us of their big win in the first week against the powerhouse that is Murray State. 52-3. A win like that will take it out of you for the next two games so the losses just make sense.

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Yes, I do fill out scores in my Phil Steele preview.

They are probably coming off their bye week and rolling into Lincoln HOT and ready for a piece of the Blackshirts. Just kidding. I might not even go into the game this weekend because it’s going to be so sad to watch. I can tell you the coach’s name, but I can’t name one player on this Illinois squad besides their QB Wes Lunt.

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Going to school at Oklahoma State but playing football for Illinois seems like it’s probably an NCAA violation

Nobody in the country has watched an Illinois game this season. Probably not even the players because their play would suggest they are not watching film. Looking at their depth chart:

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Jeff George must really hate his kid to let him play at Illinois.

Anyway, the biggest Nebraska concern is a situation with the offensive line. The situation being that both starting guards are now out. RG Tanner Farmer was  injured against Northwestern and is out against Illinois. LG Corey Whitaker, who replaced Farmer during the game last Saturday, will again be in for Farmer against Illinois. It looks like Cole Conrad, a sophomore walk-on, will be the backup tackle, center, and guard. Don’t read that last sentence again because it is scary. WR Alonzo Moore will also be out against Illinois. The good news is that this is Illinois which should be like a bye week, followed by an actual bye week, so there should be time for some of these guys to recover.

What I’m going to need to see on Saturday:

*Coach Dub back on the sideline.

*Cole Conrad still on the sidelines the whole game.

*More Mikale Wilbon. Like a lot more Mikale Wilbon.

*A DPE house call.

*Nate Gerry continue to be Nate Gerry (he has made 25/26 tackle      attempts. I guess that is pretty good).

*A Chris Jones interception.

*All of the commits that are visiting to commit (looking at you Joseph Lewis and Rahyme Johnson).

I’d name a few more things but I’m going to keep this list realistic.

See you folks tomorrow  in Lincoln. GBR.


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Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Northwestern Edition

While there were a few butt-clenching moments and flashbacks to Northwestern games of yore, the 2016 installment of this young rivalry will probably go down as one of the least memorable games of the season.

And that’s not because the Husker fans who made the trip did their best drink Chicago out of beer.

This Husker team is going on to bigger and better things this season and Ryan Field was just another stop on the way to the next one. While the 24-13 final score wasn’t the flashiest, the Huskers did achieve something quite remarkable en route to the W.

They finally found a way to get out of their own way.

Let’s count the miscues that normally would have spelled certain doom.

  • Two end zone fumbles that took 14 points off the board.
  • A 42 yard touchdown run by Wildcat QB Clayton Thorson. Last year he gashed the Huskers with runs of 68 and 49 yards.
  • A pick six thrown by Tommy. Oh wait. That would-be interception was dropped. Thank you, Wildcat defender.

It was so refreshing to see this team be able to put their mistakes behind them and not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  With Illinois coming to Lincoln next week, we’ll find out if these guys really have turned a corner should they find themselves back in an ominous 3rd and 7 situation.

Where I Watched The Game

Thanks to a “borrowed” BTN2GO password I was able to take the game with me and watch from my summer home at Dodger Stadium. With Vin Scully in his final weekend at Chavez Ravine and Clayton Kershaw pitching, the streams of my two favorite teams had to be crossed.

The Huskers (mostly) had this one in the bag by first pitch so I didn’t bother those sitting around us too much. However, I did have one nice Tourette’s moment when Newby fumbled into the end zone while I was standing in line for Dodger Dogs.

It was a little embarrassing but at least it made the line a lot shorter.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike went to Chicago, handled his business, and made some new friends.

Our Score Prediction

A little off on this one but at least Northwestern’s kicking woes made the 19 points we predicted for the Wildcats a distinct possibility. (Our scores are averaged from our pre-season predictions.)Had the Kitties scored another touchdown, there’s a good chance their holder who was upgraded to kicker after the starting kicker (who’s really a baseball player) missed a chip shot and a hit the upright on a PAT.

Thank You People Who Found This Amusing

Wildcats, starring Goldie Hawn and a very young Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes turned 30 this year.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

8,927: The number of potholes/divots/holes dug to China on the field. This is a true fact. I counted all of them.

.230: Northwestern kicker Jack Mitchell’s career batting average before he hung up the spikes to focus on kicking his senior year.  He’s currently batting .333 when it comes to making field goals.

9: The number of different Huskers who caught passes. (This might be a season high but I’m too lazy to look it up.) Stanley Morgan Jr. led the way with four receptions and Alonzo Moore had the biggest of the night when he hauled in a 59 yarder.

6.6: The Huskers’ average yards per carry was their highest of the season. (I looked it up.) Their lowest average was 3.2 against Wyoming.

132: Tommy broke his career single game rushing record and averaged a brisk 10.2 yards per carry. His previous record was 131 yards against McNeese State in 2014.

10: The number of batters Clayton Kershaw has walked in 142 innings pitched this season. His strikeout to walk ratio is 16.8 to 1.


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Protect ya Neck, Wildcats. The NU-Tang Clan is Bringing da Ruckus to You

Fine, Northwestern. You want to be known as the NU of the Big Ten, you can have it.

Even if you Wildcats haven’t been consistently average since the Pappy Waldorf era, those two little letters are all yours. From this day forward, the NU of the Big Ten that is able to boast five National Championships, three Heisman Trophy winners, and a sellout streak running 350 games strong will be henceforth be referred to around these parts as the NU-Tang Clan.

It’s long overdue that the squad that holds the distinction of being the most bad ass team in college football history does a Vulcan mind meld with the most bad ass group in hip hop history.

nu-tang-clan
As you may recall, when the Wu-Tang Clan broke out in 1993, the Huskers were just getting started of breaking off a 60-3 record over a five year span.

So now that we’ve successfully rechristened the Huskers, let’s take a special look at all the ways Northwestern is doomed on Saturday. Long story short, there will be no better tomorrow for the Wildcats. The NU-Tang killer D is gonna swarm and if Northwestern has any luck at all, the won’t experience all 36 chambers of death.

Look for Nate “Ghostface Killah” Gerry  to tee off on Wildcat QB Clayton Thorson if he gets cute and tries busting out his Taylor Martinez impression from last year.  But it probably won’t even come to that because Thorson will first have to make past Ross “Inspectah Deck” Dzuris” and Michael “Masta Killa” Rose-Ivey.

On the other side of the ball, Tommy “RZA” Armstrong Jr. will be leading the NU-Tang Clan to the promised land again and again. In his previous game at Ryan Field (a dump so bad it makes Staten Island‘s Fresh Kills Landfill look like paradise), he caught a touchdown pass from De’Mornay “U-God” Pierson-El out of sheer boredom.

Then there’s the fact that Jordan “Method Man” Westerkamp will have more friends and family in the stands than the combined total of the Huskers’ travel squad and the actual Wu-Tang Clan. The last time Westy played in the Land of Lincoln, the Huskers fell to Illinois and he had a hard time hauling in any of Tommy’s wind ravaged passes that fell out of the sky so expect him to have a big day in his final go around back home. Since he can’t catch all the passes Cethan “Cappadonna” Carter and Stanley “GZA” Morgan Jr. will be there to spell him.

After starting the season with three tight-ass performances, you can expect Devine “Raekwon” Ozigbo to anchor the rushing attack.

Finally, saving the best for last, Mike “Ol’Dirty Bastard” Riley seems to have found a new ruthless killer instinct during last week’s win over Oregon. If he still believes fortune favors the bold, look for the iced out uniform wearing Huskers to have this game on ice before halftime.

C.R.E.A.M.* get that dubby.

NU-Tang Clan – 31

The Other NU – 19

* Cornhuskers Rule Everything Around Me

Here’s your gameday jam. Just swap out the Wu-Tang Clan for NU-Tang when you singalong and you’ll be all set.


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