Sometimes in that Facebook haystack of baby pics and political rants you can find those priceless moments you really want to see.
Following the Illinois game, Facebook’s mighty algorithm bestowed upon me one of the most glorious things I have ever seen.
My longtime buddy Dave hoisting Der Viener Schlinger to the sky like he was some sort of Husker Rambo and blasting a Fairbury Brand Hot Dog into the Sea of Red.
Dave and I go all the way back to our freshman year at Husker U. when someone in our dorm (I don’t even remember who) decided we need to know each other based on the fact that we both spent our mornings religiously watching CHiPs.
It was pretty much a Step Brothers moment the second we bro’d down over Ponch and Jon. From there, was nothing but several years of some pretty ridiculous hijinks. I’d share details but honestly it’s all a haze (and my mom has been known to read this thing from time to time).
Besides, we’re not here for stupid stories from the days of yore. We’re here for incredible stories from right now.
Or as close to right now as possible.
The events that follow transpired during the Illinois game. Shortly after, Dave got lost on a motorcycle tour for a while so it took a minute to coordinate our big interview. Enjoy.
So you and the Mrs (happy anniversary, btw) went back to Lincoln for the game. Did you do take the train to from Denver to the Haymarket like you’ve done before? If so, how does that set the table for your gameday experience? That has to be one of the coolest ways to roll into Lincoln for a Husker game.
This is the first time I’ve hopped the train back for a game in a couple of years. It’s a pretty amazing experience overall. Some of the comforts of flying are erased, but you can most certainly listen to loud snoring and iPad use with no headphones. A couple of beers and a dram of whiskey and I can pretty much sleep through anything. Arriving in Lincoln early in the morning, refreshed, and ready for coffee sets the perfect tone for a wonderful game day. I love what they’ve done down in the Haymarket area. It’s much more inviting then a decade ago.
The Der Viener Schlinger… walk us through how that happened. How did you get picked? How much of a rush was it to fire off a Fairbury Brand Hot Dog into the East Stadium stands? Did the Der Viener Schlinger guy give you any tips? Did it have a lot of kick? Who was the guy yelling DBO in the video? Did he get a hot dog?
My friend Jenna walked us down to the sidelines after the start of the 2nd half. She asked if I had any interest in shooting off Der Viener Schlinger and I shyly responded, “If he wants me to.” She nudged her way over towards the artillery and got me positioned in line for firing. The operator of Der Viener Schlinger then forcibly moved a 6-year-old girl out of my way to get me cued in line. I was on cloud 9 with my finger on the trigger ready to blast on Illinois fans who had their eyes fixed on the game, but was instructed to shoot it at people paying attention and pull the trigger. No kick, you could blast weenies all day with no shoulder soreness. My homeboy JD was the one yelling my name, all my homies were as excited as I was. No hot dog for him though. We mashed on Runzas until our stomachs hurt the first half of the game.
How has your life changed from shooting the Der Viener Schlinger?
I feel as though that people who are in tune with what it means to shoot Der Viener Schlinger are beyond impressed and really want to know how the opportunity happened upon me. I’ve become a B list celeb in the Husker fandom world. The emails and texts haven’t stopped since gameday.
Will a going to a Husker game ever be the same for you again?
Every Husker game is a memorable one for me, but unless I’m shooting weenies into the crowd, it’ll never be the same.
Do you remember that time we spent 18 straight hours watching Molly Ringwald movies in those recliners you had in whatever dorm that was? (I don’t think we even moved until Katie T. brought us Burger King if I sort of remember correctly. Sometime we’ll all have to combine brains and see if we can remember at least some of the stuff we pulled.)
I wish I could remember half the shit we did in college. Let’s recreate the recliner gig. It was a good one.
Does it weird you out if I tell you I still have a glossy 8 x 10 of your snowboarding injury somewhere?
That actually warms my heart and makes my scar tingle.
These days you’ve got quite the business going in Denver. Would you mind telling our readers what Bear Creek Distillery is all about and what they can expect if they visit?
Bear Creek Distillery is a grain to glass, grain to bottle distillery nestled into the heart of Denver. We currently have a Silver Rum, Cask Strength Rum, Spiced Rum, Rye Vodka, Wheat Vodka, Rye Whiskey, Wheat Whiskey, White Whiskey and we will be releasing our flagship product Holiday 2017, which is a 3 grain Bourbon. We have a full tasting room open 5 days a week. We feature handcrafted cocktails and offer tours of our facility to the public. I’ll be shopping Nebraska distributors next year to place our product in Omaha and Lincoln.
If you’re there and someone shows up wearing Husker gear, what typically happens?
High fives ensue and if I’ve had enough whiskey we get a classic “GO BIG RED” call and response going. This place literally glows red on Saturdays and we welcome Huskers in here with open arms.
Finally what’s your outlook for the Huskers for the rest of the season? How far do you see this team going?
We look great and seem to be applying a little bit of smash mouth football this season. I predict we have at top ten finish and a Big Ten Championship to look forward to.
As is tradition around these parts, we took the liberty in suggesting some costume ideas for Husker players and staff. You can see our previous Halloween spectaculars here and here. (Trigger Warning: the latter link includes photos from the previous regime.)
Yes, General Hummel was technically the villain in The Rock but his heart was in the right place. More importantly, he was a total bad ass much like Riley has been this season when it comes to deciding to go for it on 4th down.
This is a weird one. It’s been nearly a full day since the Huskers lost to Wisconsin 23-17 in overtime and the typical post-Husker loss depression has yet to kick in. Maybe it was all the beer during the game, followed by more beer after the game, followed by a late night rampage through Halloween candy that helped make this loss feel not as horrible as all the others.
Let’s break it down:
Did the Huskers have chances to win? Yes.
But did they piss the game down their leg? No.
Were there some odd offensive play calls during crunch time? Yes.
But were they as fatal as throwing on 3rd and 7 against Illinois? No.
Did these Huskers prove they have a lot of fight in them? HELL YES.
You never want to call a loss encouraging but it’s hard to be discouraged after this one. The last time I felt borderline optimistic after a loss was back in 2008 when the unranked Huskers went down to Lubbock and forced #7 Texas Tech into overtime by rattling off 21 points in the 4th quarter.
Like the Badgers last night, the Red Raiders scored first in OT but opened a window for a Husker victory when their extra point try was blocked.
Unfortunately that game would end two plays later on a Joe Ganz interception but it gave Husker Nation hope that the team had turned a big corner.
Seeing these guys slug it out for 60 minutes plus only to come up short hurts but it makes you look forward to seeing what they can do next Saturday in Columbus. The Huskers have a solid chance to get out of town with the win.
We just need Good Tommy to show up for all four quarters and perhaps a revised offensive game plan for those extra tight moments. There really should have been more urgency to close out the game in regulation and it doesn’t seem like Danny Langsdorf has a solid quiver of go-to plays when the Huskers need to get yardage.
In overtime, it was two Newby runs up the gut for a pair of yards and a pair of incomplete passes with the final one being a swing and a miss for a touchdown when a mere first down would have kept the Huskers in business.
As much as this game deserves to be stuck in our collective craw for a long time, it’s best if we let it go.
In case you missed it, the high school aged son of a former Husker coach who shall not be mentioned took a swipe at his dad’s old team following the game. Shortly after, he claimed to be hacked. Of course.
We’re starting to run out of Hollywood Bvld Spider-Men to star in these.
NUMBERS TO RATIONALLY DISCUSS WITH YOUR FRIENDS
(We’re not to depression levels… yet.)
2.8: Call Wisconsin lucky, call the refs blind, but no matter which way you shake it, the Badgers have averaged less than three penalties per game this season. They put up goose eggs in their games against Akron and Iowa so getting a single flag thrown on them for all of five yards isn’t that big of a stretch. Meanwhile, the Huskers were penalized just twice for 10 yards in their cleanest performance of the year. HOWEVER, THAT NO-CALL ON THIRD DOWN IN OVERTIME IS STILL BULLSHIT.
32: Wisconsin’s advantage in total yardage. They outgained the Huskers 337 to 305 on the evening. It would have been only a seven yard advantage for the Badgers had the Huskers found the end zone in OT.
12: Believe it or not, the Huskers actually moved up in Ed Johnson‘s book following their first loss of the season. Last week, Johnson, the Assistant Sports Editor at the Albuquerque Journal, had Nebraska slotted at 14, their lowest ranking among AP voters.
16: The Huskers’ new low ranking in the AP Poll is brought to you by Tom Murphy from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who dropped the Nebraska from 10 down to 16.
-5: DPE’s total rushing yardage under Mike Riley on 11 carries. (That’s -0.45 ypc.) If you add his freshman year into the mix, his career rushing numbers jump up to 5 yards on 16 tries. I know HCMR likes the jet sweep but maybe we can put it on the shelf for a game or three?
37.5%: Tommy’s completion percentage. He was 12 for 31 on the day with the Badgers clawing down 10 of those incompletions. Might not be a bad idea to use a few of these bad boys in practice next week so Tommy can get used to throwing around flailing arms.
Actually, Mark’s joke was pretty funny. There’s no reason to be mad at it unless you’re a long suffering Detroit fan.
Before things got any worse, I thought I’d jump in and try to give a fellow Husker fan a way out.
That didn’t work, and Mark being the well-versed sports fan that he is dropped a Husker fan’s favorite C-word. You know it as CLASS.
1. Every Husker fan, even the god damn blue hairs themselves, knows it’s BLUE HAIRS. White hairs? What the ever loving fuck?
2. I was not wearing a Tommie jersey but I was (and still am) in my underpants. Being your own boss rules.
Even with the white hairs comment, I was feeling charitable and gave @huskers188 another chance to slow his roll.
Then, out of the ether, a guy named Colt emerged like a wild stallion.
Understanding sarcasm might not be one of @husker188’s strong suits. Because he had to jump back into the conversation.
And here comes the hay maker….
Seriously people, if going on Twitter and engaging with strangers helps you pass the time during the day, by all means go for it. Just don’t be a dick, especially if your whole online existence is tied to the team you love. It’s not a good look for yourself or your team and it makes all the other fans look bad by association because of a jackass who walks among them.
For as inane as it is, Twitter can be a wonder place where a person can make friends with strangers in real life. Try to make the best of it. You’ll never know what awesome things it can lead to.
The only dark side any Husker fan should embrace is the Blackshirts.
Especially when they run wild on the Camp Randall turf on Saturday.
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.
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.
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 Biegelis a beast. The offense will hopefully do enough. I’m a big Jazz Peavyguy (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.]
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
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.
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?
So yes, you will find some positive things that may suggest Herbie doesn’t actually hate Nebraska. But then you see this:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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.
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 tanksin 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
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.
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.
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
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.