Special Report: Can a Bloke Get a Go Big Red in London?

As the dark cloud of season ruining doom settled over Husker Nation the morning after the McNeese State game, I was enroute London on business.

Being stuck on a WiFi-less plane for 11 hours is a great way to forget about a lousy game, though Ameer Abdullah’s catch and run was certainly worth a fourth quarter filled with stress eating and palm sweat.

The first order of business after touching down in ol’ Cockaigne was seeing if I could run into a Husker fan or at the very least someone who knows the appropriate response to seeing a pasty goon walking down the street with Herbie Husker on their torso is to say Go Big Red.

Big Red in the Big Smoke
Nothing says out-of-towner like repping your favorite team and carrying a man purse.

I set off from the hotel wearing my most scarletest Husker shirt. In all honesty, had the Big Red lost to McNeese State, this shirt would have stayed at home. No need to drag shame across the pond.

Here’s a glimpse of how things went down. Sadly, not a single person lost the ability to contain themselves at the sight of Herbie Husker.


The Clash didn’t write enough songs to cover all the video that was shot.

But…

Later in the day I was served a cold, hard reminder that no matter where you go in the world, a Texas fan will come crawling out of the woodwork.

I was on (or is it in?) the Tube minding my own business when a guy in a well worn Texas Longhorns cap sat down directly across from me.

We made eye contact and instantly locked in a stare down. Potential topics for smack talk flashed in front of my eyes like a college football Terminator.

“Put any time back on the clock lately?”

“What’s it like being the worst team in Texas?”

“Did BYU really put up 28 points in the 3rd quarter?”

Across the aisle, the Texas fan was doing the same thing. Seeing him mouth the words “Is this the year the Big Red finally beats Minnesota?” was a dead giveaway.

In the end not a single word was exchanged. We were like a couple of forgetful gun fighters running into each other on a dusty street. We both had the want to take the other one down but not the means.

It’s funny how a few years of college football mediocrity will that. Trading barbs would have just been a thermonuclear race to the bottom, pulling bandages off wounds that were still a little too fresh.

Here’s hoping that next time an epic smack talk war will be waged across the pond.

One can only imagine the stuffy British heads that would turn.

 

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Nebraska at Fresno State – A tale of 562 yards and 450 Miles.

The drive from Los Angeles to Fresno is nearly the exact same distance as driving from North Platte to Lincoln.

It wasn’t until things were put into easily digestible I-80 terms that my friend Brent and I realized that we’d be horrible Husker fans if  we didn’t sack up and make the trip to the Grand Island of California and see Nebraska take on Fresno State in a game that could either be a nightmare of a trap or a chance for the Big Red to flex some muscle on the road.

Luckily for Husker Nation, this game turned out to be the latter.

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The drive to Fresno featured a few roadside cornfields which helped set the mood for game day- especially when palm trees are cropped out.

We hit the road around 1 on Saturday afternoon and made it with plenty of time to spare.  On the recommendation of a friend of Brent’s, we stopped off at BC ‘s Pizza and Beer and were greeted by some surprisingly pleasant, neck tattoo having folk who whispered Huskies in a slightly menacing way whenever walked by their table to battle the Find-a-Word game that was posted up in the men’s room.

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You’re not seeing double. Megadeth can be found twice.

Of course a few Husker fans were at BC’s as well. The wait staff  was happy for the business. Apparently Fresno State fans were nowhere to be seen all day long.

And of course, those same Nebraska fans who sat the next table over would end up having tickets right next to us when we got to the stadium. Can’t even make something like that up. But at least we could talk pizza until kickoff.

Unlike the Huskers’ other games in the Golden State so far this century, Bulldog Stadium isn’t quite the hallowed venue as the Rose Bowl or Colosseum but was surprisingly much nicer than San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. Then, again a vacant lot with some lawn chairs and a flat screen at each end zone would give Qualcomm a serious run for its money.

With a capacity of just over 41,000 the small stature of Bulldog Stadium made it easy to see just about everything without even really trying.

Our first stop of the day was crashing the Abdullah  family tailgate.

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Ameer Abdullah’s family all wore #8 jerseys with their role in the family on the back. They were all some seriously good people and were having a blast. It’s easy to see how Ameer grew up to be such a solid guy.

Then we walked towards the gate just in time to see the Huskers heading to the field.

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Tommy Armstrong and Ameer Abdullah ready to go to work.

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What’s up Kenny Bell?

At kick off it was hard to tell just how many Nebraska fans made the hike to see the Huskers in Fresno thanks to both sides wearing red. Based sheer volume though, it was clear Husker fans were out in force. The Husker Power chant was never in danger of getting shouted down.

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The Huskers take the field to start the game.

As a whole, Fresno State fans were decent hosts. It helped that the collective wind was taken out of their sails less than two minutes into the game. About the only thing to complain about was their overall lack of imagination. On the way into the stadium, the best heckle a group of Bulldog fans could muster was calling anyone wearing Huskers gear ‘Cornfed.’

The  guy you see below- his signature move was repeatedly thanking the hundreds of Husker fans surrounding him and his lady for wearing red- because that meant all the Nebraska fans were really rooting for Fresno.

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This photo was taken at the exact moment Fresno State still had a glimmer of hope.

With the game all but decided in the first quarter, the evening turned into a sweltering party for fans of the real Big Red- especially when Fresno State loyalists decided to go home at halftime. Even if it was just for one night, this was a glorious return to the ass-kicking Nebraska teams from the days of yore.

The highlight of the game for this guy was making a new best friend. My little buddy is in 4th grade and knows more about football than 99% percent of the people out there.  Seriously, this kid needs his own show.

my buddy

Among the highlights of his observations-

On Tommy Armstrong-
“I like to call Tommy Armstrong Tommy Legstrong because he’s such a good runner.”

On David Santos’ rather curious decision to bat a punted ball out of the end zone resulting in a safety for Fresno State-

“David Santos is crazy. I bet he drank a 12 pack of Mountain Dew before the game.”

On Fresno State’s kicker shanking a field goal attempt-
“The Fresno State kicker plays golf with his feet.”

On Randy Gregory being Randy Gregory-
“Randy Gregory sleeps in a cage because he’s so dangerous. They only feed him bread. If he had protein he’d be unstoppable.”

His answer to a multiple choice Fresno State themed question that was flashed on the Bulldog Stadium “JumboTron”-
Bo Pelini’s Cat!!!”

tired fresno fans
This photo was taken long after Fresno State abandoned all hope. Kudos to this dude and his lady for sticking it out until the bitter end.

When the beat down finally ended and post game handshakes were exchanged, Kenny and Ameer each took the long jog over to the Nebraska end of the field to  salute the fans who stuck it out until the final whistle- a move that was all class.

ameer endzoneAmeer’s salute from our seats.

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Rolling deep with the Abdullah family out of Bulldog Stadium.

husker truckIf only we could have bummed a ride home in this bad boy. Getting back home at 4am is for the birds.

 

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Fresno State Bulldogs

When the Cornhuskers and Bulldogs last met, a true freshman named Ameer Abdullah saved the day for Nebraska.

What will he do as a senior?

Huskers vs Bulldogs
Confidence: Um… Go Big Red? — Coming off last week’s “miracle” win against McNeese State, who really knows which Husker team will show up in Fresno? Couple that with the fact that for some reason, this trip to the Grand Island of California has been hyped as the ultimate trap game (despite Fresno State being a disastrous 0-2), the best my Magic 8-Ball can do is request that I ask again later.

Scouting Report: Derek Carr, the Fresno State QB who gave Nebraska fits back in 2011, is now slumming it with the Raiders and Taylor Martinez, the QB who gave everyone fits, is getting ready to embark in a career in real estate. The great Fresno State welfare scandal is a distant memory. Pat Hill, the coach who instilled the Bulldogs’ anytime, anywhere attitude grew out his sweet mustache and went back to building choppers.

PAT HILL

Meanwhile, Bo Pelini is still roaming the Nebraska sideline though the Bo-Must-Go crowd has already smashed the record for earliest torch lighting after last Saturday’s game 2 debacle.

Three years after their inaugural meeting, it’s safe to say the Cornhuskers and Bulldogs are facing each other for the first time all over again.

One player who wasn’t around back in 2011 (or even much this season) is Imani Cross. With the Bulldogs’ horrid run defense set to key in on Abdullah, Cross could be the Huskers’ secret weapon.

Plus, it would make his mom really happy if her son got more touches.
Sharon Cross
Seriously. This is Imani’s mom and she’s laying down what everyone but Tim Beck seems to know– unleash the kraken.

Ideal Scenario: 10-15,000 Nebraska fans do what they do best and swarm tiny Bulldog Stadium, neutralizing the home field advantage. Tommy Armstrong transforms into TOUCHdown Tommy by figuring out how to put a little air under all those near-miss deep balls he’s been chucking up. The Huskers score though the air and the ol’ ground and pound en route to a comfortable win that none of the whiny blue hairs get to see thanks to the late start time and their inability to figure out a DVR and/or a VCR. And last but not least, the Blackshirts make their presence known by making it a long night for Fresno State QB Brandon Connette.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: No line this week. This is either going to be one of those games where Bo is either all smiles or goes full Texas A&M. Besides, we won’t be able to confirm because we’ll be in attendance and have no idea how to find CBS Sports Network in that haystack of 500 cable channels.

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Big Ten Impotence Rankings

“Dr. Delany. Paging Dr. Delany. You’re needed in the emergency room.”

“What seems to be the problem, nurse?”

“It’s the conference. It’s choking on something.”

“Well let’s have a look. Let me stick my fingers in here a moment… Ah-ha! Here’s the problem.”

“What is it, doctor?”

“Donkey balls. It appears the conference has been sucking on them.”

I originally intended to do a week 2 “power” ranking for the Big 10 Conference, but after seeing how each team looks hell-bent on proving who is the most namby-pamby, I’ve decided to respect their wishes and rank the conference teams according to inadequacy.

So here goes.

WEEK 2 BIG 10 IMPOTENCE RANKINGS

1. Northwestern (0-2)

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It’s the Wildcats who have swung the limpest of dicks so far this season. Featuring the nation’s 113th ranked scoring offense and 80th ranked scoring defense, Northwestern has lollygagged out to an 0-2 start to the year. They first headed to Berkeley and got golden-showered on by the Golden Bears — a school that went 1-11 last year — and then came home and lost to Northern Illinois. Granted, the Huskies are used to beating Big 10 teams by now. But still, it’s goddamn Northern Illinois.

2. Purdue (1-1)

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The Boilermakers have gone one for two in their attempt to pad their win total via a gauntlet of Michigan directional schools. It looked like a brilliant strategy, in week #1 at least. But Central Michigan is no Western Michigan, evidently.

3. Ohio State (1-1)

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Week 1 showed that things were definitely amiss in Columbus without Braxton Miller in the driver’s seat. Week 2 proved that Ohio State is nothing more than pellets for a flock of Hokies.

An old Ohio State alum can probably tell you what it’s like to sit through a four-loss season, Buckeyes. Because that looks to be where you are headed.

4. Michigan (1-1)

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Notre Dame ended your series like a disinterested ex-lover. Then proceeded to take your house, your car, your dog and your manhood. The clock may be ticking on Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

5. Indiana (1-0)

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The Hoosiers had little problem with in-state nemesis, Indiana State. But being the only game on Indiana’s resume thus far still puts them higher on the impotence scale than a pair of Big 10 losers. Getting stopped by the Sycamores on fourth down twice inside the red zone doesn’t help, either.

But hey, the alternate uniforms sure are dandy!

6. Michigan State (1-1)

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Sparty went out to Eugene with one single mission. Show the world that the nation’s top-ranked defense didn’t merely build its resume on the dubious backs of an offensive bush league.

And how did that go?

Well, if surrendering 500 yards and 46 points is your idea of making that statement, then mission accomplished.

7. Wisconsin (1-1)

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Does a 34-point win over Western Illinois do anything to lessen the pitiful display of Wisconsin’s wet-noodle-tackling, lame-duck-tossing blown 4th quarter against LSU?

No.

8. Rutgers (2-0)

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Not a bad start for the Scarlet Knights. As long as giving up 1,000 yards to winless Washington State and Howard doesn’t worry you. No cause for concern in Piscataway. Right?

9. Minnesota (2-0)

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Out-yarded by both cream-puffs so far this season. Good thing the Gopher defense is killing it in the take-away department.

10. Iowa (2-0)

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Pair of shitty wins over a pair of shitty opponents.

11. Illinois (2-0)

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A guy with the first name of “Wonderful” put a scare into the Illini on Saturday. Western Kentucky was supposed to be an easy win for Illinois, but the Illini needed all of 21 points in the 4th quarter just to get some breathing room.

12. Penn State (2-0)

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Within spitting distance of being the League’s best team is a program that isn’t even eligible for the post season.

13. Nebraska (2-0)

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Okay, Nebraska narrowly escaping overtime against FCS school McNeese State does come with a few caveats. The Cowboys — a team filled with Power 5 conference transfers — are thought to be contenders for the FCS National Title. They even shellacked South Florida last year, giving McNeese State the distinction of having the largest margin of victory by a FCS school over an FBS team ever. We can also assume that, given a second chance by Armstrong, the 98-yard pick-six would not have happened and Nebraska mostly likely would have taken a 28-7 lead into half time. Even with a shitty 10-10 second half, that’s still a 21-point win. A large enough gap to keep the Huskers from tumbling out of the AP Top 25.

But, alas, the 98-yard pick-six did happen and Nebraska did tumble out of the AP poll. So swallow those caveats like caviar, Huskers. Your performance against McNeese State (particularly in the second half) lands you second fiddle to:

14. Maryland (2-0)

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That’s right. These crab-cake-eating, Old-Bay-dipping, Blair-Witch-chasing Johnnie-come-latelies are the froth atop the Big 10 septic well. Just two weeks into the season and the Rust Belt Conference — home to no less than 4 college football Blue Bloods — has been shown up by a team whose sole purpose is to quell the grid-iron lust of Ravens fans one day prior to when REAL Maryland football gets played.

Congratulations.

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs McNeese State Cowboys

Do the Cowboys have the horses to hang with the Huskers for four quarters? Huskers vs Cowboys
Confidence: HIGH – Then again that could be due in part to still being drunk from last night.  Will be wearing  last week’s shirt with wrinkled and musty pride just as soon as I dig it out from the laundry hamper.

Scouting Report: Not to fear, conspiracy theorists. That sneaky Kenyan Muslim Obama didn’t quietly add a 51st state and name it McNeese after his beloved Oppressive Socialism professor at Harvard.

McNeese State is located in scenic Lake Charles, aka True Detective part of Louisiana, and is basically the UNK of the Louisiana State University system. My friend Amy, a Lake Charles native who coincidentally was on True Detective, says McNeese State is locally known as Ryan Street High- and that’s not a compliment.

Don’t let the ghost town of a Wikipedia page fool you,  the Cowboys do pack a wallop. Apparently they’re the 5th ranked FCS team and absolutely destroyed South Florida 53-21 last season- the largest margin of victory by an FCS team over and FBS team ever.

Ideal Scenario: First and foremost, 9am kickoffs for us West Coasters are for the birds. Here’s to hoping for a nice, mellow game. The sound at the watch site won’t be cranked too loud, the breakfast menu might have a new addition or two, and Imani Cross gets all those carries he missed out on last week and shoulders the load for the Cornhuskers en route to an easy victory. Maybe the refs keep a running clock in the fourth quarter so that everyone can get on with their Saturday asap.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 this game could be the last chance we have to see Pelini smile until Purdue steams to Lincoln November 1st.

Then again, Bo could be in Perma-Rage by the time November rolls around.

 

 

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D’Joun Smith says Huskers got lucky against FAU

“We didn’t lose the football game; we just ran out of time.”
— Vince Lombardi

In a display of bravado that would make The Black Knight and Kim Jong-un giddy, Florida Atlantic cornerback D’Joun Smith says the Owls would win a rematch against the Huskers.

“If we go back to Nebraska again I still think in our hearts, and I think we all think that, we are going in and beating them,” Smith said. “They sure weren’t faster than us. We had way more speed than them. They just capitalized on our mistakes.”

D'Joun Smith
D’Joun Smith tries to escape the clutches of Jamal Turner and bring down Ameer Abdullah with an arm tackle.

This Ameer Abdullah touchdown run was just one of many scoring plays the Huskers made en route to a clearly fluke 55-7 trip behind the proverbial woodshed.

How many mistakes can you find? And please, let’s be polite. FAU’s D line getting blown off the ball and spread wider than when Moses parted the Red Sea isn’t a mistake. It’s more of a poor life decision due in large part to choosing to become an FAU Owl.

Lucky for D’Joun, he and his flock (wait, do owls even flock?) of Owls can get redemption when they square off against #2 Alabama this weekend. If they can keep the Crimson Tide under 40, maybe they can make a case slightly stronger than the one North Korea made when they claimed to have beat Portugal in this year’s World Cup.

At the very least, you’d think that the FAU video department has at least one student intern who could make the FAU’s official highlight reel against the Huskers have a little more spark even if that meant adding star-wipe after star-wipe and a rocking soundtrack from KORN.

Seriously, whoever uploaded this video this was so ashamed they didn’t even include a description. They just posted it without comment.

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Did caps lock rage lead to changes for the Huskers?

Early Monday evening Steven M. Sipple put this little nugget out in to the world…

Coincidentally or not, these upcoming changes on the Huskers special teams come on the heels of Husker fan Orienthal J Newburn Sr. dropping some serious all caps rage on not one, but two of the Omaha World Herald’s Facebook posts over the weekend. Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.29.25 PM

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Could all caps and wanton use of punctuation be the key to catching the attention of Bo Pelini?

Maybe @FauxPelini was right all along.

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Game 1 Recap: The Huskers give FAU a Hot Carl

The cover was pulled off the 2014 edition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers yesterday and what hid underneath showed all the potential of classic Husker football muscle.

Like a 1970 Firebird being taken out of hibernation, the Huskers had a rough few minutes before blowing out the cobwebs en route to a 55-7 win over FAU.

Between the offensive penalties and FAU seemingly moving the ball at will, there was just enough anxiety early in the first quarter to have fans checking the tightness of their seat belts before the season long roller coaster took its first big plunge.

But the plunge never happened. The Huskers clicked. The gunk was flushed out of the carburetor and the team’s 6.6 liter engine roared to life and left 784 yards of rubber (and a few FAU Owls) on the road.

On the offensive side of the ball, everything that could go right, did go right and on these rarest occasions, it’s only fair that much maligned offensive coordinator Tim Beck gets ALL the credit for what happened on the field.

JORDAN WESTERKAMP CATCH

In the end, this Huskers and Owls matchup had all the suspense of a Firebird vs Gremlin stoplight drag race but it was refreshing to see a season opener to be so much fun for the first time in a long while.

This was one of those signature Nebraska steam rollings from the days of yore that left the peanut gallery grasping at straws for stuff to complain about, allowing confusion and mystery to take center stage.

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A shutout would have been grand, Pyper but remember, these are college kids. It’s not all football all the time. They have to go to school and learn stuff, such as how to spell “them.” Sorry to be a spelling troll but ‘e’ and ‘i’ are nowhere close to each other on a keyboard.

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Yes it was an awesome game, Andrea.

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Amber, the final score (as noted in the third line of the very post on which you commented) was 55-7. Also, just in case the clerk at the Boost Mobile store didn’t give you the full rundown, the device you used to ask your question has the ability to answer virtually any question you may have be it about football or the mysteries of the cosmos.

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Seriously? What the F, Mary? Thanks for the kind words but are you sending someone a secret message via Facebook comment? Southwick… Big Clyde’s adopted son? Are these clues for season 2 of True Detective?

The only real nugget of on-field intrigue came on the final play of the game.

Was Johnny Stanton’s first-ever pass attempt Bo Pelini’s final FAto the team that fired his brother Carl or was it simply a chance to give a third string quarterback the chance to throw the ball on an obvious passing down?

 

 

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs FAU Owls

Will the Florida Atlantic Owls deflate Little Red this afternoon?

Lil Red vs Owlsie

Who?

The FAU Owls, man. From the college in Boca Raton that’s had a football program since 2001. You know, the school that fired Carl Pelini.

Confidence: HIGH – Will be wearing red in public all day long. Not even bringing a back up shirt to our watch site!

Scouting Report: FAU goes by the Owls because the land on which FAU’s campus was built is a designated Owl sanctuary. Owls are found on every continent on Earth with the exception of Antarctica and some remote islands. As nocturnal hunters, their feathers have been adapted for silent flight. Owls use their extremely strong talons to crush the skulls of their prey.

(In the paragraph above can you tell where I fell down into the wikipedia wormhole?)

Ideal Scenario:  Little to no skull crushing at the hand talon of the mighty Owls. Offensively, the Cornhuskers show some flash en route to hanging half a hundred on the board. Botched plays and fumbles are minimized to the point where fans are convinced this team is a well-oiled machine.

On the other side of the ball, the defense holds until the reserves give up a few points in garbage time causing skeptics to start fretting about the 2015 season.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups:  7. Yes, the bar is set high for a coach supposedly mellowed in the off-season but can Bo’s meds fend off a bad penalty call? And how often will the announcers bring up the Carl Pelini connection with the intimation that Bo is out for revenge?

Where’s Carl? Watching from the roof of Oldfather Hall. Wait, is Oldfather even taller than Memorial Stadium these days?

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Bo Pelini: Harsher of Mellows

Whatever you do, don’t smuggle a one-hitter into Memorial Stadium on game day lest you want to catch this look from Bo Pelini.

Bo Pelini Matthew

Coach Pelini used his pulpit at the first Big Red Breakfast of the season to go off script and speak out against the dangers of the marijuana.

As Bo enters his 7th season as head coach and weed becomes more legal by the day, why did he wait until today to go all Nancy Reagan? It was so out of left field no one even reported on what he had to say about the upcoming season.

Pity those poor grown ups who dished out some serious loot to get a sunshine enema and ended up getting lectured on the dangers of getting the munchies.

But back to the question at hand. Why is Pelini suddenly so anti-pot?

Could it have anything to do with the NFL waiting to confirm Josh Gordon’s year-long suspension  after fantasy league drafts have taken place?

What are the odds that a guy from Ohio who was named after Ohio State and Cleveland Browns running back Bo Scott would done whatever it took to be able to draft a Cleveland Browns player who absolutely crushed it in fantasy football in 2013?

I’d say the odds are about as good as red balloons flying in the sky above Memorial Stadium sometime within the next three months.

Seriously, Bo’s rant was all Josh Gordon’s fault. Boom. Dots connected. Mystery solved.

SIDE NOTE: I played fantasy football for the first time ever last year and won a league filled with salty veterans thanks to needing a WR mid-season and picking up Josh Gordon on the basis of being the least sucky available player. That Sunday he went HAM and lead my charge from worst to first.

 

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