Tag Archives: huskers

A Bloody Odd Couple

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

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

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And fucking Sebastian the Ibis:

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

bloody ibis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Kickoff
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.

happy fresno fans
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.

ameer postgame
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 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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Lincoln Journal Star Mentions Tommie Frazier. Confusion Ensues.

Earlier today the Lincoln Journal Star dipped into the Tommie Frazier well for Throwback Thursday…

Lincoln Journal Star Tommy Frazier

… and got trolled by a fan named Jan?

For me, it is impossible to not think of Billy Bob Thornton when reading that comment.

Oh, that time Tommie Frazier scored the TD?  Is there a particular one of his 36 rushing touchdowns that stands out among the others? Maybe one that was extra jukeyer, perhaps?

 

 

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