Tag Archives: kenny bell

Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Wisconsin Edition

Before kickoff yesterday, we shared some new and bizarre ways for Wisconsin to beat the Huskers to add a little spice to the boring predictability of blowout losses. One way we didn’t suggest was a last second Badger field goal because that just seemed to a little too trite.

We all know how that worked out.

Rafael Gaglianone
How it feels when coach says he’s taking you to Olive Garden to celebrate.

How Much Stress Can One Blogger Take: Yesterday was the first Husker game I watched at home in three years. With kickoff at 12:30 and the first pitch of the Dodger game at six, I chose to stay home and increase my odds of getting to see the end of the game and make it to Chavez Ravine in time.

For the record, it is exactly 7.6 miles from our driveway to Dodger Stadium.

Thanks to an Obamajam and USA playing Mexico at the Rose Bowl, LA traffic was promised to be extra crazy so we planned to leave at four.

The clock struck the fateful hour with about five minutes or so left in the game. The only perk of staying home was being able to sync up the Huskers app and watch the game with the ESPN choads on mute. Up until that second, everything worked like a charm until my lovely wife said, “You can listen to it in the car.”

15 minutes later she was dragging me out of the house by my ear without granting even a second to mourn what had happened to the Huskers yet again.

We listened to the post game press conference en route and her thoughts on Mike were that “he sounds like a nice guy and maybe a little sad.

No kidding.

Luckily, the Dodger game made for a nice, relaxing Saturday evening of October baseball. It wasn’t at all the craziest game I’ve ever attended thanks to Chase Utley‘s fateful, game tying double play break up. While social media was imploding with outrage, the feeling in the stands was completely different. The Mets fans surrounding us thought what happened was an acceptable baseball play and were more upset about getting hosed on getting an out at second. Once it was revealed that Tejada suffered a broken leg, the mood for both sides definitely turned somber. Before you rail on Utley, think how you’d feel if it were Alex Gordon breaking up a double play or remember how you felt when Kenny Bell laid down his soul crushing block.

Leave it to a Giant’s blogger to have probably the most rational take on what happened. And for good measure, here are some previous thoughts from Mets manager Terry Collins about the need to be tough when breaking up double plays.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Last week’s pile of poo is now on fire.

Mike Riley Flaming Pile of Poo

Our Score Prediction:

Pretty far off-base on the score but it’s all there was to work with. The magic score prediction hat is still MIA and may or may not have gone missing after seeing Van Halen at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday night.

Best Shade of the Day:

DPE: Remember when DPE broke his foot but the silver lining was that if everything went OK he’d be back in time to run wild against Wisconsin? DPE had a pair of receptions for 31 yards. Since his return at Illinois, he’s been a complete non-factor.

Running Back by Committee: Can this please stop? Last week it was Imani Cross who was absent from the backfield. He returned this week with Ozigbo taking his place in parts unknown on the Husker sideline. And does Mikale Wilbon need to get his picture put on a milk carton or what?

Jordan Stevenson: His redshirt was burned for 14 kick return yards, a couple touchbacks, and the honor of becoming running back number five.

Andy Janvovich: This is the perfect summation of his 55 yard touchdown run.

That Bankshirt Defense Tho: When Wisconsin got the ball back with 63 seconds to play, you just knew it was going to be curtains for the Huskers. It was inevitable that Joel Stave was going to find a way to shred the Huskers’ secondary like cheddar and he did just that, taking the Badgers from their own 30 to the Huskers’ 28 in only three plays. Not to beat the dead horse of bringing up the old regime but chances are they would have rolled the dice and dialed up a blitz on one of those plays. Getting Stave to the turf just once would have chewed up some major clock for Wisconsin.

Dirk Chatelain and Hip Hop: As someone who professes his love of The Boss in his twitter bio, it shouldn’t be surprising that Dirk may not be the most well versed when it comes to that hippity hop but this passage in his otherwise on-point column is a real head scratcher-

…the speakers blasted “Let Me Clear My Throat,” an old-school hip-hop song that, when it comes on the radio, prompts your father to turn the station.

DJ Kool dropped Let Me Clear My Throat in 1996. While Pearl Jam is starting to show up on classic rock radio from time to time, mid 90s hip hop is a little too new to ever be considered old school. And then, there’s the issue of Let Me Clear My Throat even appearing on radio outside of a specialty station such as 93.5 KDAY. So with that in mind, for “dad” to even have a chance to hear DJ Kool, he would already be listening to a hip hop oriented station and would probably turn up the radio, not change the station.

Or, maybe “dad” is riding shotgun and your car and if that’s the case he should be respectful of the universal “my car, my rules” policy.

NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

1: The number of times a Husker running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a single game this season. (Newby hit 198 against South Alabama.)

394: Sam THUNDERLEG Foltz‘s yardage on nine punts. The Husker offense racked up 325 total yards.

3: Total carries for last week’s running back of the future Devine Ozigbo.

39.28: Tommy Armstrong‘s completion percentage. He was 11 – 28 on the day. He’s currently at 52.4 percent on the year which is almost a full tick below last year’s 53.3%.

36: The total margin by which the 2 and 4 Huskers have outscored their opponents this year.

17: Jordan Westerkamp‘s total receiving yardage the past two games.

17, 715: The turnout for #7 Youngstown State‘s rumble with #4 Illinois State. The Cardinals flew away with 31 – 29 victory after the Penguins’ 2 point conversion and ensuing onsides kick failed.

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Meet Student Correspondent Hayley Archer

A new feature for Big Red Fury this season is the addition of Hayley Archer, a senior Broadcasting major, as our first-ever student correspondent.

Last spring I put out a call that this humble site was looking to hire a student contributor to write up game recaps based on what they experienced from their spot in the Boneyard. As a marginally responsible adult, I thought it could be a good way to pay forward some of the opportunities I received while a student at UNL and add a little flair to this joint.

I had a solid idea of who I was looking for and received several great applications from some pretty thoroughbred Husker fans. Then Hayley’s submission swooped down from the sky like a Pegasus.

I was hoping to snag a Jammal Lord-like combo of talent and enthusiasm for the Big Red and ended up with an Eric Crouch.

Seriously, she’s gonna be great. Check out our Q & A to get to know the newest member of the Big Red Fury team —

OK, so tell us a little bit about yourself. Kidding. That’s a horrible question. We’ll cut to the chase. You’re from Minnesota but you’re a die hard Husker fan, how did that happen?

Honestly, I get asked this question and I’m still not sure what the answer is. I had fallen in love with the UNL campus in the few times I had been here, so I ended up coming here for school and becoming a Husker fan all just kind of happened.

What’s been the response by your friends and family after the last couple games against Minnesota?

Well, for the first game that I was here for, we won and I didn’t hear anything from anyone except my dad who naturally just played it off like it was no big deal to him. The next year, my phone (that was about 3 years old at that point) ended up freezing from all of the notifications that I got from everyone — both football fans and non-football fans. This past game I didn’t really get the same response from the Gopher fans, mostly because I think they felt bad about what happened with my phone the year before. Minnesotans are too nice.

Hayley Archer
Student contributor Hayely Archer. Look for her reports from the Boneyard for every home game and maybe even a few away games.

Once you took the plunge into becoming a Husker fan, did you do anything to get up to speed on Husker lore such as binge watching classic highlights on YouTube?

Don’t tell my mom, but I actually accidentally missed one of my classes one day from binge watching things on YouTube. Full games, highlights, interviews, everything. I’ve been (a little) more responsible about it, but I still love learning more about the history of the Huskers.

Your first game, who did the Huskers play and what was the experience like?

My first game was quite the experience. It was the first home game my freshman year — Southern Miss in 2012. This was back when they let students get their tickets checked at both gates, and since both my friend and I had no idea where we were going, we ended up getting lost inside the stadium and sitting in the first 10 rows of East Stadium. The entire experience was chaotic trying to figure out what all was happening with the students, but it was still quite the experience. I actually didn’t find out that I was in the wrong spot until the next game when my friends brought me to South Stadium.

Favorite game day ritual?

I have a pair of game day socks that I wear (almost) every game. They’re not lucky or anything, because we’ve still lost when I wear them, but for some reason I still wear them. Except I forgot them for the B1G Championship game…. So I’ll take the blame for that one. Sorry guys.

All-time favorite game moment?

I’ve had so many but I think I’m going to have to go with the two cliches — the Hail Mary and being able to watch Jack get his touchdown at the spring game. Both still give me goosebumps every time I watch them, and I still haven’t been able to watch Jack without at least tearing up.

With the Hail Mary, were you sitting in your usual spot and what was the reaction like around you? Was that the loudest it’s ever been for you at Memorial Stadium?

For the Hail Mary I was in South Stadium since I was only a sophomore at the time. I was somewhere in the front ten rows, which was pretty typical for us. Within a few seconds after the catch, everyone else was magically in the front ten rows as well, since everyone was jumping up and down and falling and whatnot. It was pure chaos and excitement everywhere. I hugged like eight people that I had never met before. But despite the excitement from everyone, I’d still have to say the loudest that I’ve ever seen Memorial Stadium was at the 2012 game against Wisconsin. That was absolutely insane.

You’ve never missed a home game. Have you ever had to do anything crazy to keep your streak alive?

I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in two years, now going on three. Since I have my own apartment now, my parents came down here to celebrate last year, and I’m sure they’ll probably come down this year too.

On that rare occasion when the Huskers lose, what’s your mood like following a loss?

I definitely stand out because I definitely still have my Minnesotan optimism. It’s always the “we’ll get them next time!” or “if we just work on this, we’ll be great!” Unless it’s against Wisconsin, because that one’s personal.

As an “outsider,” what’s a favorite quirk that you’ve noticed among Nebraskans both as people and as Husker fans? (My wife is from Louisiana and she laughs whenever she hears the word ‘pop’ and chanting Go Big Red, three times every time, drives her bananas.)

I haven’t really noticed too much that’s different between Nebraskans and Minnesotans, but being from Minneapolis and being around so many small-town people has been pretty interesting. Overall though, I think I stand out more to Nebraskans, because apparently I have an accent and my love for hockey is “weird.”

If you could share a Runza with any current player who would it be? (And if you say anything bad about the hallowed Runza, this conversation is over.)

Well usually my go-to answer would be Kenny Bell, but he doesn’t count anymore. I’m probably going to have to go with Sam Foltz. He seems pretty cool and we’re both Vikings fans so I’m sure we’d get along great.

If you could share a Taco John’s Six Pack and a Pound with any former player who would it be? (And if you say anything bad about John and his delicious tacos and spicy potatoes this conversation is over.)

I feel like after my last answer I have to go with Kenny Bell. He’s been my favorite player since my first game here. But I also think it’d be pretty interesting to be able to sit down and talk with Suh.

If you could travel back in time (is there still a time machine on the roof of Oldfather Hall?) and witness any moment in Husker history what would it be?

I know it’s kinda lame to choose something that I’ve already experienced, but I would give anything to be able to go back in time and relive the Wisconsin game in 2012. The atmosphere of Memorial Stadium was unreal, and there is literally nothing I love more than seeing the Badgers lose.

So… does your dislike of Wisconsin simply stem from years of Vikings/Packers games?

Growing up in Minnesota I feel like you’re taught to hate all Wisconsin teams before you’re taught to cheer for Minnesota teams. I was never a huge Gopher fan for football when I lived there, but I still loathed the Badgers. I’m just glad Nebraska finally feels the same way.

Awesome. People out here in LA don’t understand that states can have serious beefs with each other.

Especially with border battles haha.

What’s your outlook on the season? Are you expecting instant success or are you OK with a bumpy road?

I have high hopes for this season, but I am more than okay with a bumpy road. It may take a year or two for Mike Riley to really get the team that he’s envisioning, and once he gets a couple of his own recruiting classes in here , I think he’s going to do some pretty great things.

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Nebraska: Where there is no off-season

Hey there. Remember us?

Yes, us. Big Red Fury, that Nebraska Cornhusker site that fell off the radar on the eve of the of the most important Spring Game in nearly a decade.

Well, there’s not much to say other than we got busy and by ‘we’ that is the proverbial royal we as this place is mostly a one-man operation but that is soon changing. We’re about to become a multi-person operation.

The last time we checked-in, Mike Riley was about to do his first Tunnel Walk and we were about to head out to scenic West Covina (aka the hometown of Lawrence Phillips) to play in the annual Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament.

Luckily for those of us on team Sons of Steve Garvey, we had a two game bye when Jon Soo Hoo, the Dodgers’ Team Photographer, was on-scene so our “athletic” exploits weren’t documented for posterity but we did succeed in having the drunkest team photo.

Anyway, we rolled our way to the semis which was no small achievement for us. Plus, we had our own team photographer to capture us at our best.

Todd Flailing
Your humble author, holding down the hot corner. Photo: Scott Killeen

The whole reason for bringing this up is that one of our female ringers on our team ended up being from Columbus. Once we discovered our Nebraska connection, that thing happened when you put two Nebraskans together and they instantly start speaking their own language.

“Runza!”

“Dorothy Lynch!”

“Potato Oles!”

“Dannebrog!”

We had a great Nebraska bro-down and it made the anguish of missing the Spring Game a little more bearable though it did get a little stressful checking Twitter between pitches. Depending on the source, players were either crushing it or forgetting how to play football or were already filling out their transfer paperwork on the sideline. Oh how the rumors swirl when you’re the last quarterback to take the field. (Looking at you, Johnny Stanton.)

By the time it was over, Tommy is still the man, there’s going to be a logjam for the backup spot, DPE will go HAM next season, Imani might not be the featured back, and if the defense can get any linebackers on the roster, things might be OK for the Blackshirts.

Then good ol’ Lawrence Phillips (TODAY is his birthday, btw) popped up in the news for being suspected of murdering his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison. Apparently it’s not sounding like the most difficult case to prove. Two guys are locked in a cell, one guy ends up strangled.

Lawrence Phillips Murder Suspect

Look, I’ve had some annoying roommates in my day and I know I’ve also been that annoying roommate but stone cold murdering one of them wasn’t exactly high on the list of options much the same as I hope I was never a potential “murderee.”

Ever since we shared our bizarre Lawrence Phillips story, I’ve kicked (OK, maybe not the best word) around the idea of reaching out to the guy to see how he’s been doing after being locked up for a half decade. Has there been any remorse? Is he working on his GED? Is he trying to mentor any short-timers?

Clearly that was not the case and for a guy who was on target to be released at the spry age of 57, tacking on a murder charge isn’t exactly the best move.

In better news though, Randy, Kenny and Ameer all got drafted by the NFL. Here’s hoping they all have long and illustrious careers.

Randy Gregory Dallas Cowboys
If Randy Gregory can make it through camp, look for Macho Man Randy Sackage be snapping into some quarterbacks this Fall.

Then how about that Coach Who Shall Not Be Named 2.0? Dude is  will be getting paid $128,009 a month for the next four years to not coach the Huskers. While a crappy lottery ticket every month sounds like a lot of money, believe it or not he’s actually saving Nebraska $1.4 million thanks to landing on his feet back home in Youngstown.

And finally, we’re thrilled to announce that Haley Archer, aka the Harchinator, is joining Big Red Fury as our first-ever student contributor. Hayley is a Broadcasting student from Minneapolis who made the very wise decision of defecting to Husker Nation. Sorry, Gopher-land. She’s one of us now.

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Old Guys Attempt NFL Combine, Flail Miserably

With the NFL Combine happening this weekend, I came up with hair-brained idea to find out how mere mortals would stack up against this year’s Husker invitees Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, and Randy Gregory.

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles is that fellow idiots are only a text message away. It didn’t take much convincing to get my friends Brent and Ray from the hilarious Ray’s N’ Brent Podcast to meet up bright and early on a Saturday morning knowing the only outcome would be self-induced internet embarrassment and shame.

Not long after Kenny Bell broke off a 4.42 40 yard dash at the combine, we met at the 50 yard line of one of the most hallowed football fields in all of Los Angeles- Van Nuys High. You may know it better as Ridgemont High.

Yes, it is that Ridgemont High. Unfortunately the doors were locked so we couldn’t sneak in and sniff Phoebe Cates’ locker.

Brent Todd Ray
It was an honor to stand on the very field where Charles Jefferson single-handedly destroyed Lincoln High.

Van Nuys High Wolves
True Story: After Fast Times at Ridgemont High was filmed at Van Nuys High, the school’s mascot remained the Wolves in honor of Ridgemont’s mascot.

Ray, Todd, Brent
Tale of the tape: Ray was a Randy Gregory like 6’4″ 240, your humble author was a doughy Kenny Bell at 6’1″ and 212, and Brent came in at 5’9″ and a stout 255 (aka Ameer Abdullah plus 4 bowling balls).

Our agenda for the day was the same as many prospects working out at the combine. After checking to see how we measured up/how much we’d let ourselves go, we set out to do the 40 yard dash, 20 yard shuttle run, 3 cone drill, standing broad jump, vertical leap and in lieu of decapitating ourselves trying to bench 225lbs, a push up contest would be our grand finale.

And we got it all on video.

If you’d like to rock the 8-bit Husker style, Nebraska Red Zone can hook it up. And be sure to listen to Ray and Brent’s post combine analysis and smack talk on their show.

Going from the couch to the combine is not a move many fitness experts would ever recommend. Writing this a day later, my shoulder is still sore from failing to stick a landing in the vertical leap, some side fat is feeling the pain of being stretched in a direction it shouldn’t have been and there’s a hitch in the ol’ get-a-long thanks to  shanking one too many attempts at a 20 yard field goal.

Finishing the day within two seconds of Ameer in the 40 yard dash felt pretty good but any shred of glory got washed away as I did some math while hobbling off the field.

A two second margin of victory in a 40 yard footrace means that Ameer would win by nearly 20 yards.

His top performances in the vertical and the broad jump are even more ridiculous. In our tryout tape, we jumped from the edge of the sand because we didn’t know if we could even make it to the sand. And we used the soccer goal as our vertical measuring stick because none of us could even graze the bottom of the goal post’s crossbar.

With actual, real training (and maybe 15 years rolled off the odometer) could it be possible to even hang at the combine?

Maybe. But then there’s that whole also-having-to-excel-at-playing-football thing that gets thrown in the mix as well. Not even The Ocho has room in their schedule for pro shuttle runners.

Ultimately, the jaw dropping numbers you see put up at the combine are the result of a decade or so worth of focused, hard work. And that’s on top of a no doubt strong foundation of natural talent.

Each and every single one of those guys who make it that far all had a coach at some point who gave them the hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle speech and realized talent that hustles could be unstoppable. You just gotta commit and do the work.

We’ll go ahead and end there.

I’m running late for my nap.

 

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Holiday Bowl Recap: The Pelini Era Goes Down To The Wire

It was only fitting that the seven years of the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska remained a thrill ride down to the last damn second.

In a Holiday Bowl match up against USC that very few pundits gave the Huskers any chance of winning, the Big Red showed up ready to play and ready to honor their departed and beloved coach.

There would be no Hail Mary magic this time around but the stage was set for amazing irony when Holiday Bowl officials put a final second back on the clock after a review proved Kenny Bell scrambled out of bounds with a tick to spare on the penultimate play.

While the record books will say the Huskers came up three points short, those guys played their hearts out and Pelini’s remaining staff proved their mettle on the sidelines. Every single one of them gave a reason for Husker Nation to stay proud.

Nebraska USC Stat Line
Nebraska handled USC except for where it mattered the most.

The result of their efforts was arguably the most Pelini like game of the past seven years and it was the only one that had Bo watching from parts unknown.

Explosive plays, mind boggling miscues, clutch defensive stops, a momentary sideline meltdown thanks to Coach Kaz, and a never say die attitude- all the signature elements of a Pelini lead team were present and accounted for.

Kenny Bell Touchdown
Kenny Bell added one more touchdown reception to his record-setting Husker career.

Three out of the Huskers’ four losses this season ended with Nebraska still in position to win at the very end. While the near-miss 19 point 4th quarter rally against Michigan State will be hard to ever top, Nebraska didn’t flinch when down 45 – 27 with 2:24 left to play in the 3rd quarter.

Instead, the Red Storm responded with a big score of their own, a 65 yard #TommyBomb to Jordan Westerkamp barely a minute later. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck never strayed from his playbook or his quarterback.

Tommy Armstrong vs Cody KesslerThanks unwavering confidence and the stone hands of the USC secondary, Tommy Armstrong ended the night with a better stat line than Cody Kessler. As Mike Purrriley pointed out, the Blackshirts held a 70% career passer to under 60%.

As the game transitioned from shoot out to  heavyweight slug fest in the 4th quarter, we did our best to just sit back and enjoy the final twists and turns of the Pelini roller coaster. The Huskers had nothing and everything at stake in their final 15 minutes of their season and, for some, their careers at Nebraska. Playing for just for the sake of playing is when any sport is at its most pure.

While the 4th and 3 that came up short and effectively ended the Huskers’ chances at winning will go down as one final boneheaded move by Tim Beck in the eyes of many arm chair coordinators, we have to say the call was sound, if not for the logic but for the symbolism.

With USC no doubt keying in on Abdullah (save for that defender locked in on DPE like a heat seeking missile), giving the ball to anyone but Ameer wasn’t bad entirely bad thinking. Instead of being furious that Ameer was lead blocker on the play, think of it as a Husker legend paving the way for a future Husker legend.

And if it makes you feel any better, USC did the same thing in the 2006 BCS Championship against Texas. Facing a critical 4th and 2 with 1:49 remaining, temporary Heisman winner Reggie Bush stood on the sidelines as LenDale White (who fumbled on the previous play) was stuffed by the Longhorn defense.

The Huskers may have closed out the Pelini era with a loss but the future is bright.

Just wait ’til next year.

Go Big Red.

NOTES:

Like everyone else, we were pretty far off base with our prediction.

“Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

We are so dumb.

Apparently Mike Riley left after the third quarter with a tuckered out grandson on his shoulder. Even by flaky Dodger fan standards, that’s leaving awfully early.

Someone please tell him that in Nebraska it’s still socially acceptable to leave your grandchild locked in the car as long as you leave the radio on and crack the window.

If the 2 point conversion to Kenny Bell looked familiar, it’s because you saw Nebraska win at Michigan State in 2012 with the exact same play.

Finally, does anyone know this guy?

Drunk Nebraska Fan

Kudos to him for keeping it classy and making sure Nebraska stays relevant to Deadspin now that Pelini is gone.

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Song Girls vs Scarlets: Your Holiday Bowl Preview

It’s fitting that the epilogue to the crashed and burned Bo Pelini era at Nebraska will be written on the same field as his career’s finest moment- the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

Pacific+Life+Holiday+Bowl+Nebraska+v+Arizona+Bo+Pelinil
Things would only be downhill from here for Bo Pelini.

What followed that 33 – 0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats was the most hopeful time of Pelini’s seven seasons at Nebraska. It was the perfect salve to the one more second debacle against Texas and had Husker fans licking their chops at a run for a National Championship in 2010.

That season began with the Huskers ranked #8 in the polls and unknown redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun at quarterback. His jaw dropping speed lead the Huskers to a 5 and 0 start and a national coming out party for Martinez in a Thursday night match up against Kansas State on ESPN.

Nine days later, the wheels would fall off the Big Red Express when the unranked and hated Texas Longhorns  came to Lincoln and left with a 20 – 13 victory. In that game, the Huskers’ offense was absolutely stuffed with the lone touchdown coming off a 95 yard return of a pooch punt late in the game by Eric Haag. Martinez was benched as senior and 2009 starter Zac Lee entered the game for a rare appearance.

In retrospect, all the the negative aspects that would be a hallmark of Pelini’s tenure bloomed on that day.
Texas Commentary
(Screengrab via Huskermax.)

A month later, Pelini’s temper would take the national stage as he gave Martinez the ass-reaming of his life against Texas A&M. By Sunday night Martinez was already enrolled at UCLA (if message boards were to be believed).

A month after that, Martinez and the Huskers limped through a 19 – 7 loss against Washington in the Holiday Bowl- the same Huskies team that Nebraska destroyed 56 – 21 back in September.

Fast forward four years. Taylor Martinez is a mobile game developer and budding real estate agent (thanks for the hook up, Uncle Warren) and Bo Pelini has packed up for the gloomy pastures of his native Youngstown, Ohio.

At the helm for the Huskers in Saturday’s Holiday Bowl is the much maligned Barney Cotton. After the game, he’ll leave the Huskers (for a second time) for his new gig as UNLV’s Offensive Coordinator. With the exception of John Garrison and Charlton Warren, the futures for the rest of Pelini’s staff are up in air. The seniors have one final game together and the underclassmen will likely finish their careers as Mike Riley’s players.

About the only thing left for the Huskers to play for is pride. Pride for their team. Pride for their teammates. Pride for their coaches who deemed them worthy of playing for Nebraska.

Pride can be a dangerous weapon, especially with a healthy Husker squad and an offensive coordinator off his leash.

Scouting Report: USC started the 2014 season with a 52 – 13 win over Fresno State. Two weeks later, the Huskers muzzled the Bulldogs 55 – 19 while USC lost on the road to Boston College 37 – 31. The Trojans’ three other losses came at the hand of Arizona State, Utah, and UCLA. Their crosstown showdown was the only game the Trojans lost by more than a touchdown, falling to the Bruins 38 – 20, a game in which the USC defense got flustered and all but gave up in the second half.

The Trojans’ most notable wins of the season came against Stanford, Arizona on the road, and a 49 – 14 punch out of the Fighting Irish at home. In case you’re wondering, they did beat Mike Riley’s Beavers 35 – 10 in LA. Like the Huskers, the Trojans have the potential to run with anyone- if they can harness it.

The Trojan offense is lead by junior Quarterback Cody Kessler. He can sling the ball but he isn’t exactly fleet of foot having “rushed” 52 times for -149 yards. On the season, he’s been sacked 30 times.

An immobile quarterback has to have Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis licking his chops, right?

John Papuchis
Confidence is high for Papuchis.

USC may have the better team on paper but the reality is there is truly only one edge the Trojans have on the Huskers heading into the Holiday Bowl.

Song Girls vs Scarlets
Sorry, Scarletts. All the glitter in the world is no match for the simple white sweaters that are a trademark of the USC Song Girls.

And that’s about all the “serious” preview you’ll get from us.

In our defense,  we did reach out to our friend Mick, an LAPD Sergeant and quite possibly the Trojans biggest fan. Seriously, he’s “The Dude” of USC football right down to his tattoo of Tommy Trojan holding the severed head of Notre Dame’s mascot whilst standing on the beaten pulp of UCLA’s Bruin.

This is the entire transcript of our chat.

Hey Mick-

What is your prediction for the Holiday Bowl and who are the USC players the Huskers need to watch out for?

Let me know and I’ll quote you in my preview for my site www.bigredfury.com

Mick- We ARE.. SC! Beat the Huskers!

Before we even had a chance to even think of being offended by such an epic brush off, we realized Mick had to already be in San Diego making his tailgate preparations and had no such time for silly questions. We’ve been his guest at USC games a few times over the years and aren’t kidding when we say he’ll show up at 6am to stake out his tailgate spot for a game that doesn’t start until 7pm.

MICK_TODD
Mick and your humble author at the 2006 edition of USC vs Nebraska.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers close out the Bo Pelini era with a bold exclamation point with a fun and dominating performances on both sides of the ball reminiscent of the 2000 Alamo Bowl- arguably the Big Red’s most fun bowl game of the 21st century. A Kenny Bell to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass would be absolute gravy.

Look for Tim Beck to empty his playbook with enough #TommyBombs to reenact Operation Linebacker I and II. That is of course when Ameer isn’t running wild on the Trojan defense.

On the other side of the ball, Randy Gregory and Jack “The Beastmaster” Gangwish will pin their ears back and give Cody Kessler a late Christmas gift of a world of pain. USC may get a couple of deep balls early but don’t be surprised when Papuchis stays calm under pressure and readjusts once he realizes no one is going to scream at him on the sideline.

Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 — ESPN will surely start the game with a montage of Bo’s “finest” moments.

Question That Needs an Answer: Will Barney Cotton finish his Cornhusker head coaching career undefeated?

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Nebraska vs Iowa Recap: A Butt Punt Special Investigation

Things got off to a rocky start for the Huskers to begin the second half against Iowa.

First, Bo Pelini struggled to unwrap a piece of gum.

Bo Pelini Gum

Then, there was the Butt Punt.

BUTTPUNT  Full Speed

Then, Husker Nation was immediately all like-

Of course Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain was quick on the draw with a below the belt tweet while the Huskers were at their arguably lowest point of the season.

Too bad the character limitations of Twitter didn’t allow Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain to more accurately describe what happened on the Butt Punt, which is A Nebraska native scored a touchdown thanks to standing in the right place at the right time when a fellow Nebraska native rocketed a punt off the helmet of his teammate.

(And on a note Omaha World-Herald staff writer Dirk Chatelain would ever bring up, a Nebraska native on the Huskers’ defensive line is currently enjoying the season on his life.)

We’ll have more on the selective accuracy issues of Omaha World-Herald Dirk Chatelain later this week but until then, we’re going back to the Butt Punt.

Despite what Matt Millen said, the Butt Punt wasn’t a Butt Punt at all.

Butt Punt was a Back-Of-The-Head-Punt.

BUTTPUNT2
Wonder what Zach Hannon was thinking when a Thunder Leg special plunked the back of his head?

Here’s another angle.

BUTTPUNT1
If you look close, you can see Sam Foltz’ soul leaving his body as he is chokeslammed to the turf.

And not to be dicks but we hate to see the fruits of late night drunken GIF making go to waste so here’s one more.

BUTT PUNT SNAP
Don’t forget, Thunder Leg was the one who forced the Iowa fumble in the first quarter so cut the dude a break. Even with the Butt Punt his highlight to blooper ratio is off the charts.

So, about the game that Husker Nation either loved or hated depending on whether or not you like your team more than whoever is coaching it.

This is what we said in our preview.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers summon whatever pride they may have left and show Iowa who’s the boss for the third time in four years. On the flip side, if the game gets ugly for the Huskers, may it be the meltdown to end all meltdowns.

If there was ever a moment to set the stage for the meltdown to end all meltdowns, it was a touchdown scored off a Butt Punt to give Iowa a 17 point lead.

Did the Huskers wilt under the embarrassment and pressure?

Nope.

Tim Beck flipped to the dogeared YOLO section his playbook and Huskers young and old stepped up on both sides of the ball to will their team to victory. It was a total team win that sent nine Husker fans into as much of a frenzy that could be mustered in an empty bar on Sunset Blvd the morning after Thanksgiving.

Before you mock our low turnout, the level of Husker fandom present was probably higher than most watch sites. Along with one mediocre blogger, there were not one but two champion podcasters. (Subscribe here and here.) Plus, Ryan from the Cobcast made that little film Through These Gates which would make an excellent holiday gift for any Husker fan ; )

So what’s next for Pelini and company? Who really knows? Half the internet says the guy is already fired. The other half says there’s no way you can fire a coach with his record.

Then there’s a tiny sliver of the internet (possibly confined to just this little corner) that almost wishes Bo would hit eject and peace out to greener pastures on his own accord. Imagine the reaction from the Boleavers if he set up shop at Florida and promptly took the Gators to the top of the SEC.

The guy certainly has his pros and cons. Do we love him? Nope. Do we hate him? Nope. We’ve never met the him so that’s about all the opinion we can have. But we would  shake his hand, offer to buy him a beer and remind that not every Husker fan is an internet Athletic Director.

Whatever happens with this Huskers team over the next few weeks remember, the reason why you’re a fan is because of the team- not just a single individual.

 

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23 Reasons For Husker Fans To Be Thankful

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s take a timeout from this year’s edition of Husker Turmoil and rundown a few reasons why Husker fans should be thankful, even though another stupid season has gone the tubes.

In no particular order (other than the order in which we thought of them) –

1. The Mighty Runza.

runza
It’s a big, beefy Twinkie that confuses and sometimes disgusts those unlucky souls not from Nebraska.

On a totally unrelated note, do you realize people from Ohio eat this slop by the shovel-load and they like it?

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Cincinnati Chili

2. Taco John’s Six Pack and a Pound.

Taco John's Six Pack and a Pound

(I nearly had a heart attack just learning that my daily lunch in high school packs 5,400 calories.)

3. Der Viener Schlinger

Der Viener Schlinger

True story: This thing was supposed to be called the Dog-in-ator but the whole idea of putting the name up to a fan vote backfired when Der Viener Schlinger was the overwhelming favorite.

Is it obvious that we haven’t had lunch yet?

4. Our coach (for now) may have had to issue an apology for justly speaking his mind about fair weathered boo birds during a private conversation but at least he’s never had to give a press conference (made extra awkward by a mangled face and neck brace) explaining why he was out for a motorcycle ride with a perky young intern who was his payroll.

Way to never officially get caught while at Nebraska, Uncle Carl!

120406_bobby_petrino_neck_brace.nbcsports-story-612

5. Taylor Martinez.

When a few years go by and memories start blurring, may everyone remember him as he was against Kansas State as a freshman.

6. Shevin Wiggins‘ Foot.

That 60 – 3 run and a third national title in the 90’s all hinged on one magical foot.

7. We had a coach who could have had a fourth national title but had big enough stones to play for the win.

8. The Fullback Trap.

When a championship is on the line,  just give the ball to the kid from Small Town, Nebraska. Twice.

9. The Skinny Assassin.

10. And all the other crazy heart stopping wins in the Bo Pelini era.

Ohio State 2011

Wisconsin 2012

Michigan State 2012

Northwestern 2013

Michigan 2013

McNeese State 2014

11. The #TommyBomb

Tommy Armstrong might not complete a lot of passes but the ones that are caught can be pretty impressive.

12. This kid.

13. How ’bout that time the Huskers made Steve Spurrier sad?

14. DJ Mikey Bo’s Tunnel Walk Remix never caught on.

15. The 1995 Tunnel Walk is still a classic.

16. That time Ndamukong Suh set the tone for their relationship should he and Colt McCoy ever end up living together in a prison cell.

17. Houston Nutt never coached the Huskers.

Houston Nutt

18. That time Peyton Manning met the Blackshirts.

19. Rex Burkhead.

20. Ameer Abdullah.

21. This Husker legacy highlight real that is impossible for a fan to watch without getting a little misty-eyed and having the urge to run through a wall for the Big Red.

22. And we can’t forget about Kenny Bell.

23. Even going 8-4 is a heck of a lot better than 4-8.

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Monday Rage: Who Woke Up Still Mad About Minnesota?

Well, it’s safe to say things did not go as planned for the Huskers against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

With the blowout loss against the Badgers still stinging, this week’s stop on the Get Pummeled by the Upper Midwest Tour was such a foregone conclusion that it really wasn’t shocking that Minnesota went home with the Bits of Broken Chair Trophy.

Pitchforks have been sharpened and the tar is starting to bubble in Lincoln. If the Huskers can’t get a win against Iowa on Friday, look for Bo Pelini and company not to be allowed to cross the border back into Nebraska.

If Pelini does go, be it by force or he decides he’s had enough of the “classiest fans in college football” and chooses to peace out, we’d just love to be there when the latest savior of Husker Nation arrives. “Quick, hide the pitchforks! The new guy is here and we gotta act nice… until he loses.”

By this point in your post-Husker loss coping cycle you’re probably in no mood to re-hash Saturday, unless of course you’re an avid contributor to the Huskermax forums where there’s no such thing as beating a dead horse too much.

Seriously, a horse could die, be cremated, have its ashes sprinkled among the seven seas and the average forum poster could find away to bring it back to life just so it could be beaten to death all over again.

So on that note, we’ll just leave you with a few observations.

This was the first text message I received on Saturday.

FullSizeRender

This is what being a Husker fan is all about. Getting up butt ass  early on a Saturday so you can meet up with your buddies for a few hours, cheer on your favorite team, and have a few laughs, no matter the outcome.

Our official Californians for Nebraska watch site that averages around 50 – 75 Husker fans (big games are often standing room only) was down to 14 for Minnesota. Yes, a 9am game on ESPN the weekend before Thanksgiving was a factor but it’s safe to say many fans have called it a season.

FullSizeRender-2Downstairs, a room full of Ohio State fans were having a great little Saturday.

A couple notes about the game-

Yes, DPE’s untimely fumbles sucked but what was he doing during Kenny Bell’s only reception of the game?

KENNYBELL
Kenny set the table for the Minnesota defender to get blocked into next week and DPE just… yells at him? WTF?

Does anybody know the condition of this gentleman? Is he OK? Did he survive the game?

Huskerfan

Compared to last week, the Monday morning mood on Twitter is not so much rage filled as it is business like. When we started writing this post this morning this is what the #Huskers chatter looked like in real-time.  Yes, we know it is now outdated thanks to the speed of Twitter but please forgive us, we had to do some urgent work regarding a little movie known as Star Wars Episode VII. (That big news that came out today? We knew all about it last week.)

So Greg, are you saying every game doesn’t matter? What if the Huskers only lost games that “didn’t” matter? Wouldn’t that suddenly make games that previously matter, matter? What if C-A-T really spelled dog?

Gotta give Jeffrey the edge over Murray on this one. Number one rule of joke writing- get to the punchline in as few words as possible.

And one bonus burn from last night…

DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE, PELINI? CELL PHONE BACKGROUNDS ARE CHANGING BECAUSE OF YOU.

(If you’re keeping score at home, the background on our phone is the pride of all Nebraska, the hallowed McRib.)

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So long Losers: Your Huskers vs Gophers Senior Day Preview

Senior Day has finally arrived for an unlucky group of 13 Huskers who were never able to escape the gravity of mediocrity. Over the course of four seasons, they  stumbled their way to a 36 – 14 record (so far). That’s a paltry winning percentage of only 72%  and a full a 11% lower than Tom Osborne coached teams.

If Bo Pelini and company and are truly focused and committed to  building a program that wins championships, Senior Day shouldn’t be a celebration but a chance to tell these 13 non-achievers to hit the skids. As a final parting gift to fans, Kenny Bell should insist his name be wiped from the record book for stealing the records of a man who had what it took to win not one but two National Championships.

At this point in the season, why even let the seniors play when those who will be back in 2015 could be on the field getting valuable experience?

Before you declare the idea of Bo pulling the plug on an ultimately fruitless season to be hogwash, think about all the times you’ve ever hit reset on a video game before getting your ass fully kicked. Benching the seniors in favor of fresh meat with a desire to win is the same damn thing, just in real life. Those chumps had four years to get it done and couldn’t. So what’s the big deal if they don’t play the last three games?

You want to see a competition at quarterback? Give Armstrong, Fyfe, and Stanton each a quarter and whoever plays the best gets the fourth as a reward. You want crisp and precise plays? Run them again and again until they get it right. Clearly the practice squad isn’t putting up enough of a real world test so why not use meaningless games as practice?

Sure, the Huskers could go on a roll and win out the season but really, who does an 11 – 2 record impress? Only losers who don’t have championship standards.

If your blood is starting  to boil right now or at the very least you’re having a WTF? moment, congrats. You can keep reading.

To those of you who found this blatant trolling to be brilliant, out of the box thinking, please go find a different corner of the internet to waste your time.

This is a site for Husker fans who stick together in all kinds of weather no matter how lopsided the score. We’re with these guys all the way, just as long as they don’t do something dumb like showing their wiener to a convenience store clerk.

Scouting Report: Minnesota is just like Wisconsin except not as good. So get ready for a few flashbacks to last week. The Golden Gophers own the Huskers in the overall series 30-22-2 but have only won twice since 1959 with their most recent wins coming in 1960 and 2013. (We’ll go ahead and pretend last year’s game didn’t happen.)

Golden Gopher head coach Jerry Kill is pretty much his team’s biggest story. Unlike “former rising star” Bo Pelini, Kill’s 24-24 record at Minnesota is already the stuff of legend. Last season his team notched an unprecedented eight wins! This year, Coach Kill has thankfully gotten his health in order but he’s still a dick for abandoning his previous post at Northern Illinois team ahead of the Humanitarian Bowl for the greener pastures of Minnesota. Remember how Pelini stuck with LSU until after they finished the job of winning a national championship?

Bo Pelini Drunk
Bo Pelini, a man of his word.

Confidence: It’s the word of the week for Husker beat writers. Depending on your source, either Tim Beck needs to regain confidence in his play calling or he needs to give Tommy Armstrong a shot in the arm, ideally his non-throwing one because that cannon needs all the help it can get to be properly re-sighted and calibrated.

Here’s hoping they spent some quality time listening to Matt Foley.

Honestly, it’s a coin toss as to what kind of Huskers team we’ll see on Saturday.  The Huskers are either going to live out Carl Spackler’s wildest fantasies or get a golden shower from the Golden Gophers on their home turf. Let’s just hope it’s the former.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers get the win, sending the seniors off on a positive note and go undefeated at home for the first time since 2012. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to get done. It’d be great to see Ameer bust off one more long run at home and see Kenny Bell haul in one last #TommyBomb. Players like those guys don’t come around often and it’s been a real treat to see them play. Btw, did you know all 13 seniors will have graduated by December? Pretty impressive.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 8 – this is an all-time high. With the game on ESPN and last week’s meltdown still a gross, oozing wound, don’t be surprised if ESPN has a camera just for Bo.

Question That Needs an Answer: Can the Huskers rebound or will they shit the bed a second week in a row?

 

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