Tag Archives: lincoln

Breaking Badgers with Cousin Ben (Again)

Welp. It’s time for the Huskers’ annual showdown with the Badgers and the return of Cousin Ben, the biggest Wisconsin fan this Husker blog knows.

Ben was gracious enough to  take time out of his busy senior year of high school to write up a little preview of what Husker Nation can expect when the Badgers take the field Saturday night. What follows is his preview along with my commentary in  italics.

Take it away Cousin Ben…

Cousin Ben… ready for business or basketball.

Hello everyone- welcome to your least favorite article of the season. This year does feel a bit different, however. Night game. Lincoln Stadium. [I know you’re just trolling with this “Lincoln Stadium” business. Well played.]

I expect the atmosphere to be absolutely electric- which will make it much closer than it should be. Before my predictions, here is a breakdown of the best team in the Big Ten West. [You’re breaking down Nebraska? Nice!]

OFFENSE 

Wisconsin’s offense comes into the game following a fantastic second half against Northwestern. [You left out the part where the Badgers relied on Northwestern playing like idiots.]  This is pretty much your prototypical Badger offense once again. Great line, three good backs, shaky QB play. The line is young, but expect them to get plenty of good pushes. Wisconsin needs to run the ball a lot to win this game, and that all starts with the massive boys up front.

Carrying the ball will be the best freshman RB in the country, Jonathan Taylor, along with Pitt transfer Chris James, and Bradrick Shaw (yes, that random dude who ran for a 21 yard TD last year is our 3rd running back). Taylor has been tremendous, showing a mix of speed, strength and balance that not many freshman show. James has been decent, but a lot of fans had high expectations before the season, so he has underwhelmed a bit. Shaw is a big, powerful dude with underrated speed and elusiveness who could easily be an every down back on a lot of teams.

Now, onto our quarterback Mr. Alex Hornibrook. His inconsistencies have shown way too often this year, even after spending the offseason working with great coaches (including Peyton Manning). [At the Manning Passing Academy? Even T-Magic and Tommy Armstrong got invites to that. Whatever.]

Overall, he’s a really sound quarterback, who makes good decisions but his lack of athleticism and a weak arm make it tough for him to control the game in ways that elite teams quarterbacks often do. [OK. This is good.]

The receiving core is much improved, with all of it centered around the nine fingered wonder Troy Fumagalli (who is questionable for Saturday as of now). [Whoa. He really does only have nine fingers.] The thing Wisconsin has really improved on in recruiting is getting some young guys who can go deep and come up with the ball. Sophomores AJ Taylor and Quintez Cephus, as well as freshman Danny Davis (beast) have been pleasant surprises early in the season, and the seasoned vet Jazz Peavy, [Please tell me his nickname is Autobot.] while under targeted, could go off at anytime and have a big game. This offense as a whole is young, but extremely talented.

DEFENSE

Death, Taxes, and Wisconsin having a top 15 defense. [Thanks for being modest by saying top 15 instead of top 5.] This group is similar to recent defenses, but the defensive back play has really stood out. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Wisconsin’s new DC is former NFL safety Jim Leonhard.

Natrell Jamerson and D’cota Dixon have been fantastic at the safety spots, and corners Nick Nelson and Derrick Tindal have been manning the corner spots well. The linebacking core is absolutely unbelievable once again this year. TJ Edwards and Chris Orr are an elite package of MLB, and Garrett Dooley, Leon Jacobs, and Andrew VanGinkel off the edge give teams offensive lines some serious problems.

The defensive line, while mostly unknown, has been solid this year. The rotation is deep, and every guy does his job as he should. This is a defense who could force 3+ turnovers this weekend if Nebraska isn’t careful with the ball. Based on what I’ve seen in the games I’ve watched (Oregon and N.Illinois)  Wisconsin’s defense could have a very good night on Saturday. [Well, you clearly missed what the offense did against Rutgers and Regular Illinois.]

SPECIAL TEAMS

We have a fat kicker who kicks bombs and dances after field goals. Enough said. [Don’t worry. We all remember this tub of love for ripping out our hearts two years ago.]

FINAL JUDGEMENT

This is going to be a defensive game, which I believe is going to really help Wisconsin. Nebraska has been way too turnover prone (9 picks in 4 games by Tanner Lee) which will flip field position and give Wisconsin the advantage.

I see this one ending up 24-13 Wisconsin.

Jonathan Taylor runs for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Hornibrook throws for 200 yards and a TD. Tanner Lee throws 3 picks and Wisconsin forces 2 fumbles. I think Nebraska is a much improving team, but I think Wisconsin’s depth is too great. It’ll be very tight until the 4th quarter.

As you may remember, last year, I predicted Nebraska was going to lose 4 out of 5 to end the season… They ended up losing 3 out of 5. This year, I think Nebraska ends up going 3-4 to finish the season, with losses to Wisconsin, OSU, Penn State, and Minnesota. [Wait… so you’re saying the Huskers will finally beat Iowa?]

 I think Wisconsin finishes the regular season undefeated, but loses to OSU in the Big Ten Championship. [Another heartbreaking year for the Badgers? This makes me so happy.]


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Welcome to Your First Weekend as a Free Man, Shawn Eichorst

Hey Shawn,

Congrats on your first day of funemployment!

How is it treating you so far? Did you muster up the courage to get out of bed? Don’t feel ashamed if you didn’t. There is nothing wrong with isolating yourself in the darkness during moments of despair. Judge Judy and Steve Harvey can make great company. Plus, daytime TV is a great reminder that no matter how bad things can be, they can always be worse. At least you weren’t on the wrong end of a paternity test, right?

I imagine making national news for being unexpectedly fired has to sting a little. As much as you feel the urge to do something drastic, you need to fight it with all your strength. Keeping a low profile and maintaining your cool will work wonders for you in the long term.

Trust me, the last thing you want to do is get arrested for egging Memorial Stadium in the early hours of gameday, or end up on someone’s Snapchat face down in a toilet at O’Rourke’s Tavern.

Your first weekend as a free man should be all about staying invisible. (From the accounts I’ve read about your firing, this should be easy for you.) Even before you proved it with last week’s blunder of giving up the Black Friday game, Nebraskans have always considered you an outsider to the point that there were rumblings in the deep, dark corners of Huskermax that you were really a sleeper cell agent secretly working for Wisconsin.

And that leads to an important detail about Nebraskans that you may have overlooked. If the number one sport in Nebraska is Husker football, coming in at a very close second is the sport of gossip. Behind that pleasant exterior of the average Nebraskan lurks a devious desire to know all the dirt about about anyone and everyone.

When I said stay invisible two paragraphs ago, that means don’t leave your house. Even a just a couple hours out in the yard is long enough to spawn half a dozen “Sad Shawn Eichorst Doing Yard Work” Twitter accounts. If there’s a home improvement project you need to tackle, buy whatever you need online. While your local Home Depot will be a ghost town on Saturday afternoon, all it takes is one set of eyes for the world to know that Shawn was in buying some spackle.

Instead, I’d suggest these first days in isolation be spent watching Netflix. Go on a bender. You could be the first person in the world to watch Daredevil season 1, Jessica Jones, Daredevil season 2, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders in one sitting. That would be legendary stuff, man.

Or, you can start organizing all the Nebraska swag you’ve acquired over the years. I can’t imagine you want to hang onto all of it and dumping off a giant pile at one Goodwill would be sure to grab some dubious headlines. Instead, spread around a bunch of smaller donations like an ax murderer disposing of body parts. Maybe you can even make some late night drop offs at parking lot donation bins.

If you’re thinking about getting away from it all for while, that’s not a bad idea either. Just be sure to fly out of KCI. The schlep will be worth not getting snickered at by an Eppley Airfield TSA agent. Plus, if anyone spots you in KC, people will assume you’re already making moves if you’re down in the big city.

But don’t be gone to long. You don’t want to have a $1.7 million dollar settlement check collecting dust in your mailbox.

And that leads to my final bit of advice for now. $1.7 million is like $17 million in Lincoln, NE. As much as you probably want to move away as fast as you can, you can live a very comfortable life in the Star City with a nest egg like that, especially if you take advantage of all the cheap booze and beer nights around town.

But if you really do want to move away, take your time in listing your house. It would throw the media who spent the last 24 hours raking you over the coals for a total loop if your pad didn’t show up on Zillow for at least year.

Or, you could really really troll everyone by turning Casa de Eichorst into an Airbnb. There’s no doubt Dirk and Lee would book a sleepover and imagine their horror if you are hiding in the walls to haunt them. Oh, this could be genius prank. Just be sure to wait until November 1 to buy all your fake blood and other props when they go on sale post Halloween. You don’t have a job anymore so you need to pinch some pennies when you can.


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Northern Illinois Edition

Well, it happened. Northern Illinois broke me.

Over the course of 60 minutes, the youthful exuberance and optimism that I’ve had for the Huskers since the age of Game of the Century II was ripped from my body.

It wasn’t a swift, it-will-only-hurt-for-a-second, pulling of the Band-Aid that held what was left of  my spirit together. It was a back alley surgery done by a community college dropout equipped with nothing more than a rusty Garden Weasel and a bottle of expired Robitussin to use as anesthesia.

When I finally regained consciousness following this Medieval procedure, there was no physical evidence of the damage that was inflicted, only a feeling of emptiness where my Husker soul once resided.

Then I looked in the mirror and discovered my hair had been seared into a shade of white, highlighted by a distinct hue.

Congratulations, Huskers.

You did it.

You turned me into a Blue Hair.

Before today, I had a little grey around the ears but I thought for sure I had another decade and a half before the Grumpy Old Man Achievement was unlocked. But nope, today was the fateful day. I didn’t even get to make a pit stop at the Run the Ball Guy level. The Northern Illinois game transported me right to the end.

At least my youth went out with a bang. I watched the game alone in the fort that sits at the top of our backyard and fixed myself a hearty breakfast of Lucky Charms and a few beermosas. I  was living that best life that Ben Sasse hates all too well. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.

Then Tanner Lee threw a pick six and then another one for good measure and then I switched to drinking straight beer.

When that shit show mercifully ended, I holed up in the fort long after the final whistle, laying on the floor, using an inflatable beach chair as a pillow, and doing my best to avoid my lovely wife, who would no doubt ask if the Huskers won. We’ve been together for 12 years and outside that glimmer of hope in 2009, she’s never known the Huskers as a good team. It’s been a long running joke in her family about how every season is going to be the year until it isn’t. Sunday afternoon she’ll have a few laughs with her Georgia Tech alum father about my misery and she’ll pass along the cleverly underhanded condolences from her mother. (I swear the lady does research in order to craft the perfectly cruel thing to say.)

The most biting part of losing to Northern Illinois is that it doesn’t sting. It’s a new, undiscovered level of embarrassment.

From 1987-2001, the Huskers lost 26 games and every single one was a devastating loss. Since 2002, the once mighty Big Red has put up 73 losses and when a fresh one gets added to the scorebook, fans either become more numb or, even worse, indifferent. The crop of fans that was born during the dynasty of the 90s are pushing 25 these days and none of them know a time when the Huskers were a consistent juggernaut. Sure, there were a few good seasons but there’s legacy to hang your Cornhead on.

And that’s a big problem.

At the path they’re currently on, the Huskers are going to be known to future generations as a team that doesn’t win them all but might be able to run with the B1G dogs for 55 minutes and maybe even knock one off every season or two.

Meanwhile, those of us who are old enough to have been there will keep muttering to anyone who will listen that the Huskers went 60-3 once.

Enough moping. Here’s the shit that sticks in my craw.

SHAWH EICHORST: At least he got the memo quick that Black Fridays are for Husker football. Now he just needs to remember that the next time he’s on the cusp of making another mealy mouthed decision for the good of the Big Ten at the expense of the Huskers. Shawn, put your foot down and stand up for the school that pays you, not suck up to the one you wish would hire you.

MIKE RILEY: There has to be a point where even the World’s Nicest Coach gets pissed off enough to flip a table and shows some real emotion and fire. Half the time he roams the sidelines like he’s either Walter Mitty or a grizzled coach who was probably going to retire until he won a lottery he didn’t know he entered and ended up with a job in coaching heaven.

Pretend for a moment that you’re a 17-year-old being recruited to play at Nebraska. Would you see the opportunity as a chance to help a once storied program return to glory or as a chance to take the easy way out?

Think about it.

You’d be playing for a coach who doesn’t yell at you AND would hook you up with Kendrick Lamar tickets. He’s basically a super chill grandpa. He won’t even suspend you for weed. Your locker room is so nice it makes the facilities on a Saudi Prince’s yacht look pedestrian. You’d get all the adidas gear you could handle (maybe even a pair of Yeezys). Then there are the fans who always show up NO MATTER WHAT and will cheer you on to the bitter end or until your lackluster play sends them to the exits but they’ll all be back next week because that’s what Nebraska fans do. If you can handle the relaxed pace and schizophrenic weather of Lincoln, you’d live like a football god and get all the thrills of playing at a marquee program without any of the annoying pressure to accomplish something. If that sounds far fetched, there’s a key recruit who didn’t even make it to fall practice before being shipped back to Calabraska.

THE HUSKER BRAND: It’s time to get back to the good ol’ days when it was the football team that won all the trophies instead of its in-house advertising agency. Look, I know all the Chatsnap and Instantgram videos and other #onbrand #content that fans love is really to lure potential recruits but maybe it’s time to dial it back. If the architects of the Husker Brand are so concerned with its image that Fox Sports is asked to stop running a promotional video that shows the goddamn Nebraska Cornhuskers standing in a goddamn cornfield, you might as well change the team name to the Silicon Prairie Dogs and put helmet cams on every player and stream the games live on Twitch.

During the summer, the Huskers digital department posted a video of Tristan Gebbia and a few other young players exploring all of downtown’s attractions like Raising Canes (whatever the hell that is) and Chipotle (Taco John’s for life) and other fast casual restaurants. I know kids these days are special and unique snowflakes but if their decision to come to Lincoln hinges on mediocre dining options then maybe they’re not the right players.

Back in my day if you ever saw a football player stroll into a downtown restaurant, you gave them a wide berth and didn’t make eye contact just like gazelles do when a lion saunters up to the watering hole.

And here’s the important thing. None of those guys gave two shits about living in a college town that was considered cool to people outside Nebraska. The only media exposure they got was a yearly black and white picture in the Husker Media Guide and they were happy. If any of them were asked to take over the Huskers Instagram account for day, the first thing posted would be a video of the Husker digital intern who bothered them with that dumb question getting his spine ripped out because those guys came to Lincoln to do two things: play football and kick ass.

TANNER LEE: I’m not going to go back and see which interception it was but there was a moment during the game where Tanner was on the bench getting some words of encouragement from Joshua Kalu. Dude, you’re the quarterback and a captain and the Huskers are your team. Get off the bench and fire up your teammates, unless throwing a “nice ball” to other teams is literally your only skill.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE: There was once a unit that went an entire season without giving up a single sack. It’d be nice if these guys could stop giving up a sack every series.

THE BLACKSHIRTS: Handing out 16 Blackshirts before the season begins is like handing out 16 participation trophies before a game starts. But Bob Diaco’s defense has quietly given up only one touchdown in the last six quarters despite the lack of a total badass to anchor the defense and send fear into the hearts into the team on the other side of the ball. Was Randy Gregory the last one? Sure feels like it. Oh wait. There was Nate Gerry, when he could bother to not be suspended.

THE SOCKS: During the pre-game show before the Oregon game, Matt Davison went on a little rant about how the Huskers no longer wear matching socks and it ruins the look of the uniform. At the time it seemed like a minor quibble but while watching the Huskers play like shit, I noticed they look like shit. That socks thing is kind of a big deal. You see white socks, red socks, black socks, high socks, and low socks. They look like a Pop Warner team where everything was included except the socks and the coach told the players to wear whatever they like. To bring it back to the 90s glory days one more time, I had a classmate in Sports Broadcasting class who was dating a football player. During warmups she pointed him out from up in the booth and told us that he was intentionally wearing his socks low so that he would stand out on the field (this was during the time of the red knee highs that Davison loved). When he went in to make his first punt return of day, the ref halted the game and ordered him to fix his socks so he matched his teammates.

Being on the same page with the little shit turns into being on the same page with the big shit… like not getting beat at home by Northern Illinois.

Alright. I’ve ranted enough. The early bird special starts in six hours at IHOP. I better go get in line.

MIKE RILEY’S BALLOON WATCH

We’ve reached football armageddon, people. And it’s only week four.


 

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Field Trip: A Visit to Vintage Red Sports Gallery

With the Spring Game kicking off in less than 24 hours, it’s about time we dusted the cobwebs off this site.

Did you miss us?

When we left off,  hopes were running high that the Huskers would leave Nashville with a victory in the Music City Bowl. That didn’t exactly happen and we’ll just leave it at that.

In the meantime, the Big Red Fury World Headquarters relocated from its Hollywood adjacent location to the hills of Northeast Los Angeles, not far from the Rose Bowl. My wife and I bought a house that included a daggum fort in the backyard. And if that wasn’t enough, it came equipped with a TV, a bar, and a Kegerator.

The new Big Red Fury World Headquarters

The previous owner, a retired Naval Aviator built this fort with his bare hands and now that it was in my care, the first order of business was getting it set up as a proper Husker hangout.

Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend I was back in Lincoln for a buddy’s wedding and on a mission to bring home some Husker collectibles.

As the luck would have it, I stumbled into a Husker store in the Haymarket that was so brand new its owner was still getting settled in.

Vintage Red Sports Gallery is nestled into the ground floor in one of the Haymarket’s many new buildings and is the creation of JC Wickstrom. It’s half vintage Husker store, half Husker museum, and 100% incredible.

Wickstrom has been obsessively and methodically collecting Husker memorabilia since he was a kid and his collection in the museum section of his store rivals anything you might see in that stadium across the road. In fact, it was so impressive that I went back for a second look instead of making a pilgrimage to Memorial Stadium before heading to the airport.  On both visits, Wickstrom was available to play tour guide and his stories were as fascinating as everything he has on display.

Here are some  of the many highlights.

If you ever feel the need to chill among Husker artifacts, Vintage Red Sports Gallery is your spot.

Everywhere you look you’ll see a piece of Husker history. Wickstrom plans to use the museum space to host signings and special events during football season.

The pink #12 jersey was game worn by Bobby Reynolds. According to Wickstrom, an equipment manager kept it as a souvenir and his young son would often wear it when dad was gone. One day, the jersey picked up a little dirt during a backyard football game and the son tossed it in the wash, thinking dad would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, he didn’t account for the possibility of the red numbers bleeding onto the white of the jersey. Whoops. Also, it should be noted that I forgot to ask Wickstrom if the kid survived.

You’re going to need to stop in and ask Wickstrom about how he came into possession of the ORIGINAL Memorial Stadium horseshoe.  It was totally legal but still required years of waiting and an Ocean’s Eleven  amount of planning to pull it off.

The 1996 Fiesta Bowl case.

NBD. Just Tommie Frazier’s Fiesta Bowl cleats complete with Fiesta Bowl dirt.

Lawrence Phillips’  and Mike Minter’s Fiesta Bowl jerseys.

This case is filled with items Mike Rozier had laying around at his mom’s house. Seriously.

The Turner Gill case. Look close and you’ll see the ‘G’ doesn’t match. Back in the day players got one home jersey and one away jersey and that was it.

This glass from the 1940 Rose Bowl is the only one known to exist.

TO’s Orange Bowl headset. Frankie’s practice jersey.

Ameer Abdullah’s Holiday Bowl uniform.

Yep. Looks legit.

Speaking of bowl games, here are the  programs from every Husker bowl game.

When I asked Wickstrom if I could shoot some photos, his only stipulation was that I had to include his all-time favorite player, Derek Brown.

Vintage Red owner JC Wickstrom shows off one of his latest finds.

The retail side of Vintage Red is loaded with one-of-a-kind items.

Nobody tell Clester Johnson that Tim hocked his jersey.

My big score from Vintage Red, a section of Memorial Stadium turf.

Vintage Red Sports Gallery is located in Lincoln at 800 Q Street Suite 103. 

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Hey Oregon, Welcome to Mike’s House

Oregon,

We need to talk. Don’t worry. This is all going to be for your own good. I just want to make sure you little Duckies are prepared for what’s going to happen on Saturday.

You’ve probably been licking your bills for a while now at the prospect of migrating halfway across the country just to beat up on your former in-state rival like the good ol’ days of your annual Civil War.

But there’s one tiny problem.

Mike Riley isn’t at Oregon State anymore.

He’s at Nebraska.

Sure, I could start rattling off all the ways Riley’s coaching toy box has been upgraded but the truth is he’s just getting a taste of what it’s like to be in your Nikes, with world-class facilities and talent far beyond what he had in Corvallis. His playing field is finally level with yours.

But he has one big advantage that can’t be bought with Phil Knight money.

Heck, it can’t even be bought with Warren Buffett money.

And that’s Husker Nation.

While there’s no official date for when it was founded, a great case could be made for November 3, 1962, the day the Huskers’ sellout streak started. The Big Red lost to Missouri that day but the fans were back for the next one and all the others for the past 54 years. You Ducks have the honor of being number 350.

That’s kind of a big deal especially when you consider Memorial Stadium has nearly tripled in size during that time and Bill Callahan was head coach for a while.

Things are a little bit different around these parts. You’re going to be greeted by 90,000 of the most loyal and passionate fans you’ve ever played in front of anywhere. And that includes the little nest you call a stadium. (54,000 fans for your home games? Cute.)

Those fans (who will all be wearing red, btw) have known since Monday they won’t be sitting down for the duration of the game. All it took was a tweet from a linebacker that simply said #NoSitSaturday and everyone was like ‘Cool. We’ll spread the word.’

That’s how people roll in Nebraska. We take care of each other. Someone needs a favor? It gets done. Mike Riley is one of us now so when he steps onto that sideline, 90,000 people will have his back along with another million plus watching from afar.

Oregon, when you come out of that tunnel, it’s important that you’re prepared for what’s going to happen.

First off, no matter how loud it gets, and it will get loud, Memorial Stadium will not fall apart. She may feel like she’s about to crumble but don’t worry. She’s as solid as a rock. Mostly.

Either way, you’ll probably want to dip into your vast wardrobe and pick out some pants that can hide crotchal region stains (both the front and rear kind) just to be safe. Maybe something in a nice dark green? That should do the trick.

It’s going to be so loud you may feel yourself getting knocked backwards by the sheer force of 90,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs. For as much as these folks want to see the Huskers win, they don’t mean you any genuine harm. No matter the outcome, they’ll be cheering for you after the final whistle. It’s what Nebraska fans do.

So there you are, taking it all in and you see him.

mike-riley-flo-rida
Welcome to Mike’s house.

Yes, that inflatable Bob’s Big Boy looking thing is definitely a creeper and he’ll be there to welcome you onto the field. His name’s Lil’ Red and just go with it. Maybe even make a mental bookmark of the moment you make eye contact with his black, soul-less eyes. You’ll already be having the most surreal experience of your football career so why not make it just a little bit weirder?

Now kickoff. That’s when the fun really starts.

You may have read somewhere that Mike Riley’s Huskers can be a little unpredictable. For as frustrating as that can be, it’s been kind of fun that every game brings a new surprise. Will the Big Red decide to kick it old-school and pound the ball down your bill until you give up, or will Tommy Armstrong have the green light to go full Tommy, or maybe a mix of both to really keep your defense on their webbed toes?

Then there’s the problem of dealing with the Blackshirts.

Oh, you have an Olympic hurdler as a wide receiver? Well the Huskers have the guy who set the South Dakota state record in the 200 meter dash and he’s really good at making interceptions and too good at making tackles. Trust me, if you happen to make it past the defensive line, he’s not somebody you want to run into.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to go hang out in a park and beg for bread crumbs, there’s a rumor going around that the Huskers are getting hooked up with Yeezy Cleats.

If that happens, you’re doomed. Everyone knows it’s a proven scientific fact that a person runs faster in new shoes and Yeezys are far from being another boring pair of Nikes.

Good luck tomorrow, Oregon. You’re going to need it.


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Hey K-Dubs, Here’s Your Guide to Watching Husker Games at Home

Good news, everyone! Keith Williams didn’t get fired.

From what I’ve been able to decipher through the flurry of tweets leading to stories blocked by paywalls, K-Dubs will remain suspended without pay through August 31 and won’t be attending the first four games in any capacity.

Games three and four, as you may know, are Oregon and at Northwestern. Good thing being good at catching the ball has never been important when playing the Wildcats.

In the interim, Mark Philipp can double up as strength and receivers coach. We all know that K-Dubs has ingrained such a T-1000 level of  killer technique in his receivers that the only coaching they’ll need in his absence are occasional subtle, yet stern reminders to not drop the ball.

And who’s better to do that than a guy who could rip you in half?

Mark Philipp
Mark Philipp, a guy who could rip you in half.

Now that we’ve solved the temporary coaching crisis, let’s move on to the topic at hand.

The stark reality is that K-Dubs has probably never watched a Husker game at home. Up until last season, he never had a connection to the team and before that, the guy was busy doing football stuff with other teams. Best case, he might have randomly caught one between 1997 and 2000 when he was out of football according to his bio.

OK K-Dubs, here’s how you Husker like you’re one of us.

STEP 1: STAY THE F HOME

Don’t go try to crash some tailgates or check out the scene at the Railyard. As much fun as it is to be a fan, you need keep a low profile, my friend. The last thing you want to do is wander through someone’s Snapchat story.

STEP 2: FOOD 

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T ORDER A PIZZA. Everyone and their brother who isn’t at the game will all have the same brilliant idea to order a pizza. If you’re lucky (which, let’s face it, you are and we’re glad), it will show up in the middle of the third quarter but if your luck has run out, expect to see it on your porch by Sunday morning.

But what you want to do is bribe your extraordinarily understanding and loving wife with whatever it takes for her to swing by the nearest Runza drive-thru for you and pick up a few of Nebraska’s greatest sandwiches that can’t really be classified as sandwiches.

(My inner-fat kid also suggests stopping by Taco John’s for some Potato Olés to cross the streams of Nebraska deliciousness but we won’t press our luck. Runzas will have to do.)

runza-largeThe venerable Runza.

To go with your Runzas, you’ll need some sodas, maybe some sparkling water, and a party tray of carrots, celery, etc. If you need to stress eat, you might as well try to be healthy about it.

STEP 3: THE TV

Bigger and high-def’er is always better but as any Husker fan in the western reaches of the 308 will tell you, a Husker game can be just as stressful and exciting when you’re listening to it on a crackling radio while on the edge of your seat in a combine (the tractor, not football kind). But you’re city folk, so you can get the best of both worlds: TV and Radio.

Download the official Huskers app so you can stream the radio broadcast instead of listening the schlubs on TV drone on about Tommy and Jordan being roommates. Spend the first couple minutes of the game synchronizing the stream to your TV. It takes a little trial and error but once you get it locked in DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.

One last important detail, make sure your cable package has the Big Ten Network. If you need a password to watch online, hit me up. You can use the one I borrowed.

STEP 4: YELLING AT THE TV

Since you’ll be streaming the radio broadcast, you can pop-in your ear buds and have the TV on mute. Your wife will love you for that but what she won’t love is the inevitable screaming and yelling.

You have three options to prepare for this:

1. Treat your extraordinarily understanding and loving wife (and however many friends she’d like to bring along) to a spa day. (After she picks up your Runzas, of course.)

2.  Buy a screamin’ pillow to muffle the sound. Scream PillowThis is pretty self-explanatory.

3. Adopt a kitten. Todd and WillardThe calmest Husker game of my life took place on October 30, 2010, mere days after Willard was sprung from the pound. It also helped that the first quarter ended with the Huskers up 24 – 0 over Missouri thanks to Roy Helu Jr. running wild.

STEP 5: SOCIAL MEDIA

Think of this as the digital version of strolling through the Big Red Sea of tailgaters. No matter how hard you’re tempted, DON’T TWEET DURING THE GAME. It will just open the doors to trolls and you really don’t need to give that butthole coach at Ohio State a reason to be a bigger butthole.

What you can do, and I highly recommend it, is slide into the game thread on Huskermax. You don’t need to be a member unless you want to comment. Depending on what exactly you read though, you might want to become a member just so you can cool off some of the inevitable the-sky-is-falling hot takes and conspiracy theories. Seriously, bro. It’s like that every game.


Welcome to the other side of Husker Nation, K-Dubs. While it will be nice to have you among us, we can’t wait to see you back on the field.

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The Season Doesn’t Have a Reset Button. We Gotta Roll With It.

We’re still 19 sleeps away from the season opener and it’s already becoming one for the books.

The news of Keith Williams‘ arrest on a suspected DUI appeared on my phone Sunday morning (thanks, Leslie) right as I was about to do a swan dive into a $12 breakfast burrito.

My appetite vanished as I read the details of what happened… crash at 9th and N (at least it was only a four block ride to jail) and a possible third DUI, tipping the scales at a .15 BAC.

Honestly, even one DUI isn’t excusable but, if we’re really being honest, there’s a good chance we’ve all been one faulty taillight away from finding ourselves trying to walk a straight line on the side of the road.

But three DUIs? Hell no. Completely inexcusable. Especially in an age where an Uber, even in Lincoln, is a press of a button away. Then there’s the fact that the Star City is one of the greatest cities to pedal a bike around at night shitass drunk. I did it for five years and it was awesome. Plus, every bar has a bike rack out front so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Here in LA, a DUI ends up costing the lucky recipient around $10,000 just in fines and legal fees. That’s 1,000 $10 Uber rides and translates to a lot of nights out without having to worry about anything other than if your driver can properly follow GPS directions. (Hey, since you’re here, get a free Uber ride on us. #ad)

Will Williams stay on with the Huskers? That’s a hard decision and one that has to suck for whoever ends up having the final say on the matter.

Did he instantly lose all his credibility as a respected coach and mentor to college kids? Well, a person can learn a lot by messing up and taking the steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Williams seems to know this all too well.

But will he be standing on the sidelines come September 3rd?

As much as the Huskers rule everything around us, he has more important stuff to worry about and let’s all hope he finds the support he needs to fix it.


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SPRING GAME INVESTIGATION: Who Was the Fan in the Dick Shirt?

Nebraska’s 2016 Spring Game went off without a hitch, except of course for that part where the Big Ten Network apparently only planned on broadcasting three quarters of football, causing fans at home to miss the debut of Patrick O’Brien.

But who am I to complain? Until yesterday morning, the Big Ten Network and (most importantly) BTN2GO was far, far out reach.

Let’s just say that dreams come true when you work hard and pray to the Twitter gods .

As a freshly minted Big Ten Network subscriber, words can’t begin to describe the joy of spending a gorgeous April afternoon indoors to watch the Huskers’ Spring Game.

What a sight it was to behold: The Sea of Red. Tommy’s YOLObombs. Running backs who look legit. That last remaining Cotton kid doing his family proud. Mike Riley standing on the sidelines looking like he might say something.

And if that wasn’t enough, there was a fan in a dick shirt.

Yes. A dick shirt.

Late in the 3rd quarter (or close to quittin’ time according BTN’s clock) the live-stream cut to senior safety Nate Gerry on the sideline talking to a fan.

Husker fan in Dick Shirt 2

While one could arguably look past the fact that an adult (fans gonna fan) was monopolizing Gerry’s time while a group of young Huskers were eager to bask in his presence, it was impossible to look past the hefty dick drawn across the left shoulder of his shirt.

Here’s a closer look.Dick Shirt Close Up

Dick Shirt Close Up
There’s no doubt that’s a dick and if you look close, it appears that someone had the honor of signing the shaft.

Four seconds later, our anonymous Husker fan goes for the kill and asks Gerry to sign his dick shirt.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 3
“Whoa. Bane’s really gonna sign your dick shirt!”

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 1Meanwhile, another fan peers over dick shirt’s shoulder like Maynard during the gimp scene in Pulp Fiction.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 5Little Ameer realizes where this is headed and peaces out. Good work, kid.

It was at this moment the BTN’s feed cut back to the action on the field. Apparently showing a dick shirt signing all the way to completion was far too racy even for the internet.

Still,  questions remain.

Did Nate Gerry fulfill the fan’s request? In the last screen grab he wears the expression of someone who grudgingly realizes he’s about to sign a dick shirt.

Why was the fan wearing a dick shirt in the first place? Bachelor party? Look close at his hat. It the puffy paint doesn’t look like it spells out “GROOM.”

Was it Mardi Gras in April? That would explain the beads but how did he earn those beads?

Did he lose a bet?

Who else signed his dick shirt? In the screen grabs at 5:24 and 5:20 it looks like there are several other autographs on the torso. Or is that his shopping list for when he runs to the store after the game?

Someone out there has to know this guy and his story.

Help a slightly better than average Husker blog out. Give us some details about this mystery man.

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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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View from the Boneyard: Southern Miss

After an entire pot of coffee at 6:30 in the morning, I knew that Saturday morning’s homecoming game against Southern Miss was going to be an interesting one.

The first challenge of the morning was to go to LaMar’s and ask for the “game day special” and get whatever they give you. But after one smart ass comment of “watch as it’s something like seven dozen donuts” from me, our friend decided that it might not be worth the risk. Instead, we all stuck with the tried-and-true red and white sprinkles.

We honestly weren’t expecting too many people to be at the gates for such an early start time, so we were shocked when we walked up around 8:20 to see a decent sized line already formed outside of east stadium.

All of the usual costumes made an appearance that morning, with the addition of @brus_almighty ‘s Westerstache drawn on his chest. Being the pun enthusiast that I am, I took it upon myself to name the long lost brother of the Westerstache: the Chesterstache.

chesterstache
Behold the glory of the Chesterstache.

Despite the turnout, we still got our usual seats. Partially from skill and experience, but mostly from the fact that most people were still half asleep and struggled to maintain anything more than a brisk walk to get to their seats.

Since this game was an 11 am game, there weren’t any games being played on the HuskerVision screen to pass the time. Luckily for me, the girls sitting in the row behind me brought in a deck of cards and invited me to play a game of Go Fish with them. In all of my years of going to Husker games, I still can’t believe that I had never thought of that. I also never thought that I would be as competitive at Go Fish at 8:30 am as I was, but you learn something new every day.

Time actually went by quickly waiting for the game to start, especially with additional things happening for homecoming. But to me, nothing says “home” quite like the collective off-beat clapping to Sirius during the Tunnel Walk.

Everyone seemed eager early on to let go of their red balloons, so when the crowd saw what appeared to be a touchdown, the sea of red balloons took flight. Despite protest from the rest of the fans that had realized that we were on the 4 yard line, balloons continued to be released throughout the next two snaps.

A fumble recovery by Kevin Williams on Southern Miss’s next possession helped wake up the crowd. During this time, I was challenged by my dear friend, the camera man from across the stadium. (If you’re new here, I urge you to read last game’s story.)

However, a star emerged early in the second quarter: Andy Janovich. After a gain of 25 yards, students could be heard chanting “Janovich” and “run the fullback.”

band
The superhero themed halftime show was great even if the Batman logo wasn’t visible from field level.

Everything seemed promising as the Huskers came out to start the second half with a score of 22-0. Then things got ugly.

The first three possessions by the Huskers resulted in an interception, a missed field goal, and a fumble recovered by Southern Miss’ D’Nerius Antoine.

game
The Blackshirts hunker down to keep Southern Miss out of the end zone.

Despite scoring another touchdown to make the score 29-7, an on-side kick successfully recovered by Southern Miss caused Husker fans to expect the worst, especially with how many of the games had been ending this season.

The east stadium student section saw some excitement as the Huskers had to punt for the first time. A large white banner that read “Foltz fer Hizemin” in Chick-Fil-A writing was brought out immediately after the punt. After working on the banner until 2 am just a few nights before, I was just happy that we got a chance to show it off.

The Huskers were soon looking at a 36-28 score against the Golden Eagles with just seconds left in the game. Surrounded by worried fans, my natural sports-optimism came our strong as I reminded everyone that Southern Miss would need to not only get a touchdown, but complete the two-point conversion just to tie, and how absolutely ridiculous that would be.

Then I remembered the Miami game just last weekend and joined everyone in their panic.

Thankfully, the game ended with a sack by Freedom Akinmoladun as time ran out. All I have to say is: let Freedom ring.

end
There would be no Hail Mary anxiety this time.

Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.

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