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Ranking All Seven Husker Losses

In a rather stunning turn of events, Mike Riley’s first season season as a Husker was one for the ages, in that he led Nebraska to their worst season since 1961.

Seven soul crushing and mind boggling losses. Each and every one a special and unique snowflake of misery.  Being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we took a whack at ranking the losses from least worst, all the way down to worst, worst.

It was far from an easy task, especially losses 5 through 3, but like a YOLO Bomb to the end zone, we took our best shot.

7) Miami 36 – Nebraska 33: We opened our recap of the game like this- “Holy schnikes. Who would have predicted that Mike Riley era would have spiraled into high drama just three games into his first season?”

Boy, did that ever become a prophetic question. If we only knew just how far down into the abyss the drama would spiral. Of the Huskers’ seven losses, this was the only one that didn’t leave fans feeling like they ate a turd filled Runza (and maybe even a little hopeful about the future). After three quarters of playing like choads on both sides of the ball, the Huskers rallied from being down 23 points in the 4th to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, a Tommy Armstrong interception and an Alex Lewis personal foul on the Huskers’ very first play all but sealed the win for the Hurricanes.

While some of the luster was taken off this loss as Miami went on to play horrible enough to finally get Al Golden fired, the Hurricanes pulled it together to finish their regular season 8-4. Way to not stop believin’, Caneshades. Enjoy your earned bowl game.

Sad Alex Lewis
Alex Lewis stews on his first headline grabbing bad decision of the season.

6) BYU 33 – Nebraska 28: Hard to believe the Huskers’ most shocking loss of the season could be so far down the list but with the Huskers finding all kinds of insane ways to snatch last second defeat from the jaws of victory, losing on a Hail Mary thrown by a red shirt freshman QB playing in his first game becomes rather trite in the grand scheme of things.

It did help Husker morale that BYU pulled off the same miracle a week later against Boise State.  Plus, with it being Nebraska’s first game of the season with a new coaching staff and new playbooks, this last second loss could be chalked up as a total fluke, right?

BYU HAIL MARY
Hey coach, do you think we should get that Hail Mary defense installed before the season opener? Nah. What are the chances?

5) Northwestern 30 – Nebraska 28:  Fresh off the heels of the Huskers’ convincing win at Minnesota, this loss was just stupefying. The Bankshirts™ were repeatedly scorched on the ground by a QB who ran slower than T-Magic with cinder block shoes and the offense held the ball for nearly 19 minutes longer, yet Northwestern was able to chew the final four minutes off the clock and kneel their way to victory thanks to a last minute unsportsmanlike penalty from Maliek Collins. Of all the Husker losses this season, Northwestern was the most coldly anti-climactic.

Clayton ThorsonNorthwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson rushed 9 times for 126 yards. With one game remaining in his season, his average per game rushing yardage is a robust 33.36.

4) Illinois 14 – Nebraska 13: Up until yesterday’s attempted touchdown pass on 4th and 1, the decision to throw on 3rd and 7 from the Illinois 27 yard line while up 13-7 with under a minute to play was the dumbest play of the Huskers’ season. As many an armchair quarterback pointed out, Tommy could have literally ran out the clock had he taken the snap and started running the wrong way like a Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and taken a safety. Instead, he threw a pass at Devine Ozigbo’s feet. On 4th down, the Huskers tried passing one more time for good measure instead of attempting a field goal that would have put them up by two scores. Then again, finally deciding not to put the ball up into a swirling wind was probably the first good decision of the day. If you haven’t blocked this game from your memory, you may recall Tommy going 10 – 31 from 105 yards through the air.

After getting the ball back, it took Illinois all of two plays to go 65 yards to the Nebraska 7. From there, they proceeded to get five tries to score thanks to a pair of pass interference penalties on the Huskers.

If there’s room in the budget to pay a useless special teams coach nearly half a million dollars, surely enough change can be shook out of the athletic department couches to afford a stat minded egg head to provide an outside-the-box perspective in crucial situations. Heck, you’d probably even find some know-it-all bloggers who’d pay to have such a position.

nebraska illinois 2015Give a team enough chances to score and they will eventually find a way, even Illinois.

3) Wisconsin 23 – Nebraska 21: From Andy Janovich’s career defining 55 yard touchdown run to the north end zone goal post being the best defender on the field, everything finally seemed to be going the Huskers’ way- until Wisconsin got the ball back on their own 30 with 1:03 left to play.

Even with no timeouts, that was plenty of time for Joel “I’ll Never Graduate” Stave to slice through the Bankshirts™ and get the Badgers into field goal range and give Robert “I’ve Never Met a Pizza I Didn’t Like” Gaglianone a shot at redemption.  The amount of game clock that elapsed between his missed field goal and his game winner was 1:22. In that span, the Huskers also ran the ball straight up the gut three times for a grand total of five yards. Getting just a single first down would have salted the game away for Nebraska.

Robert Gaglianone
Wisconsin Kicker Robert Gaglianone breaks the hearts of Husker Nation while day dreaming about sweet, delicious ham. 

2) Iowa 28 – Nebraska 20:  This was by far the Huskers’ most definitive loss of the season. All the elements that plagued the six previous defeats were present and accounted for: erratic quarterback play, a running game that couldn’t make up its mind, key players who seemingly fell off the roster, head scratching play calling, dumb penalties, a defense with a knack for getting lit up at the absolutely worst times, and, despite all that, the game was still perfectly winnable.

While Iowa and their dozen or so fans have every reason to gloat about being 12-0, the Hawkeyes are such an unimpressive undefeated team they make the 2012 Notre Dame squad (remember them getting demolished by Alabama in the BCS Championship game?) look like the second coming of the Four Horsemen. The Huskers will never have an easier opportunity to beat a “top 5” team and they blew it.

Iowa Nebraska 2015
That trophy (whatever it’s called) is going to look awfully nice in the team trailer. Congrats, Iowa.

1)  Purdue 55 – Nebraska 45: Can you believe the Huskers’ ONLY double digit loss of the season came at the hand of a Boilermaker squad that’s currently boasting a 2-9 record heading into their annual showdown against Indiana? Since 2013, Purdue has notched exactly one other win in the Big Ten.

This was one of just four games of the season where Tommy Armstrong didn’t throw a single interception thanks to being injured and watching back home in Lincoln. In his place, Ryker Fyfe honored  him by throwing four picks along with 400 yards passing and a quartet of TDs in his first career start. This was a game where a present day Matt Turman could have showed up at kickoff and led the Huskers to a win. Instead, the Big Red put up their most baffling loss since falling 9-7 against Iowa State in 2009.

nebraska-purdue
Ryker Fyfe is about to get his uniform dirty for the first time in his Husker career.

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Mike Diary: Excerpts from Mike Riley’s Journal

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not going to say how we pulled it off but we got our grubby little mitts on Mike Riley’s diary.

There’s no need for us to set it up any further. We know you just want to get to the good stuff, so below you’ll find excerpts from key moments since he slid into the captain’s chair at Memorial Stadium.

5 December 2015

Dear Diary-

I know it’s been a few days but I have an unbelievable excuse…

Greetings from Nebraska!

(I’ll wait while you find it on a map.)

I never thought I’d ever say that but, by golly, things sure took a strange (in a good way) turn of a events. It all started a few days ago when Shawn Eichorst, the Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska, asked if we could meet in his hotel room in San Francisco to discuss the head coaching job that had opened up.

Trust me, I was just as suspicious as you would have been about the whole deal. I mean, we always try our best but it’s not every day you wrap up a 5 and 7 season by having a dude invite you to a secret meeting.

In his hotel room.

In San Francisco.

But you know what? Turns out it was all on the level!

I wasn’t the victim of a prank…. or worse. Shawn really wanted me to become the next coach of the Nebraska Cornbuckers, (I think that’s what they call themselves. I’m still figuring all of this out.)

It took a few years but someone finally realized what kind of coach you have to be to get kids to not only play for a team named the Beavers but to do so with flipplin’ Oregon just a few miles up the road.

It’s funny how life works out. Just a few days ago, I honestly thought I might be fired and boom(!) I’m suddenly somewhere in Nebraska and the head coach of a football powerhouse, with a big raise to boot!

I think I might treat myself to a new bicycle.

MIKE RILEY OUT


9 FEBRUARY 2015

Dear Diary-

Hotel life is the best! It’s like living on vacation. Every morning I get to make make own omelet and drink as much orange juice as I want and the pool is open until 11pm  but I signed a football for the night custodian and he lets me swim till midnight! There are so many cable channels to choose from that I can find The Rock playing any time of the day. Don’t tell the Mrs… but I think for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to sneak down extra early so I can surprise her with an omelet in bed.

MIKE RILEY OUT


11 APRIL 2015

Dear Diary-

Longtime no chat, I know. After three months of R&R and going to basketball games, it was finally time to do some real work.

We had our spring practices and this team I inherited is something else. The quarterback runs better than he throws and there’s a kid on defense who killed a raccoon with his bare hands. Don’t tell Boss Eichorst but I was so rusty I almost forgot which side of my whistle was which. (Hahahaha. Try saying that one five times fast.)

Today we had the big Red and White game and the way the fans came out you’d think they all had free tickets to the Super Bowl. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway, It was the only time of the year where we’ll win and lose the same game.

Not to sound cocky but I’m thinking if I can do just half as bad as that basketball coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if they named a street after me. The fans LOVE that guy and he loses all time.

MIKE RILEY OUT


17 JUNE 2015

Dear Diary-

Apparently our grass grew an eighth of a inch since Monday (so says the second guy who stopped by this morning asking if he could cut it). He says he’s been keeping track from across the street and thinks it’s getting out of control but I invited him to come back on Friday so that way the Mrs. and I can be assured of a nice, quiet weekend.

I felt bad for him though because as he was leaving he got into a little scuffle with yet another guy who showed up with his mower.

Between, you me, and the fence post, diary, I would say Nebraska people are weird but they are just so gosh darn helpful.

Even after this new adventure is all over, we may never leave, especially when Veronica, our neighbor from across the way, brings us fresh baked goodies every single morning.

MIKE RILEY OUT


25 JULY 2015

Dear Diary-

Apologies if I don’t write to much today. It is just so gosh dang hot I don’t know if I have the strength. Lucky for me and the Mrs, the neighborhood kids are taking turns on watch to make sure we stay properly refreshed. Pardon the pun be we ARE living the life of Riley complete with our own personal lemonade stand!

MIKE RILEY OUT


5 SEPTEMBER 2015

Dear Diary-

As you know, today was the big day. It was my first game as coach of the Nebraska Cornhutchers and for 59 minutes and 59 seconds it was football heaven. The most unbelievably wonderful dream had come true and I was living it… right up until Bigham Young’s freshman quarterback threw Hail Mary to pull the glorious rug of victory right out from under us.

As I write this hours later I’m still kicking myself. Of all the things we practiced during fall camp the defending the Hail Mary was not one of them and why should it be? Everyone knows that all you have to do is whatever it takes not to let the other team score. Pardon my French but those little s-h-i=t-s spent years learning from a “defensive mastermind” and after the game they tell me they didn’t know what what to do in that situation? You’ve got to be flipping kidding me.

I’m still so mad I could kick a rock.

MIKE RILEY OUT


12 SEPTEMBER 2015

Dear Diary-

Hip, hip, HOORAY!!!

That is all.

MIKE RILEY OUT


20 SEPTEMBER 2015

Dear Diary-

Well, we went down to Miami (no, we did go to scout timeshares) and played one heck of a barn burner against those Hurricanes. We were getting our tails kicked 33 – 10 in the fourth quarter but I worked a few “fishlips” and “shoeshines” (if you know what I’m sayin’) into my speech during a timeout and I think that did the trick. Who knew these kids actually liked being yelled at? All of a sudden, that quarterback who runs started zipping the ball to receivers who stopped dropping it. Even though it didn’t work out in the end, it was incredible that we almost had ’em on their home field.

I’m not quite sure the fans are feeling he same way though. Every time I’ve returned from a recruiting trip, fans have been lined up clamoring to give me a ride home and have a chance to talk football one-on-one. Tonight the airport was emptier than a ghost town and I had to call the Mrs for a lift. It was pretty late when we landed though, so maybe that’s it.

And if things needed to get any weirder, get a load of this: this morning we were woken up by the sound of our neighbor Veronica throwing eggs at our house!

And that wasn’t all she did! When we went outside to see what all the fuss was about I saw she also dumped an entire bag of flour on the good ol’ Prius.

She must have been running really late to church if she didn’t have time to bake our Sunday Bundt cake!

MIKE RILEY OUT

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Monday Rage: Who Woke Up Angry About Miami?

Welcome to the first installment of Monday Rage for 2015.

We wish we didn’t have to pull this feature out at all this season but as we did more than a few times last year, every Monday we’ll provide a snapshot into the mood and ever so fragile psyche of Husker Nation on the off chance they lose a game.  (Note: BYU was such an aberration, it did not deserve the Monday Rage treatment.)

Thanks to Twitter, conducting this research is all too easy. Our only ground rule is only the freshest tweets will be highlighted, there’s no dipping back into Sunday when the wounds of a Husker loss were still fresh. Nope, we want fans to have time for things to cool off and scab over.

Good times.

Before we dive in, we’d like to introduce a new feature we’re calling Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch.

This is Mike Riley and his balloon at the start of the season.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

This is Mike Riley and his balloon following the Miami game.

MikeRiley Sad Balloon

Will Mike’s balloon be back to full strength following the Southern Miss game? Let’s hope so. Our Photoshop skills are extremely marginal at best.

ON WITH THE TWEETS!

Look at that positivity. Way to kick things off on the right note, @DellthDude.

*be

Amazing.

Brilliant use of the rage emoji to spell Bo. WHY HAVEN’T WE SEEN THIS UNTIL NOW?

Apparently it doesn’t count as a “red zone trip” if you catch the ball outside of the red zone and truck on through it for a touchdown.

Why turn to your therapist for life’s important questions when you can tweet a couple dudes with a sports talk show?

We like Kevin’s style.

Nailed it. And thank you dear reader(s) for clicking on this story.

Overall, we’d that that the psyche of Husker Nation is holding strong at the moment. We’ll see how it does as the season progresses or (heaven forbid) regresses.

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Miami Edition

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Morning Hot Takes!

Holy schnikes. Who would have predicted that Mike Riley era would have spiraled into high drama just three games into his first season?

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get to the hot takes.

ALEX LEWIS: Went on a Facebook/Twitter rampage this morning.

Um… dude… just put on your hater blockers and don’t worry about what the eggs are saying. And really people, just save yourself the drama and temptation to be a jackass and don’t follow players on social media.

POP QUIZ: What’s worse than watching your favorite team lose?

Watching your two favorite teams lose in one day.

I still have mixed feeling about what I did  (and feel free to question the status of my Nebraskan citizenship) but with the Huskers trailing 33 – 10 in the fourth quarter, I decided to jump ship and head to the Dodger game. Clayton Kershaw was pitching and the prospect of snagging a seat above the bullpen to watch him warm up was a lot more appealing than continuing to watch what was spiraling down the drain in Miami.

(For the record, I did listen to the game the rest of the way and suffered the embarrassment of getting busted screaming in public when the Huskers tied it up.)

Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw gets ready to go to work.

All in I spent a total of 7 hours watching my two favorite teams lose. Still, it was not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

If anyone needs to be blamed for the Huskers’ loss let’s blame the Captain America of Hollywood Blvd. With our Californians for Nebraska watch site a mere three blocks from the Hollywood Blvd freak show, I thought it’d be fun recurring gag to have characters model our score prediction every week.

Hollywood Blvd Captain America

The only rule I set for doing this is I have to go with the first character with whom I cross paths. Yesterday, it was a dead heat between Cap and Chewbacca. I rolled the dice on Cap thinking he’d be the lesser of the two crazies.

Boy was I wrong.

Before we got started, I explained to Cap what he needed to do (stand there, wear a hat) and handed him five bucks (a nice bump from the standard buck a photo). Cap then proceeded to art direct our photo shoot and when we wrapped, he asked me for another five because his charges ten a photo. FYI: It is illegal for the characters to name a price. Besides, the dude made five bucks in 30 seconds so F-him in the pie hole.

EXCUSES: Let’s stop making them. Even if Bo did his grocery shopping at the 99 Cent Store, Division I athletes are Division I athletes. Yes, it can take time to learn new plays and schemes but it isn’t like these guys are suddenly playing a whole new sport.

Congrats to Caneshades. There’s nothing we can do but tip our cap and stand by the road and cheer as the winners go by.

Dirk Chatelain threw pretty some serious shade in the Huskers’ general direction in his post game story:

Truth is, Nebraska is lacking talent and/or depth in key areas. Defensive end. Linebacker. Cornerback. Offensive line. Wide receiver. Running back. Tight end. OK, lots of key areas.

Pelini didn’t recruit well the past few years. And Riley’s staff hasn’t maximized what they have, especially on defense. Bad combination.

And Dirk even dropped a “my goodness” in there so you know he means business.

THE BEST FANS IN ALL OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Are sad Alabama fans.

Make yourself feel less worse by relishing in the glorious misery of others. And if you need moar, here’s a great gallery from SB Nation (h/t @joejanecek)

TOP HUSKER TWEETS FROM PEOPLE YOU AREN’T ALREADY FOLLOWING:  C’mon, Hail Varsity. Let’s try to branch out a little next time. There’s some gold to be found on twitter from people who aren’t Gabrielle Union.

FINALLY: Still haven’t checked in with the buddy in question but if I don’t hear from him by this afternoon I will send out a search party.

 

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Your Nebraska vs Miami Pep Talk

This year’s edition of the Nebraska vs Miami really seems to have lost its luster, hasn’t it?

There’s been nary a bit of smack talk out of Florida, unless you want to count CaneShades‘ meltdown as smack talk.

Heck, not even Miami’s players have done anything to warrant bulletin board material. Remember last year when they stooped to harassing Jordan Westerkamp over Instagram?

I’ll be the first to admit this year’s match up of two historic rivals has as much hype as a 38 Special and REO Speedwagon double bill on a Thursday night at the Hall County Fair.

But you know what?

I woke up this morning and realized that IT’S FLIPPING GAME DAY AGAINST MIAMI!!!

Who cares if one team is rebuilding and the other is treading water in the deep end of the ACC?

IT’S NEBRASKA VS MIAMI!!!

As soon as the game kicks off, nobody watching is going to care that it’s being played at mid-day instead of under the prime time lights.

This is Miami’s chance for some Husker get back and it’s the Huskers chance to show they’re heading back in the right direction where they belong in the top 25.

Look, the BYU game was an aberration. At this point just consider it a glorified dress rehearsal where, despite all the hiccups, the Huskers came up one second short.

South Alabama gave a us a glimpse of what Mike Riley’s Huskers just might be capable of.

Now they’re in Miami with a mostly full squad (can’t wait to see you back DPE and Beastmasterit’s time for Mike Riley to show the world that he and his Huskers mean business.

It’s time for Tommy to be turned loose like Tommie.

It’s time for the Fullback Trap to make a comeback.

In other words, IT’S TIME TO KICK SOME HURRICANE ASS.


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Why the Huskers’ Loss Can Be a Good Thing

I love winning. It’s like better than losing. You know what I’m sayin?
– Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.

Half a week later, the sting of the BYU’s Hail Mary (or Hail Joseph Smith) still reverberates down the spine of any Husker fan. It is a loss that can’t be forgotten soon enough but it’s one that won’t be.

The last time the Huskers dropped a season opener at home, most of the team was still a good ten years away from being born. And if you want to feel even older, many of the player’s parents were still kids themselves  back in 1985.

Exactly 60 minutes into the first game of the Mike Riley era, one of the two last great Husker streaks was broken so quickly that it didn’t seem at all real.

BYU’s final dagger from 42 yards out was like in a Kung Fu movie when someone is killed so quickly they don’t realize they’re dead. It was Hanzo Sword straight through the heart of the Big Red faithful.

At our watch site, hope lasted until the replays confirmed everyone’s most unthinkable fear. Instantly, our spirits plummeted faster than Wile E. Coyote once he looks down and realizes he stepped off a cliff.

After a game that bordered on perfection (as much as a season opener with a new staff and scheme could be perfect ) for 59:59, that final second reality check may be just what the Huskers needed in order to make this season a success.

Don’t consider the gut punch from the football gods a cosmic smiting of all that is considered holy with Husker Nation. Yes, winning 30 consecutive home openers would have been a nice notch in the belt but how many of those victories were anything more than a pack of wolves feasting on lambs?

The role reversal of the hunter becoming the hunted can be a great motivator for the team and staff. While it’d be great to see the Huskers march into Miami with a bounce in their step and a perfect record, a chip on their collective shoulders and gravel in their guts and spit in their eyes can be what carries this team through the entire season.

These guys are all now coldly aware that they can be beaten at any time and how they respond to that will shape how the season plays out.

Make sure you’re buckled up tight. There’s only one game down and at least 11 more to go. It’s going to be a heck of a ride no matter what.

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Nebraska vs Miami: Breaking Down the Play of the Game

Before we turn our focus to Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Illinois, let’s take one final look at the Miami game – specifically the play that was the final nail in Hurricanes’ coffin.

It was a thing of Blackshirt beauty and was no accident.

The Huskers settled for a field goal to go up by 10 with nine minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Miami got the ball back starting from their own 25. Four plays and barely two minutes later, they were at the Nebraska 35 but had stalled out.

Looking down the barrel an absolutely crucial 4th and 4, Nebraska called time out and Coach Papuchis “saw something” and called for true freshman Josh Kalu to drop into zone coverage.

What Igor signaled was a classic example of pattern matching.

(Quick plug time: If you really want to learn about what makes a defense tick, Chris Brown‘s Essential Smart Football is the best $7.49 you will ever spend.)

Now back to the play at hand. It’s 4th and 4 at the Nebraska 35. The Huskers had finally found an answer for Hurricanes’ screen passes and had all but shut down running back Duke Johnson. The most appealing option left for Miami would be a pass along the sideline to one of their hoss receivers. This is a well they dipped into throughout the night with much success.

As Nebraska lines up for the snap, notice how deep Nate Gerry is playing.

IMG_9854

This is all just  a ruse. As Miami’s Brad Kaaya begins his snap count, Gerry creeps towards the line of scrimmage but he’s not blitzing.

Nebraska-Interception-1
Notice how Gerry comes set at the exact moment Kaaya receives the snap.

The play begins and Kalu starts shuffling back to cover Miami’s slot receiver until he breaks to the inside. Instantly, Kalu hands him off to Gerry who is positioned perfectly to continue covering the receiver.

Nebraska-Interception-2
Seamlessly “turning over” a receiver to another defender is a key element of pattern matching.

Kaaya releases the ball under the assumption that he’s throwing into one-on-one coverage, a situation where Miami’s receiving corps dominated the entire game- until Josh Kalu seemingly appears out of nowhere and intercepts the ball so effortlessly you’d think it was thrown to him on purpose.

Nebraksa-Interception-3
This pass had 1st down written all over it until Josh Kalu said otherwise.

Among all the big time plays Nebraska made Saturday night, this one was the biggest. A perfect, designed outcome in a clutch situation. Kalu’s grand entrance on the Blackshirt stage was reminiscent of an unknown kid by the name of Eric Hagg being turned loose at the end of the 2009 Gator Bowl and coming up huge with a pass break up and a sack when Clemson was looking at a 1st and ballgame from the Nebraska 10 yard line.

While the Husker peanut gallery would love a big play every time the Blackshirts are on the field, the years have shown Pelini doesn’t reach for the ace in the hole until his team is right on the edge of falling into one.

Think of it as the Blackshirt  version of Hulking up.

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It’s Time Coach Papuchis Got a Nickname

Unlike the half dozen or so fans at our Husker watch site afflicted with a Tourette’s like compulsion to yell some variation of Papuchis any time there’s a Blackshirt miscue, I will proudly go on record and say that I love the guy.

While this love for John Papuchis isn’t quite at the level of a serious man crush, there is solid admiration for a dude of decidedly modest stature who can lead and motivate a legion bad asses and doesn’t melt when Bo Pelini’s rage goes thermonuclear.

Papuchis 1
Papuchis may not melt under the glare of Pelini but a little personal security is never a bad idea.

In fact, as the match up with Miami showed, it appears his third season as Defensive Coordinator is a charm for Papuchis. Watch as he harnesses Pelini’s rage into his own after the interception that was nullified due to a bogus roughing the passer call.

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Just look at that laser focus. Papuchis is like a lion cub stalking his very first prey. He ignores Kenny Bell’s plea to get out of the scrum and tentatively joins the polite conversation. Notice how he licks his lips and goes for the kill. You can clearly tell he’s saying ‘after his pass’ to hammer home Pelini’s argument. While his head veins might not have the same bulge as his boss’, it’s clear Papuchis has forgotten what it’s like to know fear- like a guy who has spent a lot of time being exposed to Heart of Darkness kind of stuff.

Seriously, just look at the way he bares his fangs. Papuchis might have a baby face but that is the look of a man ready to tear out his first throat.

Pelini Papuchis

But where have we seen this expression before?

John Papuchis vs Igor

Oh hello, Igor.

Before you say bestowing the nickname Igor upon Papuchis is rude, consider for a moment the monsters he and his master have created. These are but only two of their masterpieces.

Randy Gregory-2

Ndamukong Suh

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Recap: Husker Red Storm Sends Hurricanes Packing

As Saturday night’s slug fest entered the 4th round, this is what the Miami Hurricanes had to say on Facebook.

Miami Facebook 1

While Husker Nation would probably chose different, non-misspelled F-word to describe the antics of the Hurricanes, Bo Pelini scoured his defensive playbook for that one play where the biggest bad ass on the field destroys the opposing quarterback.

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Oh Brad Kaaya, you’re so lucky Randy Gregory will be playing on Sundays next year.

After running back Duke Johnson got stuffed on the following play, Miami responded with the force of a Category 5 hurricane.

Miami Facebook 2

14:35 later, the Canes would have to settle being the first team to ever to be booed out of Memorial Stadium and went back to Miami with their collective tail between their legs. There would be no strippers or blow waiting for them upon landing at MIA.

But at least they had well wishes of Kenny Bell to keep them company on the long ride home.

Of all the “big” wins in the Bo Pelini era, taking down Miami was by far the most satisfying. Provided they don’t slip up next week against Illinois, this could very well go down as the game that solidifies the Huskers for the season and perhaps years to come.

Miami took the field with all their swagger from the days of yore. After drawing first blood on the first drive of the game, the table was set for another Husker meltdown.

Instead, this generation’s Hurricanes were given a clinic in what Husker Power is all about. Tommy Armstrong responded by leading a touchdown drive of his of his own (capped by a 40 yard strike to Kenny Bell) and it was game on.

Every time there was a miscue (fumble, interception, dumb penalty) or fight that could have blown the wheels off the Husker Wagon, the team rebounded and stayed focused. This was by far the most mentally strong Bo Pelini’s Huskers have ever been.

For 60 minutes they went toe-to-toe, mano-a-mano, and didn’t take any shit from those shit talkers from the the 305.

Late in the game when the Canes stole a page from the Cobra Kai playbook and tried to rip Ameer Abdullah’s head clean off, the Huskers responded with the kind of play that got the blood of the East Stadium Blue Hairs pumping for the first time since the mid 90’s.

Ameer Abdullah's Neck
The look of a ref who’s afraid he’ll have to tell his boss that a player was decapitated on his watch.

While Nebraska’s final score wasn’t a full back trap up the gut, it was a thing of vintage Husker power football beauty.

Let’s break it down-

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 1
Hats on hats. By the looks of things, Ameer is in a one-on-one situation with a Miami player who’s already locked in on him.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 2Ameer starts to get low and crash the hole. That poor Hurricane has no idea what’s about to hit him.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 3Didn’t Miami watch the McNeese State film? An Arm tackle will not bring down Ameer Abdullah. And look what happened to our poor sap all set to engage. Mike Moudy uses the guy’s own teammate to absolutely truck him. It was a total 2 Hurricanes 1 Husker kind of situation.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 4
Ameer busts through and into the open like the Millennium Falcon flying out of the Death Star at the end of Jedi. Look at all that space.

AMEER TOUCHDOWN 5
Ameer cuts to the right of Mark Pelini to shove one last TD down the gullet of Sebastian the Ibis.

We’ll see you next year, Miami.

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Miami Hurricanes

Welcome to Nebraska, Miami. Remember me?

Tommie Frazier

I’m the guy who did this…

Tommie Frazier Orange Bowl

Of all the times Tommie Frazier and his Haggar Wrinkle-Frees could have been trotted out from a pre-game pep talk, it’s tonight. Too bad the former Doane State head coach (3 – 17 record, yo) had to go and do that little Twitter meltdown on Coach Pelini last season.

On the bright side, maybe that meant Bo could go one name deeper on the 1994 roster and get Cory Schlesinger to say a few words about what means to drive a stake through the Miami Hurricanes.

As exciting as the Nebraska vs Miami match up is for anyone old enough to remember ’84 and ’95 (we’ll just forget about ’89, ’92 and ’02) one can’t help but wonder what this “storied rivalry” even means to kids who were barely out the womb in ’95.
Case in point, Miami’s signature trash talking has been reduced to heckling Jordan Westerkamp over Instagram.

Just when you thought there couldn’t be anything lower than arguing sports via YouTube comments.

Even fans of the Hurricanes aren’t much better these days.
Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.16.54 PM

A pretty big Miami fan base in Nebraska? How does that even work when this is the Miami fan base in Miami?

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If Hurricane fans can even outnumber McNeese State fans, color this blog impressed.

OK now to the nitty gritty.

Confidence: This match up has all the makings of Missouri’s visit to Lincoln in 2010.  The Big Red has got this.

Scouting Report: Warren Sapp had the balls to trash talk directly to the media. The Hurricanes of today troll Instagram. Miami may get some early action from their “skill players” but look for the secondary to eventually shut down Phillip Dorsett leaving running back Duke Johnson to shoulder a very heavy load.

Ideal Scenario: Nebraska scores early and often. Ameer Abdullah breaks off not one but two highlight worthy runs in his first chance of the season to play against a team of a high enough caliber to prove he’s a legit Heisman contender. Randy Gregory goes beast mode and scores a TD for the Blackshirts. Jordan Westerkamp and his blistering 4.6 speed burns Miami deep.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 5. With the game on ESPN 2 they’ll probably even have a special Bo Cam. By the mid third quarter they stop checking in on him.

And on a final note: Here are Nebraska a Miami’s most famous fans.

Larry the Cable Guy and 2 Live Crew

Two things about this pic.

1. No offense to Larry the Cable Guy but we were really hoping to have a picture of 311 decked out in their Husker jerseys circa 1995’s ‘blue album’ or possibly 1994’s grass roots. No matter how hard we tried, the Google was no help when it came to digging up images from 311 album liner notes and being that it’s 2014 our CD collection is buried deep in the garage.

2. Why is Brother Marquis in a sling?

 

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