OK, probably not. But get a load of the ways the Huskers doubled up the Terrapins.
Time of Possession
If this recap is already dripping with all the excitement of an owner’s manual for an alarm clock, it’s because there isn’t much to work with on this one.
Outside of oohing and aahing like it was the 4th of July every time Ryker Fyfe completed one of his 23 passes, this was by far the most non-exciting game of the season. Even the vanilla Fresno State game had the newness of a season opener going for it and a 22 point 4th quarter to make sure everyone paid attention to end.
Not that there’s ever anything wrong with boring when the Huskers leave the field with a win AND hold their opponent to 11 yards rushing. The seniors got a great sendoff, a touching tribute was paid Sam Foltz, and the newest Husker Jack Johnson had the best day ever.
Jack wanted to be a "real Nebraska football player."
We appreciate the help getting the win today Jack.
Had we known back in August that Ryker would be starting this one we certainly would have dialed down the offensive output a smidge.
NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH
3: It was a career Senior Day for Terrell Newby as he found the end zone three times, setting a personal single game record. One more and he would have entered Al Bundy territory.
175: The yardage Terrell Newby needs to hit 1,000 on the ground for the season. Still not outside the realm of possibility.
.705: The Huskers are batting over .700 on 4th down, going 12 for 17 on the year so far.
9, 10, 11: As a college coach Mike Riley has hit the 9 win mark four times and got to 10 once back in 2006. He’s never had an 11 win season.
60/40: The run/pass split is currently a dead even 60/40. Last season it was 52/48. This isn’t by any means a sexy statistic but keep in in your back pocket if Uncle Run the Ball Guy goes on a rant about the Huskers running less this season over Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll show him who’s boss.
6: This one is really going down the rabbit hole of extreme randomness but did you know that six different Huskers attempted a pass back in 2006? Zac Taylor, Joe Ganz, Dan Titchener, Maurice Purify, Marlon Lucky, and Jake Wesch? Maybe you could win a bet with Uncle Run the Ball Guy with that useless nugget.
Oh the things you find skimming through seasons of stats when you’re trying to avoid writing about a boring game.
What? You’re not pumped by the fact there’s a reasonable chance that the kid who currently plays holder could end up under center this evening?
Look people, there are two important things to know about this game.
1. No matter what happened this week, it is still gameday. We don’t get many of these a year and after this one there are only three of them left, barring any awful miracle that could lead to the Huskers playing Ohio State again.
2. Minnesota is not to be confused with Wisconsin or Ohio State. Granted, potential disaster is always on the table but there’s no way the Golden Gophers will hang 62 points on the Huskers, so that’s a good thing.
Minnesota comes to Lincoln with an identical 7-2 record, with their losses coming against Penn State (26-29 in OT) and Iowa (7-14, yes, they played all four quarters in that one).
The Gophers notched their big wins of the season against… um… wait a second… uh… nope… they really haven’t beaten a team that’s marginally good.
Then again, their numbers in wins against common opponents with the Huskers are similar enough to raise concern. Try these on for size.
Illinois Huskers 31-16
Purdue Huskers 27-14
Whatever though. This is Minnesota we’re talking about. It’s important to note that both Illinois and Purdue were softened up by the Huskers first. It’s not hard to beat a team when it has already been flogged into demoralizing submission by the Big Red.
While the Big Ten scheduling gods have been mostly nice to Minnesota, this game is where the Gophers start a gauntlet to end their regular season. After Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern are on deck.
Even with Ryker or Zack at the wheel, the Huskers should be able to handle this one. If there was ever a time to turn the running backs loose, it’s tonight. A steady diet of Newby, Ozigbo, and Wilbon plus a touchdown by the Blackshirts should get the Huskers all the points they need to keep the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy in Lincoln for another year. As much of a gamer as he is, there’s no reason for Tommy to risk taking another shot to the head so soon.
Gophers 20 (Don’t laugh. We made this prediction back in August and we’re sticking to it. YOLO.)
In case you were lucky enough to miss last night’s debacle, here’s a recap of all you need to know.
Where do we even begin? This was such a vicious, unbridled ass kicking it should have come with a trigger warning.
Without subjecting myself to the digital paper cuts of verifying exactly where this loss ranks among historical beat downs, these are the first pummelings that come to mind that no amount of therapy has been able to erase.
Texas Tech, 2004 – Remember how we were tricked into thinking this game could be chalked up to the growing pains of installing the West Coast Offense and not the harbinger of doom that Bill Callahan was a lousy coach?
Colorado, 2001 – The go-to game when it’s time to point to the one that ruined it all.
Miami, 2002 – Proved the previous game wasn’t a fluke.
Miami, 1992 – The shutout that led to a dynasty.
Arizona State, 1996 – The shutout that ended a dynasty.
Missouri, 2008 – Remember how we were tricked into believing that these meltdowns would stop when Bo Pelini had “his” players and not the harbinger of doom that Pelini was a lousy coach?
Wisconsin, 2014 – OK we get it now. Please make it stop.
Laser Tag, 1987 – Out of all the savage and merciless beat downs I’ve ever endured, this one hits the closest to home and is the most analogous to what transpired last night in Columbus. This one bubbled up while listening to Big Red Overreaction on the way home. Thanks, Damon Benning.
Buckle up, kids. It’s story time.
The scene, Grand Island, NE. 1987. Fifth grade. The martial arts fad inspired by the Karate Kid had finally died out and what had been a downtown dojo was transformed into a futuristic Laser Tag arena. No longer would we be subjected to playing in dingy basements. (Playgrounds and parks were off-limits after a kid in California was shot by a police officer who thought he had a real gun.) We finally had a real Laser Tag arena that was worthy of the booming metropolis that was Nebraska’s third largest city.
My friends and I played there every chance we could. The arena boasted pro-level equipment, a maze of unfinished plywood, and more black lights than an above average bong store.
It wasn’t long before the management invited us to join a league that was forming. We knew right away that this was destined to be our first step on the path towards becoming professional Laser Tag players. There was no professional league yet but there would be. Laser Tag was the sport of the future and we weren’t going to waste this opportunity.
In the two weeks leading up to our first match, we put ourselves though boot camp. We had conditioning workouts at recess and strategy sessions after school. Down in our basement we built a replica of the arena out of refrigerator boxes that we dragged home from an appliance store so we could practice close quarters combat in secret. We were so driven and obsessed we should have planned a bank robbery instead. We probably would have gotten away with it.
Our debut match was on a school night which made it that much more special. After enduring the longest day ever, my mom dropped the four of us Lazer Boltz (the still crummy team name I had to think up on the spot when we signed up for the league) off outside the arena.
We were still on the curb when our competition pulled up.
In their own cars.
Not only were they high school kids, they were the kind of of long haired metal heads you avoided at the pool and ran from at the mall. The deep end and arcade was their turf and we were grateful to be occasional guests.
Now we were about to be locked in a pitch black room with them and would be trapped in there until victors emerged.
Still, we liked our chances. While these kids were busy smoking cigarettes and listening to records backwards, we were training. In an egalitarian and utopian sport such as Laser Tag, it didn’t matter that we were each outweighed by 100lbs.
Until it did matter.
The Lazer Boltz started out strong but we were soon over matched when our foes realized that no referee in the arena meant that an abstract concept such as “rules” didn’t need to exist. They systematically chased us down like a pack of raptors and wrestled us into full nelsons and executed us at point blank range.
The yellow belt I earned in that very room six months earlier would prove to be no match for brute size and strength but at least I knew how to take a punch.
The Lazer Boltz disbanded after our first and only match. My mom flew off the handle on the guy who ran the place when she returned to find a quartet of sniveling kids on the curb. Turned out we were the only actual children in the league and were invited to only to help boost the numbers.
None of us ever returned. The arena went out of business a few months later.
By this point, Husker Nation should know how to take a gut punch and roll with it. A team can practice hard and do everything right but sometimes it’s going to walk into a buzz saw from which there will be no escape. All you can do is take your lumps, move on, and get better.
Last night, Ohio State was that buzz saw and the Huskers were humiliated on the national stage. It’s wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time. Shit happens and sometimes that shit is a scoreboard that reads 62-3.
In my preview of the game, I said that Tommy Armstrong Jr. could cement his legacy at Nebraska by leading the Huskers to victory. Instead, he cemented it by walking back onto the field in medical scrubs 58 minutes after he was strapped to a spinal board and taken to the hospital with his future hanging in the balance. In a night marked by defeat, this was the bigger victory.
Another week, another big game for your still-in-the-top-10 Huskers.
Following last Saturday’s disappointing loss at Wisconsin, Mike Riley said that his team would be “playing mad” tonight against Ohio State.
The Huskers should be playing more than mad. They should be playing with the intent to rip the collective throat out of the Buckeyes. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Their season is on the line.
If there was ever a time for this team to show the college football world the Huskers are back, it’s tonight.
Under the prime time lights.
On Ohio State’s home turf.
Imagine how hard Kirk Herbstreit will be losing his shit if the Blackshirts swagger onto the hallowed ground where he once posted a minus 200 QB rating and kicked the crap out of Ohio State like they were reenacting all the best parts of Road House.
It’s time for The Horseshoe to turn into the Double Deuce with Nate Gerry playing the role of Dalton. He needs to be the cooler who keeps the Buckeyes out of the end zone.
Tommy Armstrong can play the wise old sage Wade Garret because that’s who we need Tommy to be tonight. This evening is as good as any for him to solidify a place in Husker lore. Beating Ohio State in Columbus will go a long way towards forgetting all those YOLObombs.
However, if bad Tommy comes out to play, it will be yet another knife in the chest for Husker Nation- just like Wade Garrett.
Spoiler alert: Wade doesn’t make it out alive.
But the Huskers will be leaving Columbus with a win
As is tradition around these parts, we took the liberty in suggesting some costume ideas for Husker players and staff. You can see our previous Halloween spectaculars here and here. (Trigger Warning: the latter link includes photos from the previous regime.)
Yes, General Hummel was technically the villain in The Rock but his heart was in the right place. More importantly, he was a total bad ass much like Riley has been this season when it comes to deciding to go for it on 4th down.
This is a weird one. It’s been nearly a full day since the Huskers lost to Wisconsin 23-17 in overtime and the typical post-Husker loss depression has yet to kick in. Maybe it was all the beer during the game, followed by more beer after the game, followed by a late night rampage through Halloween candy that helped make this loss feel not as horrible as all the others.
Let’s break it down:
Did the Huskers have chances to win? Yes.
But did they piss the game down their leg? No.
Were there some odd offensive play calls during crunch time? Yes.
But were they as fatal as throwing on 3rd and 7 against Illinois? No.
Did these Huskers prove they have a lot of fight in them? HELL YES.
You never want to call a loss encouraging but it’s hard to be discouraged after this one. The last time I felt borderline optimistic after a loss was back in 2008 when the unranked Huskers went down to Lubbock and forced #7 Texas Tech into overtime by rattling off 21 points in the 4th quarter.
Like the Badgers last night, the Red Raiders scored first in OT but opened a window for a Husker victory when their extra point try was blocked.
Unfortunately that game would end two plays later on a Joe Ganz interception but it gave Husker Nation hope that the team had turned a big corner.
Seeing these guys slug it out for 60 minutes plus only to come up short hurts but it makes you look forward to seeing what they can do next Saturday in Columbus. The Huskers have a solid chance to get out of town with the win.
We just need Good Tommy to show up for all four quarters and perhaps a revised offensive game plan for those extra tight moments. There really should have been more urgency to close out the game in regulation and it doesn’t seem like Danny Langsdorf has a solid quiver of go-to plays when the Huskers need to get yardage.
In overtime, it was two Newby runs up the gut for a pair of yards and a pair of incomplete passes with the final one being a swing and a miss for a touchdown when a mere first down would have kept the Huskers in business.
As much as this game deserves to be stuck in our collective craw for a long time, it’s best if we let it go.
In case you missed it, the high school aged son of a former Husker coach who shall not be mentioned took a swipe at his dad’s old team following the game. Shortly after, he claimed to be hacked. Of course.
We’re starting to run out of Hollywood Bvld Spider-Men to star in these.
NUMBERS TO RATIONALLY DISCUSS WITH YOUR FRIENDS
(We’re not to depression levels… yet.)
2.8: Call Wisconsin lucky, call the refs blind, but no matter which way you shake it, the Badgers have averaged less than three penalties per game this season. They put up goose eggs in their games against Akron and Iowa so getting a single flag thrown on them for all of five yards isn’t that big of a stretch. Meanwhile, the Huskers were penalized just twice for 10 yards in their cleanest performance of the year. HOWEVER, THAT NO-CALL ON THIRD DOWN IN OVERTIME IS STILL BULLSHIT.
32: Wisconsin’s advantage in total yardage. They outgained the Huskers 337 to 305 on the evening. It would have been only a seven yard advantage for the Badgers had the Huskers found the end zone in OT.
12: Believe it or not, the Huskers actually moved up in Ed Johnson‘s book following their first loss of the season. Last week, Johnson, the Assistant Sports Editor at the Albuquerque Journal, had Nebraska slotted at 14, their lowest ranking among AP voters.
16: The Huskers’ new low ranking in the AP Poll is brought to you by Tom Murphy from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who dropped the Nebraska from 10 down to 16.
-5: DPE’s total rushing yardage under Mike Riley on 11 carries. (That’s -0.45 ypc.) If you add his freshman year into the mix, his career rushing numbers jump up to 5 yards on 16 tries. I know HCMR likes the jet sweep but maybe we can put it on the shelf for a game or three?
37.5%: Tommy’s completion percentage. He was 12 for 31 on the day with the Badgers clawing down 10 of those incompletions. Might not be a bad idea to use a few of these bad boys in practice next week so Tommy can get used to throwing around flailing arms.
Did you really, like, really, really think the Huskers would be undefeated and the 7th ranked team in the nation heading into the Wisconsin game?
If the answer is yes, congrats. You might be qualified to be an expert contributor to this site. Our preseason predictions for the Huskers were nothing but Ws… until things potentially go off the rails next week in Columbus.
But let’s focus on tonight in Madison.
This is game is exactly what we all wanted. The only way it could be any better is if Wisconsin wasn’t already softened up by Michigan and Ohio State. Taking down an unbeaten (and surely top 5) team would quiet any complaints about the Huskers’ weak schedule. Still, joining the Wolverines and Buckeyes in the elite club of Badger pummelers isn’t too shabby.
The Huskers are long overdue for a win against Wisconsin and there’s no better place to do it than their home turf.
On a Saturday night.
On Bob Ross’ birthday.
The greatest American painter who ever lived would have turned 74 today. While I never saw him celebrate a victory by his college football team, there’s no doubt he would have been a hip hip hooray kind of guy. Then he’d go right back to being the chillest rascal who ever lived.
Is it going to be disappointing in the unlikely event that the Huskers lose? Hell yes. Will the Earth stop spinning? Only for a few days.
Until that happens though, let’s enjoy this one as much as possible.
Husker Nation is living the dream right now and there’s no reason for one game to turn things into a nightmare season.
The deck is going to stacked against the Big Red in Camp Randall Stadium but do you know who’s going to be standing strong on the Nebraska sideline like a happy little tree refusing to buckle during a mighty storm?
By now we should all accept the fact that, like Bob Ross, Riley is completely unflappable. Granted, an errant YOLObomb is a little more severe than a happy accident but there’s nothing he hasn’t seen before. If the shit hits the fan we can rest easy knowing he’s not going to lose his. And that’s going to make a huge difference this time around.
Things might get a little hairy but we gotta let the game play out for a full 60 minutes, especially if we want to get to the part where the Huskers have been owning the last 15.
If there’s ever a Husker game you have to miss, go ahead and circle Purdue as a bonus bye week.
The Huskers’ 27-14 win over the Boilermakers started off with a bang thanks the combo of Kieron Williams pulling down an interception game’s opening play that was immediately followed by a 22 yard touchdown run by Tommy Armstrong Jr. on the Huskers’ first offensive snap.
From that moment, the game devolved into a somewhat stressful snooze fest. This is a match up that no one, including the Huskers, seems to care about. Our local watch site, Sycamore Tavern (formerly known as The Happy Ending) was nearly as empty as it was last year when the 3-6 Huskers limped into Ross-Ade Stadium with Ryker Fyfe under center.
The biggest takeaway from the latest chapter of this not-so-storied rivalry that gives national media giggle fits is that these Huskers simultaneously have the ability to find a way to win (somehow) while being able to incite mass hysteria among their fans.
I don’t want to say I was planning on the worst when Purdue went into their locker room with a 14-10 lead at halftime but I did spend the break stress eating an ice cream sandwich the size of a Personal Pan Pizza.
Let’s hope these last two weeks are nothing more than a mid-season lull as the players and coaching staff couldn’t help but be distracted by what looms ahead.
Kudos to OG Fanny Pack Spider-Man. He’s been the only costumed weirdo this season to take enough pride in his work to insist on multiple takes.
NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH
1,680: For the most fleeting of moments yesterday, the Huskers were on pace to hang 1,680 points on Purdue. Then the Boilermakers figured out it’d be better if their quarterback threw the ball.
98: Out the 239 points the Huskers have scored so far this year, 98 have come in the 4th quarter. And it’s probably worth mentioning that Husker opponents have scored a grand total of 13 points in the final period.
7:22: The Huskers’ 4th quarter time-of-possession advantage. Their TOTAL advantage for the game was 6:38. Last week against Indiana, the Huskers held the ball for 11:16 of the final period. If the other team can’t get the ball it’s going to be really hard to score. This is a brilliant strategy.
8: Eight different Huskers caught the ball Saturday afternoon and none of them were named Westerkamp or Carter. Hopefully they’ll both be back soon.
9: With his one carry for one yard performance, Mikale Wilbon has matched his total rushes from last season with nine. So far, he’s gone for 75 total yards at a brisk 8.3 yards-per-carry. (Last season he was good for 35 at 3.9). Maybe by the time he’s a senior he will no longer be a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
The last time the Huskers and Purdue Boilermakers squared off, Nebraska imploded worse than Donald Trump’s campaign. In a decade and a half that has been riddled with soul crushing and mind boggling defeats, losing to a horrible, even by their low standards, Purdue team 55-45 was easily the worst of them all. At least with the 70-10 loss at Texas Tech back in 2004, you can chalk that one up to the perils of Joe Dailey trying to run the West Coast Offense.
Side note: If your head is spinning because Donald was mentioned in a light less glowing than his complexion, feel free to substitute the Los Angeles Dodgers in the above analogy. I went to all three of their NLCS home games and spent two evenings that were far from very pleasant or good watching them play their worst baseball of the year at the absolute worst time. It has not been a good week.
OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to Purdue.
As you probably heard, their coach, Darrell Hazel, was kicked to the curb following the Boilermakers’ 49-35 loss against Iowa last weekend. Hazel went 9-33 in three and a half seasons and racked up a grand total of three Big Ten wins His teams took down Illinois (twice) and notched their signature victory at the expense of the Huskers.
Side note #2: The family that has seats next us at Dodger Stadium includes an Iowa alum. (I swear, these people are inescapable.) After she told me about Northwestern ruining her homecoming trip back to Iowa City, she took great joy in the fact that the Hawkeyes were able to regain a shred of dignity by being just bad/good enough to get a coach fired. She was so happy.
Well, apologies in advance to whoever (Gerad Parker, I guess?) is calling the shots for the Boilermakers today. You’re going to be in for a long miserable afternoon that will leave you questioning every life decision you’ve ever made.
You see, the 2016 Huskers aren’t the same sad sacks of confusion and disarray you played last year. These guys are ranked #8 in the country and are on a mission to roll into Madison undefeated next week. You Boilermakers are just a diversion to kill the time until next week’s main event.
The best case for this game is Mike Riley shows no mercy and gets this one over by halftime. Then, he unleashes Ryker to finish the job.
We’re talking a full 30 minutes of sweeping Boilermaker legs.
I don’t know about y’all but my heart and psyche can’t take the stress of a tense Husker game immediately followed by playoff baseball two Saturdays in a row. Let’s have some laughs and a few hours of fun today. (And don’t even mention what’s still technically possible for next Saturday.)
With the Indiana Hoosiers lurking in the shadows, the Huskers’ fall break is over with a vengeance.
DUN… DUN… DUN.
Hey there… remember this site? The one that seemingly fell off the earth faster than Barb after the Huskers rolled Illinois?
Well, there’s a good story behind that if only I could remember what happened. To keep it brief, I went to see a concert the Tuesday evening of bye week and somehow had a random blackout episode (for the record I was still on my first beer) that sent me to the ER with a rather gnarly concussion. Now that I’ve regained enough brain power to form mostly coherent thoughts, it’s time to get back to what’s really important.
The Huskers rolling into Indiana and snapping some Hoosier necks like they have the power of telekinesis.
Since we last checked in, the Huskers slid into the Top 10 thanks to other teams losing which has raised the question if the Big Red is really a contender, especially with their signature win coming against an Oregon team that’s now experiencing its worst season since their days of getting blown out at home 70-21 was a regular thing.
Look, it’s not the Huskers fault that they pummeled the Ducks so hard they ended up more mentally roasted than Eleven’s mom. That’s just a potential side effect from having Mike Riley’s team on your schedule. Get used to it.
Even still, pundits are worried Indiana is going to be a trap game. This is the same Indiana that is currently 3-2 with a loss to Wake Forest and is coming off a 38-17 beat down by Ohio State. Granted, the Hoosiers’ most impressive win of the season came against Michigan State in overtime but let’s not overlook the fact that Indiana won thanks to the fact that the Spartans suck this year and T-Magic’s brother Drake got called for a game changing leaping penalty (WTF?) during a field goal attempt.
Big deal if Indiana doesn’t huddle. That just means there’s going to be less time for Michael Rose-Ivey and Nate Gerry wait before they get to tackle someone again. The only worry for the Blackshirts is if Chris Jones gets a blister from making so many interceptions. Hoosier QB Richard Lagow has thrown seven in five games. Meanwhile, our boy Tommy is holding steady at two. (He had six through five games last season.)