Tag Archives: nate gerry

Announcing the Big Red Fury Red Elephant Christmas Spectacular

Like, for real. Can someone please explain how exactly the wheels fell off the Big Red wagon the last couple of weeks?

Due to relocating the Big Red Fury World HQ to a new top secret location that almost qualifies as Rose Bowl adjacent, I’ve kind of lost track of what’s been happening with the Huskers (seriously people, don’t ever move) but here’s a rundown of the awesome news I’ve been able to catch.

Unless he gets a last minute leg transplant, Tommy Armstrong probably won’t be playing in the Music City Bowl.  In other words, it’s ride or die time for Ryker.

Noted hot pants wearer Jordan Westerkamp is out due to a torn meniscus. Granted that injury is probably not at all related to his aversion to knee pads but why not do what you can to protect the important goods?

Thanks for the all the memories and good times, roomies.

A bunch of prized recruits decided to peace out… but Keyshawn Jr. didn’t!

And the most baffling of all… senior captain Nate Gerry was ruled ineligible for the Music City Bowl due to flunking some (or all) of his classes, if he even bothered to go in the first place (depending on which rumor you believe).

How in the name of Bob Devaney is it even possible for a student athlete to straight up flunk classes? JFC… I didn’t even have a fraction of the academic resources that are at an athlete’s disposal during my time at Husker U. and somehow managed to graduate as a solid B- student while skipping more than my fair share of classes (and only had to retake one) during that five year span.


Now that the bad news is out of the way, let’s get to the stuff that’s really important.

On Sunday, aka Christmas Day, we’re going to have the first ever Big Red Fury Red Elephant Christmas Spectacular.

What is this, you ask?

Oh, let me tell you.

On Christmas Day, between 1 – 2pm Runza Standard Time, I’m going to tweet out some Husker trivia questions. First correct response for each one wins a red elephant gift.

What’s a red elephant gift, you ask?

Oh, let me tell you.

A red elephant is the same as a white elephant with the major difference being these gifts will be Husker themed and they will be spectacular.

That’s both a threat AND a promise.

Give @BigRed_Fury a follow on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the fun and have a perfect excuse to avoid your family for a while on Christmas Day.


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Sorry Ohio State, Nebraska Nice is Over

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

Huskers 28 – Ohio State 21.


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Wyoming Edition

The Wyoming Cowboys galloped into Lincoln with all the swagger of a Frontier Days champion and left town with as much confidence as a rodeo clown who is bad at his job.

(Did I just write that? Holy crap. I might be ready for a career in mediocre sports writing.)

In all seriousness though, for three quarters the Wyoming Cowboys gave the Huskers fits… wait… scratch that.

For three quarters, the Huskers gave themselves and Husker Nation fits as miscues took points off the board and kept Wyoming within striking distance to ruin everyone’s day.

Then the 4th quarter started and Nebraska slammed the door on Wyoming by scoring 28 unanswered points in one of the most crowd pleasing 15 minutes in recent Husker history.

Meanwhile, it was a quarter to forget for Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. He had a run where three out of four pass attempts were picked off by the Blackshirts and contributed to another turnover with an errant backwards pass that was smartly scooped up by Dapper Ross Dzuris.

The most memorable play of the final period was Nate Gerry’s first interception on the day. After he was brought down by Allen, Gerry handed the ball back to him and was promptly flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It’s hard to think of an example of trolling as masterful as giving the ball you just picked off back to the quarterback.

The refs clearly suspected Gerry of malice and promptly flagged him but I like to think Nate was just being helpful and wanted to make sure Wyoming didn’t leave a football behind in Lincoln.

Let’s break it down.

nategerry1
Gerry hands the ball to Allen and turns away so quickly he doesn’t even have time to insult his mother.

nategerry2
Allen then gives a half-assed attempt at letting Gerry keep a souvenir and somehow manages to avoid a flag of his own.

nategerry
It’s so refreshing to see Gerry get flagged without being ejected.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

Mike Riley Happy Balloon
A shiny balloon is a happy balloon.

Our Score Prediction

For a while there, it looked like we overshot the mark but we’ll gladly be wrong when the final score is 52-17.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

3: When he joined the 4th quarter interception party with a pick of his own, Chris Jones extended his INT streak to three games.

5: Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen threw his first five career interceptions  on Saturday.

28: To find the last time the Huskers broke off 28 points in a 4th quarter, you gotta go back to 1996 when they rolled Oklahoma 73-21. They also put up 28 in the final period against Kansas in 1991 and Iowa State in 1984

More numerical surprises I found while looking through the box scores of every high scoring game from the last four decades:

29: Apologies in advance for the trigger warning but if you may recall, the Huskers did have a 29 point rally in the 4th against Purdue last year to bring the final score within 10 points.  For everyone’s sanity and peace of mind we won’t mention that final score.

30: In 1982, the Huskers played their final game of the regular season at Hawaii on December 4. The Big Red entered the 4th quarter down 16-7 and would end up winning 37-16 thanks to what was surely a motivational pep talk from Tom Osborne.

48: In 1984 the Huskers broke the back of the Colorado Buffaloes with a 48 point 3rd quarter. There’s no reason for sharing this other than it’s awesome and is probably some sort of record.

Hope you enjoyed walk down memory lane and yes, I should probably get a new hobby.

57: In case you missed it, Tommy Armstrong now holds the Nebraska record for touchdown passes with 57.

105: Jordan Westerkamp returned to form with 105 receiving yards on just four catches. Westy’s career yardage now stands at 2,059 only 631 yards short of breaking Kenny Bell’s career record.

Finally, in case you missed it, Armstrong and Westerkamp are roommates.


 

 

 

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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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Husker Valentines

Did you forget Valentine’s Day is this Sunday?

Not to worry, we have you covered with an assortment of Husker themed valentines. There are a dozen to chose from and dare we say they are perfect for expressing your true feelings to your Big Red sweetheart.

Feel free to poach whatever valentines you like… right click, screenshot, whatever floats your boat. You can also find a gallery on the Big Red Fury Facebook page that is perfect for sharing.

Tommy Armstrong ValentineThere’s no bolder move than chucking up a #YOLObomb when you only need three yards. If you want to go big this Valentine’s Day, Tommy Armstrong has you covered.

Jordan Westerkamp Valentine
Jordan Westerkamp is a receiver, get it? Yes, this is our version of the Choo-Choo Chose Me.

And while you’re here, check out our new Westerkamp highlight reel.

Josh Banderas Valentine
Perfect for when Cupid steals your heart… or your bike.

Michael Rose Ivey Valentine
Michael Rose-Ivy’s valentine will hit you like 1/8th of a ton of bricks.

Mikale Wilbon Valentine
Remember that time Mikale Wilbon actually got to play and he looked really good?

VINCENT VALENTINE
Vincent Valentine is ready to help you erase any doubts about commitment issues and let your boo know that you’re in it for the long haul.

Mike Riley Valentine
This digital Valentine was made with all-natural, allergen-free pixels. 

Nate Gerry Valentine
Unlike Nate Gerry, you won’t get ejected for delivering this fierce, yet perfectly legal valentine. 

Sam Foltz Valentine
Step aside Cupid, Thunderleg Foltz is delivering this one.

Scott Frost Valentine
It’s not stalking if you know it’s true destiny.

Tommie Fraizer Valentine
Sorry, Tommie. We had to do it.

Bo Pelini Valentine
Relationships are a tricky business and sometimes there’s a person you just can’t quit.

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: UCLA Edition

If the first thing you did when you woke up this morning was check the box score from the Foster Farms Bowl, don’t worry.

You weren’t the only one who did that.

It wasn’t a dream. Nebraska really did run wild against UCLA and came away with a 37-29 victory that was equal parts fun and gut-wrenching anguish.

Even when the Big Red was trailing 21-7 midway through the second quarter, Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf stuck to their game plan* and continued to pound UCLA like Rocky slugging a side of beef. It was a glorious sight to behold as the Huskers chipped away at the Bruin defense a few yards at a time and rattled off 30 unanswered points.

UCLA finally replied early in the fourth quarter with a quick and methodical secondary shredding strike to pull within 8 points but that would be it. A missed field goal and absolutely clutch end zone interception by Chris Jones would seal the Bruins’ fate. The Huskers finally ran out of new and cruel ways to blow it at the end.

*Let’s Talk About That Game Plan: No doubt this next week will be full of think pieces and talk radio jibber jabber about how Riley and Langsdorf have finally found the light when it comes to Huskers’ offensive identity. Were these new look Huskers the result of a philosophical sea change or was it something as simple as Coach Riley checking his twitter mentions while enjoying a complimentary omelet at the Embassy Suites?  Could an endless stream of eggs imploring him to run the football actually have enough sway to make him throw UCLA a change up for four quarters? It would be amazing if that were the case. If there was one thing message board coaches got right this year it was the need to run the football.

Three Quick Wishes For 2016…

1) The Return of Tommy Legstrong: Tommy ran for 305 fewer yards in 2015 (400 vs 705). Splitting the difference in 2016 would be gravy.

2) A Lockdown Secondary (or at least one that isn’t consistently beaten): UCLA’s 60 yard bomb in the second quarter looked eerily similar to other times the Huskers were repeatedly scorched on the deep ball throughout the season. Then, when the Bruins started to rally in the fourth, they ran the exact same screen pass 4 or 5 times. The only variation was flipping the formation to the opposite side of the field one time.

3) A Nickname For Nate Gerry: Here are a few that come to mind… Jailhouse Rock, The Convict, Penalty Box,  Big Boss Man, Lock Up, Early Exit… (good thing there are still 9 months until the season starts)

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: A solid win over UCLA means Coach gets his balloon back for the off-season.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

17:36: The Huskers’ time-of-possession advantage over UCLA.

62: The number of times the Huskers ran the ball against the Bruins for a total of 326 yards on the ground.

Now let’s compare that effort to the rest of season:

BYU – 37/126
S. Alabama – 37/258
Miami – 34/153
S. Miss – 39/242
Illinois – 34/187
Wisconsin – 37/196
Minnesota – 36/203
Northwestern – 38/82
Purdue – 33/77
Michigan State  – 36/179
Rutgers – 35/174
Iowa – 38/137

4: The number of times the 1995 Huskers, aka the greatest team in the history of college football, topped 62 rushes during their entire season. (70 vs Pacific, 63 vs Washington State, 68 vs Iowa State,  68 vs Florida)

And all this leads to Larry the Cable Guy winning the award for “Most Accurate Tweet of the Night.”

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Breaking Down the Bankshirts’ Worst Play

What’s up, reader(s)? Miss us? Don’t worry, this humble little slice of the Husker internet didn’t decide to run for cover now that Big Ten play is here.

This week got kind of turned upside down due to attending an AC/DC concert Monday night at Dodger Stadium. As hard as they tried (thanks for ears that are still ringing and a two day hangover) Angus Young and company could not blast the memory of one particularly horrific play the Bankshirts made against Southern Miss out of my head.

Starting with that darn Hail Mary (or Hail Joseph Smith), the age of the Bankshirts has been maligned to the point that the names Mark Banker and Kevin Cosgrove are starting to appear together in pieces by Brandon Cavanaugh and Steve Sipple which is never a good sign.

So, without further ado, the Bankshirts’ play that sticks in my craw more than any other happened with 9:30 left to play and the Huskers comfortably leading 36 – 21. Southern Miss was starting a drive at their own 25 yard line and quarterback Nick Mullens threw a short pass to running back Ito Smith as he sneaked his way out of the backfield. It was a nice safe choice to start a drive that was sure to gain a nice little chunk of yardage towards another first down.

Except for the fact that it netted 39 yards and more missed tackles than I have the ability to count.

Here’s how it started…

BustedPlay1

Freedom Akinmoladun
and Greg McMullen rush Mullens like they’re trying to scare off a bear. Mullens flings the ball off to Ito who’s all alone.

BustedPlay2

Have no fear, Nate Gerry is there to limit Ito’s catch to a only a five yard gain. Oops.

BustedPlay3

Over on the offensive side of the ball, Keith Williams‘ number one rule for his receivers is to make the first defender miss. Surely that philosophy can’t be a universal phenomenon so we’ll give Gerry a pass because Chris Jones is there to try to back him up.  And because football is a team sport, Mohamed Barry adds a whiff of his own while Dedrick Young gets blocked all the way out to Waverly.

BustedPlay4

From here, the Bankshirts kick in a ferocious level of pursuit not seen since that one time Jack Hoffman scored a touchdown.

BustedPlay5

Luckily, Byerson Cockrell remembers they’re playing a game that counts and swoops in with a potential touchdown saving tackle. Southern Miss would go on to score 8 plays later after Josh Kalu was unjustly charged with a pass interference call the negated his interception at the goal line. On the upside, three and a half minutes were chewed off the clock.

Will things get better for the Bankshirts against Illinois on Saturday?

Hard to say but it will also be hard to do much worse than this complete and total meltdown.

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View from the Boneyard: South Alabama

Between a 7pm kickoff time, the end of the BYU game, and the fact that we were playing South Alabama, none of us were too concerned about arriving at Memorial Stadium that early to secure our seats.

Lo and behold, there were a whopping 15 people in line at East stadium when our group arrived just a half an hour before doors opened. Even the line to South stadium seemed to be slacking attendance-wise.

Our usual group had grown even larger than before, making it even more crucial for us to save two rows of seats. I met a new Minnesotan friend that had the same phone and phone case as me, though, which was pretty cool but also kind of eerie.

In typical fashion, doors opened for South stadium minutes before East stadium got let in, leaving the older students to sit and watch as the freshmen and sophomores try to blur the line between the definitions of walking and running.

The Boneyard Challenge was brought back during this game, which takes students from both sections and has them compete in a game out on the field. This time, it involved the bubbles.

bubbles
The first big hits of the day at Memorial Stadium.

There’s something oddly satisfying about watching people in giant bubbles run full speed into each other to try to knock each other down. Right out of the gate, my roommate completely annihilated the other girl. I’ve never been more proud.

One of my favorite additions for this season are other games being played on the HuskerVision screens before the game starts. Watching Notre Dame v. Virginia helped passed the time, especially watching my die-hard Notre Dame fan friend react to the end of the game.

Once our game started, it didn’t take long for the Huskers to show that they meant business. An interception by Nate Gerry on the Jaguars’ first possession sent the student section from nonchalant to exploding, which was exactly the momentum that we needed after a heartbreaking loss the week before.

touchdown
Terrell Newby gets the Huskers on the board and balloons in the air.

Soon after, I was challenged by some of our newcomers to the group to see if I could get us on the big screen. This is the one challenge that I never take lightly, so I told them to just sit back and watch.

Between being a theatre kid and a broadcasting major, being in front of a camera and an audience is pretty comforting to me, so getting the attention of a camera guy seems almost second nature. Focused in on a camera in West stadium, I had acquired my target.

I spent the entire first quarter directing all of my singing, dancing, and random posing at the one camera in hopes that they would notice me. When I say entire first quarter, I mean it. Soon after, HuskerVision had made it clear that this was war as nothing but my face graced each screen in Memorial Stadium.

Zooming out, the screen was soon filled with embarrassing shots of me and my friends pulling out our stupidest dance moves and cheering. Honestly, if you’re trying to look cool on the big screen at a sporting event, you’re doing it wrong.

Once halftime hit, I immediately look for two of my roommates next to me. Our fourth roommate is on the flag line, and the day before we had made it clear to her that we were going to embarrass her while she performed.

As everyone else sat down watching the show, we were standing up against the gate dancing and cheering for our roommate, Hannah. With the way that I was acting, you would think that I was a mom on Toddlers and Tiaras and Hannah was competing for Ultimate Grand Supreme.

Not long into the 3rd quarter, a touchdown from Imani Cross put the Huskers up 31-0. At this point, I had scream-sang the words to Hail Varsity so many times that I’m still surprised that I haven’t learned the middle part yet. But considering that I hadn’t even known that there were words to Hail Varsity until my junior year, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

A 36-yard field goal for South Alabama almost seemed like the end of the world after keeping the Jaguars scoreless for nearly three quarters. Had you looked at their fans’ section afterwards, you’d think that they were right back in the game at that point.

It wasn’t long after that when suddenly I found myself completely unable to dance to the music being played. Other than Jump Around (thanks, Wisconsin), there’s only one song that I refuse to celebrate to: Chelsea Dagger. Being Minnesotan and a die-hard hockey fan, I just can’t bring myself to dance and cheer during the Blackhawks’ goal song.

The camera guy that I had been harassing the entire night had taken notice to my sudden lack of dancing, as he put my entire group of dancing friends on the big screen with me just out of the shot. Touché, camera man.

With nearly half of Memorial Stadium cleared out at this point, South Alabama had finally scored their first touchdown of the night with just under five minutes left. A failed 2 point conversion attempt left the Huskers with a 48-9 victory and left us contemplating whether it’s too late to plan a road trip down to Miami for next weekend.

Huskers Get The Win
A welcome site to see after last week’s heartbreaking finish.

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

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View from the Boneyard: BYU

I’m always so amazed how waking up on a Husker game day at 8am is almost effortless, especially considering how difficult it is for me to roll out of bed to get to my 12:30 classes half of the time.

Our casual group of five arrived at the stadium just before 11am (after eating copious amounts of french toast made by yours truly), but five soon grew to over 15 as we realized how many seats we needed to save in the front of East Stadium.

After so many years of going to the games early, you start to recognize the reoccurring people who arrive hours before kickoff. Walking up to East Stadium, you’re greeted by students in fun costumes, students playing catch with a football, and The Iron N’s football sport directors telling you to “do the Westerstache.”

westerstache
The Iron N football sport directors (minus Allison Redwine) telling fans to “do the Westerstache.”

Hours of waiting outside of the doors in the unbearable heat were made easier thanks to Zesto’s bringing ice cream for everyone. Seriously—you’re the real MVP.

The cries of “3, 2, 1” echoed outside as students in South Stadium got ready to “walk” up the ramps to their seats. Ever since my freshman year, students have been threatened by security to walk—not run—to their section since students kept running into the large concrete pillars in the past. Personally, I say let natural selection take its course, but that’s just me.

eaststadium
Not even Abraham Lincoln could persuade the powers that be to open the East Stadium doors just a little early. 

There are few things on game day more frustrating than waiting to be let in to East Stadium after South has already been let in, especially since watching the chaos of getting to the front row is one of my favorite parts of game day.

It’s a lot like watching the Hunger Games, honestly. Every man (or woman) for themselves as people push, yell, and weave through other students in the bloodbath to get down to the front rows. May the odds be ever in your favor.

This year was the first year that I hadn’t been worried about getting to our spot in time. It’s kind of comforting knowing that roughly 15 people waiting in line with you are all trying to save spots for the same group.

Hayley Archer Boneyard
Front row seats secured!

The Boneyard was entertained before the game by its new official DJ Phipp Phippa, who was able to get students to go down to the field to dance, as well as get everyone involved in some new Husker chants.

Despite having the DJ, two and a half hours of waiting inside of the stadium can start to drag on. Students passed the time by meeting new students, reuniting with old friends, and even getting Sam Foltz’s attention with a “Foltz 4 Heisman” poster.

The real excitement kicked in once the pregame festivities began. This year was the first year that I was actually a part of the Go Big Red banner in East Stadium. No one warned me how easy it is to get completely engulfed in it as it comes back down, though. Rookie mistake.

tifoStudents in South Stadium bring the Boneyard tifo to life.

Everyone in the section seemed to be showing off the goosebumps as the Tunnel Walk happened, and I stood there shaking like one of those little lap dogs that had just been asked if they wanted to go for a walk.

BYU’s team ran out on the field and was soon greeted by a chorus of boo’s from the South Stadium students. East Stadium was quick to call out the freshmen and sophomores on their etiquette, though. If we’re going to take Minnesota’s motto and make it our own by saying “Nebraska nice,” we better live up to that. Granted, I went the entire week saying “more like BY-Eww am I right?” but I’m pretty sure the only offensive part of that statement is how horribly stupid it is. Much like most of my jokes.

BYUfield
After months of waiting, the Huskers are moments away from return to action.

Can You Feel It blasted through the stadium as The Iron N’s newest project was displayed. I can say from experience that a lot of hard work was put in to that project, especially after spending countless hours painting and trying to tell as many people there about this exact article that I’m writing. So yeah, hey guys. (I told them I’d give them a shout out to get them to read this.) (Editor’s note: This is a brilliant move, always.)

The game began and everything seemed right again in Husker Nation. Shoes were raised during the kick off and I managed to only almost fall off of the bench while dancing twice, so there was definitely progress from previous years. Seriously, those benches are narrow.

It was weird though to be at my first Husker game without my partner-in-crime, my former roommate and now Husker marketing intern best friend. Thankfully that void was filled during the second quarter when she was finally done working.

With the first touchdown of the season scored by Westerkamp (#DoTheWesterstache),  everyone was relieved to finally be able to release their red balloons into the sky without having to worry about accidentally releasing it prematurely and facing the judgement of their peers.
Memorial Stadium Balloons
Balloons were let loose following Jordan Westerkamp’s jaw dropping touchdown catch. What a way to start the season.

There seemed to be a serious disinterest from many fans during the second quarter, in which the Huskers were unable to put any points on the board while BYU got two touchdowns and a field goal.

The attitude changed with an injury to Sam Foltz, causing fans to jump out of their seats screaming at officials. With that occurring during the only time that I had left the student section, I realized that I had probably jinxed everything and that I should never leave the Boneyard during a game again.

The new energy seemed to fuel the Huskers as they kept BYU scoreless in the third, especially after an interception by Nate Gerry. Some of the energy was lost in transition to the fourth quarter, where most people blamed the oddly quiet pump up music being played over the sound system.

Honestly, I was thinking about how the Huskers had the game in the bag during last few minutes of play. But when 15 seconds started ticking down, you could see the looks of fear in Husker fans as the clock stopped with one second remaining. The dreaded one second.

Soon after students were greeted by a celebrating BYU coach making his victory lap around the field. No one left the section for multiple minutes after the end of the game from pure shock. I guess this is how Northwestern felt not too long ago.

In my opinion, we probably jinxed ourselves by not keeping up with the greatest Husker tradition of all time: Valentino’s Slice of Life. But that’s just me.

But as the random passerby said after the game, “if we can make it through Callahan, we can make it through anything.”

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

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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.

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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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