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Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Rutgers Edition

When the Huskers jumped out to a 21 – 0 lead over Rutgers, all was finally feeling right in Husker Nation. Our watch site that had been so tense for so many weeks finally felt like a nice, relaxing place to spend a Saturday afternoon. It was a very welcome change of pace and many laughs and assorted good times were being had.

Then Tommy Armstrong had to go and chuck up enough YOLO BOMBS to make the game a momentary nail biter.

And somewhere out there, Taylor Martinez had to smile knowing that he had taught his young Padawan so well.

All in, it was refreshing to see the Huskers mostly cruise to their first stress-free win in since playing at Minnesota nearly a month ago. Now all that’s left is to wreck to Iowa’s dream season unless the Hawkeyes don’t wreck it themselves first.

On with the hot takes…

Ex-Bo Friend Update

Bo Pelini went on a little rampage yesterday as his Youngstown State Penguins couldn’t hold a 17 point lead against North Dakota State. It was a loss that effectively ended the Penguin’s chance at the postseason. Naturally, the Omaha World-Herald couldn’t contain its glee and nearly forgot there was a Husker game to cover.

Nice of the World-Herald to use a photo from Youngstown State’s game at South Dakota as click bait for their home game against North Dakota State.

Not to even going to try to defend or justify Bo’s actions but Youngstown State did get jobbed on the pass interference call. One can only hope his latest sideline detonation is all part of his master plan to become the next pitchman for Xanax.

Some gifs just because…

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One can only assume Carl has had counseling since the last time he stalked a sideline with his brother. He walked away like a champ.

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This is exactly where Pelini reached peak rage.

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And Bo couldn’t say no to coming back for a second helping.

Our Score Prediction

Chewbacca Predicts Rutgers Score
We said Huskers 38, Rutgers 10. Totally would have nailed the 38 if it weren’t for Josh Kalu’s fumble return that was wiped off the board.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

   Mike Riley Balloon Watch Rutgers
While there were few hiccups, Riley was not hungover from Michigan State.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

2: The Huskers are now riding their first win streak of the season.

12: With his trio of INTs against Rutgers, Tommy Armstrong has already tied his total from last season with 12.  It will be interesting to see how his final stats shake up. Aside from a huge drop in rushing yardage, he’s nearly identical to 2014.

30:01/29:59: The Huskers ended the game with a two second time of possession advantage over Rutgers. Kooky.

98/90: Imani Cross followed up the signature performance of his Husker career against Michigan State by tacking on another 90 yards at Rutgers. While Cross has broken the century mark once in each of his previous three seasons, he’s never had back-to-back games with as many rushing yards.

Check this out…

2014: 109 yards against Illinois. Did not play the following week against Michigan State. In his next two games after than, he ran for 14 yards against Northwestern and 28 against Rutgers.

2013: 105 yards to open the season against Wyoming. That performance was followed up with 14 against Southern Miss and 19 against UCLA.

2012: Cross had his first 100 yard game at the expense of Idaho State but did not play the following week in the Huskers’ comeback against Wisconsin. Then at Ohio State, he rushed for 13 and followed that up with 3 and 4 against Northwestern and Michigan.

Here’s hoping Imani gets his yearly 100 yard game when Iowa comes to Lincoln.

167: How many more yards Jordan Westerkamp needs to become the Huskers’ first 1,000 yard receiver. Might be a good time for him go through the hassle of being able to order Domino’s via pizza emoji so he can start buttering up his roommate Tommy Armstrong.

If you’ve never heard, those dudes live together.

And if you’re a regular reader, there’s a good chance we used that as a closer before.

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Stuck in a Rutgers. Six Sad Facts About the Scarlet Knights.

Before the Huskers head to Piscataway, New Jersey for their first ever-game at Rutgers, here are few nuggets to give you a better idea of who the Scarlet Knights are and why they are the absolute dregs of the Big Ten Conference.

1869: The year Rutgers hosted the very first intercollegiate football ever. The Queensmen, as they were called back then, bested Princeton 6 – 4. Their only other game of that inaugural season was a rematch against Princeton a week later that resulted in them getting blanked 8 – 0. Somehow with a 1 – 1 record, Rutgers had the audacity to claim a national title– their only one in 146 seasons of playing football.

Basically, Rutgers is  the Anvil of college football. While they may have helped “invent” the sport much like the greatest band you’ve probably never heard of helped influence the speed metal genre, the Scarlet Knights football program has been all but left in the dust by their peers. Luckily for both Rutgers and Anvil, their fortunes have been mostly on the upswing since 2008.

6: The number of current (at the time) Rutgers players who were arrested and dismissed from the team after being charged with a string of home invasion robberies this spring.

3: How many times Rutgers has finished a season undefeated (1876, 1961, and 1976). Curiously, they did not try claiming a national title after either of their clean sweeps during the 20th Century. In fact, the Scarlet Knights were so butt hurt about not being invited to a “prestigious” bowl in 1976 that they took their ball and went home in lieu of playing McNeese State in the first-ever Independence Bowl.

10: The number of times Rutgers has appeared in a bowl game in their previous 145 seasons. While the Scarlet Knights are on the bowl bubble this year, they’ve been on a hot streak with nine bowl bids since 2005. In fact, they played in TWO bowl games in 2008 (the International Bowl against Ball State on January 5 and the PapaJohns.com Bowl against NC State on December 29). Rutgers’ overall bowl record is 6 – 4.

52,454: The seating capacity at Rutgers’ home field, High Point Solutions Stadium. 53,774 fans squirmed inside the gates for the Scarlet Knights’ first game as a member of the Big Ten last season, which led to the Rutgers administration issuing an official apology to Penn State for the rude behavior of their fans.

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High Point Solutions Stadium is like a smaller, sadder version of Memorial Stadium.

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A Rutgers fan celebrates his team’s entry into the Big Ten by demonstrating that sunscreen makes perfectly good body paint (as long as you have the time to hit the tanning salon).

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One can only speculate that this Rutgers fan’s nickname is R-U Going to Eat That?

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Even the Scarlet Knight is a guido.

61,221: The number of people who have the courage to admit to being fans of the Scarlet Knights on Facebook. (For reference, the Huskers boast 597,889 fans.) This shockingly low number says two things: 1) Not as many people care about Rutgers as the Big Ten would like people to believe. 2) Maybe New Jersey residents are still all up in that MySpace.

What Rutgers fans lack in online presence they make up for it with pessimism that puts Husker Nation’s biggest negative nellies to shame.

Rutgers Facebook Fans

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Blackshirts, and Rutgers, and Bo Pelini! Oh my!

Looks like Bo Pelini ran into some #kappa ladies tonight.

Go ahead and mock Pelini’s deer-in-the-headlights look all you want but if you were a married guy who was suddenly swarmed by half a dozen ready-to-party Kappa alums outside a hotel you’d be instantly terrified once the cameras came out.

The biggest news out of Lincoln this week was that Blackshirts were handed out. While Husker Nation seems to have accepted the fact that traditions can evolve over time (or they could have simply forgotten that Blackshirts are still an actual thing on the practice field), there was some confusion about whether or not they’d be worn on game day.
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Black Shirt Confusion

Joel, I was in your boat once. It was November 20, 1987. The day before Game of the Century II. In front of my entire sixth grade class, I asked our teacher if the Huskers would be wearing their Blackshirts because it was such a big game. I was laughed right out of the room.

Blackshirts Stupid

You know what else is stupid? Calling something stupid while not knowing difference between there and they’re. You were so close, David A Adams.

Last year, seven players were awarded Blackshirts before the start of the season. With an unproven defense heading into 2014, there was certainly nothing wrong with Pelini and Papuchis waiting to award the coveted jerseys.

The only concern is that handing out Blackshirts ahead of the Rutgers game really sets the stage for the Scarlet Knights to come in and take a big ol’ dump on the season. The moment news of the jerseys appearing hit the interwebs, a bad feeling started to sink in.

The last time the Huskers played at 11am, McNeese State was the opponent and we all know how that went.

If Pelini can keep the Blackshirts from letting their new Blackshirts go to their heads, things should be OK. But keep in mind that if this streak of four losses a season is to continue, the Huskers need to start losing some games.

So on that optimistic note, here’s our preview-

Confidence: See the above paragraph but take it with a grain of salt. Just because we have a bad feeling doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t forget that Rutgers did open their season by beating Washington State, the most perplexing 2 – 5 team of 2014, on the road.

Scouting Report: Between a bout of food poisoning and other extra curricular activities, this week has been a wash so we’ll turn things over to Brian Christopherson and Steven M. Sipple.

Sip’s I-slept-in-my-car-but-have-a-hell-of-a-story camera presence makes us want to have a beer or five with the guy sometime.

Ideal Scenario: Ameer breaks a buck fifty on the ground with a couple of long TD’s. The early start time will give extra chances for air time during highlight packages throughout the day. The offensive line doesn’t do anything too offensive. Kenny Bell breaks a long standing record but doesn’t celebrate by robbing a gas station. The Blackshirts live up to their own name. By the final whistle, it’s a good quick game over before lunchtime sets in here on the West Coast.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 5 — The game is on ESPN2 and it wouldn’t be surprising if the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” wanted a little get-back after Pelini’s SEC comments this week.

A Question That Needs an Answer: Will Johnny Stanton see the field again this season?

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Big Ten Impotence Rankings

“Dr. Delany. Paging Dr. Delany. You’re needed in the emergency room.”

“What seems to be the problem, nurse?”

“It’s the conference. It’s choking on something.”

“Well let’s have a look. Let me stick my fingers in here a moment… Ah-ha! Here’s the problem.”

“What is it, doctor?”

“Donkey balls. It appears the conference has been sucking on them.”

I originally intended to do a week 2 “power” ranking for the Big 10 Conference, but after seeing how each team looks hell-bent on proving who is the most namby-pamby, I’ve decided to respect their wishes and rank the conference teams according to inadequacy.

So here goes.

WEEK 2 BIG 10 IMPOTENCE RANKINGS

1. Northwestern (0-2)

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It’s the Wildcats who have swung the limpest of dicks so far this season. Featuring the nation’s 113th ranked scoring offense and 80th ranked scoring defense, Northwestern has lollygagged out to an 0-2 start to the year. They first headed to Berkeley and got golden-showered on by the Golden Bears — a school that went 1-11 last year — and then came home and lost to Northern Illinois. Granted, the Huskies are used to beating Big 10 teams by now. But still, it’s goddamn Northern Illinois.

2. Purdue (1-1)

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The Boilermakers have gone one for two in their attempt to pad their win total via a gauntlet of Michigan directional schools. It looked like a brilliant strategy, in week #1 at least. But Central Michigan is no Western Michigan, evidently.

3. Ohio State (1-1)

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Week 1 showed that things were definitely amiss in Columbus without Braxton Miller in the driver’s seat. Week 2 proved that Ohio State is nothing more than pellets for a flock of Hokies.

An old Ohio State alum can probably tell you what it’s like to sit through a four-loss season, Buckeyes. Because that looks to be where you are headed.

4. Michigan (1-1)

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Notre Dame ended your series like a disinterested ex-lover. Then proceeded to take your house, your car, your dog and your manhood. The clock may be ticking on Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

5. Indiana (1-0)

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The Hoosiers had little problem with in-state nemesis, Indiana State. But being the only game on Indiana’s resume thus far still puts them higher on the impotence scale than a pair of Big 10 losers. Getting stopped by the Sycamores on fourth down twice inside the red zone doesn’t help, either.

But hey, the alternate uniforms sure are dandy!

6. Michigan State (1-1)

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Sparty went out to Eugene with one single mission. Show the world that the nation’s top-ranked defense didn’t merely build its resume on the dubious backs of an offensive bush league.

And how did that go?

Well, if surrendering 500 yards and 46 points is your idea of making that statement, then mission accomplished.

7. Wisconsin (1-1)

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Does a 34-point win over Western Illinois do anything to lessen the pitiful display of Wisconsin’s wet-noodle-tackling, lame-duck-tossing blown 4th quarter against LSU?

No.

8. Rutgers (2-0)

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Not a bad start for the Scarlet Knights. As long as giving up 1,000 yards to winless Washington State and Howard doesn’t worry you. No cause for concern in Piscataway. Right?

9. Minnesota (2-0)

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Out-yarded by both cream-puffs so far this season. Good thing the Gopher defense is killing it in the take-away department.

10. Iowa (2-0)

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Pair of shitty wins over a pair of shitty opponents.

11. Illinois (2-0)

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A guy with the first name of “Wonderful” put a scare into the Illini on Saturday. Western Kentucky was supposed to be an easy win for Illinois, but the Illini needed all of 21 points in the 4th quarter just to get some breathing room.

12. Penn State (2-0)

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Within spitting distance of being the League’s best team is a program that isn’t even eligible for the post season.

13. Nebraska (2-0)

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Okay, Nebraska narrowly escaping overtime against FCS school McNeese State does come with a few caveats. The Cowboys — a team filled with Power 5 conference transfers — are thought to be contenders for the FCS National Title. They even shellacked South Florida last year, giving McNeese State the distinction of having the largest margin of victory by a FCS school over an FBS team ever. We can also assume that, given a second chance by Armstrong, the 98-yard pick-six would not have happened and Nebraska mostly likely would have taken a 28-7 lead into half time. Even with a shitty 10-10 second half, that’s still a 21-point win. A large enough gap to keep the Huskers from tumbling out of the AP Top 25.

But, alas, the 98-yard pick-six did happen and Nebraska did tumble out of the AP poll. So swallow those caveats like caviar, Huskers. Your performance against McNeese State (particularly in the second half) lands you second fiddle to:

14. Maryland (2-0)

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That’s right. These crab-cake-eating, Old-Bay-dipping, Blair-Witch-chasing Johnnie-come-latelies are the froth atop the Big 10 septic well. Just two weeks into the season and the Rust Belt Conference — home to no less than 4 college football Blue Bloods — has been shown up by a team whose sole purpose is to quell the grid-iron lust of Ravens fans one day prior to when REAL Maryland football gets played.

Congratulations.

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