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Sunday Evening Hot Takes: Maryland Edition

As an In-N-Out enthusiast, Mike Riley might be calling the Maryland game his coaching Double Double.

OK, probably not. But get a load of the ways the Huskers doubled up the Terrapins.

Total Yards

Nebraska 401
Maryland 207

Time of Possession
Nebraska 39:00
Maryland 21:00

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.

Meanwhile, 15 of Husker Nation’s finest rolled out of bed to make a 9am kickoff.

Before you label us a boring crowd of Husker fans, just know that we were saving our energy for the social event of the season- #IOWAHATEWEEK.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch
mike-riley-happy-balloon9a
Did you know one of HCMR’s nicknames is Ol’ Nine Balloons Riley?

Our Score Prediction

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.


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The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Saturday, November 5: 6:47pm

It’s 13 minutes before the Ohio State game and I am weirdly calm. Mike Riley has even coached me to stay calm and just relax at game time. It’s oddly reassuring. I’m just over here sipping a Budweiser and waiting for the game to begin. The Huskers have a chance to pull this off. My score prediction is 28-21. I think it’s going to be close but the Huskers want this. They know what it feels like to have a failed season and don’t want it to happen again. This Ohio State team doesn’t really know that feeling. Something just tells me that this game is going to go to the good guys. The Huskers. I know this team is beaten up and I’m sure I will be posting my post game reaction and feeling totally different. Like a moron. Because that’s what Husker fans have come to expect. Disappointment. But not tonight. I won’t accept that this season is ending tonight. I can’t.

7:15pm

Tommy threw a pick six on the first drive… might start watching Bama LSU

8:18pm

Ohio State: 21, Nebraska: 3

Actually might start watching Bama LSU

8:28pm

Punt recovered by Nebraska. I see hope. But it might be the beer talking.

8:38pm

It’s been a few minutes since Tommy went down. I’m scared. He is being carted off. He just gave the thumbs up. Who cares about this game at this point, just want him to be OK. Tommy has been the heart and soul of Nebraska for the past few years. He really is the best player on the team just because I never ever see him give up. And that’s all I can ask.

8:42pm

Ryker is in after Tommy is taken to the hospital. Morale is low. Hope is disappearing. I’m running low on beer.

9:25pm

12 seconds into the second half. Touchdown Ohio State. I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. Why am I still watching this?

9:41pm

So Tommy is just running back into the stadium in scrubs right now. The guy is a damn robot. Just happy to see him back.

10:09pm

Ohio State: something over 50, Huskers:3

I’m done with this blog

Tuesday, November 8: 6:20pm

Remember when I thought it was smart to attempt to live blog a Nebraska vs. OSU game? I do. And I’m a delusional idiot.


For real time hot takes from Leslie, follow her on Twitter- @lesmicek

 

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Sorry, Purdue. Mercy is For the Weak

What a difference a year makes, huh?

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.

riley-ryker-karate-kid-copy
Mercy is for the weak, Ryker. Remember what they did to you last year.

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.)

Huskers win this one 41-17.


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Hey Ryker Fyfe, Your Dad Hated Me. Here’s a Pep Talk.

Hey Ryker-

We’ve never met but I’m pretty sure I saw you as a baby at least once or twice. I know that isn’t exactly grounds for feeling qualified to give someone a pep talk but bear with me. This might all make sense in a moment.

You see Ryker, I was a student at good ol’ Grand Island Senior High when your dad got his career started a year or so before you were born. Can’t recall the specifics of why, but way back then, the only class he “taught” was afternoon study hall in the cafeteria.

Your dad wouldn’t have been much older than you are now and he carried himself with a swagger far beyond that of someone whose job description broke down to sit in a room and make sure no one gets stabbed or pregnant.

He may have also been an assistant football coach back then too but either way, as a former jock himself, he took an instant liking to the current jocks in the room. As a member of the tennis team, I was not worthy of jock status and was treated with the same disdain as the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, and dickheads who filled the cafeteria.

As one of several highly observant Grade A smart asses in the room, we didn’t take kindly to this double standard. Dude was in our world now and to us he was nothing more than fresh meat. A rookie who needed to be broken. So we let it rip with all the Barney Fife jokes and assorted heckles our 15-year-old minds could come up with. One of our favorite gags was to see who could do the most blatant impression of your dad’s pigeon-toed strut and not get busted. Oh what a fun gauntlet it was to walk up to him pretending to be him and ask for a hall pass to use the restroom. If things went a step too obvious, you’d get to see him later in detention.

He supervised that too.

There’s no denying that we were huge little assholes back then but when you put a few years between things (along with some introspective and enlightening psychotherapy) it’s clear we were just slightly misguided dipshits in need of positive support and some ADHD meds.

Anyway, your dad was able to welcome a few of us study hall knuckleheads to his world that summer as the head coach of our American Legion Baseball team.  GI High didn’t have a team yet so that was our equivalent to getting to play high school ball.

After tryouts ended and the roster was announced your dad summoned me into a dingy storage room underneath the Ryder Park grandstand. While I had made the team, he told me straight up I should never expect to play and that it might be a better use of my summer if I just quit.

I told him I was just glad to be there and would be happy to contribute however I could. (Getting to the level of fitted hats and metal spikes was a goal I really wanted.) I then went home and proceeded to break some stuff.

Baseball shouldn’t have even been my favorite sport but it was. My “career” got started early when my dad fudged my age so I could get a jump on the competition with a bonus year of tee-ball. He kept this ruse under wraps by also coaching the team but with my parents in middle of a nasty divorce, there were quite a few games where he intentionally forgot to pick me up. For the games that I attended, he refused to let me call him dad and didn’t acknowledge I was his son.

Good times.

Still, I enjoyed baseball and continued to play long after he split. It took a few seasons but I developed into a decent player. Granted, it’d take me until I was halfway to second to show any semblance of speed and my throwing motion made it clear my mom had taught me how to throw but I made up for it at the plate and played hard and mostly smart.

Under your dad, I went 6 – 21 for a robust .286 (a stat I remember only because it still sticks in my craw that I didn’t hit over .300). Still, it wasn’t too shabby for someone getting an at-bat every few games. When the season ended in the playoffs, that was the last time I really interacted with your dad. Never had an actual class with him and the invite to shoot hoops in your backyard that he extended to so many others must have gotten lost in the mail.

The next year I moved up to the Senior League and put together a pretty solid season. After a decade of playing, I notched my first game winning hit, coming off the bench for a 7th inning pinch hit double that earned a four paragraph write up on page 3 of the sports section of The Independent. It was one of the few times I got my name in the local paper for sports and it was a nice moment that still has a spot somewhere in my personal top 100 achievements.

Ryker, when you chose the Huskers over the Lopers, it was because you believed you could play quarterback at the highest level.

It doesn’t matter what the message board heroes or media have to say about how doomed the Huskers are going to be with you at the helm. You’ve been waiting years for a chance to prove your detractors wrong and it has finally arrived.

When you take the field tomorrow, the only person who needs to believe in you is you.

Go out there and have fun, live your dream, lead the Huskers to a win, and get your name in the paper.

You got this, buddy. GBR.

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5 New and Bizarre Ways the Huskers Can Lose To Wisconsin

With this year’s installment of Nebraska vs Wisconsin being the first match up since 1901 to have both the Huskers and the Badgers unranked, the hype for this game has all but been replaced by a feeling of dread for either side.

With the Huskers flailing to a 2 – 3 record and the Badgers at 3 – 2 thanks to a beat down against Alabama and an ugly 10 – 6 loss against Iowa, today’s contest doesn’t exactly set the table with blowout potential.

Which is good because frankly, watching the Huskers get blown out by the Badgers is getting old.  The Huskers need to find a new way to lose.

Look at this repetitive mess:

2011: 48 – 17 Nebraska fans are introduced to Russell Wilson.

2012: (round 2) 70 – 31 some kid named Melvin Gordon scampers for 216 yards on 9 carries.

2014:  59 – 24 Melvin Gordon runs wild for an NCAA record 408 yards. At least this time he needed to tote the ball 25 times in order to run almost a quarter mile. If you’re too lazy to do the math, his day worked out to a paltry 16.32 yards-per-carry.

In effort to spice up the bitter stew of defeat, here are just a few new and exciting ways the Huskers can lose to the Badgers today that are guaranteed to keep the water cooler conversation buzzing all week long.

5. Ryker Fyfe whiffs a tackle allowing Wisconsin running back Taiwan Deal score the winning touchdown in an otherwise close game. (It’s a long, arduous story but Ryker ends up filling it at linebacker after an already depleted corps is diminished even further as Coach Riley had ordered the back ups back ups to spend their game day slathering the new Riley homestead in allergen-free paint.

4. Alex Lewis blows kisses to the West Stadium crowd as the Huskers head back to the locker room at halftime. Wisconsin ends up winning by forfeit before halftime ends following the breakout of what will go down in history as the Great Blue Hair Riot.

3. The clock strikes 00:00 before Drew Brown gets a chance to chip in the game winner as Coach Riley forgets to call a time out in a scenario eerily similar to what happened to his Beavers in the 2012 Alamo Bowl.

2. The operator of Der Viener Schlinger blows a gasket and mows down the officiating crew following a botched call. The carnage caused by seasoned entrails makes everyone realize there is more to life than football and the game is suspended.

1. Rich Kaczynski‘s  halftime text messages to “his” players offers differing advice than that of the current coaching staff causing the Husker sideline to erupt into a full blown melee not seen since that time The Warriors were wrongly accused of shooting Cyrus. And just like that, the Husker football program spirals into new and even more unfathomable depths of dysfunction.

Or, the Huskers can somehow remember they are the daggum’ed Nebraska Cornhuskers and run a train on Bucky Badger and remind the college football world that the Big Red ain’t dead yet.

Positive thoughts, Husker Nation. Positive thoughts.

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