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Going Full Circle with Southern Miss

Special Guest Post by Nick Allen – 

Nebraska played at Southern Miss on Thursday, September 25, 2003.

The scariest day of my life.

Six weeks prior I was in a doctor’s office hearing an OBGYN tell my girlfriend and I that we were going to be having a baby in October.

I said, “This year?

Six weeks later my first son was born.

At the time, I was cooking at a German restaurant and had been 21 for three months. I was in no position to be a dad. Sometimes I still feel like I’m not.

My future wife and I were blindsided. There had been recent signs that a baby may be appearing but we figured we would have standard notice. Instead, we had six weeks.

I’m a habitual procrastinator and was on the phone calling relatives the night before Sara was going to be induced saying, “I’m having a baby.

They would say, “When?

I said, “Tomorrow.

The only piece of advice I remember from that six weeks came from Miguel, an 18 year old father of one I worked with at Das Rheinland. I told him I was going to be a dad and he simply said, “It’s not about you anymore, Homie.

Since the day my son was born, that’s how I’ve been trying to live my life. Not about me anymore, Homie.

I’ve been trying but it’s not always easy. Trying to make sure my bad days stay my bad days instead of becoming other people’s bad days. Trying to wake up early. Trying to drink less. Trying to smoke less. Trying to be around and be present.

Sometimes I succeed, often times I fall way short. I’m really just trying to raise a good kid who doesn’t resent me. Who’s a good person because of me instead of in spite of me. And do the same with his brother and sister. It’s all a work in progress.

Sara was induced early on the day Conner was born. Nebraska was playing at Southern Miss that night but it was pretty far down on a lengthy list of things I was worried about. She was in a painful labor until an epidural. After that, we were kind of just hanging out, waiting for a baby to arrive.

While we were waiting into the night, there was a lone football game on the TV. Nebraska at Southern Miss.

Southern Miss, Brett Favre’s alma matter. On a Thursday. Under the lights. Against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

I don’t remember who Nebraska’s quarterback was that night, I don’t remember who the coach was either. I don’t know if I was supposed to be mad at the defensive coordinator that week.  It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t.

I was much more concerned about the human life that I was going to be responsible for busting out at any second. He was more laid back, waiting for Nebraska to secure the victory before joining us.

He was born at 10:52pm. I remember seeing him and watching his eyes adjust. I remember kissing my wife then staring at both of them in awe.

We had family waiting outside the door waiting to hear any news. I opened the door and put both fists in the air.

It’s a boy!”

By the end of the night I was a dad with a newborn son.

This past Saturday, I took Conner to his first Nebraska home game. Southern Miss at Nebraska. He turned 12 the day before. It was perfect.

A kid in Memorial Stadium with a grin on his face. Runzas in the stands. Big plays from the Blackshirts. A Nebraska kid at fullback stealing the show. Two old ladies sitting in front of us getting hit with a hot dog shot from a canon. My son thinking Jordan Westerkamp should get the ball every play and wondering if Tommy Armstrong will win the Heisman because, “He’s a quarterback and a running back.”

Jodan Westerkamp Tommy Armstrong

Nebraska beat Southern Miss. The game got close at the end. There was grumbling in the stands and bated breath throughout the stadium. Someone sitting near us said, “That was scary.

I wasn’t scared on Saturday. I was scared in 2003. I’m still scared now. But not about football. It’s a game. A game played by kids not much older than my son. I’m scared I’m not a good dad. Scared all of my shut off notices are going to arrive on the same day. Scared I’m in over my head. I need to be more laid back like my son.

I asked him if he thought Southern Miss was going to come back and win. He said, “I knew Nebraska was going to win the whole time. They had it.”

They did. And I think we have it too.

Nick Allen is a stand up comic who lives in Omaha. He was featured this past summer on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Follow him on Twitter at @NicksAllens.

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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: Southern Miss

After an entire pot of coffee at 6:30 in the morning, I knew that Saturday morning’s homecoming game against Southern Miss was going to be an interesting one.

The first challenge of the morning was to go to LaMar’s and ask for the “game day special” and get whatever they give you. But after one smart ass comment of “watch as it’s something like seven dozen donuts” from me, our friend decided that it might not be worth the risk. Instead, we all stuck with the tried-and-true red and white sprinkles.

We honestly weren’t expecting too many people to be at the gates for such an early start time, so we were shocked when we walked up around 8:20 to see a decent sized line already formed outside of east stadium.

All of the usual costumes made an appearance that morning, with the addition of @brus_almighty ‘s Westerstache drawn on his chest. Being the pun enthusiast that I am, I took it upon myself to name the long lost brother of the Westerstache: the Chesterstache.

chesterstache
Behold the glory of the Chesterstache.

Despite the turnout, we still got our usual seats. Partially from skill and experience, but mostly from the fact that most people were still half asleep and struggled to maintain anything more than a brisk walk to get to their seats.

Since this game was an 11 am game, there weren’t any games being played on the HuskerVision screen to pass the time. Luckily for me, the girls sitting in the row behind me brought in a deck of cards and invited me to play a game of Go Fish with them. In all of my years of going to Husker games, I still can’t believe that I had never thought of that. I also never thought that I would be as competitive at Go Fish at 8:30 am as I was, but you learn something new every day.

Time actually went by quickly waiting for the game to start, especially with additional things happening for homecoming. But to me, nothing says “home” quite like the collective off-beat clapping to Sirius during the Tunnel Walk.

Everyone seemed eager early on to let go of their red balloons, so when the crowd saw what appeared to be a touchdown, the sea of red balloons took flight. Despite protest from the rest of the fans that had realized that we were on the 4 yard line, balloons continued to be released throughout the next two snaps.

A fumble recovery by Kevin Williams on Southern Miss’s next possession helped wake up the crowd. During this time, I was challenged by my dear friend, the camera man from across the stadium. (If you’re new here, I urge you to read last game’s story.)

However, a star emerged early in the second quarter: Andy Janovich. After a gain of 25 yards, students could be heard chanting “Janovich” and “run the fullback.”

band
The superhero themed halftime show was great even if the Batman logo wasn’t visible from field level.

Everything seemed promising as the Huskers came out to start the second half with a score of 22-0. Then things got ugly.

The first three possessions by the Huskers resulted in an interception, a missed field goal, and a fumble recovered by Southern Miss’ D’Nerius Antoine.

game
The Blackshirts hunker down to keep Southern Miss out of the end zone.

Despite scoring another touchdown to make the score 29-7, an on-side kick successfully recovered by Southern Miss caused Husker fans to expect the worst, especially with how many of the games had been ending this season.

The east stadium student section saw some excitement as the Huskers had to punt for the first time. A large white banner that read “Foltz fer Hizemin” in Chick-Fil-A writing was brought out immediately after the punt. After working on the banner until 2 am just a few nights before, I was just happy that we got a chance to show it off.

The Huskers were soon looking at a 36-28 score against the Golden Eagles with just seconds left in the game. Surrounded by worried fans, my natural sports-optimism came our strong as I reminded everyone that Southern Miss would need to not only get a touchdown, but complete the two-point conversion just to tie, and how absolutely ridiculous that would be.

Then I remembered the Miami game just last weekend and joined everyone in their panic.

Thankfully, the game ended with a sack by Freedom Akinmoladun as time ran out. All I have to say is: let Freedom ring.

end
There would be no Hail Mary anxiety this time.

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

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Southern Miss Edition

Pop quiz: What’s the best part of a Sunday?

There’s no chance of a Husker football game to stress you out.

The game should have been a cakewalk but Southern Miss just had to add itself to the ever-growing list of teams that have given Husker Nation heart attacks the season. The Huskers came out strong before devolving back to what was on the field for the first three quarters against Miami last week. Like the Millennium Falcon, the Big Red somehow found a way to hold together and get the win.

On with the hot takes.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: A win is a win but the way Southern Miss kept it interesting until the last damn second means Mike’s balloon holds steady for another week at partially deflated.

MikeRiley Sad Balloon

Offense: It’s getting closer to having an identity even if that identity could best be described as make some spectacular plays to get to the red zone only to kick a field goal after stalling out. One of these days it will click more than it sputters and it will be a lot of fun to watch.

Defense: Hey…  the Bankshirts™ got the sack when it mattered the absolute most and spared us the drama of finding out if the Huskers figured out how to stop the Hail Mary. That secondary tho… lawn chairs randomly placed around the field could do a better job of defending the pass.

Andy JanovichCareer stats entering today’s game: 3 rushes for 6 yards, 3 receptions for 29 yards. Against Southern Miss: 5 rushes for 68 yards, 1 reception for 53. It’s a bummer that he’s already a senior but maybe it’s a good thing that Dirk’s days of being able to make analogies that even we think are bat shit crazy are already numbered.

Alex LewisThe officials called his number only once today. Good job, buddy!

The Big Red Cobcast: The only best part about sparsely attended 9am games is that they give you a chance to easily shoot the breeze with your fellow members of Husker Nation since there isn’t a packed room of fans shouting over each other. The vibe of a morning game is almost like a Husker Study Hall where the cool teacher lets you talk as long as you don’t get too rowdy. For Southern Miss, that meant 3 quarters of cracking jokes with Pat and Ryan from the Big Red Cobcast and 1 quarter yelling at the nearest TV. If you don’t already subscribe, the Cobcast is a must listen for any Husker fan.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

45-7: Our overly bold score prediction. In our defense, we were on pace to be close until Southern Miss realized the Huskers have no pass defense.

65.7: Tommy Armstrong’s completion percentage (23/35). The drops that plagued Husker receivers last week against Miami were mostly gone but Cethan Carter seemed to be running the wrong way every time the ball was thrown to his ZIP code. (Even Brandon Cavanaugh agrees so we must be onto something.)

23: Our good buddy Brent called the over/under on attendees to our watch site at 22.5. At kickoff there were 29 die hard Husker fans who rallied for the 9am start time thanks to a group visiting from Columbus. (Kudos to them for packing Husker gear.) When they bolted at halftime, that left exactly 23 of us to sweat it out to the final second.

12: The Huskers had 12 penalties totaling 98 free yards but none were for having 12 men on the field which is a pleasant surprise. The season total for that bonehead move remains at three.

6: The number of miles Bo Pelini will be from the Nebraska border next Saturday when his Youngstown State Penguins travel to the land of great faces and great places to take on the University of South Dakota Coyotes, a team he faced in Lincoln just two years ago. Maybe you remember it the day Tommy Armstrong made his first career start in place of a hobbled T-Magic?

2-2 Along with the Huskers, these other brand name teams are also sitting at a double deuce: Oregon, Oregon State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, BYU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington.

1: The number of times this season the Huskers have had a 100 yard rusher. Seriously. We even looked it up.  Terrell Newby’s  198 yard day against South Alabama is the only time this season a Husker has rushed for over 100 yards. That day seven different Huskers toted the rock for 258 yards. Against Southern Miss the Big Red racked up 242 yards split between eight different ball carriers with Newby leading the way with 76. It’s great that Langsdorf is spreading the wealth but one of these days a hoss running back needs to emerge from the pack.

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You Guys… The Huskers Won’t Lose To Southern Miss

It is 11:15pm out here on the Best Coast which means the Huskers will be kicking off against Southern Miss in a mere nine hours and forty five minutes.

(I think that’s right.)

Between going to four Dodger games, re-watching the Miami game right up until the ol’ DVR stopped recording after Brandon Reilly made his clutch, cage rattling catch on the Huskers’ final drive in regulation, and kicking back with a mini-marathon of three CHiPs episodes, it’s been a busy week for this guy.

Which means on a Friday night, I’m in full relax mode getting ready for tomorrow’s tussle with Southern Miss.

After all, it’s the first game of the season for real Husker fans. Think those fair weather Susies who spent their week complaining about the Huskers and the Husker who complained about them are looking forward to watching a game at the break of dawn? They sure don’t.

Tomorrow is when real Husker fans finally get the chance to spread their wings and get a little elbow room.

The Ice Man to my Maverick at our CAL4NE watch site has put the over/under at 22.5 in attendance which would be well under a quarter of the fans who came out of the woodwork for BYU.

It’s even going to be too early to get one of the costumed kooks of Hollywood Blvd to model our prediction so our mini Memorial Stadium is pinch hitting to display our bold prognostication of a 45 – 7 Husker victory.

Huskers Southern Miss Score Prediction

Here’s the deal: Even though the football gods have been treating the Huskers about as well as Jared from Subway on his first day in prison, the Huskers are still the Huskers and one of these weeks Mike Riley and his crew will figure it all out and the Big Red Machine will finally fire on all cylinders once again.

And it just so happens that Southern Miss will be playing the role of fresh meat for the new and suddenly improved Huskers. Like, for real, Mark Banker is going to figure out how to stop a deep crossing route.

It’s nothing personal, Southern Miss. It’s just time for the Huskers to get back to snapping necks and letting visiting teams cash the big checks.

#SMTTT = Southern Miss To The Top

I scrolled through several hours worth of Southern Miss related tweets and these two contained the most smack talk. Do their fans even know they have a game tomorrow? 

THREE RANDOM THINGS

1) If you haven’t read it yet, the new Tunnel Walk of Shame is a great trip down memory lane of the most magical era in Husker history.

2) Best outlook of the week award goes to Rex Salmon, one of the organizers of the San Diegans for Nebraska group.

Huskers’ Game 4 with Southern Miss could be, may be
almost be, or will be Nebraska’s 2nd WIN.

Depending upon your amount of faith, pick and stick with it.

If you ever get the chance, watch a game with the San Diegans for Nebraska down at the Black Angus. They are an impressive group both in size and spirit and every week you’ll get a great email from Big Rexx breaking down the next opponent on the Huskers’ hit list.

3) Who aside from our good buddy Dirk and Tiff the breakfast supervisor knew that Coach Riley was STILL living at the Embassy Suites?

It’s nice to see our speculation of Riley’s love of omelets was true but man, let’s hope he all moved in to his new pad since anyone who read that story (including those enraged Husker fans who somehow have the ability to read) suddenly know his schedule down to the minute.

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Monday Rage: Who Woke Up Angry About Miami?

Welcome to the first installment of Monday Rage for 2015.

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

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

Good times.

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

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

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

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

MikeRiley Sad Balloon

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

ON WITH THE TWEETS!

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

*be

Amazing.

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

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

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

We like Kevin’s style.

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

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

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