With 4th and 25 facing the Huskers, the fans in the South Stadium discussed the options left at that point. And of course, there really aren't a lot of good options on 4th and 25. Throw a shorter "Hail Mary" pass? I asked if anybody would dare send kickoff specialist Adi Kunalic's big leg out to attempt a 57 yarder. Nobody had any good ideas; there almost was a sense of disbelief that Nebraska screwed around too much today and was actually going to lose this game. The Huskers emerged from the huddle, and I was shocked to see Alex Henery out there preparing to kick a field goal. (First thought: ANOTHER FAKE?!?!? Second thought: Absolutely not. Not in this situation.)
The disbelief continued as Henery went through his preparations. Surely Colorado is going to call a timeout and ice Henery... right? Nope, the ball is snapped and Henery launches the ball in an eerily quite Memorial Stadium. It's a long, long field goal, and it seems to be traveling in slow motion. Wide right, it appears. D**n. Then suddenly, a little draw. It's going to hit the f*-in upright! The stadium still is quiet. But the draw becomes more pronounced, and finally the ball drops behind the crossbar.
And Memorial Stadium exploded like it hasn't since Eric Crouch caught "Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass" against the Sooners in 2001.
It was an adrenaline shot to 81,000 Husker fans, who seconds before were standing in resignation that Nebraska had made one too many killer mistakes against a spunky, yet short-handed bunch of Colorado Buffaloes. There were the opening four plays, when the Buffs attacked the Husker secondary for 148 yards and 14 points. After that, the Pelini brothers spent an extended amount of time on the sidelines with the defense, making adjustments. The remaining 55 minutes of the game: 143 yards for the Buffaloes.
There was a disasterous fake field goal that turned a likely ten point lead into a tie game. I've ripped Bill Callahan for running fake field goals and punts, and I'll leave it like this: I've had enough of fake kicks, and do not want to see another one anytime in the next few years.
There were penalties, and fumbles in the red zone. There was a fifteen yard sack that looked to take the Huskers out of field goal range with only two minutes left in the game.
Suddenly all was forgiven now, in large matter. And once Zach Potter tipped the ball to Ndamakong Suh, who then ran over Cody Hawkins on his way to the end zone, victory was assured, ripped out of the jaws of defeat.
Several players deserve game balls for today's performance. Potter, Suh, and Ty Steinkuhler kept CU's running game in neutral and kept the pressure on Hawkins most of the day. Roy Helu with 215 yards of offense. (Anybody still going to argue that Helu isn't NU's most complete back?) And, of course, Alex Henery with the school record, game-winning, field goal.
It's a win, and Husker fans are relieved to have it. But it shouldn't have been that close. Credit Colorado for making the plays to take control of the game early on and throughout. But there will be plenty on this week's game tape for these players to review and correct over the next month.