Saturday, November 08, 2008

Suh, Helu, and Potter Dominate the Jayhawks

Nebraska's 45-35 victory over Kansas was huge in several respects:
  • It's Nebraska's first victory over an opponent where a victory wasn't assumed from the start. (Baylor is much improved this season, to be sure. And Western Michigan is having a good season, even upsetting Illinois today. But Kansas is better than the other teams Nebraska has beaten this season.)
  • It clearly establishes Nebraska as #2 in the Big XII North. (AJ would probably just move Kansas into a 4-way tie for 5th place, if he weren't busy Finding Nemo...)
  • It's Nebraska's sixth win, making them bowl eligible. It won't be one of the premier bowls; the Big XII South and Missouri will all get chosen before Nebraska. But any bowl is better than no bowl, as you get another fifteen practices to help develop players.
Ndamakong Suh and Zach Potter were huge today; Mark Mangino noted that the Husker defensive line took the Jayhawks out of their game plans. Both showed great hands today as well; Suh on his touchdown pass, and Potter looked like he was posting up on the basketball court when he picked off a Todd Reesing pass in the fourth quarter.

Roy Helu continues to prove he's Nebraska's most complete I-back. He did it all: 16 rushes for 115, catch 8 passes for 61 yards, and pick up blitzers all game. What about Marlon Lucky, you say? Well, he's still a special athlete as we saw today when he took a couple of snaps at quarterback out of the shotgun. That's where Marlon Lucky excels: he's really a "Slash" player you can line up at I-back, quarterback, and wide receiver. He's Nebraska's best weapon in the open field and can kill you in so many ways, but he's got his limitations. Specifically, running inside. Quentin Castille had an impressive game as well, showing great speed and power as well as ball security.

What makes the 45-35 victory even more impressive is that Nebraska went minus-2 in turnover margin. Eliminate the turnovers as well as three or four defensive busts in the first half, and today's game might have been over at halftime. Seriously. Imagine if Eric Hagg would have tackled Reesing for a huge sack instead of merely bouncing off of Reesing, allowing Reesing to flip the ball to Kerry Meier for an easy touchdown. Imagine if Anthony West could have wrapped up Dezmon Briscoe on some of those long passes. Credit Kansas for forcing those turnovers and making those plays, but all day long, you got the impression that Kansas was lucky to be hanging with Nebraska.

Certainly a better feeling than last year's disaster in Lawrence.

For the second home game in a row, large sections of the student section remained empty. Yeah, it was Nebraska's coldest game in several years, but still, this was a big game and it's a shame that many students either stayed away or left at halftime. Maybe students are protesting their seats being moved; if so, it's a poor way to show it. The bluehairs elsewhere in the stadium made more of an impact than your empty seats.


Anonymous said...

I didn't happen to see empty sections of student seats (though I wasn't really looking). But I was rather upset with missing the opening of the game. This was the first time in the 3 years of having seats that I wasn't in my seat in time for at least the tunnel walk. My friends and I were waiting outside for at least 40 minutes while everyone was getting patted down by security.

Come on Nebraska, you know it's a cold-weather game. You can't get a few more people out to the gates to speed things along, to get people inside on time? That's not even factoring that once we ARE inside, folks (bluehairs or not) aren't MOVING to their seats.


BigRedHusker said...

How about the lack of the Husker Power chant? Second time in a row.