Saturday, November 20, 2010

From A to Z: Aggies, Injuries, & Zebras Too Much for Huskers to Overcome

That gasp you heard around 7:45 pm this evening was every Husker fan holding his breath when Taylor Martinez limped and fell to the ground after reinjuring his ankle. At that point, the Husker offense wasn't looking so bad, but from that point forward, the odds were stacked against the Huskers.

And no, I'm not referring to the officiating.  Yet.

Cody Green came in at quarterback, but like against Iowa State, was ineffective for the most part, especially with a couple of misfired passes. Without much of a rushing or passing threat at quarterback, the Aggies defense locked down on the I-backs, and running room was pretty tough to find all night.  And it didn't help when Nebraska kept getting flagged for stupid penalties.  Say what you will about the refs, but most of those penalties were self-inflicted and issues that were Nebraska's fault.

Meanwhile, the defense played pretty darn well against an offense that had been putting up big number in recent weeks with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. I say pretty darn well, because the Huskers let the Aggies escape out of some key situations where Nebraska should have had the advantage, such as letting Jeff Fuller get free for a 36 yard gain on 3rd and long at the A&M 9.  Allowing Cyrus Gray to run for 139 yards.  So while Nebraska held the Aggies to 9 (or six, if you prefer) points, I'd suggest that Nebraska could have played a little better on defense.

That's not to say that Nebraska couldn't have played better offensively.  It wasn't a good performance by the Big Red, thanks in part to a resurgent Wrecking Crew defense, led by Von Miller who was a beast limiting Nebraska's offense most of the night.  Taylor Martinez returned in the second half, and looked okay at times throwing the ball.  But with a bum ankle, he was a one-dimensional quarterback, with the dimension not his strength. With Zac Lee's apparent arm injury and Cody Green's ineffectiveness, a one-dimensional Martinez apparently is Nebraska's best option at quarterback at this time.

Over an hour after the game, "Pelini" is still a trending topic on Twitter, where it's been for the last two hours. Fans of the other eleven Big XII schools thoroughly enjoyed watching Bo Pelini scream and yell on the sideline, and especially get flagged for it.  And we all know why they enjoyed it.

The statistic of the night:  16 Husker penalties for 145 yards versus two Aggie penalties for 10 yards.  And before I hear about it, the majority of those penalties were Nebraska's fault. Jumping offsides, false starts, holding... yep, Nebraska played undisciplined tonight, and the Huskers paid the price for it.

But 16-2?  Last week, ESPN.com's David Ubben noted that Nebraska was tied for 116th nationally in terms of penalties called on the opponent.  After tonight, Nebraska probably should be tied for 120th.  Last week, Ubben said that this was one that would be "not a conspiracy, but still...."  This week, it'll be tougher for people to completely dismiss this line.  Last week, Texas A&M was (coincedentally) tied for 116th nationally in penalties per game (8.7).  This week, only two.  Did Texas A&M play clean football this week?

Well, that's just one play...but the old adage comes out here. The instigator never gets flagged, and the retaliator gets nailed.  And in this case, gets nailed twice. Not to excuse Cotton's actions, but rather to make you wonder what else the refs missed tonight.  (Question: Was Tony Jerod-Eddie auditioning for a career with the TSA to work airport security tonight?)

The defensive pass interference penalty on the third down pass to Brandon Kinnie? I was hot about it initially, but after seeing three replays, I think it was a good no-call in the end. The pass interference penalty on Dennard? After looking at the initial replays, that looks like a bad call to me.

And of course the one that took the cake was the "roughing the passer" penalty on Courtney Osborne that kept the Aggies game-winning field goal drive alive. It's been suggested time and time again that Pelini's continual abuse of the referees could be counterproductive; this is probably one of those cases. If so, that's something that Dan Beebe is going to have to address eventually, because while it's funny as hell to fans of the other eleven teams to watch Pelini get nailed, deep down they know that starting next season, the Huskers may be gone, but these referees will remain and still calling their games.

Let's put tonight's game in perspective.  Nebraska went -14 in penalties and -2 in turnovers against a ranked opponent on the road, and only lost 9-6 ... with their biggest playmaker hobbled.  In the grand scheme of things, the Huskers are still in decent shape.

12 comments:

Count Istvan said...

Screw the fans from the other 11 teams We'll see if they think it's funny the next 3 years when it's happening to them.

One game left against Colorado and the sad thing is I don't care. Not even a little bit. If we win (and we'll need to be really good to win Friday) What do we get? The right to star in a 3 hour porn movie. OH BOY!

Seriously I know we have to play this game Friday because of the $ but after that it isn't worth it.

Why play a game you can't win? Beat CU then tell the Big 12 to stick where the sun doesn't shine.

Anonymous said...

This crew looks like they all should be working WWF instead of football. Shame on them, but shame on us too for an undisciplined night.

Brandon said...

I was hoping to come here and see your brilliant comments about the video of our guy getting fingered in the brown hole but you have let me down. I enjoy reading your blog after every game but it sounds to me like you've had just one swing too much A&M kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

Dude, the Huskers scored 3 points. You can't blame the officials for the Husker inability to put points on the board. Bo was an embarrassment on the sideline.

riff said...

I disagree on the flagged picked up on pass interference on Brandon Kinnie. It looked like PI to me and that was a critical "no call." Bo needs go get a grip. Is it chicken or the egg? Is he coming apart because of the refs or are the refs coming apart because of him? Both bear a measure of responsibility. Do you really think Dan Beebe is going to hand Pelini the Big 12 trophy?

Anonymous said...

My only problem with the Kinnie no-call is that we all know that it would've been called against NU. No way anyone can defend the roughing the passer play. Tom Shatel called it a 50/50 play this morning- what?

Anonymous said...

And as far as Bo, the story I heard is he was mad at Martinez for not getting an x-ray and instead requesting pain medicine in the locker room, and that's why he went nuts on him. I have no idea if that's true or not, but that's the story. Still, his behavior was uncalled for. Yes, he was being treated like garbage (there were quite a few times early when he somewhat calmly asked for an explanation on a call and you could see that the refs had decided to freeze him out from the get-go). But you have to be the bigger man and not meltdown when your team is in such a hostile situation with their QB down.

Anonymous said...

The referees knew the outcome of the game before it even started. I was sad when the decision was made to leave the Big 12. After this season I'm glad as hell.

trapped in TX said...

Our offense should have been MUCH better, and so the calls would have been immaterial as in other games. Bo needs to go to Celebrate Recovery and get a grip on that temper. There is a huge difference between passion and losing it. I agree the PI call on us was iffy, and may have been overturned, but it definitely would have been called if the jerseys were reversed, and I saw the ref clearly ask the one who threw the flag if it was against ATM. Once that was established, the flag was instantly waved off. That's the part that was ??? It felt like the 93 Orange bowl and the phantom clip no one ever found. ATM didn't play that error-free either. using a DVR you can back up and see what they refused to replay. I texted an ATM student at the game that I didn't know the 12th man wore zebra stripes and he agreed with me. If you hear it from one of them at the game, raised his whole life as an aggie, you have to wonder...

Anonymous said...

you are all wrong first dan beebe doesn't want nebraska in the big 12 championship game and poor refs makin very bad calls for both texas and texas a&m games just so texas would get back at nebraska because of nebraska's deal with the big 12 leaving for poor refs in the last big 12 championship game2009 0:01 seconds left. thats why this is happening . What we go through this season only loosing to texas teams.everyone knows we should have beat texas cause everyobe else beat themI'm personnel glad that we are swithching to the big ten. this is not Pelini fault.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with Count Istvan.
Let´s beat Colorado one last time and then tell the Big12 to shove the CCG up theirs, because Nebraska doesn´t need to be humiliated by the refs another time.

I think that would send a message.

Kevin said...

You can bitch about the penalties all you want, but they were NOT the difference in the 2 losses this year. The difference was poor overall offensive execution versus stout defenses.

That being said, the roughing the passer call on Osborne was BUNK and the Big XII should be ashamed.

Let's slap Colorado tomorrow and thump whatever turd comes out of the South and take the Big XII title with us to the REAL Big 12.