Friday, November 26, 2010

Huskers Claim Back-to-Back North Titles in 45-17 Victory over Colorado

Looking back on today's game, I think Colorado's only chance to win today's game was if instant replay hadn't overturned Rex Burkhead's fumble on the fifth play of the game.  That would have given Colorado the ball in scoring territory and momentum, and that was something the Buffaloes wouldn't have the entire afternoon. From there on, Nebraska was in control of the game.

Cody Green had his best game as a Nebraska Cornhusker filling in for Taylor Martinez and Zac Lee. Shawn Watson didn't ask him to do too much, but he did what he needed to do.  He gained confidence as the game went along, ran tougher than he has, and zipped some passes right on target.  Or maybe Colorado's defense is that bad; hard to say.  Suffice it to say that Green vindicated himself well from some of the criticism he's taken in recent weeks.

After that incompletion, Burkhead did just about everything on offense except kick.  He ran with power, dragging Buffy defenders with him as he plowed his way downfield, and elusiveness, reversing field a few times to find daylight. Then there was his two touchdown passes out of the Wildcat formation, including his improv flip to Kyler Reed after reversing his field. Roy Helu ran with power in limited action.

Shawn Watson has taken a lot of abuse in recent weeks for his playcalling, but today, he opened things up a bit.  A little less zone read, a whole bunch of Wildcat (almost to the point of excess), and even some power formations to let the offensive line tee-off and dominate the Buffaloes.

The Blackshirts dominated the Buffs for most of the first 40 minutes of the game to take control of the game, minus a few busted coverages on defense. Will Compton might have been the biggest factor in limiting Colorado's Rodney Stewart much of the game.  The defensive line had a quiet game statistically, but had the deflection that set up the first interception of Cody Hawkins.  The three second-half turnovers pretty much elminated any hopes the Buffs had to make a comeback.

Nice to see Zac Lee make it into the game late to take a few snaps in his final home game. Also Joe Broekemeier took advantage of his opportunity to fill in for Niles Paul with some clutch catches. The game finished up with a nice postgame presentation of highlights of Nebraska's time in the Big XII conference accompanied to fireworks. At the time, I was glad that there was no forced trophy presentation as part of it. The 2006 ceremony seemed forced, out of line and atypical of Nebraska; I could ridicule it easily as just one more of those stupid things Steve Pederson did.  Turns out that some people in Lincoln are upset that there wasn't a presentation, feeling slighted because Dan Beebe chose not to send a representative to Lincoln with the trophy.  Seems Beebe was feeling threatened after getting lots of angry messages from Husker fans, and chose to avoid any confrontation. I get the feeling from the Tom Osborne quotes that he's wishing that Nebraska could have left the Big XII immediately rather than deal with Beebe and his organization this season.

Nevertheless, Nebraska doesn't need that bedpan trophy. We know what Nebraska accomplished this season; first back-to-back Big XII North championships since 1996-97. If that isn't proof that Nebraska isn't getting closer to where Husker fans want them to be, I don't know what is.

So we wait until tomorrow to find out whether the Huskers will play Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.  (I assume that while Texas A&M is technically still alive to earn the South, the Aggies trail the Sooners too much in the BCS to make up the difference for the tiebreaker.)  Wouldn't a Nebraska/Oklahoma matchup be the perfect way to leave the Big Eight/XII behind?


Anonymous said...

I thought all things considered, the injuries, the shirt week, the media BS, that this was probably the most impressive performance of the season from Nebraska. The best? Probably not but the most impressive.

Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for Oklahoma tonight, big time.

Anonymous said...

I also am rooting for Oklahoma. It is only fitting that the final meaningful title game in the big 8 (or 12) be between the two marquee teams of the league. Perhaps we will be treated to something almost as good as the legendary "game of the century". GO BIG RED