Saturday, November 11, 2006

Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

Tell me if you've seen this plotline before: Nebraska gets off to a good start and takes a commanding lead. The Huskers are running well, throwing well, and playing pretty good defense. They look like a pretty darn good football team. Then around halftime, they hit a wall. The offensive line becomes a sieve, the running game gets stuck in neutral, Zac Taylor couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and the defense forgets how to tackle. We saw this against Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma State. And saw it again today.

What's the problem? Hard to say, but it's probably a combination of factors. Players losing focus? Probably. Coaches not making adjustments? Perhaps. Coaches making bad adjustments? More likely. Opposing coaches making better adjustments? Sure looks that way. Opponents getting momentum and outplaying the Huskers? Definitely.

In any event, things were looking rather bleak for the Big Red until Barry Turner blocked that long field goal attempt by A&M with 1:43 left in the game. Suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope. Todd Peterson made 2 clutch catches (including a 22 yard reception on 4th & 3), A&M takes a dumb roughing the passer penalty to turn a 4th & 10 situation for the Huskers into 1st & goal, and Maurice Purify made the leaping catch for the win.

ABC may have named Zac Taylor player of the game, but my vote goes to Peterson, the unheralded no-star walkon from Grand Island.

Maurice Purify is the best pass-catching wide receiver to ever wear Husker red. Of course, considering the history of Nebraska's I-formation offense, that's a little like saying you've found the best Italian restaurant in Ecuador. He's likely to be the first Nebraska receiver to get drafted to the NFL since Irving Fryar.

This was a game Nebraska and Bill Callahan needed. Oh sure, Nebraska still had the inside track for the Big XII championship game, but another loss against the a southern division team would still have left a lot of questions. And with Kansas State's upset over Tejas this evening, the North may finally be ready to rise out of the muck. And if Colt McCoy is lost to the Bovines for an extended period of time, fans can certainly wonder if Nebraska couldn't surprise in Kansas City in 3 weeks.

But not if they continue to meltdown in the 2nd half.


AJ said...

Congrats. I didn't see the game because I was stuck at Yonkers, but I hear it was a good game.

The entire big 12...from teams 1-9 (and somewhat Colorado) are as mediocre as any in history. Of course NU could be Texas. I told you Texas wasn't that good. Freeman looked like Tom Brady.

He's good...but that shouldn't happen.

PS - Next year should be even wilder with KSU, NU, MU, CU, Tech, and Texas mostly all coming back intact.

jjj112665 said...

It is not written in stone yet that we will be playing UT. If OU wins out and UT loses to aTm we will be playing OU. Not sure who to root for. We have the revenge factor going for us against UT but I think we match up better against OU. Sure would be nice to beat UT though. But it would be nice to have the first OU-NU Big XII championship game also.

AJ said...

If I were NU, I wouldn't want any part of Oklahoma. They're playing pretty darn well right about now.

Plus, I don't think A&M stands a chance in hell of beating a really really PO'd Texas team next weekend in Austin.

Stranger things have happened though.

jjj112665 said...

The UT-aTm game isn't until the 24th so UT will be calmed down by then. I dont think aTm will win either but I sure didn't think KSU would win or hang 45 on UT. This is college football and anything can happen.