Huskers vs.Hawks…

With or without a healthy starting QB, Huskers win today.

It will be a defensive battle, but the score will be higher than you might think.

Here’s to the team of Scarlet and Cream…

Huskers – 17

Hawks –    14

Go Big Red!

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Huskers vs. Turtles…

Short and sweet.

First time ever for these two teams to meet.

Still have not heard if Tommy will play.  I’m not sure how much difference it makes.  If he does play he will only be at about 75%.  If he doesn’t play and Ryker does, that is like Tommy at 60%.

I am hearing that Marayland’s starting QB may not play either.

I do expect the defense to continue playing well and I expect the offense, with or without Tommy to play good enough.

Huskers –    34

Turtles –       17

GBR!!

Huskers vs. Gophers

The 2nd worst loss in Nebraska Football history.  If anyone can explain how one week we can take a top 10 to OT, and the next week lose by 59 points, I would like to hear it.  I had convinced myself that we were beyond these embarrassing blow-outs and had turned the corner back toward prominence…I was wrong, dead wrong.

Granted, Ohio State played far better than they have all year and likely would have beat ANYONE in the country last Saturday night.  Still, it was such a total collapse it defies logic – and in front of another nation-wide audience of course.

I’m moving on.  I would suggest everyone including the team do the same ASAP.

The good news is that the health of the team (o-line especially) seems to be getting better and it looks like Tommy will be cleared to play.  This should help us and our run game against the Gophers.  The fact is that we haven’t been able to run the ball nearly as effective in the last five games as we did in the first four I think can be attributed mostly to our injuries up front.  Hopefully we can get back on track this week.

Last week was a bad loss, a terrible loss, one of the worst losses in our history (regardless of opponent).  Another “bad” loss was last year’s Purdue game.  If you recall, the Huskers responded pretty well – with a great performance against Michigan St.  We can only hope that the boys in red respond this week in a similar manner.

The Gophers are a sturdy/stingy football team.  Top to bottom they play pretty solid.  Getting back home will help and the fact that from a talent perspective, the Gophers are no Ohio State and frankly not even a Nebraska.

Since we seem to play better against rodents than we do trees, I am thinking that the Huskers bounce back in a tight one in Lincoln.  I wouldn’t bet the farm on the Big Red covering but we should win.

Huskers –                  27

Ground Squirrels – 24

(I might pick this same score the rest of the year…thinking we are bound to hit it sooner or later).

GBR!

 

Huskers vs. Buckeyes…

We really should have won that game last week in Madison…

Proud of the way the team played last week. We had numerous chances to win it…in regulation – just didn’t get it done.

Was very disappointed in the play calling – it made zero sense why we would continue to call the exact same run play up the middle against one of the best defenses in the country. If you are going to insist on running up the middle Danny L, then you better at least go back to TO’s playbook and find some creative ways to get it done.   Also, that dang sweep and delay run play of theirs that we couldn’t seem to stop – the only things that really worked for them all night.  Lastly, I am letting the no-call in overtime go…the refs weren’t calling much of anything all night on either side of the ball and again, we should have won this game in regulation – it  shouldn’t even come down to a blown “no” call in OT.

I’m tired of the moral victories or the “at least we didn’t embarrass ourselves” mentality.  Time to turn the page and our attention to Ohio State.

Here is another chance to prove we belong back in the top 10 of college football.  It is going to be very tough at the Horseshoe in Columbus, but it certainly can be done.

Yes, the Buckeyes seem to have more talent than God (just an expression) and are proof positive that recruiting rankings matter.  But they are very young (only four seniors in the top two depth chart) and youth means they are susceptible to emotional and physical fatigue along with erratic and inconsistent play and Ohio State has been all that this year.

Defensively, we will need to step up our game once again.  As well as we played last week, we will need to play even better today.  Their biggest threat is Barrett who can run and our experience with running QB’s as you all know is not good.  But if we can contain him, then we can shut them down pretty well on offensively.  A few turnovers (like last week) would be welcome as well.  Oh, and we need to keep in mind that we are going up against Tim Beck’s offense – something we should have some familiarity with…that should help.

Offensively, we need to somehow get some rhythm going and make some plays.  The Buckeye’s defense is not as good as Wisconsin’s last week so we should have better success (in theory anyway).  I know we are really banged up on offense but who isn’t at this point in the season.  We just need to suck it up and give our best offensive effort of the season and that includes Tommy.  Good Tommy needs to show up BIG today and play better than he has all year. We need people to make plays – pure and simple and Tommy as our primary play-maker needs to lead that charge.  Play-calling must be more creative. Beck knows Tommy’s tendencies and Ohio State will be ready for that…Riley & CO. Really needs to out-coach Urban Meyer & CO…if we can do that, I like our chances.

This year’s team has a tendency to play up (or down) to the perceived strength of our weekly opponent, and Ohio St. is near the top in our book. If I thought last week’s spread was disrespectful then this weeks 17-point underdog status is just obnoxious…time for us to prove the pundents and college football that we are on our way back and that we belong.

Expect us to fall behind early (most likely by two scores) as we have one of our notorious slow starts, but then expect us to claw our way back in the 2nd half.  The end will go back and forth with Nebraska winning by a FG in the end (and scoring our favorite number doing it).

Huskers –      27

Tree seeds-   24

Go Big Red!!

 

Herbie vs. Bucky Vibe…

This is going to be a good one folks.  The Vibe is strong and clear and I won’t hold you in suspense…the Husker will win this “instant classic” in Madison.

I have a confession…I have a growing admiration for the Badger Football program.  I like their new coach (good guy), I like their kicker and the classy tribute of Sam Folts that he has dedicated his season to, I like their attitude, I like the fact Madison is not the easiest place to recruit 4 & 5* athletes to, yet the Badger coaching staff does a superb job of developing players, I like their smash-mouth approach (with a little flash/finesse on offense) and their hard-nosed defensive play.  I think I say this every year but they really do remind me of what Nebraska used to be, and hopefully what we are headed back to.  A fundamentally sound, hard playing program respected by many across the country.

Without a doubt, the Wisconsin Badgers are the Huskers best and most significant rivalry in the Big Ten. I don’t know if they see it that way yet but I certainly do.  Sorry Iowagians, but the Hawkeyes are to Nebraska what Colorado was.  That annoying neighbor that manages to rise up every so often and sucker punch you, but by and large are mostly just an annoying pest.  Wisky on the other hand is that game we will learn to anticipate year in and year out…the game that serves as a measuring post for our program and tells the story of just how good we are in any given year.  Simply put, Wisconsin is Nebraska’s new Oklahoma and we need to get used to, Andy frankly embrace that fact.

Before you think I have gone off the deep end with my admiration for the Badgers, I still think the Skers win this contest and here is why.

While the Badgers have one of the best defenses in the nation, they can be scored upon.  In the second half of the UW/OSU game, the Buckeyes had decent success running the ball and Barrett ( a mobile play-making QB) made plenty of plays.   Of course this means that “good” Tommy needs to show up and have a nearly flawless game.  Tommy needs to keep them off-balance with this legs and make no mistakes, we will need to pass and pass well in order to win.  It will be good to have Westy back for sure and it sounds like Ozigbo is healthy enough for considerable playtime.  Cross your fingers that their health and that of the re-jabbing O-line holds up over four quarters.  Oh, and keep those fingers crossed that there is a few more plays in Danny L’s playbook than what anyone has yet to see.   Heck, I would take even take a simple jet sweep to DPE or Reilly…that play was a TD all day long against Purdue who had eight in the box and were run blitzing the entire day.  We need to run well enough to keep them honest (at least 200 yards).  If our offense is as anemic as it has been the last few weeks (I’m chalking 80% of that up to injuries), it will be a lloonnng day in Madison.  I do expect our offense will play much better than it has recently and don’t forget – that Bucky just lost their leading tackler so that should help the Huskers when they are on offense.

Defensively, we just need to cut down on the big plays and make them go the length of the field to score.  Granted, they still have that road-grader offensive line and wear teams down in the fourth quarter, so it will be important that we get their offense off the field and have a good defensive rotation, especially on the D-line.  I will give you that their QB is a good one and is only going to get better, but he is a freshman and freshmen can get rattled.  Our lock-down secondary (use the term loosely after last week) needs to return and cause enough havoc that our D-line can harass the plebe  early and often.  Oh and one more thing…NO JET SWEEPS for TD’s!  Wisky’s offense hasn’t scored many ppg and we need to just hold them at or below their season average, we win.  I think we can do that.

We are 7-0, ranked 7th in the AP poll, yet we are nine-point dogs to the 5-2 Badgers.  You want to talk about no respect.  Wisky is a good team for sure, but come on.  They do have two losses, they almost lost to Georgia St earlier this year, they only beat Iowa 17-9 last week and the game was closer than that.  That is an eight point differential, which mean the bookies think we will lose to the Badgers bigger than Iowa did…I don’t get it.  Like I have said, all we can do is play the next game on our schedule and keep winning.  Everything else will take care of itself.  If I were a betting man (I’m not) I’d bet the farm on the Huskers to cover and double down on them to win outright.

Its going to take a clean game on our part (minimal penalties, good tackling, no costly turn-overs). Our defense needs to rattle the young QB, not give up the big play and get off the field.  Offensively, we need to play near mistake-free, “good” Tommy needs to show up and have a heck of a game, our play calling needs to keep their defense off-balance and we need to finish drives in the end zone.  Not worried about the Camp Randell crowd at all – an evening game means they will be mostly drunk…loud – yes, but mostly drunk and drunks can’t really track and engage in the game all that well.

Oh, and we will need either a pick 6 or a monster punt return from DPE to score at least one of our TD’s.

That’s it…should be a great one.  There will be no humiliation for the Huskers this year in Madison.  In the end, Herbie will get the best of Bucky and we will score our favorite number doing it.

Herbie –      27

Bucky –       24

Go Big Red!!

 

NU vs. PU Vibe…

Great win last week.  Not a great display of offense by any stretch, but the defense had a great game (minus one drive and one broken play).  Thank goodness for the rare fast start in the 1st quarter.

Like I said, happy to get out of Bloomington with a W.

So we are 6-0 for the first time in a long time and solidly ranked in the top 10.  I don’t really care what Herbstreit and his ESPN cronies think or say…we keep playing the next team on the schedule and winning those games, and the pundits’ opinions really don’t matter. It will all take care of itself.

So the next opponent is the Boilermakers.  I like this match-up simply because it is that rare occurrence where two non-animal mascots are doing battle in the Big Ten.  These are real men type mascots – farmers vs. pipefitters…can’t hardly get more manly than that.

The Farmers should win easy today…the Pipefitters are struggling this year.  But like a wounded animal (non-mascot reference), the Boilermakers could be a dangerous team. Just firing their coach last week, I expect they will play like a team that has nothing to lose (because they don’t).  Offensively, they can still score points.  Last year, their mobile QB made us look silly most of the day.  We are better, but he is still their offensive leader and the potential is there for us to have a defensive relapse.

I don’t envision five turnovers again this year, but we have to realize our offense is pretty beat up right now.  Tommy is clearly not 100%, the receiving corp is barely over half strength, the O-line seems to be the walking wounded and Ozigbo may not be ready either.  We  should still score plenty of points on a pretty porous Purdue defense, But I don’t envision a 50+ point performance.

And then there is the potential that we are peeking ahead to next week.  You would think a team that embarrassed us last year would not creep up on us…but you never know.

The Big Red will likely build a comfortable lead, but the Boilermakers are great at scoring some cheap TD’s during garbage time at the end of their games.  The same could happen today making the final score closer than it really was.

Still, even if this game isn’t the break-out game we are all waiting for, the forecast is sunny and 75 degrees in Lincoln today and that will make Game Day a great day at the Citadel of College Football.

Farmers –      37

Pipefitters – 21

Go Big Red!!

Huskers vs. Hoosiers Vibe…

Bitter sweet.

Sweet that Nebraska is in the top 10 but bitter that it has been five years (2011) since we have been ranked in the top 10.  How did that ever happen?  Maybe even more bitter is the fact that deep down we (at least I) know that we are probably not quite top 10 material, at least not yet.  Fortunately for us, there are only a handful of undefeated teams left and the Nebraska brand still carries a certain amount of weight.

Sure, we are all pleased as punch that we are 5-0, but lets be honest…who have we played?  We were all pretty happy when we beat Oregon but with the Ducks in a tailspin, the luster has come off that victory.  We simply cannot keep waiting until the 4th quarter to show up and finish off opponents.  We can’t keep rolling up nearly 500 yds on opponents and scoring a mere three to four TDs.  Slow starts with 4th quarter scoring spurts might work against a Northwestern or Wyoming, but it won’t work against most of the remaining opponents on the schedule, including the Indiana Hoosiers.

This is a scary Indiana team.  The offense is pretty potent and plays up tempo.  They have a nice QB, RB and WR combination.  Defensively they are stingy and won’t back down or fold late like others have.  Simply put, the Vibe has much trepidation about this week’s game.

Perhaps the week off helps.  We don’t usually light the world on fire coming off of a bye but who knows, maybe they will shock me. Looks like the week off will still not be enough to get Westy and Carter healthy and back on the field, which hurts, but hopefully it helped Tommy and others get healed up.

Frankly I am just hoping we can get out of Bloomington with the W.  I think this will be a tougher test than the Ducks were and the Big Red really needs to bring their A game, no two ways about it.  We have a knack of playing up (or down) to our perception of the team we are playing.  I hope they fully understand how dangerous this Hoosier team really is.

As much as I hope that we roll in this one, I think it will be a much closer game than we would like. Unless we have resolved our slow scoring problem, I can see the Huskers falling behind and playing from behind most of the game.  A late score by the good guys will win the day.

Huskers –    31

Hoosiers –   28

Go Big Red!