It's been a few days since the Huskers' convincing win against Louisiana-Lafayette and just a couple more days until the Huskers' next big test of the season. Meanwhile, I've been silent, only leaving a place-holder where my commentary should be. In true Pelini-like fashion, I'm not going to offer any excuses.
Besides, the game acted as a balm, temporarily soothing the pain of the catasrophic loss in Blacksburg and reminding us Husker faithful of happier times, when Nebraska would routinely hang "half-a-hundred" on their foes. Granted it was ULL and not LSU but, for a week all seemed right in Lincoln. The throwback aspect of the game was as entertaining as it was unusual, right down to the Blue Streak Sports Section in the World-Herald the next day.
Other than that, there wasn't much to discuss. The team put together a strong effort, responding well after their one-point loss the week before, and no particular Husker shone much brighter than the others.
If you're a glass-half-empty sort of person, you could comment on the difficulty that Zac Lee and Jacob Hickman had with their exchange early in the game or the reduced production of wide receivers, Niles Paul and Menelik Holt. Defensively, you could bemoan the injuries to the Huskers' secondary (Asante, Thenarse & Amukamara), although it seems that only Thenarse will miss significant playing time, or worry that the defense gave up too much yardage on the ground to a Sun Belt team facing its third BCS opponent in three weeks. After all, the never-satisfied Pelini still doesn’t think that his team is where it needs to be, especially on defense.
Or if you’re like me, you could complain about Matt Davison’s work in the booth, as footballnut correctly guessed from my teaser. Yes, I like my Husker broadcasts to have a Nebraska flavor with a little homerism mixed in, but sometimes Davison’s work is downright cringeworthy. Nevertheless, his playing style fit the mold of the Osborne-style receivers back in the day (lots of blocking and a key reception here and there), his efforts are still sprinkled in the Huskers’ record book today and his name will forever be etched into Husker lore for being in the right place at the right time on an unforgettable early evening in Columbia, Missouri. And fear not Husker fans, he is nowhere near my all-time least favorite announcers: #1 Brent Musburger, #2 Kirk Herbstreit, #3 Brad Sham.
If you tend to spend your time on the sunny side of the street, you could talk about Larry Asante’s 74-yard interception return for a touchdown (right before he injured his ankle), or maybe Matt O’Hanlon’s fumble recovery (though I doubt you will). Asante’s score was the Huskers’ first pick-six by a DB since Fabian Washington did it against Arizona State in 2002. Other positives were the Huskers D sacking the previously unsacked Ragin’ Cajun’ QB’s, handing ULL their worst loss since Texas clobbered them 60-3 in 2005 and shutting them out for the first time since North Texas in 2002. Perhaps most important (in the long-term) was the play of Cody Green (7 of 8 for 62 yards) and Rex Burkhead (112 all-purpose yards). The Texas duo hooked up for a 24-yard score off of a shovel pass in the fourth quarter.
But what I’d really like to take away from this game is that Nebraska rebounded well after a gut-wrenching road loss. ULL provided the perfect “palate-cleanser” if you will, chasing away some of the bitterness after losing a game they should have won. And this team, already road tested, should be able to go TIGER HUNTING and atone for last year’s 52-17 drubbing. Yes, the Tigers come into the game undefeated, but two of those wins were more than lackluster (27-20 over Bowling Green & 31-21 @ Nevada).
So…Huskers win. Oh, and I hope to see some of you at our next 300 consecutive sellouts.