Archive for November, 2006

2006 Senior Tribute Video

November 30, 2006

Take the time to sit down and watch this in its entirety. Sometimes we forget what’s under the helmet.

More evidence that Nebraska football remains Dedicated to Excellence through Tradition, Teamwork and Integrity.

Sammy Vegas – NFL "N" sider – The Return

November 30, 2006

The 2006 NFL season is speeding by faster than Tony Romo and his slave-bred legs. Speaking of Romo, do yourself a favor and check out Tony, a blog written by none other than Drew Bledsoe. Really.

Anyway, onto this week’s Huskers in the NFL.

Josh Brown (K Seattle Seahawks): Josh continues to be a fantasy stud this year as he compiled 4 field goals and 2 extra points. His Seahawks, who beat Green Bay 34-24 on MNF, look to be back on track with RB Shaun Alexander and QB Matt Hasselbeck back from injuries.

Kris Brown (K Houston Texans): Houston continues to struggle as they were destroyed in New York by the Jets 26-11. Brown was 1 for 2 in field goal attempts, but quite frankly, does it really matter?

Ralph Brown (CB Cleveland Browns): Ralph has seen his playing time increase as the season has progressed as he recorded 3 tackles in a close 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ryan Bingham (DT San Diego Chargers): Mmmmm. San Diego. Drink it down. It always goes down smooth. Bingham, who had one tackle, and the Chargers are continuing to look like the team to beat in the NFL this year with a 21-14 win over the Raiders. And I’m Veronica Corningstone, thanks for stopping by.

Ron Burgundy or Sammy Vegas at the bars on weekends?

Correll Buckhalter (RB Philadelphia Eagles): Buckhalter and the Eagles were recently blown up by the Colts 45-21 last week and things are going nowhere but down. Correll had 26 yards receiving and 18 yards rushing in the loss.

Daniel Bullocks (S Detroit Lions): Bullocks continues to have an unbelievable season for the lowly Lions. He had 10 solo tackles and forced a fumble for the Lions on their Thanksgiving Day loss to the Dolphins.

Josh Bullocks (S New Orleans Saints): Bullocks, who had 2 tackles, and the Saints are back on track for a playoff run after destroying the Atlanta Falcons 31-13.

Ahman Green (RB Green Bay Packers): Since his return, Green has looked very impressive. In the Packer’s loss to Seattle in the snow covered field, Green scored a TD and had 44 yards.

DeJuan Groce (CB New Orleans Saints): Groce has finally seeing more playing time with the Saints since his release by the Rams before the season. In the win over the Falcons, Groce had 3 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle.

Chris Kelsay (DE Buffalo Bills): Kelsay had 3 solo tackles in the Bills, who are now 5-6, win over the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24.

Sam Koch (K Baltimore Ravens): Koch had 6 punts last week for an average of 43.2 yards, with 2 inside the 20, as the Ravens are now 9-2. Baltimore, San Diego, and Indianapolis are now in a 3 team race for home field advantage.

Kyle Larson (P Cincinnati Bengals): In their 30-0 win over the Ravens, Larson had 4 punts for an average of 46.5 yards with a long of 57 yards. Do not be surprised to see this former Husker in the Pro Bowl.

Carlos Polk (LB San Diego Chargers): You know, it’s a proven fact. San Diego is the greatest city in the history of man. Since the loss of Merriman to his steroid suspension, Polk has seen much more playing time recently. He had one solo tackle and 3 assisted tackles in the win over the Raiders. You stay classy San Diego, I’m Ron Burgandy?

Mike Rucker (DE Carolina Panthers): Carolina had a devastating loss last weekend to the Redskins 17-13 that could wind up sending them on the road for the playoffs. Rucker had 2 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle in the loss.

Barrett Ruud (LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers): In Tampa Bay’s humiliating defeat to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving where QB Tony Romo had 5 TD’s, Ruud was one of the few bright spots as he had 6 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles.

Scott Shanle (LB New Orleans Saints): Unlike his brother, Scott learned how to tackle at a young age which has allowed him to have a great season for Saints. In last week’s victory over the Falcons, Shanle had 3 solo tackles. His younger brother was unable to see the game as he can be found face first on the Field Turf in Memorial Stadium – and also, PLEASE do not wake him as there is a chance he might find the team bus to Kansas City.

Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE Tennessee Titans): Vanden Bosch continues to live up to his 20+ million dollar contract with the Titans as last week he had 2 solo and 2 assisted tackles in the great come from behind win over the New York Giants.

Fabian Washington (DB Oakland Raiders): Fabian and the Raiders are playing much better as the season has gone on. In fact, they almost had the Chargers last week before falling 21-14 in a late come from behind win. Washington played a key role for the Chargers by getting a pass interference penalty on the game winning drive. He also added 2 solo tackles.

Demorrio Williams (LB Atlanta Falcons): Williams had an unusually bad game last week with only one solo tackle in the loss to the New Orleans Saints. In a much better story, hats off to QB Michael Vick of the Falcons letting the fans know that he is thinking of them.

Ron Mexico showing the fans who is Number One

NU – OU 2005 – A Look Back

November 29, 2006

Here is a look at last year’s match up with Oklahoma.

Nebraska entered that game with a 5-2 record (2-2 Big 12), while OU came in with a 4-3 (3-1 Big 12) mark. It is also important to remember that Nebraska struggled most of the year with sluggish starts. In this particular game, the Sooners would use that to their advantage.

On Nebraska’s first play from scrimmage, OU’s Calvin Thibodeaux broke threw the line and sacked Zac Taylor for a 9-yard loss. This would be a harbinger of things to come. After forcing a three-and-out, the Sooners took possession. On their third play from scrimmage Adrian Peterson broke one right up the middle for a 36-yard TD and a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter OU added another touchdown run from Peterson, and Jordan Congdon notched a field goal for the Huskers. With just over a minute to play in the second quarter Nebraska found itself trailing 14-3 with the ball on the OU 42-yard line. After calling a timeout to regroup, Zac Taylor launched a pass that was intercepted by Chijioke Onyenegecha and returned 63-yards for a Sooner score. Nebraska went into halftime behind 21-3.

The third period was essentially dominated by Nebraska. The Blackshirts gave up 3 points during this period and limited the Sooners to just six yards offensively. Unfortunately, the Husker offense managed just one touchdown in the third quarter on a 3-yard pass to Terrence Nunn. As the fourth quarter began, NU trailed 24-10.

The Nebraska offense finally showed signs of life early in the fourth period and scored on a 25-yard completion to Nate Swift to cut the lead to 24-17. Oklahoma’s next series would then be marked by controversy. With the ball on the NU 17, Kejuan Jones got the call and found a crease in the Nebraska defense. As he got to the corner, however, he appeared to benefit from a hold by one of the Sooner receivers. The partisan Nebraska crowd lobbied for the call, but with no laundry littering the field, a chorus of boos rained down. This no-call continues to live in infamy thanks to a dubious gesture on the part of Coach Callahan following a confrontation with the officials.

I personally never saw what the hubbub was about. I see frustration rather than malice and doubt that Callahan’s intentions were to threaten, intimidate or maim the officials. Honestly I am far more offended by the asinine “jump shot” celebration that is all the rage these days.

Anyway, Nebraska would get the ball back and start its next to last series on its 30-yard line. Taylor would then complete consecutive passes of 14 yards, 15 yards and 23 yards to Terrence Nunn, Cory Ross and Nate Swift. The Huskers then broke out the trickery and Cory Ross found a wide open Nate Swift on an I-Back pass. Thus, with 5:56 left to play in the game, Nebraska trailed just 31-24.

Oklahoma then reclaimed possession and managed to burn 3:19 before punting the ball away. Nebraska would, therefore, open its final series from its own 27, with 2:37 on the clock. That final drive looked like this:

Taylor hits Grant Mulkey for 9 yards. NU is at its own 36.
Taylor’s pass was incomplete.
On third-and-one at the 36. Taylor picks up the first down with a 2-yard rush.
First down at NU’s 38. False start penalty.
First-and-14 at the 34. Taylor is sacked for a loss of seven.
Second and 21 at the 27. Taylor is pressured and the pocket collapses. He manages to find some room and hurries a throw deep down field. His rushed toss overshoots a wide open Nate Swift who would have walked into the endzone.

Of this play, Taylor would later say:

“I think that play will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. It’s tough. He was open, and just a little too much adrenaline, I guess. I would love to take that play back, but that’s football.”

Instead the drive continued.

Third and 21 at the NU 27. Taylor completes a 19-yard pass to I-back Cory Ross at the NU 46. Five yard penalty – Ineligible man downfield..
Third and 26 at the NU 22.Taylor throws incomplete to Frantz Hardy.
Fourth and 26 at the Husker 22. Taylor is sacked for the ninth (are you kidding me?) and final time.

Key Statistics

Final Score: Oklahoma 31 – Nebraska 24
NU Rushing: 34 carries – 16 yards (I-Backs: 18 carries – 31 yards)
NU Passing: 26-46-2, 267 yards

Scripted Plays (First 20 play calls):
7 Runs/13 Passes (First 5 drives were all 3 and out)
Total Yards: 49
First Downs: 2
Points: 3

1st Down Run/Pass Balance:
9 runs/24 passes


· I would rather us not show up at all than produce just 16 yards rushing this year.

· Speaking of our running game, it looks like BJax will once again carry the load. Both Marlon Lucky (back) and Cody Glenn (foot) are questionable. Unfortunately, our two healthy backs have both shown a propensity for fumbles. We have to have a positive turnover margin to win.

· With a non-existent running attack, take a look at Callahan’s first down play calls from a year ago. So do we see more balance this year on 1st down or a run-heavy split instead?

· I fully expect us to get off to a better start this year. Last year OU became the third straight opponent to score on its first drive against the Blackshirts. This season most fans are probably more concerned about another 2nd half collapse.

· Oklahoma has been known for its aggressive, attacking defense. I like that their secondary may have to avoid selling out on the run this year, due to concerns about trick plays.

· Finally, we have to keep Zac Taylor clean (and alive) this year. The offensive line is still banged up, but ought to protect him better than a year ago. Something to keep an eye on is how Taylor responds to poor protection or early troubles getting into a rhythm. Teams that keep him off balance early on have had pretty good success.

Blog-o-rhythm Is Gonna Get You

November 29, 2006

A look at the best of the college football coverage this week.

· The greatest thing to come out of the recent coaching carousel is clearly this newspeak term from the folks at Husker Board (click pic to enlarge).

The Husker Nation is an absolute PR machine on Pelini’s behalf. With the help of our fanbase Bo P. seems to become the insta-candidate for every job that opens up (HT – EDSBS).

· Big Red Network draws the ire of ISU fans with their Chizik won’t save Cyclones post. Scoring Chizik was a coup, but I’ll save judgment until seeing who he brings in to coach their underachieving offense.

· Nebraska blog The Woodshed Network has put together an impressive NU-OU game page. Nice work.

· SMQ takes an interesting look at Oklahoma’s wacky 2006 season. This doesn’t make me feel better about our chances on Saturday.

· CFR’s Pundit Roundup returns. As always it is the lazyman’s dream with a ton of content all in one place.

· The Sporting News’ Tom Dienhart asks some interesting questions.

· Finally, this one is for my buddy Marc, an Ole Miss grad. Apparently this is what passes for “scoring” these days at the infamous Grove (HT – Deep South Sports).

True to form this fella looks to be sporting the time-honored haircut that I like to call the “SEC sweep” or the “Alabama quarterback cut”. WTF is up with that?

Random OU Memories

November 28, 2006

I’m not going to go into the Nebraska – Oklahoma rivalry with the same gusto as I did with the CU series. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on the amazing history these two teams have.

First we have a video of Keith Jackson’s 88-yard touchdown on an end-around in 1985. In case you had forgotten how slow our teams in the 80s were, this should help. This is a tight end absolutely blowing by the Blackshirts!

So, lets get some discussion going. What is your favorite/least favorite Nebraska – Oklahoma memory? Bonus points for mentioning Elvis Peacock or Neil Harris.

Matt Slauson – Tatonka

November 27, 2006

The best part of working on this site is the amazing finds that wind up in my inbox. I just got this picture of Matt Slauson sporting his buffalo suit as promised after Friday’s game. The emailer wanted to remain anonymous so thanks to the random Husker fan for this great pic.

I’m excited that Matt is going to be around for a few more years. Not only because of his talent on the field, but also because he seems to be a riot off the field. Well played Mr. Slauson.

Big XII Championship Game – Oklahoma Preview

November 27, 2006

Enrollment: 30,447
Conference: Big 12
Stadium: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium(Capacity: 82,112)
First Year of Football: 1895
All Time Record: 767-291-53 (.713)

Head Coach: Bob Stoops
8th year as head coach at Oklahoma: Career record at Oklahoma: 75-16 (.824)

Team Overview

Last Season: A year ago the Sooners finished 8-4 including a 17-14 Holiday Bowl victory over Oregon.

This Season: The OU season began with the loss of starting quarterback Rhett Bomar due to NCAA violations. A controversial loss to Oregon followed in September and Texas also slipped by the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game. OU’s bad luck continued a week later when their Heisman candidate running back Adrian Peterson broke his collarbone against Iowa State. Despite these struggles, Oklahoma won the Big 12 South and comes into the conference championship game with a 10-2 record.

On Offense: The Oklahoma offense is currently ranked 39th nationally in total offense and averages 370.67 yards per game. After Bomar was booted off the team Paul Thompson moved from WR back to quarterback. Since making the switch Thompson has been critical to the Sooners’ success and his statistics are actually better than Bomar’s 2005 numbers. Thompson has completed 61.5% of his passes for 2169 yards and 18 TDs with 7 INTs. While he is not the most polished QB, he has more than enough athleticism to get by.

A major factor in the game, could be the health of Adrian Peterson. It appears he may be cleared for the game, which would certainly provide a spark to the Sooner “O”. In Peterson’s absence, however, the OU running attack hasn’t skipped a beat. The Sooners are currently ranked #14 nationally in rushing offense, while producing 188.7 yards/game. Allen Patrick has picked up the slack and has rushed for 687 yards and 3 TDs on the year. While Patrick lacks the size and power of Peterson, he is extremely quick and bursts through gaps like no other back the Huskers have seen this season. Behind Patrick, Chris Brown has also been getting his share of carries. At the very least NU fans should fear this back based on his name alone (think CU 2001). Brown averages 5.4 yards/carry and has 5 TDs on the year.

The Sooners’ top receiving threat is 6-4 Malcolm Kelly, who will again cause matchup problems for the Huskers. Kelly is only a sophomore, but has become the team’s go-to target on short, mid-range and deep patterns. He has 52 receptions for 851 yards and 8 TDs. Juaquin Iglesias, another sophomore is another of Thompson’s favorite targets. Iglesias has plenty of speed and has produced 368 yards and 2 TDs on 33 receptions. The Sooner tight end is Husker legacy Joe Jon Finley (Clint’s brother). Finley is improving as a blocker, but has become an athletic receiver in the middle of the field. He has 19 catches for 241 yards and 3 TDs.

The Sooner offensive line is extremely young, and lacking in star power. However, there is still a lot of talent up front for OU. The steadiest performer on the O-line is probably LT Chris Messner. Messner a 6-6, 280-pound senior played RT a year ago, but has done an commendable job protecting Thompson’s blindside. The other tackle spot is manned by true freshman Trent Williams. Williams, who goes 6-5, 320-pounds is a future star, who has looked especially good in the Sooner running game. The center is sophomore Jon Cooper. Cooper has good strength and has been very consistent since returning from last season’s broken ankle. The OU guards are George “Duke” Robinson and Brandon Walker. “Duke” ballooned up to 360 pounds a year ago, but has since slimmed down to svelte and mobile 330. Walker was a highly coveted JUCO transfer who looks capable of also playing tackle.

On Defense: The Sooners continue to rely on a stingy defense. The unit currently ranks 14th nationally in total defense and 18th in scoring defense. The strength of the OU defense may be its linebackers. The linebacking corp is led by Rufus Alexander who is one of the top defenders in the country. Alexander relies on great instincts and excellent speed to create problems for opposing teams. He currently leads the Sooners with 95 tackles. The MLB is senior Zach Latimer. Latimer is great against the run and is tied for the team lead in tackle for losses with 10. The strong side LB is Curtis Lofton. Lofton has the size to play in the middle, but also the speed to range from sideline to sideline.

The Sooners’ front four is also solid. DE Larry Birdine has returned from a torn bicep and continues to find ways to pressure opposing QBs. He is fifth on the team in tackles and second on the team in sacks with 2. Senior Calvin Thibodeaux mans the other DE spot. Thibodeaux doesn’t have the best speed or the greatest technique, but he is still tough keep out of the backfield. Steven Coleman and Cory Bennett are the DTs. Coleman is the biggest tackle on the roster and excels against the run. Bennett is somewhat undersized at 275-pounds, but looks capable of becoming one of the conference’s best interior pass rushers.

The Oklahoma secondary is packed with underclassmen. The emerging star is SS Reggie Smith. Smith is extremely versatile and can play CB as well as both safety spots. He was a recruiting near miss for the Husker coaching staff and his athleticism will be on display in all aspects of the game on Saturday. Sophomore Darien Williams starts at FS. Williams is a solid tackler and is currently third on the team with 52 stops. The CB spots are filled by Marcus Walker and Lendy Holmes. Walker has legitimate 4.4 speed and is the closest thing to a lock down corner the Sooners have. Holmes is another sophomore who continues to improve in coverage. The Sooner nickelback is Nic Harris. Harris looks like a future star and leads the team with 3 interceptions in 2006.

Special Teams: Garrett Hartley handles the kicking duties. Hartley has had an incredible year and has hit 17/18 FGA. Although known for his strong leg, his one miss came from 40-plus yards. The Sooner punter is Michael Cohen who averages just over 42 yards/punt. Reggie Smith is a dangerous return man who handles both punts and kickoffs. Smith is joined on kickoff returns by Juaquin Iglesias who averages just under 30 yards/return with one kick returned for a TD on the year.

Random Notes

Series History: This marks the 83rd meeting between the two schools. Nebraska trails in the all-time series 37-42-3.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either: The Big XII Championship Game will be televised by ABC at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Nebraska’s all-time record on television is 164-76-1 (.680). Oklahoma’s all-time record in televised games is 159-83-5 (.644).

He Also Paints the Endzones: In addition to starting in the secondary, returning punts and kickoffs and taking the occasional snap at wide receiver, Reggie Smith also keeps a video journal for Sooner fans.

Six Degrees of Beano Cook: Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State beat…Nebraska.

BlogPoll Ballot – Week 14

November 26, 2006

Another interesting week of games and more movement in the poll. I was really impressed by USC and barring a loss to UCLA, I think they deserve a shot at Ohio State. Once again, let me know what you think.

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State
2 Southern Cal
3 Michigan
4 Florida
5 LSU 3
6 Wisconsin 4
7 Louisville 4
8 Arkansas 3
9 Boise State 3
10 Oklahoma 3
11 Auburn 3
12 Notre Dame 6
13 Rutgers 4
14 Virginia Tech 2
15 Wake Forest 5
16 West Virginia 9
17 Texas 8
18 Nebraska 1
19 California 4
20 Tennessee 1
21 Brigham Young 1
22 Georgia Tech 7
23 Texas A&M 3
24 Hawaii
25 Boston College 7

Dropped Out: Houston (#25).

Who’s Next?

November 25, 2006

Random thoughts after a big win over Colorado:

• I’ve enjoyed our season-long success with trick plays, but seriously when did we become the Harlem Globetrotters?

• It was nice to see Adam Carriker have a great game on Senior Day. He’s had a solid season, but hasn’t dominated in the way I expected.

• Am I the only one who gets incredibly excited every time I see the ball in the air and in the direction of Purify? He made an almost impossible catch, look completely effortless on the near sideline. He has a gift.

• Can Barry Turner play safety?

• Will Joey Ganz push Sam Keller? I’m being completely serious.

• After being impressed the last few weeks with the play of our offensive line, I thought they looked pretty bad today. Way too much penetration by Colorado’s front seven and far too many penalties. I guess they might be healthy by the bowl game.

• Colorado averaged 5.4 yards rushing? Our focus should have been forcing them to throw, but they definitely had some holes.

• I’d still like to see better than 4/9 on 3rd down in the 2nd half, but 2/2 on fourth down helped a lot.

• Zac Taylor is unbreakable. If the NFL doesn’t workout, he could always find work as a stunt man, or a crash test dummy.

• Just when I thought Brandon Jackson was getting worn down by the workload, he breaks one for 30+ yards and makes a great TD catch. You can never count that guy out.

• I had a sudden realization at the end of the 3rd quarter that this football season has gone way too fast.

• The “Bedlam” game just got a lot more interesting for Nebraska fans. Personally, I’m cheering for OSU. I’d take a slumping UT over OU in a heartbeat. A legitimate shot a BCS bowl makes me giddy.

More thoughts to come when I get back to Houston.

Birth of a Rivalry – The Present

November 23, 2006

Well, the game is fast approaching, which means the “Birth of a Rivalry” series is coming to an end (finally). Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast. I had no idea it was headed for an 11-part series of pieces, but I’m glad I did it and hopefully you enjoyed it.

Today we take a look at this year’s match up. Nebraska has the Big XII North title wrapped up and Colorado limps in with a 2-9 record. Dan Hawkins takes over and immediately “shucks” the red-letter treatment. So, I guess all that rivalry talk will take a back seat this year.

Not so fast my friend…

First we see a video espousing the death of the Colorado football program following their loss to Montana State. This just had to be made by a Husker fan.

Next we have these words from CU running back coach (and star of several Buff victories over Nebraska) Darian Hagan:

“… It’s always a red-letter game. We’re going to go in there with fire in our eyes and try and hit them in the mouth and kick their butt. So when they go in there two weeks from now and play in the Big 12 Championship, they’re going to be limping in. That’s our goal.”

Then we have the resurfacing of the infamous words of Coach Hawkins at a CU Homecoming function:

“Just remember this, at 0-5 the worst days as a Buff is better than the best days as a Husker. Just remember that.”

You can check the video evidence below.

So, it might not be Ohio State – Michigan or even Florida – Florida State, but it is something.

And just in case you forgot:

Stay classy Nebraska.