Welcome to the Husker Monday Marinade. Each week we will take a unique look at the week that was, the week that will be and the opinions that will drive the debate about Nebraska Cornhusker Football. Please feel free to add to the conversation below, share on Facebook and Tweet it!
Throw them bones!
What do you do when faced with a bug-eyed freshman quarterback who is on the road in his first significant action? You unleash the hounds on the Styrofoam statue and let the dogs eat.
Throw them bones!
Nebraska had the proverbial menacing monkey on their back, a “dual-threat” quarterback in Denard Robinson coming into Lincoln. It is well documented that the Huskers don’t fare well against that prototype. Many Husker faithful, even die-hards thought he would be the death of the Blackshirts, of Nebraska’s season, and of Bo Pelini. As it turned out, much ado about nothing.
Never mind that Mr. Robinson was medically escorted off the field in the first half. We’ll never know if he would have carved through eventually, but even still I argue the reason Husker fan should not have been worried is that Denard isn’t a dual-threat QB. He’s Rex Burkhead, not Taylor Martinez. Allow me to elaborate.
Denard Robinson is a running back in the mold of Darren Sproles, short, shifty and a headache in space. He occasionally throws passes. He is a permanent wildcat where you have to throw occasionally. Robinson can’t.
Which is why Bo and his defense were able to bottle him up. They drew a line in the ground-up rubber and stood firm. They dared him to pass. They knew he couldn’t and they were right. The Blackshirts weren’t going to break.
But they broke Robinson, or Robinson broke himself. Either way it was over when he went down and couldn’t come back. He was replaced by Russell Bellomy, a no-threat QB and Nebraska lit him like Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
Sometimes it takes a freak play to turn fortunes around for a defense struggling. Robinson going down and the first interception that Bellomy threw, the squeeze-out ball that popped into the arms of PJ Smith served that purpose. Although, Smith should have had a pick-6 but Bellomy actually ran him down at the four-yard line. I’m sure PJ will catch a good ribbing for not scoring. But those were the catalysts to two more picks and a host of tackles for loss, no touchdown allowed, and a whole lot of confidence for Nebraska.
Bellomy completed as many passes to Huskers as he did to Wolverines as Michigan sputtered to just 52 second-half yards.
The Blackshirts were earned. Bo tried to give them the week before, but the defense said they weren’t earned, yet. Like a true predator, the Husker D didn’t want to be fed, they wanted to hunt. Wolverine, as is turns out, makes a worthy meal.
And the feast will likely keep coming as the Blackshirts look to get fat through the Holidays. Sparty has no offense to brag about, Penn State’s Matt McGloin will struggle in Lincoln and Minnesota and Iowa are afterthoughts.
You have to love the way this team is maturing right before our eyes. Ameer Abdullah looks like Ahman Green II. Martinez is showing courage, leadership and selfishness (the good kind, the kind where he holds onto the ball). The defense played a complete game and are starting to learn the scheme well enough to start getting aggressive without detrement. I wish we had another six games with these guys … oh wait, we might.
All the sudden Husker fans are off the ledge again. We’re thinking B1G Championship again. We’re thinking Roses. I know one game at a time, but three weeks ago, it seemed impossible. Now it’s only logical. Even the BCS gave us some love as Nebraska is the only Big Ten team on the list, ranked No. 20.
I took all kinds of hell from Husker fans for saying that the Ohio State game meant nothing and changed nothing and to keep it in perspective. As we see now, it means nothing. Destiny is back in the hands of Martinez, Abdullah and the Blackshirts.
So let’s stop being Jekyll and Hyde fans, and let’s just be fans. A lot of you didn’t think that 6-0 was possible after Ohio State. Now it seems quite likely. Then on to Indy, then Pasadena, again, which I called after UCLA, and another date with the Pac-12. That win means something. It means a BCS win on Bo’s resume. “How you like me now?”
Throw them bones!
***Shout out to Maverick Hockey fans and those on Mavpuck.com for the “Weasel Week” theme. UNO has always called hockey series against Michigan Weasel Week. Hope it catches on with the Husker faithful.