NU’s Texas Agony Will Come to end Saturday in Lincoln
BY TODD NEELEY
Oh, come on Bo, just say it.
Say you want to get back at Texas Saturday for that officiating debacle in the Big 12 championship game.
Go ahead, tell us what you really think. Putting that extra second on the clock and giving the Longhorns a shot at that last-second field goal still sticks in your craw.
It sticks in the craw of some two million fans for sure.
Because of Bo Pelini’s highly competitive nature he relishes the chance to get back at the Longhorns, but he knows he can’t afford to give Texas bulletin board material.
He could say something that comes back to haunt.
For now, we’ll settle for this: “Last year’s game has nothing to do with this Saturday, nothing,” Pelini said during Tuesday’s press conference. “That has nothing to do with it. It’s different players, different teams, different time, and nothing that happened last year is going to impact what happens on Saturday. Nothing. It’s going to be one in between the lines on Saturday.”
Bo, you know you still feel ticked at what happen the day your defense destroyed Colt McCoy and a Texas offense that had been putting up big numbers in 2009, only to watch officials make a decision the likes of which hasn’t been made since.
Heck, you questioned officials all the way off the field that night because — just like the rest of us — you felt that big old Texas pain in the @$& Nebraska fans have felt since this whole Big 12 thing came together in the ’90s.
That was one of the hardest losses for Nebraska since the ’84 Orange Bowl when Osborne went for two against Miami.
From the fan’s perspective it’s time for a lot of payback.
Although conventional thought is that no team can play on emotion for four quarters, I think Saturday will be an exception for Nebraska — there’s still enough lingering ticked offness in that Husker locker room to carry this team a long way.
The loss to Texas wouldn’t have hurt so much if it hadn’t been for history.
This game Saturday is all about that history coming to a head, all about Nebraska having a last say before it hits the happy trail to the Big Ten in 2011.
This is what pain looks like: The bootleg throw by James Brown to beat Nebraska, the Terrence Nunn fumble on a fourth-and-one play in the snow at Memorial Stadium, Correll Buckhalter’s fumble at the Texas 1-yard line, the apparent comeback led by Jammal Lord that ended in a bad interception at the Texas goal line, the whole hook ’em horns thing that just wears on any red-blooded Nebraska fan, and Texas always getting what it wants in this conference.
That stuff has always mattered. The Big 12 has always been about Texas, and that’s why Saturday’s game in Lincoln is one of the biggest ever played at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska fans haven’t been this thirsty for revenge since, since, since, well maybe never.
Bo you can say all you want about this being just the next game on the schedule, but I doubt even your players buy into that at all.
It’s humanly impossible.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks of this game.
Texas is struggling after consecutive losses to UCLA and Oklahoma. The Longhorns aren’t about to get all their problems solved in two weeks’ preparation for Nebraska.
For starters, Memorial Stadium will be rumbling more than it ever has — giving Nebraska the 12th-man edge.
Simply put, Texas has no running game — even less so than the overhyped Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas who was made to look average by Nebraska last week with just 63 yards rushing.
The Texas offensive line isn’t athletic as has been in recent years and doesn’t stand much of a chance against what is a very athletic Nebraska defense.
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert really is no different from Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert — big athletic guys who have been forced to win games with their arms because of sickly running games.
This plays right into Nebraska’s hands.
NU will bring pressure on Gilbert from the opening snap, and force enough mistakes for the Nebraska secondary to capitalize.
As much as Nebraska’s offense has improved from 2009, I really think this again will come down to the play of the Blackshirts. Texas’ defense is athletic enough and well-coached enough to slow NU down somewhat. But the defense will make up for it. maybe even a couple of times.
In this game we will find out just how good Taylor Martinez needs to be with his arm to lead this team to championships, and I think he’ll do enough to win. Nebraska will need to have success on the ground to win this game. If the inexperienced Martinez is forced to throw too much against a very good Texas secondary he’s likely to make a mistake or two.
Martinez won’t be able to run as wild because the Texas defense can flat out run.
I think UT will hold Martinez in check early in the game, but he’ll likely make one or two game-changing plays to put Nebraska over the top and end Nebraska fans’ collective agony against Texas.
Again, Texas will pay a bit of a price by keying on Martinez as did Kansas State. Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead will make enough big plays to keep UT honest.
The agony will end abruptly.
Nebraska 34, Texas 14