A Vintage Husker Win Over Mizzou
By Todd Neeley
Longtime Husker fan and all-around good guy Bryce Anderson offered the following commentary, http://www.oldhuskerfan.blogspot.com/, on his Nebraska blog “Old Husker Thoughts” after Nebraska’s 31-17 beat down of Missouri in Lincoln.
Here’s what he had to say:
Huskers 31. Tigers 17. How sweet is THAT score anyway if you’re a Big Red fan??!!! Even 24 hours plus after the happening, those images of pure dominance are still washing through my memory. We haven’t seen a performance like that since–okay, if you want to count the Holiday Bowl against Arizona–but otherwise, it’s been a looonnnggg time since the team put together a high-profile beat-down like this.
And, of course, the features that have to stick out for us “vintage” fans of the Scarlet and Cream is that the victory on Oct. 30, 2010 had features that were indeed vintage–classic hallmarks–of this program that have been part of Big Red lore for generations. Let’s review:
1) Offensive Line Smackdown
I know–Roy Helu smashed through the school single-game rushing record. But this Old Husker Fan will go with the line’s performance first–because there were sights for sore eyes on the blocking side of things yesterday. It started with Ben Cotton wiping out 2–count ’em, TWO–Mizzou guys on Helu’s first home run TD. Then it continued with Nick Caputo and Ricky Henery pulling around the right side on Roy H. Jr’s 2nd long TD run–along with pass block pare excellence on the long TD throw to Kyler Reed by Taylor Martinez–a HUGE gap in the middle for Helu Jr’s 3rd hammer shot–and then, with almost 9 minutes left in the game, the classic kill-the-clock drive to seal the game. It’s what’s up front that counts, and the O-line responded.
2) A Big-Time Running Back Showing
Roy Helu Jr., to me, has been stuck in a “yeah he’s good, but—” type of stature in terms of his place on Husker all-time rushing charts. He took care of that yesterday, didn’t he, with vision, cuts, bursts, and heart that places him in the same breath as Green, LP, Jones, Clark, Hipp, Craig, Berns, Kinney, and even has him sharing some of the same territory as the best back that this fan has ever seen wearing red–Mike Rozier. 307 yards. Three. Hundred. Seven. That number is mind-numbing. #10 in the 2010 Husker lineup brought it all yesterday–and his 3rd TD had a cut and explosion that only the best bring to the party.
3) Punishing Defense
The best Husker teams have had a defense that flat-out hurts the other guys. Yesterday, we saw that–and Missouri obviously felt it. The sacks that Cameron Meredith and Courtney Osborne put on Mizzou QB Gabbert–and the gutsy goal-line stand 3rd down play where Ciante Evans and Jared Crick helicoptered Gabbert to keep him out of the end zone are proof that this year’s edition of the Blackshirts is dialed into that same perspective.
4) The Bench Comes Through
Two new starting safeties. A reserve cornerback playing most of the game. A walk-on D lineman who has never played gets a sack. And a senior #2 quarterback takes over in the 2nd half without flinching. The aforemention Messrs Osborne and Evans, along with new safety Austin Cassidy, Kevin Thomsen and ever-steady Zac Lee can add their names to the stories of big games where heretofore non-headline players made their mark in a very real way. Coaches say all the time that football is a team game–and the Husker program has a history of proving that over and over again. Yesterday was no exception.
5) The Tight End Is Big
This is a personal item. I’ve always been a fan of the tight end position on the Husker teams. I know that Johnny Rodgers and Irving Fryar basked in glory as wingbacks/wide receivers–but to me, the true hallmark Husker non-backfield skill position is the tight end. And, what a reminder we got of that position’s prominence yesterday–not only with blocking, but also with #25, Kyler Reed, making 2 huge catches–his 40 yard TD aerial from Taylor Martinez, and then, late in the game, with a tough 12-yard reception on 3rd and 2 during the game-clinching 8 minute, 40-second possession.
Of course, this coming Saturday against Iowa State is another must win. After all, Iowa State can win the Big XII North by winning out–and no matter what, the Huskers have zero wiggle room in order to stay on track to go to their final Big XII championship game. But this is one fan who feels a whole lot better about the program going into this week than last week–and for sure better than 2 weeks ago. I think things are looking up, and that they’re looking up for some several definitely vintage Husker program reasons–reasons to savor looking to the rest of the 2010 campaign.
Go Big Red!!
The Old Husker Fan