"PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN. Coffee is for closers. "
---Blake (Alec Baldwin) Glengarry Glen Ross, 1992
Make no mistake, Nebraska should have absolutely killed that Iowa State game by a score of 48-17. Maybe even put up 56 points. But this new era, this new mentality, has a Nebraska football team that has taken the same approach that Billy C's old boss used to preach: "Just Win, Baby."
Even after the Corn impressively marched down the field go to up 7-0, only to have Iowa State come back and tie the game, you knew that this wasn't going to be the old fashioned shoot out that Dan Fouts predicted on TV. Billy C and his fake glasses -- which Terry Bradshaw has now borrowed to use on Fox NFL Sunday to make him look smart -- were planning on "just winning, baby" and getting out of Ames with the W. The offense looked like it was going to have that breakout road game on the road that would have echoed the old TO teams opening up the proverbial can of whoop ass to the tune of 56-10. Two running backs ran for over 100 yards, and Marlon Lucky didn't even register a carry (he did have three catches for 28 yards though). Zac Taylor, who's going to be first team all Big XII, completed 17 of 21 passes with no picks.
So why the hell didn't NU steamroll all over Ames on Saturday?
Go back to Billy C's Oakland days, where his team's just couldn't avoid the painful penalties. The Corn had 7 for 70 yards. But more importantly, Billy C was concerned about his defense collapsing like they did last week against Kansas at HOME, and wanted to hold on to the ball for so long on offense that his defense would spend the majority of the game as spectators. That's probably the most logical explanation, because I gotta think this wasn't the real WCO that Billy C wants to run here. He played it safe on Saturday night, just content to find a way to somehow escape with a road win -- which make no mistake, he really needed after almost losing that KU game (again, at HOME). When the Cyclones tied the game at 7, Callahan took every step to ensure the defense wouldn't have to spend much more time on the field.
The Corn has an offense that has the ability to hang 56 at Kansas State, a place they haven't won since 1996 during the Tom Osborne era. Billy C knows the "just winning" at Kansas State, even though the Wildcats are awful, is enough because of that losing streak at Manhattan alone. But he needs to let his WCO run wild at K State and give his defense a chance to get better, because Colt McCoy is licking his chops waiting to come to Lincoln on October 21st.
If NU really wants to make the return to one of the elite programs in the nation they've got to bust one open against a conference foe like the could have -- and SHOULD have -- on Saturday night. Or do so against K State this Saturday. This version of the WCO is ready to explode, and Callahan needs to let it happen. If his defense isn't ready to shut even the bad teams down, then Nebraska football is what it is: Content to win the Big XII North and nothing else. And that's about as exciting as winning the NIT in basketball.