Saturday, September 22, 2007

Game 4: Nebraska 41, Ball State 40 (Special Broken Record Edition)

I guess nobody can say that the Huskers weren't warned about this little upstart Ball State team. It's become apparent with each passing week of this college football season that there's going to be a major upset, one in which a ranked opponent gets knocked off at home by a team they have no business having to worry much about. And make no mistake, if it weren't for poor clock management by Ball State at the end of the game, and the unforgivable decision to try a 55 yard field goal to win the game when there was plenty of time on the clock and an offense that was shredding the Blackshirts, this week's shocker would have read something like Ball State 47, Nebraska 41.

Hell, it's a win, and in this era of College Football, you take the W's and run over to the female sideline reporter to tell her how proud you are of your team for being so resilient in a game where there were 9 lead changes. My favorite Billy C quote: "There are probably a few things that we need to work on." No shit? The 2007 Huskers are the equivalent of the late 1980's Denver Bronco's teams. A horrible defense, an iffy at best running game, and an all-everything quarterback who can always someway, somehow, find a way in the end.

Alright, so let's dissect a few things about this wild-shoot out:
  • "Nice catch, Matt" Davison is now doing color for FSN. Or at least he did for this game. He's no Andre Ware (which is a plus), but he's certainly not Chris Collinsworth either.
  • Keller went 7 for 7 on that final drive that ended with the Maurice Purify touchdown. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Joe Dailey wouldn't have been able to pull that off a few years ago.
  • Bo Ruud is officially the most overrated defensive player in Husker football history. He was a complete non-factor the entire game...and then wouldn't you know it, Ball State QB Nate Davis makes the one critical mistake that falls right into Ruud's lap. So Ruud gets more headlines because he took that one back to the house. But real defensive leaders don't let a team like Ball State come into your home stadium and hang 40 points on you.
  • My first experience watching a game at the infamous "Callahan's Sports Bar" in Kansas City (actually in Lenexa, KS, and no it's not named after Billy C). The bar is owned by the same people who own Sandy's Bar in Lincoln, and they even serve Elk Creek's on game day. Every television was tuned to the Husker game. It was jam packed by 10:45 AM with literally every person there wearing red (with the exception of one K-State fan, who loved every minute of the game until poor Jake Hogue missed that field goal). Callahan's is known as the Kansas City "Husker" bar, and it didn't disappoint one bit. You'd be hard pressed to watch a road game in a better Lincoln or Omaha bar. They even had a big 8 x 10 framed picture of Billy C, and surprisingly nobody had marked it up with devil horns.
  • Oh yeah, Sam Keller passed for 438 yards, which is an NU record. Of course, Nate Davis threw for 422, and if one of those nice passes wasn't dropped for an easy touchdown, you're talking about a 450+ yard performance by the opposing quarterback.
  • Kevin Cosgrove looked every bit as intense and angry as Tommy Lee Jones did in The Fugitive. That is, if Tommy Lee Jones character walked around with a huge ass notebook hanging out of the front of his pants and having his hair go grey by the minute. Is it just me, or is this look of Cosgrove's a big problem? Do you think the players laugh about the notebook look when their on the field? I can't emphasize this enough. Get a fucking clipboard and walk around without looking like your about to go Pinocchio and turn into a jackass. Then maybe a few of your players might focus on something like, I don't know, tackling, per se.
  • Something to be very worried about as the Corn enters the Big 12 schedule: The blackshirts provided absolutely NO pass rush, letting Davis throw the ball 43 times and even run for 57 yards.
  • Just so you all know, Doc Sadler is not going to stop trying for more and more face time on TV during football games. While Ball State was tearing the Husker Defense apart, Doc was too busy in the booth begging fans to go out now and buy their Husker Basketball season tickets. I don't know Doc, but if memory serves, there were some games last year where your team couldn't even put up 40 points.
  • I don't know if I've said anything about the defense yet, but Ball State had 610 total yards in offense.
  • There were no commercials during the pay-per-view game, only Nebraska promos. And not a one of them was voiced by Dick Cavett. Although it was good to see our old friend Bruce Chubick show up in the "I'm aboard" spot for Nebraska men's basketball. I could just see old Chub before shooting that promo. "Now, you're going to pay me after this, right? In CASH?"
  • Callahan gave the rather ordinary looking female sideline reporter interview time at the end of the first half and the end of the game. Let's just say this: Billy C could give two shits about that mid-field prayer meeting that some players and coaches choose to participate in; he's all about helping our female journalists.
  • The reason I called the sideline reporter "ordinary" looking is because three girls who were sitting next to me kept going on about how bad she looked, from her outfit to her hair. One of these girls had a T-Shirt that read "Leave Me Alone" with a picture of Grumpy the Dwarf on it. But at least it was a red t-shirt.
  • The new Billy C joke everyone has to use at watch parties and bars: "Don't you think Callahan is Beau Bridges twin brother?"
  • More on Grover. In the 4th quarter, he grew more nervous with each new reaction shot. I might be crazy, but I'd bet the house that Cosgrove keeps a big bottle of Crown Royal in his desk. Or down his pants with that playbook.
  • Nebraska had two receivers go over the 100 yard mark (Purify and Sean Hill), and Marlon Lucky had 81 yards receiving to go with his 102 rushing yards. I'm only bringing up the rushing yardage because I don't really remember any rushing yards in the 2nd half. Must have been the Elk Creeks.
  • The game was officially over when that poor kid was asked to go out and win it for Ball State on a 55-yard field goal. He even looked puzzled as to why he was out there. During both "icing" time-outs, Jake Hogue kept looking around as if to say, "Seriously, he's gonna call me back to the sidelines and we'll just pick up these 5 easy yards, right? RIGHT?"
  • Almost everyone left Callahan's more pissed off than relieved, and most used a refrain that you read on these pages about every other week: "You think they'll fire Cosgrove in the middle of the season?"

I doubt that's going to happen, but it does lead us up to why this is a Broken Record edition (as opposed to the Bill Murray movie Broken Flowers edition) of our game recap. Firing Cosgrove as early as this week would send a major statement to not just the team, but all of "Husker Nation" if you will. This was last year's Oklahoma State game all over again at times. This was USC running for 11 yards a carry. If you're Callahan, and you admit at Tuesday's presser that the current defense is unacceptable, you get everyone's attention. The only problem is, who comes in to save the day at this point? The good thing is that the entire conference is beyond soft this year. The Corn can win games like this with Keller's arm and confidence. We're probably stuck with Super Grover through the end of the year...

...But with his Helen Keller defense, there's no place this team is going further than a Big 12 North Championship. And with Missouri still left -- at Missouri mind you -- that's not going to be easy. If I have to be in the area for that game, I just hope I'm at Callahan's instead of Columbia.

No comments: