' Cinema Romantico: A Digression: The Season Of Insanity Continues

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Digression: The Season Of Insanity Continues

The lasting image for me of the 2009 Nebraska Football season, even with three (at least) games left in it, happened in the immediate aftermath of Nebraska's upset of its old arch rival Oklahoma Saturday night. As the players streamed off the field the ABC cameras caught a comely young blonde Nebraska fan, wearing a Joe Ganz jersey, her right cheek adorned by one of those tiny Huskers stickers which are oh so sexy (uh...at least to me). Her mouth was agape, highlighted by a smile, and her eyes darted back and forth, back and forth, as if checking and re-checking to ensure she was not merely witnessing a hologram. It was pure, unabashed bewilderment. "Did we really just win that game? Did we? We couldn't have. We did? Are you sure? Honestly?"

Forgive me for yet another diatribe on collegiate football but we are in the midst of a Nebraska Football season unlike any other I have witnessed. Like the title of the post says, this is all insanity. Utter insanity. This is a rollecoaster that has yet to be invented. The last time my beloved Huskers beat Oklahoma Eric Crouch was our QB, I was only three months removed from my Arizona odyssey and I had a girlfriend. (No. Really. I did. Stop laughing. I'm not joking.) That one was an epic #1 vs. #2 showdown that found Nebraska winning gloriously on the Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass (moment of silence, please). This one was unranked Nebraska vs. 24th ranked Oklahoma but, damn, if it didn't feel like old times. A 10-3 slugfest that should have been played in late November like the Big 8 clashes of yore. It brought to my mind Nebraska's 7-3 victory in '88 in the driving rain and sleet.

They won in spite of their offense. Never have I seen such an inept Nebraska offense. Watching the Nebraska offense is like watching Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor". It is absolutely, almost unbelievably putrid yet occasionally redeemed by Kate Beckinsale's hotness, which is to say occasionally running back Roy Helu Jr. breaks a spectacular long run they instantly proceed to squander. (Nebraska had a measly 180 yards of total offense and Roy Helu Jr. had 153 of them.)

So how did they win? Their defense, of course. Their relentless, aggressive, brilliant, wholly awesome defense. Consider how Nebraska earned its 10 points - an interception returned to Oklahoma's 1 yard line by cornerback Prince "Starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam" Amukumara allowed for Nebraska's only TD of the night (even Nebraska's offense can't muck it up from a single yard away!) and an interception by Matt O'Hanlon that he returned 30 yards into Oklahoma territory set up Nebraska's field goal. (O'Hanlon, I'd like to add, is a walk-on who would not have made the team under the regime of Bill "The Brain" Callahan who eliminated the fabled walk-on program to make way for his "NFL mentality" that promptly ran the program into the ground.)

And, of course, there was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The man is at the level of Trev Alberts in '93 or Jason Peter in '97 - that is, Possessed. Forget Florida QB Tim Tebow, please, as he done nothing to warrant Heisman Trophy talk other than have his name be Tim Tebow. Anyone who is watching these Nebraska games can see Suh deserves legitimate Heisman talk. He hurried the QB, and ran down supposedly shiftier running backs from behind, and batted down passes, and blocked yet another field goal, and, best of all, at one point pushed an offensive lineman backwards like he was a tackling dummy right into the Oklahoma QB as he was about to throw a pass causing the ball to go awry. (That should be a new stat. Pushing Offensive Lineman Into Own Quarterback - Suh, 1.)

Nebraska won this game because they displayed something they haven't in years. Character. Toughness. Resolve. You could see it in the eyes of every defender all night long. "No f---in' way are we losin' this game. DO YOU HEAR ME?! NO F---IN' WAY!"

As the game wore on and the offense kept going three and out and three and out and three and out the defense would trot back out on the field you could feel the fans' fear. The defense had to be spent. You could see it. Routine tackles they made in the first half they were now missing. They were wearing down. But they would not crumble. They would not. And they didn't. It's why we all felt like that comely young blonde in the Joe Ganz jersey. We were conditioned to expect a meltdown but it didn't happen. They rose up.

Somehow this team, this team with an offense that only gained seven first downs (seven!!!), this team with a QB that looks as comfortable as card players at a poker game with Ray Liotta, still controls its destiny in the race for the Big 12 North Title. Win out and they are champions. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's revel.

Nebraska - 10 Oklahoma - 3. It wasn't a beauty but, hey, it was all right. Congratulations, guys. You're all aces in my book. I have no idea what the hell is going to happen next week, and I'm certain I'm not ready for it, but I'll be right there with you.

1 comment:

david said...

Huskers win out and they will be playing for the big 12 championship.