Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nerves of Steal

PYB drops a rewind after watching a DVR rewind of Nebraska's momentous 23-9 win over Bitchigan Saturday in Lincoln. In honor of Tim Beck's herky jerky playcalling, we'll jump all over the board with our down-the-line observations:

--Another "big game" at Memorial Stadium started inauspiciously, as Taariq Allen's right knee got treated much like South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore's did earlier in the day.

--David Santos looks like a good linebacker -- one that can tackle AND stay within two yards of receivers in coverage. He led NU with 10 tackles against the Wolverines. Maybe we should temper our enthusiasm, however, considering Sean Fisher had seven tackles. Fisher is a 4.0 student in pre-med, in case you didn't know.

--The first-half pass rush (translation: when Denard Robinson was in the game) was pathetic. NU's front four used its patented pattycake technique, one time giving Robinson TEN (we counted) seconds of unmolested pocket time, before relinquishing four-yard scramble on 3rd and 3.

--Ameer Abdullah had a solid game, rushing for 104 yards. Where the FUCK was Braylon Heard? Zero plays despite averaging 7.3 yards per carry this season.

--Ameer Adbullah needs to either get the green light to return punts again or be benched for someone the coaches trust to make plays. The Santino Panico Act won't cut it.

--As if the "Clap & Snap" wasn't annoying enough to watch as Ohio State bottle blasted the Private Pinelli has adopted it as his own and has Taylorina Martinez doing so. Another infusion from the state of Ohio, as NU molts into an irrelevant Big 10 dinosaur right in front of our eyes.

--Starting center Justin Jackson sucks. We counted at least five horrible plays on his part, highlighted by a drive-killing personal foul and a holding call that negated a 15-yard penalty against Michigan.

--The quick screen pass to Jamal Turner was a nice play and gained 10 yards. We are really happy that he only gets one touch per game. We are even happier that he was wide open for a touchdown, but lost the ball in the lights because T Vagic threw it three yards behind him.

--PYB has never been so bored watching NU games. The Big Ten is just so bad that watching one's own team become a mind-numbing experience. True to form, the first quarter ended with the score 0-0.

--Private Pinelli should send a thank you note to the Michigan coaching staff, who has deeemed it a good idea to try to meld Denard Robinson into a pocket passer -- much like Beck has done with Martinez at NU.

--Nebraska used its first defensive timeout at the 10:01 mark of the second quarter -- surely a record for Pinelli in a "big game".

--Thankfully, for the Cornhuskers, Robinson left the game for good with 3:52 remaining in the second quarter and Michigan on NU's eight-yard line. At that point, the studio-gangster Blackshirts showed up to kick sand in the face of freshman fuck Russell Bellomy. Michigan failed to scored a TD on the drive, when Bellomy missed an open receiver and had to settle for a field goal to make the score 7-6 NU.

--Nebraska's brain trust followed up Michigan's scoring drive by butchering a chancle to increase its lead before halftime. NU started the next drive with 2:38 left in the first half, and moved the ball to midfield with 1:30 remaining after a couple nice Abdullah rushes. Instead of pushing the ball downfield, where even an interception deep in UM territory would have been meaningless, T Vagic racked up an illegal substitution penalty and then fumbled the ball away at his own 45-yard line on the very next play. Pure idiocy, consistent with Beck's horrendous late-half strategy over the last 19 games.

--The referees were atrocious (both ways), and brought back memories of the Big 12's pathetic officiating. Let's recap, so we can take a short break from trashing Nebraska's latest JV performance:

1. Ruling Roy Roundtree's long first-quarter catch as a completion, when the ball clearly hit the ground.
2. Calling Ciante Evans for a personal foul the very next play after slight contact out of bounds.
3. Personal foul on JP Smith for "targeting" the UM receiver, despite the fact he was falling with the ball.
4. Personal foul against UM when a defender barely brushed Taylorina one yard out of bounds.
5. Personal foul on Josh Mitchell for using his shoulder to break up reception attempt
6. Tacking on an unsportsmanlike call against Pinelli on the same play, when he had the gall to object.
7. Pass interference in the endzone against Andrew Green, when he didn't touch the receiver.
8. Pass interference against Michigan's defender, when he didn't touch Kenny Bell while in coverage.

--ESPN2 produced a subpar broadcast. Mark Jones continued his two decades' of shoddy work, calling Nebraska safety PJ Smith, "JP", at least five times. The sideline reporter added nothing to the game, except for making us all wonder why she mixed a green hat, blue scarf and black & white plaid gloves in her Winter ensemble. Brock Huard put the other two stiffs on his shoulders, giving solid commentary all game, while reminding us that he's a hell of a lot better in the broadcast booth than he was on the football field.

--Taylorina followed up his ignominious first-half finish by fucking up the beginning of the third-quarter. Ninety seconds in, he missed a wide-open Kenny Bell deep in Michigan territory. One play later, he decided to commit the cardinal quarterbacking sin of throwing back across the field and racked up a senseless INT. Luckily, UM's offense had been neutered by Robinson's nerve injury in the second quarter and couldn't capitalize on the blunder.

--PYB urges Pinelli to save this game tape. Blitzing the opposing QB works, even if it is just a 155-pound freshman weakling.

--Bellomy was so bad that NU's defense intercepted him three times. The first came on a fortunate carom that JP Smith corraled and returned to the four-yard line instead of to the endzone because he was not fleet enough to outrun the white Wolverine QB.

Never fear, T Magic was here and brought Tim Beck with him. They Dynamic Duo dialed up a sloppy QB run up the middle, followed by a pathetic two-yard out miss to fat Mike Marrow, followed by the biggest copout call in all of football -- the goal line fade route! Martinez threw three yards behind Turner, who lost the ball in the lights. The only coach with a pass to run this play is the Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator, since he has Calvin Johnson. Any other coach who calls it is just telling the public he has no idea how to beat the defense for a touchdown. Another chance to KO the opponent missed. Field goal. 10-6. Amateur hour at its finest.

--NU blew its next opportunity to put the game out of reach, starting inside Michigan territory and working the ball down to a first and 10 from the eleven yard line. One poorly designed screen play and two bad passes towards Kyler Reed later, the Huskers settled for yet another field goal and a 16-6 advantage. It was a textbook lesson on how to pull defeat from the jaws of victory when playing a good team -- or even a mediocre team like Michigan when its starting quarterback is healthy.

--Damon Stafford, as Mark Jones called him, even got an interception. To make sure the Cornhuskers didn't blow anybody out, Stafford leapt up for the ball and fell straight to the ground. Never mind the fact that there wasn't a Wolverine within 15 yards and a long return was imminent.

--Our friends at Daake Design got some much-deserved publicity, as ABC showed an extended shot of the Heisman room that DD designed for the NU Athletic Department. We tried our best to forget that Eric Crouch occupied one of the podiums and that Tommie Frazier did not.

--Porky Meredith managed to get outrun by the lead-footed Bellomy, proving -- again -- that he belongs at defensive Nebraska Wesleyan.

--Abdullah topped off the win with a rushing touchdown to make the score 23-9, and Pinelli promptly took the air out of the ball. Rather than pushing for another touchdown or two, to pay the Wolverines back for running up the score last year, he pulled a Frank Solich and ran the clock out for a pedestrian 14-point win.

So, Husker fans, rejoice! There's fool's gold in them there hills! NU played a team so crippled after losing its best player that the Huskers' normal stumbles, bumbles, blunders and boners didn't hurt them as much as usual. The defense got fat by feasting on a freshman quarterback. The offensive coordinator's lack of identity was quite apparent, but irrelevant this Saturday, as Bitchigan had no bullets left in the chamber.

On, Nebraska. On toward that contrived Rose Bowl goal. On to a battle next week in East Lansing against a fading Michigan State team with a defense too stout for Ms. Tee Magic. On to the national rankings once again.

On, Husker fans, as you watch for four more weeks to see if NU can navigate this minefield of mediocrity without tripping over itself. It's the fool's gold standard. The new, lowered bar in Lincoln. A bar so low that this team might just belly flop over it and into a berth in Indianapolis. Oh, my my. Oh, hell yes.

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