Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Shitty Teams

PYB sends greetings from the nation's capital of fuzzy shower mats -- Nebraska. Laziness, mixed in with some vacation-time travel/drinking/November golfing, had prevented our posting an Iowa-game recap to this point. Given today's big news that Private Bo Pinelli had been dishonorably discharged from Husker Nation after seven mediocre seasons at the helm, we'll have more later this week as time allows.

But, since we took the time at 5 a.m. this morning to watch the Husker-Hawkeye-Hero pillow fight once more, we'll post those comments here and let the dust settle on the Bo Madness before chiming in on that topic. We will say that Friday's contest was one more installment of Pinelli's rattletrap rickshaw on the road to nowhere, and that the feelgood win was the final public exhibit leading to his eventual undoing. Let's get to the big-picture topics of the week:

--Nebraska started the Iowa week with a laundry list of injuries. Some usual suspects (Kenny Bell, Randy Gregory) and some newcomers (Mark Pinelli, Corey Cooper, Alonzo Moore, Zach Sterup). Then, of course, some mid-game additions (Ryne Reeves, Tommy Armstrong). What, we ask, is behind all the constant injuries? Poor conditioning? General softness? Bad luck? Tougher opponents? Who knows, but somewhere Thad Randle sits and says, "SMH."

--Matt Millen, despite being a horrible NFL general manager, called a nice game and provided some insightful, impartial analysis. The only point that we called into question was when he said Armstrong had improved between the start of the season and the end.

--Greg McMullen, who credited Bo Pelini as the reason he left Ohio for Nebraska, was awful. He did it all Friday. Got blown off the ball. Played patty cake with pass-blocking linemen. Jogged while pursuing plays. Got shredded for his lack of effort by former NU players' tweets. Watch the tape -- sickening at best.

--Maliek Collins had another good game and cemented himself as one of the handful of playmakers on the NU roster. Is it any coincidence that Nebraska's most impactful defensive lineman came pre-trained as a state champion wrestler and likely didn't require a ton of coaching in that regard?

--Racist NU fans got their wish, as Ryker Fyfe made a two-play appearance after an Armstrong injury. His one pass attempt was nowhere close. Armstrong returned the next drive.

--Iowa turned the ball over four times in the first half, and NU turned it into seven total points in the first 30 minutes. Under Pelini, that was a Husker specialty -- turning potential 14-0 leads into ties or deficits.

--The Hawkeyes' first touchdown came on a poorly called and executed 3rd & 12 pass play. Tim Beck dialed up deep routes for all three receivers, despite having a poor offensive line. Armstrong held the ball for one, two, three counts too long. Ball tipped. Interception. Touchdown.

--Sam Foltz caused one first-half turnover, with a tackle after his punt. He also lobbied for a Hawkeye game ball by recording his weekly shanked punt and also dropping a punt snap that led to an Iowa touchdown return by Nebraska native Drew Ott. Add Foltz's gaffes to a missed Drew Brown field goal, and the kicking game was pretty shaky.

--Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock worked for his game ball as well, accommodating the Cornhuskers by missing several open receivers during the game -- most notably a wide open receiver in the third quarter. Had they connected, Iowa would have taken a 31-14 lead and likely won the game.

--Sam Cotton dropped his weekly pass.

--NU actually used tight end Cethan Carter -- twice. Once on a 34-yard pass in the two-minute drill that helped cut Iowa's lead to 10-7 right before half. The other was on NU's game-tying drive at the end of regulation, on a hot read by Armstrong, no less. Baby steps.

--Mack Brown forgot Ameer Abdullah's name and had to be reminded of it by ABC's John Saunders. Seems the former Texas football coach is as bad in the middle of halftime updates as he was in the middle of games.

--With two game-changing punt returns, De'Mornay Pierson-El cemented himself as one of the best NU playmakers in 20 years. We have trouble naming a consistently better one -- especially at souch a young age...let's hope the new Nebraska braintrust maximizes his potential the next three seasons.

--Private Pinelli's Blackskirts gave us the worst of times. They gave us the best of times. On Friday and all season. After a rocky start, the unit controlled the game the rest of the way. This, a week after giving up 133 yards to a molasses-slow Minnesota quarterback and two weeks after giving up 408 to Melvin Gordon.

The consistency of this defensive inconsistency and the wide variance in the team's ability to function at an acceptable killed Pelini in the end. It was a game-by-game, half-by-half, drive-by-drive proposition. Not good enough for a $3 million defensive guru.

--PYB was happy with the end result, a 37-34 win. PYB was sad after Beck played for overtime with an uninspired combination of playcalling and clock management on NU's set of downs with goal to go. Letting seven seconds expire after second down before calling timeout with 20 seconds remaining was sloppy at best.

Calling timeout with 12 seconds to go after a bad third-down play call and before the tying field goal was unacceptable, as it forced NU to kickoff one more time and risk losing before actually forcing overtime. High school shit. Shit we saw countless times under the Pinelli regime.

Luckily, like Nebraska, Iowa was error prone and had fewer playmakers. Nebraska had five. Iowa had zero. Luckily, Iowa pulled a Nebraska and started its overtime possession with a false start. Luckily, offensive coordinator Greg Davis went brain dead after Iowa got inside the ten and forced his squad to kick a field goal.

And finally, in one last stroke of luck, Bell provided NU fans with one last taste of excitement. Bell, questionable all week with a questionable head injury, caught a long third-quarter touchdown and the game winner to boot.

He left Husker Nation with one last taste of the feelgood drug he sells. Big plays that temporarily cover larger, team-wide flaws. He's like a woman in that regard. Talks too much at times. Whines. Let's everyone know how underappreciated she is and how unfair life is. Makes fans wonder if all the effort is worth it.

But, when times are good, and she feels up to it and gives us the pussy -- nothing feels better and a magic elixir of nostalgia helps us temporarily
forget the realities that paralyze Nebraska's hopes of winning big again.

Nothing felt better Friday, and NU fans reveled toward a warm holiday weekend and 80-degree temperatures. Sunday, cold reality reappeared in the form of Pelini's pink slip, and Cornhuskers across the country braced for another winter of uncertainty. And hope. Onward....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Up in Smoke

PYB went to the first half of Nebraska's football game against Minnesota last Saturday. We witnessed a far-from-perfect but almost opportunistic half of football from the Huskers, as they racked up 21-7 lead. Due to logistical reasons, we had to leave at halftime.

By the time we got parked in front of a television to watch the game's end, the Gophers were on their way to pounding a more-talented-but-soft-as-hell opponent into the ground. On its final offensive series, as Tommy Armstrong led NU's rattletrap offense down the field with as much efficiency as Cheech & Chong's SS, we all knew the end result.

So when a Minnesota defender stole the ball from DeMornay Pierson-El, we weren't surprised. Then, when Nebraska's Blackskirts let a Gopher running back drag them nine yards for a game-clinching first down, we didn't bat an eye and another game, week and season were up in smoke in Lincoln.

There's no need for in-depth analysis here. But, for the sake of tradition, here's what we saw:

--NU fans did their part. Filled the stadium. Provided a generally positive attitude. Cheered pretty loudly for a poorly coached, heartless team.

--Nebraska can't run block or pass block. We listened to Offensive Line Coach John Garrison Monday night on the radio, and he admitted the unit has struggled with both techniques and with penalties. He was honest -- something too rare in this staff. It was refreshing. But, any time a coach is so freely admitting that about his squad 11 games into the season, PYB would say that team is effectively fucked.

--PYB had Minnesota +10 points. Easy money. We were just sad that no money line was published and that we forgot to bet the second half while departing the game.

--The 'Skirts had no answer for Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner and his zone read play. He ran 22 times for 133 yards. He ran about as fast as Garrett Gilbert did for Texas in 2010. Two glaring concerns here: Gilbert lost his job the next year to Case McCoy and David Ash and that $3 million Bo Pinelli was outcoached by Mack Brown. Ouch.

--As recent history has told us, every time NU squawks about is rankings or mentions its chances at playing in postseason game of meaning, it shits the bed in the worst way. This year was no different, following the bottle blasting it took from a mediocre Wisconsin team (barely beat Iowa and lost to Northwestern) and the pounding it took from a pedestrian Minnesota team -- at home.

--Nebraska fans couldn't make Armstrong the scapegoat this week, while clamoring for the white guy backup. The sophomore was 13/19 for 223 yards with no turnovers but got sacked four times.

--NU ran for 4.6 yards a carry, but still lost to Minnesota -- at home.

--Nebraska's offensive drives went as follows:

First Half

Second Half
Field Goal

How's that for halftime adjustments?

--Following the game, Pinelli had no answers except that Tim Beck's drive-killing, deep pass call in the fourth quarter was OK. Second and 1 is a "waste down", see. The rest of us fucksticks just aren't football-savvy enough to know that. That's fine, if your quarterback is Aaron Rodgers, you have a good offensive line and your best receiver is healthy.

NU has none of the three. NU is not good enough to waste a down against any team. The fact that its coaches are the only ones not in touch with that fact is appalling. The fact they don't realize the result of their frivolous actions is embarrassing. The fact that Pinelli has expressed no strategy to get from bad to better is mortifying.

That's all we have Re: Minnesota. Been there. Watched that. Let's look forward, instead, to NU's epic battle against Iowa tomorrow:

--Iowa is favored by just one point. Load up on the Hawkeyes. Iowa sucks, but at least plays with some balls. It's sad that NU is going to rack up its second consecutive loss to a team that does not try to score in many games.

--Nice recruiting, Huskers. Maybe Pinelli & Co. were too busy signing zone-read stoppers to chase a home-state, starting-caliber defensive lineman.

--PYB hopes that these two warriors can manage to suit up Friday. Kenny Bell is suffering from a head injury. Replays show his head barely hit the turf, and his niece and elevator full of friends told us postgame that he did not have a concussion. Unfortunately, the NU offense has struggled more than usual in the multiple times Bell has left games early this season. We thought Bell only came up lame after dropped passes. This time it was after a 73-yard reception. Things really are devolving in Husker Nation.

Randy Gregory contracted an 'illness' after laying over the dogpile on a one-yard Minnesota touchdown run. Early reports say it's been that tough-to-shake case of NFL Draftitis. Paging Mr. Clowney....

--One last chance for Beck to come up with a real game plan this season. He found an identity against Miami, then threw it on the ground and pissed on it for the next eight games. One last chance, also, for Pinelli and Papuchis to rise to the occasion and slow down a bad offense.

But, we kid noone. They won't do it. We'll watch. We'll hide our eyes in shame. We'll watch NU slide one game closer to a .500 long-term Big 10 record. We'll get the same post-game answers we've gotten for seven years. We'll still be fine.

That's the joint,
That's the jam, 
Turn that shit up, 
Play it again....

Happy Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hitting the Wall

PYB ventures off to Lincoln today for some pre-game tailgating. Still undecided on whether we actually attend the game, we ponder the below:

--Minnesota runs the ball well. Nebraska is terrible at defense. How is NU a 10-point favorite?

--To be fair, after looking at a preseason poster, the Blackskirts are playing this entire season without Charles Jackson, Michael Rose and Leroy Alexander because of injury. Aaron Curry also chose to leave to a better program in TCU right before the season started. Either way, that's four starters that aren't there to miss tackles and blow assignments. Tough to overcome.

--Straight from the "Are You Shitting Me Department": DeMornay Pierson-El has five total targets in the last three games. Considering he's one of two offensive playmakers NU has (and the other one has been injured), PYB thinks an 'offensive genius' would find a way to get him the ball more.

--After too many recent puff pieces, Tom Shatel hits the mark in today's Omaha World Herald. It's all 'big picture stuff.'

--Jay Gruden will likely get axed as the Washington Redskins by the end of this season, but we love that he keeps calling out his pussy-assed quarterback. R! G!! 3!!! By the way, why is Redskins insenstive but Chiefs is not?

--While we're talking about pussy-assed superstars and historically bad teams from Washington. Queen James took her talents and her new court to DC last night and got smashed by the always-lethal John Wall/Bradley Beal combination.

Blame the coach for not understanding the game. Blame Kyrie Irving for not playing point guard well enough while having his new small forward dominate the ball. But it was the Queen who stacked her team. Who shot 8/21. Who ran back home with her tail between her legs. Not so easy to produce without two top-tier All-Stars in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

That's all we have. Just a few quick shots at most of our favorite targets. Time to shower and run to the Star City -- for better or likely for worse.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pinelli's Greatest Hits

PYB is scared. Scared to watch the rewind of another nationally televised Nebraska disaster. Mind you, we're not scared to watch the carnage -- as we've seen it countless times before. The scars we already have minimize much of the pain. Not scared to admit that our beloved alma mater is a nationwide joke and has been for at least 13 years. Not scared to witness the Blackshirt tradition wither, under the guidance of an Ohio State Buckeye, into a brittle, laughable, farce of a concept that continually turns opponents' stars into superhuman beings recording never-dreamt-of records.

No, not scared of that at all. We came to grips with that long ago. We are scared, however, of the lack of any sort of leadership in Lincoln. The acceptance of futility. The dismissal of giving up 49 straight points to a mediocre team as "big picture" stuff. The refusal to tend to the small details that make up said "big picture." Most of all, we're scared that nobody is willing or capable of doing anything about it.

We sat with you, dear readers, and hoped this time would be different. Hoped the early 17-3 lead wasn't a mirage in a desert of meaningful wins that spans 10+ seasons. It felt different, briefly. It felt different until Melvin Gordon ripped off his first big run. Then a long touchdown run, complete with missed assignments, missed tackles and a patented Corey Cooper belly flop. The bed was pissed. And the rout was on. Call the bookie. Time to double up.

What is wrong with Nebraska? How much time do you have? PYB could go on for hours. Paragaph after paragraph. Of course, any of the faults we pointed would be techniques described in any Coaching Football book at the public library. What's the point? Read back through the last few years' worth of columns. Same disaster, different Saturday.

Luckily, we got pulled to a party with friends at halftime. Sure, the game was on at the party, and we could keep ourselves apprised of the latest hail-mary interception, false start, botched quarterback-running back exchange, missed block, whiffed blitz pickup. Friends consoled us. Told us it was still a game. We knew better. We knew this was another bad Nebraska joke. We didn't have to look at the scoreboard, which rolled upward on the Wisconsin side like a progressive jackpot in Las Vegas.

This wasn't just one 'off day' in the "big picture". This was more basic than that. Readily apparent to even the most untrained eye:

--NU has played two above-mediocore teams this year. Both teams have blasted NU. Outside of a first- and fourth-quarter fluke in those games, Michigan State and Wisconsin outscored Nebraska 62-10. Neither the Spartans or Badgers has a quality win this season, and their best games are losses to Oregon and Ohio State, respectively. Welcome to the Big Ten, Nebraska.

--Nebraska cannot, will not, or is incapable of, properly filling gaps on defense. These aren't just minor misses. These are complete fucking breakdowns, resulting in long run after long run after long run. How can Western Illinois do it, but Nebraska can't seem to so ever since Mark Vedral met Colorado in 2001?

--After three straight games of not being able to hold the edge against Wisconsin, NU finally 'adjusted' in then second half and brought Josh Mitchell off the corner with his shoulders turned perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. Multiple times. From day one of seventh-grade football practice, any defender responsible for outside containment is told to never do this. Ever. 

--Nebraska trailed Wisconsin just 24-17 near the end of the first half. After relinquishing 21 straight points, and saddled with a quarterback that is completing less than half his passes in conference play, most coaches would kneel the fucking ball, head to the locker room and adjust. Not Bo Pinelli. Our favorite Private thought it a good time to flip the switch, as he always does in panic time, to Beck Mode. (See drive chart below). 

Most coaches would realize a seven-point deficit means that just one touchdown and extra point ties the game. Get to halftime. Take a deep breath. Decide on a second-half strategy. Demonstrate leadership. Execute chosen strategy.

The Youngstown Brain Trust, however? Run the ball to a third and three. Take a sack. Fake a punt in the first half of a seven-point game (yeah, We're Fine, and feel confident our defense can stop Wisconsin but we're faking a punt deep in our own territory down one score in the first half. Anyone think Wisconsin noticed that?). 

As lucky as it was to convert the fake punt, NU collected a personal foul penalty that pushed it back to its own 25-yard line, one yard from where it began the drive. That said, surely the coaches would now take the air out of the ball and run clock. Nope! Tim Beck dialed up bomb after bomb after bomb, throwing caution to the wind and risking interceptions and fumbles with each rendition. 

NEBRASKA drive start at 03:24.
1-10 NEB 26 Timeout Nebraska, clock 03:24.
1-10 NEB 26 Armstrong Jr. rush for 5 yards to the NEB31 (Caputo, Michael).
2-5 NEB 31 Abdullah, Ameer rush for 2 yards to the NEB33 (Trotter, Marcus).
3-3 NEB 33 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 8 yards to the NEB25 (Trotter, Marcus). (Editor's Note: RUN THE FUCKING BALL)
4-11 NEB 25 Timeout Wisconsin, clock 02:05.
4-11 NEB 25 Foltz, Sam rush for 14 yards to the NEB39 (Jordan, A.J.), PENALTY NEB personal foul (Editor's Note: Panic time.)
(Hannon, Zach) 15 yards to the NEB24.
4-12 NEB 24 1st and 10.
1-10 NEB 24 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny, PENALTY WIS holding (Shelton, Sojour) 10 X8 (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
yards to the NEB34, 1ST DOWN NEB, NO PLAY.
1-10 NEB 34 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 6 yards to the NEB28 (Jean, Peniel). (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
2-16 NEB 28 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny, PENALTY WIS pass interference (Shelton, X9 (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
Sojour) 15 yards to the NEB43, 1ST DOWN NEB, NO PLAY.
1-10 NEB 43 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny. (Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
2-10 NEB 43 Armstrong Jr. sacked for loss of 11 yards to the NEB32 (Schobert, Joe;Goldberg, A.).(Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
3-21 NEB 32 Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete to Bell, Kenny.(Editor's Note: Run the FUCKING BALL!)
4-21 NEB 32 PENALTY NEB false start (Kalu, Joshua) 5 yards to

Maybe we just don't understand, not being steeped in that Youngstown tradition. Sometimes, it's all about perspective. Remember, football is just a game and it takes a true genius like Beck to put fans back into the proper frame of mind.

Despite being castrated on national television for approximately the 20th time in a decade, there's plenty left for NU to achieve. Senior Day. FUCKING SENIOR DAY?? A crappy game on a frozen field against a crappy Iowa team. A middle-of-the-pack-in-the-worse-division-of-the-two-in-a-terrible-conference finish again in 2014. Silly PYB -- remember, if you aim for the turds, you're sure to end up with the maggots!

From stem to stern, this was another Vintage Pinelli effort. Two weeks of preparation, or lack thereof. Failure to capitalize on early opportunities. Lack of ability to cope with adversity. Mental breakdowns ensue at rapid pace. National bottle blasting proceeds. Records broken. Another year wasted. A cold winter on the plains with little warmth in site.

This, hopefully, was the grand finale for Private Bo Pinelli's Greatest Hits in Lincoln. Like most bands pushing forth a cash-grab compilation, he's washed up and his drummer and guitarist (Beck and John Papuchis) are severely overmatched. In music terms, they went from playing roadside shitholes in Topeka to Madison Square Garden and never had a fucking chance.

Under the bright lights, they froze. They blessed us with the following. Sing along, friends, and remember the good times:

Track List
Missouri 52 - NU 17 (2008)
Oklahoma 62 - NU 28 (2008)
Texas Tech 31 - NU 10 (2009)
Iowa State 9 - NU 7 (2009)
Texas 20 - NU 13 (2010)
Wisconsin 48 - NU 17 (2011)
Northwestern 28 - NU 25 (2011)
Michigan 45 - NU 17 (2011)
Ohio State 63 - NU 38 (2012)
Wisconsin 70 - NU 31 (2012)
UCLA 41 - NU 21 (2013)
Minnesota 34 - NU 23 (2013)
Michigan State 41 - NU 28 (2013)
Iowa 38 - NU 17 (2013)
Wisconsin 59 - NU 24 (2014)

Hidden Tracks
Michigan State 27 - NU 22 (2014)
South Carolina 30 - NU 13 (Live from Orlando, 1/2/2012)

Maybe NU should take a page from Queen James and disallow football. It would save the state of Nebraska the embarrassment of being proven to be softer than Dwight Howard every time it appears on national television.

Somehow, the Huskers are a 10-point favorite over a smarter, tougher, better-coached Minnesota team this Saturday. There's no way they win on Hawkeye turf the day after Thanksgiving. We get an 11 a.m. kickoff in each game, with hopefully fewer witnesses to this rattletrap program on the road to ignominy.

We'll be drunk by noon, but that's OK.
NU will be relevant some day
Load the box, and still can't stop shit
It's Pinelli's Greatest Hits,
It's Pinelli's Greatest Hits.....

Respectfully Yours....PYB

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tick Tock

PYB kept a log of the good, the bad and the ridiculous so far this week, as we while away the work week and await another big-game, road-game for Nebraska and wonder how we missed the fact that Blake Griffin got traded to the Arizona Cardinals:

--The NU offensive line has it figured out and can be as good as it decides to be. Heard that before? Just flip the switch, like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. No problem.

--The Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel is a two-trick pony. Trophy names and food. Branch out, or retire, Tom. Nobody gives a fuck about naming every crappy Big 14 matchup, and nobody gives a fuck less about about your fondness of nachos, wings, steaks and ice cold domestic tap beers.

--Things will change in Madison this year....right? NU's best player is hurt, and the outlook for his status got cloudier Monday thanks to another PR nightmare by Private Bo Pinelli. Oh yeah, Melvin Gordon ran for 216 on nine carries last time he matched up against Nebraska's 'defensive mastermind.'

Teammates say Ameer Abdullah is looking good. Propaganda? Likely. PYB knows that the next time we see a running back look crisp and explosive two weeks after a knee sprain will be the first.

Wisconsin is favored by six points. Somebody, please give us--one NU can cover, much less win?

--sCam Newton. Over/under on when he'll be out of the NFL? We say 7/1/2016.

--Tim Beck says the return of tight end Cethan Carter could impact the game at Wisconsin. Wouldn't passes have to be thrown to tight ends for them to impact games? We didn't know fast and athletic were the two most important attributes for blocking tight ends. Need we go on?

--Lastly, Nebraska fans and players were saddened Tuesday when the latest college football playoff rankings were published. Thoughts:

1. Who cares? NU isn't going to be good enough to crack the top four, regardless.

2. If Nebraska did make the playoff, a high-profile, televised embarrassment would be a certainty.

3. Every time NU complains or crows about rankings -- it gets killed. That began with a home bottle blasting by Texas Tech in 2009 after a one-loss team slithered back in to the top ten and waxed poetic about its national hopes before Niles Paul fumbled the game away in the first quarter.

4. Feel free to beat a good team before stumping for more respect and a higher ranking. Either that, or feel free to dominate any of the nine shitty teams on your schedule.

That's all we have for now. Back to work. We're hoping for the best in Madison, but given recent history, expecting the worst. Either way, we'll be fine.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Good, The Bad, The Normal

PYB watched Nebraska play Purdue Saturday. PYB saw what it's seen countless times before. NU fans saw what they'd seen for more than 15 years running. Keeping up with our civic duty, we took notes and hoped to share some striking revelations with our readership. That won't happen today, as this tired storyline lurches forward, jumps backward, veers sideways and ultimately goes nowhere. Here goes:

--Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck laid another turd against the Boilermakers and admitted afterward that he was too cute with his play calling. He admitted what NU fans have known and complained about for years -- that his teams have no identity and instead work on countless nuances for even the shittiest opponents. Even as his offensive line appeared to wear down Purdue with power runs, Beck refused to keep at it. Apparently, he learned nothing from this season's Miami game.

Beck kicked off the festivities early, helping fuck up a few early series and turning a 17-0 lead into a 7-0 game. Instead of compiling said fuckups into a cogent collection of thoughts, we'll copy straight from our notes on a drive-by-drive basis:

1st down & goal after starting at the Purdue 15:
-Run for two yards
-Rush to line on second down, gain one yard
-Run with no offensive line push for no gain
-Fumble snap on 4th down. Drive over. No score
-Ameer Abdullah injured.

1st down at Purdue 31
-Long bomb with wind. Overthrow. Obvious that throwing deep would be tough for the day.
-2nd & 10. Run. No blocking. Short gain
-3rd & 7. Dropped WR screen. (Somewhere around the 20th drop of the year)
-Missed FG (Potential 17-0 lead stuck at 7-0 and guess's a game!)

1st down at NU 40
-Pushed back to NU 30 with senseless holding penalty on punt return
-Abdullah gets no blocks on sweep and falls to the turf. Leaves game for good.
-2nd & 15. Four-yard pass route to one wide receiver with a second receiver within a couple yards.
-3rd & 10. Incompletion to narrow window near sideline between cornerback & safety, as Kenny Bell alligator-armed his catch attempt due to potential contact by defender. He has an Afro and a lion tattoo, though, so it's all good.

1st down at NU 39
-Imani Cross two-yard gain. Looks to be running in mud.
-Awful pass attempt with Trey Foster and Bell within two yards of each other on routes
-3rd & 8. Missed pass attempt as receiver ran deep and Armstrong expected short route.

Those are the wasted drives from the first half. We'll address the second half later. We could rail on about Beck for hours, but will take a short hiatus as we share some other thoughts. We categorized them for your ease of reading:

The Good

Two blocked punts: That's more in one game than NU has had in the last decade. DeMornay Pierson-El (or, if you're Ed Cuntingham, DeMornay El) even ran another punt back to the the 15. Nebraska capitalized for a grand total of seven points on the two blocks and El's return. We're just glad that NU went out of its way to get Pierson-El three touches on offense. When your best player gets hurt, find ways to not get the ball to your second most dynamic player -- or so the old saying goes.

Nate Gerry: He can run, hit, tackle, cover receivers and actually make a break on thrown passes. Nebraska should recruit more defensive players like him.

Corey Cooper: Had a tackle for loss AND a pass break up! And no embarrassing whiffs! A banner day for Cooper -- we just hope he wasn't sandbagging and storing up his misses for November 15 as he chases Melvin Gordon.

Cuntingham: Only forced us to listen to two five-minute lectures on tackling safety and concussion-testing protocol, instead of his normal three-hour diatribe.

 Mike Patrick: Proclaimed any of the top four teams in the SEC West would win any other conference in the land, prompting Cuntingham to laugh and say "Yeah, maybe Conference USA", prompting Patrick to restate his embarrassing claim with more confidence the second time.  Likely the only worthwhile exchange we heard from the duo the entire season.

Georgia: Somehow rated in the top five to start this season after losing to NU in a bowl game, the Bulldogs got throttled by a shitty Florida team. We received text messages asking how UGA would react to its demotion from 11th to 14th in the upcoming Top 25 rankings.

Private Bo Pinelli: Was composed and honest about NU's sloppy play during both his halftime and postgame interviews. We admire that personal growth and the fact that he can recognize and admit to his team's shortcomings. We would now like for him to do something about fixing them and gaining control of his offensive coordinator's disheveled strategies.

Blackskirts: Maybe Purdue is just that bad, but we saw NU's defense do things it hadn't done in 17 years. Defend the wide receiver screen. Defend the running back screen. Cover running backs in the flat after play fakes. Stay close to receivers downfield and play the ball. Limit the opponent to 340 yards on 78 plays -- 4.4 yards per play -- while getting no help from its offense. We'll take it, regardless of how bad the opponent it.

The Bad

Randy Gregory: Had four tackles and three QB hurries but was largely MIA.

Abdullah injury: This is really bad. NU thought it had something by recruiting its third straight back that can somehow still gain yardage despite getting no blocks. Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead were the first two. When Abdullah went down, so did Nebraska's hopes of being a legitimate offense. If he's not 100% by the Wisconsin game, chalk up a minimum of three lossess for the season.

Cross and Terrell Newby did a decent job of replacing the "Heisman candidate" (who, by the way, has no chance because he  was third in his own conference in rushing yards entering Saturday's game.), but those two backs require holes to run through and can't reverse field or cut back 45 degrees at will like Abdullah. Going to be hard times in Lincoln in upcoming weeks.

The dropoff was immediate and drastic. NU gained just 297 yards for the game, even after spending most of the first half in Purdue territory.

The Worse

Center-Quarterback exchange: For a second straight week, it was a fucking disaster. Even when Armstrong went under center after the shotgun SNAFUs continued, he fumbled. Shades of Michigan State in 2013.

Ball security: Three fumbles, one lost. Two interceptions thrown. Lost the turnover margin 3:2. At home. To Purdue. Taylor Martinez loved the performance.

Yardage: Outgained 340 to 297. At home. To Purdue

Beck: Reverted to his well-known big-game panic form and continued to force passes as his team's lead dwindled in the fourth quarter, (We all remember Taylor Martinez passing down after down after down with NU trailing by two scores at Wisconsin, turning a run-of-the-mill road loss into an epic bottle blasting). This may have been worse. Nebraska, despite playing poorly and being without its best player, had a 28-7 lead. Time to run the fucking ball, get the FUCK outta Dodge and hope to regroup during its off week.

Beck, instead, bucked any semblance of common sense and blessed us with the following fourth quarter leadership (still leading 28-7, mind you, at the start of this comedy of errors). He asked his run-first quarterback, who was obviously not at his best and was obviously affected by the wind, to keep throwing downfield. Play. After play. After play. For absolutely no reason.

Here is a random sampling of some of Beck's offensive fourth-quarter mastery:

3rd & 8. 30 mph wind at back. 12 minutes remaining.
-Instead of playing percentages, goes with five wide, receiver drops ball and stops clock.
-40 yard punt. 23 yard return that could have been longer if Purdue returner hadn't blown ACL.
-Purdue scores, cuts NU lead to 28-14

1st & 10 on next possession. NU starts at own 40 yard line with 10:10 remaining
-Armstrong three-yard run
-2nd & 7. Another pass on a deep slant route. Interception.
-Possession takes 38 total seconds
-Purdue goes four and out on next possession but still ran twice as much clock as NU did its preceding possession.

Two drives later, starting at the Purdue 20 yard line:
-Botched snap, three yard loss.
-15-yard penalty on the NU sideline (Private Pinelli reporting for duty)
-Two yard run
-Forced pass to the sideline for another near interception which would have been returned for TD.
-Beck apparently attempting to terminate his employment on the spot.

In case you're counting, that's seven drives that Beck butchered throughout the game. NU had 15 total possessions. For you math wizards, that's pissing away 47 percent of your offensive opportunities. For anyone looking to gain fewer yards, at home, than Purdue -- this is a good place to start.

Cuntingham was incredulous as he watched this insanity unfold. We, for once, could not disagree with him. If ever there was a time for Beck to play it close to the vest, this was it. Still, he could not make himself do it. For $800,000 a year, he could not use an ounce of common sense. He admitted so after the game. He admitted what every casual football fan from Pawnee City to Gering has known for a long time. That in itself is mortifying.

That's one reason that the trip to Madison in two weeks won't be a pleasant one. A team that can't outgain Purdue, at home, won't win at Wisconsin. Especially with a horrible offensive coordinator. A bad line. A shaky quarterback who's continually asked to be Tom Brady when he's just Tommy Armstrong. A leaky defense.

Add that to the fact that the Badgers are hitting their stride. Gordon is a stud. Madison fans are drunk. Nebraska coaches and players can't handle big crowds or pressure. It all sets up for a classic bottle blasting. The good news is that the game still may kick at 11am, so at least it won't be in prime time for all the world to see.

So, enjoy that NU has gained its highest ranking in several years, because it won't last for long. A second-tier bowl and nine months of self-loathing await. Nothing has changed. And unless Pinelli makes a change at the top of his offense, it's the unfortunate long-term reality.

Win at Wisconsin, you say? LOL.