Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quack It Up, Quack It In

PYB apologizes for the delay in recapping Nebraska's momentous win over Oregon last Saturday. We were unavoidably delayed by a Sunday fly-out for work, then understandably distracted by scumbags rioting in Charlotte because they were mad a guy with seven kids and arrest record dating back to 1990 got shot by an African-American cop for pulling out a book that looked like a Glock on said cop. And who said Colin Kaepernick's pointless form of protest wasn't making a difference. Throw in his protests, along with his huge Afro, and you've got MLK-Level social changes in the making.

We'll share some snippets for this week, as it's doubtful that we'll have an update on NU's annually disappointing performance against Northwestern, due to an upcoming golf trip and more work travel. We have no doubt, however, that Pat Fitzgerald is dusting off his pawns and rooks, while Tommy Gun and Mike Riley fight over the red and black checkers.

Anyway, let's get down to business. The thoughts below come without a second viewing of the game tape and in full disclosure that we watched the game in illogical fan mode and spent the last five minutes of game clock juggling taking a dog that had to piss outside with a pissed-off wife that was ready to leave for an anniversary dinner in Uptown (aka downtown) Charlotte. It was a good thing we made it there before this week's riots, or our after-dinner Cognac, the drink that's drank by Gs, would have been just a pipe dream.

  • Riley did his best he could to overrate his opponent early in the game and give away the game in the process. Going for it on fourth down instead of punting made it apparent that the NU coach had no idea that this was a non-vintage Oregon team, with a shaky-at-best transfer quarterback from the second-best of two FCS schools in Montana leading the Ducks' offense and starting running back Royce Freeman already departed due to injury.
  • Punter Caleb Lightbourn picked a good time to make his first good punts at the college level. In fact, he made multiple and kicked five times for a 47.2-yard average. At least a couple benefitted from lucky bounces, but no style points are required here. Nebraska will need for that to continue the rest of the season.
  • Nate Gerry blew enough assignments throughout the game to keep PYB wondering if he is indeed point shaving. It's either that, or he's clueless about assignments, or he's just headhunting - concerned more about the big hit than game results. Or a combination of all three. If he doesn't adjust, he'll lose NU a game before 2016 is over.
  • Cornerback Chris Jones, who hasn't locked down any receiver during his tenure at NU and just days after being embarrassed by Wyoming, took Oregon week as a chance to proclaim Nebraska as Lockdown U. He then took game day as a chance to embarrass himself again, as he was outclassed by the Ducks' superior athleticism and speed. PYB would almost be fine with Jones' being no good, if he'd keep his mouth shut.
  • Was Lamar Jackson still hurt or benched? If not hurt, at least a few snaps would have been valuable experience, especially considering he could not have botched coverages worse than Jones did at times.
  •  Despite giving up plenty of big plays and yards to the Ducks, the Nebraska defense may be on the verge of trading its Skirts for Shirts. The unit pressures the quarterback more consistely. It tackles better, yet still far from perfectly. It takes better pursuit angles. It has more depth. It has more speed. Who the hell knew this would be helpful? We were fine.
  • Brandon Reilly was too injured to swerve through traffic against Oregon, but he was not too injured to wear a sleeveless shirt on the sidelines and celebrate with those who did play in the locker room after the game. Question: Does he have a mid-temperature shirt selection to bridge the gap in the fall when it's too cold for sleeveless and still too warm for the full hoodie?
  • The win was so awesome, in fact, that Nebraska's cutting-edge athletic department (Iron N logo, with a side of Script Huskers, anyone?) released a video featuring a 20-year-old rap tune that was horrible when it came out. With all the possible options from 1990s rap, PYB can't believe NU chose Let Me Clear My Throat. Did nobody consider It Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)? What about Deez Nuts? Blowjob Betty? Would Coolio not release the rights to Fantastic Voyage? What about Jump Around? Moving on....
  • It was nice to see that Nebraska's offensive line dominated Oregon in the second half. It became apparent that NU could reach into the chest of the Ducks' defense, remove its heart and stomp on it. They could control the clock, and limit the number of chances Oregon had to spring big plays around a soft defensive edge and past Lockdown U and Nate Gerry. For those reasons, PYB was especially pleased when NU Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf decided to forego Devine Ozigbo's pounding run style for an entire second-half series, opting instead for a first-down run by a quarterback with severe leg cramps, followed by two throws by the same cramped-up quarterback who displays sporadic accuracy and questionable decision making even when not limited by injury. Fucking A. Luckily, the result was a one-yard run and two knuckleballs into the turf, when disaster was the more likely result. It was indeed Nebraska's day.
  • De'Mornay Pierson-El turned the tide of the game with his first-half punt return and reminded NU fans of his game-changing abilities. Unfortunately, he also reminded NU fans that he's the only home-run threat on the Husker roster.
  • In the end, Tommy Armstrong rose from the dead, shook off the cramps, and returned to Hero Ball form just in time for the game winning drive. Sure, he laid a turd early in the game with another horrendous screen pass. In fact, Nebraska's screen pass game reverted to 2015 form and will be a real concern if Armstrong can't execute it against good teams. This particular screen pass was so bad that it went backward and resulted in a 14-point swing when Oregon recovered the fumble scored from 50-yards out one play later. 
  • All in all, he completed just over 50% of his passes for 200 yards and 6.6 yards per attempt against a suspect defense that will likely prove subpar over the course of the season. But, such is life with Armstrong at the helm. His Devil-may-care/I-don't-know-any-better style will lose a game or three in 2016. But for a day, he and Husker fans earned a reprieve and got to celebrate a much-needed win by an opponent that was much stronger in national branding and reputation than it was on the field. 
  • But hell, that's the Oregon way. And Nebraska needed this win in the worst way. It put to bed its consecutive loss streak in games described as "if we can just win this game, we will be X-0 heading into the next game on the schedule against a team with a pulse and we could be rated #X by then." Niles Paul, Texas Tech and Cody Green firing pass after pass into triple coverage, anyone? What happened to the good times?
Finally, PYB offers some non-Nebraska football bonus coverage:
  • After watching him throw a backbreaking interception in the endzone Sunday against Dallas, it's nice to see that Kirk Cousins is still Kirk Cousins and can still provide fans with endless comic relief. That fact that he got overpaid by Washington this offseason makes it more priceless. Maybe Dan Snyder should trade a few first rounders for Connor Cook.
  • PYB hates the Minnesota Vikings. Mostly because we ignore them and the entire state of Minnesota, we'd forgotten they had a new stadium. We'd forgotten because of that, and because the new field looked like it had been painted by a middle-school art class just like the old field did. The old field was the league's biggest embarrassment for thirty years running (narrowly edging the Raiders' half-baseball field, which is so bad, it's nostalgically good).
  • Another question is why did Adrian Peterson, after hurting his knee, have to hobble past beer-swilling fans down a hallway with the help of two trainers? Did architects botch this when designing the stadium? Seriously, there is no way for a cart to wheel him to the locker and/or X-Ray rooms?
  • The bad news, of course, is that Peterson is out for the year with a torn LCL. The good news is that time away from football will allow him to spend more time with his eight kids. Or maybe that's not so good news. If that is indeed his plan, PYB hopes he has a lot of frequent flyer miles saved. And remember AP, pack the Trojans, as you're one more knee injury away from zero income.
  • NDSU beat Iowa. No worries, all the Hawkeyes' "real" goals are intact: Big 14 West title. Rose Bowl. Not losing to a MAC team.
We're gone for now. We'll return as soon as possible. But, in the meantime, remember if you're out rioting and looting your neighbor's business, make sure not to run across a cop and make extra sure not to let it be a black and a white one. Cause they'll slam you, down to the street top, black po-lice showing out for the white cop.

Happy Thursday.


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