Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hold Out, With Me Tonight

For years, the Big Ten has tried to hide the fact that it's been the worst major football conference in the country by running for roses and playing for axes, pigs, buckets and jugs (unfortunately, not the silicone variety). In recent years, since Nebraska joined this moribund group of underachievers, B1G added the Heroes Game -- to add seasoning to an annual Husker-Hawkeye matchup that had about as much spice as the potato salad at a White Trash wedding.

Friday, PYB was forced to watch the 2016 version of that union from Hell. Our report follows:

-Nebraska fans should have known it would be a long day. Tommy Armstrong's 2016 completion percentage against the 'marquee' teams in the conference was already under 50 percent. He was hurt --
with ankles taped so heavily that he looked more like Clydesdale than a dual-threat quarterback. He's no good anyway. Bad combination.

The result: 13/35, including countless deep balls to receivers who'd actually beaten their defenders several times and who were actually pretty fast but still couldn't get within three yards of Armstrong's panicked, Hero Ball heaves. On several occasions, other receivers ran free, only to be ignored in favor of the deep route. Small-town chicks dig the long ball, apparently. PYB's favorite was the one on 3rd and four, down only 13-0 at the time.

Armstrong's early-game on-field and sideline exchange with wide receiver Stanley Morgan was a telling moment. The quarterback likely told Morgan he should have snared a ball that appeared to be catchable and was for once accurately thrown and properly timed. Morgan, likely shocked that the ball was there right out of his break, wasn't ready. When Armstrong scolded him, Morgan was likely was not in the mood for coaching from a quarterback that fails on more passes than he succeeds. He had tired of Armstrong's act, like the rest of Husker Nation.

-PYB won't blame Nebraska's coaches for the loss. They are still stuck with the losers and non-talents that Bo Pelini recruited to Lincoln. It will take time to purge the lack of mental toughness from the program, while injecting some talent, speed and strength. Looking at the seniors on the 2016 roster, here are the contributors (with some editorial comments for your reading pleasure):
  • Tommy Armstrong (Kill the 'warrior' talk. Couldn't read defenses, couldn't come to terms with his limitations. Consistently hurt his team in the process.)
  • Josh Banderas (improved in 2016, still too many big misses. See first Iowa TD run)
  • Cethan Carter (another talented TE that NU succeeded in not utilizing)
  • Ross Dzuris (inept)
  • Nate Gerry (made some plays in 2016, too many mistakes, absent in most clutch situations.)
  • Kevin Maurice (nice final season, NU's defensive line totally fucked without him)
  • Terrell Newby (would have been a nice third-down back for a team with a QB and OL)
  • Brandon Reilly (A DUI, followed by injury and QB issues stunted his last season)
  • Michael Rose-Ivey (started, and ended his career talking a big game and not doing shit)
  • Sam Hahn (his family has a farm)
  • Dylan Udder (See: Video of him getting trucked backwards 5 yards by a linebacker)
  • Jordan Westerkamp (only senior that showed up big in games against all levels of opponent)
So, there you have it. Twelve contributors, two of which made consistent, positive impacts against the better teams on NU's schedule. Counting the juniors on the roster, there are seven contributors. Scary indeed, considering three of the seven below are defensive backs and the poor performances in the Blackskirt secondary Friday.
  • Drew Brown
  • Chris Jones (Lockdown U)
  • Josh Kalu
  • Marcus Newby
  • De'Mornay Pierson-El (is he struggling with injury or unimaginative coaching?)
  • Kieron Williams (showed promise, but regressed last three games)
  • David Knevel
So, those excuses made, Nebraska coaches did find their team dominated by a team that entered the game averaging 12.7 points in its previous conference games against teams that ended the season with winning records and was coached by a coach that went for a two-point conversion with a 23-point lead instead of kicking an extra point to go up 24, which would have required his opponent to score three touchdowns and three consecutive two-point conversions to tie. That same coach also willingly removed a field goal, and in the process a three-possession lead, from the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. These are game-losing blunders, unless of course the other team has no playmakers, no plan and no balls.

-An Iowa lineman with a girl's name made the ultimate accusation, saying Nebraska players aimed racist slurs toward him during the game, then refused to name names -- the ultimate bitch move. Such allegations require names, so NU officials can investigate the claims and remove any offenders from the team.

-The game included players with names from not one, but two, George Michael songs. Faith and Freedom.

-Mark Banker commented postgame about how bloody Iowa's mid-week practices must be since they dominated Nebraska's shitty lines. Twitter nerds ran with it for the rest of the evening. Imagine how rugged North Dakota State's practices must be?

-All in all, the state of the program could be worse, considering the team won four more games than it did a year ago. We'll ignore the fact that the best win was against Wyoming, who got drilled by New Mexico last night but who will play for the Mountain West Conference title next week. Instead, we'll relish that Nebraska will likely play in one of the nameless Florida bowl games in January, and not the shameful Foster Farms Bowl. We'll enjoy that Bo Pinelli is back under his rock in Ohio, along with Frank Solich.

We'll take solace in the fact that short-sighted Husker nerds will name either a castoff junior transfer from Tulane or a freshman that's never taken a college snap as the program's next savior. In the meantime, PYB is holding out....

Holding out for a hero, til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong. And he's gotta be fast. And he's gotta complete 50 percent.

On to happier topics, for the time being:

-Nebraska's basketball team had a nice win over Dayton in California, despite a late-game meltdown by Jack McVeigh. Glynn Watson, despite the fact that the Omaha World-Herald can't spell his name correctly, looks like a legitimate Division I point guard, and should prove to be so if he can consistently finish at the rim against top competition.

The Omaha World-Herald should be embarrassed, considering it can jerk off every Creighton three-point attempt on Twitter but cannot manage to
send a reporter to a tournament that includes one of the top five college programs ever in UCLA.

-Tim Miles squad will have tough duty in today's third-place game against Virginia Tech followed by a game at Clemson three days and 2300 miles later. A split in those two contests would be a victory for the program. Dropping both games could lead the team on another road to nowhere. We'll hope for the former.

-Anyway, snap judgments after watching two of NU's early games:
  • Watson: See above
  • McVeigh: Struggles against top-tier athleticism. NU needs him to consistently score and defend against those athletic teams.
  • Anton Gill: Appears to have a combination of shooting ability and athleticism. Hopefully it translates in conference play.
  • Ed Morrow: Offensive rebounding has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Will need to continue current level of play the entire season if NU is to have a chance at respectability. 
  • Evan Taylor: Shaky with the ball, at best. Headed for disaster in the near future.
  • Jordy Tshimanga: Hopefully gets more minutes as he works into shape and out of the man boobs.
  • Nick Fuller: Played one minute against UCLA
  • Isaiah Roby: PYB likes his length and liked his backside shot blocking against Dayton.
Anyway, that's all we have for now, as an upcoming flight nears. Enjoy your Sunday.


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