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Big Red in the B1G Week 2: The Empire Strikes Back (and Nebraska still Wins!)

I remember the first time I watched Star Wars. I was pretty young, and I didn't quite understand everything that was going on. Throughout most of that original movie I kept thinking, "Seriously, this rebellion is going to get its face beat in by the Empire. That Darth Vader dude is not messing around." As the movie progressed, things went from bad to worse. Han bailed, an entire planet was destroyed, and you wanted to punch Luke Skywalker in the face for being a bit whiny. Then it happened, the rebels got their act in gear, mainly because George Lucas had five more movies to make. Han comes back, Luke gets a bit less whiny, Darth Vader looks less invincible, and the rebels celebrate the explosion of the Death Star.

So what, if anything, does that have to do with this week in the B1G? As I think about what happened this week in the B1G, I can't help but feel like the rebel forces. The walls were closing in on us and the battle looked like it had been lost. Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana had been taken down, Penn State was obliterated from existence, and Ohio State was going to be sketchy. Nebraska came out flat and was down at the half, and Michigan... well, the stadium looked pretty at night. Then a funny thing happened. Ohio State did in fact win. Nebraska remembered who they were playing (kinda) and Notre Dame started calling the Michigan secondary playcalls (prevent defense with no assignments! works every time against high school teams). The B1G looked bad this weekend, but they rallied. With no further adieu, the sights, sounds, and stories for the Huskers this week. 

The Sights:

Let's start with a quick letter to the BTN.

Dear BTN,

I understand that trying to cover nine games on the BTN is difficult, and while you are more prepared to cover five or six, you do your best. With that said, could you please try to find cameramen who actually try to follow the football during the game. If that is too difficult, could you at least have one fixed wide-angle camera that actually captures the kickoffs? I appreciate that Nebraska is on every week, but actually seeing plays happen would be spectacular.



P.S. I'm positively terrified of repercussions from Commissioner Delany, so if you could keep this between me and you, that would be great

Okay, I know I have complained for two weeks now, and I have been all but assured that this will get better. Still, a friend of mine and I were discussing the necessary resume to be on a BTN crew last weekend and the best we can surmise is that you must have been a fill-in soccer dad at some point and show that you can hit record. When you juxtapose this with the WWL production (announcers not withstanding) and editing, it makes you realize how they remain the top of the food chain. While this is a small complaint considering the bloodbath on Saturday, it still seems worth mentioning. Did anyone else notice this?

As for real football... there is only so much you can say after the second week of football. If there is one sight that sticks out to me (outside of Burkhead running like a boss in the fourth quarter) it is Sophomore WR Quincy Enunwa laying the wood on Fresno State DB Derron Smith. Smith doesn't get hurt, but he feels the hit and rolls around on the ground for a while. The moral of the story is, don't give up on the play. Enunwa was arguably the furthest guy away from the play, but he went full speed ahead and hit the guy so hard, he let go of the ball. Think about that, it wasn't just knocked out or stripped, he just simply let go as a non-voluntary action. If someone has video of the hit, let me know. I can't find it anywhere now.

The Sounds:

The Nebraska game started out with a strange aura around it. Most of us were watching the Minnesota-NM State game and had just heard about Coach Kill. While a lot of us are definitely football fanatics, and we would do nothing short of wish for the depths of hell to rain down on the field, the real people us want nothing bad to happen in the real world. It was amazing to hear, see, and read the B1G and much of college football show their love for a guy who pours his heart out on the field for his team. Coach Kill is still in all of our thoughts and prayers, and while it sounds like things are going to be okay, we still cannot wait to see him on the sidelines again.

Back to non-mushy sports talk. I don't know how many of you will get to come to Lincoln for a game. It really is an awesome place, and while there is a lot of talk about it being quiet, good/bad fans, etc., I highly recommend the trip. I look forward to traveling to other B1G fields in the next few years to compare. (Sidenote: I'm thinking about a trip to Iowa, and definitely a trip to Minnesota this year... Yes, I know the Iowa game is here which means I'm looking to go to any other game. Send me ideas on what game would be most fun.) Anyhow, this is our most famous tradition as of now. The Tunnel Walk. It's a little cheesy, but it fits us well:

The sound doesn't do this justice, as most videos on YouTube don't, but every time I watch someone's first hand account, I get the chills. Fans line the concourse to usher Nebraska onto the field, and the videoboard captures everything for all fans to see. You all should make the trip and check it out. You will have a great time!

The Story:

This was a weird week for me. Every time I picked up a newspaper, I heard Fresno State talking like they were going to come into Lincoln and win. I know that a lot of teams say that, but Derek Carr had some serious swagger. He all but predicted a win. As Saturday rolled in, many prognosticators were actually choosing Fresno State as the upset of the week. When I started watching football and seeing B1G teams get picked off left and right, and then saw the carnage that almost happened in Columbus (along with the real carnage in Beaver Stadium), you can only imagine the terror I felt. Everything was pointing towards a really bad day for the Huskers. Fumbling the ball on the first series did not help that uneasiness.

At this point, a lot of people would probably be very happy to point out how bad Nebraska's performance was and how many questions there are despite winning. Not me. I, for one, am learning to temper expectations. This week showed some weaknesses on defense. We really miss Dennard as a shutdown corner, and our LBs were out of sorts. Neither line got a great push against an inferior opponent. Still, I think Nebraska learned a lot this week and our coaching staff worked extremely hard to make adjustments. One of the sideplots of this season is the fact that Bo had a lot of turnover on his staff. To this point in his career, he has been able to communicate efficiently and effectively because he knew how everyone worked. He had the same staff for his tenure at Nebraska. Not this year, though. We have new coaches at DB, LB, OL, and OC (although he was previously on the staff). That is a lot of guys trying to communicate and make things happen. When Fresno came out with a different look, everyone panicked on field. But, we made adjustments and pulled away in the second half. That's encouraging. 

While I don't love correlating Nebraska and the B1G to the Rebel Forces because I feel like a gigantic nerd, I think it fits. This was only week 2, and there is a lot of football to play. Wisconsin, MSU, NW, and Illinois took care of business, and we had a winning record this week. Oh, and Notre Dame lost! How great is that? This week: Washington and my hatred increases.