Coach said it: “The wind was a factor but we always want to be able to run the ball well. Great day, bad day. That’s one of the advantages of being a good running football team. It’s weather proof. It’s circumstance free.” –Ron Brown
Player said it: “Someone has to step up. When you get hit in the mouth, you got to step back up and say, ‘OK, I’m ready to go again.’ And that’s just the attitude we took today and that’s the attitude we have to bring on every single play.” –Michael Rose
The art of stealing: Nebraska’s defense obviously has its warts. One thing it has been good at, however, is taking the football away. There were some unflattering statistical comparisons made in recent weeks between this group and the infamous 2007 Nebraska defense. This defense has plenty of opportunity to separate itself from that comparison, but one category it already has done so in is creating turnovers. NU’s defense already has 12 takeaways this year, which is one more than the 2007 defense had that whole season. Those 12 turnovers have led to 63 points. For a defense that is going to have its growing pains, being opportunistic is a trait that can’t be valued enough. As much as turnovers have ailed this program in recent years, Nebraska has actually been even or positive in turnover margin in all of the first five games. The Huskers also have 10 interceptions already. They had just 13 all of last season.
Three thoughts about the Saturday’s wind:
1) It kept making me think of the John Facenda voiceover from NFL Films, which is a wonderful soundtrack to have running through your head. “The autumn wind is a pirate.”
2) The scene it caused when the red balloons were released after the first touchdown was awesome. The balloons whipped around like they were actors in a Hitchcock movie.
3) I think it will help the average G.P.A. across campus based off how many students it chased away after halftime.
Messy ending: It’s a shame a pretty good defensive day featured such an ugly last series. Nebraska was flagged for two illegal substitution penalties – though Bo Pelini said the officials weren’t helping matters – and looked disorganized. It shouldn’t block out people from seeing this defense took a step forward, but you’d like to see the Huskers lock down and put the period on what was otherwise a solid performance.
Best one-handed catch: I don’t remember the year nor the team it came against, but I do remember Johnny Mitchell snagging a pass with one hand that amazed the locals. But Kenny Bell’s might have just run itself to the top of the list. Of course, he was promptly flagged for a mild celebration. We wouldn’t want kids to have any fun playing football, would we?
Headlines: Every week I ask people on Twitter for headline suggestions. Here’s some that were sent my way. Ameer Abdullah was rightfully the focus. “Ameerathon Victory,” suggested one. “Amore Ameer,” suggested Gary Sharp of the “Sharp and Benning” radio show. And after a week of many around here overhyping Illinois, one fan maybe best summed it up with: “Illini Ameer blip on Big Ten schedule.”