With Nebraska on a bye week, I watched 12 straight hours of college football Saturday, and jotted down 50 thoughts.

Because 50 seems excessive, here are 20:

1. ESPN analyst Butch Davis mentioned that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield wore a walking boot in the hours immediately preceding the game against Texas. Davis, a former college and NFL head coach, wondered if Mayfield's injury might affect his passing mechanics.

Of course, Nebraska fans might wonder the same about Tommy Armstrong, who left the practice field last week wearing a protective boot because of a sprained ankle. A spate of injuries to Husker players will be a prevailing theme all week, in part because. …

2. Indiana's size and athleticism on defense make an immediate impression. Second-ranked Ohio State entered Saturday's game averaging 576.2 yards, and managed only 383 against the Hoosiers. The Buckeyes were an ordinary 5-for-14 on third-down conversions.

3. Nebraska fans perhaps hoped Ohio State would soften up Indiana (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten), so to speak. So much for those hopes. The Hoosiers showed fight until the end.

"A lot of respect before the game for our opponent," Urban Meyer told reporters after his team's 38-17 triumph. "And probably a little bit more afterwards."

4. "(The Hoosiers) have a great passing game, but for some reason they're trying to run it," ESPN analyst Joey Galloway said at halftime.

Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson answered the question after the game, saying the Hoosiers stayed on the ground during the first half (25 runs to 10 passes) to relieve the pass rush on quarterback Richard Lagow.

By the way, Indiana continues to play without All-American guard Dan Feeney, who has missed 3½ games because of a concussion.

5. Nebraska should gird for Indiana's Tyler "Big Bacon" Natee, a 6-foot, 270-pound true freshman. Natee rushed for 38 yards on 10 carries and even attempted a two-point conversion pass out of a Wildcat set in his team's win against Michigan State.

"Big Bacon." A very American nickname.

6. One more thing about the Hoosiers' "D." The Buckeyes had little success running outside. Just saying.

7. Easily my favorite moment of the day occurred when College GameDay reeled off several of Lee Corso's best moments as a way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of him first donning a mascot head.

Corso was brought to tears as fans at Texas A&M chanted his name.

"Thanks (to ESPN brass) for not getting rid of me when I had a stroke," Corso said.

Thank heavens my wife was painting the ceiling and didn't notice me getting choked up.

8. Iowa was without its leading receiver, Matt VandeBerg, and the Hawkeyes shuffled the deck along the offensive line. Even so, they managed to eke out a 14-7 road win against Minnesota. Bottom line, Kirk Ferentz managed the game magnificently.

Speaking of excellent coaching, Iowa has won eight straight road games.

9. Imagine if Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard had Nebraska's receivers, especially speedsters Alonzo Moore and Brandon Reilly. It almost seems criminal for Iowa to have a quarterback with Beathard's ability, yet such a dearth of play-making receivers.

10. Favorite play of the day: Beathard's pooch punt downed at the Gophers' 3-yard line.

11. I skipped over to Maryland-Penn State at times. Even with a heated rival in town, Penn State didn't come close to filling Beaver Stadium (capacity 106,572), though BTN cameras seem to deftly steer clear of showing empty areas.

12. BTN analyst Matt Millen is as good as it gets in terms of sheer knowledge of the game. He can size up a defensive alignment and predict what play is coming. Don't try that at home.

13. Millen's partner, Lincoln High graduate Kevin Kugler, isn't too bad either. Wink, wink.

14. Speaking of empty seats, TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis wasn't sold out. Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote, "Not an ideal way for a coach (Tracy Claeys) with a prove-it contract to impress his new boss, athletic director Mark Coyle."

15. Most ridiculous comment of the day: An ESPN personality (who shall remain nameless), on Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner: "There have been a lot of comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger. …" Um, table those comparisons. Leidner was awful.

16. I watched Iowa-Minnesota in its entirety only out of a sense of duty. Talk about mind-numbing boredom. The offenses showed zero creativity.

17. Watching Florida State and Miami trade punches, you saw the definition of a heated rivalry. Mercy. Makes you wish Nebraska still had such a rival.

18. Was there a more gritty performance than that of Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, who absorbed several vicious hits but kept making plays?

19. Watching Oregon get embarrassed at roiling Autzen Stadium, you get a sense of the emotion and pride Ducks fans have for their program.

Watching Oregon's startling fall is like watching a train wreck. You can't take your eyes off it.

20. For some reason, I got the chills when Purdue's kicker booted a field goal in overtime to defeat Illinois, giving the Boilermakers the Purdue Cannon Trophy — which is roughly the size of a car jack. Purdue players hoisted it as if it were the national championship trophy.

What a perfect day.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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