Don’t jump off the ship just yet

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The saying goes that you should learn something new every day. Satuday, I learned a flurry of information thoughout the day. We’ll save the fiasco in Miami for later.
*Missouri defeated Uconn 9-6 in a game that didn’t feature a made field goal. Uconn missed an extra point and Missouri scored a touchdown and safety. Who needs kickers?
*Despite doing it in less than spectacular fashion, Northwestern took down a Duke team that’s been on the rise for years and the Wildcats are a Top-25 team. Huh? Should the Huskers be smelling another defeat at the hands of the Wildcats?
*Former Nebraska head man Frank Solich is 3-0 again with the Ohio Bobcats after a 35-14 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The last time Ohio was 3-0 was in 2012 and Solich led that team to 9-4.
*Three games into the season and Ohio State STILL doesn’t know who their starting quarterback is. The Buckeyes barely escaped the clutches of Northern Illinois, who with all due respect is not the team that made the Orange Bowl a few years ago. Cardale Jones was benched in favor of J.T. Barrett and neither played tremendously. Maybe give Braxton Miller a shot, I’ve heard he’s pretty good.
*Looking back at my college football preview column, I said that Auburn was completely overrated and that LSU would make the playoff. Well Auburn was absolutely manhandled by LSU Saturday but more specifically ran over by Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
*Georgia slapped South Carolina around 52-20. Steve Spurrier -- what happened?
*Bret Bielema suffered another loss on Saturday at the hands of Texas Tech. Bielema criticized Ohio State’s schedule in a press conference earlier in the year. Maybe he should worry more about his schedule instead of bashing everyone else.
*Throughout all of the emotions this college football Saturday brought with it, none may have brightened the soul as much for Husker fans than seeing Texas have the chance to tie California with a minute to go in the game and have their kicker MISS the extra point that would tie the game. Like I said earlier, who needs kickers? Texas is currently holding tryouts, I’m sure.
*Iowa’s Marshall Koehn drilled a 57-yard field goal as time expired to push Iowa past Pittsburgh 27-24 Saturday, giving the Hawkeyes their first 3-0 start in six years. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi called a timeout to ice Koehn, but called it late enough that Koehn got off a “warmup” kick that was well short. If you’re going to ice the kicker, call it early enough that they don’t get a practice round in. They ALWAYS make the second try it seems.
*But, I’m not sure that any game made me happier than seeing Ole Miss take down Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I thank ESPN for all the close up shots of the Bama fans in agony.
*It took Kansas State three overtimes to take care of Louisiana Tech 39-33. It’s a wonder that Bill Snyder was able to stay awake all the way through to the end.
*The newest AP top 10 poll has Ohio State and Michigan State one and two respectively. The last time two Big Ten schools held the top two spots was November 2006 before the annual Michigan-Ohio State game when they were the top two teams. Who is the SEC?
Okay, we’ve avoided it long enough. What exactly happened in South Beach?
The last person I’ll put the shoulder of blame on in Nebraska’s loss to Miami is Tommy Armstrong. I know, that final throw he made in overtime wasn’t a Heisman pass. But without his inspiring effort, Nebraska loses that game by 30, and goes down as one of the more embarassing in history. There were times in that game where I felt Armstrong was the only guy on the field. One-on-11 it seemed like. He pushed, willed and competed to get the Huskers back into it.
Sure, I didn’t agree with every play that he made in the game. The interception thrown right before the end of the first half. His final throw of the game. But come on, since when are you supposed to be completely satisfied with every play a guy makes out there. Even the best of them go out and throw a game-ending interception. That’s football -- it’s part of the game.
Leading me to another point. People need to drop the preconcieved notion of Armstrong. I agree, I had a strong irritation of him last season. I even felt it as a major medical condition. But it doesn’t, I guess it shouldn’t, require a quarterback guru to see that he’s made leaps and bounds of improvements from last year to now. A lot of that has to do with Danny Langsdorf. Some of that I’m sure even has to do with learning and soaking up information from the great one, Brett Favre.
Seriously, the ESPN commentators had a drop counter throughout the game of how many times Armstrong’s recievers let him down. I’m pretty sure it was at like seven when I gave up from all the frustration. I said earlier that you learn something new every day. Well, if you watched and paid attention, everyone should have learned something Saturday about who Tommy Armstrong is and what his commitment is to this team.
It comes down to putting together an overall football game better than what they have all season. There are arguments for the Huskers possibly being 3-0 or 2-1, but the fact is they’re 1-2 and just need the pieces to come together during a game a lot faster, not with 11 minutes to go.
The defense just plain has to step up and be better. That first half allowing Brad Kaaya to absolutely pick and choose his passes had me downright disgusted. There was no pressure from the front seven and the seconddary looked like it forgot to board the plane for Miami.
But despite all of that, the Huskers fought and willed their way back into the game, tying it up, and having an opportunity in overtime to go win the game. That’s really all you can ask for.
But really though, the irony of some of the situations in the game were just too good to be true. Nebraska playing in Miami, scoring late and going for two. Was it just me, or did everyone else expect to see Turner Gill and Jeff Smith trot out onto the field to attempt a rollout to the right?
What a roller coaster of emotions. It’s games like those that build your expectaton to the highest. Then falling, falling, falling as Miami builds and grows their lead. And then a few loops and the comeback ensues. But this time, there was no final feeling of joy or elation. I texted my buddy after the game and said, “What am I supposed to feel?” He responded, “I don’t know, dude. What a wide range of emotions.”
All that, for nothing. Or was it? Only time will tell.

RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at sports@hamilton.net
 

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