Restoring Order? Hardly.

Nebraska football's marketing slogan is "Restore the Order."  By the looks of things before the game Saturday in Lincoln's Memorial Stadium, it's a catchy slogan that looks good on a t-shirt.  And it probably sold a few tickets. 

Too bad it’s inaccurate.

Restoring order? 

See, “restoring order” in Nebraska means the lowly Kansas Jayhawks folding up their tent after spotting the Corn a 17-0 1st-quarter lead and getting on the bus after a 63-6 embarrassment.

“I’ve been in this conference since it was the Big 8, and there were times when KU came up (to Lincoln) and the players were tailgating at halftime,” head coach Mark Mangino recalled after the game Saturday.

In Nebraska, that’s “order.”

Somehow I doubt giving up 574 total yards – including 405 yards passing by back-up senior QB Adam Barmann – figures into restoring much of anything.

By the way, it’s worth noting that all 405 yards passing came in the last three quarters and the overtime.  In the disastrous 1st quarter, Barmann was 0-for-6 with exactly zero yards passing and two INTs.

“Restoring order” probably didn’t include giving up 145 yards on 31 carries (a 4.7 average) to our favorite Canuck, senior RB Jon Cornish.  It probably didn’t mean Brian Murph and Dexton Fields each receiving for over 100 yards (Murph 125, Fields 108).

By the way, part 2: Nebraska’s four runningbacks – the ones we heard all week were all better than Cornish – combined for 28 rushes and 136 yards.

How does Nebraska’s offensive sputtering against a fast-maturing Kansas defense in quarters two and three figure into restoring order?  Yes, the ‘Huskers moved the ball, but they didn’t score.  And without the Kansas defense stepping up big on a number of occasions, Adam Barmann and his offense don’t get the chance to administer their brand of heroics.

How do the vaunted Blackshirt defensive linemen – a group of young guys big enough, they should apply for statehood – explain no sacks?  Is this how order is restored?

Is it a sign of order restored when the Nebraska players and fans – all 85,000-plus of them – partied like it was 1999 after beating Kansas?

And all this was done in the not-so-friendly confines of Memorial Stadium’s sea of red double-knits.  It’s one of the noisiest, most hostile environments in all of college football.  For crying out loud, Larry the Cable Guy was in a luxury box, cheering on the ‘Huskers!  Talk about having the odds stacked against you!

The Nebraska postgame radio honks and players want you to believe that Nebraska got up early and then let off the gas.  The Cornhuskers got complacent, they’ll tell you.

Well, I’m here to tell you this is just typical Nebraska Football arrogance.  Nebraska Football arrogance is a lot like Kansas Basketball arrogance, except it wears overalls.

A gutty Kansas team that was apparently too stupid to know that order has been restored is why Nebraska found themselves down 25-24 with 6:32 left in the game, and why they had to postpone postgame party plans to play an overtime.

Sure, NU had some dumb turnovers.  Sure, NU made some mistakes.  But riddle me this: when Nebraska makes mistakes and Kansas scores, it’s Nebraska not playing Cornhusker football.  But when Kansas makes mistakes and Nebraska scores, Nebraska has seized an opportunity and shown what a great team they are.  Send all theories to doublestandard@phog.net.

Adam Barmann was masterful as he guided the Kansas offense again this week.  His experience, confidence and poise were crucial as looked over the Blackshirt defense and checked off dozens of times successfully.  His presence was a calming one as he led his team 81 yards in 80 seconds to tie the game in its last minute and get into overtime after Nebraska thought they’d put the dagger in KU’s collective chest with a go-ahead touchdown just three minutes earlier. 

I’ll just come out and say it: no other Kansas quarterback on the roster could have done the same thing.  Some may have more talent, but none could have managed the game with the same sense of urgency and passion as Adam Barmann.

I know the Kansas defense gave up just too many big plays to overcome.  I also know that for three full quarters, on both sides of the football, the Jayhawks physically pounded a ranked Nebraska team whose offense was supposed to be bigger, faster and infinitely stronger.

Mangino knows that good efforts aren’t getting it done anymore, however.  Expectations are higher now on Mount Oread.

“There’s no such thing as ‘moral victories.’  We’re not playing horseshoes; close doesn’t count,” he said, pausing.  Then he said, “We’re disappointed in the loss.”

But Mangino’s tenure has shown us that his teams never quit, and they get better each week, every season.  Never has there been a better testimonial to that physical and mental toughness than Saturday night’s loss to Nebraska.  Very few coaches can instill that kind of determination and grit. 

Despite what the Husker Nation spouts, the order isn’t being restored; it’s being rewritten.


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