It is what it is..........and more stuff

Now that the Big 12 North Division is in the bag, have we learned anything about this team we didn't know? Is this team ready to finally win the conference instead of finishing second best?

After the 45-17 win at home over Colorado, and without their starting quarterback and their top receiver, what has Nebraska proven or what do we know that we didn't before this game?

Rex Burkhead is Rex Burkhead

Burkhead can do a lot more than just run.

What else can this kid do? Junior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie asked something like that to Burkhead himself after Kinnie caught a touchdown pass from the talented sophomore. I think it was more along the lines of what he can't do versus what else there is for him to do as a Husker and a young one at that.

The answer?

Nope, there's nothing Rex Burkhead can't do.

2-for-2 passing, both going for touchdowns
101 yards rushing and another score
He even had a reception, but unlike everything else, that didn't go into the end zone

When you are talking all-purpose, you might as well just throw a picture by the term, because he's it. On top of that he's about as modest as they come, as respected as they get and he's still got two more years to play.

Joe Broekemeier is a football player

It maybe eight years since the Nebraska native actually played in a football game, but it appears that practice has paid off.

Of course, that's all he's done.

This brings me to the part that annoys me, especially when you consider that Joe had three balls thrown his way, two of them on third down, and he came down with them all. But the quotes come after the game about how he's been doing that in practice all the time. They have known he could do that all the time.

OK then, where in the hell has he been?

As much inconsistency they have had at this position, and some of the games where you wondered if anyone was going to catch a ball, just to have someone who was dependable at bringing the ball in would have been nice.

Three career catches for Joe Broekemeier, all in this game.

Don't ya think?

If he's been doing this in practice all the time, and these coaches beat you to death with how you earn your spot in practice - I'd think we would have seen him by now.

Props to Joe, a former Husker baseball player, for coming out and executing when they needed him. Niles Paul was out, and while he didn't get 10 balls for 220 yards and a few scores, I think Husker fans have learned to appreciate a guy who just pull the ball in and tries to get some yards if he can.

The kid made the most of his opportunities and we can only wonder if he's been doing this in practice all the time, why he didn't get an opportunity before the last regular season game of his career.

Alex Henery is Alex Henery

With his 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, as well as the six extra points, Henery now has 388 points for his career which ties him with Kris Brown, the current all-time scoring leader at Nebraska. We know he's going to bust that record, probably - hopefully, down in Dallas next weekend. It will put him at the top of the record books, but this young man long ago etched his legacy into Husker hearts and minds.

It really is hard when it comes to kickers. It's hard to try and figure out how to describe them when we have struggled for four years to get out of Henery himself a description that could have done him justice. He's dropped jaws like the "scattiest" of backs. He's amazed in his delivery the way we have rarely seen from even spectacular quarterbacks. He's done everything and more. He's gone to the limit and beyond.

And he's a kicker.

People at Nebraska should never have that thought about a position which has saved Nebraska's bacon more than a few times. Kickers have won games, kept Nebraska in games and made some games interesting, where without them, they wouldn't have been.

And Alex is the best of them all.

It's like Suh, and I dare anyone to challenge the notion that in Alex's time as the starter for Nebraska he hasn't had his own Suh-like moments. He's had them. Heck, I think we have lost count of them. And we won't appreciate them all. It's the exclamation points we appreciate.

Oh Hen"e"ry

But this kid is a big exclamation point all his own.

As Special Teams Coach John Papuchis once said, "I knew he'd make it....He's Alex Henery."

Eric Hagg is Eric Hagg

In five years I have this fear. I have this fear that people will actually have to think for a bit when trying to remember this Arizona native that gave Nebraska fans so much to cheer about over his time as a Husker.

Remember the Gator Bowl?

Hagg single-handedly shut down and wrapped up a quarterback in the backfield when they simply couldn't afford to get shut down or wrapped up.

He's had pass break ups and interceptions playing corner. He's had tackles behind the line of scrimmage playing safety. He's had tackles on third and short as a linebacker, which took a team's momentum to a halt. In coverage, against the run, playing zone or man - this kid has done it all. He's a hybrid player who leads the team in interceptions this year.

And let's add that he's one of the most exceptional kids you will ever meet.

I remember interviewing him when he was a high school kid. I remember interviewing him after he played his first game for the big red. I remember talking to him just a couple of days ago.

He's been the same every single time.

Super nice, unbelievably humble and humorous without even trying. He'll play on Sundays. Bo Pelini said that, and I guess he should know something about what a NFL defensive player looks like.

He might be the best athlete I have seen, when the athlete is 6-3 and around 230 pounds. He's a stud. But he's also an amazing young man.

Dejon Gomes is Dejon Gomes

How many ways can this guy take a ball away from the other team?

Against Kansas two years ago Gomes strips Kerry Meier as he's heading into the end zone. Against Texas, he strips a wide receiver as he is falling to the ground with the ball. The ball never even touches the ground and Gomes strips it, and then he's running the other way.

It's a knack that I honestly don't know how to put into words. It's like combining the skills of a cornerback  with the slight of hand of an illusionist and then throwing in a guy who is tough as nails. David Blain with a 4.4 40? David Copperfield with hands like a glove? Oh, and he's a pretty darn good tackler to boot.

The guy doesn't have a wand, a hat or a cape. That's what makes him better than those other guys. He doesn't need them and he'll still amaze you every time you don't blink.

Bo Pelini is Bo Pelini

There was some idle speculation about which Bo we would see for this game. I remarked that after his gasket-blowing session against Missouri two years ago, Pelini had really gotten a handle on things. Sure, he was still temperamental. This is Bo Pelini, after all. But we hadn't seen one of those full-blown Pelini  games where he went off on the refs, his players, the refs, his players again and then the refs....again.

So, I was betting the house we wouldn't see it against Colorado.

But for a moment I thought I was going to lose.

There was a pass interference call which was called on senior cornerback Prince Amukamara. it was a good call, and the ball was right in the bread basket. But here comes Pelini, and he's making that arm motion above his head as to indicate he thought it wasn't a catchable ball. It was not only catchable, even with the interference it probably still should have been caught.

But a slightly animated Pelini never really got beyond that. He was in seemed.

After the game, though, he made a comment about everyone trying to tear his team apart.

You see, Pelini has preached this "us against the world" mentality. When you see how good they are on the road, you'd think it's working like a charm.

And there are those times when it plays well and can actually be accurate.

This week wasn't one of them.

He said that everyone was trying to tear his team apart. No, they weren't. They were tearing him apart. Pelini  was the one getting lambasted for his temper - not his team. Pelini was the one who had to apologize - not his team. Pelini was the one University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Pearlman called out for his antics against Texas A&M.

Now, where I would agree with Pelini is that this team has taken on his personality. Of that there's no doubt. They are driven, fired up and aggressive to the Nth degree. Just like Bo himself.

That's one of the biggest reasons you see this team in every single game. As long as time is on the clock, there's fighting going on, on that field. They won't quit, because you know Pelini wouldn't, nor will he allow them too.

There's a lot to love about a Pelini team. There really is. I love watching hardnosed football, and boy, do you get that with a Pelini team. It was not that long ago when we saw a Husker team that once it was behind, it usually stayed that way. Actually, it usually got a lot, lot worse.

You won't see that with this team.

I think we all kind of knew that if this was indeed a Bo Pelini team, it might not win all of them, but it would be in most of them. I'd say that's pretty much the case. You can look at the two losses as more of a lack of execution in one and a huge lack of composure in the other.

But that's Bo's teams. You could say they are more likely to beat themselves then they are to get truly beat by another team. For anyone who can vividly remember 2007, I'd say they would take that.

Nebraska is still Nebraska

Going into the conference title game, you can think of a few scenarios, some good, some not very. If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, the Huskers have to take on an offense that is getting better, and they will have to try and keep pace with an offense of  their own that's hurting a bit right now. I wouldn't expect Taylor Martinez to be "healthy" in a week, and he won't have Niles Paul to throw to even if he is.

Nebraska put up 51 points on OSU when they played last, and Martinez threw for five touchdowns and over 300 yards. It was perhaps the one game which seemed to show a Nebraska nobody knew and Oklahoma State certainly didn't expect. I'd be willing to bet they would expect anything and everything this time around.

Oh, and they still have Justin Blackmon.

If it's Oklahoma, I think that plays a little better for Nebraska, though, Oklahoma actually snaps the ball quicker than any other team Nebraska has faced this year. Heck, when Oklahoma's offense is going well, they actually snap the ball quicker than powerhouse Oregon. Nebraska hasn't done a very good job early in games in trying to figure out that stuff. They fix it by the second half, but can they stay in the game the first half?

Nebraska proved that it can create a nice little house out of some sticks here, some branches there and that's no small feat. Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson gets hammered every single week his offense isn't putting up a billion and a half yards. But the mix of Wildcat, shotgun and working Green under center, was pretty darn effective, and how about those two, count'em TWO intentional pass plays with Burkhead.

If you have Superman, you probably better use him, eh?

So, give Nebraska high marks for originality on this one. And that's something not many people give them credit for at all.

I guess Nebraska isn't always Nebraska, after all.


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