Home for the Holidays

An on-side kick to start the game. In like a Lion almost, Nebraska came out tricking their way into the game. The trick was on them though as the only thing deceptive about this game is what has been intriguing about the team all year – where are the real Nebraska Huskers or is did we just see it today?

With all that was riding on the line, all there was to lose, the Husker faithful over 77,000 strong were indeed witness to something most had never seen before – Nebraska not going to a bowl.

 

Though it was a game that was neither climactic and hardly ever dramatic, the impending meaning of what the 26-20 loss meant to Nebraska likely still has to set in. "I don't think it's hit me yet." Senior lineman, Jake Andersen said. "I am real disappointed in not being able to carry on the tradition."

 

"It's not a good way to end things."

 

The problem wasn't about endings, rather it was about beginnings and the fact that against Colorado, Nebraska once again started slow, totaling just 11 yards in the first quarter. Not even an on-side kick at the beginning of the game meant to spark a team could do just that, NU going three and out, something that seemed almost symbolic for the rest of the game.

 

"It was really disappointing today to finish the season on this note." Head coach, Bill Callahan said. "A break here and there and it could have been a different ball game."

 

"I think we were in a position to win a game today and we just didn't get it done."

 

Cory Ross, normally the backbone for the Husker attack was all but stifled in this contest, Colorado with the obvious intent of making NU beat them with the pass. For Ross, a day that ended in injury during the third quarter, he carried the ball just 11 times for a total of 35 yards.

 

The low amount of carries for Ross was what Callahan said was a by-product of what was happening out there and not the original plan. "I think that we came in here with a balanced approach and a mixed philosophy." He said.

 

"I felt from the standpoint of running it or passing it, that we could do either."

 

"We had a couple of bad breaks in the first half. We turned the ball over and they capitalized."

 

The turnovers, 4 of which were interceptions thrown by Joe Dailey were key in stopping Nebraska drives, but it was the first drive of CU's following Nebraska's first possession that proved somewhat symbolic for the day.

 

14 plays, 90 yards and over 7 minutes chewed off of the first quarter clock, CU quarterback, Joel Klatt throwing for a score to put CU on the board with the lead, one they would never relinquish.

 

Even the rushing defense for the Huskers that has proven fairly capable all year was unable to stop Colorado, their starting running back, Bobby Purify averaging almost 6 yards per carry, totaling 137 yards on the day.

 

CU absolutely controlled the clock, leading NU in time of possession by almost a full quarter in time.

 

In a game where everything should have gone right, hardly anything did and for some, they just can't figure out why. "I don't know." A teary-eyed Chad Sievers exclaimed. "I don't know, but I know we fought. I know that some won't believe that, but trust me, we did."

 

"You have to come out ready to play and I don't know why that didn't happen."

 

Throughout the course of the game, the theme was fairly similar when NU had the ball. In fact, 4 out of their first 5 drives ended up in 3 and outs. 3 punts, 2 interceptions and just 37 yards total offense until approximately 5 minutes into the second quarter.

 

For a Sophomore QB that has had to endure more than a few of these types of games, the last one wasn't any easier. "We're going to fight to the end, but we struggled." Joe Dailey said. "It's obvious. I have to work on my accuracy, my speed and be able to work under pressure."

 

Dailey's 306 yards becomes his second game with over 300 yards, Dailey still the only QB to do that in NU history. Joe also finished the year with 19 interceptions, tying him for the most in the country along side QB, Ryan Hart of Rutgers.

 

Not even a valiant comeback for the Huskers, where they outscored the ‘Buffs 13-0 in the second half could erase not just the deficit, but the memory of just one of the things that has gone so wrong for this team. "It's about execution." Chad Sievers said. "Much like much of the year, we did not execute."

 

"That's what really hurts. We had a chance to make plays, but we just didn't execute."

 

Sievers had another opinion of what has gone on with this defense and it's one that up until now many thought, but certainly nobody within the program was willing to say. "I don't think that everyone quite bought into it." He said of the new defensive scheme of defensive coordinator, Kevin Cosgrove. "Unfortunately, it showed on the field."

 

Nebraska gave up over 400 yards in total offense to Colorado, the 6th time that's happened this year.

 

The chiding over this game will continue for some time. The lamenting, thinking of what could have been and wondering fondly of what was. The head coach sought to look at this loss a different way, because while nobody wanted to lose, he's choosing to look hopefully not too far in the future. "We're building for a championship season." He said. "I don't want to get away from that. It's going to take time. It's all going to depend on how many high-caliber recruits you can get who are going to make an immediate impact or improve your depth."

 

"It's pivotal that we finish off this recruiting class and do a good job with the guys we have here this weekend. I've talked to several of them before the game and they were very excited about the opportunity to come here and play football for Nebraska."

 

It's now the recruiting battle that will take the forefront for those that refuse to stop following the football team, even if just for a couple of months.

 

The difference this time, however, is that it will indeed be a couple of months, Nebraska getting its first break from a bowl in almost forty years. As Joe Dailey said in trying to put this season and it's failures into perspective, it's not about where you've been, it's where you are going that really matters.

 

"Great empires, they fall. Great leaders, they fall. Great college football teams fall." He said. "Sometimes you have to fall in order to really appreciate what happened in the past. Unfortunately, it happened this year."

 

We'll have a lot more on this game, sound bytes from the post-game press conference, plus stay tuned for all the recruiting updates to come from the slew of official visitors that were in attendance for the game. Did they like it? Are they still interested in Nebraska and did anyone commit?

 

Check back often on the front page or at the RED ZONE to find out just what happened and what happens next.


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