All teams must do it. That is, to travel to away games. It's not like high school football either in the Big 12. What I mean is you have these 12 schools and I am guessing that the furthest two schools from one another is either Nebraska to Texas or Nebraska to Texas A&M. Nebraska to Baylor isn't that short though either.
Anyway, getting a game here in Texas pretty much means that I will be there. Well, I was and so was at least 10,000 other Nebraska fans. Pulling up to the game two hours early was simply amazing. The north side of the stadium was packed and was 75% red.
My buddy called me and asked where I was. I was about 15 minutes from the stadium and that is when he told me who he bumped into...Steve Pederson. My buddy hasn't been a "rah-rah...change is good, Steve is right" kind of guy so I was a bit scared to hear how the conversation went.
He led out with not being Steve's fan the whole time he's been there, but included that he gets it now and believes that things are interesting and exciting now with the program. Mr. Pederson thanked him and they walked and talked for about a half-mile, per my friend, and they both said that they couldn't believe how many people were there.
Put 10,000 Husker fans into a visitor's stadium, all at one end I might add, and your advantage is cut in half. I know that the effort was put forth by Baylor to sell out that stadium for the first time. They weren't close last night and I have a hard time believing that with Texas and Texas A&M being so close that they haven't. Again, the stadium would have been one-half the other team.
Getting more chances
I am happy to see Cody Glenn and Marlon Lucky getting more looks each and every game. You have to get them ready for what will be the biggest void to fill in terms of offense and leadership when Cory Ross leaves. What I like even more is some of the different things that these two players are doing when they are in the game.
First of all, two weeks ago every time that Cody Glenn was in the ball game it was a run and he was getting the ball. That was a tendency that I am sure that Baylor was looking for because I know that I was. You at least say one play-action with Glenn in there last night.
Lucky though was used as a wide-put last week and again last night. He is also getting his chances to get his hands on the ball as a kick returner. I believe that the more reps he gets this year will only pay dividends next year. His biggest asset coming into college football was his vision, but now it has to speed up with the game at the college level.
Playing without a threat at tight end
Last night I couldn't help but think about how big the loss of Herian actually was. Nebraska's tendency for short passing was to the flat all night, and usually above his head, to Cory Ross. I couldn't help but think how Matt Herian would have improved things in the box.
Baylor didn't "shut down" the run last night and I was a bit surprised to see how many times we actually ran the ball last night (51 attempts). I am going to guess that 99.9% of the time that Nebraska runs the ball over 50 times that they win. You is also going to give us an advantage in first downs, time of possession, turnover margin and a couple of other very important statistical categories.
However, Herian could have helped us last night. The linebackers were so close to the line of scrimmage all night and all that anyone was really worried about from the passing game inside the box was Ross out of the backfield. The advantage that we had last year was a person that could release from the end of the line and out run safeties.
Still, Nebraska's passing game was effective and oddly most times to the far side of the field. Taylor just made those throws though all night long. From the angle that I sat at last night it was really something to see Taylor making the throw before the receiver had not only turned around, but made his break to the outside.
It is showing comfort in the system and most of all with players.
Another step forward
In my opinion, Zac Taylor had the best night of his career last night not for statistical reasons, but for his ball control and decision making.
The stats don't lie: 32-18-0. But what you didn't see was chemistry and not being rattled by his first game on the road. For some reason I just had this bigger fear of what could happen if Nebraska were to come out and turn the ball over a few times and get behind early. Taylor though was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
There were some times that I really felt like he was holding onto the ball too long, but Baylor finished with zero sacks. He is also growing that sixth sense and when it is wise to tuck it and run it. He is getting it.
He did miss some players down field last night that were open, but feel like pressure didn't allow him a chance to get back and come off of first and second options. Most times, if pressure was there and at least the first option wasn't available then that led to a pass to Cory in the flats.
However, the best play for Taylor that sold me on him getting it, being comfortable and also a little sand-lot style was his touchdown throw to Peterson. Taylor was scrambling in the pocket, rolled left and then back to his right. Peterson had a route that put him on the sideline and then he just got deep into the endzone.
Peterson was right in front of where I was sitting and I have to admit was yelling for Taylor to throw it. However, what I saw next was pretty close to a perfect play. Taylor is rolling to his right, fires the ball from what looked to be the close to the 30 yard line and sent it to where only Todd could catch it in the back of the end zone.
Now that is a confidence making throw and catch. That was a play that literally crushed the spirits of most of the Baylor-faithful that were in the stadium last night.
I'd like to buy a holding penalty, Pat
I just didn't get last night's officiating crew, not that I believe that any of Nebraska's officiating crews have been good this season, but last night was terrible. They seemed very eager to throw the interference and facemask penalties, but you could hold all night long right in front of them and they weren't going to see it.
It's a license to steal, in my opinion, when offensive linemen can hold all night long. Now, it was both ways, but you have got to make those calls. There was one time on a run toward the Baylor bench that Ola Dagundero may have been being held harder than anyone I have ever seen before and right in front of an official to boot.
But what killed me was the review of the Baylor play to see if he was in the endzone or not. Now, we all felt that the ball came out before the Baylor player was down after seeing it on the screen. Mr. Replay agreed, but here is something that maybe those officials don't realize, they couldn't call that a fumble!
The play was blown dead at the one. There was no fumble called, so the re-play was to see if the ball was going to be at the one or if it was a touchdown. They should NOT have been able to call that a fumble. That simply was not an option.
It never ceases to amaze me
Me and my family were a little "late" showing up to the tail-gating festivities in comparison to others. When I got there though the people that I had come to meet made friends with the only people smart enough to rent a port-a-poddy and bring it into the tail-gating area. Smart people.
When I got there though, someone was waiting to talk to me. Not someone that I knew, but a subscriber from Bellevue. On the table under his tent was the facilities copy of the Big Red Report. He was part of the crew that rented the port-a-poddy and I had a great chance to talk with a customer.
After his kudos on the magazine and the site I just sit there in awe. You never know who is reading this stuff where and I guess the real power of the message is never known except by reading responses, but hearing it and from someone that I didn't know really makes you smile.
Thanks for being out there and thanks for reading.