Ok, that's just crazy

Kansas State beats Texas? Yeah, ok. Florida State gets shut out at home for the first time ever under Bobby Bowden? *Yawn* Maryland beats Miami – Arizona beats Cal – Georgia routes Auburn – whatever. Nebraska beats a good team from the Big 12 South on the road? Ok, now THAT is just crazy.

Florida State gets routed at home, losing to Wake Forest 30-0. Texas, with one of the best defenses in the country, gives up over 40 points as they lose in Manhattan to Kansas State. Georgia, who has been stinking up the place for almost an entire season, almost losing at home to Colorado, goes on the road against Auburn and clobbers them, 37-15.

Cal going down against Arizona – Washington losing to the previously winless Cardinal of Stanford – Rutgers beats Louisville

If you wanted nutty, you got it. If you wanted upsets, they were to be had all over the place. One-loss teams getting knocked out of the national title picture, national powerhouses going down to upstarts and maybe topping them all, Nebraska gets a win against a Big 12 South team other than Baylor, and they get it on the road.

If that isn't enough, Nebraska blew their typically large lead, falling behind. But in non-Nebraska fashion, they fought back, got the lead and kept it, beating the Aggies of Texas A&M, 28-27.

It caused even head coach Bill Callahan to utter something outside of the usual post game "Proud of the team, proud of the physicality, happy we could finish a game off", etc., so on and so forth.

"Well, that was exciting, wasn't it?" the head coach asked rhetorically after the game.

Yes Bill, it was.

Very exciting

You couldn't have set the table better for the Huskers if you tried. While the big red could have backed into the Big 12 title game, winning against Colorado at home in two weeks, this was the game that mattered.

Not because it was the game at the time, but because of everything it represented:

First, it was a ranked team – Bill Callahan's Huskers were 1-4 coming into this contest, the only victory coming in double overtime against Iowa State last year.

Second, it was a road game – Prior to the game in College Station, Nebraska was .500 on the road this year, going 2-2, taking Coach Callahan's record to 5-8 away from the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium

Third, it was a game against a team from the Big 12 South – The only team from that half of the Big 12 the big red has ever beaten was Baylor

Finally, this was against a ranked team from the South, and on the road – You can figure out what the statistic there is, can't ya?

That isn't just one monkey on the back of the Scarlet and Cream. That's an entire zoo of them.

For the entire week going into this game, the conversation was about how Nebraska had to do things they hadn't done. It was about how the Huskers had to fight off repeating mistakes and just sticking to doing what they do best.

Who would have thought that Nebraska would do most everything they do well, which included blowing a two touchdown lead.

This time, though, they won.

I have to admit that it crossed my mind after the Huskers got on the board first, Cody Glenn jumping into the end zone from two yards out. It was just a little bit, though.

When the Aggies answered immediately, freshman Michael Goodson taking an option off the right side in for the score, I figured this was going to be one of those back and forth kind of deals.

Nebraska scored again, Glenn again, this time from six. But then Nebraska scored again, Todd Peterson catching a four yard toss from Zac Taylor, and the thoughts were really starting to churn in my head.

Nebraska has the lead - a substantial one, and they have almost completely outplayed the Aggies in the first half on both sides of the ball. Texas A&M then made a nice surge late in the first half of the game, getting a field goal before the second quarter expired.

Was this the beginning? Was this momentum change, however slight, the start of the almost patented Husker second half collapse on the road?

With the Aggies getting the ball first in the second quarter, I figured it wouldn't take long to find out.

They ended up punting on their first possession.

After Nebraska stalled on a drive and gave it back to them, I figured if it was going to happen, this would be as good a time as any.

They punted again.

It was at this particular point, even with Nebraska's offense not moving the ball that well, I thought that the Huskers looked like they had shed at least one of those monkeys. I didn't see a team that was just suddenly going to implode. Zac Taylor was throwing the ball well, the Aggies couldn't run consistently at all and quarterback Stephen McGee, while very gutsy, was pretty shaky when forced to move the team through the air.

Yeah, that's when it happened. It wasn't suddenly as is one play, but gradually.

Think of it like you would watching someone build a one of those pyramids made out of cards. The higher they go, the more unstable the entire thing becomes, and you know, no matter what you do, eventually it's going to come down.

That was Nebraska's offense in the second half.

You can't blame Coach Callahan's play calling either as the big red actually passed the ball 15 times in the first half, but topped that with 20 in the second. Between the Aggies stiffening up on defense and the unquestioned leader of the offense (Taylor) being a little erratic, along with the protection from his offensive line, the house of cards was getting taller, but it was getting a lot shakier as well.

Think of each drive as a card and the result equating the stability of that card on the pyramid as a whole.
1. The first drive/card: six plays, 31 yards, 3:59 in elapsed time
2. The second drive/card: three plays, two yards, 2:26 elapsed
3. The third drive/card: three plays, two yards, 1:14 elapsed
4. The fourth drive/card: five plays, 23 yards, 2:50 elapsed
5. The sixth drive/card: eight plays, seven yards, 4:38 elapsed

Texas A&M was just barely building theirs when the second half begun, but while Nebraska's house was starting to crumble, after the first two unsuccessful Texas A&M drives, the Aggies were building theirs, but with decidedly stiffer cards.

1. The third drive/card: seven plays, 61 yards, 3:01 elapsed
Field Goal (Nebraska now up 21-13)
2. The fourth drive/card: three plays, 58 yards, 1:11 elapsed
Touchdown (Failed two point conversion makes it Nebraska 21 Texas A&M 19)
3. The fifth drive/card: six plays, 85 yards, 2:29 elapsed
Touchdown (two point conversion is good, making it Texas A&M 27 Nebraska 21)

So, Nebraska puts together drives and takes up time, but can't score, and even turns the ball over late in the game, deep in their own territory.

Texas A&M, though, scores on three consecutive drives, and at home, with all the momentum, that was it, end of story, the fat lady has already left the building.
I sat back, thought about what led to the almost patented self-destruction, trying to piece together what I was going to write.

I was looking at it like one might a practice report. Outside of injuries or changes in depth chart position, you are basically writing about the same thing every single day. The trick, and something many writers I admire, accomplish so well, is doing that in such a way that you think it's a whole different day.

This was another implosion by Nebraska, and the trick was going to be how to make it sound like it was different than any other.

I'd like to take this time to thank Zac Taylor, Maurice Purify, Todd Peterson and a host of other players for making all of that worrying a moot point.

If you look back on it now, there are a few points in the game at the end you can say that on their own, were key in making the improbable come true.

The first could be Barry Turner's field goal block, which followed the drive where Zac Taylor had thrown the interception, giving the Aggies first down at the Nebraska 29, already with the lead and with only 2:50 left in the game.

Another could be the 22 yard completion to Todd Peterson from Taylor, which occurred on third and three on Nebraska's own 32 yard line. Taylor made the throw rolling to his right and actually running out of bounds after he released the ball.

Another still could be a play not from a Husker, but an Aggie, as Nebraska had third and 10 at the Texas A&M 17 yard line, with approximately 30 seconds left in the game. Taylor threw a fade into the end zone, intended for Purify. The ball was defended well and Nebraska would have been looking at a fourth down scenario – one play to stay alive.

Then, defensive tackle Marques Thornton gave Nebraska the gift of the year in the form of a late hit on Taylor, spotting the ball at the Aggie nine yard line and giving the big red the biggest first down of the game.

The next play call could also find itself into the books as one of the keys to the victory, Bill Callahan thinking that if you throw two fades to Purify, he's going to bring down one. He did, Taylor lofting a very high ball – so high even Purify with his 34 inch vertical, just grasped it from the sky, but the junior college transfer pulled it down, his 5 foot, 10 inch defender quite helpless to do a single thing to stop it.

Jordan Congdon's extra point was pretty big considering the fact that if he missed, the game is tied and probably goes into overtime. He didn't, of course, and the Aggies had 20 seconds to try and avoid their second one-point loss in a row………..at home.

Adam Carriker finishing off McGee with a sack could be yet another big play, which was key in making the impossible possible.

Yeah, that's a lot of plays, and it really tells you the story of this game.

For probably the better part of two years we the media and you the fans have been hammering the Huskers, both coaches and players alike, for what we believe to be big time collapses in some of the biggest games we've seen.

They have fumbled two games away to Texas teams, fumbled deep in their own territory against one of the best teams and from missed tackles to errant passes and questionable play calling, somehow this team has found ways to lose.

It was the coaches' fault. It was the player's fault. Heck, it was the fan's fault for being too loud. You couldn't come up with enough excuses as to why when Nebraska seemed to be doing well or better than expected, they would only end up finding a way to lose.

Yesterday they found a way to win.

It's crazy, but it happened. Under coach Callahan, they have never done it before, but they did it this time around. I guess in a day where a lot of title hopes were dashed around the country, Nebraska actually winning one today seems appropriate. Yes, it's just the North Division and it would be even more improbable if the Huskers could finish off conference play with one last victory on the road.

One more? And against another team from the south, but one with an even better record than the Aggies?

No way. Not happening, not even after this victory.

That would just be crazy.


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