Just when you think it's bad

Just when you think it can't get any worse. I actually thought, as the third quarter started and Nebraska had given up 69 points, could Kansas actually score 90? Are you kidding me? Kansas ? Against Nebraska ? The hits just keep on coming.

I wonder if toward the end of the game, as Kansas was about to go over 70 points on the Huskers, Mark Mangino was on his cell phone, giving Nebraska coaches a call, just to let them know what the next play was going to be. 

OK, probably not, but I don't think even that would have helped Nebraska . 

In what was yet another record-setting day for the opponent as Nebraska took statistical ineptness on defense, and perfected it. 

It wasn't that Nebraska hasn't given up 76 points before in a game. Only Texas A&M "bettered" that since the formation of the Big 12, giving up 77 to Oklahoma in 2003. 

It wasn't that Nebraska once again gave up over 500 yards again to the other team. Unlike recent games, they "only" gave up just over 200 yards on the ground to Kansas , which may just get the "blackshirts" out of the 119th spot in the NCAA in defending the run. 

OK, maybe not. 

And it wasn't even yet another quarterback looking like Joe Montana, KU's Todd Reesing going off for over 350 yards and throwing a school-record six touchdowns. That might be a school record for him, but it's "just" a tie when it comes to how many touchdowns an opponent has thrown for against Nebraska during the Kevin Cosgrove era. Texas Tech was the first to accomplish the feat in the 70-10 beat-down of the big red in 2004

It's not all of that, because it got trumped just four minutes into the fourth quarter. 

With 11:04 to go, Bill Callahan, obviously seeing enough, ditched the passing game and opted for the running game, conceding the victory and just trying to get out of Lawrence without giving up over 80. 

Well, I guess accomplished something after all.

Oh, and a few other things as well: 

  • The 76-39 loss was just the second Nebraska loss in the past 39 games in the series. The Huskers had a 36-game win streak vs. KU snapped in 2005 in Lawrence , before rebounding with a 39-32 overtime victory last season in Lincoln . 
  • Kansas ' 76 points are the most ever against Nebraska , eclipsing the previous high of 70 at Texas Tech in 2004. The 115 combined points are the most since World War II. 
  • The 48 first-half points by Kansas set the school record for most points in a first half against the Huskers. Nebraska surrendered 42 points in a 62-36 loss at Colorado in 2001. The most points Nebraska has allowed in any half was 49 at Texas Tech in the second half of 70-10 loss in 2004. Kansas ' 27 second-quarter points were the most ever against Nebraska , bettering a 24-point outburst by Oklahoma in the second quarter in 2000. KU's 21 points in the third quarter tied the most ever in the third quarter against Nebraska (twice previously). 
  • The 76 points by Kansas in today's game marks the most by the Jayhawks in the history of the series, bettering KU's 40 points against Nebraska in 2005. 
  • Nebraska scored 14 points in the first quarter of today's game, marking the first time this season Nebraska has scored more than seven points in the first quarter. Kansas ' 21 first-quarter points were the most against Nebraska since Missouri also scored 21 against the Huskers in October of 2005. 
  • Today's loss was Nebraska 's fifth straight, the Huskers' longest losing skid since 1958. 

The sad thing is, you had a couple of career days on the offensive side. I know the first half of the game was a long time ago, but for awhile, it was the Huskers putting it to the touted Jayhawk defense. 

This is a defense which ranked in the top 10 in most every defensive category there is. And Joe Ganz, in his first start, threw for 405 yards, four of his 50 total attempts going for scores. 

And senior wide receiver Maurice Purify absolutely tortured KU and their celebrated cornerback, Aqib Talib, catching three touchdowns on the game. The junior college transfer totaled 158 yards, his career-high at Nebraska , and the fifth highest total in Husker history. 

Hell, Nebraska scored 39 points! They scored almost 40 points in the game.

And they lost by 37!

It was so bad, after the game on one of the many sports talk radio stations, an actual Jayhawk fan was calling for Callahan's head. 

Oh boy. 

Can you imagine how fans felt along with their team, as they would leave Memorial Stadium in Lincoln , following a big loss to the big red, only to hear the applause from the local fan base as they headed off the field? 

You don't have to imagine anymore. 

Some call it classy, and it's true, Nebraska fans have been doing that for decades. But after getting your butt handed to you, it sounds more sarcastic than it does complimentary for the effort. A game like this has as many punch lines as it does expletives, and none of them favor the reeling team from Lincoln.

I actually ran out of words to use in trying to describe how each successive week over the last five weeks has been the bottom for the football program. 

The 41-6 loss to Missouri in Columbia - that had to be the bottom, Nebraska failing to score a touchdown with this high-powered offense, for the first time since the Oklahoma game of 2004. 

How about the debacle against Oklahoma State? That had to be the bottom, because it was Homecoming and the 31-point loss was the largest margin of victory for the Cowboys over the Huskers, and the 38 first-half points allowed by the Huskers, was just four points shy of the most ever allowed in the first half, that record actually preceding the Cosgrove era, set in 2001 against Colorado. 

Texas A&M was pretty bad as the Huskers allowed a 280 pound running back to notch his career long in regards to yards on a single rush….three separate times. All that in route to another lambasting at home, the first time since 1968 that Nebraska has lost three games in Memorial Stadium, in a single season. 

Now, Texas couldn't have been the bottom, because Nebraska was on the road, against a ranked team and played arguably its most intense football game of the season, narrowly losing to the ranked Horns, 28-25. But of course, it didn't equal a win as another record was set on the defensive side, the Huskers allowing Texas running back Jamaal Charles to amass 296 yards, the most ever given up by a Husker defense to a single player in a game. And over 200 of it came in the fourth quarter alone. 

But THIS has to be the bottom, doesn't it? You've given up enough points to make the all-humiliation team for the next millennia. You've lost five straight games now, which is something even former Husker Head Coach Bill Jennings couldn't "accomplish,"

Last time down in Lawrence, KU fans rushed the field, taking down the goal posts after they finally beat Nebraska in almost 40 tries. When the game ended today, it would have been hard to even tell they had a pulse. 

It wasn't that they saw their team as a quality team and expected an equally quality effort. They did, but look at who they played. No longer is this the Nebraska , which seemed to be able to at least have a chance in games, based on that good old effort and tough mentality during a game. No longer is this a team which can wear a team out and use the fourth quarter as a way to stretch the lead. 

There are a lot of things this Nebraska team isn't anymore when it comes to comparing them to their predecessors. And I am not talking about the Huskers of the glory days. There is no comparison to those teams, but it's not even favorable against some Husker teams which simply weren't that good.  

I know; you were saying that at the start of this five-game losing streak, but I have usually chosen to ride things out and take take a look at just how the big picture develops over time.

Turns out, I should have left the film in the camera. 

It's ironic when you think about it, that Tom Osborne came in with Bob Devaney in 1962, helping to take over a program, which was on a run of futility which spanned two decades. The team rarely won, lost in bunches and it was going to take hard work and probably a little genius to get things going in the right direction.

Now, over 40 years later, Tom returns to Nebraska again, this time at a different position, but it would seem that the objective is still the same. 

I wonder, though, if someone were to ask him which team seemed like the bigger job to improve, that 1962 team, which just came off of their sixth straight losing season or the Husker team of today. 

Of course, he wouldn't even acknowledge a question like that and he shouldn't. It wouldn't even be a proper question to ask. But if for only a moment, he came out of character and did, what do you think the answer would be?

Or, would you even want to know?

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