Nebraska breaks the streak

When Nebraska was seemingly doing everything they could to lose, tonight, they did everything they could to win. When it appeared that the Huskers actually quit at times during the year when down, tonight, they did anything but. What happened in College Station was a Nebraska team that did everything that most everyone said they couldn't do, stunning the Aggies for a 38-31 victory.

Come on. I know you were thinking it. I know I was. Down 31-14 in the 3rd quarter, this had been a typical Nebraska road game. Nebraska finding ways to beat themselves as the turnovers and penalties persisted. It was deja vu all over again and Nebraska was about to lose their sixth straight road game.

But then, something happened.

Even the die-hard Husker fan has said that at times, Nebraska actually has appeared to quit when down. Unthinkable, yes, but though NU isn't a great comeback team, they not only didn't come back, but folded like a wet blanket.

Tonight, come back they did.

Following a fumble by Jammal Lord that resulted in a touchdown, Nebraska did something they haven't done on the road all year. They responded.

With a mix of not passing and rushing, but Diedrick and Horne, Nebraska drove down the field 68 yards on just three plays, sealing the deal with a David Horne touchdown.

The next drive for a score was a Nebraska-like 12 plays long, again with a great combination of Diedrick and Horne, but Lord "threw" his own effort in there, completing two passes to Ross Pilkington for a total of 55 yards. David Horne finished the drive once more for the just another one of what would be 4 total scores on the ground, the most ever on an Aggie defense by a single player.

The third drive mirrored the first, resulting in another rushing touchdown and the only thing keeping NU from more than likely doing the same in it's last scoring drive was two penalties that forced a Josh Brown fieldgoal.

Of course, it doesn't matter how good the offense does, if the defense doesn't answer the call.

And answer, they did.

While the NU was getting back on track, the Blackshirt defense was taking the Aggies off of theirs.

After the initial touchdown by NU that started their run of 24 unanswered, the Aggies looked to be on the move. A drive that ended up being 10 total plays resulted in the last three (before the punt) of runs for a yard and an incomplete pass. This really turned out to be the back breaker for the Aggie offense as the Blackshirts simply teed off on Texas A&M after that.

3 and out, 3 and out and a drive that ended in an interception by Bland, it was an NU defense acting like a true NU defense, but this time, on the road.

It's all pretty confusing really.

How does a team that has struggled like it has on the road and has been beating themselves continuously, do just that again for almost three full quarters and still come back to win?

It's not a Nebraska team that anyone has seen throughout the entirety of Solich's head coaching career. It's not a team the fans certainly have seen since before the road-collapse at Boulder against Colorado. And it's certainly not the team that played and lost to a very average Oklahoma State team just last week.

It's like a completely different team.

Now, people might say that this was a win just like NU of the glory days. It wasn't. It was better.

The Nebraska of the mid to late-nineties would have never been down like they were against the Aggies and most of the time, certainly didn't kill themselves with penalties and turnovers. That's what makes this game so special.

As great as the Missouri win was for NU, it obviously wasn't enough to propel them to a road win the next week. What it was, was a home game, an energetic crowd and some very good execution.

What this game was, was a statement, because it was on the road, because it was in College Station and because it came out of a situation where Nebraska had every chance to fold.

I'm not going to sit here and say NU is back as Dahrran Diedrick so emotionally proclaimed after the game, but I will say this.

When Nebraska found itself in the same position that it has been in all year long and on the road, it did something that took more than effort, it took more than skill. What it took was all of that plus the heart to never say die.

It took perfect execution when it counted most and an attitude of "we will not quit".

NU didn't, they won and now, the up-coming game against Texas doesn't look like another chance to lose a streak, but an opportunity to keep one going.

People might now once again begin to believe.

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619


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