First of all, coach Solich made the right call. Time enough for two plays, you have to go for the endzone and if that doesn't work, you kick the field goal and take your chances in overtime. It's almost ironic that a turnover, that being an interception thrown by Jammal Lord should end the game for Nebraska, because it's those turnovers that have cost NU all year.
It was a game of opportunities missed and made, but it was also a game of big plays. Jammal Lord's 234 yards rushing, a career high. FB, Ivan Williams' 111 yards receiving, on a play that simply burnt NU almost every time it was ran and Roy Williams who tortured the NU secondary, seemingly unstoppable, even by NU's leading CB, DeJuan Groce.
Add to that a field goal blocked, a field goal with a botched hold on the snap and Lord's interception on the Texas one yard line. Nebraska was never out of this game, but it was thanks to Nebraska, that they couldn't get the win in the end.
Those will probably be the headlines for most, as they read one recap of this game after another. One missed play here, one botched play there and opportunities for Nebraska that they never really could make the most of.
But, what will be lost is that the offensive line for the second game in a row did exactly what they were supposed to do. Nebraska averaged almost 7 yards a carry as NU's running game ripped Texas apart. Most of it was on opportunistic running by Lord, but NU's line paved the way.
And on defense, it was the big plays by Texas on offense that ruled the day, but for the most part, the defense was good if not great. Making Texas one-dimensional was the goal and NU did that, holding UT to a lowly 2.19 yard per carry average.
The problem was the other dimension of Texas was working just too darn good. When Chris Simms was given time, he usually made the most out of it, passing for over 400 yards. Coach Mack Brown has always been a Chris Simms' homer, but for once, he was actually right. Chris Simms went on the road into one of the toughest places to play and actually came through.
I'm sure that even most Texas fans were surprised.
This is a sorry trend for Nebraska though as yet another streak bites the dust. But, it's not sorry because the streak is lost and it's not even that bad that it came to the Horns, some showing very little class after the game had ended. The hardest part of this will be that NU's efforts will for the most part, go unnoticed, but notice them we will.
They never gave up.............again.
Backs against the wall, down 27-17, Nebraska fought back. The touchdown pass to Herian, followed by a defensive stand when it counted the most, which resulted in a punt return by DeJuan Groce that took NU into scoring position. All it took to get back just to have a chance to win, it would be what cost NU the win that will be remembered most.
It's hard to blame Lord though even though it was his pass that ultimately cost NU the game. When NU needed him to run his best, he did. When the pass to Herian needed to be perfect, it was. When NU needed that play so many times in the game, it was Jammal that made it happen.
Sometimes, Irony can be brutal.
So, it goes as it has been, once again to the Huskers. What lost them so many games before ended up losing this one as well and NU can look not at the effort, but the few mistakes here and there.
About the only way you can really summarize this game up is that Nebraska did everything it took to win and did everything it took to lose, but timing on the latter proved the deciding factor.
And so, Nebraska loses another streak, will have pick up the pieces yet again and try to salvage what is left of a season that seems to be getting longer. Now though, you can't even find mathematical chances at titles. Nope, now, it's all about pride.
It's the pride the players had when they started the season and by the end of the season, it might be all they have left. But, at least for the fans that are still hanging in with this team, if they know the players did everything they could to at least try and get the win. Maybe for the rest of the season, that will be enough.
It might have to be, but at least you can't question their heart. Nebraska has shown that out of all the questions concerning NU's team this year, that one they quite resoundingly squashed. This team certainly does have heart. Now, they just need to work on everything else.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619