Moments in time

Standing there on the sideline as Alex Henery was getting ready to make the kick, whether it was former players or members of the media, everyone had their thoughts about a 57-yard bomb which would take a pretty inept second-half effort and a mostly frustrating game for the Huskers, and turn it into one of the more dramatic wins you are going to see.

I didn't think he was going to make it.

I definitely wasn't alone, because whether you are a die-hard Husker fan or not, that's a long kick, that's a hell of a moment in the game, that's a hell of a lot riding on that one play.

I went down to the end zone to get a side view of the upright, because i was expecting it to come up a bit short.

Oh, I know about the practice stories. One former player said over and over "he's made longer than this in practice."

Not to quote Allen Iverson, but I guess I am: "We're talking about practice."

Not a kick from over half a field away. Not a kick that could potentially be the difference between the Gator Bowl and a trip to Shreveport. Not a kick against a team which shouldn't have been in this game, but to their credit and to the discredit of a Husker team which played anything other than a clean game, this wasn't your average everyday kick.

I know senior offensive guard Matt Slauson was begging for him to make it, if only to finally shut up a Colorado team which was talking to him the entire game based on all of the "interesting" comments he made earlier in the week.

He said Alex saved him today.

I know Joe Ganz wanted him to make that kick badly, because while his stats were pretty darn good, that last play where he took a sack taking Nebraska from seemingly a chip shot field goal for Henery, under 40 yards away, now was just three yards shy of 60.

Yeah, I know, everyone wanted him to make that kick, outside of those on the visitor's sideline and the smattering of Buff fans which made the trek into Lincoln.

I actually thought that this was an appropriate way to the end the season.

For years Husker fans have bristled at the idea that Colorado was the rival, thinking that it was only because of the formation of the Big 12 that their real rival got taken away. But look at the history of this game over just the last 10 years, it's hard to deny.

Whether it's making on-side kicks consecutively to stay in the game as Colorado did back in 1999 or last-second plays to get the win which has been done by either more than once. This has been a rivalry, and no matter how much we have heard about how CU Head Coach Dan Hawkins has tried to downplay the back and forth, and treat it just like any other game - it's not.

It probably never will be.

I stood on the sidelines and the kick certainly looked long enough, but from my view I simply didn't know if it was good or not. I saw it pass the uprights, but was it out on the other side? The crowd roared, but I had to watch the refs before I knew that this skinny little kicker, who along with the other kickers on the team practice only a portion of the time with the team during practices and made fun of more than they are revered, actually made it.

As Slauson said after the game, Alex will be eating with the offensive linemen tonight.

After the kick went through, the stadium was loud, of course. The sidelines were frenetic, of course, and if you hadn't seen the clock you might have thought that was it. It was, in a way, because had he not made that CU would be strutting out the winner, off to a bowl and Nebraska's shot at getting down to Jacksonville would be history.

If you think the noise lessened between the time the kicked sailed through to the time Colorado took possession of the ball again, it didn't. I think it actually got louder.

I know it's been loud in there before:

When Nebraska beat Iowa State in double overtime four years ago, that was as loud as i thought I had ever heard it. Maybe a little louder than the crowd was when the Huskers hosted Texas Tech three years ago. It was a game in which defensive tackle Le Kevin Smith had intercepted the ball and all but sealed the Raiders' fate, only to fumble it, Texas Tech taking over and ultimately scoring, sealing Nebraska's.

But not like this. Nothing like this. It was about as loud as I had ever heard it even before "Ducky", err, Ndamukong Suh grabbed his second interception of the year and scored his second defensive touchdown of the season as well.

But when THAT happened, I thought my eardrums were going to explode.

Maybe at the airport. Maybe at Kearney Drag Strip when I was a kid racing cars. Maybe when I was too close to fireworks on the 4th of July. Maybe they were as loud, but now that I think about it, uh-uh, no way, no how.

I have never heard anything like that.

In moments like that, euphoria sets in and people just express themselves. They hug whomever is around, and even some of the normally stoic members of the media stand there, jaws agape.

It's no shame to say you enjoy those moments. Because as they are, I am and most others are who I know, we have no qualms doing it with professional teams we follow or even college teams we watch, when it's two teams in which we don't have such an intimate relationship.

This kind of moment takes all the trappings away, and if there is one shred of emotion in you, even if you aren't clapping, jumping, hootin' n hollerin', you definitely feel something.

You'd be dead if you didn't.

It's a moment so powerful that most will forget that for most of the game, Nebraska wasn't a very good team. Yes, running back Roy Helu Jr. was wonderful with a season-high 25 carries, serving in place of the injured Marlon Lucky. Yes, Joe was efficient, and outside of his fumbled hand off, he didn't have a bad night overall.

But Colorado scored two touchdowns in the first four plays of the game. The secondary made Cody Hawkins, a fair college QB, look like he was a John Elway arm away from being a future All-Pro.

The offensive line, one which has gotten better as the season has gone on - they were having a host of issues at times.

The defensive line, one which had in the last two games reaffirmed their status as blackshirts by getting pressure on the QB, for much of this game they couldn't get much more than just some.

It wasn't a great game by Nebraska by any stretch of the definition, and you have to give Colorado some credit for that. As banged up as they were, and as marginal as they are at some key positions, they still came, they still played and they almost won.

But in that moment, we'll call it two: a field goal kick for the ages and an interception for a budding Husker superstar - people forgot all that. All the frustration of turnovers, three and outs, short runs for two on third and four. They forgot the fake field goal, one of the more perplexing calls I have seen this year, and they forgot about taking sacks, holding and people talking a bit too much before the game.

Now it's just THE KICK. And now it's just SUH, and his stiff arm of a CU QB, the not-so-subtle look back to him as he hit the turf and the ball he hurled into the fence as a crowd erupted, a team swarmed and I am sure more than a few people sighed.

That was something else.

You get a little desensitized in the media. It's not like you see so many of these moments, it's almost become passe'. It's not even that you have seen so many great games, the moments within those games don't really tell the whole story. And it's not like you are on the sidelines, jumping around like an idiot, finding yourself cheering with those others all clad in red.

it's a moment, and oh, what a moment it was. I feel no shame in saying i was excited to see it, because I have never personally stood on the sidelines for a series of events like that. I have never seen a field goal kicker make one from 57 yards to take the lead in the game, and then watch a defensive tackle grab a tie for the lead on the team.... interceptions.

I have never seen it, but I saw it tonight. It's a moment I'll remember. I don't think it's one I could ever forget. What does it mean for the team?

I don't know, and I haven't thought about it. Maybe I will here soon.

I'm just thinking about the moment.

That was a moment, to remember.

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