Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big Ten honors Huskers with conference awards

First Team All-Big Ten Conference 
Rex Burkhead RB
Lavonte David LB
Alfonzo Dennard CB
Brett Maher Punter and Place Kicker

Individual Big Ten Awards
Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Lavonte David
Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Alfonzon Dennard
Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Brett Maher
Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Brett Maher

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nebraska finishes regular season with win over Iowa 20-7

Big Jeff tailgates on Saturday
Nebraska's defense dominated the inaugural Hero's game by stifling the Iowa rushing offense, holding them to just 88 yards.  Rex Burkhead punished the Iowa defense running for 160 yards on a school record 38 carries.  Nebraska scored 20 unanswered points, allowing a token touchdown with three minutes remaining.

The win gives Nebraska a 9-3 record in their first year in the Big Ten.  Red vs Red will take a look back at the season in the coming days.

Nebraska vs Iowa Highlights

Monday, November 21, 2011

Questions loom moving forward for Nebraska, another four loss season?

It's harder to win games on the road then to lose them.  I know that's obvious, but if your a championship caliber team, those hard ones are the ones, you can and do win.  Nebraska still doesn't have a team capable of that.  Why are fans so disappointed?  It's not like they've even been close, a four loss season has become the standard.  See years 2008, 2009, and 2010.

With the final game of the regular season on Friday morning against a hungry Hawkeye team, Nebraska's created quite a few questions for themselves.  Here are some thoughts.

1.  Win the last game, Nebraska finishes 9-3 for the regular season.  Win a the bowl game and they're 10-3.  Lose either one and your looking at the fourth season in a row with four loses.  Is that the best fans can hope for year in-and-out?

2.  Which was bigger for the program a win over Michigan State at home, or the loss to Northwestern?  Did the road win over Penn State do anything for team?  Did the win create too much confidence in a particular weak defense going into Ann Arbor?  

3.  Will the Pelini's defense ever be able to contain a mobile quarterback?  Over the last several years, the mobile quarterback has been particularly tricky for the Huskers.

4.  Has recuriting been good enough the last sevearl years?  Jamal Turner wasted his first year of eligibility sitting on the bench after leading the team in receptions early.  Did Aaron Green and Braylon Heard as well?  Couldn't have Austin Jones filled the role those two have?

Plenty more questions abound.  Answer to them all?  Winning.

Thanks for checking out Red vs Red.


Husker vs Michigan Highlights

Friday, November 18, 2011

Three things Nebraska will need to do to win in Ann Arbor

Nebraska faces Michigan this week in a Big Ten Legends showdown.  Both teams are 8-2, 4-2 in the conference.  Both teams will need Michigan State to lose in order to make the championship game.
Here are three things Nebraska will need in order to take the big, out of the house, this weekend.

1.  Nebraska must score early to settle the crowd of 110,000.  Taylor Martinez and gang have to be able to score points early against a tough Michigan defense, surely the momentum will be in the home teams favor late.  Rex Burkhead will need to break 100 yards rushing, when he accomplishes that the Huskers usually win.

2.  Alfonso Dennard will have to shut down WR Junior Hemingway.  Dennard has been tough to throw on the last four games, he's also made some good open field tackles in the run game.  If he limits QB Denard Robinson's options, it's more likely he'll make mistakes.

3.  Austin Cassidy needs to contain Robinson's ability to get to the edge.  Robinson can kill you on the run.  It would be a huge lift if Nebraska's secondary can find a way to come up with a turnover.  Which ever team wins the turnover battle, probably wins this game.

The season's on the line for Nebraska and Michigan.  Expect to see a wild one in Ann Arbor.

Thanks for checking out Red vs Red.

Nebraska Men's Basketball off to quite 3-0 start

The Nebraska men's basketball team beat USC 64-61 in Los Angeles on Monday night to improve to 3-0 on the season.  It's the second year in a row the Huskers have knocked off the Trojans.  Head coach Doc Sadler has the team playing tough defense and scoring in transition.
Last week Nebraska beat Doane College and South Dakota to start the season.  Rhode Island, Oregon, and South Dakota State are the next three opponents.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nebraska's offense continues to evolve in win over Penn State

RB Rex Burkhead lines up under center.
Nebraska used more than one wrinkle in their 17-14 win over Penn State on Saturday.  Offensive coordinator Tim Beck dialed up several different offensive sets including the diamond formation, the wildcat, and using an empty backfield.  It seemed to have the desired effect as Penn State's defense was surprised or at least caught off guard on several occasions.

Probably the wildest set Beck used was the modified I-formation which featured running back Rex Burkhead and quarterback Taylor Martinez switching positions before the snap.  Nebraska would line up in the standard I-formation, quarterback-fullback-running back, all in line behind the center, then Martinez and Burkhead would swap.  Burkhead would then call the signals from directly under center.  The first time it was used Burkhead scampered to the right side for a gain of seven yards.    

QB Martinez motions left, Burkhead pitches to Abdullah. 
This modified I-formation was used four times during the game including on Nebraska's first touchdown.  On this play the Huskers added an additional wrinkle by stacking an extra back directly behind the quarterback.  Martinez then motioned out wide left and running back Burkhead stepped up under center. He hiked the ball and pitched back to tailback Ameer Abdullah who followed the fullback Tyler Legate and Burkhead into the endzone for a two yard touchdown.  It was an amazing play and worked to perfection.

It almost seemed like Beck was calling plays from a sheet he'd been holding onto since his school boy days.  The formations were shifty and unpredictable as if they came straight from the playground.  Wherever, the creativity of Beck's offense comes from, it sure has been fun to watch this season.

Nebraska scores touchdown using modified I-formation

Huskers vs Penn State

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Huskers hold off Penn State 17-14

No. 19 Nebraska held off a late charge by No. 12 Penn State to escape with a 17-14 road win in not-so Happy Valley.   Ultimately, the actual game didn't seem to be the most important part of the event on Saturday.  Healing as a community might have been as much of an aim as anything that had to do with football.

Before kickoff, all the players and coaches from both teams met at center field for a moment of solidarity that lasted about four minutes.  Hand-in-hand, shoulder to shoulder, the players came together for a moment to show support for the victims of the senseless crimes charged against a former Penn State coach.  It was an unprecedented statement the likes college football has never seen.

Yes, Nebraska won a hard fought game, but in the larger scheme of things, the game was only a distraction from the real problems the Penn State community will have to face in the coming weeks as more and more details of the tragedy are released.  Surely the game today was a positive step in the right direction.  Healing will only come by finding the truth and working towards justice for the victims.

Red vs Red Game Day Links

Husker Extra


Big Red Today

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nebraska set to take on Penn State

How is Nebraska football handling the Penn State scandal leading up to the game in Happy Valley on Saturday?  By pretend it's not happening or that nothing is going on?  Maybe by focusing on themselves and letting the rest of the world keep track of the chaos?

Dead Spin
"I honestly don't know what's going on there," said Bo Pelini.  "I can't speculate on things I don't know.  It's not a distraction for our team."

It's a little difficult to believe it's not at least a small distraction for the Huskers.  Pelini does a good job of "fixing us," always claiming he only worries about the things he can control but the entire nation is watching with interest at the debauchery that's taking place.

"We don't want to talk about that."  Defensive end Cameron Meredith said.  "We just got to worry about ourselves."

This was a common response among Husker players after practice Tuesday.  No one was looking to add fuel to the red hot fire that's burning on the Penn State campus.

Penn State is currently in control of the Big Ten Leaders Division race.  The hammer they just got pounded with will make finishing out the season on top even tougher, but good teams feed-off controversy and increase their level of play.  Look for 110,000 supporters to praise their every move and motivate them to play inspired football.  Plus, with a win, Joe Paterno becomes the all-time leader for wins in the BCS Division.  Watch out for the Lions as they will be tough on Saturday.

As for Nebraska, they can't allow any distractions.  All of their last three games are must win, if they want to tie or win the Legends Division.  They will need some help along the way.  More questions then answers have come up after the team dropped the ball against Northwestern.

The question for fans is, which team shows up in Happy Valley?  A tight knit group of teammates ready to take the next step, or the team we saw last week?  We'll have to wait and see.  It ought to be interesting.

Thanks for checking out Red vs Red.     


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nebraska losing side in game against unranked Northwestern 25-28

Nebraska's defense might want to turn the black shirts back in to the equipment manager.  On the heels of their best performance of the season last Saturday, the Blackshirt defense flopped against the Wildcat spread formation.  They allowed 468 total yards, including 207 rushing.  It seemed like when they needed a stop, they couldn't get it.

Northwestern's Kain Colter filled in for injured starter Dan Persa earlier in the third quarter.  He used his shifty speed to wear down the Husker defenders.  Colter had plenty of gusto and enthusiasm for the Wildcats.  He finished with 115 yards passing and hard-nosed 55 yards rushing.  No matter what the scheme, he found a way to get the yardage needed.

Congratulations to the Wildcats.  After five straight losses, they've now won two in-a-row.  They put together a game plan that successfully frustrated the Blackshirt defense.  It was a well deserved win.

It's back to Earth for the Huskers (7-2, 3-2) after this loss.  They needed to win their remaining games to claim the division, but now several scenarios remain to name the winner.  Michigan was beaten by Iowa, but Michigan State held on at home to beat Minnesota.  The Legend's Division is officially a toss up.