The game might have been played at Memorial Stadium, but that was no doubt, an Orange Bowl atmosphere. We all saw Tom Osborne and the 1994 Huskers come out of the tunnel to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their National Championship. No one imagined the tribute that the 2014 team would give them Saturday night. The smash mouth, run it straight down your throat, "I'm going to tell you the play, you try and stop it" offensive tribute was a thing of beauty. I flashed back to 20 years ago when I used to yell, "TRY AND STOP US" just about every play at the TV. Every fan, player, and coach knew what the Huskers were going to do before they did it by the 3rd quarter. Miami had no answer.
The game had just about everything in it. Awesome offense, huge defensive plays, coaches yelling at officials, Miami players doing what they do best. Only thing they were missing was Michael Buffer starting the game off with his famous, "Lets get ready to rumble" opening. Just like he does in boxing title fights.
Before I get to carried away, lets set one thing straight right now. (Allow me to channel my inner Kayne West MTV VMA's) "Mr. Gurly, Mr, Gordon, I'm very happy for you guys, and Im gunna let you finish, I'm gunnna let you finish, But Ameer Abdulllah is the best running back in the country. One of the best backs in Nebraska History! **drops mic walks off stage**" Gurly and Gordon are both fantastic running backs, and will have great NFL careers, I'm sure. Abdullah is starting to separate himself from those two, the same way he did on Saturday when trash talking Miami defensive back Antonio Crawford tried to arm tackle him. He is a once in a generation type player. He is a program changer. The entire state of Nebraska has one hell of a man crush on him, and I'm ok with that. Dropping the upside down "U" after one of his touchdowns was the ultimate power move, and Miami could do absolutely nothing about it.
There is so many good things to talk about in this game. Lets get to some stats.
- Ameer Flipping Abdullah had himself a day. He ran the ball 35 times for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had a touchdown reception. He now holds the all purpose total yard record at Nebraska. Look, he's the best back Nebraska has had in decades, and it's almost silly to think every week is turning into his "Heisman moment".
- Nebraska ran the ball for 343 yards. Miami (was ranked 8th in the country total defense coming into the game) had only given up 268 yards rushing TOTAL in their first 3 games combined. Go ahead and use that one when dummy Iowa fan at work tries to downplay Miami's defense this week. Tommy Armstrong said after the game that they want the identity of their team to be "smash mouth football". So do we Tommy, so do we.
- Speaking of smash mouth football. The Huskers lost a total of 4 yards during plays in the game Saturday. 3 of those were on the victory formation kneel down at the end of the game. (I cried a little bit typing that. Welcome back pipeline.)
- New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was at the game. He's a hated sports figure known for cheating and being dirty. Weird, a Miami fan.
- Miami offensive lineman Ereck Flowers was flagged for flipping the bird to the Memorial stadium crowd. No one should feel bad that Memorial booed Miami on the way off the field. They deserved every bit of it.
- Offensive Cordinater Tim Beck called a hell of a game. Huskers ran the ball 54 times and threw the ball 13 times. At one point they had ran the ball 33 times out of 36 plays. They metaphorically punched Miami in the throat all night with the run game. Unlike how a Miami player litteraly punched Randy Gregory in the throat late in the game.
- Miami's rush defense was ranked nationally 15th in the country. They dropped 50 spots to 65th nationally. Maybe A-Rods "doctor" can help them out with tackeling the best running back in the country better?
- Huskers won a night game at home for the 14th straight time. They are 40-5 all time in home night games. That's it, no more day games, EVER.
- Nebraska's offense through the first four games is averaging 560 yards per game. The most by a Nebraska team since the 1995 team. That is just friggin mind boggeling.
- Josh "SWAG" Mitchell picked up a fumble and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. It was the Huskers longest fumble return since Ralph Brown housed a fumble return for 74 against K-State in 1998.
- Not a stat: But I just love what Nebraska did offensively Saturday night.
The Good: Atmoshphere. The atmosphere inside of Memorial Stadium Saturday night, was one of the best in years. It wasn't the loudest ever, but the intensity in there was top notch. When Miami and Nebraska were tangled up after plays, pushing and shoving, pushing refs (that was only Miami guy), the intensity in the crowd magnified. I was so proud after the first scermish to see the entire Nebraska bench (coaches included) jumping up and down, yelling, and waving towels. It gave the fans something to be very proud of. It was as if we all finally got to say, "uh uh, your in our house this time Miami, and we are not going to put up with this". The fact that the players never backed down and basically embraced Miami's dirty play, made the fans in the stadium louder and crazier. Watching Josh Mitchell, a 5 foot 11 inch, 160 pound corner back, fly into a pile after watching one of his fellow blackshirts get pummeled by 2 Hurricanes that were close to double his size, well after the whistle had blown. Had the entire crowd chanting "GO BIG RED", although, to me, I swear it sounded like, "WE'RE WITH YOU"!
The Bad: Bear with me now, but my "Bad" this week is going to be the defense. Yes, the defense stepped up when it needed to late. Yes, the defense got key turnovers when they needed. But giving up 31 points to Miami at home with a true freshman quarter back, isn't going to get the job done. I'm probably being over critical, but there were times earlier in the game when Nebraska could have closed the game out. It just didn't happen. The Blackshirts can not continue to let teams hang around like that. It almost cost them against Mcneese State, and it made the game a lot closer than it could have been against Miami. Duke Johnson had 93 yards rushing against the Blackshirts. That's more yards than he had against Arkansas State and Louisville. I expect the Blackshirts run defense to do better in the B1G.
It was a fantastic game that more than 24 hours later Husker fans are still buzzing about. We've been waiting a long time for a Husker performance like that in a big game. The Huskers punked Miami Saturday night in Memorial. It was a lot of fun to watch and it feels great to be a Husker fan today.
Written by Cole Duncan
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