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Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Apology to Husker Fans

Posted Monday, September 21, 2009, at 11:08 PM

A warning to all Husker fans: the content of this blog will center around the devastating loss in Blacksburg, Virginia that occurred on September 19th, 2008. Readers who are still nauseous, deflated, and/or depressed over the game should refrain from reading for fear of falling into a deep psychotic episode.

Husker Nation,

I hate to tear open the fresh scab that's appeared in the days since the loss at Virginia Tech. If you're anything like me, you just want the pain to go away. The moment of you screaming desperately television set, trying to will Suh to sack Tyrod Taylor (instead of standing frozen with his hands in the air like a hapless Craig Ehlo as Jordan drains his iconic jump shot), is already a distant memory you want to forget about. You have suckeded up your what's left of your pride, that at this point in Husker history is as trampled, flavorless, and degraded as a piece of Bo Pelini's gum, and are ready to move on to the celebration of Memorial Stadium's 300th consecutive sellout.

But this is not how it should be, Husker fans. The Big Red fan-base needs a a scapegoat; someone to take the blame for this epic meltdown, the likes of which have not been witnessed since Christian Bale last stepped on a movie set. However, after such a close and hard fought game, a single patsy is hard to come by. Sure, blame can be laid on the offensive line who were responsible for NU's lone touchdown of the day being taken off the board, and turning what was a first-and-goal at the six yard line into an Alex Henry punt. It could also sit in the lap of a defense that, after three quarters of brilliant play, fail to contain Tyrod Taylor and let him buy time to get his receivers open.

Having said that, true healing doesn't come from pinning the blame on a group of people. Condemnation in sports only truly works when one person shoulders the burden of a loss. So much in the way that a child is the reprobate who allows the city of Omelas to thrive, Bill Buckner and Scott Norwood are the fall-guys who bear the culpability for their teams' failure.

Well Nebraska fans, I am your Buckner.

Yes, without dropping a pass, getting flagged for holding, or letting a receiver slip by me in coverage I became responsible for the breakdown in Blacksburg.

It all came tumbling down, when in a moment of weakness during the fourth quarter I fell victim to one of the most fatal faux paus in fandom: the jinx.

Cut-scene to me on Saturday afternoon, under two minutes left in the game with the score 15-10 in Nebraska's favor. The Cornhuskers had just punted on a fourth-and-one at midfield and given the Hokies a long field to work with. It was in this moment that all the rationality and common sense in my head took a back seat to the intensity of the moment I was in. We're actually in this game. Our defense has stopped them all game long. We actually have a shot. While these thoughts may seem inane by themselves, they opened the floodgates for a cascade of inner-contemplations that lead to this remarkably awful breech of fan conduct:

I wonder when was the last time we won a game without scoring a touchdown?

You see that?! I just pulled off the Everest of dumb moves that any fan could make; by simply thinking that this game was won with two minutes and five points separating Nebraska from a return to national respectability I shook my fist at the football gods and dared them to steal this victory from my sweaty, Cheetos-stained hands.

It was like the moment in Ghostbusters, when the team is told that they must chose their own destructor and Ray Stantz sheepishly tells everyone he thought of something that "could never, ever possibly destroy us". Just then, the Staypuff Marshmallow Man waltzes through and lays waste to New York City.

For those last two minutes of the game, I was Dr. Stantz without the proton pack. I had the same huge eyes, slacked jaw, and disheveled hair of Stantz as he watched his own innocent idea come to kill him (only I was witnessing Tyrod Taylor destroy any hopes for that win I so innocuously pondered).

So Husker fans, let your angst from last week's loss be delivered unto me. Inundate the comment boards with your vexed remarks. Call me every name that you deem appropriate for this website. Throw whatever malice you can my way. The more fault that's tossed in my lap the better, for any disheartening words addressed to me simply offset whatever karmic imbalance I initiated. Trust me, the only thing more reliable than the jinx is the anti-jinx.

Quick, let's start this before I get my hopes up over the Louisiana-Lafayette game.

P.S. - According to the Lincoln Journal Star, a Husker victory without a touchdown hasn't happened since Truman was in office.


Comments
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[Show in chronological order instead]

Kevin,

I will not let you off the hook. Jerk!

-- Posted by jlewis on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 3:51 PM

bigdawg, my brother posted that video on Facebook the other day and it's one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

As I have spent most of my life in Arkansas I can remember the time we thought we had lost Houston Nutt to Nebraska. He is a good coach, as he is showing at Ole Miss but his teams usually only win the big games every couple of years, so you dodged a bullet.

Saturday night, when Arkansas went up 21-10 on Georgia to finish the 1st Quarter, I posted on Facebook how good Arkansas looked. One player kicked out and a Georgia run of 42-20 later I just sat in disbelief. In Arkansas' case you should NEVER score 41 points in a game and LOSE by 12 points.

As I use to say back in the day when Nebraska fans first started having to deal with losses, the sun will rise tomorrow and Nebraska will be fine. The way the other Big 12 North teams (outside of Missouri and maybe Kansas) are playing, Nebraska has a legitimate chance of winning the North this year.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 2:15 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GuGqPKP3...

be careful, there is some bad language but it is funny

-- Posted by president obama on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 12:49 PM

thanks kevin

i have those pesky internet blocks at my work so i cant get to any of those sports sites. thus i was excited to see a sports blog

-- Posted by S&DC on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 12:06 PM

Thanks everyone for lessening my burden! I'm relieved to know that I wasn't the only one harboring such hexes.

RJ - I think if you sit through enough English classes with football players it becomes apparent that critical thinking and football don't mix

GI - Thanks for the empathy. As my Saturday wore on, I found some similar ways to put the loss into perspective...especially with USC losing. While the loss hurts our rankings, does nothing to hamper our ultimate goal, winning the Big-12 north (which is the number-one thing this team will be judged on this year). Also, nice Lebowski reference! If we can consistently get through a post and comment section with multiple plugs to awesome pop-culture events, I will be one satisfied blogger.

dschenk - I wouldn't feel too bad, I am Ruth-esque in my ability to give inopportune high-fives

S&DC - The reason that Zac Lee didn't practice yesterday was related to his medication. Apparently Lee recently came down with an undisclosed illness and is supposed to take it easy while he's on the medicine. Also, Lee was walking around yesterday with the thumb on his non-throwing hand wrapped up.

All of this seems a little odd, but it could explain, in part, why Zac was so passive during Saturday's game.

However, both Pelini and Watson have downplayed the situation and said that they expect Lee to be back at practice today (Tuesday) with all signs pointing to him being 100% by Saturday.

That being said, Cody Green worked with the first team offense on Monday so at the very least those extra reps can't hurt. My non-expert opinion is that if Nebraska takes care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette, I would expect to see Cody get into the game as soon as the third-quarter.

More info about the situation can be found here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story...

http://www.huskerextra.com/articles/2009...

-- Posted by kdf84 on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 10:02 AM

I strongly believe most of the husker nation was thinking the same thoughts... i didn't get to see the game as i was at a wedding but i was following the play by play on espn.com on my phone which was conveniently hidden under my leg... and even I clear down there in south kansas thought we had the game one... so you see Kevin you are not the buckner of this day!

On a side note Zac Lee did not practice yesterday... is it Cody Green time?? Can you find some info on this?

-- Posted by S&DC on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 9:13 AM

Kevin, I am afraid I committed a much worse atrocity than you. I actually high-fived someone sitting next to me when I saw how little time was left, and how far away the impotent VT offense was from scoring a touchdown.

Plus, I found out early that every time I went to the kitchen to get more snacks or grab a beer, NU made a great play. Had I only followed this strategy through the end of the game, we no doubt would have won.

-- Posted by dschenk on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 8:36 AM

Very savvy post, Kevin. I love it! Prometheus was chained for eternity to a rock by the gods. They sent vultures every day to eat his liver because he dared to share fire with humans. You dared to ask a key question in a moment of football angst. Mine was: is this game really football and a sport to boot without a touch down and a terrible offense? Perhaps the alchemy of our combined thoughts brought forth the ire of the gods of old. Our livers seem to be intact, but we have every indication that critical thinking and football don't mix.

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 12:02 AM


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Kevin Forch
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My name is Kevin Forch, a Stratton, Nebraska native who uses the McCook Gazette webpage to keep up on the hometown news. I am also a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who now lives in Kansas, where I work at a community college.
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