Survive and Advance

Fans should feel fortunate for Husker escape

The phrase "survive and advance" is most associated with tournament play, particularly the NCAA basketball tournament. But, it feels like an apt description of the current college football landscape. On the Sunday morning following losses by nine teams ranked in the top 25, Husker fans can take a certain measure of solace and even pride in having survived the week without a loss. Even with a narrow overtime victory, they were able to advance toward a possible conference title game and stay alive among the ever-narrowing field of teams in the BCS hunt.

Separation in the Conference Races
It may be easy for some fans to be upset about Nebraska's narrow escape at Ames. There is a lot for the Huskers to get fixed. But a victory, no matter how close, is  better than what Missouri is looking at now. The Tigers went to Lubbock, squandered a lead, and lost to Texas Tech, 24-17. The Husker win coupled with the Tiger loss creates a bit more breathing room for Nebraska as it tries to finish out the season and capture the North Division title.

Meanwhile, things are starting to shake out a bit in the South too. Saturday started with three teams - Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State - trying to get some traction in the race for their division. The Cowboys put themselves in the drivers seat (for the time being) by popping Baylor's bubble - 55 to 28. Down in College Station, Oklahoma got wrecked by Texas A&M 33-19.

The implications are getting clearer. Nebraska's date with A&M in two weeks looks quite a bit harder. And, should the Huskers manage to capture the North, their opponent could likely be determined by the winner of the "Bedlam" game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

On the National Scene...
As with every November in recent memory, the BCS is a mess right now. That's just how it should be during the stretch run. It feels like a tournament ("survive and advance") because that's how it is when ranked foes from the same conference get together.

Saturday was a bloodbath, except at the very top of the rankings. Oregon and Auburn managed to hold serve and stay in good position. After that, TCU made it clear that they will be a force by humiliating Utah by 40 points. Thanks for dropping by, Utes.

Boise State overwhelmed another mediocre foe, while a couple of the "one loss" crew of BCS contenders got tripped up by tough conference games. As mentioned before, Oklahoma went on the road and got beat. Alabama couldn't survive a trip to LSU, losing 24-21. (Don't count the offensively challenged Tigers out of the mix quite yet folks.)

When you step back and survey the carnage of college football's 10th week, the Huskers' 1-point win looks so much better than the alternative. Survive and advance, Huskers. Survive and advance.

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Comments 17 comments so far

Great perspective. And yeah, A&M?!? Interestinger and interestinger.

Glad that Ag. & Mech won. Somehow I feel like it balanced out how tough that trip is going to be and how tough it would’ve been perceived if the Aggies were sitting there last in the South. (But that’s actually Texas.)

You should write a companion article for this entitled
“Regress & Survive.”

If you don’t feel good about the “W” in Ames, take a look around the conference and look how bad things can be.  I bet OU or Mizzou would take a 1-point victory in OT instead their fate yesterday.  And how about those Longhorns??

Late season injuries and fatigue test the depth and core integrity of a football program at this stage of the season, and even though it was butt-ugly, NU found a way to win and that is what matters!!! 

NU had tremendous disadvantage with field position and 30mph winds in crutial times of the game.  ISU played the time-of-possession game with the game clock on warp speed.  With all the variables, ISU coached them to their full advantage, and those Big12 officials were consistently bad as ever. 

Kudos to Bo for calling the OT to be played into the wind, which cemented the win with the 2-point conversion pass that floated like a kite.  Hats off to ISU who played their hearts out with their last shot to play big brother NU.  Go Big Red!!

It’s not for me, to impart advice and perspective, to the best fans in the known football universe. I understand the concerns.
When typing comments, criticisms can often “sound” harsher than what was intended. Especially, in the hours after a game. Granted though, when someone says a player, coach or program “sucks,” there’s no misinterpreting that. Those, are easy to ignore, anyway. Like averaging gymnastics scores, judges remove the top and low scores, to get the result.

People can sometimes forget to “savor” the flavor of competition. Somebody, somewhere, said that this reminded them of the ‘07 Ball State game. Now, I remember that game as being one of the most exciting games I’ve ever listened to. It came after the SC paddling, and Ball State surely would have won, if they had another minute. Even 10 seconds would’ve done it.
This Iowa State game doesn’t remind me at all, of Ball State.
That ‘07 defense was undergoing a crisis of undercoached confidence, that was almost breathtaking, in shock value.
Yesterday’s game is what you get, using a 3rd string QB with a short week of practice, against a highly motivated, well coached opponent with a highly experienced, big, strong, competent QB and a nice skill set of ball carrier and receivers. Showing things they’d saved for Nebraska. Good, tough COMPETITION, friends.

This isn’t ‘94’s team, trotting out the “Turmanator” to hand off to “crazy Larry” Phillips, and finish out a game.
It doesn’t have to be.
It does have to rely on a “wunderkind” talent, who seems to open things up, for everybody. With a shrug and a “I did it in high school.”


Actually, against the wind in overtime, was lossed coin toss mistake.
It did seem to make sense, at the time, with Henery against their guy.
Pelini admitted after, it was a miscommunication.

I am going to sort of agree with Greg here.  I am not a huge Watson fan, but even I have a hard time putting the blame for yesterday on his (or any one else’s) shoulders. 

The phrase gets overused, but yesterday was a sort of “perfect storm.”

1)  Top two QB’s out of action
2)  Dennard, a key defensive cog, out of action
3)  Swirly, powerful winds that forced both teams to be one-dimensional when going into them
4)  “Quirky” officiating
5)  On the road against a very well-coached, highly motivated division opponent who is going to give you their best shot
6)  Several significant mistakes (Helu’s fumble, Paul being himself, etc.)

When you put all those together, it is easy to be thankful that we got out of there with a win.

Greg and Hujan -
Both of you had great comments.  Well thought out and well written.
A win is a win and all that, but, I am concerned about our over all, how should I put it, “football intelligence’ I guess would be the phrase. 
Really questionable play calling, clock management at times, bad communication, nowhere to be seen sense of urgency, etc. 
I am as proud of this program and you will not find a bigger fan of Bo’s than me, but, sometimes I feel that we lack direction in tough situations.
I suppose because I am inundated daily w/ talk about the Oregon Ducks but you have to hand it to Chip Kelly.  His team has been down 4 times this year - twice on the road - and they always have a very “together” attitude. 
Just some thoughts….

We are a good team, stop the abuse of pointing out individuals you feel is not a good player. This is a team sport. It was a good game of competition and we won!! Game over.

I am proud of the Huskers, the coaching staff, and Bo for adjustments each week for games. I read a lot of crap this season on posts and blogs. What we have is what we have to work with. Get over it.

I will say it.  “Good Job Huskers!”  You got the “W”.  Period.

Helu never fumble!  The Big 12 official give ISU a gift just like they did every games Husker had been playing in their last Big 12 appeance

With 2 QB’s injured, did’nt the play calling had to be this conservative? Could we realistically ask Cody Green to drop back 35 times or run zone reads 35 times and risk an injury? I thought the strategy was correct.  In the 3rd qtr Cody had two great drives, he did exactly what was expected of him in that qtr, especially that opening drive.  Austin Cassidy’s interception was perfect, well timed, read the play and take took it to the house, that was a huge play.  Niles Paul takes a knee and I think the fan comments are much different.

Sidebar - I was at the game.  ISU fans are great and the tailgating was awesome.

How did we lose to Texas?  Anyone?  Anyone? Anyone?

I would call this a non-loss rather than a win.  Yes we got a victory, but we dropped a spot in the BCS when two teams in front of us lost.  In the BCS ugly is still ugly.  It is still good we didn’t lose, but hard for me to celebrate.  It would be hard to make it to championship even if it would have won big and after the first two, BCS isn’t used.  So, I guess maybe I should just forget about the BCS.  In that case any victory is good.  It is still hard for me to say that.  As Ricky Bobby says “if you aren’t first, you are last”.  I don’t like being in last.

Winning games in overtime is a key to success for any season. In the long run conference games carry the same weight no matter the competition. This win is just as valuable as a win against MU or OSU. Let’s all just pray to have our play action offense back with the return of Martinez. We need him to compete with A&M.

I have been harsh on Watson most of it was out of pure anger over the game. Although he isnt an awful coordinator, I still think he makes some bad calls. I agree that given the circumstances of the ISU game he had to be more vanilla but did it have to be counter sweep left then right…... the wildcat was the right move I wish he would have stayed with it. run run run is fine but at least mix up the run calls dont wait tell a play has been stuffed more then 10 times before you stop running it. Bo knows what hes doing im sure hes well on his way to getting things fixed.

Yes, how did we ever lose to those pesky LongSchmorns?

Goes to show you how much emotions and psychology is a part of sports. They were more determined to not lose 3 in-a-row than we were in seeking revenge.

But wouldn’t any of us gladly take an ugly 1-point win against them??

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