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Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead leaps over Oklahoma defender Jonathan Nelson as Travis Lewis tackles him in the third quarter. Burkhead ran the Wildcat with success against the Sooners.


REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD


Shatel: No fingers to point this time; Huskers have selves to blame

By Tom Shatel
WORLD-HERALD COLUMNIST

Photo Showcase: 2010 Big 12 Championship (game action)
Photo Showcase: 2010 Big 12 Championship (fans)
Game Stats: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 20

* * *

ARLINGTON, Texas — They walked slowly off the field and out of the Big 12.

The dream was over. Oklahoma won a classy 23-20 league championship game. The Sooners crowded around the award stand. They took the trophy from Commissioner Dan Beebe. Red and white confetti flew.

The Huskers and their fans shuffled out of Cowboys Stadium with heads bowed. Again. This was a different sort of disappointment than a year ago. But it was heartbreak all the same. Again.

This time, NU could point only the thumb, not a finger.

The Huskers got up 17-0 minutes into the second quarter. They benefited from officials’ call reversal after a replay. The huge Nebraska crowd was rocking the Jerry Dome. It looked like a Big Red kind of night.

But Nebraska couldn’t hold onto prosperity. Or the ball.

Turnovers were a big culprit. There were four. Three fumbles and a very costly interception on which Taylor Martinez scrambled and threw one up for grabs in the end zone. The Kid has to learn to throw those away.

That play, and one of the fumbles, came in Alex Henery range. That cost NU six points.

Then there was the offense. Again.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini started Martinez, who had missed the Colorado game nursing a bum right ankle and turf toe on his left foot.

Made sense. Martinez’s presence would make OU pay attention to him and free up the others on the zone read. And who knows? He might break a big or even medium run.

It worked early. Roy Helu dashed 66 yards off a zone read for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson mixed in some Wildcat with Rex Burkhead.

But then, in a stout defensive match with momentum hanging on every series, Watson tried to turn his running quarterback into Johnny Unitas.

The Kid struggled in the pocket. OU’s pass rush started coming downhill. There were seven sacks. Martinez didn’t help his own cause. He needs to get rid of the ball quicker.

Again, he’s made a name for himself this year on his brilliance in the zone read game. Not usually as a passer.

Certainly, the Sooners sensed that Martinez wasn’t mobile enough to get away.

The situation did not call for NU to start chucking the ball. But if it did, is Martinez your best option?

The best path to a Big 12 title looked like an offense on the shoulders of Burkhead and the Wildcat. But even the sure-handed Burkhead wasn’t immune on this night. He bobbled a snap and fumbled.

In a defensive staredown, field goals were going to be huge. Nebraska had the clear advantage there. OU’s Jimmy Stevens made three field goals. But he also missed a 24-yarder. He’s no Henery. Few are.

Henery didn’t get his shots. Not when Martinez was throwing it 24 times or lying on his back.

One late sack was especially costly. With 6:39 left, Burkhead had run three straight times for 17 yards to the OU 39. Then an incomplete pass and a sack of Martinez for a loss of 8 yards pushed NU out of field goal range.

Or did it?

Did Pelini think about going for a 62-yarder from Henery with just over three minutes left?

“Looking back, I wish we would have,’’ Pelini said later.

He wishes his team would have gotten the snap off sooner on what looked like a fake punt with 7:31 left at the NU 37. Oklahoma saw Anthony West going in motion and called time out. And got it just before the ball was snapped.

Close again. But no BCS bid, again.

Where to now?

There will be plenty of time for Pelini to assess the damage. Certainly, a good place to start is the future of Watson at Nebraska. Nebraska’s offense got in the way again this year. You could blame injuries, but it was more about personnel and game management.

This one hurt. This was a good chance missed. The road through the Big Ten Conference won’t be easier.

But that’s where the bummed-out caravan out of Dallas heads.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1025, tom.shatel@owh.com

twitter.com/tomshatelOWH


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2010 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

69 Comments

Posted by: KansasHusker on 12/05/10 @ 3:41 am:

Yes, turnovers doom any team. Ask OU what happened last year when they faced NU. Sure, last year's offense was anemic for NU was anemic, but OU got beat by 5 turnovers and missed field goals. Sounds eerily familiar for NU this year, minus the missed field goals. NU does need to get some offense going, the Big Ten teams must be licking their chops...

Posted by: michel on 12/05/10 @ 3:47 am:

I still say that although Watson isn't the best field general his lieutenant, Coach Cotton does'nt seem to know how to coach his offensive line. We need a better line coach. One that instills discipline. Also, in the off season I believe the strength coach needs to work of hand and wrist strengthening. Mabey then those idiot football players at Nebraska could hold on to a football. Maybe the opponents might not be able to pull the football out of their hands.

Posted by: GBRCali on 12/05/10 @ 4:38 am:

Nebraska will never play in the BCS again until Watson and his staff is gone.
Sure he didn't play tonight or fumbled the ball, but it is his players, his coaching and his play calling.
As pointed here awhile back, he is a mid-tier OC here in the Big 12.
I wish Nebraska the best, but it sure will never be with this offense.
Someone with a gut need to pull the plug!

Posted by: go time on 12/05/10 @ 6:52 am:

SHAWN WATSON HAS TO GO! Nebraska has lost too many games that could have been won if not for his play calling, coaching and personnel decisions. The blackshirts deserve better than this! They fight their guts out every game only to see an inept offense toss the game away. We have the talent on offense to win championships but unless Watson is fired, the Huskers are doomed for many painful losses in the Big Ten. This doesn't have to be. Do your job Pelini and replace Watson or you too will be gone just as when Callahan refused to replace Cosgrove.

Posted by: Pistol Pete on 12/05/10 @ 6:52 am:

The Huskers lost three games this season. Certianly not a bad season. But what is so frustrating is that in all three of those losses, a. The Huskers were clearly the better team, and b. The Huskers played well enough defensively to win.

Last year I was in the "******* Watson's back" crowd. Not this year. Watching the offene shooting itself in the foot with penalties and turnovers time after time was infuriating.

Good teams find a way to move the ball and make plays no matter who is in there.

Think about it, Just like last season if we would have just played average on offense we would have won every game. It is time to go in a different direction for offensive coordinator.

Posted by: Jenny on 12/05/10 @ 7:00 am:

What happened to Cody Green?

Posted by: tg on 12/05/10 @ 7:24 am:

have a good life huskers fans.
now you will collect frequent driver/flyer miles as you scurry all over the country to follow your team. gone are the days of short drives to over take stadiums of lesser foes. life as you know it has changed.
also cut off is the texas pipeline of recruiting as texas recruits will think twice about signing on with a team that will come nowhere near the state of texas to play their schedule.
more money in your colleges coffers but a lot less user friendly place to spend it in.
all with a seriously deranged coach at the helm. when will be the next meltdown on the sidelines. how will the recruits react to a series of video clips of his actions put together by rival recruiters especially if tmart decides to transfer and lists the major reason as the pelini brothers circus as the reason.
lots of things on the horizon and the slide may start early if a bowl matchup with a future conference opponent goes in the tank.
so have a good life husker fans. how will you handle a steady diet of 3-4 loss seasons?

Posted by: Jamo on 12/05/10 @ 7:30 am:

Watson, Cotton and Gilmore need to start scouring their FBS Subdivision coaching options because it's obvious that's the level they coach at...on a good day.

Posted by: WhooTAZ on 12/05/10 @ 7:35 am:

Sad that they ****** the lead and turnovered their way into History once again....

Posted by: aksum4@aol.com on 12/05/10 @ 7:57 am:

Another bum job of coaching by Bo and his brother Zo, the Bozo brothers. Send them packIng and take preacher man Osborne with you.

Posted by: HansJ on 12/05/10 @ 8:09 am:

Yep, the Big 12 Conference game stats [8 games] for 2010 show the Huskers finished 6th place in total offense which is an improvement over 12th place in 2009, but we still finished 11th in passing offense. Nothing to brag about. I figure the truth is we've gone 3-3 so far in 2010. Only 5 of the teams we've played have winning records and we won 3 [OSU, Mizzou and KState] of those. Even the 3 cupcakes had losing seasons and WashU [6-6] is not in the same league as VaTech who defeated us in 2008 and 2009. The loss to 5-7 Texas at home was the most disappointing performance from the offense.

Posted by: s on 12/05/10 @ 8:20 am:

Yea, the play-calling wasn't too good down in Dallas. At the end when Burkhead ran the wildcat a couple times in a row, it was apparent that they didn't want Martinez even to touch! Burkhead was actually the quarterback, don't call it the wildcat. Anyone have anything to add to all the rumors about Martinez leaving NU?

Posted by: kevin on 12/05/10 @ 8:35 am:

Huskers have selves to blame ??? This lose is solid on Polini (or Martinez). With rumors flying that you won't be on team next year, how would you play ??? All the fumbles and interception that Martinez had, was he the ONLY quarterback Nebraska brought along to the game that we need Burkhead ?? PUT ANOTHER QUARTERBACK IN FOR AT LEAST A SERIES !!!! Could it have hurt anything or been any worse ??? As you stated, Oklahoma picked up on Martinez lack of mobility. AND his lack of passing skills. So what else does the Oklahoma defense have to do but KEY ON RUNNING BACK. Nebraska again shows it's lack of versatility and change.

Posted by: Guy on 12/05/10 @ 9:11 am:

Shawn Watson has to go. He is a one-dimensional, predictable offensive coordinator who lacks imagination and seems to know only one kind of pass -- the slant. He's never heard of a screen pass, misdirection run, throw back pass, roll out pass. He couldn't come up with anything to counter OU's blitz. Yes, the players made the turnovers. But with just a little imagination and unpredictability in the second half, NU still could have pulled this game out. Having Martinez drop back, as Shatel notes, like Johnny Unitas, was playing to Martinez' weakness, not his strengths. A good coach knows how to play to his players' strengths. NU will always be a three loss team so long as they run the most predictable offense in the country. Get someone with some offensive smarts to let these talented offensive players make plays and NU will be competing for a national championship next year. Keep Watson and we'll all be watching more of the same -- insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Posted by: Statman on 12/05/10 @ 9:26 am:

Another heart-breaking loss to sit through and watch. However, this one falls squarely on Watson and the coaching staff for not making the right adjustments and for sticking with Martinez when Zac Lee or Green could have come in to help or even the Wildcat with Burkhead. Martinez hurt us in this game, but our offensive attack, as it has been all season, was just terrible. I miss the days of TO and his creative play-calling and half-time adjustments...

Posted by: pb on 12/05/10 @ 9:27 am:

Seems the two biggest checks written this season, beating Texas and going out of the XII on top, bounced.

Posted by: hungover and dissapointed on 12/05/10 @ 9:35 am:

Good article. Nebraska can't expect to win turning the ball over like crazy. It is getting thougher to sit through these heartbreaks on offense. Aside from our D giving up a few big plays in our 3 losses they have played championship style football. I feel it is time for a change on offense. I would really like to see what a different offensive coordinator could do.

Posted by: Corn Silk on 12/05/10 @ 9:35 am:

WHERE WAS CODY? Didnt even see him on the side lines..

Posted by: JMB on 12/05/10 @ 9:44 am:

Maybe now that you're leaving the Big 12 you can win some games.

Posted by: Husker on 12/05/10 @ 9:49 am:

Get rid of Watson. Hire a new offensive coordination who has brains. Kick Taylor out of the team. We do not need players who are selfish. I wish we used Cody or Zac.
Anyways, fire the entire offensive coaching crew and hire new ones.

Posted by: KCFutbol on 12/05/10 @ 9:50 am:

Put the blame where it belongs. Bo Pelini, cement head. Why he kept going back to an injured and ineffective Taylor Martinez when the wildcat was moving the ball pretty well is a mystery.

Posted by: Jorge on 12/05/10 @ 9:51 am:

Are you kidding me? Absolutely no mention of the defense giving up 400 yards? Including 300 in the air on the highly touted Nebraska secondary. Nebraska turned the ball over in costly moments, yes, but so did OU. They threw an INT in which NU capitalized and also missed an easy field goal. The difference in this game was Amukamura and Co. getting abused through the air.

Posted by: hiphop2 on 12/05/10 @ 10:00 am:

Clearly the major difference in the game was that OU could pass the ball and NU could not. With NU's inability to pass, OU was able to focus on the Husker running game and shut down the Huskers in the 2nd half. When are some major changes going to be made on the offensive side of the ball?

Posted by: Rowland on 12/05/10 @ 10:02 am:

Being from Oklahoma I would like to say that the long standing series between OU and NU has been the epitomeTHN of what college football should be about. The NU fans are the best and it certainly has been my honor to be associated with them when they came to Oklahoma.
However the BEST Game I have ever witnessed (or probably ever will witness) was the 1971 game in Norman. Even though Nebraska won, the drama, excitment, EXCELLENT sportsmanship was a reward to behold.
Nebraska, I will miss our rendezvous with you.

Posted by: Sameoldstuff on 12/05/10 @ 10:02 am:

You nailed it Tom. Pelini has some tough decisions to make about the future of the offense. I think what happens over the offseason will define his legacy as NU's head coach. Watson's offense can pile up big numbers against a bunch of nobodys but can't come through in the big games. He still has the Callahan mentalitily of outthinking himself and not sticking with what is working. It's time for a change.

Posted by: Bokhoma on 12/05/10 @ 10:11 am:

NU was beaten by a better team. Next?

Posted by: Ohio4NU on 12/05/10 @ 10:28 am:

That "bobbled snap" was not on Burkhead. Caputo made a bad snap.

If the coaches make a change at quarterback, or even just leave Rex in there to run the zone read, we win the game...tie it at worst and go into overtime. This loss is on the coaching staff.

Posted by: letitbe7353 on 12/05/10 @ 10:38 am:

Zach Lee or Cody Green should have played. Taylor is not a passer, what makes him special at quaterback is his ability to run. It was obvious in this game he could not run. His passing ability is lacking and he seems to always lock into one reciever and oklahoma knows this and so their plan take away his primary reciever and watch him develope happy feet and make the big mistake over and over again. Lee is an excellent passer and has improved his running and Cody Green has been getting much better an due to injury to taylor was the better runner. Theye were the obvious choices. The coached sat taylor early in the season even when taylor was not injured so what were the coaches problem this game. They said to keep his confidence. stupid this game was about winning not tomaintain someones confidence how do you do that when Taylor made one bad decision after the other, oh ya taylor must feel very confident now. Right now I dodn't care where they play in the bowl game because the coaches say its not winning that counts its wether Taylor is confident, ya this a great team goal. Good Luck with that Pelini!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: notsurprised on 12/05/10 @ 10:38 am:

Can Nebraska please get rid of Watson yet?

If we had even a half-way capable offense the last 2 years, Nebraska could've done great things. Other schools would kill to have our defense.

As it is, I'm 24, and the Nebraska I know is an over-rated and inept team. Pelini has a great defensive mind, but someone needs to get it through his head Watson and Cotton both need to get out of Dodge.

Posted by: HUSKER on 12/05/10 @ 10:39 am:

Shatel....it is easier for you to point the finger at Watson rather than the Pelini's.....The defense couldn't stop the Sooners after the first period...the fake punt disaster is another example of Bo's mishandeling of the game and the players under him.

Posted by: The Punisher on 12/05/10 @ 10:40 am:

Taylor Martinez needs to transfer to an NAIA school -- that is about his skill level

Posted by: gfleh on 12/05/10 @ 10:48 am:

You hit the nail on the head, most of our problems can be put on the shoulders of Watson. you coach the kids to check their reads and throw the ball away. Don't hold the ball for 4 seconds and hope! Also how many delay of game penalties and timeouts were ****** because he can't figure out which of his 3 plays to call! Someone made the comment, Bob Stoops was playing a chess match, Watson was playing checkers!

Posted by: Huh?!? on 12/05/10 @ 11:31 am:

"No comment, you saw the game, you make your own conclusions." Common comment heard from coach after a number of games where the offense falls short of their potential.

I think we all have made our own conclusions on the offensive side of the ball. The question is, do the coaches have enough moxie to honestly self-evaluate and make the changes they need to in how they are coaching, calling games, and recruiting offensive players.

How can our defense consistently execute, improve during the course of a season(s), be disciplined in their play, put players in position to be successful, and adjust when mistakes are made but our offense can not? Injuries are part of the game (the defense has had theirs over the last two years), but I don't see it as an excuse to what has happened in the seven losses the Huskers have had over the last two years. Of those losses, I think Texas Tech last year is probably the only game where they were really dominated. The other losses, while a team loss, really fall back on our offense (or lack there of). 20 to 23 loss to OU. OU, to their credit, put the majority of their points on the board from the Husker turnovers, this seems to be a recurring theme...hurting ourselves. It seems to have been proven that if this offense goes up against at least a half-way decent defense, they struggle. Hopefully the coaches can figure out that some of the things they are doing are a "dead horse" and it is time to dismount and get a new horse. I am not talking about firing anyone, just making the necessary changes to be successful. Hopefully it is done sooner (no pun intended) than later because there is an opportunity to do so before a 5 -7 season returns.

Posted by: freethinker on 12/05/10 @ 11:44 am:

All I can say is that this is our fault for not getting rid of Watson. We should have canned him the same time that we canned Bill CallaSCAM. What a joke for play calling.

Posted by: JP on 12/05/10 @ 11:57 am:

Nice read. Congrats to Oklahoma - they made more plays than we did and deserved to win the game. I feel it's time to start the search for a new offensive coordinator.

Posted by: Mark on 12/05/10 @ 11:59 am:

Good analysis amd read, Tom. However, blaming Burkhead for a bobbled snap is just wrong. Replays clearly showed the snap was horrible and NOT Burkhead's fault for the fumble.

Posted by: gass on 12/05/10 @ 12:20 pm:

Agreed. It was Zac Lee in on the fake, though; not West.

Posted by: Huskernaz on 12/05/10 @ 12:27 pm:

Everyone goes to work every day and does the best job they can. Sometimes we make mistakes but generally we do good stuff. When people start making numerous mistakes then another factor is playing into their performance. In the case of Nebraska's football team it's over zelous handling of young men who aren't equiped to understand psychotic behavior by the people from which they are trying to learn. That translates into a nervous player who has more on his mind than just carrying or throwing a football.
Bo's intentions are geared strictly to win which is understandable but we have young men who love to play football not work at it. Bo has taken a fun game and turned it into a dark experience. I'm sorry Bo you might know the game but never ever believe that your fun to play for.

Posted by: husker050 on 12/05/10 @ 12:41 pm:

I blame the play calling by Shawn Watson....he is at fault....

Posted by: MO on 12/05/10 @ 12:47 pm:

As a solid OU fan I always loved the OU NU game. But whats more, I loved Nebraskans and the class that the fans and team (not counting the dark Callahan years...we had some of those too ie John Blake) always showed. It always seemed to me that Nebraska was a state loaded with good folks and I like good, decent hard working folks. I ALWAYS pulled for Nebraska until OU played them. I am 45 years old so I grew up loving that rivalry and those great Switzer/Osborne games. However, how sad it is that now that Nebraska has returned to prominence, you are bolting for the Big Ten. While we wouldn't have played every year, there would certainly have been some classic match-ups that would have benefitted both schools and been a hoot to watch. I always thought Coach Osborne was a great coach and an even better person, but I think he laid a massive egg on this deal and I think he did it for all the wrong reasons. Here's to what could have been. As a solid Sooner, I wish you all the best in your new conference. I sincerely hope you take that thing over as in my mind we will always be linked, The people of Nebraska deserve a winner!

Posted by: Colorado Red on 12/05/10 @ 12:51 pm:

The offense had difficulties; Sooner defense rolled downhill as the game progressed, never seen the Sooner defense that good this year. Thought offensive line was continuing to be better, but now understand the recruits of emphasis on offensive lineman, our offensive line waived white flags for the Sooner defensive line and linebackers. Keep coaches, keep recruiting better.

Posted by: Big 12 South on 12/05/10 @ 12:53 pm:

Hey - Big 12 South here. I just wanted to say it's been fun owning the Huskers and I'll be sad to see you go.

Posted by: Red Man in Massachusetts on 12/05/10 @ 12:58 pm:

Sadly, I couldn't agree with you more Tom. I kept wondering and waiting midway through the 4th quarter for Zac to lead the attack! With his Senior experience it would have been a smart move. At least to give him a series!! To anyone it was obvious that T-Magic did not have the experience to handle the OU pass rush this night. He will be a great quarterback but tried too hard to make plays when chucking it out of bounds was THE PLAY! Cripes, Oklahoma was bringing everyone but the Boomer Schooner team!! One or two sacks, understandable. A short pass completion great! Incomplete, ok BUT NOT a sack!!! Time and time again...
So part of it lies with Watson! The wildcat was working! Why risk a sack when you were in field goal range?
The I feel bad for the team because they ALL played their guts out!! And I'm out of superlatives for the Defense!!!!!!!!! They bent but did not break time and time again OU had to settle for field goals. They are amazing!!!
On to the bowl game and then on to the Big Ten! Go Big Red!!!!

Posted by: Mentally Red on 12/05/10 @ 1:04 pm:

I love our coaches and am not calling for anyone to resign. But...

If you look at the past three seasons, you begin to see a trend. The Defense has almost always been exceptional. The Blackshirts have been playing at a top-ten level each season and seemed to improve as each season progressed. But each year our Offense has been unpredictable, inconsistent and mistake-prone. I know that we have had flashes of brilliance from individuals, but just think of how many games were lost during those three years due to poor offensive execution.

They say that you win championships with good defense, but I submit that we will never win a championship until we find some kind of offensive tempo. We need to go back to the drawing board and review every aspect of our offensive program including recruiting, philosophy, and player development. And it might not hurt to ask one of the best offensive minds in the business for help since his office is down the hall.

Posted by: hiphop2 on 12/05/10 @ 2:15 pm:

For the 4th time in the past year, the Huskers lose a close game to a Big 12 South opponent due to NU's lack of offense, specifically its inability to pass the ball. Without a balanced offense, Nebraska continues to be 1/2 of a potentially great team. Something needs to change! Up 17-0, the Huskers don't lose this one if they have an offense, regardless of the turnovers. Only 80 total yards of offense in the 2nd half? Pathetic!

Posted by: Las Vegas John on 12/05/10 @ 2:30 pm:

By the end of the first half, it was obvious to most watching the game (particularly the OU coaches and players) that Martinez was not going anywhere with his feet. Pelini / Watson's fault, not his. Big advantage for OU. Seems like a combination of Green and the wildcat, to build or at least maintain that 17 pt lead, would have been a much better choice. But I get the sense that even though the coaches are mesmerized by this kid, he will not be a part of the team for next year. Too many immaturity issues.

Posted by: Rex on 12/05/10 @ 2:31 pm:

Being a Nebraska alum and living in Texas I am disgusted............What happened Saturday night is unacceptible for Nebraska football......We can not beat the Big 12 South......What leads you to believe we will do any better in the Big Ten.........Maybe we will be the next Northwestern only with Red and White uniforms.....I hope T.O. is happy now.......................How many more years do we have to wait until we really compete for a national title.........

Posted by: hiphop2 on 12/05/10 @ 3:08 pm:

With a decent offense, the Huskers could have possibly won all four of the close games they lost to Big 12 South opponents over the past year, dating back to last year's Big 12 Championship game. Win those games, and NU competes for the national championship. But as it stands now, with no passing game, NU is a good team, deserving of its Top 25 ranking, but not able to beat Top 10 teams who have good offenses complete with passing games. Nothing has changed since last year's Big 12 Championship loss to Texas, where NU's offensive unit failed to score a touchdown (also happened against Texas this year and A&M). Bo needs to do something different in the off season to address this huge shortcoming, looking at both his coaches and his players.

Posted by: huskerbob on 12/05/10 @ 3:20 pm:

Boo Hoo!!

Posted by: mtnkid5@comcast.net on 12/05/10 @ 3:31 pm:

The defense was not very good either. I thought that Bo said last year that they would not miss Suh because they had players that were just as good or better. What team did they play on this year? Maybe he could quit putting so much practice in on the gum chewing and coach better. Even I could see that Martinez was limping.PSERY9

Posted by: Mizzou Fan on 12/05/10 @ 3:52 pm:

Well well well... What on earth will Husker Nation do now that they - gasp! - have only their team to blame for a loss?

It's simply impossible that Big Red could ever play poorly. Or get outplayed. Or do anything any other way than the "Nebraska way." Whatever that means...

It was a pathetic yet fitting conclusion to your Big XII football experience. But don't leave angry. Don't leave sad.

Just leave.

Posted by: Stop whining on 12/05/10 @ 3:52 pm:

I'm tired of all the whining about the coaching. To my way of thinking, the huskers have as fine a set of coaches as there are. NU's problem all season has been a lack of consistency.and that has been the result of,as the coaches put it, 'execution". A season with but two losses (BARELY), and the diviision championship, as well as a shot at the conference championship is a record many schools would envy. you know the old saying, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'.

Posted by: G..K. on 12/05/10 @ 3:57 pm:

Since when is a healthy second string Quarterback not better than an injuered first string Quarterback?
What was wrong with the third string quarterback, he was our No. one last year and was a good passer.
Nebraska definately needs a new offensive coach and a Line coach.

Posted by: Huskerhandy35 on 12/05/10 @ 5:08 pm:

I'm afraid it's time for Watson to move on. I appreciate all that he's done to help the program during his time here, but having chance after chance to show he can manage an offense in a way that helps put us in a position to win a big game, and coming up short time after time, tells me he just doesn't have it in calling plays.

Posted by: Ozzie_Tulsa on 12/05/10 @ 5:25 pm:

Some observations on Nebraska from an OU fan...
1) Sincerely, thanks for being classy in defeat and good luck in the Big 10.
2) Watson's future - pulled Marinez against TX when wide open receivers were dropping perfect TD passes but played him all night against OU even though he was gimpy and imploding. Don't get that.
3) Martinez - what's the biggest difference last yr to this yr? Nebraska had the rs FR QB this year. Couldn't get out of his own way. Pressure just brought more pressure which brought more mistakes. Throw it away, tuck and run, fold up and go down - just be sure to hold on to the ball and don't keep going backwards. If he transfers, the CFB world will never hear from him again.
4) Pelini - based on recent antics, obviously has some growing up to do as far as being a head coach. Reasonable actions last night yielded no major penalites. The OU pass rush didn't get a single holding call? Sure didn't look like the refs or league were out to get him. Act like you did last night instead of like at A&M or the Big 10 will run you off. You're not a DC any more - that Youngstown schtick gets old quick when you're on the sideline instead of the pressbox...

Posted by: Boomer on 12/05/10 @ 5:54 pm:

Better luck in the Big 10 because you didn't so well in the Big 12!!

Posted by: Indiana Husker Fan on 12/05/10 @ 6:29 pm:

Tough game to watch last night. The defense, David in particular, played well all night. After the first quarter, it was feeling like the night was about destiny for Nebraska. Then the wheels fell off the offense and we know what happened. I still don't understand Watson and Pelini not giving Green or Lee a chance in the second half. They couldn't have done any worse. Burkhead was awesome and so was Henery. Too bad Martinez and the offensive line couldn't have given one of them the chance to win the game. Still: a good year for the Huskers. Any 10-win season is a good year. Know this though: the Big Ten is going to be rough especially if the Huskers are still struggling on offense. The defenses in the Big Ten are good and all the offenses can score. Let's hope for a good bowl game performance to kick off the cross over into the Big Ten and move forward. GBR!

Posted by: Poke on 12/05/10 @ 8:03 pm:

Nebraska didn't field the team I saw play Okie State. I thought Nebraska played an inspired game that day. Against OU it appeared as if Nebraska didn't know which team they wanted to be. When playing Burkhead at QB the team looked unstoppable, then the next play it would be Martinez and a blown play. NU needs to think about upping its coaching and play calling a little bit, all that drama on the sidelines isn't helping.

Posted by: WisconsinHuskerFan on 12/05/10 @ 8:06 pm:

My goodness, what a bunch of whiners! I'm a Husker fan, win or lose, and it's obvious why we lost. Blaming Bo, Tom, or even Shawn is not the answer. Everyone is to blame! Coaching, players, and yes, even fans. Seems to me that everyone has forgotten our motto, "Not the victory, but the action. Not the goal but the game. In the deed the glory." Maybe every fan should read, "More than Winning" and point to themselves, as Tom suggested the players and coaches do in this article, which was very good. Yes, I too prayed and hoped the Huskers would go marching off into the sunset with the Big 12 championship, but our ongoing issues with coaching, injuries, and mistakes hurt us. Seems fans are ready to jump on people to blame for everything after another big loss. Take a deep breath and learn from this. The process of getting players to execute properly and coaches to make the right decisions is a work in progress. I, too wanted it badly this year of all years, but maybe I'm aging myself when I think back to the years of watching Tom's teams from 1973-1993 come so close until we won back to back championships and added another in '97. It's the journey people, and now only 3 years into Bo's coaching, people are suicidal. Kinda like our quick fix society. You're all buying into the here and now. Well, it ain't gonna happen overnight even though we've come a long way in 3 short years. Problem is, the kinks of not being able to manage an offense, make adjustments, and the intangibles of each situation are part of our growing pains. Sit back and take a deep breath. There is NO place Like Nebraska!!!

Posted by: Realistic Husker fan on 12/05/10 @ 8:06 pm:

Husker fan needs to snap back to reality and realize that 3 loss seasons are going to be the norm. Why Nebraska fans think that this team was a "National" contender is beyond me. You can blame the coaches, refs, Beebe, whoever you want, but it boils down to the fact that Nebraska does not have the talent that it used to in the 90's plain and simple. Nebraska should be happy with a 10 win season because thats a very respectable year. I'd love to see 10 wins next year with the season the Huskers have looming!!!

Posted by: Sooner Fan on 12/05/10 @ 8:34 pm:

First -I know this is a tough loss to absorb in the way that it happened, but like many of the other OU faithful who posted here - I want to simply offer a fond, if not very sad farewell.
Being in my 40's i have witnessed a number of games between these 2 fine programs when so very much was on the line and all the nation was watching. I haven't always been proud of the way my fellow fans have acted, but one thing about your programs was that you always have been and continue to be the classiest group of fans and some of the most knowledgeable I have ever witnessed. Back in college I had a friend who was an NU student and got me a ticket when the game was in Lincoln. The rub was that the seats were in the NU student section. I was nervous as I was decked in Crimson and Cream and wasn't sure how I would be received. I had the BEST day as EVERY single person wished me well, complimented our team, and were as classy as they could be. I'll miss you all and the class you exhibit. I wish our team was leaving those Longorns as well. Good Luck Nebraska - GO Big Red - show em how those old Big 8 Boys play.

Posted by: Red Fan on 12/05/10 @ 9:28 pm:

Get rid of the Pellini's already!!! They coached another bad game....couldn't make adjustments and were made to look like fools by Stoops! The Pellini's sideline immature antics just continue to disgrace the school and the state! How can a class act like Osborne put up with this?? DUMP BO!!

Posted by: txhusker3 on 12/05/10 @ 9:37 pm:

People, the buck stops with stubborn Bo. He recruited TM (and hired Watson) and started an inexperienced QB. He had an experienced senior QB on the bench. What FBS coach would start a marginal QB who can not make a consistent read or throw just because he made the first team? The coach owes nothing to the player who is not performing. I played on a championship high school football team. If you can't perform, you are removed. Period. The coach owes it to the team (and supporters and fans) to change QBs when TM made so many basic mistakes. I am a long-time die hard fan, went to school at UN in the early 80s. I have attended many games, at home and away including the Texas A & M, this year. Defensively, the huskers are solid but the offense is pathetic. What happened Saturday night and college station is unacceptible for husker nation. The blame for both of those losses lies directly at the coaching staff.

I have witnessed so many heartbreaking losses including last years Big 12 game. We consistently lose to to the Big 12 South. The husker nation will not accept mediocre teams with 4 or 5 losses. Ask TO if the pressure was on when he lost 3 games intead of the usual 1 or 2 to OK, Florida State, etc.

Every year, Bo always talks about this particular team. What about the supporters and fans of this program? The program will go on with new players (and coaches) when this particular class is gone. Remember, they play for Nebraska.

The verdict is not out with Bo. He is a passionate person. However, he must change his mindset or his future with the huskers will be shorter than imagined.
GO BIG RED!

Posted by: ScottA on 12/05/10 @ 10:11 pm:

Taylor Martinez played like a FRESHMAN. He needs to mature as a QB and over this offseason, hopefully he learns from this experience. Then through the early preseason, maybe he will find that confidence he so lacked in the latter part of the season.

Many of his problems the past few weeks were due to his injuries. It was obvious to me that he was still suffering on the field. He is unable to step into and through his passes. He has been unable to explode on his running from the backfield like he had been doing earlier in the season. We really dont know what he would have accomplished had he not gotten hurt.

Next season, we will see some drastic improvements. If the injuries of this season were simply fluke injuries, we should be competing for the Big 10 title. If he is injury prone, then we could be in deep trouble.

The loss was in large part on the shoulders of Martinez. I have faith he will heal up, get stronger, and learn from this years experiences. Next season he will be pretty darn good. In 2012 we will be praising him and his skills as he leads us to a National Title game against Oklahoma where we will exact REVENGE upon the Sooners.

The coaches need to spend a LOT of time teaching the players how to hold onto the ball. All the fumbles through the 3 losses, and other games through the season have seriously impeded our success. Oklahoma would not have gained anywhere near the yardage they did, if Nebraska controls the football. The speed, strength, and athletic ability are there. Now if we learn to hold onto the ball, multiple championships will be in our near future.

Keep the faith.

Posted by: Jim in Omaha on 12/05/10 @ 10:28 pm:

Yes it was tough loss and I didn't like the way we handled the ball after getting up early but that's why they play the game anything can happen... We have some work ahead to solve the obvious problems like play selection, personnel, failure to secure the ball.

After having to suffer through Solich and Callahan coaching debacles we are definitely moving in the right direction but there is still work to be done. This year the only constant was the defense which for the most part played extremely well. While the offense were at times brilliant they were also inconsistent in several key games. Hopefully Bo and crew can use the additional time before the bowl game to get the ship righted and address some of the problems.

As for NU/OU games it's been a good run and as Dr. Tom said in his interviews you were our only true rivalry. To the Sooner's I'd like to wish you well in the future and hopefully we can meet up again.

In closing there always seems to be a few Missouri bottom feeders who like to through in their jabs... Face it Mizzo we've owned you for over 30 years. Even with your recent success you'd only beat the Husker's a grand total of 4 times in the last 30 years... Go have fun believing you are actually a powerhouse...LOL...at least we were able to pick up a couple Big 12 Championships in our ten-year with this league how many do you have....Oh I forgot....ZERO...

Posted by: Forever A Husker on 12/06/10 @ 12:53 am:

Firstly, for all you non-Husker fans totally trashing Nebraska there is something you can do to yourself and it starts with the letters GFYS.... secondly, for all the so called Husker fans trashing Nebraska, you people make me sick. If you really think that we lost this game because of Bo, or Watson, your idiots. We lost this game because we couldn't hold on to the damn ball. And just so most of you truly understand, most of these guys are still under 22 years of age and they were beat up coming into this game. Sure, Martinez looked like a High-School QB for most of 3 qtrs, but then so did our O-line. We didn't get outplayed across the board, but we did get outplayed for 3 qtrs while on offense. Does any one realize the injuries we had this year, starting before we even played a game? Pelini is a gonna end his coaching career as one of the greatest coaches not only in Nebraska history, but for college coaches ever. Yes this year really sucked 3 different times, but as noted by others, we were that close to being undefeated and playing for it all, so think about that for a moment and realize we have really good coaches, but we couldn't overcome 17 men on the field or 4-5-6 turnovers in a game. I for one will always bleed Husker Red(well, maybe not the callahan years--ha) and I believe in the Bro's Pelini. GO BIG RED!!!!!! Crush Washington AGAIN in SanDiego.....

Posted by: rexedawg on 12/06/10 @ 8:56 am:

ANY OF YOU SLAMMING THE COACHES SHOULD BE ASHAMED. MANY OTHER UNIVERSITIES WOULD DIE TO HAVE A TEAM AND COACHING STAFF HALF AS GOOD AS NEBRASKA. STAND BEHIND YOUR TEAM THRU THICK AND THIN. GET OVER IT!

Posted by: HUSKERSROLL on 12/06/10 @ 11:30 am:

I am not going to bad mouth Watson or anyone, as i think we had a decent year with a RFR QB in Martinez..."If" he decides to stay with us, i believe he has an excellent shot at the Heisman, and we have a great shot at another NC with him at the helm in the next 3 years...Its true we shot ourselves in the foot in this game with turnovers mainly, my biggest dissapointment was the fact that it was very obvious by the 2nd quarter that Martinez WAS NOT going to run the ball, for whatever reason (one of his injuries), him taking off with the ball was not going to happen, and OK also figured that out very quickly, and the game quickly fell apart at that point...As for Watson, and the pass play to Martinez, if that would have worked, everyone would have called him a genious, so i guess i look at that as more of an issue with the players that didnt execute the plays well...I have been ,and always will support the Big Red. This is a hard one to swallow, but, i fully support the coaches, and players, and look forward to next years challenge...I hope Martinez stays around, and pust on maybe 15 lbs of muscle, so he doesnt seem so fragile, and this team will be able to make a run at it again next year..Sucks to play the Huskies again, but, at least we have 1 more game to watch this year...I do think there has been alot of behind the scenes issues this year that will be coming out ovber the next few months, and i can only hope that things get straightened out the way we all want....

GO BIG RED!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: SoonerPete on 12/06/10 @ 5:50 pm:

Not a regular reader of this paper, but I'm left wondering why, really, Nebraska thinks life will be better in the Big 10, and why TO of all people was ready to jump. I know, I know, Texas is insufferable, but you get back at them on the field, not by leaving for another conference. But here's the most important point: College football rivalries (not just OU-Nebraska, but Nebraska-Kansas, Nebraska-Missou, etc.) are the oldest and culturally most important rivalries in any sport around the world. the NY baseball Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers might have moved to California in the 50's, Lebron can take his talents to South Beach, and the Euro soccer leagues can move up and down, but NCAA football is a part of the fans' lives forever. It is your youth and old age, your first and last love, your school and team forever, your never changing compass in a volatile world. For every perceived advantage that Nebraska finds for leaving, questions and problems loom (ask Arkansas). Having said all that, here's a Sooner fan who will miss the great Nebraska teams and fans! Good Luck!

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