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PENN STATE PREVIEW WEEKLY MAGAZINE A BASKETBALL RESTART

VARS I T Y

COMEBACK CONTINUED Late-game heroics give Huskers 28-24 win over Michigan St.

Q&A WITH LAUREN COOK HAIL TO THE FAN LARRY THE CABLE GUY TOUCHDOWN TURNER

NOVEMBER 10, 2012 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9


NO. 1 GOES

DOWN IN

FIVE

Two days after Ohio State snapped their regular-season home-match winning streak at 39, the No. 4-ranked Huskers upset No. 1 Penn State, 3-2 in late October, despite being out-hit and out-blocked by the Nittany Lions. Lara Dykstra (in black), Hannah Werth (44), Gina Mancuso (7), Lauren Cook (leaping) and Hayley Thramer (17) celebrate, along with a crowd of 4,193 at the NU Coliseum. The victory against a No. 1-ranked opponent was Nebraska’s second of the season. The Huskers defeated then-top-ranked UCLA, also 3-2, at the Coliseum in late August. Penn State defeated Nebraska to open Big Ten play at University Park, Pa., in mid-September, 3-1.

SEE MORE PHOTOS AT HAILVARSITY.COM JOHN S. PETERSON


HUSKER ATTIC JOHNNY RODGERS DECANTER

The commemorative decanter came in two versions, with Johnny Rodgers in a red No. 20 jersey pictured here as well as a rarer white No. 20 jersey. Expect to pay in the $200 range for the decanter with the red jersey and $300 to $350, or more, for the one with the white jersey.

Tom Osborne, his position coach, once said that Johnny Rodgers “could impact a football game in more ways than anyone I’ve been involved with.”

Originally, Johnny Rodgers’ No. 20 jersey was retired, as were several others. But the number came out of retirement, with Rodgers’ blessing, when his son, Terry, played for Nebraska (1986-89). The No. 20 was subsequently un-retired along with the others because of a shortage. Tom Novak’s No. 60 was the lone exception. Bob Brown’s No. 64 also is now retired.

Johnny Rodgers was the first of Nebraska’s three Heisman Trophy winners as a senior in 1972. He finished his career with a majority of the Huskers’ receiving and kickreturning records.

AARON BABCOCK

HAVE AN ITEM THAT WE SHOULD FEATURE IN THE HUSKER ATTIC? DROP US AN EMAIL AT EDITOR@HAILVARSITY.COM

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by TIM SIEDELL

SMALLER & FAINTER

I

t’s weird what sticks in your brain. For example, I remember very little of my dad taking me to see the Harlem Globetrotters in the mid-’70s. The game is long forgotten. Getting the autographs of Meadowlark Lemon and Curley Neal as they got into a cab after the game? A blur of pushing fans. Yet I can describe in great detail, some 35 years later, exactly what their “girlfriends” were wearing in the back of the cab. OK, maybe that has more to do with being an impressionable young dude. But still, you never really know what chunk of information will become permanently stuck in that skull of yours. And which bits will fade and get smaller over time. Take Husker football. I was there in 1987, when No. 1 Nebraska took on No. 2 Oklahoma. Despite the huge build-up and the general feeling of a tight, stressful game, the only thing I remember is Oklahoma holding Nebraska on a goal-line stand. A single play doesn’t stand out. And I was in Memorial Stadium in 2001, when Nebraska and Oklahoma met as the top two BCS teams. Of course, the pass back to Eric Crouch stands out as one of the greatest plays in Husker history. But it doesn’t necessarily rank as my most memorable Husker play. I’m sure the following week’s loss to Colorado took some of the luster off that game in my mind. But, still, great game. Great play. But when I search through my memory bank, there are two plays I witnessed in person that are stuck there, perfectly preserved. Recorded in HD, from my vantage point in Memorial Stadium. Why them? I’m not entirely

sure. The first was my very first Oklahoma game, 1980. Points had been hard to come by against the Sooners in the previous eight regular-season match-ups.

WHEN I SEARCH THROUGH MY MEMORY BANK, THERE ARE TWO PLAYS I WITNESSED IN PERSON THAT ARE STUCK THERE, PERFECTLY PRESERVED.

So when Jarvis Redwine broke through the Sooner defense and sprinted 89 yards midway through the first quarter, it was practically miraculous. That he turned and taunted the lone Sooner defender following him only made the moment that much more memorable. It was deliriously cocky and heady stuff for this young boy. Nowadays, of course, a great run like that would be shown over and over on the giant video board. But back then, if you missed a play, you had to wait until the evening news. Part of my memory of that play involves how it unfolded. A handoff. A roar from the crowd. Much taller people springing from their bleacher seats and obstructing my view. Me, quickly jumping onto the bleachers in front of our row. Seeing wide-open green field between the upraised arms

of everyone in front of me. Then seeing Jarvis sprint towards my north-end-zone vantage point, turning and pointing. Goosebumps. The second play took place less than a year later. In those days, the gates were left open and unattended after halftime. Unimaginable now, I know. I saw a few second halves that way, as my dad dropped me and my brother off at the stadium before the start of the third quarter. We were playing Florida State that day. We stood, ticketless, at the chain link fence underneath the south end zone. Midway through the fourth quarter, Nebraska was backed up to its own 6-yard line. The team huddled right in front of us. Roger Craig lined up at the top of the I-formation, just feet in front of me. It felt like I could reach out through that chain-link fence and touch the back of his jersey. I just stared at it. The white 21 on the back of the red jersey. I had never been so close to a player, especially during an actual game. Few have, I guess. Then the ball was snapped, and I saw what he saw. A clear view all the way to Norfolk. From the vantage point of where he had just been standing, I watched that 21 get smaller and smaller and fainter and fainter as he sprinted 94 yards and broke the game wide-open. At least I think it broke the game wide-open. Pretty sure. I think. Tim Siedell (@badbanana) takes his random thoughts and puts them out there for the whole world to see. He’s been called one of the funniest people to follow by the likes of Maxim, NPR, TIME, and Paste Magazine, which has crowned him the top Twitter account two years running. FOLLOW TIM ON TWITTER @BADBANANA

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 PREVIEW EDITION

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THE

BIG PICTURE Photos by Scott Bruhn

LEFT

HEAVY LOAD Alonzo Whaley (45), Andrew Green (11) and Will Compton (51) team up to drag down Le’Veon Bell (24) of the Michigan State Spartans, who rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. BELOW

PRESSURE Baker Steinkuhler (55) pressures quarterback Andrew Maxwell (10).

ABOVE

WORKHORSE Ameer Abdullah (8) rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries against Michigan State. RIGHT

GAME ON THE LINE Kyler Reed (25) hauls in a 38-yard pass on 4th and 10, with :40 remaining in the game to set up on Nebraska’s final touchdown.

SEE MORE PHOTOS AT HAILVARSITY.COM


ABOVE

BIG HIT Eric Martin (46) hits Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell (10) after releasing the ball in the first half of the game. LEFT

CELEBRATE Daimion Stafford (3) celebrates after a first half stop against the Spartans.

TOP

GAME OVER Taylor Martinez (3) and the Cornhuskers celebrate following their 28-24 victory over the Spartans.


THE PLAYBOOK

COLUMN TITLE HERE

TOM GDOWSKI: ‘59 SLANT RIGHT’ S

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QB FB RB or nearly 30 years, Tom Gdowski thought it was his fault. The date was Nov. 26, 1982, and third-ranked Nebraska was hosting No. 11 Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium. The Cornhuskers were leading 21-10 in the third quarter and had the Sooners backed up at their own 14-yard line when NU defensive coordinator Charlie McBride called for “59 slant right.” “I was the left defensive tackle on the play, which meant I was to slant through the guard-tackle gap — the entire defensive line would slant to the right and then the linebackers would scrape off the ends,” said Gdowski, a three-year lettermen (1980-82) from Fullerton, Neb. “When we ran the play, it turned out that (Oklahoma’s) Marcus Dupree went into the middle of the line and broke to his left, hit a seam and ran 80-some yards down the sideline for a touchdown.” Gdowski said McBride came to him and wanted to know what had happened on the play. “He thought that I had gotten cut off by the tackle, so in my mind, that’s what had happened,” Gdowski said. “He said, ‘That shouldn’t have happened.’ Coach McBride’s point was that the defensive call was the perfect call for the play

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that Oklahoma ran, and his perception was that I was the one who should’ve made the play.” Gdowski said he didn’t recall watching video of the game as a team. And though the Huskers held on to win 28-24, captured a Big Eight title and an Orange Bowl bid and went on to finish 12-1, Gdowski said he had never watched game film of the win over the Sooners on his own. Fast forward to earlier this year. Gdowski was at his home in Grand Island, Neb., watching a rebroadcast of an ESPN program featuring Dupree. It was then — for the first time — Gdowski finally saw for himself exactly what happened on Dupree’s 86-yard touchdown run. “They were showing some of Dupree’s highlights, and on the DVR, I was able to back up that run and watch it again, and I could see that it wasn’t the tackle that cut me off, but Oklahoma’s fullback had actually come into the hole and blocked me and stopped me from getting to Dupree,” Gdowski said. “So I had spent 30 years thinking I had gotten cut off by the offensive tackle and didn’t execute my slant when, in reality, it wasn’t the tackle and I had gotten blocked by the fullback.” Gdowski said he definitely enjoyed a little moment of vindication. HAILVARSITY.COM


RETROSPECTIVE

UNL LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

STAFF STABILITY Tom Osborne had 26 full-time, on-field assistants during his 25 years as head coach. Staff stability was among the factors that contributed to his Hall of Fame success. Six of those 26 were with him for 15 or more years, including three who were with him for 20 or more. George Darlington was on staff for all 25 years, Milt Tenopir for 24 and Charlie McBride for 21. Pictured is Osborne’s full-time staff from 1989 to 1991. Front row (left to right): Dave Gillespie, on-campus recruiting/administrative assistant (not on-field), eight years; Osborne; Jack Pierce, off-campus recruiting, 13 years. Middle row: Frank Solich, running backs, 19 years; McBride, defensive coordinator/defensive line; Darlington, secondary; Ron Brown, receivers, 11 years. Back row: Dan Young, offensive line/ kickers, 15 years: Tenopir, offensive line; Tony Samuel, outside linebackers, 11 years; Kevin Steele, linebackers, six years. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 PREVIEW EDITION

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HAIL MARY

by MIKE BABCOCK

MISTER CLUTCH

E

ric Martin lifted Taylor Martinez in celebration. P.J. Smith planted a kiss on his cheek during post-game interviews. He was the man of the hour, no question. Or, perhaps more accurately, Nebraska’s junior quarterback was the man of the 3 hours and 52 minutes it took to play the Nebraska-Michigan State game. Those nearly 4 hours of athletic drama were a microcosm of Martinez’s career to date. He was applauded at the end but criticized along the way. He threw three interceptions and had an ill-advised intentional grounding during the third quarter that left Brett Maher punting from his own end zone. But when the game was on the line, with seemingly little hope, he rallied the Huskers again. You gotta believe, right, visualize that 80-yard touchdown drive with no timeouts remaining and just 80 seconds separating your team from a 24-21 defeat. Martinez needed all but 6 of those seconds, during which he ran once (for no gain) and threw eight passes, three complete for 65 yards (with a pass interference mixed in), the most crucial to Kyler Reed for 38 yards on fourthdown-and-10 from the Nebraska 42yard line with 40 seconds remaining. He was calm in the huddle, according to Kenny Bell. “It was just, ‘We’re going to win this football game,’ ” said Bell. “When Taylor says something like that, you believe him. “He said, ‘They will not stop us. We’re going to win this football game.’ And when you hear that coming from

your leader, it makes you want to play that much harder.” We only hear about such words in the huddle when teams win, of course. We probably wouldn’t have known that’s what Martinez said if the Huskers had lost. But they didn’t. Martinez has done this before, most recently at Northwestern, where he rallied Nebraska from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit with a pair of touchdown passes in the final 6 minutes. In case you’ve forgotten, the winner came with 2:08 remaining, capping a six-

WHEN THE GAME WAS ON THE LINE, WITH SEEMINGLY LITTLE HOPE, MARTINEZ RALLIED THE HUSKERS AGAIN.

play, 76-yard drive. It was a defining moment. And as has been Martinez’s fate to date, it was short-lived. He’s never been more than one mistake away from questioning, at least by some. Based on statistics, Martinez has already established himself among the best quarterbacks in Husker history. He surpassed Eric Crouch in career total offense during the Michigan State game and became only the 15th player in NCAA history to rush for 2,500 yards and pass for 5,000 yards during his career, and just the fourth to do so

before his senior season. Keep in mind, Martinez isn’t finished. What he hasn’t done is direct Nebraska to a championship, much less a national title, nor has he won the Heisman Trophy, as Crouch did. So his numbers sometimes are ignored. Yet he has earned his place in the conversation about the Huskers’ best, and not just because of his numbers. When his career is over, folks will remember the dramatic comebacks, such as the ones in Evanston, Ill., and East Lansing, Mich., and presumably, more victories to come. There might be a championship or two as well to add to the resume. With Nebraska football, the past is omnipresent, and current Huskers are measured against it. In the case of quarterbacks, the standard includes Tommie Frazier and Jerry Tagge, Scott Frost and Crouch, Turner Gill, Steve Taylor, Dave Humm, Vince Ferragamo, Zach Taylor, Joe Ganz . . . The list goes on and on. Martinez is like none of those quarterbacks – though Frost was booed during the second game of the 1997 national championship season, against Central Florida. But then, none of those quarterbacks were like each other, either. As Tom Osborne always said, the journey is what matters. And Martinez continues to make the journey interesting. Martin summarized it well following the Michigan State game. He said “that (I drive him) crazy sometimes,” said Martinez. “And he loves me.” Husker fans would say much the same.

FOLLOW MIKE ON TWITTER @MDBABS

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Hail Varsity Volume 1 Issue 9 preview  

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