October 9, 2008

Thursday notebook: Huskers still remember 70-10

Oct. 9, 2004, was one of those nights most Nebraska fans still remember where they were.

On that night, Nebraska suffered a more-than-lopsided 70-10 loss at Texas Tech, where the Huskers turned the ball over seven times and gave up 70 points in a game for the first time in school history.

Senior quarterback Joe Ganz was a true freshman in 2004, and he remembers vividly where he was that night.

"I think I went down to Illinois State to visit my friends," Ganz said. "I know we watched the game a little bit and then it kind of got out of hand and we decided to drive back that night.

"I was still a freshman, so I didn't really know a lot of the guys or know how they reacted or felt, but obviously it hurt and they were embarrassed. We we're embarrassed as a program. That's long behind us, so we don't even think about it."

The crazy thing about that game is it didn't start out as bad for Nebraska as you might think. The Huskers were only down 14-3 heading into the closing minutes of the first half.

It appeared NU was going to be in decent shape coming out for third quarter down only 14-3 getting the ball back to start the half, but Red Raider quarterback Sonny Cumbie found wide receiver Jarrett Hicks, who beat Husker cornerback Fabian Washington deep for an 80 yard touchdown to put Tech up 21-3 at half.

Nebraska actually answered the score in the third quarter when quarterback Joe Dailey connected with wide receiver Mark LeFlore for a 68 yard touchdown to make it 21-10, but from that moment on Tech scored 49 straight points en route to a 70-10 blowout victory.

"I remember watching at my brother's apartment here in Lincoln in just utter disbelief," senior wide receiver Todd Peterson said. "At that point, I don't remember ever seeing a Nebraska football team get beat like that. I don't remember a lot of specific plays. I just remember that it went downhill fast late.

"I remember just watching the game and not looking forward to practice at that point, because I was a redshirt on the scout team going against the defense, so I figured that we wouldn't have a good time against the defense the next week. I just remember how fast it got out of hand."

Senior defensive end Zach Potter was still wrapping up his high school career at Creighton Prep during Nebraska's 70-10 debacle in Lubbock.

Potter said he's hoping the Huskers can have a much better showing this time around.

"I watched the game for a while until it got out of hand, then I changed the channel," Potter said. "They went down there a couple years ago and got beat pretty soundly. I wasn't a part of the program then, so I'm not sure what happened. It happened five years ago.

"We have a new coaching staff and a lot of new players. We can't focus on the past. We're going to go down there and play our best. Right now, the score is 0-0."

-Sean Callahan

Thursday practice takes
A night to forget: No one may want to forget the 2004 Texas Tech game more than fifth-year senior quarterback Beau Davis. Davis is the only player on current roster that has played in a game at Tech, and he went 1-of-7 passing for 12 yards and three interceptions. Nebraska threw five interceptions and had seven total turnovers in that game.
Turnovers wanted: Over the last two games, Nebraska's defense has failed to force a turnover and the Husker offense has turned it over four times. Heading into 2008, most people expected head coach Bo Pelini's defense to have great success forcing turnovers, but thus far that hasn't happened. If NU wants to stay in the game on Saturday, they may have to get a few breaks by forcing some turnovers.
Injury update: Pelini said it was still unclear whether senior linebacker Cody Glenn would travel with the team to Lubbock, Texas, to take on Texas Tech. Glenn was injured last week against Missouri, and has been limited in practice all week. Pelini said the decision would likely be made Friday whether Glenn would make the trip, but also said he "more than likely" would.
What's on tap next: The Nebraska football team conducted a 90 minute helmets only practice inside Memorial Stadium on Thursday. Unlike previous road trips, NU will not hold a walk-thru practice in Lubbock on Friday. Instead, Pelini said the Huskers would skip practice and simply go through their normal Friday night routine.

Pelini not worried about first road game

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has never been to Lubbock, so he won't know exactly what kind of atmosphere he and his team will face when they take on No. 7 Texas Tech on Saturday.

Fortunately, Pelini has coached in places like Gainsville, Fla., Athens, Ga., Austin, Texas, and Tuscaloosa, Ala., to help give him an idea of what to expect.

As Pelini and the Huskers prepare for their first road trip of the season, the first-year coach said he has no doubt in his team's ability to go on the road and play well enough to win against the Red Raiders.

"I have confidence in that they know what's expected from them," Pelini said. "Whether it's on the road or at home, it's all about playing between the lines and executing and doing what you have to do. I don't feel any different going on the road than I do at home."

In his time as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Louisiana State, Pelini has been in more than his share of hostile environments in his day. For the Huskers, Saturday will be their first road game since last year's loss at Colorado that kept them out of a bowl game.

"That's one of the good things about playing in conference's like this, you have a lot of great atmospheres," he said. "It ought to be a lot of fun the team to go out there, and it creates a great challenge. I told them, you've got to take and us-against-the-world mentality when you go on the road, and that's what we're going to do."

-Robin Washut

Quick hits

***Pelini talked about the challenge Texas Tech's offensive line presents in their overall size. As a unit, the Red Raiders' o-line averages more than 315 pounds, and has nine linemen that weigh 323 pounds or more, including three over 350.

"Obviously the size that they have isn't something you can simulate in practice," he said. "Our guys have watch a lot tape, and they understand what they have to do."

***Pelini said the competition for the starting job at punter is still up for grabs, and likely won't be decided until Friday.

"We've got to evaluate the tape and see where they're at," he said. "It's still kind of up for grabs."

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