Nebraska Football: Favored against Penn State, Michigan
Last Saturday, fans of Nebraska saw something they were hoping they wouldn't. They saw something that has happened for the past three years. The Huskers were upset at home for the third year in a row.
Nietzsche says, "Out of chaos, comes order." The Huskers have definitely shown that the past two seasons. And if those are any indication, watch out.
Nebraska faces quite a tough test the next two weeks, facing Penn State in Happy Valley and Michigan at the Big House. What are Nebraska's chances of winning one or both of these games? Well, if history is any indication, pretty good. Don't believe me? Look at the evidence.
2009: Iowa State Upsets Nebraska at Home
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Final Score: ISU 9 NU 7
The streak of upsets at home started two and a half seasons ago on October 24, 2009. That day an upset-minded Iowa State team came to Lincoln. It was a weird day.
Nebraska turned the ball over eight times. Some turnovers were inexplicable (Niles Paul's fumble).
Nebraska's defense kept them in the game, but the offense just couldn't pull it together. Nebraska went on to lose the game. And to make things worse, Iowa State was playing with a backup quarterback and running back.
2009: Huskers Go to Waco and Win, Then Beat Oklahoma at Home
Final Scores: NU 20 Baylor 10, NU 10 OU 3
After an embarrassing loss to Iowa State at home, many Husker fans thought Nebraska wouldn't win another game, let alone make it to the Big 12 Championship.
Nebraska had to play Baylor in Waco the next week. Nebraska went on the road and took down a Baylor team without RG3. The Husker defense dominated, as Crick had five sacks on Baylor QB Nick Florence, while the offense, under new leadership by Cody Green, did just enough.
After the trip to Waco, the Huskers welcomed their old rival, No. 24 Oklahoma, to Memorial Stadium. The game was a defensive stalemate and the only touchdown was a result of Prince Amukamara's interception to the OU 1-yard line. Oklahoma had chances to cut the lead but missed multiple field goals and OU quarterback Landry Jones threw five picks.
Nebraska finished the year at 10-4, having a close call in the Big 12 Championship (I'm not going there), and shutting out Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
2010: Texas Upsets Nebraska at Home
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Final Score: UT 20 NU 13
The game was hyped up all offseason. Every Husker fan circled the date the Longhorns came to town.They wanted only one thing: revenge. Revenge for the loss in the Big 12 Title Game that many Husker fans felt was unwarranted. Nebraska was feeling good. Taylor Martinez was a Heisman hopeful, Nebraska was No. 5 and rolling, and the Huskers had an offense.
That is to say until the Longhorns came to town. Husker fans saw in an earlier game at home against South Dakota State that their new found offense could be stopped. The Jackrabbits couldn't finish it out. Texas did.
Texas was coming off two losses and most Husker fans saw a blowout in favor of Nebraska. Then Texas showed they could shut down the zone-read attack that made Martinez famous.
The Longhorns did just enough. They couldn't pass on a Blackshirt defense that featured Amukamara, Gomes, Hagg, and Dennard. So they ran it. Texas QB Garrett Gilbert found the end zone twice with his legs. That was all they needed.
Nebraska made many mistakes, racking up 10 penalties for 94 yards. The Huskers had a hope. With 3:02 left in the fourth, Eric Hagg punted 95 yards for a touchdown. The Huskers tried an onside kick but were unsuccessful. And just like that the upset was complete.
2010: Huskers Win in Stillwater, Then Beat Mizzou at Home
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Final Score: NU 51 OSU 41, NU 31 Mizzou 17
After the shocking loss to Texas, Nebraska didn't look like it stood too much of a chance against the Cowboys, especially in Stillwater.
Nebraska faced the No. 14 and unbeaten Cowboys. Martinez made plays with his arm, passing for upwards of 300 yards. The Husker secondary had trouble with Oklahoma State standout receiver Justin Blackmon, but were able to win in a shootout.
After taking down the Cowboys, Nebraska hosted an undefeated Missouri team fresh off a win over Oklahoma. Roy Helu carried the workload, racking up 307 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Nebraska started off quick with a huge run by Helu and the Tigers appeared shell-shocked. Nebraska held off Mizzou in the second half to complete the win.
Unfortunately, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez was hurt in the game and was an obviously different player the rest of the season. Nebraska went on to go to the Big 12 Championship again to play old rival, Oklahoma. The Huskers would lose that game and also the rematch with Washington in the Holiday Bowl to finish 10-4 on the year.
2011: Nebraska Is Upset by Northwestern at Home
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Final Score: Northwestern 28 NU 25
Coming off a huge win against Michigan State, Nebraska looked to keep its first place lead in the Legends division. Northwestern had other ideas.
In a day that already saw Michigan get upset at Iowa and Minnesota almost knock off Michigan State, Nebraska fans had to wonder if it was going to be one of those days. The answer turned out to be yes.
Nebraska was sloppy with numerous penalties and costly turnovers, including Burkhead's fumble inside at the 5-yard line.
Nebraska knocked out Northwestern's senior QB Dan Persa. It had little effect as backup Kain Colter torched the Blackshirts.
Nebraska came back and had a shot to win it with a successful onside kick. Only the onside kick wasn't successful. And Northwestern had won.
2011: Nebraska Goes on Road to Penn State, Michigan
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Now, to the present. Nebraska is coming off an embarrassing loss once again and face two tough opponents on the road.
Penn State is a defensive juggernaut but lacks an offense, save for Silas Redd. And Michigan can put up the points with Denard Robinson under center, though Robinson is prone to turnovers.
Can Nebraska continue their trend? History says yes. But Husker fans are going to have to wait to see if it plays out the same.