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Full Version: Nebraska Beaten But Unbowed In Loss To Tech
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Damn!

With that sentiment expressed, here is a snapshot of what went on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, where the final score was Texas Tech 34, Nebraska 31.

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It was the defense that kept Nebraska in the game with the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.

The Blackshirts got sucker-punched in the early going, but they recovered and more than pulled their weight, as always.

It was the defense that made a stand worthy of legend, stifling Texas Tech’s last-gasp effort for a come-from-behind victory – for about two seconds.

In a game that ebbed and flowed like Ali-Frazier I, it came down to a classic fourth quarter, last-minute gut check between two Big 12 teams with 4-0 records.

It turned out that both teams had guts. As always, only one could win.

After leading 21-0 at one point in the first half, Tech was now trailing, 31-27, in the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders had the ball, and they were moving.

If the Blackshirts could work one more phantasmagoric stop, NU would defeat the No. 13/15 Red Raiders. The Huskers might even crack the Top 25.

Texas Tech was on the Nebraska 12 yard line with 1:11 remaining.

Quarterback Cody Hodges took the snap and quickly let fly with a pass. The clock was running.

It was tipped! The clock was running.

It was intercepted! The clock was running.

NU tackle LeKevin Smith had the ball. The clock was running.

And Smith was running!

In barely a nanosecond the crowd erupted at the sight.

The thrill of victory soared through the hearts of Nebraska faithful. Their joyous enthusiasm reflected qualifies most often associated with a wide-eyed child’s Merry Christmas, a multicolored sky filled with Fourth of July fireworks, and the relief that washes over you when the family car spins out on ice-covered I-80, but comes safely to rest in the median.

The deafening exaltation lasted for as long as it took Smith to lumber a mere 14 yards and then fumble the ball, which promptly found its way into the hands of a Red Raider who had to be the happiest person in Nebraska or Texas.

What followed for Nebraskans was the grinding, tortuous anxiety that precedes the agony of defeat.

The collective kind.

The kind that instantly slaps shut the cheering mouths of tens of thousands. Turns tears of wonder into tears of bitter disappointment. Makes shoulders sag on fellows who were standing tall.

The shock of Smith’s misadventure had not worn off before the Red Raiders were lined up.

The Nebraska defense shook off what must have been one hell of a shock, digging in as Texas Tech ran its offense.

First and 10 at the 19.

Then second down and three at the 11.

Then third down and about 2 yards to go at the 10.

Then it was fourth down and still about 2 yards to go.

This was the stuff that makes college football great. The stuff that would seem sappy to the point of stupid in a movie. The stuff that, in reality, took years off the lives of college football fans when Knute Rockne was around, and still does.

NU called timeout.

There were enough sweaty palms in Nebraska to hand-wash a team of Clydesdales.

The Blackshirts were ready.

Hodges was under the center.

Then, it was over.

Hodges scrambled to his left for a few seconds, then threw the winning touchdown pass to Joel Filani. It was perfect. It was also the third TD put on the board by the Hodges-to-Filani hookup.

That was it.

Texas Tech 34, Nebraska 31.

In Texas, the story will be told and retold over the years. One down at a time, sometimes.

In Nebraska, the story will eventually be pared down, mostly to that fourth quarter. The last minute of the fourth quarter, in many cases.

Sad. There were great defensive plays. Bo Ruud made great, crucial tackles. He made an interception and put Nebraska in scoring position – right after the offense had turned the ball over.

Instead of the truly good things that were accomplished, the initial story will center on Zac Taylor, and how the NU quarterback was intercepted. His lost fumbles.

The Blackshirts won’t catch as much grief, even though Texas Tech went through them on their first possession like Texas chili through a Boston Brahmin. The Blackshirts have contributed so much, for so long, all but the worst of the most wretched Nebraska “fans
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