For inclusion the books that record mankind’s achievements—and failures—there is a tendency to nominate a dramatic incident of the present as being worthy of a place in those chronicles, whether it be an election, an assassination or a battle which seems extremely important at the time or, yes, a football game.
Okay, okay, let’s keep this thing in perspective. I’m talking about a book that would record the history of Nebraska Cornhusker football.
I think what happened in the last 74 seconds of the Huskers victory over Northwestern last Saturday will—and certainly should—go into Husker history as a memorable example of good coaching and—finally—praiseworthy performance by a Husker offense which had almost handed the game to the Northwestern Wildcats.
Up until 2:25 minutes remained in the game, the Husker offense had—in the fourth quarter alone—produced two pass interceptions and 30 yards in penalties. One result: Second down for Northwestern on the Husker one-yard line. But two more running plays, the Husker defense pushed the Wildcats back to the NU 4.
Pelini Makes The Right Call
That’s when Coach Bo Pelini made the first decision that helped save the game for the Huskers. He used the Huskers last timeout for hurried discussions of strategy.
One coaching staff suggestion was that to save a few precious seconds, the Huskers simply let Northwestern score a touchdown, and then go for a possible 27-27 tie or try for a two-point conversion and a one point victory.
Pelini decided the best last-hope strategy was to count on the Wildcats to go for a field goal—he was right—giving the Huskers a long-shot chance on a victory starting with 1:17 on the clock.
This strategy worked, thanks to six passes completed in 74 seconds by fifth year senior quarterback Ron Kellogg including a final 49-yard “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone to Jordan Westerkamp on a play that started with four seconds on the clock.
Pelini had rejected some staff suggestions for alternatives to a “Hail Mary” effort. There really wasn’t time for any other alternatives, in his judgment.
Abdullah Helped Keep Long-Shot Chance Alive
World-Herald columnist Sam McKeown made no mention of Pelini’s strategy but concentrated on Abdullah’s game-saving performance, on fourth-and-15, he took a Kellogg pass and stretched it into a 16-yard gain.
Kellogg and Abdullah did indeed perform decisively well in implementing the long-shot offensive scheme which Bo Pelini conceived with a little more than a minute left to play. But it was Pelini’s scheme that they were executing which columnist McKeown seems to overlook.
* * *
Suggestions Of Bluejays Topping Big East
Somewhat Premature, To Say The Least
Still on a sporting news kick:
Isn’t there a chance—if not the likelihood—that enthusiastic Creighton Bluejay backers are anticipating too much from the Jays basketball team as it enters Big East competition this season?
In the Sunday sports section, a full page was devoted to a cartoon representing All American Bluejay Doug McDermott as climbing toward the top of an Empire State-type building topped by a symbol of a basketball, with unfriendly airplanes circling around him.
Clever, but perhaps unintentionally prophetic. You recall that King Kong’s simulated assent of the Empire State Building in the old movie didn’t end up well for Kong.
I, of course, wish the Bluejays the very best, and I believe they will play credibly. But to suggest that Doug McDermott, talented as he is, will become the “BEAST OF THE EAST” and figuratively swat down all those circling rivals is, as I see it, stretching pretty far in an effort to be clever.
* * *
Ashford, Chambers Must Face This Reality:
No Evidence Most Nebraskans Favor ‘Gay’ Marriages
Seems to me that Nebraska supporters of same-sex-couples marriages could use some better spokespersons than the two who have stepped forward saying they are prepared to lead the fight to legalize such marriages in Nebraska.
The volunteers are State Senator Brad Ashford and State Senator Ernie Chambers.
In the Sunday World-Herald they were quoted as saying they would lead an effort in the State Legislature to place on the ballot a proposal that Nebraskans repeal the constitutional ban voted by Nebraskans by more than 2 to 1 margin 13 years ago. The amendment banned not only same-sex marriages but so-called “civil unions” which offer certain benefits on couples who choose to live together but does not recognize such “civil unions” as the equivalent of marriage between a man and a woman.
Poor Choice Of Kick-Off Language
Ashford—who seems to have a hard time making up his mind, having been at one time or another a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent—didn’t get the “gay marriage” effort off to a good start when he said that he as “an obligation” to inform Nebraskans and other state senators of the basic unfairness of the constitutional amendment which the voters overwhelmingly approved 13 years ago.
Just who has assigned this “obligation” to Ashford?
Long experience with political figures over the years has left me with the impression that voters should beware of politicians who seem to be saying, in effect: “Pay attention now. I’ll tell you what’s best for you.”
A much better approach, it seems to me, is to say something like: “I’m sure that Nebraskans will make the right decision when all the facts are explained to them.”
What The Supreme Court Really Did
Part of the problem in the same-sex marriage controversy is the fact that most people don’t know what the United States Supreme Court actually did in its decision striking down a federal law which purported to ban same-sex marriages. That has somehow been interpreted as some kind of Supreme Court mandate to advance the cause of state approval of same-sex marriages.
The actual effect is to leave the issue of same-sex marriages to the individual states (odd as it may seem in this day of a United States Supreme Court that sometimes seems to be willing to stick its judicial nose into almost any issue. But there are indeed areas in which the Supreme Court recognizes the rights of individual states to make their own decisions. To date, the court has left the same-sex-marriage issue to the states.
Unchallenged Supreme Power To Supreme Court?
If you’re tempted to say there should be a nationwide uniformity in such matters, does it follow that you would advocate federal control through the Supreme Court of almost any decision affecting the lives of the American people?
But keep in mind also that the Supreme Court allows very significant deviations among the states in the matter of capital punishment, certainly a very major public issue. Capital punishment is legal in 32 states and banned in 18 states.
I know of no move to make capital punishment policy—certainly one of the most fundamental things that government must deal with—uniform nationwide.
All the Ashford-Chambers efforts must face this fact:
To date 36 states have chosen not to recognize same-sex unions as marriages.
# # #