Sometimes you get a different perspective being at the game over watching on TV. I thought I would just share a few of those thoughts that those of you watching on TV may not have seen as much.
9. The last UCLA team that felt this good to me, you have to go way back to the Aikman teams. This team is not that good (at least not yet) but it is the best all-around team we have had in years. The team never panicked and there was never a feeling that the game "was over" even in the worst moments. It is time to declare Battered Bruin Syndrome (BBS) cured.
8. The ironic thing is the only time as a fan you have that BBS feeling is the strength of the teams of Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel, the kicking games. For those who think we were blown out in the first half, keep in mind if the kicking game played perfect we would have been winning 16-14. The two missed field goals and the dropped punt that set up the Nebraska touchdown (along with Hundley's rough start) were the main reasons it was even a game. We even outgained Nebraska in yards in the first half as well.
7. That said this is a more all-around good "team" than the last great UCLA team of Toldeo and Cade McNown. That team was incredible on offense (better than this one) but the defense, well I will never forget being at the Miami game in 98 and my friend seriously suggesting letting Miami score so we could get the ball back with more time left. This defense really gave up one long drive that Nebraska had to convert a fourth down and a third down on a questionable PI call. This defense is good and only going to get better.
6. The fourth quarter was not as "conservative" as many think. Yes we had zero yards passing for the quarter but the wind was a major factor that made downfield throws tricky when going into it. Hundley running so much was intentional. The third quarter was sped up for us for the converse reason.
5. We have good coaches who not only made adjustments for the Huskers but for the weather. The kickoff decisions were made on the basis of the wind. The punter Sean Covington was doing low line drive kickoffs when we had the win which consistently carried out of the end zone. While the placekicker Ka'imi Fairbairn was doing high hanging kicks when we did not. Even with a weakness of this team, the kicking game, the coaches are thinking.
4. A few Nebraska points. As other have said the people and fans in Nebraska were incredible. I need to give a special shout out to the owner of the Cast Bar and N-zone in Lincoln who bought my buddies and me drinks. Above is a picture of breakfast one of us had at Leadbelliy. It was amazing to think how nice Nebraska businesses were to Bruin fans when the chances of any of us being back in Lincoln anytime soon are only slightly better than USC running an honest program.
3. The Nebraska fans are very frustrated with their coaches. More than one person I talked to commented on how UCLA is a well-coached team with solid fundamentals. This is something that was never heard in recent years. As Nebraska just built a beautiful new basketball arena the painful joke that both could share is Nebraska is becoming a basketball school because of their coach, it seems like UCLA for both bad and good reasons is becoming a football school.
2. Adidas sucks. The alternate uniforms of all black hurt Nebraska a bit. It is much more intimidating when 90,000 people yell "Goooo Bigg Red" when all 90,000 are wearing red. The checkered colors looks a lot less intimidating. Not a big deal but hey as home team I want every little advantage.
1. Brett Hundley is special. He started bad but the play of the game had to be the run where he scrambled for a first down through the arms of two defenders. I know that was great on TV as well but have to mention how it changed the feel of the game as well for Nebraska fans. They knew they were in trouble at that point.
I could go on but I will close by saying this feels a whole lot better than recent years and I think I will be feeling the same much of this year from my computer and couch as I did from row 87 section 20 of Husker stadium.