Did Nebraska Win the Game?
Another Texas game, another heartbreaker. It's become as routine as beating Baylor. The Longhorns deserved to win, in the sense that football is about scoring touchdowns. We'd all loved to have seen Nebraska win a 12-10 Big 12 Championship game, but generally it's the team that gets in the end zone that wins. Nebraska opted to be conservative both when in the red zone after Niles Paul's big return and in the waning minutes of the game. That's where the Monday morning quarterbacks can question the wisdom of settling for field goal attempts versus aggressively going after touchdowns when the opportunities were there. But when Nebraska walked on the field in what they thought was victory, should that victory have stood?
We all saw the video. There was one second left when Colt McCoy's pass hit the turf. The clock is supposed to stop on an incomplete pass. But does it stop automatically or when a whistle is blown after the official signals incomplete? Because for the first 59 minutes of the game, the timekeeper isn't held to the Zapruder-like standard of video replay to get the time right. So why does Texas necessarily get the benefit of that extra care to keep their national championship hopes alive. Would that be true if the game was played in Kansas City, or just Dallas?
It brings to mind the 1972 Olympic basketball scandal, where extra time was given to the Soviet Union. Maybe Nebraska should turn down the Holiday Bowl in protest like the American basketball team did their silver medals.
Run down the keys to the game for Nebraska and first was to win the turnover battle - it was a draw. A turnover on that final Texas drive obviously would have won the game. Though maybe the blocked punt was like a turnover. Then there was the penalties. Nebraska was even on penalties though not the yards. The 30 yards in penalties for Larry Asante's horse collar tackle and Adi Kunalic's kick out of bounds were devastating on that final drive. Nebraska needed to outpunt Texas - they didn't (unless you include the big Paul return). The Huskers did outrush Texas but that was in large part due to the 50 yards in sacks of Colt McCoy. Nebraska had only 106 total yards and yet that was one second shy of being enough to win the game. Or maybe it was enough...period?