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Sunday, November 6, 2005

From the other side: Cornhuskers looked listless

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This, too, calls for a public reprimand.

Forget about Bill Callahan's sideline gesture during last week's loss to Oklahoma, I'm talking about his team looking only mildly interested in its 111th meeting against Kansas University on Saturday afternoon.

Sadly, on the heels of their 40-15 loss - an uninspired effort that ended a 36-year-old stranglehold over the Jayhawks - the 2005 Huskers no longer look even mildly interesting.

OK, that's not totally true. I'm mildly interested to see if this team packs it in during its final two regular-season games - assuming, of course, that hasn't already occurred.

Everyone knows KU was bound to end its Husker jinx sometime, and it shouldn't have come as a shock if Nebraska would have dropped a hard-fought contest before the largest crowd ever in Memorial Stadium.

But the manner in which NU lost this one should be considered totally unacceptable.

A bowl representative standing near the NU bench just before the celebratory Kansas fans flooded the field promised the Huskers would be headed somewhere for the holiday season. He didn't make clear whether that meant to a game or home for a second straight year.

Right now, I'm apt to think it'll be the latter.

On Saturday, the law of averages Nebraska had beaten while building the nation's second-longest winning streak against one foe hit with gale force. That's also about the strength Kansas' defensive front displayed while regularly splattering Husker ball carriers.

Yes, indeed, when the clock finally ticked zero, it was fitting that the scoreboard showed Kansas with its highest-ever point total against the Huskers.

Anyone care to break all that down?

"It got out of hand. : It was embarrassing," Taylor said.

Taylor claimed the Huskers were fired up, but from my view, they looked shockingly mellow. Even when Callahan's team trailed just 17-15 midway through the third quarter, it showed all the enthusiasm of a group with nothing but fingers to try to stop a swollen dike.

If only for a moment, Kansas fans put basketball season on hold.

In Nebraska, a long winter rehashing lost football glory looms unless the Huskers pony up and ride hard Saturday against Kansas State. Sure, there's a game after that at Colorado, but after Saturday you don't really think :

"We've got to dig deep," senior captain and I-back Cory Ross said. "Two games left, and that could be it. 'You want to go to a bowl game or do you want to stay home again?' I think that alone should give us the fire."

Maybe Callahan can tell the story about the throat-slash salute he received from an exuberant Jayhawk fan as he left the field Saturday.

If that doesn't hurt, nothing will.

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