Great call … too bad series is ending


For the 51,000 fans in Jack Trice Stadium and the ABC audience that was tuned in, Saturday’s college football game between Iowa State and Nebraska was a classic.

Border rivals, big plays, the last game of a long series, packed house, a team showing great resiliency, bragging rights and, yes, a gutsy call.

The Huskers and Cyclones had met 30 times previously with Nebraska rated a Top 10 team. In nearly two-thirds of those match-ups, NU won by more than 30 points. Breaking from that form, this one was so entertaining 60 minutes wasn’t enough.

After Jake Williams pulled in a nine-yard pass from Austen Arnaud just shy of 6 p.m., most in the audience were probably getting set for another overtime period. But, Paul Rhoads the second-year coach continues to build a reputation for playing with passion and playing to win. He decided to go for the knockout punch.

“We had studied it (fake PAT) throughout the game,” Rhoads said. “The play was there.”

After being outscored by 40.3 ppg in three prior games against Top 10 teams this season, Rhoads wanted his club to be competitive this time around. And, were they ever. Right down to the last end zone throw.

Rhoads is building a program and earth-shaking upsets can certainly be big benchmarks. This time around, the result falls into the loss column … barely.

But the long-term gains of showing confidence in his club and adding to his program’s reputation as having no fear easily trumps the second guessers playing the “what if” game today. Rhoads’ bold action is applauded in this corner.

It’s easy to avoid failure if you don’t try. The guy on the Cyclones’ sideline today doesn’t think that way.

It’s too bad that Nebraska is leaving this century-long rivalry. It’s been one-sided over the years. But, if the last two seasons are any indication (yes, the Cyclones have outscored the Huskers under Rhoads’ direction) NU may be leaving right when things are getting interesting.

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