From the first play it was obvious that, even though the players on the field had not taken part in the gladiatorial contests of the pasts they knew these were schools with a shared history. An unpleasant, fierce, competitive background. And, they were willing to carry that standard into the present, and make sure it lived to see tomorrow.
In the end Nebraska won this game. Using a brutal ground assault, smashing and crushing, and pounding. Huskers along the offensive must have majored in history, they were surging forward, opening holes, and invoking memories of past glories. This was a ferocious game, against a determined, talented defense, and this group of huge, powerful, relentless young men won it with their play.
Downfield, Kenny Bell (who has repeatedly shown he is a weapon catching a pass) and the entire Nebraska receiving corps proved that not only can they average over 16 yards a catch, but they can keep their teammates moving forward by throwing blocks that would make a pulling guard smile with pride.
But, it was the play of the two headed, four legged football monster of Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ameer Abdullah that roared the loudest. Two flashes of brilliance whose total is more than the sum or even the product of the individual parts. Tommy Armstrong is a gunslinger, cool, inscrutable, fearless, he is in control, and he is a treasure, in red. Ameer Abdullah is Shiva, though, he is a five foot nine inch, 190 pound destroyer, the shatterer of worlds.
Watching Abdullah driving through opponents, outrunning, overpowering, brings back so many memories of Nebraska I backs, a dream sequence in a red jersey, a flashback to glorious days of indecent rushing totals, and scores. If there is a club for great Nebraska running backs there is a special seat reserved for number 8.
No, in the end it wasn't pretty, but to a guy who remembers the past so fondly, it was beautiful. Thank you, Tim Beck, thank you Tommy Armstrong, and Ameer Abdullah, thank you Nebraska Cornhuskers.
As Bob Dylan said, with such haunting beauty,
"Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood,
When blackness was a virtue, and the road was full of mud,
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form,
'Come in' she said 'I'll give you shelter from the storm.'"