I've taken a day to soak up the victory the Cyclones pulled off and thought about what to take away from the victory:
Kudos to the team for not giving up when their backs were against the wall. While people may discount the win it makes me sick. If you watched the game, you'd see many of them were the result of the ISU defense not giving up. Look at the freak fumble by Niles Paul for example. LJ was beat on the play, and easily could've assumed Paul would trot in the end zone, and given up. Instead, LJ tried to make a play, dove, and it worked out. Also, had James Smith not trailed the play, someone on the Huskers could've recovered it for 6. On almost every one of those 8 turnovers, there was an aspect of the Cyclones not giving up, despite giving up a big gain, or getting beat on a play, and as a fan I love to see that.
I don't care what year it is or how it happens, winning at Nebraska is an accomplishment for any team in the Big 12. While Nebraska did commit plenty of errors, credit goes to Jerome Tiller and Jeremiah Schwartz for NOT making the same types of mistakes: who would've thought a red shirt-frosh QB making his first start would commit 0 turnovers in Lincoln?
- Football is the ultimate team sport. When I played in high school, my coaches used to say this all the time, but often times we didn't believe it. Many of us thought that if our best players went down, we'd probably lose the game. When you look at what happened with the Cyclones, they just showed why this truly is a team sport that needs all 11 players on each unit on the same page. If the players play hard as a team, and do what they are told, they can win, regardless of who's going out on the field.
- Wasn't it just nice to finally see a game where the Cyclones had things go their way? As ISU fans, we have been so conditioned to seeing the ball roll the other way. When Nebraska was going to have a second chance to take the ball down the field into FG range, I guarantee, most ISU fans were thinking "here we go again, another heartbreaking loss", but instead it was different.
This Cyclones team can do anything from here on out. They were supposed to get rolled by Kansas and Nebraska. Looking at the rest of the schedule, there is no "lock" for a victory, but I don't see a "lock" for a loss. A bowl game is a strong possibility, and ISU has a decent chance at finishing towards the top of the North, instead of the bottom.
- This is definitely a boost for recruiting. The coaching staff talks about playing for Big 12 championships in the future. Playing tough against the contenders, including this win, can give a lot for a recruit to buy into.
- The players need to avoid a letdown. The coaching staff needs to keep the players sharp, and the players have to stay hungry. Being 5-3 right now is better than most expected, but the job isn't done. We're heading into the 4th quarter of the season, and we gotta end strong!
If you're a fan, I'd suggest not looking back at the past, let's look forward. Instead of being frustrated about losing to KSU and KU, and thinking we "should' be in first in the North, relax. We edged out a close game, and losing the close ones is the way it goes. Almost every team has a game or two they think "what-if" and love to complain. Let's not be like that. We're 5-3, 2nd in the North, and have a chance to make it to a bowl. We've got 4 games left. Let's support the team and see what happens!