Nebraska beats Northwestern on Hail Mary to end game (Video)

Nebraska Hail MaryThe week didn’t go so well for one Pelini brother, but the other was much more fortunate.

Bo Pelini’s Nebraska Cornhuskers beat Northwestern 27-24 on Saturday after connecting on a miracle Hail Mary on the last play of the game. Quarterback Ron Kellogg III heaved one to the end zone that was tipped and caught by Jordan Westerkamp for a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Huskers the victory. You can watch the video below:

Do you think Pelini has realized yet what happened? His Huskers are now 6-2 thanks to the win, while the Wildcats drop to 4-5 and 0-5 in the Big Ten.

Ouch. What a painful way to lose.

Here’s a pretty sweet photo of the catch:

7-year-old cancer patient scores touchdown in Nebraska spring game

A 7-year-old boy battling cancer lit up the day Saturday by scoring a touchdown at Nebraska’s spring football game.

Jack Hoffman has been fighting cancer since being diagnosed in April 2011. He has gone through two surgeries and is on a two-week break from chemotherapy. During his break, he had the opportunity of a lifetime — Nebraska called him in for a play on fourth-and-1 from the 31-yard line, and they let him run free for a 69-yard touchdown.

Hoffman said the feeling was “awesome.”

Hoffman got involved with the Nebraska football program after meeting running back Rex Burkhead last year. Burkhead, who finished his senior season and is preparing for the NFL Draft, became the captain of Jack’s support group. Jack was even wearing Burkhead’s No. 22 during the game.

The team’s director of football operations, Jeff Jamrog, and fullback CJ Zimmerer had the idea to let Jack score a touchdown in the game. The result was an awesome moment for Hoffman and everyone who watched the play.

Kicker Patrick Smith convinced by state trooper to transfer to Nebraska

Nebraska-fanWestern Illinois University kicker Patrick Smith has one of the better legs in the country. He just completed his junior season at WIU, where he was one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award. Smith was 10-for-10 on field goals last fall, and he has decided to take his talents to a bigger football conference like the Big Ten.

According to the Quincy Herald-Whig, Smith was driving to the University of Nebraska’s campus in Lincoln last weekend when he was pulled over by a Nebraska state trooper. Apparently the officer liked the Cornhuskers so much that he decided to do a bit of recruiting.

“He took my insurance card and went back to his car,” Smith explained. “He then waved me back to his car. We spent about 15 minutes talking about the Huskers.”

The officer let Smith off with a written warning, and he said the conversation he had with him “made an impression” and convinced him that Nebraska was where he wanted to be. On Monday, he informed WIU coach Bob Nielson of his plans to transfer. Nebraska’s kicker, senior Brett Maher, will be graduating.

Smith is graduating early from WIU, meaning he will be transferring to Nebraska as a graduate student. That will allow him to be on the team without having to sit out and lose a year of eligibility. In case you have forgotten how much the people of Nebraska love their Huskers, this should serve as a reminder. State troopers wouldn’t act as recruiting tools in many other states across the country.

H/T Game On!

Nebraska recruit Marcus McWilson: I have to listen to Justin Bieber before games

Justin-Bieber-sunglassesNebraska commit Marcus McWilson is regarded as one of the best defensive back prospects in the country, mostly because of his combination of speed, size and toughness. But the four-star recruit apparently has a soft side.

During a recent interview with USA Today, McWilson discussed his pregame routine. Some might consider it to be a bit embarrassing, but 12-year-old can completely understand where the young man from Ohio is coming from.

“OK, I’ll just admit it; I have to listen to Justin Bieber before I hit the field before a game,” McWilson explained. “That’s right, I said it. I listen to his song ‘Baby’ and I love it. I know I’ll get a lot of flack over this, but that’s just my thing. I’ve gotta do it. I just don’t feel right if I don’t hear it before the game.”

Any reason in particular?

“I just love the song,” he said. “I know most of my teammates like the hard rock and rap songs, but I just like to mellow out before I play. It’s more relaxing and that makes me more loose. I play better when I hear Bieber. That’s just how it is.”

As long as being heckled by Division-I opponents about his love for the Biebs won’t bother him, more power to McWilson. A lot of athletes are superstitious and many of them wouldn’t be comfortable enough to admit what those superstitions entail. We’ve seen Olympic gold medalists and MLB pitchers catch Bieber fever, so I’m sure McWilson isn’t the only college recruit out there who has a case. He’s just one of the few who are willing to admit it.

Helmet smack to Dr. Saturday

Northwestern Sends Nebraska Cookies as Big Ten Welcoming Gift

On July 1st Nebraska officially became the 12th member of the aptly named Big Ten. As a welcoming gift, Northwestern’s athletic department sent Nebraska’s athletic department these cutely decorated cookies. Check out the picture shared by Nebraska video coordinator Jim Shaw via Darren Rovell:

What do you know? They’re little footballs! Laces out! Honestly, I’m surprised Northwestern sent cookies and not cupcakes considering that’s what they’ll be for the Huskers football team. It’s a nice gesture, but I still think this was a much better present between football rivals.

Bo Pelini Chews Out Taylor Martinez, Refs After Nebraska Penalized 16 Times in Loss

Nebraska blew a chance to clinch the Big 12 North Saturday night at College Station when they fell to Texas A&M 9-6. Huskers quarterback Taylor Martinez was injured early in the game when his ankle was stepped on by a lineman during a running play. Head Coach Bo Pelini lost his mind during the game, seeing his offense do very little. In the second quarter he chewed out Taylor Martinez on the sidelines, and throughout the game he was yelling at the refs, even earning an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the 4th quarter. Here’s the video of him chewing out Taylor Martinez in the second quarter:

Pelini’s anger towards the refs was justified; the Huskers were penalized 16 times for 145 yards while Texas A&M only was flagged twice for 10 yards. The most egregious call was a roughing the passer penalty on safety Courtney Osborne who nailed Ryan Tannehill on a 3rd down play. Instead of A&M having a 4th and 11 late in the game and being forced to punt, the penalty put them in position to kick the go-ahead field goal with 3:25 left.

VIDEO: Ben Cotton’s nuts grabbed by A&M player
NEWS: Taylor Martinez has not left the Nebraska program

Nebraska can still clinch the Big 12 North with a win over Colorado on Friday. After that, a rematch with Oklahoma State is likely in store in the Big 12 Championship Game. Though Pelini was upset for a good reason, he has to maintain his composure better than that. It’s pretty clear all his bitching only hurt his team more than it helped. When they talk about Texas A&M having the 12th man at Kyle Field, now I know what they meant.

Taylor Martinez Benched for Zac Lee, Out of Heisman Trophy Race

It was only a week ago that I (and many others) was raving about Nebraska freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. Martinez had run for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a road blowout at Kansas State and appeared to be in the mix with Denard Robinson and Cam Newton as one of the best running quarterbacks in the country. Just as the Heisman talk began to heat up, Martinez went out and disappointed with his performance against Texas and ended up benched.

Martinez was 4/12 for 63 yards in the passing game and only had 21 yards on 13 rushes. T-Magic was let down by his teammates who dropped at least one touchdown pass, and possibly a second. He deserved much better and threw better than the passing stats indicated, but the surprise was how ineffective he was in the running game. After two three-and-out drives in the third quarter, Nebraska benched Martinez in favor of senior Zac Lee who came on with 6:14 left in the third.

Lee led Nebraska on an 83-yard drive that resulted in a field goal to make it 20-6 Texas. After a three-and-out by Texas, Nebraska got the ball back and Zac Lee had a chance to lead the Huskers on another scoring drive. They ended up with a 4th and 18 at the Texas 38 with just over seven minutes left in the game. Lee threw a beautiful ball down the middle of the field to Brandon Kinnie who beat his man on a post pattern. Just like what happened with Martinez, the receivers let the quarterback down and Kinnie dropped a sure touchdown that would have made it 20-13.

Maybe Karma was served to Nebraska fans who were going overboard with their Texas hate before the game. Surprisingly, there may be a quarterback controversy in Lincoln, though I imagine Martinez will keep the job. The one thing we do know for certain: Taylor Martinez is no longer a Heisman Trophy candidate after that performance.