Published Friday, November 25, 2011 AT 11:13 PM / Updated at 11:13 PM
Tom’s Take: Nebraska 20, Iowa 7
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel offers his key observations from Nebraska’s 20-7 win over Iowa in the first Heroes Game on Saturday in Lincoln.

* * *

What Alfonzo Dennard did Friday was the stuff of All-Americans. He changed the game by himself. He took star receiver Marvin McNutt away from Iowa, and the Hawkeyes had nothing else. That’s a game-changer. Dennard got off to a slow start this year with the injury, but he had the kind of Senior Day memory you want. Lavonte David and Dennard should both be All-Big Ten. David would be a deserving defensive player of the year. Either way, they’ll both be missed. Except by Iowa and the rest of the Big Ten.

Good for Bo Pelini and Ron Brown that they put Rex Burkhead back in the game. Superman deserved the record 38 carries. He’s been the picture of durability and toughness all season. At times, he’s been the offense. In many ways, that record is a perfect way for Burkhead to be remembered: a guy you count on over and over. Well, there’s one better way to remember him: in next year’s Rose Bowl. NU has a ton back on offense with No. 22 as the centerpiece.

There was a comical moment in the interview room. Someone asked Taylor Martinez which bowl he’d like to attend and he innocently, and honestly, replied “Capital One Bowl.” Everyone laughed, including the Outback Bowl scout in the room who took it well. Those are NU’s two bowl options now. The chances of the Huskers playing in the Capital One are fairly good. NU would need Michigan and Wisconsin to win Saturday and Wisconsin to beat Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. None of those are stretches. Then you could see the Cap One taking 9-3 Nebraska over 10-3 MSU, which went to Orlando last year and lost to Nebraska earlier this season. At the least, the Huskers will fall into the Outback and, either way, will play an SEC team in a bowl this year.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at


  1. Tom, excellent comment on Rex. He has done all that was ever asked of him and a lot more every game. At times he has pick this team up and carried them on his back. He may not have the raw numbers like Monte Ball or others have but I know he is more valuable to the Huskers than Ball or any of those high profile backs on any other team in the nation. If the Hiesman was awarded by the sheer value of a person’s impact on a team Rex would win it hands down.
    As far as Dennard goes all you can say is wow, what a player, and McNutt was not his only shutdown of high impact recievers this year.
    David is an animal and if the awards people watched his performance today it would make a very strong case for him to bring the hardware home. We will see both him and Dennard palying on Sundays next year. They are both All Big 10 if not All Americans.

  2. Husker63 says:

    Watching David drop back into coverage time after time and doing as well as he did shows how diversified he is.Hats off to the O-line as well.The unit is on again off again,today they were on even with players going down in the game.
    Good win,careful what we wish for but bring on the SEC.

    1. don says:

      Lavonte will be a 1st or 2nd round draftee. He can paly anywhere.

  3. Scott says:

    Third week in a row–”Where’s Carnes?”
    Martienz can not run due to an ankle injury, can’t through consistently, and a lack luster opponet and our “coach” acts like Martienz is the only act in town.

    We will be very lucky if Carnes does not transfer

    1. ed says:

      Carnes will take Jamal Turner with him.

      1. @kholland007 says:

        What and how do you people think? If ANYONE wants to transfer, let them go, look at the others that transfered, they did nothing at the new school, guess what, they have to compete wherever they go!!!! Nothing is handed to any of them. If Carnes or Turner want the job, come into spring and fall camps and beat Martinez out, not runaway. I’m sure they will stay and compete, but people like you will never understand because you never played or coached a day in your life.

        1. ESV says:

          But hold on… doesn’t EVERY OTHER player on the team get replaced at one point or another during the game? No other starting player on the team plays every single down. Is Carnes SO very horrible that he can’t be trusted to execute a hand off? How did he get on the team in the first place if that’s the case? Why is he listed as the #2 guy if he can’t even be trusted to work the mop? We’re not talking about starting or even significant playing time, just eight or twelve snaps at the end of a game that has an already certain outcome, just like the linemen, the other backs, receivers, linebackers etc etc. If our depth at QB is THAT bad, better wrap T-Magic in bubble wrap as soon as the bowl is over and put him in a bomb shelter, because if the kid gets hurt the center is going to be hiking the ball into empty air.

        2. Joey says:

          You really are ignorant AREN’T YOU @kholland007 aren’t you?????????? Forgetting what MARTINEZ DADDY OWNS. Get with the REAL WORLD, instead of that Huckleberry Finn Beaver Cleaver world you live in… I mean I met some really stupid people in my time, but WOW,… boy… you’re special….lol

          1. @kholland007 says:

            You know Little Joey, we don’t need to call names or anything on here, we can meet anytime and anyplace to your liking, bring “highdef” with you, then the three of us can work this out, like men (assuming you are a man). Not in a forum talking about a game.

            And in the future if you are going to call someone else ignorant, please proof read or have your mommy proof read your comments (not sure if she can spell either), then hit “post comment”!

      2. max says:

        Carnes was on the bench where he belongs.

    2. Bill says:

      I choose to ignore comments who cannot spell “throw.”

  4. HansJ says:

    I’ve wondered if the marketing geniuses for Outback Steakhouse know that the name may have a somewhat different meaning for some in Iowa and Nebraska. As a kid growing up in Iowa whenever we went to visit uncle Charles in “outback” Seymour IA, I’d always take a leak outside rather than go inside his “outhouse” and try to endure the stench.

    Forget about the Rose Bowl next year. Bo was lucky this year. Who would have ever guessed last year at this time that B1G Icons Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel would be fired in 2011? Last December I figured we’d lose to the Buckeyes at home and beat the Gophers on the road, or 4-4 in the B1G. For next year I’m thinking we lose to Michigan at home and beat NW on the road, or 4-4 in the B1G. More experienced next year, but less talented and the competition will be stiffer. Meanwhile we continue to wait for the new Messiah [a new Tommy Frazier] and suffer.

    1. don says:

      I see stupid people, (and they don’t even know they’re stupid).

      1. HansJ says:

        You’re correct, the Outback reference was stupid, too much bourbon. But the B1G RED are going nowhere until we get a QB. Check the B1G game stats for 2011.

  5. RealisticFan says:

    Where’s Carnes? That’s funny. To answer your question honestly, he’s on the sideline, with his helmet in his hand. He is the 2nd team QB and Martinez is the 1st team QB. Why can’t some of you get that through your head? Martinez has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and run for over 800 more. He is the 1st team guy who will play most if not all of the game.

    Some know-it-alls were saying that Carnes should have come in on the last couple of offensive possessions when the score was 20-7. Why? So he can hand off? What if he bobbles a snap? What if muffs a handoff? Iowa was not going to stop trying to score and then onside kick. It was a two score game. You don’t put in your backup point guard into a baseketball game when you are up six with a minute to play when he has sat on the bench the whole game. The same is true with a QB. You want sure hands.

    Carnes may transfer. So may a backup linebacker who plays behind guys like Compton and Fisher. Or a backup tight end. But like Joe Ganz said a few years back – competitors don’t give up, they know the competition makes them better. I want a guy like that, not a guy who transfers because he didn’t get to hand off the ball at the end of a game or take a knee.

    1. don says:

      Here’s the thing. He can red shirt and then when Taylor graduates, he will have3 3 years of work. Let the coaches coach and you can be a fan (is that a fair weather fan I see?)

      1. max says:

        Good point. Carnes then will have 3 full years to ride the pines.

      2. FLhusker says:

        He already did redshirt. Carnes is a reshirt freshman, now, so he will only have one year left after Marinez leaves.

  6. kevin says:

    So far I’m shocked ! absolutely not ONE post from High Def, and Corndevil… Come on HD/ Corndevil you have to post your negative crap even when the Huskers win. I assume the two r together watching the game ( again) at HD house and taking notes of all the bad plays by Martinez, and crew and after breaking the game film will be posting their negative junk shortly… As mention IN OTHER POST both r undefeated as armchair, lazy boy second guessing coaches. Haven’t lost in over 30 years, CONGRATS on that accomplishment… For the rest of us 9-3, disappointed, Yes but I’m also realistic, what a schedule, Pelini and staff had to prepare for 8 new teams this year, while the B1G oppenents only had to pepare for ONE new team… Let’s get ready for the SEC and our bowl oppenent. Think for a second at all the talent we have coming back….. GBR

    1. Highdef says:

      … hey, Kevin.. aren’t you full of your own Cool-aid yet?? Glad you brought up K-mart’s bad play. Jeez, you see his hook passing again? Tosses up in the air with a spiral downward. Now that’s real “fundamental”, ain’t it Bo? Yeah, can’t wait to see all the talent we have coming back. Hopefully all the Stepford wives will do some good write-in balloting to to keep their Pelini savior in office.

      For those of you who are tired of the 4 year Pelini test-run, lets see what these Stepford wives think of our Huskers after yet another 9-3 season in 2012. I can’t wait.

      1. @kholland007 says:

        Highdef, I’m sure it took you so long to post another series of idiotic comments, since you were probably up all night selling “highdef” tv’s on Black Friday, while us real fans were at the game not whining. I’m still waiting for your coaching/playing resume to get posted so we can start the hiring process for you to take over the program.

        I’m sure its a hard pill for you haters to swallow a 9-3 season and a January Bowl game. But I’m sure you will come up with some criticism to hate on this winning team.

        Good luck on earning your commission at Best Buy!!!

        1. Highdef says:

          kholland, really, is that the best ‘ya got son? Calling yourself “us” and “we” sure helps with the self worth, ok, I get that. But being a lover of mediocrity is, well, pretty pathetic. As a true Husker fan, I expect more.

          1. @kholland007 says:

            My self worth is being a part (true fan) of a very special program that I have watched the ups and downs or 40+ years. I am not your “son” and today in church I THANKED GOD FOR THAT FACT!!

            If only you had a clue to what you were talking about, but this is my last response to idiots like you, because the one thing I have learned in my life is “you can’t fix stupid” (Ron White)

            Good luck in your long career as an undefeated living room coach, and learn to enjoy life and remember the 18-23 year old kids you so easily critique every week are playing a game.

          2. Joey says:

            He likes to draw attention to himself beings NOBODY pays any attention to kholland. He’s use to EVERYBODY ignoring him. That drip turns a good debate or opinion into The Jerry Springer Show. Please, don’t lower yourself to his 3 YEAR OLD BEHAVIOR. Just remember how lonely it must be being him, then laugh at him. Remember the old saying. NEVER let yourself become offended by an IGNORANT CHILD. That’s why I laugh…………AT HIM!!!!!!!!!…lol.

      2. kevin says:

        Hey buddy glad your back guess it takes awhile for you to respond after the Huskers win. But I know you and Corndevil broke down that game tape and found the negatives..good job. Yeah I’m full of Kool aid, what r u full of ? In your second guessing, arm chair QB class next Saturday in Omaha what’s the main fundamental you teach ? I’m 47 years old so help me out here… what’s the Stepford wifes it must be something funny / important since you bring it up all the time.. educate me on who they are. One finally kudos to you… congrats to you and Corndevil on having another undefeated coaching season…what is it 30 years in a row now without a loss ? Good luck in the “second guessing, arm chair QB ” National tournament.

      3. huskerred says:

        Just wondering who you think should replace Pelini? I hear you take shots at him but offer up no one that could do a better job? Heck I might start supporting you and your ideology of making NU a better team, if I knew who you had in mind?

        Put-up or shut-up. Easy to be a critic when you do not support your beliefs and just babble along. We get it, you do not like Bo, or Martinez, but still after 12 games neither you or cornholer suggest who may better fill those shoes, well maybe Martinez with Carnes but there is no numbers you can show that even support such belief as to date! I am still waiting to hear your football genius fix-all plan?

  7. Highdef says:

    Things to be thankful for:
    1. The Iowa game was a home game
    2. We don’t have to play Wisconsin again in the B10 Championship game on national television
    3. Nebraska isn’t playing LSU in a bowl game. (feel free to substitute any team in the Top 25)
    4. More and more fans are realizing Pelweini isn’t the coach of the future at Nebraska
    5. Tom Osborne is still our athletic director

    1. MasterPulverizer says:

      I actually agree with everything other than #4 and I have a completely different outlook.

      Take your nonsense and go be a Notre Dame fan.

      1. miller says:

        im not saying pelleni is not a good coach, but i have been talking to a lot of fan that hope he goes somewhere else

    2. kevin says:

      Apparently Arkansas, Auburn, Oregon, South Carolina, and Georgia are also happy they don’t have to play LSU. Why is it when NU beats a ranked team like MSU, PennSt those teams suck ? Also someone above requested your coaching resume… I have alerted everybody to your” Arm chair, second guessing QB class ” next Saturday in Omaha.

      1. Highdef says:

        ..kevin, you always ramble on so mindlessly. Remember, with you, always.. less is more.

        1. kevin says:

          I guess since you didn’t see the above post I thought I would post it again ?

          Hey buddy glad your back guess it takes awhile for you to respond after the Huskers win. But I know you and Corndevil broke down that game tape and found the negatives..good job. Yeah I’m full of Kool aid, what r u full of ? In your second guessing, arm chair QB class next Saturday in Omaha what’s the main fundamental you teach ? I’m 47 years old so help me out here… what’s the Stepford wifes it must be something funny / important since you bring it up all the time.. educate me on who they are. One finally kudos to you… congrats to you and Corndevil on having another undefeated coaching season…what is it 30 years in a row now without a loss ? Good luck in the “second guessing, arm chair QB ” National tournament

    3. Gold Bo says:

      I suppose you would have been one of those on the 1970s bandwagon to get rid of T.O. Bo has restored pride to the program, ease up a bit and give him a chance couch coach!

  8. spivens says:

    ya, tough schedule, new conference, eight new teams. Get it. We now have that opportunity to prepare for ONE team and about a month to do so.

    1. Highdef says:

      .. let’s hope that one month helps Bo continue to “teach the kids the fundamentals”.. Hopefully BK and K Bell will remember how to catch a pass again. But I’m not so confident in K-Mart’s passing arm getting much improvement. Those downward hook passes are pretty scary.

      1. don jordan says:

        i have been trying to describe taylors passing tecnique too my friends and your DOWNWARD HOOK is perfect

  9. okiehusker says:

    Remember when we used to argue for Joe Dailey to beat out Jamal Lord? Then we saw Dailey’s act and understood why that didn’t happen. Be careful what you wish for. The coaches see these guys play every day, and YOU have never seen Carnes take a meaningful snap. Also remember the ill-fated insertion of Cody Green against OK a couple years ago. The most popular guy on most teams is the backup QB– hasn’t had the opportunity to disappoint you yet, or looks good in “garbage time” mop up. If Carnes hasn’t forced the issue vs a starter with obvious flaws, I suggest you hitch your (band)wagon elsewhere.

  10. @kholland007 says:

    Why is the best player on every team after a loss the backup QB? And the best coach is the one doing commentary on TV?

    1. Joey says:

      Do you ever SHUT UP??? … Sound like some 3 year old

    2. Kerryn says:

      That’s an inegiouns way of thinking about it.

  11. ESV says:

    On the Carnes subject, I don’t think anyone is calling for him to replace Martinez, or even take ‘significant’ playing time away from him. I think the concern is why our #2 QB can’t be trusted to handle the ball late in decided games and get some full speed experience… because (presumably) he’s the guy who’s going to come into the game if Martinez goes down. If its the case that Carnes can’t even be trusted to execute a hand off, why the heck is he our #2 guy? Better yet, how did he graduate high school? I learned how to hand off a football when I was five years old! Why are the coaches risking getting Martinez hurt during slop time even when he’s obviously hurt and already has a problem evading defenders when not running in a straight line. (Kid has NO juke) If Carnes isn’t even capable of end of game relief, then put in somebody who is… or is Martinez the ONLY person on the team to master the mysteries of ball handling? As far as not knowing much about coaching, you may be right, but I bet you can count the number of head coaches who refuse to spell their starting QB when a game is obviously over on one hand. And at least one of of those is probably starting the water-boy because everyone else is hurt.

  12. don jordan says:

    i question how durable taylor is for an option qb-seems like he has had bum ankle for the whole year plus some last yr

    1. Rstoneburn says:

      Very few QBs would hold up for all 4 years in this system and the ones that do have a great line and are very allusive. Martinez’s game has always been beating the defense to the corner and then taking off down field. As the wear and tear piles up, he is changing his game. If he is the starter for 4 years, it is only because of a very strong RB and an increasing reliance on the pass. It’s fairly obvious that Martinez doesn’t have the break away burst he once had…at least not consistently. That’s to be expected. He’s probably about as good as he’s gonna get…which, if NU actually played defense and caught passes, would be good enough to go 11-2.

  13. Bleeding Red says:

    I think most of you are idiots and the way you talk about our players and coaches is mean and wrong. The way you communicate with each other is mean and wrong as well. It seems most of you take this game way too personally. Keep in mind, nobody is doing anything to you at all. The only thing they are doing is playing and making decisions about a game that you don’t agree with. That’s it…And if you think by my response here that I am not a real fan, come watch the game with me on game day. I can only watch the game with certain people because my intensity and passion distract other people from the game. Then I realize people are watching me watch the game…however, that’s between the first whistle and the last…Perspective guys…