Are Nebraska fans done buying tickets to ‘the same movie’?
In “The Matrix,” when you experience déjà vu, something has been changed in the program.
In Year 4 of Scott Frost’s Nebraska program, nothing has changed.
“It looked like the same movie,” Frost said. “I told the players it can’t be the same movie.”
It’s the same movie.
And it’s not a futuristic, groundbreaking sci-fi action movie. It’s a horror film, and Nebraska fans are being sent into the same barn to meet their slow ends at the end of a pitchfork while being read Vogon poetry like:
- Nebraska struggled to punt past the 20, but Illinois punter Blake Hayes was burying his inside the 1 — except the time Cam Taylor-Britt fielded it, stepped into the end zone and touched his knee to the ground for a safety.
- An interception was negated by a roughing the passer penalty with taunting on top, resulting in Illini ball at the 24 instead of a turnover at midfield (Spoiler alert: Game-tying touchdown ensued.)
- Adrian Martinez fumbled right before the half and Illinois took it 41 yards to the house for a 7-point lead.
- Two missed extra points.
These are the “catastrophic plays” referenced early in the broadcast that were supposed to be cleaned up this season. They’d make for a great disaster movie.
Sorry, I promised bad poems and none of that rhymed. Here:
All the small things /
Ball care, wins bring /
I’ll lose, one score /
Scott Frost, Year 4
(I did say terrible.)
Even the trailers (graphics) shown before the main feature on College GameDay foreshadowed what was to come:
- Nebraska has allowed 182 rushes of 10-plus yards since 2018.
- The Huskers have a -13 turnover margin since 2018, third worst in the Big Ten
- Adrian Martinez has 35 turnovers since 2018, tied for third most in FBS
There’s that number again — 2018. Is there a reason they keep using it? Ah yes, Scott Frost started at Nebraska way back then, and yet, on Saturday, the new kid in the B1G came in and stole the show from him.
That’s a bit of an over-exaggeration — cinema tends to do that, so suspend your disbelief — because Bret Bielema is someone with a history of success in this conference. However, he’s been away a while and the Illini were 7-point underdogs at home, so not everyone was buying what he was selling immediately, even if his home state was.
Bielema was 68-24 at Wisconsin. This makes 69 wins as a Big Ten coach. Frost is now 12-21; the only Huskers coach with at least 3 years under his belt and a worse winning percentage was Bill Jennings from 1957-61.
Frost, on a hero’s journey in his mind if not on screen, said after the game: “I believe in my heart that this team can have a special season.”
Nebraska fans don’t want him to be the guy in the PG-13 romantic comedy everyone’s really hoping makes it happen. They want him to be the bad man in the R-movie who chooses violence and gives no mercy to his opponents. To their credit, fans are finally fed up. “Fire Scott Frost” was trending from Farnam to Falls City.
“The one thing we’ve never gotten around here is the spark,” Frost said, still stuck in that hopeful romcom but oblivious to the fact that he needs to provide the spark. (Or, as many fans suggested, a quarterback recruit. The starter they have is a bit typecast.)
Fans are getting sequels no one asked for:
- Nebraska lost its season opener in consecutive years for the first time since 1977-78
- The Huskers lost to Illinois in consecutive years for the first time since 1923-24
They’ve lost 8 of 9 to Wisconsin, 6 straight to Iowa, 3 out of 4 vs. Minnesota and Northwestern, and split the past four with Purdue. Adding back-to-back losses to the Illini? Forget competing for a conference title. At this moment, there’s an argument to be made that Nebraska’s the weakest in the West.
And now even their unblemished record in August is dead. No resurrections for that one. R.I.P. 14-0.
Huskers linebacker Pheldarius Payne summed it up pretty well afterward and stuck to the script:
If only. This is “Same Movie 4.”