Photo Credit: John Konstantaras

Drake’s Takes: Northwestern at Night and Husker Hoops

October 01, 2021

The upcoming game between Nebraska and Northwestern highlights this week’s Drake’s Takes, along with some basketball fun and an awkward merchandise release.

Nebraska and Northwestern at night. This will maybe be a little fun. 

Nebraska football has mastered the art of making every loss look bad. 

On paper, the last two weeks look solid for Nebraska. One-score losses to the current No. 6 and No. 17 ranked teams in the nation are nothing to be ashamed about. If you showed those two scores without context to Nebraska fans before the season, I think most would be okay with it. 

However, this team refuses to take a normal, respectable loss. I’m half-exaggerating here, because I still don’t think the Oklahoma loss was really that egregious, but two missed field goals, four offensive line penalties on the first drive and a blocked extra point is enough to have you upset about it. 

Nebraska losing against Michigan State after not allowing a first down for the entire second half is indefensible, though. Don’t be surprised if the Huskers outdo themselves moving forward, but that punt return touchdown is the early candidate to be the longest lasting memory from this season. 

And with that, we head into a night game between Nebraska and Northwestern. This has all the makings of a bad game. The Wildcats have been flat-out bad this year, with losses to Michigan State and Duke. 

History doesn’t point toward a blowout. The Huskers have had one-score games against the Wildcats every year under head coach Scott Frost, regardless of how good or bad each team is. 

This has a decent chance to be another one of those. Purely based on the past four games, Nebraska should beat this Wildcat team with relative ease. In previous years, and in Week 0 against Illinois, the Huskers have shown we can’t have trust in that. 

All that being said, a loss in this game would be horrific, just as the Illinois game was. 

Put me down for a Nebraska victory, but it’ll be interesting to see how close this is. 

Husker Hoops tonight

Today kind of marks the return of Nebraska basketball. 

Tonight, both teams will partake in Opening Night with Husker Hoops, where they’ll have player intros, short scrimmages and a performance from G Herbo. I won’t get too much into that last part, because I’ve mentioned it in a previous column. 

Anyway, you can’t help but be interested in this men’s team. Along with exciting returners such as Trey McGowens, this team has added a lot of fun talents. Most notably is 5-star Bryce McGowens, but there’s also the 4-star, goggles-wearing Wilhelm Breidenbach and junior college transfer sharpshooter Keisei Tominaga.   

Tominaga is one that’s been talked about a lot recently in particular. Outside shooting is a big part of coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense, and as Kobe Webster said, “Keisei’s different.” Nebraska’s had sharpshooters that were expected to make big contributions in the past two years as well, such as Matej Kavas and Trevor Lakes, but neither found too much success. 

Lakes is still on the team, so he and Tominaga will look to be consistent threats. 

On the women’s side, I’m interested in seeing how the team does without center Kate Cain’s paint presence. Sam Haiby is an incredibly exciting player who averaged 16.8 points per game last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she exceeds that production.

Kendall Coley also may be a name to watch. A top-50 ranked player in the nation, Coley joined the team in January and didn’t get off to a great start. Her first appearance came a week after her first practice and halfway through the season, so those struggles are more than excusable. 

Nebraska will surely hope that she can become a bigger contributor this year, and help the team improve on last year’s 13-13 finish and WNIT appearance.  

Weird Tom Osborne merch announcement

Earlier this week, Nebraska athletics teased that something would be released on Thursday. The original announcement was pretty vague, as expected, only featuring a weird-looking logo that kind of looked like the roman numeral for three on a black background. 

A lot of ideas floated around, one being that it’d be an alternate uniform announcement. Some figured out that it was likely related to Tom Osborne, after seeing that merchandise with that logo that was floating around featured his name on it. 

Come Thursday at 2:55, we found out the logo was for Tom Osborne. The time of the release was to honor his 255 wins. The logo is explained as being three pillars to represent his three national championships at Nebraska, as well as a mixture of his initials (TWO). Sure. 

Anyway, this is mostly notable because of the hype that was built up around it, and the subsequent disappointment. Nebraska didn’t owe us anything big, but it is pretty funny that it was only some clothing line that was previously online for a short time already. 

I hesitate to be too much of a hater here, as part of the proceeds will go to the TeamMates Mentoring Program. The nicest thing I can say about the merchandise itself is that some of the ties look pretty nice. 

Good for Osborne. Maybe someday, we will get the announcement that this team will wear Blackshirts alternates again. Those are my favorite Nebraska alternate jerseys, so I definitely am hoping for it.

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