THE WORST FACEMASK NON-PENALTY OF ALL TIME

SALUTE, ERIC CROUCH'S INDESTRUCTIBLE NECK MUSCLES

Since it circulated on Twitter and other social media timesucks this morning, let's revisit this golden moment from college football.

Is that Eric Crouch nearly getting his head pulled off by a Kansas State defender? Oh yes, yes it is. Scott Frost also wore number seven, but no one ever tried to pull Scott Frost's head off in the middle of a football game. Why? Because Scott Frost's head would have soared off on a plume of rocket smoke and bitten every player on the opposing team like a floating balloon-shark before landing safely on his shoulders and reattaching itself to his body.

Also, that's Travis Ochs, and there's film showing the whole thing in that video above, and that film shows no flag thrown on the play whatsoever.

Did it matter? Oh holy shit yes, it did. A blitzing Ochs got his fingers on Crouch's facemask on 4th and 8, spun his helmet backwards, and slammed Crouch to the ground for a sack with Nebraska trailing by four late in the fourth. No flag came, the ball went over on downs, and Kansas State outlasted the Huskers and won their first game against them in thirty years. (And only their second against Nebraska since 1960.)

Did Ochs admit it was a facemask? Yup, and better still expressed zero regrets about it, or about the excruciating pain he felt tangling his whole hand in the grill of a very fast-moving eventual Heisman Trophy winner. Nebraska would finish 9-4 and lose to #5 ranked Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. (Yes, that Arizona.) Kansas State would go on to lose a thriller in the Big 12 Championship Game to Texas A&M, and then another life-shortening inferno of a game in the Alamo Bowl against Drew Brees and Purdue.

You wouldn't want to kill the rest of the day watching the whole game at your desk. Nope. Not one bit, especially with Ron Franklin calling the game.

Did we forget anything about this game in particular? You probably did. You forgot that this was Frank Solich's first year, and that this game was probably one of those ghastly moments where Nebraska fans first openly wondered about that whole "effortlessly replacing Tom Osborne" dynamic they thought would happen. You also might have forgotten what a fairly good game Crouch had, throwing for three TDs and rushing for 108 yards.

That would be understandable for two reasons. The first is that 1998 is a very long time ago. The second would be Michael Bishop busting out with one of the more insane forgotten games of a lifetime: 19-33 for 306 yards and two TDs passing, and 25 rushes for 158 yards and two TDs on the ground against a Nebraska defense that didn't let individual players get that in four years of starting experience against them.

P.S. Michael Bishop would later play for the New England Patriots, where Bill Belichick traded him for eleven draft picks that all became All-Pros and multiple Super Bowl winners. This may not be factual, but Michael Bishop finishing his long meander through the NFL, CFL, and AFL with the Texas Hurricanes of the SIFL is. Football isn't fair, and never pretend like it is.

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