After an entire pot of coffee at 6:30 in the morning, I knew that Saturday morning’s homecoming game against Southern Miss was going to be an interesting one.
The first challenge of the morning was to go to LaMar’s and ask for the “game day special” and get whatever they give you. But after one smart ass comment of “watch as it’s something like seven dozen donuts” from me, our friend decided that it might not be worth the risk. Instead, we all stuck with the tried-and-true red and white sprinkles.
We honestly weren’t expecting too many people to be at the gates for such an early start time, so we were shocked when we walked up around 8:20 to see a decent sized line already formed outside of east stadium.
All of the usual costumes made an appearance that morning, with the addition of @brus_almighty ‘s Westerstache drawn on his chest. Being the pun enthusiast that I am, I took it upon myself to name the long lost brother of the Westerstache: the Chesterstache.
Despite the turnout, we still got our usual seats. Partially from skill and experience, but mostly from the fact that most people were still half asleep and struggled to maintain anything more than a brisk walk to get to their seats.
Since this game was an 11 am game, there weren’t any games being played on the HuskerVision screen to pass the time. Luckily for me, the girls sitting in the row behind me brought in a deck of cards and invited me to play a game of Go Fish with them. In all of my years of going to Husker games, I still can’t believe that I had never thought of that. I also never thought that I would be as competitive at Go Fish at 8:30 am as I was, but you learn something new every day.
Time actually went by quickly waiting for the game to start, especially with additional things happening for homecoming. But to me, nothing says “home” quite like the collective off-beat clapping to Sirius during the Tunnel Walk.
Everyone seemed eager early on to let go of their red balloons, so when the crowd saw what appeared to be a touchdown, the sea of red balloons took flight. Despite protest from the rest of the fans that had realized that we were on the 4 yard line, balloons continued to be released throughout the next two snaps.
A fumble recovery by Kevin Williams on Southern Miss’s next possession helped wake up the crowd. During this time, I was challenged by my dear friend, the camera man from across the stadium. (If you’re new here, I urge you to read last game’s story.)
However, a star emerged early in the second quarter: Andy Janovich. After a gain of 25 yards, students could be heard chanting “Janovich” and “run the fullback.”
The superhero themed halftime show was great even if the Batman logo wasn’t visible from field level.
Everything seemed promising as the Huskers came out to start the second half with a score of 22-0. Then things got ugly.
The first three possessions by the Huskers resulted in an interception, a missed field goal, and a fumble recovered by Southern Miss’ D’Nerius Antoine.
Despite scoring another touchdown to make the score 29-7, an on-side kick successfully recovered by Southern Miss caused Husker fans to expect the worst, especially with how many of the games had been ending this season.
The east stadium student section saw some excitement as the Huskers had to punt for the first time. A large white banner that read “Foltz fer Hizemin” in Chick-Fil-A writing was brought out immediately after the punt. After working on the banner until 2 am just a few nights before, I was just happy that we got a chance to show it off.
The Huskers were soon looking at a 36-28 score against the Golden Eagles with just seconds left in the game. Surrounded by worried fans, my natural sports-optimism came our strong as I reminded everyone that Southern Miss would need to not only get a touchdown, but complete the two-point conversion just to tie, and how absolutely ridiculous that would be.
Then I remembered the Miami game just last weekend and joined everyone in their panic.
Thankfully, the game ended with a sack by Freedom Akinmoladun as time ran out. All I have to say is: let Freedom ring.
Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.