“I love winning. It’s like better than losing. You know what I’m sayin?”
– Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.
Half a week later, the sting of the BYU’s Hail Mary (or Hail Joseph Smith) still reverberates down the spine of any Husker fan. It is a loss that can’t be forgotten soon enough but it’s one that won’t be.
The last time the Huskers dropped a season opener at home, most of the team was still a good ten years away from being born. And if you want to feel even older, many of the player’s parents were still kids themselves back in 1985.
Exactly 60 minutes into the first game of the Mike Riley era, one of the two last great Husker streaks was broken so quickly that it didn’t seem at all real.
BYU’s final dagger from 42 yards out was like in a Kung Fu movie when someone is killed so quickly they don’t realize they’re dead. It was Hanzo Sword straight through the heart of the Big Red faithful.
At our watch site, hope lasted until the replays confirmed everyone’s most unthinkable fear. Instantly, our spirits plummeted faster than Wile E. Coyote once he looks down and realizes he stepped off a cliff.
After a game that bordered on perfection (as much as a season opener with a new staff and scheme could be perfect ) for 59:59, that final second reality check may be just what the Huskers needed in order to make this season a success.
Don’t consider the gut punch from the football gods a cosmic smiting of all that is considered holy with Husker Nation. Yes, winning 30 consecutive home openers would have been a nice notch in the belt but how many of those victories were anything more than a pack of wolves feasting on lambs?
The role reversal of the hunter becoming the hunted can be a great motivator for the team and staff. While it’d be great to see the Huskers march into Miami with a bounce in their step and a perfect record, a chip on their collective shoulders and gravel in their guts and spit in their eyes can be what carries this team through the entire season.
These guys are all now coldly aware that they can be beaten at any time and how they respond to that will shape how the season plays out.
Make sure you’re buckled up tight. There’s only one game down and at least 11 more to go. It’s going to be a heck of a ride no matter what.