Hey Ryker Fyfe, Your Dad Hated Me. Here’s a Pep Talk.

Hey Ryker-

We’ve never met but I’m pretty sure I saw you as a baby at least once or twice. I know that isn’t exactly grounds for feeling qualified to give someone a pep talk but bear with me. This might all make sense in a moment.

You see Ryker, I was a student at good ol’ Grand Island Senior High when your dad got his career started a year or so before you were born. Can’t recall the specifics of why, but way back then, the only class he “taught” was afternoon study hall in the cafeteria.

Your dad wouldn’t have been much older than you are now and he carried himself with a swagger far beyond that of someone whose job description broke down to sit in a room and make sure no one gets stabbed or pregnant.

He may have also been an assistant football coach back then too but either way, as a former jock himself, he took an instant liking to the current jocks in the room. As a member of the tennis team, I was not worthy of jock status and was treated with the same disdain as the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, and dickheads who filled the cafeteria.

As one of several highly observant Grade A smart asses in the room, we didn’t take kindly to this double standard. Dude was in our world now and to us he was nothing more than fresh meat. A rookie who needed to be broken. So we let it rip with all the Barney Fife jokes and assorted heckles our 15-year-old minds could come up with. One of our favorite gags was to see who could do the most blatant impression of your dad’s pigeon-toed strut and not get busted. Oh what a fun gauntlet it was to walk up to him pretending to be him and ask for a hall pass to use the restroom. If things went a step too obvious, you’d get to see him later in detention.

He supervised that too.

There’s no denying that we were huge little assholes back then but when you put a few years between things (along with some introspective and enlightening psychotherapy) it’s clear we were just slightly misguided dipshits in need of positive support and some ADHD meds.

Anyway, your dad was able to welcome a few of us study hall knuckleheads to his world that summer as the head coach of our American Legion Baseball team.  GI High didn’t have a team yet so that was our equivalent to getting to play high school ball.

After tryouts ended and the roster was announced your dad summoned me into a dingy storage room underneath the Ryder Park grandstand. While I had made the team, he told me straight up I should never expect to play and that it might be a better use of my summer if I just quit.

I told him I was just glad to be there and would be happy to contribute however I could. (Getting to the level of fitted hats and metal spikes was a goal I really wanted.) I then went home and proceeded to break some stuff.

Baseball shouldn’t have even been my favorite sport but it was. My “career” got started early when my dad fudged my age so I could get a jump on the competition with a bonus year of tee-ball. He kept this ruse under wraps by also coaching the team but with my parents in middle of a nasty divorce, there were quite a few games where he intentionally forgot to pick me up. For the games that I attended, he refused to let me call him dad and didn’t acknowledge I was his son.

Good times.

Still, I enjoyed baseball and continued to play long after he split. It took a few seasons but I developed into a decent player. Granted, it’d take me until I was halfway to second to show any semblance of speed and my throwing motion made it clear my mom had taught me how to throw but I made up for it at the plate and played hard and mostly smart.

Under your dad, I went 6 – 21 for a robust .286 (a stat I remember only because it still sticks in my craw that I didn’t hit over .300). Still, it wasn’t too shabby for someone getting an at-bat every few games. When the season ended in the playoffs, that was the last time I really interacted with your dad. Never had an actual class with him and the invite to shoot hoops in your backyard that he extended to so many others must have gotten lost in the mail.

The next year I moved up to the Senior League and put together a pretty solid season. After a decade of playing, I notched my first game winning hit, coming off the bench for a 7th inning pinch hit double that earned a four paragraph write up on page 3 of the sports section of The Independent. It was one of the few times I got my name in the local paper for sports and it was a nice moment that still has a spot somewhere in my personal top 100 achievements.

Ryker, when you chose the Huskers over the Lopers, it was because you believed you could play quarterback at the highest level.

It doesn’t matter what the message board heroes or media have to say about how doomed the Huskers are going to be with you at the helm. You’ve been waiting years for a chance to prove your detractors wrong and it has finally arrived.

When you take the field tomorrow, the only person who needs to believe in you is you.

Go out there and have fun, live your dream, lead the Huskers to a win, and get your name in the paper.

You got this, buddy. GBR.

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Halloween Huskers 2015

As if this season needed to be any more frightening, it’s time continue a tradition that started last year. Here are some fresh Halloween costume ideas for Husker players, coaches, and a few hangers-on.

Mike Riley as Roy Munson

Mike Riley Roy Munson

As much as Mike resembles the pride of Ocelot, Iowa, this choice is also symbolic as Coach Riley has found himself Munsoned in the middle of nowhere with a fan base that’s making their pitchforks a little sharper with each passing week. As someone who happens to share Roy’s cursed last name, I’ve somehow never dressed as him for Halloween but I did get to meet his landlord this past summer so I’ve got that going for me.

Mark Banker as Kevin Costner

Mark Banker Kevin Costner

Maybe Kev could use some of the spy skills he picked up from his recent flops to help Banker solve the mystery of what happened to the Blackshirts.

Mike Cavanaugh as Jim Ross

Mike Cavanaugh Jim Ross

You can almost hear the legendary WWE announcer screaming “My God, the  man never substitutes his offensive line!”

Danny Langsdorf as Dorf

Danny Lansdorf Dorf

Because nothing shows your relevance to a bunch of 18-year-old kids by dressing as a character from the 80s so forgotten that a good photo doesn’t even exist on the internet.

Shawn Eichorst as The Shermanator

Shawn Eichorst Shermanator

We can only hope that one day a sophisticated robot Athletic Director will be sent back from time to change the future for the Huskers.

Mark Philipp as Leonidas

Mark Philipp Leonidas

You know Mark has this outfit hanging in his closet ready to go at a moment’s notice whether it’s Halloween or not.

Sam Foltz as Joe Dirt

Sam Foltz Joe Dirt

As a fellow Grand Island native, I can say on good authority that Thunderleg is just one sweet IROC away from absolutely nailing this look.

Andy Janovich as Dalton

Andy Janovich Dalton

If the Huskers don’t make it to a bowl game, here’s hoping Andy commemorates his Senior Day by ripping out the throat of an Iowa player in the middle of a touchdown run.

Tom Shatel as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Tom Shatel Bobby Heenan

At the rate this season has been unraveling, the brains of the World-Herald will be turning heel before you know it. Going as Bobby for Halloween will be a great warm up.

Mike’l Severe as Mickey, the guy who cut the tag off a mattress

Mike'l Severe Mickey

Possibly the only costume choice of the 80s more random than Stiles from Teen Wolf but Mike’l has the obscure film knowledge to make it work.

Dirk Chatelain as Jared from Subway

Dirk Chatelain Jared from Subway

Yes. This one is in absolutely poor taste but when all you need to pull off a costume that will get the whole neighborhood talking (and the police making unannounced visits) is a pair of glasses and foot long, you just gotta do it.

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View from the Boneyard: Northwestern

Ahh, yes. Northwestern. The team that the Huskers always seem to have oddly-close games that go to the very end. The team that fell victim to the Westerkatch. The team I always yell “Nerdwestern” at whenever we play them. Good ol’ Northwestern.

For this game, to go along with the alternate uniforms, The Iron N planned a shirt switch where students were told to arrive in red, and once the defense made their first appearance, put on a black shirt. On top of this, 6,000 Boneyard shirts were given out as students arrived to the stadium.

While I was super excited to hear about the plans, there was one problem: nearly everyone I sit with had to give out the shirts before the game.

My friend Bri (@brihoesing) and I, the two of us not responsible for shirts, arrived at Memorial Stadium before doors open and created our game-plan for saving two entire rows of seats despite only being two people.

There was one problem with our plan, though— Bri has two stress fractures in her foot and is in a boot. I had to pull this off on my own.

Luckily, it was an 11 am game against Northwestern and the Huskers had a 3-4 record, so there weren’t many people there to fight for spots. I found myself spreading out everything I could to stretch out over the rows: my sweatshirt, wallet, sunglasses, cell phone, new Boneyard shirt. Everything.

Bri eventually hobbled down the stairs and was able to help save seats, but we quickly discovered that spreading out our sweatshirts and everything else was going to make the windy 48 degree weather a joy to wait in.

With The Iron N’s directors helping with the shirt distribution, the marketing department needed help carrying the Go Big Red banner to the East Stadium student section. Normally, I’d count myself out as a candidate due to my lack of upper-body strength and my continued fatigue from mono, but when they bribed us with a free sweatshirt, I couldn’t say no. Everyone knows the best kind of sweatshirt is a free sweatshirt on a 48 degree day.

When it came time to actually carry the banner back and forth, I quickly realized that I was pretty much useless. But I was wearing a free sweatshirt, so at least I was useless and happy.

GBRbanner
The GBR banner is ready for action.

If there is one way to get today’s Husker fans on their feet and cheering, it’s bringing out the 1995 championship team during the Tunnel Walk. The student section was deafening with the arrival of the team, despite almost every student being in diapers when the team played, if they had even been born at all. But one thing’s for sure, they can all appreciate everything that team had accomplished.

The shirt switch had happened right away to start the first quarter, creating a sea of black Boneyard shirts for the annual blackout-the-student-section game. I know a lot of the more traditional Husker fans don’t really like the blackouts, but… come on. They look awesome.

The Huskers made it on the board on their first possession with a 43 yard field goal. Much like every other time the Huskers start out with a field goal, a sea of red balloons was released prematurely, causing a domino effect with everyone else that hadn’t released their balloons yet.

Northwestern responded quickly with a 1 yard run by Clayton Thorson, putting the Wildcats up 7-3. (Editor’s Note: Thank you for not mentioning his previous 68 yards.)

The mood in Memorial Stadium changed as Ross Dzuris sacked Thorson for a safety, in which the entire student section danced around with their hands clapped above their hands.

Both teams went scoreless until a pick-six caused the Wildcats to be up by 14-5 on the Huskers with 7:17 left in the half.

The Huskers didn’t take long to respond; a 10 yard pass to Brandon Reilly lead to Nebraska’s first touchdown of the game. Even though it was the first touchdown of the game, there was only a small handful of balloons released since everyone had jumped the gun earlier. Good job, guys.

During the second quarter, students were joined by the President of the University of Nebraska, Hank Bounds. Bounds posed for pictures as the Boneyard waved their flag and held up a fathead of him, which had been staring at me for nearly the entire half. Definitely not creepy, though. Definitely not.

president
This fathead was custom made. It’s not available at the campus bookstore.

Northwestern brought their marching band along for the trip and had them sit in their fan section. Naturally, I had to make a few dumb jokes about how they probably did that because they didn’t have enough fans to sit there, to which most people just rolled their eyes at me. Their band played songs from the Wizard of Oz and Wicked to start off halftime.

The Cornhusker Marching Band came out afterwards and had an entire set dedicated to classic karaoke songs. Nothing makes me realize how bad I am with lyrics like singing along to the marching band, but dang was it fun to scream-sing songs like Sweet Caroline and Livin’ on a Prayer with 89,000 of my closest friends.

The second half saw a lot more scoring, with a touchdown and a field goal for Nebraska and a field goal for Northwestern, putting the Huskers up 22-20.

If you’ve ever been to a game with me, you’ll know that one of my absolute favorite pump-up songs is Higher Ground by TNGHT. I’m sure you can only imagine my reaction to finding out that the Scarlets were dancing to it before the fourth quarter instead of the Huskers using the song to pump up the crowd in between plays. Kind of offended that my partner-in-crime Allison (@aliredredwine) and I weren’t invited on the field during the performance, because we put on quite the show when that song plays.

Normally, having a fourth quarter lead would be an exciting thing. After the past few years, I wouldn’t think twice about having a close game with Northwestern towards the end of the game, considering how close recent wins have been. But this season has conditioned me (and other fans, I’m sure) to not get too comfortable with anything once the final 15 minutes of the game come around.

Suddenly, a completed pass to Dan Vitale for 37 yards for a touchdown put the Wildcats up 27-22. A 27 yard field goal put them up 30-22. The familiar ending was near.

The Huskers answered on the next possession as Tommy Armstrong ran for 3 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 30-28. A failed two point conversion kept the Huskers from tying it up.

TommyTD
Tommy Armstrong scores his second touchdown of the day.

At this point, all anyone wanted was to keep Northwestern from scoring and get the Huskers to score something… Anything. These dreams were crushed as an unsportsmanlike conduct on Nebraska gave Northwestern the automatic first down, allowing time to expire.

Fans poured out of Memorial Stadium as the final seconds ticked down. Feeling defeated, I felt it necessary to scream at the Northwestern team to ask them if they remembered the Hail Mary from two years ago. Got ‘em.

Let’s just hope this team likes playing against road games enough to beat Purdue next weekend.

Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Northwestern Edition

Just when you thought it was safe to assume the Huskers had stopped finding new and cruelly inventive ways to lose, the Big Red laid their biggest egg of the year with a mind boggling 28-30 loss to Northwestern.

The game summed up in two gifs.

DwEoXpx
Hans Moleman does his impression of any Husker receiver trying to catch a pass.

Sad-Cornhusker
The speed at which unbearable anguish turns grudging acceptance of one’s fate is incredible.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Mike’s balloon is now a flaming pile of monkey poo ready to explode.

Mike Riley Poop Balloon

In case you didn’t notice, Back to the Future was in the news a little bit this week for some reason or another. One of the signature gags in the 2015 Marty visited in Back to the Future II, was that the Jaws franchise had worked its way up to a 19th installment.

Back to the Future 2 Jaws 19

As someone who saw BTTF2 in the theatre back in 1989, I can say with good authority that it was a legitimately funny moment because just two years earlier, Jaws: The Revenge delivered the franchise down to Davy Jones Locker and the thought of 15 more Jaws movies was even more preposterous than the idea of the Cubs eventually winning another World Series.

Should the time ever come where Universal gets bored with making Fast and Furious movies and decides to dust off Jaws, they could pick no better team to write films  5-19 than Mike Riley and his coaching staff. In the span of just eight games, they have shown they are the absolute masters of finding new ways to terrify an audience week in and week out.

It’s still too early to give up on these guys but you’d think that after eight games they’d start correcting the problems (pick a problem, any problem) that have been there since the season opener.

NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

30: More plays the Huskers ran than Northwestern.

21: Jordan Stevenson‘s longest kick return of the day and career so far. His still smoldering red shirt is not going to waste.

18:04: The Huskers’ time of possession advantage over Northwestern.

10.04: How many seconds it took for Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson to sputter 68 yards in the first quarter. By comparison, Taylor Martinez‘s 92 yard touchdown run at UCLA in 2012 took 10.92 seconds and he coasted the last 20 yards.

10: The number of different Huskers who, believe it or not, actually caught a pass.

7: The 1995 Huskers’ average yards per run.

6.06: The 2015 Huskers’ average yards per pass with the 1995 squad in attendance.

2: Number of times Andy Janovich carried the ball for a total of for yards.

0: Number of times Devine Ozigbo, aka the running back of the future three weeks ago, carried the ball for a total of 0 yards.

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Sorry, Northwestern. It’s Time For a Vintage Husker Ass Whoopin’.

Northwestern, you had a good three year run as a brainy thorn in Nebraska’s side but know this: last year’s 38-17 throttling on your home turf was just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s high time you accept the fact that your rightful place is down in the dregs of the Big Ten as the purple clad Wildcat that gets an annual beat down from the Big Red.

Christian Peter Huskers
It was really nice of the Big Ten to ensure that the Huskers would still be able to pummel some purple every year just like the good ol’ days of the Big 8/12.

Speaking of good ol’ days, the 1995 Husker squad, aka the greatest college football team in the known universe will be in attendance to celebrate the fact that 20 years have passed since they graced us with their presence on the gridiron. Just the fact that they’re assembled within the same area code as Memorial Stadium is good for at least two bonus touchdowns for the Huskers.

Tommie FrazierThe over/under for the number crab legs Tommie Frazier would take down was set at 62, as in 62-24. Don’t ever think Vegas doesn’t have a sense of humor.

With Mike Riley finally taking down his first legit opponent as head coach of the Huskers last Saturday, he got his first taste of Big Ten blood just like C. Thomas Howell in Red Dawn.

And if that wasn’t enough, we have it on semi-good authority that Coach Riley is ditching his Mister Rogers persona like a prom night dumpster baby for something with a little more attitude thanks to the help of Killer Mike from Run the Jewels.

Killer Mike and Mike Riley
Killer Mike and his new protege Killer Mike Junior.

In other words, you’re doomed, Northwestern.

Granted, you little Wildcats had a nice win against Stanford in the Nerd Bowl and looked pretty impressive blanking Minnesota but you’re coming in to Lincoln just when things are starting to click for the Huskers. The offense is starting to remember what it’s capable of and while the Blackshirts might still be more than a little shaky defending the pass, they at least remembered they too can catch passes and score touchdowns of their own.

And if that wasn’t enough bad news, Northwestern, one of your dozen or so loyal fans had to go make a video that proves Evanston truly is the place where Ivy League rejects find refuge.

Northwestern should really be thankful that Andy Janovich and Jack Gangwish probably haven’t seen this.

That revisionist history lesson was so much worse than Dick Cheney‘s recollection of Iraq War Numero Dos that we were forced to reply via the Twitter just to set the record straight on Cabbage Patch Kids and parachute pants. Seriously, WTF?

Look for Tommy Armstrong to run wild against Northwestern like it’s 2014 all over again.

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Did Tommy Armstrong Roll to a Press Conference on an NCAA Violation?

Tommy Armstrong sent Twitter aflutter and into confusion when he took the podium astride a self-balancing board at the Huskers’ weekly press conference on Monday.

Despite the World-Herald referring to Tommy’s gadget as both a hoverboard AND a Segway, it is neither. Until a catchy name is found for this decade’s Razor Scooter, we’ll go ahead and keep calling it a self-balancing board. There are many of brands on the market but you can find one that adjust to your person at the Electric Rider.

A quick search of the internets tells us that Tommy’s gizmo is not a “Swagway,” (oh, you were so unintentionally close, OWH) which can be found at Modell’s for the bargain price of $399.99.

And while it cosmetically looks similar, Tommy’s wheels aren’t the ones listed on AliExpress for the low, low price of $208.00 (just lookout for that $99 shipping charge).

Based on the slew of photos and videos, it’s most likely that Tommy is rolling around on a Vengatti in the “Fire and Ice” series which boasts an MSRP of $649.99.

Here’s Tommy in action.

Now, watch this video from Dodgers super utility player Kike´ Hernandez.

Other than a slightly different deck, the two devices look identical all the way down to the LED side steering lights.

One look at Vengatti’s Twitter account and it’s obvious that they are in the “influencer” stage of building brand awareness ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Seemingly anyone with the right amount of hair gel and enough social media followers is getting hooked up with a free set of wheels. You can get the latest updates on hoverboard technology from the Hoverboard Lab right here.

This is just a small sample of what you can expect if you follow Vengatti on Twitter…

And then there were these two tweets that stood out for their lack of spray tan.

According to Austin’s Twitter bio, in addition to being part of the University of Indiana’s class of 2018 and a fresh contender for most obnoxious guy on campus, he’s an “official promoter of Vengatti” which likely means he got a discount code, a few stickers and something to put on his resume.

If Lovey “As seen on season 14 of American Idol” James getting 13 retweets is enough to garner a free Vengatti, Tommy’s little press conference stunt is a total “Then Again Maybe I Won’t” moment for Ventgatti. It will easily rack up at least 100 times the exposure by the time Husker Nation gets distracted by the next shiny thing on social media.

With it getting harder for coaches, boosters and other nogoodniks to hook up college players with free cars, are self-balancing boards the next frontier for dolling out swag?

Let’s hope not.

And let’s hope Tommy and his teammates used some of their new stipend money to pay for their toys and not a credit card that came with a free cheeseburger down at the Student Union.

As someone who took until the early years of the 21st century to pay off a top-of-the-line VCR and 35mm camera bought back when Scott Frost was under center, I can say with reasonable authority that college years purchases don’t have much of a shelf life once you’re out in the real world.

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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Minnesota Edition

Clearly, there is something nicer than Mike Riley and that is Minnesota.

Thank you Golden Gophers for going into hiding and letting the Big Red run wild on your home turf and giving the Huskers a much needed 48 – 25 victory.

Wait… who are we kidding?

That was a good old fashioned Husker ass kicking.

Or at least as close as Riley and company could get to an old fashioned Husker ass kicking at this point in their tenure. Either way, it was a sight for sore eyes and the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy is in the possession of Husker Nation for at least a year.

Mike Riley’s first signature win as a Husker. 

The offense actually looked like an offense and the defense (mostly) looked like a defense. The secondary is still the biggest red flag for the Blackshirts as Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner had arguably a career day against the Huskers. Only the defense of 1 and 5 Purdue(!) was any worse this season at containing Leidner.

Regardless, winning is always better than losing.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: The flames have been extinguished. Win next week against Northwestern and Mike just might get his balloon back.

Mike Riley Poop Balloon

Our Score Prediction:

If the scoring could have stopped during the third quarter we would have nailed it.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

197: Andy Janovich‘s season rushing total so far, which is the most yardage gained by a Husker fullback since Steve Kriewald rang up 54 yards back in 2004.

69: Dude, Terrell Newby‘s 69 yard touchdown run off a zone read was the Huskers’ longest play of the season and led to the Big Red having a 100 yard rusher for the second time this year. Not that Danny Langsdorf needs to go all Tim Beck with the zone read but here’s hoping the success of that play inspires him to not be so shy turning to the “college football” section of his playbook in the future.

69: Percent, dude. Tommy Armstrong went 18 for 26 on the day with no interceptions, a solid rebound from the last two weeks of completing passes at a 35.5% clip.

6: Jordan Westerkamp made six catches for 76 yards, including a borderline ridiculous 27 yard grab on 3rd and 6 when things were getting a little tense in the fourth quarter. In the previous two games against Illinois and Wisconsin, Westerkamp had 3 receptions for a grand total of 17 yards.

2: The Huskers only had TWO penalties! They’re going to have break out the folding chairs and foreign objects next week against Northwestern if they’re serious about keeping the title as the most penalized team in college football.

0.2: Michigan State’s win probability percentage before Michigan’s ill-fated punt attempt to close out the game. Thank you Jim Harbaugh for making the world instantly forget about any of the Huskers’ last second meltdowns this season.

38 – 8: South Dakota State (aka the same Jackrabbits the Huskers played in 2013) scampered over to Youngstown, Ohio and thumped Bo Pelini’s Penguins 38 – 8.  This is the second consecutive game the ‘Guins have dropped and marks their first blowout loss of the season.

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An Annual Reminder That Nothing Hurts Like A Husker Loss

I spent last night at Dodger Stadium with 54,000 of my closest friends trying to will the Boys in Blue to a series clinching win over the New York Mets.

It was the second time I’ve been in the crowd to see Dodgers bounced from the playoffs. And if you’re keeping score at home, this is the third consecutive year they’ve made an early exit.

No matter how inevitable, seeing your team eliminated is never an easy transition. There just isn’t the neatly scheduled conclusion of a college football season. So much can hang in the balance of a single game.

Had the Dodgers won, my brother, whose lifelong Cubs fandom was galvanized after seven years of living in Chicago, celebrated their series victory by inviting himself out for games 6 and 7 if the NLCS went that far. As someone who made a clean break from being a Cub/Dodger fan a few years ago, that would have been a fun weekend of bringing our sibling rivalry to new heights.

And then there were the assorted Kansas City fans already lobbying for me to take them to a World Series game if the stars aligned for both teams. Those were going to be awkward conversations I was not looking forward to having. Two tickets can only cover so many butts.

With first pitch at 5pm, absurdly early for a weekday in LA, there wasn’t any time for the pomp and circumstance of the series’ first two games. I met a buddy at our seats with minutes spare. Somehow the stadium was filled and rocking when Zack Greinke took the mound.

The Mets dealt the first blow with a run in the first. The Dodgers immediately countered two of their own and threatened to pile it on in the following innings but they just couldn’t knock anyone home. It was the baseball equivalent of stalling out in the red zone, a problem that has plagued the Huskers all year long.

Then in the top of the fourth, the Dodgers had a mind blowing lapse in concentration that put any of this year’s Husker head-scratchers to shame as Daniel Murphy went from first to third on a walk when he realized none of the shifted Dodgers moved to cover the unattended hot corner. He promptly scored the tying run and would belt the game winning homer two innings later.

Dodgers 2015 World Series Ticket
A bit of gallows humor for the ticket box. Maybe as things shuffle around it will find itself next to a fading stub from the 2002 Rose Bowl.

As the game wore on and the Dodgers’ chances dwindled, supportive texts started rolling in as if it were the final minutes of a Husker game. Once the Mets recorded the final out, those texts became condolences.

I replied back to concerned friends and family with the same message.

Thanks. It sucks but it isn’t as bad as a Husker loss.

And that’s the truth. A person can be a fan of many teams but there can only room for one at the top of your pedestal of fandom. Seeing your teams lose hurts but one always hurts more than the others and that is the team that has become part of your DNA.

Leaving the stadium last night, I saw scores of fans whose genetic code is written in Dodger Blue. There were grown men who looked like they’ve killed for sport at some point in their lives trying their hardest to hide their tears from their children.

There was a pit at the bottom of my stomach but it wasn’t the kind of despair that needed to be filled by a danger dog on the way home. Life will go on.

The Dodgers’ 73rd loss of the season was by far their most painful but it still doesn’t compare to what it feels like to see the Big Red come up short in four out of six games.

It’s time to right the ship, the season, and to stop losing to Minnesota.

Let’s get that win, Huskers.

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Mike Riley is So Nice…

We already know that Mike Riley is nice enough to let teams win when a game is close but just how nice is here?

In the spirit of Chuck Norris Facts, here are some examples of #NiceRiley in full effect. Feel free to chime in with any of your own in the comments.

Mike Riley is so nice… he enjoys sitting next to babies when he flies.

Mike Riley is so nice… he sends an apology when paying a parking ticket.

Mike Riley is so nice… he obeys all traffic laws when playing Grand Theft Auto.

Mike Riley is so nice… he tips when he goes to the DMV.

Mike Riley is so nice… he became a Mormon AND a Jehovah’s Witness.

Mike Riley is so nice… he pays to subscribe to the Omaha World-Herald instead of clearing his cache like everyone else.

Mike Riley is so nice… he’s never mentioned in public that Vader is Luke’s father to avoid any potential spoilers.

Mike Riley is so nice… he runs stairs when players mess up in practice.

Mike Riley is so nice… he doesn’t honk at the car ahead of him when the light turns green out of fear of interrupting an important phone call.

Mike Riley is so nice… he’s happy to let someone with 37 items cut ahead of him in the express lane.

Mike Riley is so nice… he tells his wife everything that happened in Vegas.

Mike Riley is so nice… he always says please and thank you when asking Siri a question.

Mike Riley is so nice… every time he catches a trout, he takes it to the vet for a check up before releasing it.

Mike Riley is so nice… he always says yes when a stranger offers candy.

Mike Riley is so nice… he asks telemarketers how their day is going.

Mike Riley is so nice… he once gave a mugger the extra $20 he keeps hidden in his shoe.

Mike Riley is so nice… he washes his bedding before checking out of a hotel.

Mike Riley is so nice… he limits himself to three breadsticks when dining at Olive Garden.

Mike Riley is so nice… he never takes pennies. He only leaves them.

Mike Riley is so nice… any dog that humps his leg gets to finish.

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View from the Boneyard: Wisconsin

This one was so personal.

As maybe like, two of you know (hi mom), while I go to school here in Lincoln, I’m originally from Minnesota. The Land of 10,000 Lakes, the inability to say the word “bag” and learning to cheer against all things Wisconsin before cheering for anything Minnesotan.

I still identify my favorite Husker game as the 2012 home win against Wisconsin. I made the trip out to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship game for my 19th birthday. There are so many memories of games against the Badgers.

This one hurt so badly.

Four hours before kickoff, less than ten students sat in line waiting for a wristband from the events staff. Any other year, you’d probably see quite the lineup that close to doors opening. But as time passed, the same familiar faces of east stadium arrived.

If you follow me on twitter (once again, hi mom), you’ll know that I was diagnosed with mono earlier this week. You can only imagine the chaos that ensued as I ran between the doors of east stadium and my practically-on-campus apartment three times before going in to the stadium. For the first time since the Wisconsin game in 2012, I missed doors opening. I’m an embarrassment. A disappointment. A disgrace. I’m sorry, Husker nation.

Worry not, however, because as I ran down the stairs (alone) to the front row, everything looked the exact same as every other game. The only difference was the group of drunk guys that ended up sitting in the row behind us and kept encouraging my incredibly awkward dancing throughout the game—as if I needed encouragement to embarrass myself.

Despite previous games, the entire crowd was just as energetic as always for the pregame events. The atmosphere changed as Alex Lewis said his introduction in the starting line up.

A chorus of boos echoed from various parts of the stadium. Another chorus of boos greeted Wisconsin as they ran on to the field. Typically, I’m completely against booing anyone other than the refs, but I made an exception just this one time.

This game started out the complete opposite of every Wisconsin game we’ve had in recent years: scoreless. An entire quarter of almost nothing but punts left everyone hopeful and thanking the football gods for the blessing that is Sam Foltz.

While Wisconsin was first to finally get on the board, it didn’t take the Huskers long to follow suit. A touchdown from Tommy Armstrong Jr. with just 2:40 left in the half left the Husker fans who were daring enough to get a game day balloon feeling relieved as they no longer had to deal with the hassle of keeping the balloon from flying away or hitting their neighbor in the face.

Just minutes later, a completed pass from Armstrong to Alonzo Moore for a touchdown put the Huskers up 14-7 at the half. Between a week of dealing with mono and the excitement of finally being up on the Badgers, halftime couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

I’m gonna be real with you all, because I like to think of us all as friends (yet again, hi mom). The entire third quarter was almost a complete blur, with the exception of a field goal for the Badgers, which was soon joined by a touchdown and field goal early in the fourth to put the Badgers up 20-14. Honestly, with what then happened in the fourth quarter, it’s hard to think about much else.

The crowd was absolutely deafening as fullback Andy Janovich ran for 55 yards to put the Huskers up 21-20. The student section erupted as students ran up and down the aisles, hugging strangers as Let Me Clear My Throat blasted through the speakers. I went from struggling with the fatigue of mono to suddenly realizing exactly how Grandpa Joe felt when he finally got out of bed and danced around when Charlie got the golden ticket. It was truly an unforgettable moment.

Andy Janovich Touchdown
The joy of a Husker fullback rumbling 55 yards for a touchdown.

And then the game was over and the Huskers won.

…Just kidding.

Not long after the touchdown, Wisconsin was faced with a field goal attempt with just 1:26 remaining. Every person in the stadium held their breath as they watched the football fly through the air. I kid you not, that stadium was so quiet that you could hear the football go off the post from the other side of the field. The kick was no good.

missedFG
The goal post deserves a Blackshirt for blocking that field goal attempt.

And then the game was over and the Huskers won. (OK Hayley the joke wasn’t funny the first time, stop.)

All the Huskers had to do at this point was get the first down. Then we heard it, loud and clear in the east stadium student section: “We’ve got this! We’ve won! We beat Wisconsin!”

Every student within earshot turned to stare down the man who had clearly not watched any previous games this year and decided to jinx this one. Next thing we know, Foltz is running out to punt and everyone is watching the rest of the game through their fingers.

A 46 yard field goal attempt with just four seconds left sounds crazy and an absolutely heartbreaking way to lose a game—so naturally that’s how the game had to end.

You could physically see the disappointment hit each Husker fan as the Badger football team celebrated their victory. Some fans hurried out of the stadium, others chose to sit and mourn in their seat.

I’ve cried a total of two times in Memorial Stadium: Jack Hoffman’s touchdown at the spring game in 2013 and the Hail Mary pass. The third time nearly happened after that field goal.

Life would be so much easier if football games were only 59 minutes.

end-hiEvan
Husker faithful exited Memorial Stadium in stunned silence. Nice photobomb, Evan.

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