Between Iowa looking for their first 12-0 season in program history and the Huskers looking to become bowl eligible, this game meant a lot. On top of it all, it was Senior Day. Not just for the Huskers, but for me as well.
One thing you all have to know is that I am 100% one of those overly-sentimental people. You can send me to a Senior Day for a team I’ve never heard of in a sport I don’t care about, and I’ll start tearing up during the sappy tribute video they play. Needless to say, it took a lot of emotional preparation for this game.
First off, this game was absolutely freezing. Naturally, my stubborn Minnesotan attitude about the cold kicked in, giving me a fake idea that I was going to be just fine. Yeah, okay.
I walked to the game with my roommate about 20 minutes prior to the doors opening. With the game being over Thanksgiving break, there weren’t too many people in line.
Someone must have told the events staff that watching the sea of South Stadium students pour in was my favorite part of games, because Friday’s game was the first time this season that East Stadium got let in first. I live for the chaos. Mostly because I somehow managed to survive two years of it.
Students were greeted with a nice layer of thick ice covering every seat in the section. Thankfully, one brilliant student thought ahead and brought an ice scraper in and let everyone borrow it. The real MVP.
My roommate Allie (@a_mcmann) scrapes away the glacier that coated our seats.
It takes a lot more than sub-freezing temperatures and a layer of ice to stop students from going all out at games. One student sitting in the row behind me painted himself for the game. Seriously, that’s commitment.
Commitment personified. The scarves really tie everything together.
Once the pregame festivities began, that’s when everything finally hit me. This was the last time I was going to experience any of this as a senior. And I’m going to miss every bit of it. Even the Power of Red banner that was sitting on the ground, causing it to rain cold, murky water on all of the students underneath it.
I remember seeing my first tunnel walk during my freshman year. The first thing I thought of was “Wow, I bet I’m going to get emotional during this my senior year.” Well, freshman-year-me, you did. Very much so.
The Senior Day Tunnel walk is about to begin.
If Senior Day wasn’t enough to make me cry, the actual game itself could have made me shed a tear. There’s something so frustrating about seeing your team lose repeatedly and not be able to do anything to help. Because they’d definitely want a 5’7” girl who hasn’t played a sport since seventh grade’s help out on the field. But, hey, I still have four years of eligibility if they change their mind.
Four. Years. Of. Eligibility. You know where to find me, Huskers.
One of the most frustrating things about this game for me was the number of penalties overall. Not necessarily that penalties were being committed, but mostly because I have this need to yell to everyone that “There’s a flag on the play!” after each one, and Nebraskans have never been shy about pointing out my painfully-Minnesotan accent every time I say the word “flag.”
One call that really got the stadium buzzing was the targeting call on Nate Gerry after a tackle on Tevaun Smith lead to his ejection. While the replay shows the helmet-to-helmet contact, the call was met with a chorus of boos by Husker fans, many of which were yelling at the officials to “just let them play football.”
The four turnovers were yet another frustrating part of watching this game. On the bright side, it did give me one last chance to make my it-wasn’t-funny-the-first-time-so-why-do-you-always-say-it joke of “We look like a bakery with all of these turnovers,” which I cracked one last time just to be greeted by a series of eye rolls. Seriously, don’t go to a game with me if you don’t like dorky humor.
On a less-frustrating note, one thing that Iowa fans did to start the fourth quarter was raising up their phones with their flashlights turned on, causing a sea of lights in their sections. While I hate to give credit to Iowa for anything, it looked pretty cool. I don’t know the significance, nor will I admit to ever having just said something nice about Iowa, but as an unbiased (haha) sports fan, I’m easily entertained by cool-looking things in the crowd.
As we reminisce on the Huskers’ third senior-day-loss in a row, remember that there’s still a chance that they’re headed to a bowl game. Also that Iowa is bound to be humbled next weekend in the B1G Championship game by Michigan State. Remember what happened when we played them?
You can have this trophy, Iowa. We still have the $5 Bit of Broken Chair Trophy to keep us company until we get this one back next year.
Also, happy one year anniversary of Bo Pelini getting fired. Also the 22nd anniversary of my birth, but that’s less relevant. It’s always comforting to know that my birthday will forever be overshadowed by 9-4 jokes from here on out.
Just remember: dreams come true when you work hard and pray. Thanks for sticking with me and my dumb jokes for this long.
Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.