All posts by Hayley Archer

View from The Boneyard: Spring Game

There’s something about things coming to an end that always gets me. It’s been nostalgia overkill as my classes, newscasts, and now column are all coming to an end. But what better way to go out than with 73,000 of my closest friends at Memorial Stadium?

Apparently my senior slide is kicking in more than I thought, considering we didn’t even leave our apartment until an hour before kickoff. I hadn’t left this close to kickoff since I was a confused freshman on my first game day and somehow ended up lost in the middle of the East Stadium student section.

This was my first Spring Game as a fan in a few years, since I’ve had a few opportunities to watch previous games in the press box and on the sidelines. Funny how the one year that I probably *should* be in the press box, I’m not.

Luckily for us, our tried-and-true seats in the front were open for us when we got there. Maybe it’s because people know they’re our spots and want to be courteous. Or (more likely) they remember us and want nothing to do with us. Either way, we were thankful.

spring game 2
The Huskers come out of the tunnel for the first time in 2016.

Every year that I’ve been at UNL, something big has happened at the Spring Game. First it was Jack scoring his touchdown, then the infamous year of Bo and his cat, and finally, the introduction of Mike Riley to Memorial Stadium. This year, however, I almost felt like I was waiting for something big to happen the entire time. When the game proved to be exactly what was advertised—an open practice—I almost felt let down.

I mean, the football part of it all was exciting. From cheering on the new guys to missing the former seniors, the Boneyard had fun going through all of their game day traditions. Well, except the few older fans sitting in our section, who decided to complain about all of us standing during the game. Sorry, were you lost?

While I love watching football, I can’t get over how confused I get with the spring game scoring. Thankfully for people like me, they keep the scoring rules on the HuskerVision screen throughout the game so everyone can follow along. It did lead to the Blackshirts getting the win with an interception at the end of the game, which was pretty cool.

But my final time as a student in Memorial Stadium made me realize that there’s soon going to be a new group of young, confused freshmen and transfer students that don’t know the ways of the Boneyard, much like I didn’t (hence me getting lost in the completely wrong section). So let me be your honorary older sister and learn from my mistakes.

First, and this goes without saying, wear Husker red. I thought this was such a given until I see fans walking by wearing other B1G apparel, Blackhawks jerseys, or other non-Husker-related apparel. Unless it’s one of the Boneyard advertised blackouts, then forget what the older fans say and wear black. Please.

Next, just have fun and participate in whatever is going around you in the Boneyard. Our student section has so many fun traditions, so just go with the flow. You’re not going to look stupid, trust me. We all look stupid together, so it’s okay.

I know that this is a personal preference of mine, but if I’ve been given this soapbox to stand on, you bet I’m gonna get on it and voice my opinion. Please don’t boo the other team when they run on the field. Husker fans are some of the greatest in college football, so keep the booing to the officials and their calls—they’re the ones getting [over]paid.

Also, don’t be that dick that shows up way too drunk to function. Not only is it going to be difficult for you, but nobody wants to deal with someone falling into them or vomiting or anything like that. If you’re that drunk, just stay wherever you are and watch the game there—you won’t remember the difference, anyway.

But finally—contrary to everything I just said—don’t let anyone tell you how to cheer for your team. I’ve had plenty of people tell me I can’t be a Husker fan because I wasn’t born and raised in Nebraska. I’ve heard that I’m not a true fan because, since I’m used to being on the media side of it all, I don’t always scream and cheer at every play; I’m pretty content with watching many games with a pretty straight face and some polite clapping. But then again, I can also be that obnoxious fan running up and down the aisles making fun of the other team (just kidding mom, I would never do that). Just do you.

OK, sentimental stuff over. I had already gotten all weepy and sad after the Iowa game (both because of the game and because of senior year), so it was a lot easier to say goodbye after the game was over. Or maybe it was because I was promised nachos after we left. Either way, a lot fewer tears leaving Memorial Stadium this time around.

Overall, it’s been a fun senior year. Go Big Red, see you all next season.

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

Share

View From The Red Zone: Ohio State

Ahh, yes. THE Ohio State Buckeyes. In all of my time here at UNL, their men’s basketball team is one of the few (relevant) B1G teams I haven’t actually seen play in person. Naturally, I was pretty excited.

ohio state
You’re in our world now, Ohio State.

I spent my time before tip-off roaming around PBA with my BTN Instagram cutout, asking random strangers if they wanted me to take a picture for them. Because, you know, that’s never awkward or creepy at all. But there was one bright side to working that game—it was the first time I didn’t injure myself on the cutout as I swung it around like an idiot. Progress!

I’ve been getting to that weird overly-nostalgic still-trying-to-deny-the-fact-that-I’m-graduating part of this season with this game being the second to last home game. Suddenly, everything from the starting line-ups to hearing GDFR makes me weirdly sentimental.

The Red Zone introduced a few new fatheads this game, including Eli Manning during Super Bowl 50, puppy monkey baby, and Jean Ralphio (who I’ve been pestering The Red Zone directors for for months). Although, I’m not sure what’s more terrifying: puppy monkey baby or the fathead of Austin Powers with Tim Miles’s face on it, which I hadn’t even realized was an altered image until someone explained it to me.

Let’s start off by saying that the first half was one of the most uneventful things I’ve ever seen in a game. You could tell The Red Zone was getting impatient as they complained about their newspaper getting sweaty and their hands getting covered in ink. Thankfully, Andrew White saved us just over three minutes in, putting the Huskers up 2-0.

For the first half of the game, it seemed like the Huskers couldn’t do so much as take a step without getting a foul. It was like the refs had just gotten new whistles and couldn’t wait to try them out… Just not on Ohio State. After two technicals had been called, one on Nebraska and one on Ohio State’s JaQuan Lyle, I started yelling at the refs to just T themselves up for their horrible job. I’m sure they appreciated that.

I do have to say that my absolute favorite part of the entire game was the infamous floor slap from Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate as he was defending Tai Webster. Hopefully he didn’t hurt his hands too badly—his dignity has been hurt enough.

Shoutout to everyone that’s posted a GIF of the floor slap to Twitter, though. I’ve probably wasted nearly an hour of my life rewatching it over and over again. It never gets old.

The other Ohio State player that really stood out to me was Marc Loving. Not for anything basketball related, but rather the fact that after nearly everything good that Ohio State did, Loving seemed to immediately flex his biceps in celebration for the entire crowd to celebrate. Calm down over there, Hercules, we can all tell you’re really loving yourself.

With just seven seconds left in the game and the Huskers up 56-54, the refs called a foul on Webster. Not only was this Webster’s fifth foul, but it allowed JaQuan Lyle to score two more points for the Buckeyes and send the game into overtime. Flashbacks to Miami earlier this year, anyone?

Final Score
The heartbreak of an overtime loss never gets any easier.

And yet again, victory was in sight for the Huskers, but managed to slip away yet again. Hopefully Nebraska will be able to break their three-game losing streak with a win on the road against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The Huskers will return to PBA to take on the Purdue Boilermakers next Tuesday for their final home game of the season. Not only am I going to be an emotional wreck at my final Nebrasketball game, but my BTN call time and the beginning of my live newscast just so happen to be the exact same time. Should be fun!

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

Share

View from The Red Zone: Maryland

It was the biggest home game of the year. The Huskers men’s basketball team was taking on the fourth-ranked Maryland Terrapins at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Everyone was excited—especially me. Why? Because I had unfinished business with Melo Trimble.

Flashback to the Maryland game last year where I stood directly next to the Terrapins as they warmed up. I found the star then-freshman player to be the easy target of heckling. Everything from making jokes about what he was doing to picking on him as a person “The higher the hair the closer to God, am I right, Melo?” He was continually rolling his eyes at me as the stupid jokes kept coming out. Naturally, I was loving every second of it.

Melo Trimble
Maryland star Melo Trimble doing his best to ignore us during pre-game warm ups.

This year, however, he came in to PBA with an attitude that showed that he wasn’t about to listen to anyone yelling at him. But I was ready, I had done my research. It was only just beginning.

A thirty second Google search showed me that it was 21st birthday the day before, so a few of us had the brilliant idea to start yell-singing Happy Birthday to him every time he tried to do… Well… Anything. While unfazed during warm ups, it proved to be effective during free-throws (until the very end… Spoiler Alert!), in which he missed every one that we sang during.

MeloSelfieKinda
Selfie with Melo, kinda.

The only time he paid any attention to us this year was when I was joined by my good friend Ndamukong Stoos (aka Caitlin Stoos but I like my nickname for her more) in doing Maryland’s warmups with them. To be honest, we looked like complete idiots stretching and running around in the aisle, but as long as it made Trimble look over, it was worth it.

You could tell how much this game meant to Husker fans as it was completely deafening at tipoff. The energy and volume stayed high throughout the game, including when my roommate turned to me to say “gosh, I always forget how loud your voice can get.” Shoutout to my many years of theatre and broadcasting for that one.

The Huskers were able to keep up score-wise with Maryland throughout the entire game, but several missed opportunities caused the Huskers some trouble. But even though the Huskers had a difficult time capitalizing on turnovers and were shooting just 31.8 percent, it was still honestly a fun game to watch. Stressful, but fun.

You could tell how stressed I was watching the game solely by the foam finger I was holding throughout. Since I’m such a fidgeter, anything handed to me during a game that can be destroyed will be. By the end of the game, the foam finger didn’t even have a finger anymore, nor was it usable. Whoops.

Also probably doesn’t look good on me considering that they were given to us by my employer—Big Ten Network. Sorry guys.

Foam Finger.
This poor finger didn’t stand a chance.

The Huskers fell 70-65 to the Terrapins, but will be hosting Rutgers at home next. Honestly, if we lose to a team that has as many conference wins this season as I personally do, I’ll be concerned. Guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

Share

View from The Red Zone: Michigan

After an exciting one-point win over the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, it was no surprise that students were lined up outside of Pinnacle Bank Arena before doors opened to watch the Husker men’s basketball team take on Michigan.

The excitement surrounding this game came from more than just a four game winning streak, though, as this game was the annual Avery Strong game. Fans sport their bright gold #AveryStrong shirts in support of Avery Harriman and pediatric cancer research and are encouraged to get swabbed to see if they could potentially be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.

RedZoneShirts
The Red Zone gets stocked up with #AveryStrong t-shirts.

As one of Big Ten Network’s on-campus marketing interns, I was ready for the flood of students to pour into PBA as doors opened an hour and a half before the game. “Flood” might not be the right word, considering each student has to get scanned in one at a time, making it a little anti-climactic… But you get the point.

Being a BTN intern, I stand out in the concourse and get people to take Instagram pictures to enter the #BTNWinningShotContest (come visit me). This time, we borrowed some fatheads from The Red Zone for fans to take pictures with as well. It’s amazing how giddy the older demographic gets when presented with the opportunity to take a picture with the Pope.

#BTNWinningShotContest
Pope Francis is a big fan of Tim Miles. Huge.

Another thing I’ve learned in my time as a marketing intern is how unsubtle people are when they try to avoid someone. As someone who does a large amount of shopping at the Mall of America, I like to consider myself a natural at avoiding kiosk workers and other people trying to get me to come over and buy something or do something. But being on the other side of things, I’ve learned that the avoid-eye-contact-and-walk-a-little-faster isn’t nearly as subtle as some people may think. Time to re-think that strategy, I guess.

After tipoff, I was able to trade in my BTN shirt for an #AveryStrong shirt and join my friends in The Red Zone. Much like football, I forget about any dignity I have left as I yell at the opposing team and dance around like an idiot. The main difference? They can actually hear me.

You’d think with how often I harass the cameras (if you’re new, check out this recap) I’d be used to being thrown up on the big screen at the most embarrassing moment.

Nope.

As the camera jumped from fan to fan during the Emoji Cam, my roommate and I turned a bright shade of red as the two of our faces graced the screen for everyone to see. Later, fans got the chance to check out some pretty sweet dance moves from me on the screen (not really). You’re welcome, Lincoln.

Halftime
Avery Harriman on the big screen at halftime. You can learn more about become a potential bone marrow donor here.

The Red Zone was able to get quite a bit of use out of our many fatheads for free throw distractions, considering how whistle-happy the refs seemed to be in Michigan’s favor. Everything from Donald Trump to crying Michael Jordan to the poop emoji were waved around by students in attempts to distract the Wolverines. The Red Zone might have to look into some more distractions, considering the Wolverines made 10 straight free throws in the final minutes of the game.

RefsThe refs debate over what foul to call next on the Huskers.

The amount of calls from the refs were frustrating some fans so much that a group of us in the front row looked up the names of each of the refs so we could personally thank them for the wonderful job they were doing.

As fans filed out with the clock ticking down at the end of the game, a chorus of booing echoed through the arena as Michigan forward Duncan Robinson sank a three-pointer as the Wolverines were already up by 10 points.

The Huskers fell to the Wolverines 81-68. While fans may be disappointed in the loss, I’m sure there will still be some students lined up waiting to watch their Huskers take on the Maryland Terrapins next Wednesday, February 3rd. Personally, I have some unfinished business heckling Melo Trimble, so you’ll know where to find me.

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

Share

View From the Boneyard: Iowa

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.

ICE SCRAPERMy 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.

Chest Painter
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.

T
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.

Huskers on the field
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?

Trophy
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.

Share

View from the Boneyard: Michigan State

I mentioned a few weeks ago in my Wisconsin game recap that I had only ever cried in Memorial Stadium twice. After this weekend, that tally has gone up to three.

If it had been any other season, the line to get in to the Michigan State game would have been absolutely insane. Instead, East Stadium boasted roughly 30 people waiting for doors to open.

Most people in the student section had the same laid-back mentality going in to this game. No one was expecting a win after how everything has gone down lately, so everyone just wanted to find a way to have some fun.

The Boneyard quickly found their source of entertainment: heckling Connor Cook during warm ups. Excessively.

Everything from taunts about hair gel to asking him to transfer here for this game was being yelled to Cook as he warmed up by throwing the ball. He even humored us by going along with our requests to try throwing with his left arm instead.

The problem? It wasn’t Connor Cook. The Boneyard had been yelling at Michigan State’s long snapper, Taybor Pepper.

Students quickly caught on to Faux Cook’s true identity and began chanting Pepper’s name. I’m sure the long snapper had to be at least a little excited to hear his name echoing through the stadium for once. Or even that that many football fans even knew his name.

Michigan State Long Snapper Tabor Pepper
Michigan State long snapper and proud fanny pack wearer. Taybor Pepper, everyone.

A while later, the sun set and the starting lineups were being announced. Sadly, Pepper’s name wasn’t called, so we improvised a chant during Connor Cook’s intro instead. Close enough.

tunnelwalk
Game on for the Huskers.

The Huskers started out strong with a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter. It was hard not to like how the Huskers looked early on in the game. Right outta the gate the Huskers were showing that they were ready to play an entire 60 minute game against an undefeated Michigan State.

The Spartans made the field goal towards the end of the first quarter, bringing the score to 10-3. All the students cared about was that our new favorite was out on the field. The entire Boneyard chanted Taybor Pepper’s name as latecomers looked around confused as to what was going on.

Now, I could sit here and bore you with the rest of what happened in the middle. Yeah, it was fun, but… come on. Yeah, the Spartans scored some touchdowns, but so did we. The second half started with Michigan State leading 17-13.

touchdown
Imani Cross‘ touchdown run gave the Huskers a 20-13 lead early in the third quarter.

I know the real reason why you’re here. Either you want to hear about the end of the game or you’re one of the (many) people I shamelessly promoted this column to while I was downtown on Saturday night. Or you’re my mom. Hi mom.

So with that being said—fast forward to the fourth quarter.

The Huskers were down 38-26 after the Spartans capitalized on a nearly nine minute possession. With 4:16 left on the clock, the Huskers had to be quick.

This started the first wave of fair weather fans exiting the stadium. To them, this was just going to be another disappointing heartbreak of a loss. To the rest of us, we knew that stranger things have happened with the Huskers.

With a touchdown from Tommy Armstrong Jr., the Huskers cut Michigan State’s lead to 38-33 with 1:47 left. Force the punt and the Huskers would have enough time to get a touchdown.

And they did.

The Huskers had the ball with just :55 left to do something with it. Two passes from Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp put Nebraska just 30 yards away from an upset.

Then it happened.

Ask a Husker fan and a Spartan fan about the rules regarding a wide receiver stepping out of bounds and you’re going to get two completely different answers after Saturday’s game. A completed pass from Armstrong to Brandon Reilly lead to a touchdown for Nebraska, yet some people were still unsure as to how he wasn’t ruled out of bounds.

Basically, if Reilly had gone out of bounds on his own, he would’ve been out. But there was clear evidence that the Spartan cornerback had made contact with Reilly.

At this point, I was screaming, hugging everyone within a 20 foot radius of me, and being carried all around the student section. The realization that we were up 39-38 with :17 left in my second to last game as a student hit me hard as I started crying in the middle of the chaos. A tight game was finally going to go our way.

The last seconds ticked down as the Spartans were unable to get in to field goal range in time.

The Huskers won. They finally won. An upset in the final moments of the game and the Huskers were finally on the winning side of it.

postgame
Football can be so much fun.

Let Me Clear My Throat blasted through Memorial Stadium as everyone both on and off the field cheered, danced, and hugged everyone else. I was there for the 2013 Hail Mary pass against Northwestern and I can honestly say that this victory celebration was so much better.

Dreams come true when you work hard and pray. Go Big Red.

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

 

Share

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.

Share

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.

Share

View from the Boneyard: Southern Miss

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.

chesterstache
Behold the glory of 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.”

band
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.

game
The Blackshirts hunker down to keep Southern Miss out of the end zone.

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.

end
There would be no Hail Mary anxiety this time.

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

Share

View from the Boneyard: South Alabama

Between a 7pm kickoff time, the end of the BYU game, and the fact that we were playing South Alabama, none of us were too concerned about arriving at Memorial Stadium that early to secure our seats.

Lo and behold, there were a whopping 15 people in line at East stadium when our group arrived just a half an hour before doors opened. Even the line to South stadium seemed to be slacking attendance-wise.

Our usual group had grown even larger than before, making it even more crucial for us to save two rows of seats. I met a new Minnesotan friend that had the same phone and phone case as me, though, which was pretty cool but also kind of eerie.

In typical fashion, doors opened for South stadium minutes before East stadium got let in, leaving the older students to sit and watch as the freshmen and sophomores try to blur the line between the definitions of walking and running.

The Boneyard Challenge was brought back during this game, which takes students from both sections and has them compete in a game out on the field. This time, it involved the bubbles.

bubbles
The first big hits of the day at Memorial Stadium.

There’s something oddly satisfying about watching people in giant bubbles run full speed into each other to try to knock each other down. Right out of the gate, my roommate completely annihilated the other girl. I’ve never been more proud.

One of my favorite additions for this season are other games being played on the HuskerVision screens before the game starts. Watching Notre Dame v. Virginia helped passed the time, especially watching my die-hard Notre Dame fan friend react to the end of the game.

Once our game started, it didn’t take long for the Huskers to show that they meant business. An interception by Nate Gerry on the Jaguars’ first possession sent the student section from nonchalant to exploding, which was exactly the momentum that we needed after a heartbreaking loss the week before.

touchdown
Terrell Newby gets the Huskers on the board and balloons in the air.

Soon after, I was challenged by some of our newcomers to the group to see if I could get us on the big screen. This is the one challenge that I never take lightly, so I told them to just sit back and watch.

Between being a theatre kid and a broadcasting major, being in front of a camera and an audience is pretty comforting to me, so getting the attention of a camera guy seems almost second nature. Focused in on a camera in West stadium, I had acquired my target.

I spent the entire first quarter directing all of my singing, dancing, and random posing at the one camera in hopes that they would notice me. When I say entire first quarter, I mean it. Soon after, HuskerVision had made it clear that this was war as nothing but my face graced each screen in Memorial Stadium.

Zooming out, the screen was soon filled with embarrassing shots of me and my friends pulling out our stupidest dance moves and cheering. Honestly, if you’re trying to look cool on the big screen at a sporting event, you’re doing it wrong.

Once halftime hit, I immediately look for two of my roommates next to me. Our fourth roommate is on the flag line, and the day before we had made it clear to her that we were going to embarrass her while she performed.

As everyone else sat down watching the show, we were standing up against the gate dancing and cheering for our roommate, Hannah. With the way that I was acting, you would think that I was a mom on Toddlers and Tiaras and Hannah was competing for Ultimate Grand Supreme.

Not long into the 3rd quarter, a touchdown from Imani Cross put the Huskers up 31-0. At this point, I had scream-sang the words to Hail Varsity so many times that I’m still surprised that I haven’t learned the middle part yet. But considering that I hadn’t even known that there were words to Hail Varsity until my junior year, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

A 36-yard field goal for South Alabama almost seemed like the end of the world after keeping the Jaguars scoreless for nearly three quarters. Had you looked at their fans’ section afterwards, you’d think that they were right back in the game at that point.

It wasn’t long after that when suddenly I found myself completely unable to dance to the music being played. Other than Jump Around (thanks, Wisconsin), there’s only one song that I refuse to celebrate to: Chelsea Dagger. Being Minnesotan and a die-hard hockey fan, I just can’t bring myself to dance and cheer during the Blackhawks’ goal song.

The camera guy that I had been harassing the entire night had taken notice to my sudden lack of dancing, as he put my entire group of dancing friends on the big screen with me just out of the shot. Touché, camera man.

With nearly half of Memorial Stadium cleared out at this point, South Alabama had finally scored their first touchdown of the night with just under five minutes left. A failed 2 point conversion attempt left the Huskers with a 48-9 victory and left us contemplating whether it’s too late to plan a road trip down to Miami for next weekend.

Huskers Get The Win
A welcome site to see after last week’s heartbreaking finish.

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

Share