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Nuvi Don’t Lie. The Huskers’ Season is a Disaster.

Nearly every week this season, my Mondays have started with finding an email with the subject line “Sorry, man” lurking in my in-box.

Those emails come from my buddy Austen Jorgensen. You might remember his interview where we chatted about his days as a BYU linebacker and he all but predicted Cougars’ shocking win over the Huskers. (Still can’t believe he called that one.)

These days Austen works for a company called Nuvi which is a high powered social media monitoring platform used by a wide range of companies to track how their brand, new product, or movie, for example, is performing in the “social space.”

If you think it’s time to bust out the tinfoil hat, don’t sweat it. This is not NSA level stuff we’re talking about here. Nobody cares about your militia having a bake sale this weekend. However, if you recently tweeted about how much you love a new TV show or are mad at Chipotle for that pesky E. coli outbreak, someone out there knows about it.

So this leads to this Monday’s email when Austen suggested that I check to see how the Huskers’ season is looking through the eyes of Nuvi. He might have just been trolling me in an attempt to get me to wallow in the slop of quantifiable misery but it was good idea either way so I pulled some data from Nuvi and here are some of the highlights.

Or should I say depressing lowlights?

To keep things simple and to keep this site from turning into the social media version of Baseball Prospectus we’ll be comparing week one to last week’s debacle at Purdue. (Note: Click any chart to view full-size.)


Things look good for Husker Nation leading up to the season opener against BYU. Positive (green) and negative (red) sentiment is calculated based on a series of keywords. Chatter that can’t be classified is considered neutral (blue). Based on what we’re looking at, Nuvi indicates optimism is high for the 2015 season.

Here’s a slightly broader look.


Then just a couple days later…


No, Global Thermonuclear War did not break out. This is what the it looks like when your team’s new head coach is sued for allegedly fostering an environment in which a sexual assault was allowed to happen. As you’ll see, the negative sentiment shot way up. Just as a gauge, you’d pretty much have to be the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department to run all the way in the red.

That giant red circle that wiped away most of the East Coast?  That was a tweet from Sports Illustrated that came from their NYC headquarters. The bigger the circle, the bigger the reach and impact.


Then, here’s what happened when the wait was finally over and the Huskers got the season started against BYU. The image below covers about an hour and a half of chatter. See if you can pinpoint when the Hail Mary occurred.


And here’s a map of the post game reaction. The fire Mike Riley tweet from Lost Letterman was quite popular.


Below is a list of the day’s big winners as far as Twitter goes. Considering how many Husker fans hung on every moment of Gabrielle Union’s visit, it’s not a shock that her twitter account received nearly twice as much attention as Sports Illustrated. I do say that it warms the cockles of my little heart to see Tunnel Walk of Shame was the most viral.


Now, let’s skip ahead  a couple months and five frustrating losses later to examine the current landscape for Husker Nation.

This is what it looked as the Huskers lost to Purdue. 55% negativity is this season’s all-time peak of despair. (So far.) Compared to the season opener, the reach of the chatter is over 10 times higher. Why? Because the big outlets had plenty of time to tweet throughout the game as the Boilermaker beat down reached its inevitable conclusion. Lucky for the Husker brand, not may people shared this news as the “spread” was more than 3 times lower than the jaw dropping ending to the BYU game.


At least the mood quickly dissipated as Husker fans suddenly became too drunk to tweet.


Here’s the day as a whole.


And here’s the build up and fallout of the Huskers’ worst loss since that time they were beaten by Hawaii before Hawaii was even a state.

Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell dropped some major shade even by his standards. The only thing that kept him from a clean sweep were the thumbs of God.


What’s most telling about this list is how the volume of chatter about the Huskers has dwindled and what remains shows this latest loss has become a national story.

Or dare I say national laughing stock?

Here’s hoping things turn around tomorrow and beating Michigan State makes Nebraska run green with joy.


Mike Diary: Excerpts from Mike Riley’s Journal

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not going to say how we pulled it off but we got our grubby little mitts on Mike Riley’s diary.

There’s no need for us to set it up any further. We know you just want to get to the good stuff, so below you’ll find excerpts from key moments since he slid into the captain’s chair at Memorial Stadium.

5 December 2015

Dear Diary-

I know it’s been a few days but I have an unbelievable excuse…

Greetings from Nebraska!

(I’ll wait while you find it on a map.)

I never thought I’d ever say that but, by golly, things sure took a strange (in a good way) turn of a events. It all started a few days ago when Shawn Eichorst, the Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska, asked if we could meet in his hotel room in San Francisco to discuss the head coaching job that had opened up.

Trust me, I was just as suspicious as you would have been about the whole deal. I mean, we always try our best but it’s not every day you wrap up a 5 and 7 season by having a dude invite you to a secret meeting.

In his hotel room.

In San Francisco.

But you know what? Turns out it was all on the level!

I wasn’t the victim of a prank…. or worse. Shawn really wanted me to become the next coach of the Nebraska Cornbuckers, (I think that’s what they call themselves. I’m still figuring all of this out.)

It took a few years but someone finally realized what kind of coach you have to be to get kids to not only play for a team named the Beavers but to do so with flipplin’ Oregon just a few miles up the road.

It’s funny how life works out. Just a few days ago, I honestly thought I might be fired and boom(!) I’m suddenly somewhere in Nebraska and the head coach of a football powerhouse, with a big raise to boot!

I think I might treat myself to a new bicycle.



Dear Diary-

Hotel life is the best! It’s like living on vacation. Every morning I get to make make own omelet and drink as much orange juice as I want and the pool is open until 11pm  but I signed a football for the night custodian and he lets me swim till midnight! There are so many cable channels to choose from that I can find The Rock playing any time of the day. Don’t tell the Mrs… but I think for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to sneak down extra early so I can surprise her with an omelet in bed.


11 APRIL 2015

Dear Diary-

Longtime no chat, I know. After three months of R&R and going to basketball games, it was finally time to do some real work.

We had our spring practices and this team I inherited is something else. The quarterback runs better than he throws and there’s a kid on defense who killed a raccoon with his bare hands. Don’t tell Boss Eichorst but I was so rusty I almost forgot which side of my whistle was which. (Hahahaha. Try saying that one five times fast.)

Today we had the big Red and White game and the way the fans came out you’d think they all had free tickets to the Super Bowl. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway, It was the only time of the year where we’ll win and lose the same game.

Not to sound cocky but I’m thinking if I can do just half as bad as that basketball coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if they named a street after me. The fans LOVE that guy and he loses all time.


17 JUNE 2015

Dear Diary-

Apparently our grass grew an eighth of a inch since Monday (so says the second guy who stopped by this morning asking if he could cut it). He says he’s been keeping track from across the street and thinks it’s getting out of control but I invited him to come back on Friday so that way the Mrs. and I can be assured of a nice, quiet weekend.

I felt bad for him though because as he was leaving he got into a little scuffle with yet another guy who showed up with his mower.

Between, you me, and the fence post, diary, I would say Nebraska people are weird but they are just so gosh darn helpful.

Even after this new adventure is all over, we may never leave, especially when Veronica, our neighbor from across the way, brings us fresh baked goodies every single morning.


25 JULY 2015

Dear Diary-

Apologies if I don’t write to much today. It is just so gosh dang hot I don’t know if I have the strength. Lucky for me and the Mrs, the neighborhood kids are taking turns on watch to make sure we stay properly refreshed. Pardon the pun be we ARE living the life of Riley complete with our own personal lemonade stand!



Dear Diary-

As you know, today was the big day. It was my first game as coach of the Nebraska Cornhutchers and for 59 minutes and 59 seconds it was football heaven. The most unbelievably wonderful dream had come true and I was living it… right up until Bigham Young’s freshman quarterback threw Hail Mary to pull the glorious rug of victory right out from under us.

As I write this hours later I’m still kicking myself. Of all the things we practiced during fall camp the defending the Hail Mary was not one of them and why should it be? Everyone knows that all you have to do is whatever it takes not to let the other team score. Pardon my French but those little s-h-i=t-s spent years learning from a “defensive mastermind” and after the game they tell me they didn’t know what what to do in that situation? You’ve got to be flipping kidding me.

I’m still so mad I could kick a rock.



Dear Diary-

Hip, hip, HOORAY!!!

That is all.



Dear Diary-

Well, we went down to Miami (no, we did go to scout timeshares) and played one heck of a barn burner against those Hurricanes. We were getting our tails kicked 33 – 10 in the fourth quarter but I worked a few “fishlips” and “shoeshines” (if you know what I’m sayin’) into my speech during a timeout and I think that did the trick. Who knew these kids actually liked being yelled at? All of a sudden, that quarterback who runs started zipping the ball to receivers who stopped dropping it. Even though it didn’t work out in the end, it was incredible that we almost had ’em on their home field.

I’m not quite sure the fans are feeling he same way though. Every time I’ve returned from a recruiting trip, fans have been lined up clamoring to give me a ride home and have a chance to talk football one-on-one. Tonight the airport was emptier than a ghost town and I had to call the Mrs for a lift. It was pretty late when we landed though, so maybe that’s it.

And if things needed to get any weirder, get a load of this: this morning we were woken up by the sound of our neighbor Veronica throwing eggs at our house!

And that wasn’t all she did! When we went outside to see what all the fuss was about I saw she also dumped an entire bag of flour on the good ol’ Prius.

She must have been running really late to church if she didn’t have time to bake our Sunday Bundt cake!



Get pumped up Husker Nation — We’re playing Alabama Tonight!

For those of you who like omens when it comes to predicting the outcomes of future football games — how’s this for Nebraska’s impending epic showdown with Alabama on Saturday:

The last time the Crimson Tide came to Lincoln, it was a crisp September day, the second game of the season, Nebraska was 0-1 and unranked in the polls — and it was a year in which a Star Wars movie premiered in theaters.

September 17, 1977.

BAMAbernsRick Berns racked up 128 yards on 23 carries the last time Alabama rolled into Lincoln.

Low and behold, what’s in store for this year’s match up with Bama?

Crisp September day — check! Second game of the season — check! Nebraska is 0-1 and unranked in the polls — check! And Star Wars, Episode Abrams hits theaters this December — check!

What happened when the same ingredients were thrown into the mix back in 1977?

The hapless Huskers took down the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide 31-24 in what was then described as the “most colorful and emotional effort of the Tom Osborne era.” It would be the only time Bear Bryant would be beaten that season.

So, fasten your seat belts and get ready for a little case of history repeating itself. Bama is going DOWN!

Okay, okay… Enough shenanigans. The boys from Tuscaloosa aren’t heading to Lincoln this year or any year currently scheduled. Instead we’re getting a group of guys from Mobile, most of whom would never make the three deep on their in-state blue-blood to the North’s loaded roster.

But is that any reason not to get fired up all the same?

After the heart-attack inducing final second of the BYU game, maybe the tailgaters in downtown Lincoln could use a bit of a relaxer. A situation in which something resembling a football game takes place, but the outcome of the contest is never in doubt.

Enter, the (South) Alabama Jaguars.

Vegas puts Nebraska as a 27-point favorite. I’m thinking, take the Huskers and the points. Riley and company will look to make a statement Saturday night— the rust is gone. The inconsistencies that allowed BYU to own the second quarter (while Nebraska owned pretty much everything else) have been worked out of the system. And you will see a precision machine ready to combine the remainder of the unharvested schedule.

For casual observers of the game, this sort of match-up tends to be boring. My wife asks, “Who wants to watch a fifty-point blowout, anyway?”

The answer, always, is, “Me.”

Several years ago when the Huskers were still in the Big 12, I was watching Nebraska vs. Colorado at the In-Laws’ house. My wife’s stepbrother, Mike, was there. A rabid Husker fan who, for the fun of it, resides in Boulder just on the principal of keeping your enemies closer.

Nebraska, beating the Buffs by three scores late in the game, drove deep into CU territory when they get stopped on a third and short. My wife’s stepbrother leapt into the air and shouted, “God damn it!”

The Huskers kicked a field goal to pad their lead, but Mike was still fuming. He wouldn’t let go of the idea that Nebraska blew a chance to tack on another touchdown.

My wife looked at me, rolling her eyes. I knew what she was thinking — Nebraska’s got the game won. What’s the big deal?

Well, the big deal was something that Mike and I both knew. Nebraska wasn’t merely playing Colorado (who, by this time had been driven by Dan Hawkins to the conference cellar). Nebraska was competing against the hypothetical performances of other upper-tier football teams were they to also play the Buffs. So beating Colorado by three touchdowns isn’t sufficient if you can imagine Ohio State, Alabama, or Oregon beating them by five or six.

This was a concept well established by the time I started following the Huskers in the 1980s. Hammering Utah State 63-13 the second game into the 1988 season wasn’t a mere act of inhospitality. It was a necessity. Because you just knew that if Oklahoma or Florida State were wailing on the Aggies that day, they’d be doing it by at least as much. Utah State was not so much an opponent, but a gauge. A way to judge whether or not the Huskers looked capable of toppling a big dog.

Bill Bryson, the well known travel-writer/humorist once described attending a Husker game as Nebraska leading their outmatched opponent by six touchdowns, while the obnoxious throng in the stands brayed for more.

Bryson obviously doesn’t get it. He comes from a world in which 17-point wins over the likes of Illinois State are no cause for concern. That world is called Iowa.

But, for fans west of the Missouri River, we know better.

When (South) Alabama falls five or six touchdowns behind the Huskers on Saturday, that’s when the collective nerves at Memorial Stadium will first be soothed. Because Alabama will actually be down on the turf, too. Facing off against the Jaguars, superimposed over the Scarlet and Cream.


Why the Huskers’ Loss Can Be a Good Thing

I love winning. It’s like better than losing. You know what I’m sayin?
– Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.

Half a week later, the sting of the BYU’s Hail Mary (or Hail Joseph Smith) still reverberates down the spine of any Husker fan. It is a loss that can’t be forgotten soon enough but it’s one that won’t be.

The last time the Huskers dropped a season opener at home, most of the team was still a good ten years away from being born. And if you want to feel even older, many of the player’s parents were still kids themselves  back in 1985.

Exactly 60 minutes into the first game of the Mike Riley era, one of the two last great Husker streaks was broken so quickly that it didn’t seem at all real.

BYU’s final dagger from 42 yards out was like in a Kung Fu movie when someone is killed so quickly they don’t realize they’re dead. It was Hanzo Sword straight through the heart of the Big Red faithful.

At our watch site, hope lasted until the replays confirmed everyone’s most unthinkable fear. Instantly, our spirits plummeted faster than Wile E. Coyote once he looks down and realizes he stepped off a cliff.

After a game that bordered on perfection (as much as a season opener with a new staff and scheme could be perfect ) for 59:59, that final second reality check may be just what the Huskers needed in order to make this season a success.

Don’t consider the gut punch from the football gods a cosmic smiting of all that is considered holy with Husker Nation. Yes, winning 30 consecutive home openers would have been a nice notch in the belt but how many of those victories were anything more than a pack of wolves feasting on lambs?

The role reversal of the hunter becoming the hunted can be a great motivator for the team and staff. While it’d be great to see the Huskers march into Miami with a bounce in their step and a perfect record, a chip on their collective shoulders and gravel in their guts and spit in their eyes can be what carries this team through the entire season.

These guys are all now coldly aware that they can be beaten at any time and how they respond to that will shape how the season plays out.

Make sure you’re buckled up tight. There’s only one game down and at least 11 more to go. It’s going to be a heck of a ride no matter what.


View from the Boneyard: BYU

I’m always so amazed how waking up on a Husker game day at 8am is almost effortless, especially considering how difficult it is for me to roll out of bed to get to my 12:30 classes half of the time.

Our casual group of five arrived at the stadium just before 11am (after eating copious amounts of french toast made by yours truly), but five soon grew to over 15 as we realized how many seats we needed to save in the front of East Stadium.

After so many years of going to the games early, you start to recognize the reoccurring people who arrive hours before kickoff. Walking up to East Stadium, you’re greeted by students in fun costumes, students playing catch with a football, and The Iron N’s football sport directors telling you to “do the Westerstache.”

The Iron N football sport directors (minus Allison Redwine) telling fans to “do the Westerstache.”

Hours of waiting outside of the doors in the unbearable heat were made easier thanks to Zesto’s bringing ice cream for everyone. Seriously—you’re the real MVP.

The cries of “3, 2, 1” echoed outside as students in South Stadium got ready to “walk” up the ramps to their seats. Ever since my freshman year, students have been threatened by security to walk—not run—to their section since students kept running into the large concrete pillars in the past. Personally, I say let natural selection take its course, but that’s just me.

Not even Abraham Lincoln could persuade the powers that be to open the East Stadium doors just a little early. 

There are few things on game day more frustrating than waiting to be let in to East Stadium after South has already been let in, especially since watching the chaos of getting to the front row is one of my favorite parts of game day.

It’s a lot like watching the Hunger Games, honestly. Every man (or woman) for themselves as people push, yell, and weave through other students in the bloodbath to get down to the front rows. May the odds be ever in your favor.

This year was the first year that I hadn’t been worried about getting to our spot in time. It’s kind of comforting knowing that roughly 15 people waiting in line with you are all trying to save spots for the same group.

Hayley Archer Boneyard
Front row seats secured!

The Boneyard was entertained before the game by its new official DJ Phipp Phippa, who was able to get students to go down to the field to dance, as well as get everyone involved in some new Husker chants.

Despite having the DJ, two and a half hours of waiting inside of the stadium can start to drag on. Students passed the time by meeting new students, reuniting with old friends, and even getting Sam Foltz’s attention with a “Foltz 4 Heisman” poster.

The real excitement kicked in once the pregame festivities began. This year was the first year that I was actually a part of the Go Big Red banner in East Stadium. No one warned me how easy it is to get completely engulfed in it as it comes back down, though. Rookie mistake.

tifoStudents in South Stadium bring the Boneyard tifo to life.

Everyone in the section seemed to be showing off the goosebumps as the Tunnel Walk happened, and I stood there shaking like one of those little lap dogs that had just been asked if they wanted to go for a walk.

BYU’s team ran out on the field and was soon greeted by a chorus of boo’s from the South Stadium students. East Stadium was quick to call out the freshmen and sophomores on their etiquette, though. If we’re going to take Minnesota’s motto and make it our own by saying “Nebraska nice,” we better live up to that. Granted, I went the entire week saying “more like BY-Eww am I right?” but I’m pretty sure the only offensive part of that statement is how horribly stupid it is. Much like most of my jokes.

After months of waiting, the Huskers are moments away from return to action.

Can You Feel It blasted through the stadium as The Iron N’s newest project was displayed. I can say from experience that a lot of hard work was put in to that project, especially after spending countless hours painting and trying to tell as many people there about this exact article that I’m writing. So yeah, hey guys. (I told them I’d give them a shout out to get them to read this.) (Editor’s note: This is a brilliant move, always.)

The game began and everything seemed right again in Husker Nation. Shoes were raised during the kick off and I managed to only almost fall off of the bench while dancing twice, so there was definitely progress from previous years. Seriously, those benches are narrow.

It was weird though to be at my first Husker game without my partner-in-crime, my former roommate and now Husker marketing intern best friend. Thankfully that void was filled during the second quarter when she was finally done working.

With the first touchdown of the season scored by Westerkamp (#DoTheWesterstache),  everyone was relieved to finally be able to release their red balloons into the sky without having to worry about accidentally releasing it prematurely and facing the judgement of their peers.
Memorial Stadium Balloons
Balloons were let loose following Jordan Westerkamp’s jaw dropping touchdown catch. What a way to start the season.

There seemed to be a serious disinterest from many fans during the second quarter, in which the Huskers were unable to put any points on the board while BYU got two touchdowns and a field goal.

The attitude changed with an injury to Sam Foltz, causing fans to jump out of their seats screaming at officials. With that occurring during the only time that I had left the student section, I realized that I had probably jinxed everything and that I should never leave the Boneyard during a game again.

The new energy seemed to fuel the Huskers as they kept BYU scoreless in the third, especially after an interception by Nate Gerry. Some of the energy was lost in transition to the fourth quarter, where most people blamed the oddly quiet pump up music being played over the sound system.

Honestly, I was thinking about how the Huskers had the game in the bag during last few minutes of play. But when 15 seconds started ticking down, you could see the looks of fear in Husker fans as the clock stopped with one second remaining. The dreaded one second.

Soon after students were greeted by a celebrating BYU coach making his victory lap around the field. No one left the section for multiple minutes after the end of the game from pure shock. I guess this is how Northwestern felt not too long ago.

In my opinion, we probably jinxed ourselves by not keeping up with the greatest Husker tradition of all time: Valentino’s Slice of Life. But that’s just me.

But as the random passerby said after the game, “if we can make it through Callahan, we can make it through anything.”

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


Sunday Morning Hot Takes: BYU Edition

Welcome to our first edition of Sunday Morning Hot Takes where we’ll be delivering a fresh, steaming pile of hot takes following every Husker game.

So… how ’bout that BYU game?

If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it through the night to see another sunrise. I haven’t yet ventured outside but I’ll go out on a limb and say that the sun has kept its 4.5 billion year streak of being where it’s supposed to be going for a least one more day.

Granted, that final second of regulation ended with as much shock and horror as seeing an animal shelter get napalmed but we can get through this Husker Nation.

It’s a long season. There will be peaks. There will valleys. And there’s a pretty damn good chance that 90,000 fans will not get their hearts ripped out on the final play of a game at Memorial Stadium for a long, long time. (Or at least a few weeks.)

Mola Ram BYU
Who knew Mola Ram was a BYU fan?

Before we dive into the hot takes, we must first drop the worst humble brag ever. In our interview with former BYU linebacker Austen Jorgensen, there was a little nugget where he absolutely nailed the outcome of the game.

Austen Jorgensen Prediction


Mike Riley: Two things are clearly apparent: 1) He does not rattle under pressure and he certainly had his fair share on Saturday. One can only imagine he keeps a screaming chamber in his basement.

A visualization of Mike Riley’s top secret screaming chamber.

2) Even at 62-years-old, his heart his clearly in tip top shape. Yes, he slumped over when the refs signaled touchdown but he walked off the field under his own power. Even as cold blooded as he is, Bill Snyder would not have survived that ending.

Coach Riley’s calmness must be contagious because it even carried over to Husker Twitter. These tweets were from when things weren’t exactly going right.

Behold the calmness and rational thoughts!

Tommy Armstrong: Holy crap did he look sharp. Yes, he had a few low points (and one crazy pass that gave Husker Nation a T-Magic flashback) but overall he clearly bought into what Danny Langsdorf is selling. Our DVR mercifully stopped recording with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter but his pass to Brandon Reilly the final time the Huskers had the ball was a sight to behold and his best pass of the game. He put the ball exactly where it needed to go. Tommy just needs to remember he has a pretty fast set of wheels underneath him and be a little quicker when it comes to deciding to tuck the ball and run.

Danny Langsdorf: Hey man, the Huskers are kind of known for running the ball. Maybe you could add some more of those plays next week? And that number 32, he’s kind of a beast. Maybe call his number a few more times. Oh, but it was really cool when you mixed up some of the old stuff following Nate Gerry’s interception. Do more of that and Husker fans will love you long time.

Jordan Westerkamp:  Another season opener. Another jaw dropping catch. Say what you will about Adidas, but they at least know how to make a jersey that stays in one piece.

Jordan Westerkamp Catch
The Huskers got their first points on this season on this nice little stretch play. Please, tip your server.

Mark Banker’s Defense: Every time I started writing a stupid tweet (note to self: you can save drafts) that said Mark Banker was an anagram for Kevin Cosgrove, the Blackshirts adjusted and got a stop. They’ll figure out how to stop a Hail Mary eventually. 

Sam Foltz: Best wishes to Thunder Leg for speedy recovery. It was really great to see the Huskers pay tribute to him by not punting and scoring a bunch of points instead for a while there in the second half but how about Tyson Broekemeier stepping up huge when the Huskers truly needed to punt?

Tanner Mangum Granted, he’s a freshman who graduated high school in 2012 but he’s still a freshman playing in his very first game. On the road. At Nebraska. And he walked off Tom Osborne field swinging the biggest pair of stones of the day. Hopefully the BYU equipment team will get him a helmet that fits now that he’s officially a legendary quarterback and switch the letters on his jersey so that his last name magically becomes Magnum. If you’re gonna have eyebrows that look like a pair of Tom Selleck mustaches you might as well play the part. Plus, how sweet would it be if he took the field to the theme from Magnum?

Tanner Mangum is 6’3″ but stands 5’3” with the over-sized helmet.

KEEPING IT CLASSY: Thanks to our handy guide to drinkin’ in Lincoln for BYU fans blowing up on BYU Twitter earlier this week, we sort of became unofficial ambassadors of Husker Nation. We’re thrilled to see that Husker fans were living up to their reputation. Good job, everyone.



17: The number of are you still alive? text messages I received from various family and friends in the minutes and hours that followed the game.

6: Points left off the board by missed field goals. Drew Brown will get it back on track. Maybe it’s not too late to get Alex Henery on-board as a volunteer coach?

0: Number of concerned texts I received from my otherwise lovely wife. When I told her about the heartbreaking outcome, she chuckled before saying, “Wait, I thought they always played a high school team so would always won their first game? Did they lose to a high school team?”  She grew up an LSU fan, btw.

38 – 24: Our score prediction as modeled by one of Hollywood Blvd’s Spider-Men. With the Blackshirts holding and the offense rolling, this prediction was lining up to come true.

Spider-man Hollywood Blvd


Unsung Hero of the Day: My KMASHI battery. While it may not be as sleek and slender as a ridiculously overpriced Mophie, it’s built like an offensive lineman and will take your mobile device from zero back up to full power many times over on a single charge. I can’t remember the last I even charged the thing but even with one bar it charged my phone twice yesterday. Plus, it has 2 USB ports so you can help out a friend in need. Best $13.99 you can spend.

Hilarious Twitter account you need to follow (especially if you’re also a soccer fan): Throwball for Brits.

Finally, the award for Most Click-Baity Headline of the Day goes to the otherwise rock solid Hail Varsity crew.

The “featured” tweets belong to Faux Pelini, the Huskers, Hunter Radenslaben, Sam McKewon, the Huskers, Dewayne Wade, Tim Miles, Todd McShane, and Ron Kellogg.

I’m sure they’re all thrilled and flattered to see their tweets in virtual print. Next time, try to feature more people like Hunter. Might help your engagement.


Nick Allen’s Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Huskers

The first game of the Huskers’ season is always a special time full of optimism and hope right up until the moment the first pigskin is launched from the tee into the heavens.

To help ward off any dread that may be sinking in as the hours and minutes tick towards the Huskers’ date with destiny against BYU, we’ve enlisted the assistance of Omaha-based stand up comic Nick Allen. Maybe you saw him on NBC’s Last Comic Standing this summer?

And that accolade (no matter how brief) puts Nick squarely in the position of being the funniest white guy comic living in Nebraska not named Larry the Cable Guy. You can catch Nick in action on September 10th when he headlines the Comedy Underground show at Brewsky’s in Lincoln’s Haymarket.

Take it away Nick…

Guess who’s undefeated baby? The Huskers. Just like they’re supposed to be. New season, new coach, new, new PA announcer. Cue up the Alan Parsons Project. Let’s do this shit.

Right away. Like they should be. Lead by spirit animal Jack Gangwish and a beastly defensive line, NU’s storied defense enters the season with an attitude and intensity backed by decades of tradition.

Another backbone of Nebraska tradition is set to rise again. Milt Tenopir has been a regular at practice. Alex Lewis is a bad ass (‘with record’). All championship teams have rap sheets. A pancake breakfast all season long.

A Head coach with championship pedigree.

TWO Grey Cups.

Plus, the Huskers now have an actual QB coach (who knows how to properly hold a football).

Tim Beck
Have fun with this guy, Urban.

Eli Manning Danny LangsdorfEli will retire with more rings than Peyton. Just like God intended.


Mark Phillpp
Spontaneous bare-foot deadlift of 400lbs.


He could suit up if he had to AND he’s not a golf coach!


Tommy Armstrong

STUD. End. Of. Story. He’s carried himself like a championship QB since his first snap. This year the big wins follow.

Jordan Westerkamp

Total magician. Usually I despise dudes with novelty mustaches but he gets a pass on that.

Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins

Collins and Valentine
Wrecking balls.


He’s not out the whole season.

Sam Foltz

Thunder Leg
Even though he’s a punter, he could probably beat your ass.

No self-respecting football program should ever be intimidated by the Big Ten West.

If you run it, you should  FINALLY be able to stop it.


Tom Osborne
I was on the same flight as him this spring. That has to mean something, right?

According to the coaching staff, a lot of guys are ‘on the come.’ Not sure exactly what that means but it sounds like they’re either on they’re way up or involved in a ‘sticky’ hazing situation. Hopefully they’re rising stars.

11) WHY NOT?
Hey, the Huskers could be pretty good and somebody has to win these games. The past few years they’ve been close. Really close. Shit just fell apart in big games. Sometimes in spectacular fashion but they were ahead in most of those games to begin with. They usually lost one you would have thought they would win too. But they’re close. Plus they’re due. Either way, enjoy it and don’t get too caught up in it.

And if you find yourself screaming at a kid you’d go to jail for buying a beer for– don’t.



BYU Fans: Your Guide To Drinkin’ In Lincoln

Welcome to Lincoln, BYU Fans!

While Nebraska’s capital city may not seem like the most exciting destination, the town does have a couple things going for it.

1) Even without a GPS (and even with impaired brain function), it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to get lost in Lincoln. Navigation  is easier than making a Jell-O salad. The streets run on a brilliant grid system of numbered and lettered streets.

The lettered streets run east/west with O Street considered to be main street. The numbered streets go north/south and any address north of O is considered north and anything south is south. Most folks will give directions based on an intersection e.g. Misty’s Steakhouse (home of the best prime rib in Lincoln and Modern Monks Brewing) is at 11th & P. Boom. Easy, right? Its real address, 200 N. 11th Street, translates to two blocks north of O Street on… wait for it… 11th Street.

If you’re staying downtown (as you should be) consider the Capitol (that 400 foot tall building that looks like a p-e-n-i-s) to be your southern boundary and Memorial Stadium (can’t miss it) to be your northern boundary. Anything between those two monuments is your weekend playground.

2) BOOZE while the streets of Lincoln may not literally flow with beer like the streets of our Big Ten rival up in Madison, the Star City is no slouch when it comes to ease of opportunity to get wasted. Bars are sprinkled throughout downtown as liberally as cheese on Funeral Potatoes. Walk ten feet in any direction and you will find one.

These are some of our personal favorites.

The downtown section of downtown:

Duffy’s – Home of the Fishbowl. You can literally get a fishbowl filled with booze. Perfect for sharing and making friends. Stay in town until Tuesday and take advantage of Dad’s Beer Night. In 2015 you can still get a beer for only a buck.

Duffy's fishbowl
A Duffy’s fishbowl. (Photo: @randallrex14)

Yia Yia’s – Great selection of regional and national microbrews. Best pizza in Lincoln.

Sandy’s – Get an Elk Creek or five and spend a nice night sleeping on the sidewalk under the stars.

O’Rourke’s – Last call in Lincoln is 2am for most spots and O’Rouke’s will keep serving right up until the moment the clock strikes 2. Plus, you can get beer to go here or “off-sale” as the locals call it.

The Brass Rail – If Greek letters permanently adorn any part of your person, you’ll be right at home. Often named one of the best college bars in the US by the scandalous Playboy Magazine.

Zoo Bar – While Donnie and Marie would never play here, this is a great place for live music.

Cliff’s Lounge – Pay tribute to the guy who invented Cliff’s Notes (seriously) by ordering a cocktail served in a pint glass.

The Watering Hole – Chicken wings and beer. Two of man’s most glorious inventions.

The Haymarket section of downtown:

Lazlo’s – Home of Nebraska’s largest microbrewery and one of the best restaurants in Lincoln.

Barry’s – Can’t go wrong with making this classic Lincoln sports bar your game day HQ.

Vega – Live music venue with a tailgate parting on game day.

Brewskys – The most self-explanatory place on this list.

If you need caffeine the morning after, The Mill is the best coffee shop in Lincoln.

When you step out on the town, be sure to proudly, but not boastfully, wear your BYU gear, so you can be easily identified by any Husker fans who’d like to buy you a drink. As strange as it sounds, Nebraska folk love being good hosts to out-of-towners. Anyone living outside Nebraska’s borders is considered an exotic specimen who will no doubt add a dash of excitement to another humdrum day of watching the corn grow.

Like politics and religion, there’s is some decorum that must be followed when talking football with Husker fans. It’s always best to keep things on the complimentary side. If you stick to the following talking points, you’ll be the new best friend of everyone wearing red in no time.

Coach Osborne sure is a legend. You can almost feel his presence in the air.

No matter what they say, I still believe the 1995 Huskers squad was the best team of all-time. The Heisman should have gone to that Tommie Frazier.

Ameer Abdullah and Ndamukong Suh are both on my fantasy team.

I’d love to see Nebraska go back to the option some day.

After everything that happened last season, I’m just glad to see Nebraska moving in a positive direction.**

TAILGATING: While the campus is technically a dry one, authorities tend to look the other way when it comes to adults with valuable booster money drinking. The key is to put whatever adult beverage you’re drinking into a plastic cup. And the best part, the same rules for walking around Lincoln apply to tailgating but even more so. If you’re hungry or thirsty before the game, just walk among the throngs of tailgaters and marvel at how quickly a Husker fan fixes you a plate and hands you a beverage.

Husker Tailgaters
If you ever wanted to have strangers hand you assorted meats, a Husker tailgate is the place to be.

FINAL BIT OF ADVICE: If you’re roaming around downtown and feel the need to tinkle, it’s totally cool to dip into an alley to relive yourself. In fact, it is heartily encouraged. Those Lincoln bike cops cruising the streets like they’re on a mission? They won’t give you a ticket. No way, no how. Heck, they’ll even play lookout for you. Scout’s honor.

**Like those of the Jewish faith not mentioning g-d or Muslims drawing a portrait of Allah, it is best to save yourself any potential trouble and never mention former head coach Bo Pelini by name.

He is still quite the polarizing figure among Husker Nation.


A Chat With BYU’s Austen Jorgensen

Earlier this year, I got to know a guy named Austen Jorgensen through my day job. Austen works for a company called Nuvi. (If you happen to be in the market for a high powered social media monitoring platform, hit him up. Nuvi blows the doors off anything out there.)

After corresponding with him for a while, Austen took our budding relationship to the next level with an invite to connect on LinkedIn. (If you ever need to find me, I’m the Todd Munson wearing a McRib t-shirt.) Checking out Austen’s profile, there was a nugget of info that he’d never mentioned jumped out at me like the flipping Boogeyman.

The dude played football at BYU.

And he wasn’t just on the team. He was a hoss linebacker and a major cog in the Cougars’ defense for the duration of his career which culminated with the 2013 season. After a momentary geek out session, I fired off an email demanding to know why he had kept such a vital piece of information under wraps. From there, we had a pretty serious college football brodown and I got him on the hook to do an interview ahead of BYU’s date with destiny in Lincoln.

In talking talking football with him, the similarities between Utah and Nebraska life became strikingly familiar.  Austen grew up on his family’s ranch, helping to raise high end cattle that becomes the best steak you’ll ever eat. (His rather bold claim was as much of a beef as our conversation had.) Like many Husker families, Austen’s younger brother Colby followed his lead to BYU to experience the pride of playing for their home state school. This spring Colby transitioned from tight end to linebacker and was having a very solid fall camp until he unfortunately fractured his neck during practice.

So… on that uplifting note. Let’s get to the interview.

BIG RED FURY: I wish we could kick things off on a much lighter note but how is Colby doing following his surgery? Is his wife and your family doing OK? Is there anything Husker fans can do to help?

AUSTEN JORGENSEN: I wish we could start a little lighter as well, but luckily Colby is doing well. He’s walking and he is going to be alright after all this. His wife is hanging in there strong and being a great support for him (even though they’ve only been married a few weeks now). There have been a few Husker fans that have reached out to local news sources and others to show the support and love for Colby already. That kind of continued support goes a long ways.  More than people even realize I think.

Growing up were you and your brother pretty competitive with each other? What was it like having him join you in the Cougar program?

Colby and I weren’t in competition much because of our age difference.  But, you know we were going at it on the basketball court and throwing down living room wrestling matches!  Clearly that big brother strength gave me the advantage. Haha. It was really cool to have him come on the team with me and play though. I was pushing for his success and wanting him to be a part of the program with me, so that was a fun experience.

You were pretty heavily recruited out of high school, with Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Cal and Notre Dame to name a few. Did you always know you were going to choose BYU and what was it like playing for your home state school? (Not to brag or try to make your interview about me but in high school I did receive a couple pamphlets about playing Division III baseball so I know all about the recruiting process.)

Haha. You definitely know the feeling. Not even sure I need to cover this question then, my man. Haha. BYU was the first to approach me and offered me on the spot my junior year and I committed right there. I was born and raised in a super small town here in Utah (Mt. Pleasant) where not a lot of people received college attention, let alone a Division 1 athletic scholarship. Both my parents went to BYU for a short time, so I was familiar with their program the most. Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing in the recruiting process, but I did know that I wanted to go to BYU from a pretty young age. Right after the initial commitment to BYU is when the floodgates opened with the other team’s recruiters.

Bronco Mendenhall has the best name for a coach since Vince Lombardi. How was it playing for him?

If you think Bronco is a great name, you should look up the names of his children and brothers! Ha. It was intense playing for Coach Mendenhall. He has a strong personality towards the game and intent on making you the best with intense practices and workouts.  He’s really passionate about the defense, especially with his background, so he focused on our side of the ball a lot. His intense motivation on the defense being as perfect as it can be helped us have some of the top rated defenses nationally for the 5 years I played there. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Bronco’s children are named Raeder, Breaker, and Cutter. Yes, the guy is pretty much raising his own brood of American Gladiators.)

BYU bumped off some pretty big teams and took a lot of others to the wire during your career. What was it that made you guys such a tough opponent that could go toe-to-toe with anyone?

Playing the big opponents and going head to head with them became a challenge that was exciting and fun. The biggest thing that helped us compete with those programs was our mindset. It was preached and an overall feeling on the team that we could play with anyone, no matter the size of the school or team we were playing. Also, we knew we were going to be prepared and bring it as hard as we could every game. The way the defense trained gave us confidence and the mindset that we were going to bring it and hit you as hard and fast as we can while staying fundamentally sound!

Austen Jorgensen Andy Dalton
Austen takes down Andy Dalton. You may know Andy as the guy who doesn’t get Rex Burkhead the ball enough. You can see Austen harassing Andy starting at 2:45 in this video

Mike Riley, Nebraska’s new head coach, comes from Oregon State. Anything in particular that stands out about playing the Beavers?

I do remember that the Beavers mixed up the run and pass quite a bit. One particular play I remember looking for on defense was the front side guard and center lead blocking around the edge for a speed option play. For some reason I remember a lot of counter plays and them trying to play a little bit of smash mouth run game. But, I could be mixing up different games into the fading memory bank over here. Haha.

What was your favorite game that you played in?

Even though we struggled against Utah for most of my years, I absolutely loved playing up at their stadium. I loved playing within the hostile environment and feeling the entire stadium roaring against you. For some reason that was a huge rush and drove me to play better. The runner up to playing the Utes up there would be the game where we smashed the Longhorns up here in Provo. That game was a rush!

You went off against Georgia Tech in a 38-20 victory your senior year. What can I relay about that beat down to my father-in-law who happens to be a GT alum when we visit over the holidays?

You can pass on to him that I hated that game honestly! Haha. No one likes playing defense against a power/speed option offense. The slightest wrong step on defense and you’re out of place for the offense to get a big play. Also, you can let him know that that game was the ultimate “career ending” game for me. The chop blocking form they use for taking out defensive lineman and linebackers is what took my knee out and I had to get surgery just a couple weeks after that game. Kind of a depressing way to end that question. Haha.

Husker fans take a lot of pride in being good hosts to visiting fans. (Seriously, they do. Except for maybe Wisconsin which has been testing the limits of graciousness.) With this being BYU’s first visit to Lincoln, what should Nebraska fans know about the culture of BYU football and Cougar fans that could make them feel welcome? Any special cheers or greetings?

BYU fans act in a similar manner as Husker Nation I believe. They try to be welcoming and accommodating (except to Utah fans. Kind of goes without explanation, haha), so I think the two fan bases will get along. I’m not aware of any particular cheers or chants that would be welcoming. One that doesn’t feel very welcoming and I would suggest not be used is the classic “F— you BYU”.  Although it does rhyme and is kind of catchy, it doesn’t give off the most welcoming vibe. Ha.

What’s your prediction for the game? (Just in case you haven’t been following the Huskers, here’s a quick scouting report: along with a whole new coaching staff and schemes, their most explosive offensive weapon will be out and they seem to be doing their best with making sure they have as many suspended players as BYU.)

It’s hard not to play favorites or have a biased opinion and go with the alum choice of BYU here. But, BYU has done a good job of losing some key players to injury as well as suspension, so that makes the decision a little tougher. Also, the home game advantage in Lincoln is very real. Tough for me to predict a score, but I’ll stick to my bias opinion of BYU pulling off an upset there in Nebraska, with a tough down to the wire game. (Hopefully there’s no hard feelings after this? Ha.) (EDITOR’S NOTE: There won’t be any hard feelings but what you described is basically the worst possible outcome for the Huskers.)

Finally, because Husker fans never got to experience the joy of beating Texas at home during Nebraska’s time in the Big 12, how great was it to take the Longhorns to the woodshed on your home turf?

This really was one of my favorite games to play in within my football career. The atmosphere of that night game was unlike any game I had been a part of. I don’t know how to explain the excitement and overall joy of manhandling the Longhorns. It’s a feeling that I’ll have to hold on to and if anyone would like to understand it further, just imagine winning the lottery, but on a much, much lower scale that doesn’t actually make you rich. Haha.

Austen Jorgensen
Austen Jorgensen helping take the Longhorns to the proverbial woodshed.





The Season Isn’t Over Until It Starts

Hey there dear reader(s)! Remember us? The blog that said it was going on hiatus until August 3rd? Well, with the first game of the season kicking off next Saturday, it’s time we make our staggering return to mid-level glory, new website or not.

Lucky for us, the guy we hired to redesign our site finally found a new Adderall hook up (his old one bolted off to college) so his productivity levels should be returning to normal any day now and he swears he’ll have our updated site ready before the season opener against BYU.

Kickoff is still at 2:30, right?

But enough about us. Let’s get to the reason why we’re all here- the Huskers.

Since we last left off, the Huskers have had their share of drama. Fortunately, most of it was just of the silly kind and not the a-linebacker-stole-a-truckload-of-bikes variety.

To recap —

Wisconsin running back Corey Clement talked more trash than a sanitation engineer convention (hiyo!)when he said the Huskers were a flip phone compared to the Badgers who embodied the far superior and sleeker iPhone.

This in turn caused the Nebraska sports media to unholster their flip phones and furiously text reaction tweets to 40404 as fast as their thumbs could T9 their way to coherent thoughts.

Meanwhile, we mined our kitchen junk drawer, unearthed a Motorola lounging in a weathered Cell Phones for Soldiers shipping bag (hey, it’s the thought that counts) and cobbled this gem together.

Badgers Huskers Flip PhoneGet it? 5 x CHAMP. Are jokes from a month ago still even remotely funny?

Not long after Husker Nation’s big flip out of the summer, the first fall camp of the Mike Riley era was underway and optimism for the season was running high…


Faster than DPE can take a punt to the house, Husker Twitter went straight to DEFCON 1. 

Meanwhile, Husker Facebook was surprisingly rational and borderline optimistic.

Husker Extra Facebook Reaction
Could these comments be a sign that Coach Riley’s inherent mellowness is spreading like a virus among the Husker faithful?

To learn more about DPE’s injury, listen to Dr. Rob Zatechka’s always interesting Husker Doc Talk podcast. Plus, you’ll get to hear a bonus story about Dave Rimington’s love of Burning Man.  (Seriously, WTF?)

While losing an All-American who figured to be a key cog in the Huskers’ offense  is not exactly an ideal start to the season, the important thing to remind yourself is that it hasn’t even started. To put things in the parlance of Vacation, the O.G. National Lampoon version, not this summer’s turd of a reboot, we’re still lost in St. Louis our way to the proverbial Walley World.

The script for the 2015 Huskers’ season has yet to be written and not even a million football savvy monkeys armed with a million typewriters and a communal copy of Chris Brown’s great new book The Art of Smart Football could predict how the season will play out so we might as well do our best to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.


ps: Check it out. We made a pump up video.