Tag Archives: lincoln

Field Trip: A Visit to Vintage Red Sports Gallery

With the Spring Game kicking off in less than 24 hours, it’s about time we dusted the cobwebs off this site.

Did you miss us?

When we left off,  hopes were running high that the Huskers would leave Nashville with a victory in the Music City Bowl. That didn’t exactly happen and we’ll just leave it at that.

In the meantime, the Big Red Fury World Headquarters relocated from its Hollywood adjacent location to the hills of Northeast Los Angeles, not far from the Rose Bowl. My wife and I bought a house that included a daggum fort in the backyard. And if that wasn’t enough, it came equipped with a TV, a bar, and a Kegerator.

The new Big Red Fury World Headquarters

The previous owner, a retired Naval Aviator built this fort with his bare hands and now that it was in my care, the first order of business was getting it set up as a proper Husker hangout.

Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend I was back in Lincoln for a buddy’s wedding and on a mission to bring home some Husker collectibles.

As the luck would have it, I stumbled into a Husker store in the Haymarket that was so brand new its owner was still getting settled in.

Vintage Red Sports Gallery is nestled into the ground floor in one of the Haymarket’s many new buildings and is the creation of JC Wickstrom. It’s half vintage Husker store, half Husker museum, and 100% incredible.

Wickstrom has been obsessively and methodically collecting Husker memorabilia since he was a kid and his collection in the museum section of his store rivals anything you might see in that stadium across the road. In fact, it was so impressive that I went back for a second look instead of making a pilgrimage to Memorial Stadium before heading to the airport.  On both visits, Wickstrom was available to play tour guide and his stories were as fascinating as everything he has on display.

Here are some  of the many highlights.

If you ever feel the need to chill among Husker artifacts, Vintage Red Sports Gallery is your spot.

Everywhere you look you’ll see a piece of Husker history. Wickstrom plans to use the museum space to host signings and special events during football season.

The pink #12 jersey was game worn by Bobby Reynolds. According to Wickstrom, an equipment manager kept it as a souvenir and his young son would often wear it when dad was gone. One day, the jersey picked up a little dirt during a backyard football game and the son tossed it in the wash, thinking dad would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, he didn’t account for the possibility of the red numbers bleeding onto the white of the jersey. Whoops. Also, it should be noted that I forgot to ask Wickstrom if the kid survived.

You’re going to need to stop in and ask Wickstrom about how he came into possession of the ORIGINAL Memorial Stadium horseshoe.  It was totally legal but still required years of waiting and an Ocean’s Eleven  amount of planning to pull it off.

The 1996 Fiesta Bowl case.

NBD. Just Tommie Frazier’s Fiesta Bowl cleats complete with Fiesta Bowl dirt.

Lawrence Phillips’  and Mike Minter’s Fiesta Bowl jerseys.

This case is filled with items Mike Rozier had laying around at his mom’s house. Seriously.

The Turner Gill case. Look close and you’ll see the ‘G’ doesn’t match. Back in the day players got one home jersey and one away jersey and that was it.

This glass from the 1940 Rose Bowl is the only one known to exist.

TO’s Orange Bowl headset. Frankie’s practice jersey.

Ameer Abdullah’s Holiday Bowl uniform.

Yep. Looks legit.

Speaking of bowl games, here are the  programs from every Husker bowl game.

When I asked Wickstrom if I could shoot some photos, his only stipulation was that I had to include his all-time favorite player, Derek Brown.

Vintage Red owner JC Wickstrom shows off one of his latest finds.

The retail side of Vintage Red is loaded with one-of-a-kind items.

Nobody tell Clester Johnson that Tim hocked his jersey.

My big score from Vintage Red, a section of Memorial Stadium turf.

Vintage Red Sports Gallery is located in Lincoln at 800 Q Street Suite 103. 

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Hey Oregon, Welcome to Mike’s House

Oregon,

We need to talk. Don’t worry. This is all going to be for your own good. I just want to make sure you little Duckies are prepared for what’s going to happen on Saturday.

You’ve probably been licking your bills for a while now at the prospect of migrating halfway across the country just to beat up on your former in-state rival like the good ol’ days of your annual Civil War.

But there’s one tiny problem.

Mike Riley isn’t at Oregon State anymore.

He’s at Nebraska.

Sure, I could start rattling off all the ways Riley’s coaching toy box has been upgraded but the truth is he’s just getting a taste of what it’s like to be in your Nikes, with world-class facilities and talent far beyond what he had in Corvallis. His playing field is finally level with yours.

But he has one big advantage that can’t be bought with Phil Knight money.

Heck, it can’t even be bought with Warren Buffett money.

And that’s Husker Nation.

While there’s no official date for when it was founded, a great case could be made for November 3, 1962, the day the Huskers’ sellout streak started. The Big Red lost to Missouri that day but the fans were back for the next one and all the others for the past 54 years. You Ducks have the honor of being number 350.

That’s kind of a big deal especially when you consider Memorial Stadium has nearly tripled in size during that time and Bill Callahan was head coach for a while.

Things are a little bit different around these parts. You’re going to be greeted by 90,000 of the most loyal and passionate fans you’ve ever played in front of anywhere. And that includes the little nest you call a stadium. (54,000 fans for your home games? Cute.)

Those fans (who will all be wearing red, btw) have known since Monday they won’t be sitting down for the duration of the game. All it took was a tweet from a linebacker that simply said #NoSitSaturday and everyone was like ‘Cool. We’ll spread the word.’

That’s how people roll in Nebraska. We take care of each other. Someone needs a favor? It gets done. Mike Riley is one of us now so when he steps onto that sideline, 90,000 people will have his back along with another million plus watching from afar.

Oregon, when you come out of that tunnel, it’s important that you’re prepared for what’s going to happen.

First off, no matter how loud it gets, and it will get loud, Memorial Stadium will not fall apart. She may feel like she’s about to crumble but don’t worry. She’s as solid as a rock. Mostly.

Either way, you’ll probably want to dip into your vast wardrobe and pick out some pants that can hide crotchal region stains (both the front and rear kind) just to be safe. Maybe something in a nice dark green? That should do the trick.

It’s going to be so loud you may feel yourself getting knocked backwards by the sheer force of 90,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs. For as much as these folks want to see the Huskers win, they don’t mean you any genuine harm. No matter the outcome, they’ll be cheering for you after the final whistle. It’s what Nebraska fans do.

So there you are, taking it all in and you see him.

mike-riley-flo-rida
Welcome to Mike’s house.

Yes, that inflatable Bob’s Big Boy looking thing is definitely a creeper and he’ll be there to welcome you onto the field. His name’s Lil’ Red and just go with it. Maybe even make a mental bookmark of the moment you make eye contact with his black, soul-less eyes. You’ll already be having the most surreal experience of your football career so why not make it just a little bit weirder?

Now kickoff. That’s when the fun really starts.

You may have read somewhere that Mike Riley’s Huskers can be a little unpredictable. For as frustrating as that can be, it’s been kind of fun that every game brings a new surprise. Will the Big Red decide to kick it old-school and pound the ball down your bill until you give up, or will Tommy Armstrong have the green light to go full Tommy, or maybe a mix of both to really keep your defense on their webbed toes?

Then there’s the problem of dealing with the Blackshirts.

Oh, you have an Olympic hurdler as a wide receiver? Well the Huskers have the guy who set the South Dakota state record in the 200 meter dash and he’s really good at making interceptions and too good at making tackles. Trust me, if you happen to make it past the defensive line, he’s not somebody you want to run into.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to go hang out in a park and beg for bread crumbs, there’s a rumor going around that the Huskers are getting hooked up with Yeezy Cleats.

If that happens, you’re doomed. Everyone knows it’s a proven scientific fact that a person runs faster in new shoes and Yeezys are far from being another boring pair of Nikes.

Good luck tomorrow, Oregon. You’re going to need it.


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Hey K-Dubs, Here’s Your Guide to Watching Husker Games at Home

Good news, everyone! Keith Williams didn’t get fired.

From what I’ve been able to decipher through the flurry of tweets leading to stories blocked by paywalls, K-Dubs will remain suspended without pay through August 31 and won’t be attending the first four games in any capacity.

Games three and four, as you may know, are Oregon and at Northwestern. Good thing being good at catching the ball has never been important when playing the Wildcats.

In the interim, Mark Philipp can double up as strength and receivers coach. We all know that K-Dubs has ingrained such a T-1000 level of  killer technique in his receivers that the only coaching they’ll need in his absence are occasional subtle, yet stern reminders to not drop the ball.

And who’s better to do that than a guy who could rip you in half?

Mark Philipp
Mark Philipp, a guy who could rip you in half.

Now that we’ve solved the temporary coaching crisis, let’s move on to the topic at hand.

The stark reality is that K-Dubs has probably never watched a Husker game at home. Up until last season, he never had a connection to the team and before that, the guy was busy doing football stuff with other teams. Best case, he might have randomly caught one between 1997 and 2000 when he was out of football according to his bio.

OK K-Dubs, here’s how you Husker like you’re one of us.

STEP 1: STAY THE F HOME

Don’t go try to crash some tailgates or check out the scene at the Railyard. As much fun as it is to be a fan, you need keep a low profile, my friend. The last thing you want to do is wander through someone’s Snapchat story.

STEP 2: FOOD 

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T ORDER A PIZZA. Everyone and their brother who isn’t at the game will all have the same brilliant idea to order a pizza. If you’re lucky (which, let’s face it, you are and we’re glad), it will show up in the middle of the third quarter but if your luck has run out, expect to see it on your porch by Sunday morning.

But what you want to do is bribe your extraordinarily understanding and loving wife with whatever it takes for her to swing by the nearest Runza drive-thru for you and pick up a few of Nebraska’s greatest sandwiches that can’t really be classified as sandwiches.

(My inner-fat kid also suggests stopping by Taco John’s for some Potato Olés to cross the streams of Nebraska deliciousness but we won’t press our luck. Runzas will have to do.)

runza-largeThe venerable Runza.

To go with your Runzas, you’ll need some sodas, maybe some sparkling water, and a party tray of carrots, celery, etc. If you need to stress eat, you might as well try to be healthy about it.

STEP 3: THE TV

Bigger and high-def’er is always better but as any Husker fan in the western reaches of the 308 will tell you, a Husker game can be just as stressful and exciting when you’re listening to it on a crackling radio while on the edge of your seat in a combine (the tractor, not football kind). But you’re city folk, so you can get the best of both worlds: TV and Radio.

Download the official Huskers app so you can stream the radio broadcast instead of listening the schlubs on TV drone on about Tommy and Jordan being roommates. Spend the first couple minutes of the game synchronizing the stream to your TV. It takes a little trial and error but once you get it locked in DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.

One last important detail, make sure your cable package has the Big Ten Network. If you need a password to watch online, hit me up. You can use the one I borrowed.

STEP 4: YELLING AT THE TV

Since you’ll be streaming the radio broadcast, you can pop-in your ear buds and have the TV on mute. Your wife will love you for that but what she won’t love is the inevitable screaming and yelling.

You have three options to prepare for this:

1. Treat your extraordinarily understanding and loving wife (and however many friends she’d like to bring along) to a spa day. (After she picks up your Runzas, of course.)

2.  Buy a screamin’ pillow to muffle the sound. Scream PillowThis is pretty self-explanatory.

3. Adopt a kitten. Todd and WillardThe calmest Husker game of my life took place on October 30, 2010, mere days after Willard was sprung from the pound. It also helped that the first quarter ended with the Huskers up 24 – 0 over Missouri thanks to Roy Helu Jr. running wild.

STEP 5: SOCIAL MEDIA

Think of this as the digital version of strolling through the Big Red Sea of tailgaters. No matter how hard you’re tempted, DON’T TWEET DURING THE GAME. It will just open the doors to trolls and you really don’t need to give that butthole coach at Ohio State a reason to be a bigger butthole.

What you can do, and I highly recommend it, is slide into the game thread on Huskermax. You don’t need to be a member unless you want to comment. Depending on what exactly you read though, you might want to become a member just so you can cool off some of the inevitable the-sky-is-falling hot takes and conspiracy theories. Seriously, bro. It’s like that every game.


Welcome to the other side of Husker Nation, K-Dubs. While it will be nice to have you among us, we can’t wait to see you back on the field.

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The Season Doesn’t Have a Reset Button. We Gotta Roll With It.

We’re still 19 sleeps away from the season opener and it’s already becoming one for the books.

The news of Keith Williams‘ arrest on a suspected DUI appeared on my phone Sunday morning (thanks, Leslie) right as I was about to do a swan dive into a $12 breakfast burrito.

My appetite vanished as I read the details of what happened… crash at 9th and N (at least it was only a four block ride to jail) and a possible third DUI, tipping the scales at a .15 BAC.

Honestly, even one DUI isn’t excusable but, if we’re really being honest, there’s a good chance we’ve all been one faulty taillight away from finding ourselves trying to walk a straight line on the side of the road.

But three DUIs? Hell no. Completely inexcusable. Especially in an age where an Uber, even in Lincoln, is a press of a button away. Then there’s the fact that the Star City is one of the greatest cities to pedal a bike around at night shitass drunk. I did it for five years and it was awesome. Plus, every bar has a bike rack out front so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Here in LA, a DUI ends up costing the lucky recipient around $10,000 just in fines and legal fees. That’s 1,000 $10 Uber rides and translates to a lot of nights out without having to worry about anything other than if your driver can properly follow GPS directions. (Hey, since you’re here, get a free Uber ride on us. #ad)

Will Williams stay on with the Huskers? That’s a hard decision and one that has to suck for whoever ends up having the final say on the matter.

Did he instantly lose all his credibility as a respected coach and mentor to college kids? Well, a person can learn a lot by messing up and taking the steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Williams seems to know this all too well.

But will he be standing on the sidelines come September 3rd?

As much as the Huskers rule everything around us, he has more important stuff to worry about and let’s all hope he finds the support he needs to fix it.


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SPRING GAME INVESTIGATION: Who Was the Fan in the Dick Shirt?

Nebraska’s 2016 Spring Game went off without a hitch, except of course for that part where the Big Ten Network apparently only planned on broadcasting three quarters of football, causing fans at home to miss the debut of Patrick O’Brien.

But who am I to complain? Until yesterday morning, the Big Ten Network and (most importantly) BTN2GO was far, far out reach.

Let’s just say that dreams come true when you work hard and pray to the Twitter gods .

As a freshly minted Big Ten Network subscriber, words can’t begin to describe the joy of spending a gorgeous April afternoon indoors to watch the Huskers’ Spring Game.

What a sight it was to behold: The Sea of Red. Tommy’s YOLObombs. Running backs who look legit. That last remaining Cotton kid doing his family proud. Mike Riley standing on the sidelines looking like he might say something.

And if that wasn’t enough, there was a fan in a dick shirt.

Yes. A dick shirt.

Late in the 3rd quarter (or close to quittin’ time according BTN’s clock) the live-stream cut to senior safety Nate Gerry on the sideline talking to a fan.

Husker fan in Dick Shirt 2

While one could arguably look past the fact that an adult (fans gonna fan) was monopolizing Gerry’s time while a group of young Huskers were eager to bask in his presence, it was impossible to look past the hefty dick drawn across the left shoulder of his shirt.

Here’s a closer look.Dick Shirt Close Up

Dick Shirt Close Up
There’s no doubt that’s a dick and if you look close, it appears that someone had the honor of signing the shaft.

Four seconds later, our anonymous Husker fan goes for the kill and asks Gerry to sign his dick shirt.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 3
“Whoa. Bane’s really gonna sign your dick shirt!”

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 1Meanwhile, another fan peers over dick shirt’s shoulder like Maynard during the gimp scene in Pulp Fiction.

Husker Fan in Dick Shirt 5Little Ameer realizes where this is headed and peaces out. Good work, kid.

It was at this moment the BTN’s feed cut back to the action on the field. Apparently showing a dick shirt signing all the way to completion was far too racy even for the internet.

Still,  questions remain.

Did Nate Gerry fulfill the fan’s request? In the last screen grab he wears the expression of someone who grudgingly realizes he’s about to sign a dick shirt.

Why was the fan wearing a dick shirt in the first place? Bachelor party? Look close at his hat. It the puffy paint doesn’t look like it spells out “GROOM.”

Was it Mardi Gras in April? That would explain the beads but how did he earn those beads?

Did he lose a bet?

Who else signed his dick shirt? In the screen grabs at 5:24 and 5:20 it looks like there are several other autographs on the torso. Or is that his shopping list for when he runs to the store after the game?

Someone out there has to know this guy and his story.

Help a slightly better than average Husker blog out. Give us some details about this mystery man.

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Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Wisconsin Edition

Before kickoff yesterday, we shared some new and bizarre ways for Wisconsin to beat the Huskers to add a little spice to the boring predictability of blowout losses. One way we didn’t suggest was a last second Badger field goal because that just seemed to a little too trite.

We all know how that worked out.

Rafael Gaglianone
How it feels when coach says he’s taking you to Olive Garden to celebrate.

How Much Stress Can One Blogger Take: Yesterday was the first Husker game I watched at home in three years. With kickoff at 12:30 and the first pitch of the Dodger game at six, I chose to stay home and increase my odds of getting to see the end of the game and make it to Chavez Ravine in time.

For the record, it is exactly 7.6 miles from our driveway to Dodger Stadium.

Thanks to an Obamajam and USA playing Mexico at the Rose Bowl, LA traffic was promised to be extra crazy so we planned to leave at four.

The clock struck the fateful hour with about five minutes or so left in the game. The only perk of staying home was being able to sync up the Huskers app and watch the game with the ESPN choads on mute. Up until that second, everything worked like a charm until my lovely wife said, “You can listen to it in the car.”

15 minutes later she was dragging me out of the house by my ear without granting even a second to mourn what had happened to the Huskers yet again.

We listened to the post game press conference en route and her thoughts on Mike were that “he sounds like a nice guy and maybe a little sad.

No kidding.

Luckily, the Dodger game made for a nice, relaxing Saturday evening of October baseball. It wasn’t at all the craziest game I’ve ever attended thanks to Chase Utley‘s fateful, game tying double play break up. While social media was imploding with outrage, the feeling in the stands was completely different. The Mets fans surrounding us thought what happened was an acceptable baseball play and were more upset about getting hosed on getting an out at second. Once it was revealed that Tejada suffered a broken leg, the mood for both sides definitely turned somber. Before you rail on Utley, think how you’d feel if it were Alex Gordon breaking up a double play or remember how you felt when Kenny Bell laid down his soul crushing block.

Leave it to a Giant’s blogger to have probably the most rational take on what happened. And for good measure, here are some previous thoughts from Mets manager Terry Collins about the need to be tough when breaking up double plays.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Last week’s pile of poo is now on fire.

Mike Riley Flaming Pile of Poo

Our Score Prediction:

Pretty far off-base on the score but it’s all there was to work with. The magic score prediction hat is still MIA and may or may not have gone missing after seeing Van Halen at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday night.

Best Shade of the Day:

DPE: Remember when DPE broke his foot but the silver lining was that if everything went OK he’d be back in time to run wild against Wisconsin? DPE had a pair of receptions for 31 yards. Since his return at Illinois, he’s been a complete non-factor.

Running Back by Committee: Can this please stop? Last week it was Imani Cross who was absent from the backfield. He returned this week with Ozigbo taking his place in parts unknown on the Husker sideline. And does Mikale Wilbon need to get his picture put on a milk carton or what?

Jordan Stevenson: His redshirt was burned for 14 kick return yards, a couple touchbacks, and the honor of becoming running back number five.

Andy Janvovich: This is the perfect summation of his 55 yard touchdown run.

That Bankshirt Defense Tho: When Wisconsin got the ball back with 63 seconds to play, you just knew it was going to be curtains for the Huskers. It was inevitable that Joel Stave was going to find a way to shred the Huskers’ secondary like cheddar and he did just that, taking the Badgers from their own 30 to the Huskers’ 28 in only three plays. Not to beat the dead horse of bringing up the old regime but chances are they would have rolled the dice and dialed up a blitz on one of those plays. Getting Stave to the turf just once would have chewed up some major clock for Wisconsin.

Dirk Chatelain and Hip Hop: As someone who professes his love of The Boss in his twitter bio, it shouldn’t be surprising that Dirk may not be the most well versed when it comes to that hippity hop but this passage in his otherwise on-point column is a real head scratcher-

…the speakers blasted “Let Me Clear My Throat,” an old-school hip-hop song that, when it comes on the radio, prompts your father to turn the station.

DJ Kool dropped Let Me Clear My Throat in 1996. While Pearl Jam is starting to show up on classic rock radio from time to time, mid 90s hip hop is a little too new to ever be considered old school. And then, there’s the issue of Let Me Clear My Throat even appearing on radio outside of a specialty station such as 93.5 KDAY. So with that in mind, for “dad” to even have a chance to hear DJ Kool, he would already be listening to a hip hop oriented station and would probably turn up the radio, not change the station.

Or, maybe “dad” is riding shotgun and your car and if that’s the case he should be respectful of the universal “my car, my rules” policy.

NUMBERS TO DEPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

1: The number of times a Husker running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a single game this season. (Newby hit 198 against South Alabama.)

394: Sam THUNDERLEG Foltz‘s yardage on nine punts. The Husker offense racked up 325 total yards.

3: Total carries for last week’s running back of the future Devine Ozigbo.

39.28: Tommy Armstrong‘s completion percentage. He was 11 – 28 on the day. He’s currently at 52.4 percent on the year which is almost a full tick below last year’s 53.3%.

36: The total margin by which the 2 and 4 Huskers have outscored their opponents this year.

17: Jordan Westerkamp‘s total receiving yardage the past two games.

17, 715: The turnout for #7 Youngstown State‘s rumble with #4 Illinois State. The Cardinals flew away with 31 – 29 victory after the Penguins’ 2 point conversion and ensuing onsides kick failed.

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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.

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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.

MIKE RILEY OUT


9 FEBRUARY 2015

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.

MIKE RILEY OUT


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.

MIKE RILEY OUT


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.

MIKE RILEY OUT


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!

MIKE RILEY OUT


5 SEPTEMBER 2015

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.

MIKE RILEY OUT


12 SEPTEMBER 2015

Dear Diary-

Hip, hip, HOORAY!!!

That is all.

MIKE RILEY OUT


20 SEPTEMBER 2015

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!

MIKE RILEY OUT

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Monday Rage: Who Woke Up Angry About Miami?

Welcome to the first installment of Monday Rage for 2015.

We wish we didn’t have to pull this feature out at all this season but as we did more than a few times last year, every Monday we’ll provide a snapshot into the mood and ever so fragile psyche of Husker Nation on the off chance they lose a game.  (Note: BYU was such an aberration, it did not deserve the Monday Rage treatment.)

Thanks to Twitter, conducting this research is all too easy. Our only ground rule is only the freshest tweets will be highlighted, there’s no dipping back into Sunday when the wounds of a Husker loss were still fresh. Nope, we want fans to have time for things to cool off and scab over.

Good times.

Before we dive in, we’d like to introduce a new feature we’re calling Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch.

This is Mike Riley and his balloon at the start of the season.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

This is Mike Riley and his balloon following the Miami game.

MikeRiley Sad Balloon

Will Mike’s balloon be back to full strength following the Southern Miss game? Let’s hope so. Our Photoshop skills are extremely marginal at best.

ON WITH THE TWEETS!

Look at that positivity. Way to kick things off on the right note, @DellthDude.

*be

Amazing.

Brilliant use of the rage emoji to spell Bo. WHY HAVEN’T WE SEEN THIS UNTIL NOW?

Apparently it doesn’t count as a “red zone trip” if you catch the ball outside of the red zone and truck on through it for a touchdown.

Why turn to your therapist for life’s important questions when you can tweet a couple dudes with a sports talk show?

We like Kevin’s style.

Nailed it. And thank you dear reader(s) for clicking on this story.

Overall, we’d that that the psyche of Husker Nation is holding strong at the moment. We’ll see how it does as the season progresses or (heaven forbid) regresses.

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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.

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