Tag Archives: memorial stadium

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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Memorial Stadium, We Need to Talk

By now everybody has posted their play-by-play review of the game on Saturday. I’m not going to give you another one of those, you get it. Things can change, Nebraska actually ran the ball.

Now I’m looking for more changes at Memorial Stadium. Or I’m going to possibly get in trouble.

I’m not ranking these changes that need to happen. They are all of equal importance.

Cheese Runzas

Runza_CheeseCREME

Why is it 2016 and I can only get a plain Runza at Memorial Stadium? If you asked 100 people if they wanted a plain Runza or a cheese Runza, 98 of them would say a cheese Runza, and the other two people wouldn’t have opinions worth respecting. Everything is better with cheese. Now I expect this to be changed by Saturday.

Children

Group of children
They look real cute until they sit next to you for 4 quarters

Two kids behind us somehow separately fell two rows down onto my mom during the game. Glad my mom was there to break their fall. Just kidding, her back hurts and the mom didn’t even apologize. If that’s the amount of attention you are going to be paying to your kids, how about you pay a sitter. I don’t want to go to a game and have children bothering me the whole time. I don’t have kids because I wouldn’t know what to do with them. But I know what to do with yours. Parents, here is my suggestion.

The Wave

Is this the wave that ruined everything?

To quote The Boneyard, “‘The Wave’ started spontaneously in 2012, students and the band will lead the wave throughout the entire stadium, controlling its speed and direction.”

But, according to Leslie Micek of Big Red Fury, the wave should spontaneously stop in 2016. The wave is an abomination. The wave is for followers. The wave is for people who stand up because somebody else stands up. And don’t even get me started on how people in Memorial Stadium do the slow-mo and fast wave. What the hell is that about? Just stop it and watch the damn game.

Stadium Seats

Always nice to have those hard plastic backs be in the space that was meant for your knees
Always nice to have those hard plastic backs be in the space that was meant for your knees

If you give me enough trash bags, I will go around the stadium before the game and end this once and for all. These take up more than one seat and I am going to take a measuring tape to the game and measure a seat and then measure the whole bench because I know I’m right. The only exception I will make is for super old people, I’m fine with the elderly having them but if you are in your 40s or something and need a cushion, stay at home in your La-Z-Boy and watch the game.

Actually, I know I said I wasn’t going to rank anything but I can go without cheese on my Runza if these are all thrown away by Saturday.

I guess life is about priorities.


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Sunday Morning Hot Takes: Fresno State Edition

Well, that was certainly a much better way to start a season.

Between the combination of Mike Riley apparently spending his off-season reading each and every one of his emails with a subject header of “Run the damn ball” and Fresno State being Fresno State, the Huskers gave fans exactly what they wanted to see- a dominating victory by the Big Red.

With enough subtle miscues and missed opportunities to have things to complain about, of course.

The Huskers ran the ball 80% of the time and limited Tommy Armstrong to only 10 passing attempts in a throwback to the era of that other Tommie.

Is this a game plan the Huskers will stick with all year? Who knows? It was just great to see they were able to roll Fresno State without having to empty the playbook. The less details that can be revealed to Oregon the better.

Compared to last season, it was so refreshing to be able to kick back and enjoy the game without the possibility of a brutal, gut wrenching last second defeat entering the picture.

Our Californians for Nebraska watch site was packed from wall-to-wall and felt like the first day of school. Conversations from last season picked up right where they left off.  There were handshakes, high fives, and new faces all around.

Husker Crowd
This is only a fraction of the Sea of Red that had gathered in Hollywood for the Huskers’ season opener.

Hopefully the crowds will keep going because November’s showdown with Ohio State will be interesting to say the least.  Our local spot is also an Ohio State bar.

NEW OLD WATCH SITEWhy yes, in LA a $4 Bud Light is considered a good deal.

Look for us on the next episode of the Big Red Cobcast.

Or in jail…

Funny how bogus targeting calls can do that.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch:

Mike Riley Happy Balloon
All is well in Lincoln for another week.

Our Score Prediction:

One of Hollywood Blvd’s many Spider-Men made the call.

Spidey’s 42-21 final was averaged out from our predictions in our season preview. Not a bad way to start the season.

The last time Nebraska played Fresno State: We were there in Fresno and crashed the Abdullah family tailgate and wrote about it in one of this site’s first posts. You can take a stroll down Husker memory lane here.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

2: Number of sacks by Dapper Ross Dzuris.

Ross Dzuris
Dapper Ross Dzuris. Let’s make this nickname happen, people.

114: Tommy Armstrong and Ryker Fyfe’s combined passing total was Nebraska’s lowest in a season opener since Jamal Lord(!) threw for 78 yards in the 2003 opener against Oklahoma State. The Huskers won that game 17-7.

103: Devine Ozigbo ran for 103 yards on 17 carries. Last season, the Huskers didn’t have a hundred yard rusher until game seven when Terrell Newby put up 116 against Minnesota.

CORRECTION: Newby went HAM against South Alabama and broke off 198 yards in the second game of last season. Let this be a lesson, kids. Don’t comb trough game stats while you’re still drunk from the game.

8: Chris Jones, number 8 in your program and number 1 in your heart, continued his interception streak that started in the Foster Farms Bowl. Like his pick against UCLA, last night’s also came in the end zone.

51-13: The Huskers’ run to pass ratio. That outta shut up your cranky uncle for at least a day.

0: Number of turnovers committed by the Huskers.

27: The tribute to Sam Foltz  was everything you hoped it would be and then some.  Its poignancy was felt all the way out here in California. As the Huskers lined up in formation for their first punt, fans quickly noticed who was missing and the din of a packed bar instantly went silent.

Sam Foltz JerseyYou’ll always be with Husker Nation, Sam.


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Gear Up For Gameday

If you search ‘Huskers’ on eBay, a bunch of things that don’t need to exist happen to show up for sale. So whether you are looking for a new jacket for October tailgating or some artwork for the man cave, get ready for gameday with my eBay round up. In honor of Ryker Fyfe, here are the top 17 Husker items up for sale.

17. Youth Nebraska Cornhuskers Taylor Martinez Small Jersey

Who this is for: A little kid that you hate.

Why you should buy it: I don’t know. It’s basically free, I guess.

Taylor Martinez kids jersey
Too bad it’s not autographed

16. Women’s Nebraska Huskers Lingerie Night Gown

Who this is for: The very lucky lady in your life.

Why you should buy it: As seen on Victoria’s Secret models, probably.

Somebody actually owns this
Somebody actually owns this

15. Vintage Nebraska Cornhuskers Glass?

Who this is for: CU Fans.

Why you should buy it: To break it.

This Ebay user should be reported for listing this as a Nebraska item
This Ebay user should be reported for listing this as a Nebraska item

14. Vintage Nebraska Pager Cover

Who this is for: Somebody who still has a pager.

Why you should buy it: There is only one of these and probably only one person with a pager so it’s a match.

Only one left in the world
Only one left in the world

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers Vinyl Stadium Seats

Who this is for: Awful  people who use these.

Why you should buy it: You shouldn’t. If you sit next to me in these, I’m going to hate you. They take more than one space. You are at a football game, I have faith that you can survive for a few hours without cushions.

If you have to sit on these, you have no business being at a football game
If you have to sit on these, you have no business being at a football game

12. Corn Coozies

Who this is for: Men, women, and children.

Why you should buy it: This is one of those items that you didn’t know that you need, but you definitely do.

A Budweiser would look good in one of these
A Budweiser would look good in one of these

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers bed in a bag

Who this is for: I could see Taylor Martinez having this in his room. Or people who like to have nightmares about mediocre football.

Why you should buy it: It will match your new lingerie.

Act quickly. There are only 10 available, so not everybody will get one.
Act quickly. There are only 10 available, so not everybody will get one.

10. 1997 National Champions T-shirt

Who this is for: Somebody looking for a faded gray t-shirt

Why you should buy it: They haven’t made any of these since 1997

Over priced since you will be able to buy a brand new 2017 version soon
Over priced since you will be able to buy a brand new 2017 version soon

9. Portable Tailgate Cornhole Set

Who this is for: Anybody that wants me to visit their tailgate.

Why you should buy it: Because it’s awesome.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 2.15.20 PM
More than 10 available means I better see some of these at the tailgates

8. Vintage 1997 Huskers Football Unisex Glass

Who this is for: Anyone who loves equal rights and the 1997 Cornhuskers.

Why you should buy it: Not often do you come across a glass that both men and women can drink out of.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.36.03 PM
Equal rights for all drinkers

7. TOM OSBORNE Nebraska Cornhuskers artist signed FOOTBALL ART vintage champions

Who this is for: People who are fans of vintage champions, that’s a nice way of saying they haven’t been recent champions.

Why you should buy it: Art is pretty good investment, and lucky for you, there are more than 10 available at the low, low price of $14.99.

Looking good, Dr. Tom
Looking good, Dr. Tom

6. Nebraska Huskers 90s Starter Jacket 

Who this is for: Someone who can fit in a child’s XL.

Why you should buy it: It’s cool as hell and there is no denying it.

I'm going to look so good in this
I’m going to look so good in this

5. Taylor Martinez Signed Photo

Who this is for: Somebody with $40 too much money in their bank account.

Why you should buy it: Probably don’t.

Closed eyes, full hearts, can't lose
Closed eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

4. Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini Signed Football

Who this is for: A true fan who remembers the best of times and the worst of times.

Why you should buy it: Similar versions with only a Tom Osborne signature are about $100 more. This is a bargain. Just white out Bo’s signature.

Free shipping because the owner wants this out of their house
Free shipping because the owner wants this out of their house

3. Rare Warren Buffett and Tom Osborne Autographed ball

Who this is for: People who weren’t interested in the bargain Bo Pelini ball above.

Why you should buy it: Maybe it comes with an authentic email from Warren asking why you just wasted $3,500.

Warren would not approve of this investment
Warren would not approve of this investment

2. Nebraska Huskers Recruiting Machine Telephone 

Who this is for: Anybody that has the numbers for Darnay Holmes or Joseph Lewis.

Why you should buy it: If a recruit knew you were calling on this, they would probably commit immediately.

Probably the only missing piece in the recruiting process
Probably the only missing piece in the recruiting process

1. Bo Pelini business card

Who this is for: A collector of rare items, misprints, and mistakes.

Why you should buy it: Stick this in your man cave so the next time the Huskers lose, you can remind everyone who is really at fault.

Integrity-Trust-Respect-Teamwork-Loyalty The 5 pillars of Bo's existence
Integrity-Trust-Respect-Teamwork-Loyalty: the 5 pillars of Bo’s existence

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words, you’re doomed, Northwestern.

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

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

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

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

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

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View from the Boneyard: Wisconsin

This one was so personal.

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

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

This one hurt so badly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then the game was over and the Huskers won.

…Just kidding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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