Tag Archives: tommy armstrong

The Big Red Fury Season Preview: Our Most Optimistic Post of the Year

As the calendar lurches towards the start of the season, each passing day brings fans new reasons for hope or dread as college football prognosticators trot out their previews.

Well, we’ve got nothing but good news and better news for you, dear reader. All three of us here at Big Red Fury summoned the ghosts of football future and came away with a consensus opinion.

The Huskers are going to kick a lot of ass this season.

The only question mark is exactly how much ass will be kicked.

Pour yourself a glass of Kool-aid. You’re going to enjoy this preview.

Game 1: Fresno State – September 3

FRESNO STATE FAN
At least one guy is pumped to be living in the Grand Island of California.

KUBRICKIAN GLEE: Tim DeRuyter got off to an auspicious start as Fresno State’s head coach when he landed in the raisin belt capital back in 2012. He won two straight Mountain West Conference titles while amassing a solid 20-6 record. Since then, Tim’s luck has gone to shit. The Bulldogs are just 9-17 over the last two seasons. You may remember Nebraska terrorizing these bastards on their home turf back in 2014 in a 55-19 waxing. Things aren’t going to get much better for the Bulldogs when FSU hits Lincoln for the season opener. Nebraska 49 Fresno State 10.

TODD MUNSON: It’s not BYU so I’m happy. Does the dad from Orange County Choppers still coach the Bulldogs? Huskers roll 42-17 and give fans visions of somewhere between 1995-1997.

LESLIE MICEK: I think it’s going to be a bigger blowout than 35-14 but I’ll stick with with something more realistic. This is the part of the season where anything is possible. I would have said BYU would have been a blowout last year but then I watched them throw a Hail Mary.

Game 2: Wyoming – September 10

WYOMING FANS
Pull your pants up, son. You’re wearing a bucket, old man.

KG: Right about now Craig Bohl might wonder why he exchanged the dynastic FCS bounty of Fargo, North Dakota for the massive headache of trying to run a Division 1 program out of Laramie, Wyoming. Sure, the scenery beats the hell out of Fargo, but former Husker Bohl had become the Tom Osborne of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, forging a run not dissimilar to Nebraska in the mid 1990s. But now? Bohl is the owner of a 6-18 record playing in the God-forsaken Mountain West. Relish those 2015 victories over Nevada and UNLV, Craig, because you and your Cowboys aren’t waking up from your prolonged nightmare any time soon. Nebraska 45 Wyoming 14.

TODD: It’s a rude return to Lincoln for Craig Bohl. Nebraska wins 52-21 in such a convincing fashion that fans will momentarily forget that Oregon is coming to Lincoln the following week.

LESLIE: Wyoming stinks. Huskers win 45-7.

Game 3: Oregon – September 17

Sad Ducks Fans
When your Tinder date turns out to be a juggalo

KG: It’s Duck season! Nebraska fans have this date circled on their calendars the day these two teams were scheduled. Some of the luster may have fallen off, though, after the recently mighty Ducks fell back to Earth a little in 2015 with a disappointing (for them) 9-4 campaign. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost’s departure to UCF also saps a little of the intrigue this game had going for it just a year ago. But seeing Mike Riley get a crack at his old in-state nemesis with an arsenal like he’s never had in Corvalis— there’s still plenty to get excited about.

The Ducks, as usual, will be able to put up some points on the Blackshirts. But Oregon’s own defense is a definite liability. Opponents scored an average of 44 points against Oregon in 2015. And most of that personnel returns in 2016. Throw in a questionable quarterback situation (that has former Husker commit Terry Wilson in the mix), and conditions seem favorable for Mike Riley getting a little payback against the old neighborhood bully. Nebraska 42 Oregon 38.

TODD: This game is the only question mark on the Huskers’ home schedule and there’s no middle ground. A win for the Huskers will mean the sky’s the limit for the season (at least until October 29). A loss, no matter how close, will mark the return of  the dark cloud of doom (at least until October 29.) Best case scenario for this game is that Coach Riley channels his inner John Kreese and sweeps the leg for a full 60 minutes. Huskers win 28-24.

LESLIE: I’m glad they don’t have  Vernon Adams or Scott Frost anymore. Easy to root against them again. Huskers. 28-21.

Game 4: at Northwestern – September 24

NORTHWESTERN FANS
A moment of silence for these poor kids who were rejected by Ivy League schools.

KG: Let’s be honest, before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, what would you have predicted Nebraska’s record would be against Northwestern five seasons in if you’d have bothered to even think about it? 5-0? 4-1, allowing for some strange fiasco of an upset somewhere along the way?

Well, Nebraska is now 3-2 in conference vs. Northwestern. And all but one of those games has turned out to be a nail-biter. Last season’s match was one of a gamut of frustrating, heartbreaking losses within the final minute of play, despite Nebraska outmatching the Wildcats in virtually all facets of the game. The difference in that contest (as with most in 2015) was turnovers. Nebraska had just one against Northwestern, but it was a big one — a 72-yard pick-six with just over seven minutes left in the half. Nebraska was marching on that drive and, had Armstrong’s pass gone the other way, it would’ve meant a 17-7 lead that probably wouldn’t have been relinquished. Instead, the Wildcats took a 14-10 advantage, giving them just enough to stave off Nebraska’s control of the game in the second half.

If Armstrong is new and improved in the turnover department, as some observers have said, things probably won’t be quite as rosy for Northwestern this year. Even with the game in Evanston which, let’s be honest, isn’t a particular advantage for the home team. Nebraska 31 Northwestern 21.

TODD: The good thing about playing Northwestern on the road is you don’t have to worry about the Wildcats coming into Lincoln and finding a new way to humiliate the Huskers. Nebraska hasn’t lost at Evanston since 1931 and they won’t do it again this year. Huskers win 31-17.

LESLIE: Not only am I planning on sneaking onto the sidelines again at that embarrassment that they call Ryan Field, I’m planning on dancing after a bunch of touchdowns. Huskers 34-does it even matter? Northwestern is losing.

Game 5: Illinois – October 1

ILLINOIS FANS
Sorry, Chief. Lovie Smith won’t save your Illini from another horrible season.

KG: Prior to the Purdue debacle, Illinois was the absolute nadir of Nebraska’s season in 2015. I still boil with anger when I recall the manner in which Nebraska squandered a 13-0 4th quarter lead only to lose in the final ten damn seconds. It was like watching the scene in Austin Powers when the security guard screamed for a solid 60 seconds as Powers’ steamroller inched toward him. All he had to do. All Nebraska had to do. Was step out of the way.

When the Illini come to Lincoln this year, expect something more akin to the Pelini-era outcomes. Nebraska 49 Illinois 17

TODD: Just to prove that last season was a total aberration, the Huskers should run the ball every time they face a 3rd & 7 and rack up 150+ bonus yards in the process. Chief Illiniwek gets wrecked 42-10.

LESLIE: I’m worried because Illinois will be coming off a bye week and I’m just kidding. Huskers 31-14.

Bye week – October 8

KG: I’ll be driving the choo-choo at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch.

TODD: Do some yard work. Reintroduce yourself to your family.

LESLIE: I predict Nebraska will win.

Game 6: at Indiana – October 15

INDIANA
A capacity crowd was on-hand for Indiana’s season opener last year.

KG: One of the most intriguing matches of 2016 is Nebraska’s trip to Bloomington. The Hoosiers have the most statistically dominant offense in the Big Ten — although, talent-wise, that title probably should go to Ohio State. Nonetheless, Indiana can put up some points and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just ask the 2014 SEC East champions, Missouri. The Tigers fell to Indiana 31-27. On the heels of an Indiana loss to Bowling Green, too. 

The Hoosiers will be game for a basketball-type score (what else would you expect), but Nebraska should have no trouble tearing through Indiana’s defense. This one is going to be a track meet (and a little too close for comfort) but I see Nebraska pulling it out. Nebraska 41 Indiana 34. 

TODD: This is Nebraska’s sixth season as a member of the Big Ten and it’s their first time squaring off against Indiana as a conference opponent. Your days of dodging the Big Red are over, Indiana. Huskers win 55-21.

LESLIE: A battle to the death of two teams coming off 6-7 records. Only difference is that Nebraska is a lot better than their record shows. Also, Indiana plays Ohio St. the week before and Nebraska comes off a bye. Sorry, Indiana. Huskers 45-17.

Game 7: Purdue – October 22

PURDUEPhotos of Purdue fans do not exist on the internet so here are some Indiana fans insulting the ladies of Purdue.

KG: Revenge will be at hand. Purdue is the worst team in the Big Ten and they will come to Lincoln having poked the gorilla with its ridiculous 55-45 win last year. Look for Nebraska to eliminate the five turnovers that turned last season’s match into an embarrassment. Nebraska 49 Purdue 17.

TODD: The Huskers should save the Boliermakers the trouble of a road trip and just schedule an Indiana/Purdue double header the week before. Or, they could give Tommy the week off and let Ryker start so he can get chance at cold-blooded revenge. Huskers win 38-24.

LESLIE: Goals for the Purdue game this year: under 4 interceptions, rush more than 77 yards, and win. Simple. Huskers 37-14.

Game 8: at Wisconsin – October 29

badgersfansWisconsin fans are creeps.

KG: Quick trivia question: What is Nebraska’s combined record vs. Big Ten juggernauts Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State?

Is it a) 4-10 or b) 10-4?

If you said “b” 10-4, give yourself a cigar! This cherry-picked bit of knowledge belies the notion that Nebraska has struggled in its time in the Big Ten. Nebraska has, in fact, posted the 4th best league record since joining the conference in 2011. While it hasn’t quite hit the mark that most Husker fans anticipated heading in to the Big Ten, Nebraska has held its own in virtually every category. Except one.

Playing Wisconsin.

Oy. I wonder if Barry Alvarez has any mixed emotions seeing the Monster of Madison he created bat his alma mater around like Lennie Small petting a scared bunny. While Mike Riley’s Huskers did a great job of not allowing the Badgers to embarrass Nebraska (in a way Pelini rarely could), the last second loss was still among the hardest to stomach in 2015. Andy Janovich’s 55-yard burst up the middle in the waning minutes of the game had Husker fans believing the Wisconsin demon had been exorcised. But no, the Cheesehead Linda Blair had one more gullet of projectile vomit to spew in our collective faces.

It will be tough. But I think Nebraska goes to Madison and takes care of business. It helps that Wisconsin, I believe, is on a slow downtick from its respectable run of the last decade. Nebraska 28 Wisconsin 24.

TODD: Welcome to the first installment of the most terrifying two weeks of the season. Since joining the Big Ten, the Huskers’ average margin of defeat when playing at Madison has been a robust 33 points. For the sake of it being August and all, I’ll go out on a limb and say Mike Riley delivers an eat shit and FU of his own to the troglodytes who call themselves Badger fans. Huskers 24 Badgers 21.

LESLIE: Don’t be scared, Todd. The Blackshirts won’t be. Huskers 24-17.

Game 9: at Ohio State – November 5

columbusriot1
This is what happens when Columbus runs out of Cincinnati Chili.

KG: Ohio State. What’s there to say, really? Urban Meyer scares the shit out of me. And so does the talent level in Columbus. Still, in this age of parity, no team is absolutely invincible. Nebraska will get beat in The Horseshoe. But make no mistake, Riley and his squad will make a game of it. Nebraska 28 Ohio State 34.

TODD: If you’re traveling to this game, here are two things to know: 1) It’s only 175 miles from Columbus to Youngstown and 2) Bo Pelini and his Penguins will be playing on the road at North Dakota St. If you regret not egging his house when he lived in Lincoln, this is your big chance to make amends and give yourself at least one thing you’ll want to remember because I don’t see how the Huskers can escape that burning couch of a state with a win. Ohio State 35 Nebraska 21.

LESLIE: Todd doesn’t seem to understand that it’s August and this is the time right after depression and right before reality. The perfect time for optimism. The Huskers are going to walk right into that dump called Ohio Stadium and make that WR coach Zach Smith want to delete his twitter account. I hope they pass the ball 100% of the time and win so we can all tag him with the #Shhh hashtag that he loves so much. Westerkamp, DPE, Reilly, and Stan the Man are gonna get savage all up in Coach Smith’s face. Honest to god, I hate that guy. Shut him the hell up. Huskers 28-21.

Game 10: Minnesota – November 12

sel 4078Minnesota Nebraska
If you don’t have enough fans who are willing to spell out your team’s name, you don’t deserve to have a team.

KG: Jerry Kill had a remarkable run at Minnesota, moving the Gophers from an after-thought to a solid middle-of-the-conference program. I genuinely feel bad for Jerry and his health issues. But I’m not sorry to see him absent from the opposite sideline of Nebraska. The Husker dominance of Minnesota resumed in 2015. Onward. Nebraska 45 Minnesota 21.

TODD: A week of many hack Caddyshack jokes being made by this site culminates with the Huskers starting a new win streak at the expense of the Gophers who will find themselves hiding near the bottom of the Big Ten West standings. Huskers win 31-17.

LESLIE: If the Huskers could beat you last year, they can definitely beat you this year. Huskers 55-21.

Game 11: Maryland – November 19

MARYLAND FANS
Supposedly this is what Maryland fans look like.

KG: Maryland and Nebraska meet for the first time ever in Memorial Stadium. Since the two teams are unfamiliar with each other, it’s good news for Nebraska that the Terps are about as intimidating as a squad of actual turtles. Nebraska 51 Maryland 24

TODD: You might remember Maryland as the team who had those atrocious uniforms a couple seasons back, or for their most famous alumni (Shawne Merriman) dating Tila Tequila. If you need to use this weekend to prep for Thanksgiving you’re in luck. This game won’t be close. Huskers 42 Maryland 20.

LESLIE: Three wins last year? Good lord. Stick to basketball, Maryland. Huskers win by a billion.

Game 12: at Iowa – November 25

IOWA FANS
When Iowa fans realize their welfare checks aren’t big enough to cover Powerball tickets or an oil vaporizer pen and the Vape juice.

KG: The worst 12-0 regular season program I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing take the gridiron. As snake-bit as Nebraska was in 2015, Iowa was itself holding aces all season. But both teams showed their true colors in bowl games — a solid 37-29 victory over UCLA by Nebraska (a healthy margin that, quite frankly could’ve been even healthier) and a 45-16 ass shellacking of Iowa by Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Iowa made rings to mark their 12-0 regular season accomplishment. Good for them. Fucking losers. Nebraska 45 Iowa 10.

TODD: Mike Riley puts the exclamation point on #IOWAHATEWEEK by stealing the keys to Herky Hawkey’s El Camino and burning some donuts on the 50 yard line of Kinnick Stadium following a Huskers blowout victory.  Huskers win 38-14.

LESLIE: If I was running things, Iowa would have to sit out a year for that Rose Bowl performance. But since it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, Nebraska is going to have to play them. Unlike last season, Iowa actually has to play some real teams before Nebraska, so there is no chance they go into this undefeated again. As you can tell, I actually have the opposite. Nebraska is going in there undefeated this year and kicking some Iowa ass. Leave me alone. A person can dream. Huskers 21-17.

(But for real, watching Iowa collapse at the Rose Bowl was the highlight of last season.)

Final regular season tally:

KG: Huskers go 11-1 with a loss to Ohio State.
TODD: Same.
LESLIE: Huskers run the table and go 12-0.

Remember, what you just read is published on the internet, so you know it’s true. GBR.

Share

Meet Our New Contributor Leslie Micek

Hey there, remember us? Hope so because our off-season hiatus is back off, again. We trust you’ve been having a great summer, staying cool, never changing, and catching a boatload of that Pokéyman.

Before we resume our usual Husker high jinks, we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Micek, a five star recruit who’s joining the Big Red Fury squad this season.

If you’re a regular participant in #Huskers Twitter, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her hot takes and observations on game day. If you haven’t, follow her here. Leslie is a world-class smart-ass, probably knows more about the Huskers (and sports in general) than you do, and can pound Bud Heavies with the best of them. (Actually, she’d probably put you under the table.)

Since there’s really no way to improve upon an intro like that, let’s get to her interview.

You hail from the land of Kool-Aid, aka Hastings, aka Tom Osborne’s hometown. What was it like growing up in the southern corner of the golden triangle that is Nebraska’s tri-cities area? 

Perfect. Nebraska is a great place to be a kid, you can always be outside with a relatively low chance of finding any real trouble. I played with a lot of fireworks, rode my bike a lot, and constantly bothered all of the neighbors. I moved in 3rd grade, but my dad still lives there so I go back a lot and do Nebraska things like go fishing and attempt to learn how to play pitch. Not many people can say they were at the very first Kool-Aid Days back in 1997 (or something like that). And yes, that’s a real thing.

Leslie Micek
Leslie Micek, Husker fan, catcher of delicious bass.

What’s your earliest Husker memory? 

Winning. The teams of the mid 90s set me up for a lifetime full of disappointment. Thanks a lot, Tommie Frazier. Sometimes I get on YouTube and watch things like this- –

–it doesn’t help. I think I thought Nebraska was supposed to play in the championship every year. I mean, they are supposed to, they just don’t.

What’s your all-time favorite moment in your history as a Husker fan? 

A couple of years ago I sneaked onto the sidelines of a game at Northwestern. My friends had media passes and passed one back to me. I got to witness my boys Ameer and Randy Gregory up close and personal. It was awesome, until they figured out at the end of the third quarter that I wasn’t supposed to be there and kicked me out. I tried to say I lost my badge but the security guy wasn’t having it. It was just fun to know that I could yell at Bo if I chose to…I didn’t. By the way, that Northwestern stadium is pathetic.

Leslie
Not many fans can say they’ve had a Husker coach send them their own HUDL highlight of their sideline freakout. See if you can spot Leslie going nuts at Northwestern.

What’s the one loss that still sticks in your craw the most? 

One?? Besides the obvious big losses, some personal memories have to include that very special BYU game last year. I decided last minute to go with my mom. I needed to be part of Mike Riley’s first game. I needed to be there. I did not need to see that BYU Hail Mary. Also, a special memory from the UCLA game in 2013 taught me to never make fun of my friends and their team until the game is over. The 18 point comeback by UCLA was brutal, I ended up being at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood from 9am-2am that day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s a 17 hour(!) shift at a sports bar.

Who’s your all-time favorite player?

I’m bad at favorites. I would say either Tommie Frazier or Lawrence Phillips. There is a video compilation on YouTube of Lawrence Phillips running all over everybody for like 5 minutes.

He was just unreal. His story is heartbreaking but I find it very interesting. I think he is tied to be my favorite but he is the most interesting to me. Hope the upcoming 30 for 30 does his story some justice because I don’t think people know or understand the whole story of his life.

What’s your outlook for this season? Do Mike Riley and company have you feeling optimistic? 

HCMR and Co. have me pumped. They are recruiting really well and the energy is contagious. As Phil Steele said, the Huskers were 5 plays away from being 11-2 last season and has them as his No. 2 most improved team this season. To be honest it’s the best time of the year, the time to be delusional and say the Huskers are going undefeated. Everybody tweet to me after the Huskers first loss and remind me that I’m a moron (but I see them at least getting to the playoffs, their schedule is pretty good, minus the Ohio State part).

What are your feelings on the phrase “Run the damn ball?” 

I scream it at my TV enough that I suppose I like it.

You went to a “certain college” that was a former conference rival to Nebraska. You don’t have to name it, but was it like being a Husker fan behind enemy lines?

It was always fun to bring people from the school that will not be named to Nebraska for the games. They knew I wasn’t there permanently and referred to me as a tourist. I enjoyed showing them around Lincoln and introducing them to my Nebraska friends, and of course the local Runza. They always had a good time and the trips usually ended with us staying awake in the Cap City long enough to see the sunrise. It was quite a different experience for Nebraska fans making the trip to Columbia, they have some unwelcoming fans. I remember a story about some Mizzou fans letting all the air out of some Nebraska fans tires.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Um, I think you just named the school. 

Rank the following Big Ten teams from least to most hated: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin. 

1.Ohio State
1.Michigan
1.Michigan State
1.Wisconsin
1.Northwestern
1.Penn State
1.Iowa 

I’m an equal opportunity hater. I hate them all. Also, I have never understood the root for your conference stuff. If Nebraska loses, why do I want their competition to win? No thanks. Sorry to break it to Ohio State, but I will never be cheering for them.

Which one of the following Husker media types would you most like to have a beer with? Dirk Chatelain, Sam McKewon, Mike’l Severe, Tom Shatel, Steven M. Sipple.

Probably Tom Shatel because I don’t follow him so he hasn’t gotten on my nerves yet.

You’re one of the fortunate people who can claim being both a Husker fan and a Dodger fan. How would you say the two fan bases compare? 

I think they both are similar because they have very dedicated and loyal fan bases. It’s pretty easy to be dedicated for 12 games a season for football fans but I meet Dodger fans that watch 162 games a season. I would like to think that’s what Husker fans would be like if there were that many games. They are both also very knowledgeable fan bases. I think Husker fans know more than the average football fans, especially regarding recruiting. Dodger fans are the same way, they are very educated about their team and their opponents.

I’ve always thought of LA as sort of like a United Nations of college football where you’ll go to a bar and see many different colleges represented. Is there a school’s fans that you find almost likable and is there a group that you find completely obnoxious?

 I don’t know about a likable fan base but as soon as I thought of an obnoxious and unlikable fan base, my first thought was The U. They are all unbearable.

 How would you say the overall college football knowledge base of an average Nebraska fan compares to other college football fans? 

Husker fans blow everybody else out of the water in the category. I don’t know a lot of other fans that follow the recruiting process so closely. When I talk to other college football fans they don’t usually know who they are after and don’t attend any of the camps. Nebraska fans are big football dorks and will attend almost anything. I drove an hour and a half and through a fire in Calabasas to a Nebraska satellite camp last month and didn’t think twice. But speaking of recruits… Darnay Holmes, please come to Nebraska.

On those rare occasions that Nebraska loses, what’s your mood like after a game? How long does it take you to recover? 

Such a rare occurrence that I can’t remember the last time that happened. But for future reference, nobody should contact me the rest of the day.

Who’s your number one QB if you’re building a team? Tommy Armstrong, Eric Crouch, Tommie Frazier, Joe Ganz, Taylor Martinez.

You go Tommie Frazier 100% of the time. As Tommie Frazier says “T Fraz, he was too smooth, he was too fast” in this classic rap song by Terrel Farley and Tommie Frazier:

Would you rather have one Ndamukong Suh or two Peter brothers anchoring a defensive line? 

It’s had to turn down two DTs on the greatest college football team of all time, but when Suh is the other option. You pick Suh. Plus he is the size of two people but only one scholarship. That’s a bargain.

Amigos or Taco John’s? And what’s your go-to order? 

Amigos. I love their chips and cheese and their crisp meat. The crisp meat is like a crispito from school lunches, I’m sure nobody will know what that is either. But I could really go for some Potato Olés right now.

How would you explain a Runza to someone who’s never heard of one? 

This actually comes up a lot. I say its kind of like a cheeseburger baked into a roll. But better. Then I just usually talk about the mini corndogs and fries and people are on board.

Finally, let’s say you have a Kool-Aid stand out in the desert and from over a sand dune appears Bo Pelini, He’s been lost and wandering for days. How much would you charge him for an ice cold and refreshing glass of Kool-Aid? (Hypothetically, you’d have a square reader and he’d have a black AMEX.) 

 He better hope there is another Kool-Aid stand around.

Leslie Kool-Aid Stand
That’s right, Bo. Keep steppin’.

Share

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.

Share

Husker Valentines

Did you forget Valentine’s Day is this Sunday?

Not to worry, we have you covered with an assortment of Husker themed valentines. There are a dozen to chose from and dare we say they are perfect for expressing your true feelings to your Big Red sweetheart.

Feel free to poach whatever valentines you like… right click, screenshot, whatever floats your boat. You can also find a gallery on the Big Red Fury Facebook page that is perfect for sharing.

Tommy Armstrong ValentineThere’s no bolder move than chucking up a #YOLObomb when you only need three yards. If you want to go big this Valentine’s Day, Tommy Armstrong has you covered.

Jordan Westerkamp Valentine
Jordan Westerkamp is a receiver, get it? Yes, this is our version of the Choo-Choo Chose Me.

And while you’re here, check out our new Westerkamp highlight reel.

Josh Banderas Valentine
Perfect for when Cupid steals your heart… or your bike.

Michael Rose Ivey Valentine
Michael Rose-Ivy’s valentine will hit you like 1/8th of a ton of bricks.

Mikale Wilbon Valentine
Remember that time Mikale Wilbon actually got to play and he looked really good?

VINCENT VALENTINE
Vincent Valentine is ready to help you erase any doubts about commitment issues and let your boo know that you’re in it for the long haul.

Mike Riley Valentine
This digital Valentine was made with all-natural, allergen-free pixels. 

Nate Gerry Valentine
Unlike Nate Gerry, you won’t get ejected for delivering this fierce, yet perfectly legal valentine. 

Sam Foltz Valentine
Step aside Cupid, Thunderleg Foltz is delivering this one.

Scott Frost Valentine
It’s not stalking if you know it’s true destiny.

Tommie Fraizer Valentine
Sorry, Tommie. We had to do it.

Bo Pelini Valentine
Relationships are a tricky business and sometimes there’s a person you just can’t quit.

Share

Sunday Morning Hot Takes: UCLA Edition

If the first thing you did when you woke up this morning was check the box score from the Foster Farms Bowl, don’t worry.

You weren’t the only one who did that.

It wasn’t a dream. Nebraska really did run wild against UCLA and came away with a 37-29 victory that was equal parts fun and gut-wrenching anguish.

Even when the Big Red was trailing 21-7 midway through the second quarter, Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf stuck to their game plan* and continued to pound UCLA like Rocky slugging a side of beef. It was a glorious sight to behold as the Huskers chipped away at the Bruin defense a few yards at a time and rattled off 30 unanswered points.

UCLA finally replied early in the fourth quarter with a quick and methodical secondary shredding strike to pull within 8 points but that would be it. A missed field goal and absolutely clutch end zone interception by Chris Jones would seal the Bruins’ fate. The Huskers finally ran out of new and cruel ways to blow it at the end.

*Let’s Talk About That Game Plan: No doubt this next week will be full of think pieces and talk radio jibber jabber about how Riley and Langsdorf have finally found the light when it comes to Huskers’ offensive identity. Were these new look Huskers the result of a philosophical sea change or was it something as simple as Coach Riley checking his twitter mentions while enjoying a complimentary omelet at the Embassy Suites?  Could an endless stream of eggs imploring him to run the football actually have enough sway to make him throw UCLA a change up for four quarters? It would be amazing if that were the case. If there was one thing message board coaches got right this year it was the need to run the football.

Three Quick Wishes For 2016…

1) The Return of Tommy Legstrong: Tommy ran for 305 fewer yards in 2015 (400 vs 705). Splitting the difference in 2016 would be gravy.

2) A Lockdown Secondary (or at least one that isn’t consistently beaten): UCLA’s 60 yard bomb in the second quarter looked eerily similar to other times the Huskers were repeatedly scorched on the deep ball throughout the season. Then, when the Bruins started to rally in the fourth, they ran the exact same screen pass 4 or 5 times. The only variation was flipping the formation to the opposite side of the field one time.

3) A Nickname For Nate Gerry: Here are a few that come to mind… Jailhouse Rock, The Convict, Penalty Box,  Big Boss Man, Lock Up, Early Exit… (good thing there are still 9 months until the season starts)

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: A solid win over UCLA means Coach gets his balloon back for the off-season.

Mike Riley Happy Balloon

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

17:36: The Huskers’ time-of-possession advantage over UCLA.

62: The number of times the Huskers ran the ball against the Bruins for a total of 326 yards on the ground.

Now let’s compare that effort to the rest of season:

BYU – 37/126
S. Alabama – 37/258
Miami – 34/153
S. Miss – 39/242
Illinois – 34/187
Wisconsin – 37/196
Minnesota – 36/203
Northwestern – 38/82
Purdue – 33/77
Michigan State  – 36/179
Rutgers – 35/174
Iowa – 38/137

4: The number of times the 1995 Huskers, aka the greatest team in the history of college football, topped 62 rushes during their entire season. (70 vs Pacific, 63 vs Washington State, 68 vs Iowa State,  68 vs Florida)

And all this leads to Larry the Cable Guy winning the award for “Most Accurate Tweet of the Night.”

Share

Foster Farms Bowl Preview

Cue the triumphant clucking of humanely raised, steroid-free chickens.

The Foster Farms Bowl is finally here.

You’re excited, right?

Like more excited than this chicken, right?

If you’re finding it hard to nod in agreement like some kind of subservient chicken, it’s OK. It really is. In all honesty, I’ve kind of tuned out the lead up to the Foster Farms Bowl. It’s amazing how the return of Star Wars can make a guy instantly forget about the woes of the Huskers. Still, they have a game today and I’m back on the Big Red train in full force.

Here’s our preview…

If you can remember all the way back to September, UCLA went in to the season at #13 in the AP Poll. If I recall correctly, the Bruins were a pre-season top 10 on Sam McKewon’s ballot. Luckily, for the sake of its voters, the AP doesn’t keep an archive of week-by-week ballots so that can’t be confirmed.

UCLA had a hot 4-0 start, including a one point squeaker against BYU thanks to Tanner Mangum’s last second magic finally running out. From there, the Bruins hit the skids hard against Arizona State and at Stanford where Christian McCaffrey had a record setting day en route to the Cardinal winning by three touchdowns. Still, the Bruins won the yardage battle by a healthy margin.

That sort of statistical anomaly has been a hallmark of UCLA’s season. Against Colorado they were out gained 554-400 and had the ball for only 19 minutes, yet they won 35-31.

After crunching all of UCLA’s games, the key to beating the Bruins looks to be the ability for a team to one thing well. Go through the air like Washington State or do a ground and pound like USC, the Bruins can be shredded by a team that sticks to its guns.

And could very well be the Huskers’ problem.

Have Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf used the bowl practices to finally forge an identity into their offense? Or is it going to be another case of another game, a whole new look?

Here’s hoping they took a page or two from USC’s methodical pummeling and feed the Bruins a steady diet of seniors Imani Cross and Andy Janovich, assuming they remember they are still on the roster. Add in a dash of Jordan Westerkamp and some non-horrible decisions by Tommy Armstrong and the Huskers could leave Levi’s Stadium with the win.

No matter how it shakes out for the Huskers, the Foster Farms Bowl is going to be one odd duck of the game.

If the Huskers lose, they’ll notch their eighth loss in a season for the first time since the 1951 squad went 2-8. At least the 1-9 record of the 1957 Huskers will be “safe” for at least one more year.

If the Huskers win tonight, especially if it’s by a convincing margin, they’ll head into the off-season with a nice boost for 2016 but there will still be that unshakable aftertaste of a team that clearly didn’t live up to its potential.

Even still, sleeping through class and acing the final exam is a much better way to go out.

Let’s turn this D minus of a season into a D+. GBR.

UCLA BRUIN
Mark it, Donnie. The Huskers will win 31-17.

BONUS CONTENT

A stat to impress your friends with: Tommy Armstrong is no longer the FBS interception leader. That honor currently belongs to Virginia’s Matt Johns who has 17 to Tommy’s paltry 16.

UCLA field trip: In case you missed it, I took a field trip to UCLA to see if anyone would notice a Husker fan roaming the campus.

I’m glad to say I didn’t get beat up, except for a few self-inflicted bumps and bruises and I even made some new friends.

UCLA BRUIN BEAR
Claws out Bruins!

BRUIN BEAR EATS A CHILD
While my new little buddy pretended to get eaten by the Bruin Bear, his dad and I had a good chat about Mike Riley. His take is that the guy is a great coach but just flat out cursed with bad luck dating back to his days with Chargers. My new little buddy and his dad were up from San Diego to visit Mattel Children’s Hospital and celebrate the 7th anniversary of the heart transplant he had at age 2. If you haven’t already, become an organ donor and help make a difference.

Share

Sunday Afternoon Hot Takes: Rutgers Edition

When the Huskers jumped out to a 21 – 0 lead over Rutgers, all was finally feeling right in Husker Nation. Our watch site that had been so tense for so many weeks finally felt like a nice, relaxing place to spend a Saturday afternoon. It was a very welcome change of pace and many laughs and assorted good times were being had.

Then Tommy Armstrong had to go and chuck up enough YOLO BOMBS to make the game a momentary nail biter.

And somewhere out there, Taylor Martinez had to smile knowing that he had taught his young Padawan so well.

All in, it was refreshing to see the Huskers mostly cruise to their first stress-free win in since playing at Minnesota nearly a month ago. Now all that’s left is to wreck to Iowa’s dream season unless the Hawkeyes don’t wreck it themselves first.

On with the hot takes…

Ex-Bo Friend Update

Bo Pelini went on a little rampage yesterday as his Youngstown State Penguins couldn’t hold a 17 point lead against North Dakota State. It was a loss that effectively ended the Penguin’s chance at the postseason. Naturally, the Omaha World-Herald couldn’t contain its glee and nearly forgot there was a Husker game to cover.

Nice of the World-Herald to use a photo from Youngstown State’s game at South Dakota as click bait for their home game against North Dakota State.

Not to even going to try to defend or justify Bo’s actions but Youngstown State did get jobbed on the pass interference call. One can only hope his latest sideline detonation is all part of his master plan to become the next pitchman for Xanax.

Some gifs just because…

Bo-and-Carl
One can only assume Carl has had counseling since the last time he stalked a sideline with his brother. He walked away like a champ.

Anrgy-Bo-1
This is exactly where Pelini reached peak rage.

Angry-Bo2
And Bo couldn’t say no to coming back for a second helping.

Our Score Prediction

Chewbacca Predicts Rutgers Score
We said Huskers 38, Rutgers 10. Totally would have nailed the 38 if it weren’t for Josh Kalu’s fumble return that was wiped off the board.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch

   Mike Riley Balloon Watch Rutgers
While there were few hiccups, Riley was not hungover from Michigan State.

NUMBERS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS WITH

2: The Huskers are now riding their first win streak of the season.

12: With his trio of INTs against Rutgers, Tommy Armstrong has already tied his total from last season with 12.  It will be interesting to see how his final stats shake up. Aside from a huge drop in rushing yardage, he’s nearly identical to 2014.

30:01/29:59: The Huskers ended the game with a two second time of possession advantage over Rutgers. Kooky.

98/90: Imani Cross followed up the signature performance of his Husker career against Michigan State by tacking on another 90 yards at Rutgers. While Cross has broken the century mark once in each of his previous three seasons, he’s never had back-to-back games with as many rushing yards.

Check this out…

2014: 109 yards against Illinois. Did not play the following week against Michigan State. In his next two games after than, he ran for 14 yards against Northwestern and 28 against Rutgers.

2013: 105 yards to open the season against Wyoming. That performance was followed up with 14 against Southern Miss and 19 against UCLA.

2012: Cross had his first 100 yard game at the expense of Idaho State but did not play the following week in the Huskers’ comeback against Wisconsin. Then at Ohio State, he rushed for 13 and followed that up with 3 and 4 against Northwestern and Michigan.

Here’s hoping Imani gets his yearly 100 yard game when Iowa comes to Lincoln.

167: How many more yards Jordan Westerkamp needs to become the Huskers’ first 1,000 yard receiver. Might be a good time for him go through the hassle of being able to order Domino’s via pizza emoji so he can start buttering up his roommate Tommy Armstrong.

If you’ve never heard, those dudes live together.

And if you’re a regular reader, there’s a good chance we used that as a closer before.

Share

View from the Boneyard: Michigan State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tunnelwalk
Game on for the Huskers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they did.

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

Then it happened.

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

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

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

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

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

postgame
Football can be so much fun.

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

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

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

 

Share

Sunday Evening Hot Take: Michigan State Edition

While the Huskers’ dramatic, come-from-behind win over Michigan State was one for the ages, its best highlight was that it reinforced the power and importance of maintaining a positive attitude and never quitting.

Earlier this week I found out a buddy from high school who also lives out here in Los Angeles had been in a severely life threatening motorcycle accident.

Nestled in my Facebook feed among the cat pics and the usual daily outrage from both ends of the political spectrum was a post from him letting everyone know what had happened but that he was going to be OK. Accompanying his post were some gut wrenching photos from the hospital that would make Evel Knievel cringe.

About a month ago, he left his studio and hopped on his motorcycle to run home and walk his dog over the noon hour.

He never made it.

He was struck by a Ford F-150 whose driver was on a suspended license and apparently considered stop signs to be optional. He did what he could to lessen the damage but when you’re getting creamed by a 4,000lb truck, there’s not going to be much you can do.

His bike literally exploded on impact. He broke both legs, his pelvis, his right arm, and jaw despite wearing a full face helmet. He spent two weeks in a coma and needed eight units of blood which is pretty much a full oil change. And if that wasn’t enough, he contracted pneumonia while comatose and required a tracheotomy.

But you know what?

Even though his bones are now infused with as much titanium as Wolverine has adamantium, he’s far from being down for the count.

In fact, he’s already weeks ahead of schedule with his physical therapy and I have a solid hunch that this will only be a minor detour on his path towards becoming the heir apparent to the title of Most Interesting Man in the World.

I’m not kidding either. This is just a brief rundown of the stuff he’s done: served in the Army, owned a bar on O Street, took up metal fabrication and moved to California to build bikes at West Coast Choppers before striking out on his own. In his free time, he travels around the world and recently began installing some rad guerrilla street art around LA. That’s a pretty good start, wouldn’t you say?

Not long after the news of what happened started flying around the Facebook, a plan for a visit down at the Long Beach VA Hospital was made. Thanks to some good timing (and a hall pass from the hospital staff) we ended up having mini high school reunion down in Huntington Beach. Some fellow classmates had coincidentally picked the perfect weekend to come out from Arizona and rent a beach house.

Even though some of us hadn’t seen each other in nearly 20 years, it took all of five minutes to pick up where we left off. The next few hours were spent laughing our asses off and getting mildly day drunk without of fear of getting busted by our parents. If it weren’t for the wheelchair in the room, you’d never know that anyone recently had a very near miss with death. The mood was that bright.

As it got closer to kickoff, the Huskers began to dominate the conversation. Even though we all went on our own adventures after high school, it was amazing to see how our fandom for the Big Red has never waned.

Not long after the game was underway, it was time for my road trip partner and I to return to LA so that he could celebrate his wife’s birthday.

On the drive back, I put my phone up on the dashboard and we listened to the game on the Huskers App. We hung on every word with suspense and hunched forward with our heads cocked like we were trying to hear the ocean in a conch shell. It had to be one of the more ridiculous sights on the 405 that afternoon.

I made it to our local Husker spot in the middle of the third quarter. I couldn’t miss the chance to celebrate a Husker win with the people I’ve been suffering with every Saturday.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any swearing or dread (or Ohio State fan friends who moseyed over to our side of the bar just to bask in our misery) but when the Huskers got the ball back and Tommy threw that first frozen rope laser to Westerkamp, it became clear that this game was finally going to have a different ending.

And boy, did it ever.

The Huskers never quit and my friend sure won’t either.

After yesterday, they’ve both gone a long way towards getting back to their old selves.

A Couple of the Usual Sunday Things… 

Our Score Prediction: Granted things got more than a little hairy at the end but we’ve been saying for weeks that the Huskers would beat Michigan State.

Mike Riley’s Balloon Watch: Somebody got his balloon back.

Mike Riley Balloon Michigan State

Now let’s get that bowl game and wreck Iowa’s season.

Share

View from the Boneyard: Northwestern

Ahh, yes. Northwestern. The team that the Huskers always seem to have oddly-close games that go to the very end. The team that fell victim to the Westerkatch. The team I always yell “Nerdwestern” at whenever we play them. Good ol’ Northwestern.

For this game, to go along with the alternate uniforms, The Iron N planned a shirt switch where students were told to arrive in red, and once the defense made their first appearance, put on a black shirt. On top of this, 6,000 Boneyard shirts were given out as students arrived to the stadium.

While I was super excited to hear about the plans, there was one problem: nearly everyone I sit with had to give out the shirts before the game.

My friend Bri (@brihoesing) and I, the two of us not responsible for shirts, arrived at Memorial Stadium before doors open and created our game-plan for saving two entire rows of seats despite only being two people.

There was one problem with our plan, though— Bri has two stress fractures in her foot and is in a boot. I had to pull this off on my own.

Luckily, it was an 11 am game against Northwestern and the Huskers had a 3-4 record, so there weren’t many people there to fight for spots. I found myself spreading out everything I could to stretch out over the rows: my sweatshirt, wallet, sunglasses, cell phone, new Boneyard shirt. Everything.

Bri eventually hobbled down the stairs and was able to help save seats, but we quickly discovered that spreading out our sweatshirts and everything else was going to make the windy 48 degree weather a joy to wait in.

With The Iron N’s directors helping with the shirt distribution, the marketing department needed help carrying the Go Big Red banner to the East Stadium student section. Normally, I’d count myself out as a candidate due to my lack of upper-body strength and my continued fatigue from mono, but when they bribed us with a free sweatshirt, I couldn’t say no. Everyone knows the best kind of sweatshirt is a free sweatshirt on a 48 degree day.

When it came time to actually carry the banner back and forth, I quickly realized that I was pretty much useless. But I was wearing a free sweatshirt, so at least I was useless and happy.

GBRbanner
The GBR banner is ready for action.

If there is one way to get today’s Husker fans on their feet and cheering, it’s bringing out the 1995 championship team during the Tunnel Walk. The student section was deafening with the arrival of the team, despite almost every student being in diapers when the team played, if they had even been born at all. But one thing’s for sure, they can all appreciate everything that team had accomplished.

The shirt switch had happened right away to start the first quarter, creating a sea of black Boneyard shirts for the annual blackout-the-student-section game. I know a lot of the more traditional Husker fans don’t really like the blackouts, but… come on. They look awesome.

The Huskers made it on the board on their first possession with a 43 yard field goal. Much like every other time the Huskers start out with a field goal, a sea of red balloons was released prematurely, causing a domino effect with everyone else that hadn’t released their balloons yet.

Northwestern responded quickly with a 1 yard run by Clayton Thorson, putting the Wildcats up 7-3. (Editor’s Note: Thank you for not mentioning his previous 68 yards.)

The mood in Memorial Stadium changed as Ross Dzuris sacked Thorson for a safety, in which the entire student section danced around with their hands clapped above their hands.

Both teams went scoreless until a pick-six caused the Wildcats to be up by 14-5 on the Huskers with 7:17 left in the half.

The Huskers didn’t take long to respond; a 10 yard pass to Brandon Reilly lead to Nebraska’s first touchdown of the game. Even though it was the first touchdown of the game, there was only a small handful of balloons released since everyone had jumped the gun earlier. Good job, guys.

During the second quarter, students were joined by the President of the University of Nebraska, Hank Bounds. Bounds posed for pictures as the Boneyard waved their flag and held up a fathead of him, which had been staring at me for nearly the entire half. Definitely not creepy, though. Definitely not.

president
This fathead was custom made. It’s not available at the campus bookstore.

Northwestern brought their marching band along for the trip and had them sit in their fan section. Naturally, I had to make a few dumb jokes about how they probably did that because they didn’t have enough fans to sit there, to which most people just rolled their eyes at me. Their band played songs from the Wizard of Oz and Wicked to start off halftime.

The Cornhusker Marching Band came out afterwards and had an entire set dedicated to classic karaoke songs. Nothing makes me realize how bad I am with lyrics like singing along to the marching band, but dang was it fun to scream-sing songs like Sweet Caroline and Livin’ on a Prayer with 89,000 of my closest friends.

The second half saw a lot more scoring, with a touchdown and a field goal for Nebraska and a field goal for Northwestern, putting the Huskers up 22-20.

If you’ve ever been to a game with me, you’ll know that one of my absolute favorite pump-up songs is Higher Ground by TNGHT. I’m sure you can only imagine my reaction to finding out that the Scarlets were dancing to it before the fourth quarter instead of the Huskers using the song to pump up the crowd in between plays. Kind of offended that my partner-in-crime Allison (@aliredredwine) and I weren’t invited on the field during the performance, because we put on quite the show when that song plays.

Normally, having a fourth quarter lead would be an exciting thing. After the past few years, I wouldn’t think twice about having a close game with Northwestern towards the end of the game, considering how close recent wins have been. But this season has conditioned me (and other fans, I’m sure) to not get too comfortable with anything once the final 15 minutes of the game come around.

Suddenly, a completed pass to Dan Vitale for 37 yards for a touchdown put the Wildcats up 27-22. A 27 yard field goal put them up 30-22. The familiar ending was near.

The Huskers answered on the next possession as Tommy Armstrong ran for 3 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 30-28. A failed two point conversion kept the Huskers from tying it up.

TommyTD
Tommy Armstrong scores his second touchdown of the day.

At this point, all anyone wanted was to keep Northwestern from scoring and get the Huskers to score something… Anything. These dreams were crushed as an unsportsmanlike conduct on Nebraska gave Northwestern the automatic first down, allowing time to expire.

Fans poured out of Memorial Stadium as the final seconds ticked down. Feeling defeated, I felt it necessary to scream at the Northwestern team to ask them if they remembered the Hail Mary from two years ago. Got ‘em.

Let’s just hope this team likes playing against road games enough to beat Purdue next weekend.

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

Share