Go ahead, admit it. You loved Saturday's blow-out of hapless Idaho State. You high-fived and knuckle bumped after every Husker great play (so did I). You yelled and screamed as Burkead & Company ran through, over and around the outmanned Idaho State Bengals (they looked more like Gals than Bengals).
In a sense, this game was therapeutic for Husker fans still stinging from the loss two weeks ago when they saw the Blackshirts surrender 653 yards to a good (not great) UCLA team.
It was reassuring to see Rex Burkhead back from his knee injury and to see the wraps taken off Ron "Special K" Kellogg III at quarterback. A game like this probably doesn't tell us much about Kellogg, but it's critical that NU find a strong back-up to Taylor Martinez.
What you didn't want to happen in Saturday's game was for a key player like Martinez to suffer a season-ending injury. And when TM came back into the game after "Special K" had relieved him in the first quarter, I got a phone call from a buddy of mine who was pretty irate. "What's Pelini doing? Why is Martinez back in the game?" Good question. You would think that Bo wouldn't want to risk losing his star quarterback in a meaningless game like this one.
But the game, which never should have been scheduled, did offer some positives:
1.) Paid part of Pelini's $3 million paycheck
2.) Gave playing time for a lot of Huskers who might not otherwise have seen any.
3.) Provided ISU with a cool $600 grand for being pulverized in Lincoln
4.) Gave many Husker fans a chance to attend a Husker home game who otherwise wouldn't have.
5.) Included a national TV audience.
6.) Registered a Husker win
7.) Saw the return of Rex Burkhead
8.) Provided both teams with no serious injuries
TICKETS FOR TROOPERS
Friday afternoon, there was a knock on my front door and there stood PVC Marcus Mansfield in his Army fatigues. He had come to pick up the two Husker football tickets a Husker football fan donated, hoping they would find their way into the hands of a trooper. Indeed they did. And to top it off, Marcus' 24th birthday was Sunday. What a weekend!
If you know of anyone who would like to donate Husker football tickets to be used by troopers, please let me know. We are always looking for tickets. Please email me at HuskerDan@cox.net if you can help. Remember, troopers don't ask for much, but this is one way to say thanks to these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country.
HUSKER FANS SALUTE THE TROOPS
Next month, we will be holding our fifth annual "Husker Fans Salute The Troops" (www.huskersalute.org) event the weekend of October 20th at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. We'll have buses that will take troopers, veterans and their families to Memorial Stadium where guests will be treated to an all access tour of the new Husker Athletic Facilities and will be treated to a special Tunnel Walk ceremony. And for the Husker game at Northwestern, we'll have a Football Watch Party (kickoff TBA). The game will be shown on two gigantic TV screens. We provide rooms, meals and tour transportation for all our guests. Last year's Watch Party drew over 550 people. And Sunday morning, there will be a special Awards Brunch complete with a military color guard presentation.
This year's featured speaker will be former Husker great Trev Alberts. Trev was an All American LB at Nebraska and was a first-round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts. He is the current A.D. at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
And for the third year, we'll be bringing wounded warriors and their family members from Ft. Riliey to "Salute." If you'd like to donate, go to www.huskersalute.org. Your donations are tax deductible.
It was nice to see former Rushville, Nebraska standout Kelly Stouffer doing the colorcast on Saturday's Husker game. Kelly played QB at Colorado State and later in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Also, former Husker RB Damon Benning did a good job as the on-the-field commentator.
I also caught a bit of former Omaha sportscaster Matt Schick anchoring ESPNU's college football highlight show Saturday night. Matt of course, was the sportscaster for KETV in Omaha. He also was the co-host of 1620 The Zone's "Schick and Nick" radio show. Saturday night, Matt looked as if he'd been doing the gig all his life.
50 YEARS AND COUNTING
For the rest of the season, I'm going to share with you some of the things I've seen and experienced in my 50 years of being a Husker football fan.
A HUSKER FIRST (OCTOBER 29, 1966)
It was a cold, raw day that Saturday in Lincoln when I attended my very first Husker football game. The night before, a neighbor had given me two tickets to the game. The timing couldn't have been better because this was the first fall that I wasn't in college and wasn't having to work two or three jobs to pay my expenses.
The game was Big 8 match up between two conference rivals: #8 Nebraska and unranked Missouri coached by Dan Devine. Most fans didn't know it at the time, but something happened earlier that week that would end up having a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
That week, UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro made some disparaging remarks to the media about the Husker football program, lumping it with some losing football programs.
Husker head coach, Bob Devaney, who was a master motivater, made the most of the opportunity. The Huskers came out with their hair on fire to crush the Tigers, 35-0. The Blackshirts held MU to a total of 107 yards of offense. The Husker O was led that day by North Platte's Pete Tatman (RB) and quarterback Bob Churchich, who is from my alma mater, Omaha North High. Oh, and by the way, the seats which were owned by Omaha National Bank were on the 50 yard line, about 30 rows up. I thought every Husker game was going to be like this!
There are those who are saying that Saturday night's game with the Badgers at Memorial Stadium is a grudge match for Nebraska. And they are trying to compare Saturday's game with Wisconsin with what happened to Nebraska in 2010 when they lost to Texas at home.
If you'll recall, the Huskers had lost (12-13) to the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game the year before in a controversial last-second field goal by Texas. And in 2010, Texas was coming to Lincoln in what far many Husker fans thought would be a gimmie for Nebraska. The result was the Huskers came out tight and ended up losing 13-20. What made the defeat even harder to take was that Longhorn team was one of the worst in the Mack Brown era.
Some are seeing the same thing happen to Nebraska this Saturday night. I don't see it that way. Saturday night is time for the Nebraska football team to mature. To come of age.
A win would help jump start their quest for a conference championship-the first for a Nebraska football team since 1999. If Bo can get his team focused enough not to self destruct, the Huskers should prevail. Russell Wilson is gone to the NFL (did you see that last play in MNF last night?!). Will the new uniforms inspire the Huskers? Stay tuned.
This isn't revenge. It's just business. And Mack Brown's still at Texas.
Contact the writer at HuskerDan@cox.net