My name is Mike Nolan, I'll be behind the keyboard tonight. For those who don't know me, I've been the manager of the Huskers Mailing List since starting it in 1991.
In case anyone's been in a coma for a month, this is the final game for Tom Osborne as the head coach of Nebraska, after 25 years.
Charles Woodson told the press last night that the National Championship race was over, and there was no need to even watch the Orange Bowl. Scott Frost's reply was that the media hasn't watched Nebraska all season, why should they start now?
The key to tonight's game will be how the Nebraska defense handles Peyton Manning, and how Manning's sore right knee handles the stress. Nobody seems to doubt that Nebraska will score on Tennessee, but if Manning can get enough time to hit his receivers deep, he has the skills to make it an exciting game. And Tennessee has a fair running game, too.
Weather could play a bit of a factor. It's not too hot, but it is fairly windy, and it swirls in Pro Player Stadium.
Well, there's at least one million dollar arm on the field tonight, some guy just won $1 million passing the football through a 30 inch circle about 10 yards away.
With all of the hoopla over Manning's knee, a lot less has been said about Joel Makovicka's sore knee and Jason Peter's sore back. Both are expected to start, but until they see some action we may not really know how healed they are.
Chris Brown is kicking into the wind, which blows the ball off the tee. The kick bounces through the end zone.
Manning back, hits Bryson for a 7 yard gain, but Tennessee is called for holding.
2nd and 18: Lewis gets the handoff, has a yard up the middle but not much of a hole.
3rd and 17, shotgun. Shovel pass to Bryson, to the 19, Tennessee will have to punt.
Tennessee calls a time out, they didn't have enough players on the field.
Hogue gets the punt off, it will roll dead at the 2 yard line, a 78 yard punt.
And that wasn't even an Orange Bowl record punt.
Frost rolls right, gets to about the 4.
3rd and 8: Frost back, passes over Sheldon Jackson's head. Frost gets dumped by Brown after releasing the ball.
Call it the 37. Flags before the play gets going. procedure on Tennessee.
Shotgun, pass to Price, he's down at the 34, they lost a little on that one, McFarlin on the stop.
3rd and 12: Pass to Edmonds, Swiney on the stop, short of the 1st down yardage at the 37.
Legate is in at FB. Green gets the ball, gets back to the line but that's all.
Makovicka may not be back. Frost is taken down back at the 20.
Pass up the middle to Cheatham to the 28, short of the 1st.
Not a great punt by Kosch, it bounces to the 37.
Halfway through the first quarter, it's a scoreless game of field position, with Tennessee holding the upper hand so far, not that they've done much with it.
Here's a deep pass downfield, over everybody's head. Another flag on the play, Nebraska was offsides.
Somebody lined up in the neutral zone.
Lewis again, he breaks a tackle and gets to the Husker 48, good for a first down.
Call it the 49. Manning hits McCullough up the middle at the 32.
Manning throws a pass over Martin's hands.
3rd and 7: Pass complete at the 20 to Bryson.
Pitch to Lewis, he's upended and the ball comes free, Rucker falls on it at the 22.
Ralph Brown made the hit that caused the fumble.
2nd and 6: Green, no gain.
3rd and 6: Frost drops back, he has Sheldon Jackson inside Tennessee territory at the 48.
Pitch to Green, but the refs blow the play dead. False start on the Huskers.
Too bad, that play had some distance potential, Tennessee was caught in the wrong defense.
Frost has Newcome inside the 15 on the left sideline, he's down at the 12.
Green up the middle, he stretches for the goal line, but there's a flag down. Illegal participation on Tennessee, Green was short of the goal line, they'll take the penalty.
Nebraska: 7 Tennessee: 0
1:10 left in the quarter. The kick bounces at the 10, is picked up at the 5, brought out to the 17.
Lewis to the 21, a gain of 4.
Peebles, a Tennessee tight end, is assisted off the field, with a sore ankle.
It's starting to rain.
There was a strange play, it was a reverse to Newcombe, but it almost looked like he wasn't expecting the ball, he's nailed back at the 31.
Tennessee takes the penalty, which may push the Huskers out of field goal range but gives them another play. Polk may have broken his collarbone.
So Kosch comes in for the punt, it's fumbled, Lance Brown comes up with it and runs it into the end zone, but the touchdown won't count, Nebraska ball on the 15.
Some kind of flag on the Huskers, too many men on the field, that'll push the Huskers back to the 13, they couldn't get the time out called before the flag came out.
Pitch to Wiggins, he breaks a tackle and gets into the end zone.
Game period: 2nd Quarter
Nebraska: 14 Tennessee: 0
Time Remaining: 11:20
Wiggins is the leading rusher in the game.
Call it the 37. Lewis to the 43.
Manning gets the pass off, it's low but Copeland scoops it off the turf at the 34.
Hall in for a 44 yard field goal attempt, it's good.
Green breaks a tackle, gets to the 43.
It looks like the success passing may be opening up the Nebraska running game, now that's a switch. Frost keeps it, gets to the 49.
3rd and 4: Frost escapes being sacked, gets the pass off, Sheldon Jackson has it on the Tennessee 35.
Frost keeps it, goes left, he's pulled down from behind at the 36.
3rd and 10, shotgun, Frost is short trying to get it to Cheatham.
5:24 left in the first half. Lewis gets 5 up the middle.
Pass is a little short of the receiver, McCullough.
Newcombe has the punt at the 20, he's down at the 31.
Game period: 2nd Quarter
Time Remaining: 4:31
Pitch to Green, he slips at the 29, a loss of 2.
That'll give the Huskers a 1st down, but Fulmer doesn't like the call.
Shovel pass to Green, he gets to the right sideline and all the way to the Tennessee 36, that's a first down.
Newcombe got the block that sprung Green.
Green to the 26.
Makovicka up the middle to the 23.
3rd and 7, about 1:30 left in the half, Wiggins to the 15, he'll be close to the 1st down, but they spot it well short. They finally decide to measure, it's about a foot short, the Huskers will go for it on 4th down. That took about 20 seconds too long. Frost sneaks for the 1st down, gets all the way to the 13.
Frost wants to change the play, he's hit and the ball comes loose, Tennessee has it. 34 seconds left in the half.
Tennessee has two time outs left, and plenty of time for a couple of deep ones by Manning.
Well, maybe the Huskers should have tried the field goal.
The Vols call time out with 26 seconds left in the half.
Manning was really upset that they couldn't get up to the line and spike the ball. I guess he knows how Ryan Leaf felt yesterday.
Game period: Halftime
Nebraska: 14 Tennessee: 3
Some stats. The Huskers have 178 total yards, 69 on the ground, 109 in the air. Tennessee has 176 yards, 80 on the ground, 96 in the air. Manning is 13-19 passing with one interception. Frost is 7-10 passing with no interceptions. Tennessee lost two fumbles, Nebraska lost one.
More stats: Frost has 3 yards on 11 carries, Makovicka 11 yards on 4 carries, Green 31 yards on 11 carries, Wiggins 28 yards on 3 carries. Wiggins also has 46 yards on 3 receptions.
The teams are coming back on the field, this game might actually resume on time.
Green to the 35.
Green up the middle, upended at the 25 and down at the 22.
Green across the 20.
Newcome gets the handoff from the double wing formation, he bulls his way inside to the 4.
Green is stacked up and finally stopped at the 2, that's first and goal.
Frost over the middle, he's over the line.
Game period: 3rd Quarter
Nebraska: 21 Tennessee: 3
Time Remaining: 10:11
Peyton Manning looked a little stunned on the sidelines during that drive.
Lewis again, he gets back to the line, maybe to the 29.
3rd and 8, Manning back, he's sacked by Rucker back at the 17. That's the first time Manning has been sacked today, he was sacked just 12 times during the season.
Houge's punt hits around midfield and bounces to the 38, but Nebraska will be pushed back 10 for an illegal block, despite not touching the ball.
I don't really understand why Tennessee started off with two running plays on that drive.
Green to the 36 up the middle, not much of a hole on that play.
Pitch to Green, he's into the secondary and is pulled down at the 21.
Makovicka up the middle to the 16.
Green up the middle, stopped just outside the 10. 1st down.
Frost keeps it, breaks a tackle and gets into the end zone, but there's a flag, hold on, offsides on Tennessee is declined, touchdown!
Game period: 3rd Quarter
Nebraska: 28 Tennessee: 3
Time Remaining: 5:07
If Tennessee is to make a move, they better do it on this series, Nebraska is taking control of the clock and the game.
Brown's kick is picked up at the 10, brought out to the 27.
Call it the 42, 2nd and 3: Manning back, pass to Nash, they wave it off.
Manning is under pressure, gets the pass off but it is short of the receiver.
The Vols go for it on 4th down, pass complete to Copeland, good for the first down at the 37.
Lewis is through into the secondary, runs into one of his own blockers and that's the only reason he didn't score. First down on the Nebraska 5.
Manning rolls right, under pressure, gets a pass off, complete to Price in the end zone.
Game period: 3rd Quarter
Nebraska: 28 Tennessee: 9
Time Remaining: 1:58
A good drive for Tennessee, but it took a lot of time, and Tennessee needs to stop Nebraska from further scoring or they're not going to be able to make up the difference.
A Tennessee player is down on the kickoff play, DeAngelo Lloyd. He's helped off the field with a problem on his left leg.
Green up the middle, through the first wave and into the clear, they catch up with him but not until he gets 47 yards to the Vol 33.
Nebraska now has 271 yards rushing on the game.
Pitch to Green, he's into the end zone standing up.
Nebraska: 35 Tennessee: 9
The ball blows off the tee just as Brown gets to it.
Lewis gets to the 34, that should be the final play of the 3rd quarter.
Pass to Lewis in the flag, he's brought down short of the 1st down by Harrison.
Tennessee sends in the punter, there's a flag before they get the play off, looks like Wistrom may have conned an offensive lineman into moving before the snap, the NFL is going to LOVE that move.
Game period: 4th Quarter
Time Remaining: 13:32
Sims gets back to the line, but that's all.
Frost completes a pass to Sheldon Jackson for a 1st down.
Frost keeps it, gets to the 37, another first down.
Green loses yardage on that play, back to the 39.
A little over a yard to go. Green tries to fight for the yardage, but he won't quite have it.
Nebraska will go for it on 4th and 1. A late pitch is behind Green, he can't get to it, the ball is bobbled around, Tennesse will take over at about the 40.
That gives Tennessee some life, but they need to score a lot of points in a hurry at this point, and the Nebraska offense is very good at taking time off the clock.
3rd and 14, Manning throws it away under pressure.
Game period: 4th Quarter
Time Remaining: 8:17
It's getting close to the time when one would expect the Huskers to go to the reserves. Sims has been spelling Green some already, and the Huskers have been doing a lot of substitution on defense to keep people fresh.
Newcombe gets the pitch and is down to the 16, but there's a flag on the play downfield, and this one will probably come back. Illegal block in the back, that'll put the ball back at the Nebraska 38, 2nd and 6.
Makovica up the middle through traffic for a first down.
Green is one yard short of the Orange Bowl record at the moment. Buckhalter in, he carries several Vols to the 15.
I may have lost some text here. Makovicka fumbled the ball, but the Huskers recovered. Frost just scored standing up from about 10 yards out.
3rd and 1: Running play, it just gets the 1st down yardage.
Martin hits Wilson at the 28, another 1st down.
Martin goes down, he loses his helmet in the process, and there's flags on the field. Holding on Nebraska. 1st down at the Nebraska 18. 2:04 left on the clock.
Stevens to the 15.
1st and goal at the 3: Martin hits McCullough for a touchdown.
Game period: 4th Quarter
Nebraska: 42 Tennessee: 17
Time Remaining: 0:58
The crowd is cheering "Osborne, Osborne".
The crowd gets louder. Buckhalter to the 40, that will be the final play of the Osborne era at Nebraska.
Manning says the turnovers really killed them. It looks like there are only Nebraska fans left in the stands, the players from both teams appear to be saying a prayer together at midfield.
Full statistics and plenty of debate on the polls will be on the Huskers List, in fact, it's probably already started.