A HOT AUGUST NIGHT
It was hot in Lincoln, Nebraska last Saturday night. And the 90 degree weather was only part of the reason. To be sure, a ticket to the game was a real hot item. Really hot. I checked with a scalper two hours before kickoff who was willing to "let me have" two tickets to the game for $300. And the Huskers were playing the Western Michigan Broncos, not the Denver Broncos.
To be sure, Saturday night was the debut of the Bo Pelini Era. After four years of football futility that ended in the worst defensive record in Husker history, Husker fans desperately wanted see the coming of their new football messiah. Not since Bob Devaney came to Lincoln in 1962 has there been such a need for someone to save the Husker football program.
PARTY ON, DUDE!
Prior to the game, I hung out at the Huskerpedia Tailgate Party and met up with David Max (he and Joe Hudson run Huskerpedia) and Gary McGirr, who is president of the Northeast Kansanas for Nebraska. Bill Moran (a RABID Husker fan who lives in Pottsville, PA) and his daughter, Kate, who flew in from Tampa, Florida were also tailgating with us. This was Kate's first time in Nebraska and her very first Husker football game.
As we made our way to the Stadium, we passed through the lobby of the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. We were met with throngs of Husker fans who broke into several spontaneous renditions of "GoooooooBigggggggggggggReddddddddd! GO BIG RED!" It was a blast. Husker fans were begging to see the Huskers finally play some football.
I'm sure most outsiders wouldn't understand how Husker fans could be so amped up for a game that featured two 5-7 teams. They just don't get it, do they?
All you need to know about what the Bo Pelini Era is going to be like, is to look at Cody Glenn. Last year, Glenn was relegated to sitting on the bench as the Huskers' 3rd and short running back. So what did Pelini do with him this year? He put the kid in a position (weakside linebacker) that best utilizes his skills and helps shore up a weak corps of linebackers.
So how did Glenn respond? He led the Huskers with 12 tackles that included 2 1/2 sacks and a whopping 9 unassisted tackles. He also broke up a couple of passes. The kid was all over the field. The crowd justifiably roared with their approval.
Husker fans should hold their criticism of the Husker running game and its pass defense until later in the season. This is a work in progress. The players have had a lot to learn in a short time. They've had to grasp a new system, get used to new coaches and absorb new terminology. The Bo Show is going to be just fine.
There is an interesting Husker trivia game that's been appearing on Facebook.
Question: In what year was the first Husker football game televised?
(See answer below.)
The next two games with San Jose State and New Mexico State should be no contest. The good thing is that these games will give Bo the opportunity to play a lot of kids who otherwise wouldn't see much playing time. Look for Patrick Witt and Zac Lee to get some snaps.
This season marks the 25th anniversary of the much heralded 1983 "Scoring Explosion" team that fell inches short of giving Tom Osborne his first national championship that year. Those of you who are too young to remember, you need to check out that team that featured Heisman trophy winner, running back Mike Rozier, quarterback Turner Gill and wingback, Irving Fryar. Yes, that's the same Fryar whose son played in the Broncos' secondary Saturday night.