Nebraska’s inaugural visits to each Big Ten stadium as a new member of the conference have become gargantuan events, and the trip to Evanston would be no different. Northwestern rolled out the purple carpet, but perhaps they were a bit over-welcoming. Nebraska is known for having fans that travel well, and Northwestern is known for leaving seats available in their home stadium. The result? Lots of red. How much you ask? Well, let’s put it this way: Today would NOT be the day for Northwestern to get aerial shots of Ryan Field to impress potential recruits.
However, the Cornhuskers are hyper aware of Northwestern’s ability to be a claw in their sides. Last year in Lincoln, then tenth ranked Nebraska got stunned by the ‘Cats sending the Huskers’ season in a direction that was not intended. This year, Northwestern would play with the same gusto while sporting all black and helmets highlighted by a silver wildcat. Onto the field they charged through fireworks and smoke while Nebraska stormed out to the same decibel level of cheering. Due to Husker turnovers and an 80 yard TD run by NU’s Venric Mark, the Wildcats held a 28-16 advantage in the fourth quarter. But, Nebraska was not about to allow a repeat of last year. Nebraska QB, Taylor Martinez, led a furious rally that put the Huskers ahead 29-28 with two minutes left. The fans in red pounded on the bleachers and screamed with all their loyalty diminishing any shred of a home field advantage that Northwestern possessed. The Wildcats would manage to get a 53 yard field goal attempt into motion, but the ball sailed slightly right securing the game’s outcome and increasing Nebraska’s chances to get to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game. The chant “HUSKER POWER!” guided the clock to all zeros and players rushed over to the Nebraska fans to celebrate.
The close proximity of the visitor’s locker room to stadium entryways allowed fans the opportunity to get up and close with their Husker heros including head coach Bo Pelini. I almost bumped shoulders with him as I got caught in the postgame mayhem. For Northwestern, although this game did not go as planned, their performance proved that they still have their sights on crashing another team’s season down the road.