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Goodbye from Lincoln

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Wow. What a weekend.

I had such a great time this week serving as Nebraska's student blogger for the B1G Mobile Tour's stop in Lincoln. The experience was really made by all the people around me, however. 

Thank you so much to everyone travelling with the tour group, including Jade, Robin, Tatum, Dan, Caryn and Diane. You guys were great and it was awesome to meet you all. You are doing a fantastic job and I know Nebraska fans appreciated all you did!

A big thanks to everyone who shared blog posts, retweeted tweets or simply spread the word. Thanks to the folks at Nebraska Athletic Marketing (especially Ethan Rowley), UNL Communications and the College of Journalism for your support. 

Finally, the biggest and most enthusiastic thank you goes out to all the Nebraska (and Ohio State!) fans that stopped out at the tour. You are fantastic and you all made me so proud to be a Husker this weekend. Thanks for your support of the tour, and thank you for your loyalty and friendliness. You made the tour's weekend in Lincoln an awesome experience and I know that the folks working at the tour were so impressed with UNL, Memorial Stadium and the Husker experience!

I hope that I have done Nebraska even just a little justice in explaining what it means to be a Husker. I hope that you all will consider voting for me at the end of the season!

Next week, the tour will travel east to Iowa City and the Hawkeyes.

As always, remember that there really is NO PLACE LIKE NEBRASKA! 

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A B1G Home Opener

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As the pregame traditions got underway at Memorial Stadium yesterday, the looming storm couldn't hold off any longer. A light rain began to fall, but it couldn't dampen the spirits of the Sea of Red as fans filled the stadium!

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It was an exciting night for so many reasons, and the night had a distinctive Big Ten flavor during the traditional pregame show!

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For the first time ever, University ROTC units lined the sidelines with the flags of Nebraska's B1G opponents.

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Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band took the field to launch the Pregame Spectacular!

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After the Tunnel Walk, the game got under way with the Huskers squaring off against the Buckeyes.

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And, well, you know the rest.

After the Huskers fell down early, the team came out with renewed energy from the locker room. The momentum of the game swung with a forced fumble by Preseason All-American linebacker Lavonte David in the third quarter. 

From that moment on, it was the Nebraska Cornhuskers show. 28 unanswered points. An offense performing with poise, led by the backfield tandem of quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead. A defense that found new fire and shut down the Ohio State offense.

Credit can't be taken away from Ohio State. They played a strong game and were hurt by some costly mistakes, just as Nebraska was in the first half. The Huskers will head into their bye this week and begin preparations for Minnesota in two weeks. 

All together, it was a great weekend for the B1G Mobile Tour to be in Lincoln. Great fans, great atmosphere and a truly great game.

Nebraska Legends: The Tunnel Walk

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What a game--It was the biggest comeback in Nebraska football history. I'll leave it at that. Look for a game recap tomorrow morning! Let's get to the Legendary stuff. 

Many schools across the NCAA have a special tradition for when their football team takes the field. At Nebraska, it's The Tunnel Walk. 

The Tunnel Walk, set to the tune of "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project, begins with a special pump-up video created by HuskerVision (each season features its own unique video). Meanwhile, the players begin their journey to the field as they leave the locker room behind Head Coach Bo Pelini. As they progress down the hall, players reach up their hands to tap the lucky horseshoe that hangs in the doorway of North Stadium.

The players walk down a winding red turf path underneath the stadium, with fans lining the walkway and cheering them on. The Huskers take to the HuskerVision screen and the crowd of 85,000 roars to cheer them on as they enter onto the field.

The Tunnel Walk is difficult to explain but electrifying to experience. Enjoy the video I took tonight of tonight's Tunnel Walk below!


Pre-Game Festivities

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With the warm temps and the threat of rain holding off (for a while, at least!), hundreds of Husker fans flocked to the Husker Nation Pavilion for food, fun and plenty of football. The B1G Mobile Tour was parked on the edge of the Pavilion, and we had a great crowd come out to see the trophy and catch some passes from the jug gun.
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Around the campus, there were plenty of festivities and lots of tailgating to take in!

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The TeamMates sponsored a "car bash" in front of the Union to benefit their mentoring organization. 

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Meanwhile, the band and Spirit Squad led the players on their traditional Unity Walk around Memorial Stadium as the Huskers prepared for their matchup. 

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It was a great afternoon at the tour! Stay tuned for more in-game photos, videos and a recap of the weekend. Thanks to everyone who took time to come out to the tour--we loved meeting you all!

Nebraska Legends: "The Pride of All Nebraska!"

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It's a phrase that never ceases to give me chills: "Presenting the University of Nebraska...Marching Band! This is the Pride of All Nebraska!" This declaration is what leads the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band onto the field for the traditional "Pregame Spectacular" that precedes every home football game. 

The University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band, or the "Pride of all Nebraska," is one of the oldest and most highly respected bands in collegiate athletics. Founded in 1879, the band has received a multitude of awards since its inception, including a Distinguished Recognition Trophy from John Phillip Sousa in 1927 and the John Phillip Sousa Foundation's Sudler Trophy for Distinguished Excellence in 1996. The band also traditionally travels to bowl games with the football team. They were the first collegiate ensemble in the nation to perform at all the major bowl games: Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Cotton. 

Every football Saturday in Nebraska, the band meets before kickoff at Westbrook Music Hall before holding an outdoor concert at Kimball Recital Hall. After their concert, the band traditionally marches to Memorial Stadium to begin the Pregame Spectacular!

The Pregame Spectacular begins with a solo performance by the UNL Drumline. Following that, three band majors enter the field with a series of high-kicks to the beat of the drums before the rest of the band floods the field in perfect rows to begin the music. 

The Pregame Spectacular features a variety of songs that are well-known to and well-loved by Husker fans, including the famous duo of fight songs: "Dear Old Nebraska U (There is No Place Like Nebraska)" and "Hail Varsity." Other songs include the visiting team's fight song, "University of Nebraska March" by John Phillip Sousa, "Mr. Touchdown USA," "March of the Cornhusker," and "March Grandioso," otherwise known as the "Bo Pelini Song" to UNL students.

The University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band is one of the most treasured parts of the game day experience at Nebraska. The band is one of the epitomes of traditional at Nebraska--it doesn't get much better than this! If you're coming to Lincoln for game day, you can't miss out on experiencing the "Pride of All Nebraska."

I'll be out and about later today capturing some pictures and videos of the band, but in the meantime, here's a video of the UNL Drumline warming up before the Tennessee-Chattanooga game this year!


Don't forget, the B1G Mobile Tour will be at the Husker Nation Pavilion today from 4-7 p.m. 
You can find more details about today's Husker Nation Pavilion lineup by visiting Huskers.com. We can't wait to see you all there!

Day Two Sights

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The B1G Mobile Tour's stop in Lincoln continued this morning with an appearance at the Husker Athletic Fund Luncheon at the Embassy Suites. The HAF Luncheon featured appearances by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney and Will Shields, former Husker offensive guard and 2011 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame inductee.

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Later in the day, the Mobile Tour swung by Football Friday at the Wick, sponsored by the Nebraska Alumni Association. There were many special guests at the event, including former Ohio State Buckeye and two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin! 

Big Ten Mobile Tour workers were on hand snapping pictures of fans with the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy all night. 

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It didn't take long for fans young and old to start lining up to take a photo with the trophy, including a few Ohio State faithful!

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After Football Friday wrapped up, fans and students lined 16th Street in Lincoln to watch the progression of the 2011 Homecoming Parade.

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Some Husker student-athletes even came through the parade!

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A very familiar RV made an appearance in the parade, and was met by cheers from the students!

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It was a great day for the Mobile Tour and we had an awesome time meeting all the fans and media members that came out for the tour! Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow for a slew of posts on Husker gameday traditions, sights, sounds and much more.

Don't forget that the Mobile Tour will make its final appearance in Lincoln tomorrow evening at the Husker Nation Pavilion from 4-6 p.m. We hope to see you all there!

It's Homecoming Week at Nebraska!

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From the time Nebraska's 2011 conference football schedule was released, Husker fans have been circling this Saturday in red. It's an exciting weekend for a lot of reasons: Nebraska's inaugural Big Ten home opener, hosting perennial Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State...and, it just happens to be Homecoming Week. This year's theme, "New Kids on the Block," celebrates Nebraska's first-ever season in the Big Ten as well as the tradition that Nebraska brings to the conference. 

Homecoming Week at UNL stirs up competition and excitement as Greek houses and organizations are split into two competitive categories to vie for the title of "Homecoming Week Champion." Throughout the week, groups earn points in a variety of different competitions: Hand-painted Homecoming Week banners (Greek Houses only), skits performed at "Monday Night Live" at the Lied Center, donating blood and volunteering at the week-long Blood Drive, attending the annual East Campus Concert (this year's guest was country star Josh Gracin), attending the parade and, of course, building elaborate floats for the Homecoming parade.

 One of the biggest parts of Homecoming Week is the float competition. While organizations concoct mobile floats that are driven through the parade, Greek houses build elaborate stationary lawn displays in front of campus fraternities. On Friday of Homecoming Week, a panel of esteemed judges walks Greek Row on 16th Street and selects the winner among the "triads" (competitive groups) of Greek houses.

While we wait to hear who will take home the victory (and the points!) for best Homecoming float, check out some of the lawn displays erected this week!

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Homecoming Week isn't over yet at UNL! There will be plenty of festivities tonight, beginning with Football Friday at the Wick Center from 4:30-6 p.m. In attendance tonight will be former Huskers Brendan Stai and Tommie Frazier as well as Husker Sports Network volleyball analyst John Baylor and Voice of the Huskers Greg Sharpe. The Mobile Tour will also be at the Wick during Football Friday, so be sure to stop on by!

Following Football Friday will be the Homecoming Parade on 16th Street from 6-7 p.m....and a certain RV may make a special appearance!

For more information on tonight's Homecoming activities, visit the Nebraska Alumni Association's Events page, which has a run-down of all of the exciting events on campus tonight.

Remember, there really is no place like Nebraska!

Nebraska Legends: The Blackshirts

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It was really just about needing practice jerseys. 

The year was 1964, and Bob Devaney's Husker football team wanted some contrasting jerseys to distinguish the defensive players from the offensive players. Black was the color that assistant coach Mike Corgan happened to pick up at a local equipment store.

Defensive coaches George Kelley and Jim Ross turned simple practice jerseys into something that players hungered for by only awarding the jerseys to the first-team defensive players. Local news sources picked up the term and by 1978, the current one-worded spelling had stuck.

Blackshirts.

The distribution of the jerseys has changed over the years. Under Devaney, jerseys were handed out at the beginning of practice and collected at the end. Jerseys were continually fought for and earned by players, keeping the hunger for the position of first-team defender high.

Under Tom Osborne, the jerseys were handed out at the end of preseason practice. In addition, player names and numbers showed up on the black tops. 

Now, under Head Coach Bo Pelini, the awarding of Blackshirts has taken a different route. Coach Pelini withholds the black practice jerseys until a strong defensive performance during a game. 

His philosophy is simple: "Blackshirts are earned on the field." 

No matter when those heralded black jerseys show up in the lockers of Husker defenders, the aura around them remains the same. Those practice tops have come to signify much more than who the first-team defenders are. The term "Blackshirts" has become associated with a hard-nosed toughness, strength and determination.  

The Blackshirts deliver big hits, big plays and big stops. Names like Rich Glover, Grant Wistrom, Ndamukong Suh, Jason Peter and Trev Alberts still resonate in the minds of Husker fans. Few things at Nebraska are more legendary than the Blackshirts. 

It's a good thing Bob Devaney's defenders needed some practice jerseys. 



Day One at Nebraska

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Day one of the Big Ten Mobile Tour's stop at Nebraska is officially a wrap! The RV was an inhabitant of the Nebraska Union plaza on Thursday, and the Mobile Tour crew was out setting up bright and early this morning to get things ready.

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By the time 11 a.m. rolled around, the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy was out and shining bright for everyone to see. 

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It didn't take long for fans to start lining up to take their picture with the trophy. Let's face it--it looks really good in Nebraska (don't you agree, Husker fans?).

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Meanwhile, students passing by were eager to show off their talents with the jug gun.

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Quite a few students wanted to give the trophy a little love in their picture.

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Even a few early-fall field trips were excited to get in on the Mobile Tour action!

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The UNL Scarlet Guard (Nebraska's student alumni organization) was on hand by 1 p.m. handing out 75 free t-shirts on a first-come, first-served basis to members. Jenny Green and Claire Abelbeck of the Nebraska Alumni Association took a moment to pose with the trophy.

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The Scarlet Guard makes "Beat" shirts for every conference home game. This week's Scarlet Guard members who came early enough scored a "Beat Ohio State" t-shirt and then stopped by the RV to snap a photo!

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All-in-all, it was a great first day at the Mobile Tour! Thank you so much to everyone who came out and participated. Make sure you stop by the RV tomorrow; it'll be a busy day for the tour and we are looking forward to meeting more fans!

Remember, there really is no place like Nebraska!

Friday Schedule

10:30 - 1:30 p.m
Embassy Suites Hotel

4:30 - 6 p.m.
Wick Alumni Center
Football Friday

6 - 7 p.m.
Homecoming Parade

Nebraska Legends: "The Best Fans in College Football"

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Nebraska athletics are steeped in tradition, and I wanted to use this weekend as an opportunity to help Big Ten fans learn a little about some of the traditions and events that surround an average football game at NU. Posts marked "Nebraska Legends" will be looking at some of the most "legendary" parts of the atmosphere of Nebraska football--and where better to start than with the fans?

 

There's a quote engraved over every entry gate to Memorial Stadium: "Through these gates pass the Greatest Fans in College Football." Now, I'm aware this is a statement that not all schools will agree with (let's face it--we're all a little biased). We as Husker fans know it's a bold declaration and one that we as strive to live up to every day. At Nebraska, being a great fan isn't about cheering loudly or going to the game--though many great fans do those things as well. I think what sets Nebraska apart from other schools boils down to three things: our hospitality, competitiveness and loyalty.

 

Hospitality -- I believe one of the things that Big Ten fans will find most interesting and perhaps surprising about their visits to Lincoln is the warmth they will be greeted with. That's not to say that you won't run into the occasional grump, but most Nebraska fans will genuinely welcome you to Lincoln. This trait is something that I have really come to appreciate after traveling to several away games over the past few years!

 

Competitiveness --Don't mistake our friendliness for a lack of spirit--when it comes to game time, we expect to win. Nebraska fans are known for how informed they are, not only about Husker football but about the college football landscape in general. If you're looking to engage in a spirited debate, look no further than a Husker fan.

 

Loyalty -- Your team could be on top for ten years only to fall into ten years of near-irrelevance, but a loyal fan sticks with their team through the good times and the bad. Since 1962, we've most certainly had our ups and downs as a football program, but here's the sticking point: we've sold out every game since that year. We had already sold out for nearly eight consecutive years before we won our first national championship!

 

Simply put, part of what makes Nebraska a "legendary" place to play is the fans. I was fortunate enough to be at Memorial Stadium in 2009 for the 300th Consecutive Sellout and it remains one of my favorite memories of my time here at Nebraska. I'll leave you with a pair of videos from that night that celebrate the loyalty, competitiveness and hospitality of our fans:


300th Sellout Tribute Video

 

300th Sellout Congratulations Video

 

One of my favorite quotes about Nebraska football comes from former Nebraska wide receiver Todd Peterson, a native of Grand Island:

 

"I am always telling people this about growing up in Nebraska and what football means to the state - from the outside looking in, you can't understand it, and from the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

 

Remember: there really is no place like Nebraska!