The thrill of victory, etc.

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Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen

Our daughter Jessie lives in an apartment in Lincoln’s Haymarket, about oh six blocks or so away from Memorial Stadium. Last Saturday there was the usual hum of activity around her building, people coming and going, eating and drinking, basically having themselves a Saturday night.
Then it happened. The Noise.
It was a noise that rose from the nearby football stadium, home of the Huskers, and it was a noise unlike any she’s heard while living there for the past couple of years. The sound of a football crowd gone wild, a wall of jubilation that swept over her apartment building and all of downtown Lincoln.
All of Nebraska, really.
It was the sound that followed that crazy final Husker drive, the one where Brandon Reilly didn’t step out of bounds on his own (wink) but did come back in to catch the game winning touchdown pass, setting a wild celebration, the echoes of which still reverberate.
The joy that came with Nebraska’s 39-38 win over No. 6 Michigan State is unlike anything the Huskers have created in many years. Think beating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl, it was that sort of outpouring of emotion, the kind that surfaces after getting your nose repeatedly rubbed in it. You know, rubbed into a big ol’ bowl of missed opportunities.
If Nebraska had beaten BYU or Miami, if it hadn’t lost to Purdue, the exhilaration surrounding last week’s win would have been greatly muted. But as it was, all of Husker nation – a worn out term I am loathe to use but it seems fitting in this case – got to party like it was 1999. (Which ironically was the last year Big Red won a conference championship.)
Where does Nebraska football go from here? Dunno. Could do without all the acrimony that enveloped the program last week, all the finger pointing and excuse making, all the threats to life, limb and happiness. My guess is Nebraska beats Rutgers and finds a way to upset Iowa, just because. That will do it for this year and next spring we can start the whole thing all over again, hoping, praying for better overall results.
And there might be. The Huskers might win their division next year, might be ranked again, might become nationally relevant. But it will be hard to replace the feeling the players, coaches, administration and fans got to share last Saturday night.
Them and my daughter on the fifth floor.
* Saturday’s stunning victory was a joyful occurrence, partially wiping away the hurt and disappointment that came the night before when the Bison saw their season end. Losing by seven points to an unbeaten team on the road is nothing to feel sorry about, though you can’t help it if you are in the Green and Gold.
It was a historic season of football at CCHS and there is plenty of great moments to go around. Congrats to all the players and coaches, and the community which got to share in all the greatness.

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