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The Huskers had a super Sunday!
The Husker women stated the day by winning the B1G 10 tournament. Then it was the men’s turn…
Greg, Kendra, Katie and I headed to the game early to join the other 16,000 Husker fans for some pre-game food and fun. From the moment we arrived, you could feel the excitement level was high and building. Before the beginning of the game between Nebraska and 9th ranked Wisconsin, the arena was packed to capacity with the Husker faithful.
When the seniors saluted the crowd, the place absolutely erupted. From tipoff to the final buzzer the fans were on fire. The team fought hard for every point, every rebound and every opportunity, yet the 9th ranked Badgers held the advantage through most of the first half. The half ended with the Badgers up by 2 points.
We celebrated halftime with the Women’s Basketball Team, who just arrived back in town sporting their B1G 10 Championship Trophy. Seeing Hooper hoisting the trophy at center court, kept the emotions high heading into the second half.
The second half started off as a battle of the defenses and the score remained tight. Midway through the second half Wisconsin found a rhythm and went up by 7 points. The Huskers took a much needed timeout. The Huskers desperately needed to gain control.
Then suddenly…something was happening! You could see it in the faces of the players. It was as if time stopped for a moment…then Coach Miles/Yoda said to them, “We’ve come too far…We will finish!...We Will Win!...Rise up and band together!"
The players returned from the timeout with swagger and began to pick up momentum. With every point and rebound the fans continued became louder and LOUDER. Every time the Badgers had the ball, it was as if it was third down with the blackshrts needing a big defensive stand. The Husker defensively started dominating and the noise became so loud that the Badgers were beginning to unravel.
Late in the game the Huskers battled to take the lead. The fans went absolutely crazy and the noise level continued to blow the roof off. Everyone was on their feet cheering as the team rose up and took control of the Badgers. With 2 minutes left Nebraska found themselves up by 10 and they never looked back. They finish with style defeating the Badger 77-68 and punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Next up is the the Big 10 Conference Tournament. With a 4th Place finish in the conference, Nebraska earned a 1st round bye. They will play the winner of Ohio St and Purdue on Friday March 14th. Many believe the Huskers are off the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, but a win would seal the deal.
On November 2nd 2013: The energy at Memorial Stadium in the final 4 seconds, was like none other. Huskers quarterback Ron Kellogg through the football with every bit of strength he had. For a brief moment Memorial Stadium was completely silent. As the ball sailed through the air, every Husker fan in the stadium rose to their feet, anxiously hoping and praying for a miracle. As the ball came down, it was tipped up, then out of no where came Nebraska's newest hero, Jordan Westerkamp, to save the day and the hopes of Husker Nation. As the officials hands went up the roar of Husker fans exploded into the single loudest cheer I have every experience at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska fans we jumping, hugging, screaming, high-five-ing and even crying. The level of emotion was Absolutely Electric! This is why I absolutely love being a Cornhusker fan. For this Game Winning Hail Mary...We say Hail Yes! and Go Big Red!
The Cornhuskers seemed destined to meet up with one it's former Big XII rivals. However, after a crazy weekend of conference championship games and rivalry games, the dust settled and Nebraska was selected for the trip to Jacksonville. The announcement of the Huskers and Bulldogs meeting in the January 1st 2014 Gator Bowl was a surprise to fans of both teams. Experts and fans have been locked in debate since the announcement about their thoughts and opinions of the Gator Bowl match up. After having some time to digest the situation it is clear that this game provides some good opportunities and some unfavorable elements for the Husker's.
Why the match up is not desirable for the Huskers:
Over the past four seasons, the Huskers have found themselves in numerous repetitive match ups. First there was playing Washington three times in two seasons, back to back Holiday Bowl appearances, then back to back Capital One Bowl appearances and now back to back bowl games with Georgia. Many of us prefer a fresh new match up and a fun city to invade with the Sea of Red. Once again, this game leaves some Nebraska fans with a Groundhog's Day feeling.
It would be nice to see the Husker players come away with a nine win season. However, Nebraska has not fared well against SEC teams as of late, which makes a win feel like an uphill battle.
An invitation Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe would have put the Cornhuskers in an area that has a high concentration of avid Husker fans. I would have been able to meet up with my life long friend Mark Smith, who also heads up the San Tan Valley Arizona Husker Club...sorry Mark.
Why the Nebraska vs. Georgia Gator Bowl is a great opportunity:
The opportunity to avenge last years loss to the Bulldogs will give the senior Huskers lots of motivation. The Huskers have everything to gain and nothing to loose. A win on national television against an SEC power team would be a big recruiting boost for the Huskers. A win would obviously give the Huskers nine wins on the season, which would keep their nine win streak alive. Which would also help get Bo off the hot seat.
Florida is a talent rich state for D-1 athletes, so a good showing at the Gator Bowl would have a positive effect on recruiting the sunshine state. Nebraska has had recent success recruiting in Florida and is currently courting some of their top athletes. Don't be surprise if some of those prospects are at the Gator Bowl.
Many of the top sports gurus have named the Gator Bowl at one of the top 10 must see bowl games of 2013-14. Everyone seem to like the match up of these two teams that have each endured their share of injuries this season. This should translate into lots of national interest, which once again is good for recruiting.
Jacksonville is a vibrant Florida coastal city with lots to offer. Nebraskans wanting a break from the chill of winter, will be excited for the opportunity to spend the New Year in sunny Florida.
The 2014 Gator Bowl provides a golden opportunity for the Huskers to set the tone for next season. The game could likely be decided on which team shows up the most healthy and best prepared. The Huskers would seem to have the bigger motivation, because they have the most to gain. Georgia is favored to win and will likely have more fans in the stands.
If Nebraska shows up mostly healthy, finds a way to keep control of the ball and controls the line scrimmage, the Huskers will win! Nebraska 31 Georgia 24
Go Big Red! Let's get Redemption!
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