The Nebraska Cornhuskers had just reeled off two straight undefeated seasons, we were headed for a spot in the National Championship Game. Scott Frost, our new quarterback, was kind of a local hero. I had met him the year before, and he fulfilled the dreams of thousands of small-town Nebraska boys of playing for the Huskers, succeeding, and showing the big city kids who's boss.
We were playing Texas. There was a small T.V. back in the prep room. I had never really learned the Cash Register at LJS (hey, I was a temp) so I was back with the batter, the chicken, and the old fish (I had to shower after work before Jody would even see me in those days. . . her hatred for fish has not waned in 14 years).
Well, the short story is. . . heartbreak. Texas pulled a trick play on 4th down and clinched the game at the very end. James Brown was their quarterback. . . we did not "feel good" suffice it to say. It was a stomach punch loss. The fish was 5 pounds heavier for the rest of the afternoon. It was a rainy day,. . . . pretty miserable.
Every NU/Texas game (save for one blowout each for Nebraska and Texas) has gone that way. Last year was similar, we had the game clinched, then our Romanian kicker shanks the kickoff, giving the Longhorns the ball at the 40. Next, one of our defensive backs gets called for a horse-collar tackle (dubious) that puts Texas in field goal range. Then, Colt McCoy rolls out, (why were they even trying to pass) throws the ball out of bounds, and the clock goes to .00.
The clock guy messed up and they put a second back on the clock. Texas then kicked the game winning field goal. Brutal.
So, today will be the last NU/UT game ever (in the Big 12 at least). There will be no regular season games scheduled between these two. . I'm pretty sure of that. Perhaps a National Title Game or Bowl Game will happen one day, but this is pretty much it.
Let me say this. . . NU should win today. Texas is not very good. There will be no such thing as "running up the score" today, should NU emerge victorious. We will score as many points as it takes to erase the memories of 1996, 98, 2002, 06, and 09. Whatever that is, we should score that much. We should not pull any starters until next Tuesday. We should run plays that are working until Texas stops them. All of that is in play today. Today is about "getting monkeys" off your back and "getting over the hump". . pick your metaphor. It's game time.
ps. and should Texas keep this close, or (gasp) win it. Congrats, . . they own us, and there is something in the corn that doesn't allow us to beat that team. bring it.