Senior defensive tackle Matt McChesney is among those nine. As a longtime Colorado resident who has relatives in Nebraska, McChesney grew up with a taste for the rivalry. Like many of his teammates, McChesney respects the Cornhusker program, but relishes the opportunity to beat them. Tuesday, it was apparent his focus had turned squarely to the Nov. 26 matchup.
Buffalo Sports News: Every year you've got freshmen coming in from out of state that may not understand the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry. Is there any kind of formal education process you guys put them through about the game?
Matt McChesney: Not necessarily. But it's not just another game. I guess it's just a learning process they go through as they're here.
For some of the freshmen, it's the first Colorado-Nebraska game they've ever seen. But if they don't know it's a rivalry then they shouldn't have come here.
BSN: You said after the K-State game that you wanted to go 3-and-2 against Nebraska.
MM: Before I got here in 2000 we hadn't had a team beat Nebraska in 10 years, so it's going to be a huge accomplishment for us when (our senior class beats them a third time). That's what we are going to do.
BSN: When were you first aware of the rivalry growing up here in Colorado?
MM: When I was like 6. The first Colorado-Nebraska game I ever saw was in Lincoln. It was the game that EB fumbled four or five times, but Colorado came back and won (27-12 in 1990).
My family lives out in Nebraska — everybody except my immediate family. They've all been Nebraska fans my whole life.
We always used to go out there for Thanksgiving and we just happened to be out there and went to the game. I was smiling big on that day.
BSN: That was a classic game, with the sleet and all.
MM: Yeah, it was cold, but I didn't care.
BSN: Is there a shift yet toward the focus on Nebraska?
MM: Yeah. It actually started yesterday when the film ended from K-State. That's over and now everything's got to be turned up a notch for these people.
BSN: You guys pulled out the red jerseys for the scout team in practice today?
MM: Yeah, the scout team guys do a great job. They take a lot of pride in that. They're going to be coming after us all week.
BSN: Have you looked at Nebraska tape yet?
MM: Yeah we watched about 45 minutes today. They're real physical up front. If they ran the ball every play like they used to, they'd be in better shape than they are. I don't think they have the personnel quite yet to run the kind of offense Bill Callahan wants, but they'll get it done. It's a great program with a lot of tradition.
BSN: They haven't had a good season by Nebraska standards. Do you expect them to be fired up anyway?
MM: They're going to be just like we were last week – last home game for their seniors; they're trying to go to a bowl game. They're going to come out and give us everything they've got. But they're going to get everything we've got in return.
Back At It
The Buffs were back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon, the first time they've put on the pads since Saturday's 38-31 win over Kansas State. Head coach Gary Barnett called the go a "good workout." The team plans to keep to its normal Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice regimen, but — as promised by the head coach if they beat Kansas State — have Friday off this week. The team will also take the weekend off, before getting back at it Monday in preparation for the Nov. 26 game at Nebraska.
Three players — Clint O'Neal, Lorenzo Sims and Jordon Dizon — suffered concussions in the game against Kansas State. O'Neal and Dizon practiced Tuesday, and Sims was expected to practice Wednesday.
Fifth-year senior TE Quinn Sypniewski has been out the majority of the season with a broken leg and high ankle sprain. A week ago it looked as though he would not be able to play again this fall, and Sypniewski said he would likely apply for a sixth year via medical redshirt. That plan seems to have changed. There's a chance he could play against Nebraska. He practiced Tuesday.
"We worked him out today," Barnett said. "He's got a thing coming for his ankle (Wednesday). We're going to see how far along he can get before next week."
There are two games of major importance to Colorado's chances at playing in the Big 12 title game, which take place Saturday. The outcome of both the Kansas at Missouri game and the Iowa State at Kansas State game have implications for the Buffs.
"We're pulling for Kansas and Kansas State," Barnett said.
If both the Jayhawks and Wildcats win Saturday, CU can win the Big 12 North by beating Nebraska Nov. 26.
Nebraska's Run Defense
Whether or not they still call themselves The Blackshirts, Nebraska's run defense has been good this fall. Barnett said, "They're really good up front. And the linebackers are really good. That's where they get you; they're hard to block."
Asked if they are the best group up front that CU will have faced, Barnett said Texas took that honor, but that Nebraska is "in that range."
After looking at the film of the win over Kansas State, Barnett said it was probably the best all-around game the team has put forth this season, but pointed to the play of the offensive line and the linebackers as being superior.
"Our offensive line played probably the best game they've played," he said. "And our linebackers – to hold Sproles to 55 yards. That was the challenge, they had to find Sproles to get him. They did a really good job."