Okay, Cowboy fans, listen up! I have a challenge for everyone. We need to make our stadium as loud, as intimidating, and as full as Memorial Stadium in Lincoln was Saturday afternoon. I don't usually applaud the other team for much of anything, but I had to applaud their NCAA record 256th-consecutive sellout. That includes non-conference games against St. Mary's Sisters of the Poor, Deaf, and Blind and big games, like high-profile conference games. That feat, my friends, is a most impressive one, and one that all schools should strive for.
Fans of all schools,
including OSU, should also aspire to be as cool as Nebraska fans. The
semi-official OSU tailgate that I attended before the game took place right in
the middle of a Nebraska donor lot, in a spot lent to us by some very kind
Nebraska fans. There was a great mix of orange and red, Cowboys and Huskers,
swapping food, drink, and football
stories with each other.
All of the Husker fans I
encountered on Saturday were happy to see us, and even the campus cops were
cool. As we passed a couple of NU cops, they asked how we were doing and if we
needed any help finding anything. I didn't know such campus law enforcement
officials existed. Even the nicest OSU cops aren't that cool. In my mind, two
groups of fans are head and
shoulders above the rest of us in the kindness department: the Huskers, and the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss. Everyone else could take some lessons from either group of fans.
The noise generated by Nebraska fans was also something to behold. Of course, there is something to be said for strength in numbers, but I think 50,000 Husker fans would have been just as loud as the 70,000 I heard all day long. They were loud, they were many, and they were all wearing red.
I'm afraid some of our fans still haven't fallen in love with the color orange, but it's high time to start. We're spending millions of dollars to upgrade Lewis Field. There is no greater compliment to a new, improved stadium than lots and lots of orange to fill it. Even though construction just started, there's no time like the present to get started.
There has been a lot of
talk about where this game would be won. The general consensus of everyone I
talked to in Stillwater was that it would be decided in the trenches when we
were on offense. The general consensus, in a moment of clarity, was actually
right about something. Our offensive line, along with the rest of our offense,
looked a little out of sorts. Here, there is bad news, good news, and better
news. The bad news is that I haven't seen our offense look that lost in a long
time. The good
news is that I'm confident they will improve. And the better news is that our offense will improve, but Nebraska's offense played as good as it will all season.
Keep in mind, folks, that
despite the final score, our defense really only gave up three points. One of
Nebraska's touchdowns came immediately after a Tatum Bell fumble, and the other
was the result of a bad call on a Josh Fields fumble/incomplete pass. Anytime an
offense with someone as shifty as Jammal Lord in the backfield gets the ball
four yards from pay dirt, it will be pretty hard to keep them out. However, with
no passing game, Nebraska will have problems all year long when they have the
There were some good individual efforts today, mostly on defense. For my money, the most valuable player in this game was Elbert Craig. He made a handful of stunning plays including an interception and a sack of Lord. My player to watch is Pagitte McGee. He worked hard to show Cowboy fans that it was no fluke that he moved ahead of Paul Duren on the two-deep.
In the end, this game
neither will neither make or break our season. This was a hostile environment
and a nationally televised
conference game to begin a season where the Cowboys have to break in new guys on the line on both sides of the ball. We've got four easy games to get to know some of our new guys and get them ready to battle it out in conference play.
I'm excited to see where
this team will go this year, and everyone else should be, too. We've got a lot
of talent, a lot of new kids to break in, and a lot to be excited about as
Cowboy fans. We should learn from the example of Nebraska and show up en masse
next week for Wyoming and the two subsequent home non-conference games. 48,000
people packed into Lewis Field
will make a statement to our football team and to the rest of the conference that OSU is ready to turn the corner.