Going out with a bang

As much as Nebraska officials have dismissed any ill will toward

everything burnt orange, a pair of pleas this week showed the

emotion Texas will face Saturday.

Football coach Bo Pelini and

athletic director Tom Osborne each directed messages to Husker

Nation. The short version: stay classy, Lincoln.

The reminder to a fan base considered one of the most

fair-minded in


football spoke volumes. They really,

really don’t care for the Longhorns in Nebraska.

“It’s a state pride thing along with Nebraska leaving the Big 12

after this year,” said Jeremy Clements, the assistant general

manger at Brewsky’s Food & Spirits, a popular sports bar on

Cornhusker Highway in Lincoln. “Everybody who is a Nebraska fan

wants them to not only win but win big.”

Blame Texas’ 8-1 record against Nebraska in the Big 12 era. Or

Texas’ controversial conference title game victory. Then factor in

the cloak-and-dagger conference realignment this summer.

Suffice to say, Saturday’s game looms far larger than a visit

last month by South Dakota State.

Dale Jensen, a major Nebraska athletic and academic donor, said

the hatred angle has been overblown. He acknowledged last season’s

game still resonates.

“It isn’t to the point where it’s a single issue,” Jensen said.

“Hey, we’re trying to win the Big 12 and see how far we go towards

a national championship. …

“We remember last year and it’s obviously bigger than a normal

game, but it’s not like it’s an obsession.”

This week, Nebraska players talked about the bitter aftertaste

from last year’s Big 12 title game. As the Cornhuskers began

celebrating an upset following a Colt McCoy incompletion, officials

put one second back on the Cowboys Stadium clock. Hunter Lawrence

drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired for the 13-12


Nebraska coach Bo Pelini vented at Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe


“It was a gut-wrenching moment,” Texas tailback Fozzy Whittaker

said. “Turn the tables and Nebraska played a hard game, they played

their hearts out, the last play was the one that didn’t go in their


“I feel this coming weekend is going to be fuel to the


Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick offered a brief moment of

candor this week.

“Yeah, the feeling after that game was a taste in our mouths

we’ll never get rid of,” Crick said. “Maybe this week we can get

some retribution, but we’re not really thinking of it like


Last year’s loss was just the most recent indignity suffered by

Nebraska against Texas. The Longhorns have three Big 12 wins in

Lincoln, more than any conference team.

As a reminder, an Omaha sports talk radio station Wednesday

continuously replayed Brent Musburger’s call of “Roll Left.” Over

and over, Texas quarterback James Brown burning Nebraska on fourth

down in the 1996 Big 12 title game.

That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Texas threatened copyright action on an Omaha firm marketing a

T-shirt featuring “:01” and an upside-down Longhorn head, the

Austin American-Statesman reported. Fans were paying an average of

$383 for tickets on StubHub. Osborne deleted a reference to “Beat

Texas” in a preseason slogan.

“I think it’s a healthy anticipation,” Osborne said. “I don’t

see people here being negative or having animosity toward Texas, at


But shortly before Nebraska decided to leave the Big 12 for the

Big Ten, Osborne told a Nebraska newspaper he was concerned about

the conference’s center of gravity shifting toward Texas.

Texas coach Mack Brown said his school has no dislike of

Nebraska. He still fondly remembers Nebraska fans cheering Ricky

Williams in 1998.

“I don’t understand it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it,” Brown

said. “It’s absolutely not in our building.”

2:30 p.m. Saturday (Ch. 8)