Yesterday, we looked at how the Huskers hung 84 on Minnesota...and it wasn't in basketball.
Today, we gas up the Way Back Machine and go to 1983.
You never forget your first team.
You remember the names, the jersey numbers, and - if you're lucky - the first time you got to see them play in person. My first team was the 1983 Huskers.
I have been a Husker fan as long as I can remember. My parents had all the gear, posters, souvenirs, etc. They'd talk about The Game of the Century, being part of the Knothole Gang and all of that. It was cool to listen to and to see, but I really didn't really "get it" until 1983.
Some people say that the Dallas Cowboys had the original Triplets with Irvin, Aikman, and Smith. Everyone from Scottsbluff to Omaha would argue differently. The Triplets - Mike Rozier, Turner Gill, and Irving Fryar - dominated college football. Also known as The Scoring Explosion, they were a part of the most potent offense in college football history.
First off, Mike Rozier. Un-freaking-believable. His runs seemed effortless. He ran with power. He ran with finesse. Once I saw the run versus UCLA, he was the Greatest Husker I Had Ever Seen. I fondly remember the Sunday World Herald the day after he won the Heisman Trophy. I just remember feeling pride.
Next was Irving Fryar. Let's face it: a true wide receiver at Nebraska was sort of an anomaly. For the most part, they were there to block and to be a diversion once in awhile from the I-backs and fullbacks. Not Fryar. He just glided on the field and made defenses look incredibly silly.
Last but certainly not least was Turner Gill. He was the maestro of the group. He had intangibles that were hard to quantify, but if there ever was a true leader on the field, it was Gill. I would say that he and Tommie Frazier are the only two quarterbacks in my lifetime where, when they were under center, I knew we were going to win. Gill has always defined class both on and off the field. #12 will always be my favorite Husker.
Of course, they weren't the only reason that that '83 team was as good as they were. Having guys like Steinkuhler, Knox, Skow and Schelleen helped. It was just that those three were the ones that were the tipping point for me being the die-hard Husker fan that I am today. They were the ones that I always talked to my dad about. Remember being able to finally talk sports with your dad? The Triplets were our starting point and he and I haven't stopped cheering and commiserating about the Huskers ever since.
Tomorrow - McCloskey's Corner