In the summer leading up to the 2007 season, I was only eight years old. I turned nine in October. I don’t remember too much about the pre-season speculation, but I do recall the hype around Arizona State transfer QB Sam Keller. After watching Nebraska crush Nevada, my dad joked with my mom about starting to plan a trip to San Antonio in December for the Big 12 Championship. I don’t have any memories about the Wake Forest game, except for being very nervous about taking on USC the next week.
In the week leading up to the USC game there were so many commercials on TV about College Gameday coming to Lincoln. (Speaking of College Gameday, if anybody has any connections to ESPN it would be greatly appreciated if you could get them in Lincoln while I’m in college, just saying.) Once the USC game was out of reach my parents put me to bed, and all I could think about was destroying Ball State the next week.
Sadly, my dreams never came true considering the final score was 41-40. Brady Hoke and his boys could’ve called some better final plays before their field goal attempt. Heck they might’ve even been able to convert the 4th and 5 with how bad the nickel defense was working against their offense. The next week we played Iowa State, and it wasn’t being aired on TV. My dad had something going on at our church, and my mom basically did laundry the whole game. My eight year old self didn’t have the attention span to listen to the game on the radio and do nothing else, so I played with my dog and tuned in and out to the game. At this point in the season we only had one loss, so I felt pretty good about playing Missouri the next week, but boy was I wrong.
The sad thing about the Missouri game is that it was probably the worst way to spend a birthday. (Too bad I got to experience it twice, once in 2007, and once again in 2012 as Ohio State won 63-38. You guys might want to pencil in next year’s game against Wisconsin a loss already, sorry for my curse.) The game was a blowout, and again I was sent to bed early. The next game was at home against Oklahoma State, and I’d say this is where my frustration with Husker football really kicked in. The only two memories I have from that game are feeling like one of their wide receivers stepped out of bounds on a long pass play, and seeing the biggest spider of my entire life crawling right next to my bare feet in our basement.
After those two blowouts Husker Nation was hurting. My dad and I were out mowing the lawn before the Texas A&M game, and our neighbor came over and offered us his tickets to the game for free. We took them, finished our lawn care, and headed to Lincoln. We we got to our seats we were surrounded by A&M fans, but we all had one thing in common, we all hated our head coach. We sulked back to our car after another beatdown. At this point in the season all of Husker Nation was fed up with Bill Callahan and Sam Keller. I don’t want to be rude and say fortunately his season ended the next week, but I am glad it did because it introduced us to Joe Ganz. There was nothing more that I wanted in life than to beat Texas. In 2006 our family had season tickets, and I sat there freezing in the snow just to watch my heart get crushed when Terrance Nunn fumbled the ball in the 4th quarter.
Nebraska led for most of the game in Austin, but somehow we blew it. I don’t remember much from the game except for Jamaal Charles running for a boatload of yards in the 4th quarter, and Sam Keller laying on the ground in pain. I don’t even want to talk about the Kansas game, I stopped watching at halftime. Of course my 4th grade teacher was a KU fan, so I got to come back to school on Monday and hear from her. The Kansas State game left me wondering where that team was last week, the week before that, and really the whole season. The Colorado game was a chance for bowl eligibility, but after an awful start to the second half we weren’t able to recover and the season was over.
As a child it would’ve been very easy for me to turn my back on Nebraska and bandwagon onto another team, like a lot of kids did back then. I didn’t then and I never will; we stick together in all types of weather. I do look back on the 2007 season and wonder if it would’ve been different had Joe Ganz started. There’s a lot of unknowns about what could’ve been with that team, but it doesn’t matter anymore.
We’ve had almost a decade to get over it, and even though it still hurts, all we can do its look forward to how Mike Riley is going to do this year. All I ask of Riley is to get to the B1G championship in his third year, but not go 5-7 in his fourth.