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2018 Nebraska Football Countdown: 97

The Flea Kicker, national championship, and the retirement of a legend

Alamo Bowl X Davison

97 days until kickoff of the 2018 season.

Of course, 1997 was the year of Nebraska’s latest national championship (I couldn’t bring myself to call it the “last” one.) That season gave Nebraska its third national championship in the span of four years. It was also the final season Tom Osborne led the team out of the tunnel as head coach.

The 1997 Huskers posted a 13-0 record, 8-0 in the Big Twelve. That team opened the season with Akron visiting Memorial Stadium. Hopefully a visit from Akron in 2018 is the start of a return to the kind of Nebraska football that left opponents (even victorious ones) not wanting to play that team again.

The biggest play of 1997 was the Flea Kicker, a crazy catch by Matt Davison after the ball was kicked upward by Shevin Wiggins. That play tied the game as time expired in regulation. Nebraska went on to win the game in overtime and preserve their perfect record and national championship hopes.

  • Current Husker wearing 97: Deontre Thomas
  • Who wore it best? Nebraska has had several defensive tackles that were named all-conference players while wearing 97. Those include Bill Barnett (1979), Toby Williams (1982), and Jeff Ogard (1996). If I missed anyone, let me know!
  • The 1897 Nebraska Bugeaters posted a 5-1 record and were 3-0 in the Western Interstate University Football Association. They were the conference champs that year and coached by Eddie Robinson.