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The Morning After: It Was Pure Joy In Nebraska’s 49 Point Win Over Northwestern

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After several years of anticipation and heart break from simply bad play to heart breaking mistakes, last night marked the first night Nebraska fans have had an opportunity to experience joy from watching a Husker football game.

Northwestern v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Five games into the 2021 season, it felt like whatever could go wrong did go wrong for Nebraska. In the 49 point win over Northwestern last night, whatever could go right, did go right for Scott Frost and his players.

Finally.

For me personally, it was my first game at Memorial Stadium as a fan since the Ohio State game in 2019. I have been going to games for over 25 years and last night was a first for me.

I was at the 2001 Oklahoma game when Eric Crouch caught the Black 41 Flash Reverse pass that everybody remembers. The feeling during that game was a feeling of exhilaration. After the Crouch catch the man behind me literally grabbed my shoulders and was shaking me. A complete stranger.

Then there is the 2009 Oklahoma game when a Suh led Nebraska team won the game 10-3. That game had a feeling of repeated anticipation and relief. It was over and over again as the defense continued to shut down Oklahoma.

There is only way I can describe the feeling being in that Memorial Stadium last night.

It was joy and it was all around me.

Maybe the source of the joy was relief. Relief from constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. When is Nebraska going to make that back-breaking-soul-crushing mistake? It didn’t happen last night and it looked like the coaching staff and the players weren’t expecting it to happen.

Nebraska came out swinging from the word “Go.”

Nebraska dialed up a 70 yard reception by Samori Toure on the first play from scrimmage. Frost even admitted that if Toure didn’t go up and fight for that ball then it is probably intercepted.

Things that could go right, did go right for Nebraska.

One of the best moments of the night was the crowd’s response to a punt. Last week against Michigan State there was a net seven yard punt by William Przystup. It didn’t help that his co-punter Daniel Cerni kicked it the wrong direction which cost Nebraska in the same game.

Time for redemption. There was only one punt last night and Przystup took a crack at it. Before the snap, the ball was at the Nebraska 10 yard line. Would it be another shank? Maybe in the wrong direction? What ended up happening was that Przystup tied Sam Koch for the second longest punt in the history of Nebraska football.

84 yards.

Things that could go right, did go right for Nebraska.

Now we know Northwestern is not the same team as the one that won the West Division in 2020. They lost a lot of players. However, if Nebraska won by 14 then fans would have walked away from a win like that satisfied.

However, there wouldn’t be dancing in the seats like last night. There wouldn’t have been the constant “Go Big Red” chants. Or a student section starting the wave. Then doing a “slow motion” wave, then doing a “fast forward” wave like what happened last night. The entire stadium joined in with the fun.

Fun.

When was the last time you had fun watching Nebraska football? Speaking for myself, it has been probably a decade. I might have to ponder that one. Nate Clouse tweeted out that last night was one big therapy session for Nebraska football. He has a great point.

Then the icing on the cake was what I would call “Turn the Lights Out.” It was “something special” they had planned between the 3rd and 4th quarter. It was awesome.

But last night I felt joy. It was a build up of so many things. The constant mistakes, incompetence and bone headed plays which have lead to losses. It might just be one week. Frost said after the game that it is only one week. Michigan very well could come in next Saturday and take Nebraska to the wood shed.

Though on this Saturday night it was nice for once to feel joy while watching Nebraska football.


The Morning After

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After each game, The World-Herald's Sam McKewon hands out his Husker Report Card, assessing Nebraska's performance in several areas. Here are the grades coming out of the Northwestern game.

Hidden yards tracker: Nebraska dominates Northwestern in turnovers and penalties | Football | omaha.com
Nebraska's win over Northwestern should be even sweeter as it was won without the unforced errors that have riddled the Huskers. Gavin Struve breaks down the game's hidden yards here.

Chatelain: Nebraska restores a little magic to Memorial Stadium with win over Northwestern | Football | omaha.com
It’s a little hard to describe or fathom what the heck happened at Memorial Stadium Saturday night. The party started on the first offensive snap and rarely let up, writes

McKewon: Nebraska drew first blood — then stepped on Northwestern’s throat | Football | omaha.com
Nebraska drew first blood, liked the taste and went back for more. It was the largest and most dominant win of the Scott Frost era, coming against a team that

Steven M. Sipple: Finally, Husker fans see Frost's team hit on all cylinders, but will it last? | Football | journalstar.com
"We still have a lot of work to do," Scott Frost said. It was the perfect response in the context of the program's recent history.

Nebraska's amazing show of frustration and anger and 5 observations from 'special' night at Memorial Stadium – The Athletic ($)
The Huskers enjoyed the largest margin of victory in a conference game since joining the Big Ten a decade ago as several players emerged.

Husker football recruits take in night game atmosphere at Memorial Stadium | Recruiting | omaha.com
Football prospects and their families spilled onto the northeast sideline inside Memorial Stadium. The biggest crowd for a Nebraska recruiting weekend in at least two years was in the house.

Not stopping Nebraska's option plays 'kind of snowballed' on Northwestern | Football | omaha.com
Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, eight of the first 10 games between the Huskers and Northwestern have been decided by eight or fewer points. That wasn't the case Saturday

'Man did we run it better': Huskers roll up 427 rushing yards, seven TDs in 56-7 rout of Northwestern | Football | journalstar.com
A dream start. A bounce-back. A 49-point Nebraska victory over a Big Ten team. And now, a likely top-10 Michigan team coming to Lincoln.

Notable quotes from head coach Scott Frost after the win over Northwestern
Though Nebraska was able to get back on track Saturday with a 56-7 win over Northwestern, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost hesitated from heaping too much praise on his team following the win over the Wildcats.

Notable quotes from head coach Scott Frost after the win over Northwestern
Though Nebraska was able to get back on track Saturday with a 56-7 win over Northwestern, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost hesitated from heaping too much praise on his team following the win over the Wildcats.

'Holy Yant:' Husker freshman back steals the show
Jaquez Yant was one of the stories of the spring, but most people didn't know what kind of story.

One of those feel-good, walkon-to-watch stories that is good for copy in April but not October? Or this kind of story? This kind of story on Saturday night in which the big running back ran around and just as eagerly through contact to the delight of a Husker fan base whose frustrations from the first month of this season was now giving way to the joy of watching a Husker play the hammer to the opponent's nail.

Game Balls: Who stood out against Northwestern?
Several individuals had strong games, but Nebraska as a whole played its most complete game in years.

That means there were no shortage of potential players who could earn the most coveted weekly award in sports, the Husker247 game ball.

Rapid Reaction: Northwestern adds its latest and most embarrassing chapter to the 2021 season, losing 56-7 to Nebraska - Inside NU
The primary difference between tonight’s game and Fitz’s other nightmare losses is the fact that Nebraska’s 2021 football team lost to Illinois just over a month ago. Tonight, NU made the Cornhuskers look like ‘Bama.