It was something I noticed was lacking on the sidelines during games such as Texas Tech and Iowa State.
I don't think I was the only one either. Emotionless sidelines. Players sitting on their hands just waiting for the game to end, and fans sitting on their hands hoping against hope that maybe something good might happen.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, that dynamic changed. Hopefully for the rest of the season.
Being at the game, I can honestly say that the stadium was as electric as any Husker game as I can remember. There was energy in the air, a hopeful desperation filtered throughout the crowd. Fans knew this win would be huge, and players apparently did to.
All season long I don't recall seeing players on the sidelines egging the fans on with waving towels and raised arms. Only Mike Ekeler and Bo Pelini seemed to have any energy during those games, but something was different on Saturday, and different in a big way.
Emotions were riding high and flowing through players like electricity through metal. Emotions can be used two ways in sports, for the better, or for the worse. You can get so excited that you lose focus, so nervous that you lose concentration, and so frustrated that you blow assignments and make stupid plays.
Or, you can do what I saw Nebraska do on Saturday night. They channeled that emotion into focus, into strength, and ultimately into a win.
Not only did the players focus their energy in a positive way, but the fans did as well. Landry Jones may say that he wasn't rattled, but errant passes and botched audibles prove differently.
In fact, this may have been the loudest stadium I have ever been in. Not that that is saying much, I have only been to a handful of different stadiums and have only been to one or two Nebraska games a year for 15 years, but this one felt different.
It was desperate and it was expected, it was nerve-racking but it was confident. Nebraska rode these emotions to a hard-fought 10-3 victory on Saturday, and ultimately put themselves in the driver's seat for the North Division.
Smatterings of, "What South dominance?" Were heard after the game. Now the South is still the dominate division, and Oklahoma is down. But if Nebraska can continue to channel their emotions effectively, the Cornhuskers could be moving on to greener pastures.
It was a day of beginnings and a day of endings. Let's just hope that what was begun can be finished. And to do that, Nebraska needs to continue with the focused emotion and confidence that they held all night on Saturday against Oklahoma.
Next is Lawrence. Away from home, without the crowd, can this team take it to a struggling Jayhawks squad? Time will tell, but if the buzz wasn't imaginary on the sidelines this Saturday then I think we might be seeing a young team turn a corner into maturity.
Let's hope so.
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