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Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne says the Huskers' 34-27 triumph over Ohio State last weekend was the school's greatest comeback ever, and he wants to make sure Big Red fans get credit for their role in the outcome. "It looked pretty grim early in the third quarter," Osborne said before Tuesday night's monthly radio program that covered a wide range of topics - from the state of college athletics to the state of Nebraska facilities (Listen to segments 1, 2, 3, and 4).
"We realized it (coming back) could happen, but the odds seemed to be slipping away that we would get back in the game," Osborne said. "Then we got that fumble recovery when Lavonte David stripped the ball, followed by a couple of quick touchdowns. All of a sudden, the momentum shifted. The crowd got back into it, and it became a fairly electric environment."
The crowd helped the Huskers keep fighting. "We have great fans, and we need to acknowledge that and commend them for their loyalty," Osborne said, adding that the Huskers are going to need that same fever-pitch level of support as Nebraska competes to win the Legends Division and a chance to play in the first-ever Big Ten Conference Championship Game in Indianapolis.
"There's a lot to play for, and we're going to need everybody's support," Osborne said. "What we can't have is a lot of division. You don't want to see a lot of nit-picking. I mean, you can always find something wrong. It seems like we've finally gotten to the point where we're obsessed with the defense or the offense or the passing game or the kicking game or this individual or that individual. We can't spend all of our time talking about those things. There are so many other things that go into winning."
Osborne Pleased with 5-1 Record at Halfway Point
Osborne said he's pleased how Nebraska is positioned halfway through the regular season. "I think we have a great opportunity to turn this season around," he said. "Golly, they're 5-and-1. When you looked at the schedule at the start of the season and see where you have to play - at Wisconsin and Ohio State the next week, plus a good Washington team - being 5-and-1 right now is good. Fresno State and Wyoming at Wyoming are certainly not any gimmes.
"They're games you probably should win, but still, if you play enough of those, you're going to lose one," Osborne said. "We have a chance to do very well. If we win our division, it would be great because it would give you another shot at Wisconsin or whoever.
"Rex Burkhead epitomizes our style of play," Osborne said. "If you were down 60-to-nothing, Rex would play the same as if it were zero-zero, and I think Taylor Martinez showed that he certainly won't quit either. He's been taking quite a few hits, and he played very, very well."
Nebraska's athletic director expects to see a fan migration to Minnesota two weekends from now that will be similar to the estimated 30,000 faithful that traveled to Madison two weekends ago. "I don't know how many fans will show up in Minneapolis, but I think it's going to be a huge number," Osborne said.
"I think we're going to have a lot of people at Michigan and at Penn State, too," Osborne added. " I mean, that's a long way to go, but Nebraska fans travel better than almost anybody in the country. When (Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delany saw how many of our fans were at Wisconsin, he realized this is a serious place when it comes to football. He was quite impressed, and I'm hoping that our fans continue to show the support they've already shown."
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A.D. Dr. Tom Osborne to the rescue. It's like Coach Osborne sensed that Husker Nation needed to hear something "positive" and assured us that things are going pretty good. We should not let ourselves get caught up in all the bad-mouthing and negative hype, etc. He has that calming effect and can step in and shoot straight. Thank God for Coach Tom Osborne!! GO HUSKERS!!! Joe Sokolovsky, Fremont, Nebraska
I enjoyed hearing Coach Osborne explain how the Ohio State faculty rep thought Buckeye fans have never been treated better in a road game. Let's all get back to a total support mode - for the home team as well as the visitors. We all need each other as we focus in on a third straight conference championship game. The third time will be the charm! Nancy Anderson, Omaha, Nebraska
I learn more listening to Tom Osborne on the radio once a month than I learn reading the newspapers online every other day. Good show, Dr. Tom, and good interview, Jeff. You covered the mini-controversy, but didn't dwell on it. Newspapers could take a cue from our radio network. Tom Smith, Billings, Montana
If you listen to Coach Osborne, you know that booing of any kind is detrimental to the reputation we've worked so hard to achieve over a long period of time. Like Coach says, booing doesn't help the team, the recruits or anyone else. I hope people think before they ever boo again. T.O. wants to raise the bar and set a standard in our new conference. Come on, students, stand up and cheer, and if Saturday didn't teach you not to leave before the game's over, you'll never figure it out. Go Big Red! Don Phillips, Grand Island, Nebraska
Agree with Coach Osborne - Ohio State comeback was the greatest ever. I've been looking for a way to buy the DVD. Thanks for including it with the article. Gooooo Bigggg Redddddd! Go Big Red!! John Miller, St. Joseph, Missouri