Nebraska redshirt freshman receiver JD Spielman (No. 10) caught nine passes Saturday for 141 yards and etched his name in the Nebraska record books.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Despite Issues, Expect Nebraska to Regain Stature

By Randy York

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A funny thing happened to me and to two former Nebraska sportswriters Saturday as we walked out of TCF Bank Stadium to catch a train back to our hotel in downtown Minneapolis.     

A few minutes after Minnesota beat Nebraska, 54-21, several of the stunned Golden Gopher fans among the 39,933 fans in attendance went out of their way to tell Chuck Sinclair, Steve Sinclair and me that Nebraska was, in effect, experiencing an anomaly this year in college football.

I use that word to describe something that deviates from what is standard, normal or expected.

For half a century, Nebraska has been one of college football’s five most select football programs.

Using any measurement, NU’s program is elite in terms of national championships, conference titles, bowl games, All-Americans and 360 consecutive sellouts since 1962. Name the dimensions, and the Huskers have the proof in multiple first-class credentials.

Elements Might Explain Why Golden Gopher Football Fans Were So Thoughtful and Caring

The combination of such treasurable elements might explain why Golden Gopher fans were so thoughtful and caring after their 1-and-5 Big Ten team outscored Nebraska by 33 points in a game televised by FoxSports1.

Instead of boasting about their lopsided triumph, Gopher fans were appreciative and stunned. 

Walking inside and outside the stadium, Minnesota fans shook their heads in disbelief and shook the hands of the visitors, so they could tell Nebraskans that "they are the best fans in the country, hands down."

Yes, the hullabaloo made it difficult for both programs to process.

Nebraska fans thanked their hosts and left the stadium stunned by the disproportionate score.

“Nebraska will be back. You can count on that,” one Minnesota fan told me. “You guys have too much tradition to sink to this level. You’ll recruit better than ever and I bet you’ll put everything back together again.”

Stunned by what we had seen, heard and experienced, I think the most compassionate Gopher fan made the most remarkable point. Winning has been Nebraska football’s heart and soul since the late Bob Devaney, a College Football Hall of Famer, arrived in Lincoln in 1962.

Expect Nebraska to Regain Its National Prominence and Restore Its Well-Earned Stature.

Despite Saturday’s loss and the issues the Huskers face before ending the 2017 season, expect Nebraska to regain its national prominence and restore its well-earned stature.

Nebraska has the facilities, knowhow and assets required to reinvent itself on college football's red carpet.

Recruiting is the most important staple for Nebraska football, and the Huskers have one of the best, if not the best freshman in college football.

Nebraska redshirt freshmen receiver JD Spielman (pictured above) caught nine passes Saturday for 141 yards and etched his name in the Nebraska record books.

Playing in his hometown, Spielman was featured on the front page of the Minneapolis StarTribune the day before the Gophers beat the Huskers.

Spielman’s performance Saturday increased his season totals to 49 receptions and 734 yards, Nebraska freshman records in both categories. The previous records were 45 receptions for 641 yards by Nate Swift in 2005.

After recording his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, Spielman joins Swift as the only freshmen in Nebraska history to post multiple 100-yard receiving games.

Spielman’s 49 receptions this season leave him one catch shy of the single-season Top 10.

Nebraska (4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten Conference) must win its final two games, at Penn State and at home against Iowa to qualify for a bowl game.

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