Our house is a very, very fine house because Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne both worked there.
Photo by Prange Aerial Photography, Lincoln, Nebraska

Our House Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

By NU Athletic Communications

300th Sellout Videos

Tunnel Walk for 1962 Team | 1962 Highlights |

Interviews with '62 players | "Our House" 300th Sellout Fan Tribute

Special Messages to Husker Fans

Tom Osborne

Turner Gill | Frank Solich

Keith Jackson | Barry Alvarez | Barry Switzer

300th Sellout Photo Gallery

Randy York's N-sider

To "Respond to Randy" click on the link below and choose "Randy York's N-Sider" under "Area of Interest" on the new screen. Please include your name and hometown and share your thoughts on the house that Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne built and how much you enjoy your visits there.

Okay, maybe it was just a game on FSN pay-per-view, but no one in the country celebrated like Nebraska did Saturday night.

From the 1962 team that led the Huskers onto the field to the last burst of fireworks that told a Memorial Stadium record crowd of 86,304 it was time to go home, Nebraska played like a team on a mission, giving its fans the opportunity to behave playfully and uninhibitedly.

Where else but Nebraska would 75,000 fans stay in their seats after a 55-0 game and cheer loudly for plays and players over the last half century?

Where else but Nebraska would a coach who was fired six years earlier get a rousing response from a record crowd when he wasn't even in the stadium?

Where else but Nebraska would someone who got passed over as the Huskers' head coach 21 months earlier get a similar ovation when he wasn't in the stadium either?

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young must have had Memorial Stadium in mind when they sang the lyrics that are still ringing in the ears of everyone fortunate enough to have a ticket to this classy, historic, memorable frolic that became an NCAA record 300th consecutive sellout crowd.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house

With two cats in the yard

Life used to be hard

Now everything is easy

'Cause of you

And you, Tom Osborne, for making this game a classic.

And you, Bo Pelini, for delivering on your promise that the Huskers would play with passion one week after suffering a loss that crushed you more than any other game you experienced as a player or a coach.

And you, Frank Solich, for responding to a HuskerVision request to get your groove back in a state that still loves you.

And you, Turner Gill, for responding to the same request because you must love this state every bit as much as it loves you.

And you, Barry Switzer, who yearns for the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry to return to what it once was, even if you did beat Tom Osborne the first five times out of the gate and smashed our psyche more than anyone else . . . ever . . . in the process.

And you, Barry Alvarez, for pointing out that Joe Paterno recently told Big 10 Conference schools that Nebraska is the model for sportsmanship.

There are several good reasons why "Joe Pa" came to this conclusion. One, of course, can be traced to Nebraska fans giving a Penn State All-America wide receiver a standing ovation for making an acrobatic catch . . . in Lincoln.

Paterno Gives Nebraska Fans Ultimate Compliment

A man who now has more Division I wins than any coach in college football history, Paterno once said he's never seen fans in any sport - not just football - better than Nebraska fans.

No wonder Keith Jackson, the best announcer in college football history, told Nebraska fans to party Saturday night.

And they did.

In his usual genuine, understated style, Osborne thanked Nebraska fans for their loyalty in never ceasing to fill "Our House" while fans from other traditional powers chose to stay home when their teams went bad.

The music was a fitting finale, giving HuskerVision the chance to mix appropriate lyrics with vintage footage of games from yesteryear.

It was surreal watching 75,000 fans anticipate almost every signature play that was featured on the big screen while the 10,000 fans who left early were seemingly unaware of what they were missing.

Husker fans didn't need high-definition to remember these plays:

  • Billy Sims' fumble that helped Osborne beat Switzer's top-ranked team for the first time in 1978.
  • Eric Crouch's catch of a Mike Stuntz reverse pass in a 2001 Heisman-defining touchdown sprint against the No. 1 Sooners.
  • Johnny Rodgers' fabled punt return against Oklahoma in the Game of the Century in 1971.
  • Mike Rozier's cross-country touchdown run in a 1983 Heisman season when he ran all the way left only to bolt back all the way right. You could almost hear the fans telling the ones sitting next to them what was going to happen again a quarter-century after it happened for real.
  • John Ruud's crunching tackle on the second-half kickoff in the 1978 upset of No. 1 OU. The fans ooh-ed and ahh-ed 31 years ago, and they sounded exactly the same Saturday night.

One of the last highlights shown in Saturday night's post-game trip down memory lane happened last November, and the fans who were in the stadium for Alex Henery's record 57-yard field goal used almost the same amount of lung capacity Saturday night to applaud an effort that sent Colorado players to their knees as they watched the ball take its long, winding road through the uprights.

Yes indeed, Our house is a very, very, very fine house.

Stai Sees Best Defensive Effort in 10 Years

If somehow you'd just landed in Lincoln from Mars, you'd never know that just one week earlier, Pelini's heart was breaking after a game so emotionally crushing that even former Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl starter Brenden Stai, 15 years removed from wearing a Husker uniform, admitted a small tear ran down his cheek when Nebraska lost, 16-15, in the last 21 seconds at Virginia Tech.

"I know how I took that loss as an ex-Nebraska player," Stai said Saturday night. "I can only imagine how the guys who actually played in that game felt."

Well, here's the good news. Stai says this is the best Nebraska defense he's seen in 10 years because of the way they're coached, the way they fly to the football and the way they swarm quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

Therefore, Stai says, there isn't a team left on the schedule the Huskers can't beat.

That includes road games in Columbia and Lawrence and a certain home game against a team that Switzer still ranks ahead of the Nebraska program he respects and admires so much.

But we digress. Saturday was a night for celebration, not a night for prognostication.

Take it from Doug Tucker, a quarterback on the 1962 Nebraska team that won nine games for the first time since the 1920s and set the stage for the modern-day success Husker fans now enjoy.

"Tonight," he said, "truly was one of the all-time highlights of my life."

He's Done It All, but Saturday Night was Special

Tucker, you might be interested to know, spent five years as an Air Force captain, seven years as an FBI agent and then, believe it or not, 30 years as an Episcopal priest with a wife and three children.

What made Saturday night so special for Tucker and all of his former teammates?

"It's all the people who care about Nebraska so much and the love they have for the University of Nebraska and all of those who came even before us in 1962," said Tucker, who still serves some Houston-area churches even though he's retired and lives in Galveston, Texas.

"Thanks be to God for Bob Devaney and all the wonderful coaches and for Tom Osborne, a man I met when he decided to get out of pro football and come back to Nebraska to teach psychology," Tucker said. "I had him for an instructor, and he was a very good one. But I'm glad Coach Devaney convinced him to join the staff because he's a great coach, not to mention a great athletic director."

Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne.

One built our house, and the fans came, and the other - with apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - decided to say "I'll light the fire" to keep them coming back.

Is there anything better than two Hall-of-Fame coaches who were able to work their magic in the same stadium for 36 straight years?

Please let us know how much you appreciate what they've done in the past and how you think Bo is solidifying the foundation again, using some of the same tried and true traits as Devaney and Osborne.

To "Respond to Randy" click on the link below and choose "Randy York's N-Sider" under "Area of Interest" on the new screen. Please include your name and hometown and share your thoughts on the house that Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne built and how much you enjoy your visits there.

Voices from Husker Nation

The longevity of this football program keeps passion high with all who are a part of it, thanks to Devaney and Osborne. With constant expectations reaching the highest levels on and off the field for players, coaches, and fans, I believe college football will never again see anything like Husker pride in any other program across the country. I have always loved getting out to the stadium and cheering on the team as much as possible. I'm 29 years-old and have been going to games for the last 20 years. It's something of legend once the Tunnel Walk begins and the long awaited Husker team emerges from the hall onto the loud erupting field. I can't wait to see what 500 home game sellouts will look like in the years to come. Here's to Bo Pelini and company for beginning to bring back the highest level of passion from the crowd and Husker fans across the country. We all look forward to domination football once again. Matthew Hanson

What an awesome tribute to the Cornhuskers and the fans! I grew up on a farm near Platte Center, Neb., and listening on the radio to the Saturday Husker games was a big treat ... for "every man, woman and child." Thanks, Randy, for telling the story as only you can. Yes, it's a very, very, very fine house. Susan Kreifel, Olathe, Kansas

The Nebraska sports and fan relationship is something that is really special and unique, and it goes even deeper than the football program, although football reigns supreme. There are many intangibles that bond the coaches, players, and fans that make this great relationship what it is. It is not just about winning, but even more about attitude, tradition, honor, and the journey. It is about family, a bond and an esprit de corps that make the Nebraska relationship one that cannot be created or copied by other institutions. It comes from the heart and soul. It is like a fever with no cure. Once afflicted, the Big Red fever is in the blood, fueling the spirit. I am 56 years old and have never seen a game at Memorial Stadium because they are always sold out, but I have seen many road games and bowl games and even a Big 12 championship game. My youngest son of 28 has never even been in Nebraska or to a live game either, but he seems to have caught the Nebraska spirit, too - a spirit that reflects a team that goes about its business with passion, confidence, pride, quality and excellence that seems to be ingrained in all. We were missing this for awhile, but it clearly is running high again with Dr. Osborne and Bo. I am excited about the future again. Go Big Red. Merle Schwalen, Dallas, Texas

Thank you for a wonderful, well-written article! I have many fond memories of fall Saturday afternoons, growing up in Kearney, walking down Main Street, and hearing all the radios tuned to the Husker game, or going to the college game, where half the folks, including my Dad, had transistor radios (yes, I'm that old!), listening to the Huskers while watching the Antelopes play.  Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to attend a game in Memorial Stadium. However, I was able to attend Football 101 in June 2008. The day ended with a Tunnel Walk onto the field, and then we sat in the stands for the closing ceremony. I cannot even begin to describe what a tremendous thrill that was for me! To not only finally get to be inside Memorial Stadium, but to get to do a Tunnel Walk, too? Oh my! That was beyond thrilling!!! Thanks Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, Frank Solich, all the players, the band, and staff for making my fall Saturday afternoons something to look forward to. Bo Pelini, you earned my profound respect when, at the end of Football 101, you stated that you would stay on the field as long as it took to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans. It appears you are headed in the direction of the greats who have come before you, and I hope you will be here for a long time to come. GO BIG RED!!! Linda Doss, Kansas City, Missouri

From the time I was a little girl in the fifties, I began going to Husker games with my dad. I remember scraping off the back of a new pair of leather snow boots during a freezing cold game because I rubbed them on the back of the cement bleachers while shivering. Now, years later, I sit in the stands each week and have such fond memories of my father, who passed away this past March. The game and celebration last night were done so well. They were fun and had just the right mix of old and new and reminders of why we are who we are. Please pass along my congratulations on a job well done ... to both teams ... on the field and behind the scenes. Niki Widler, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

I am so thankful to Coaches Devaney and Osborne for the lasting pride, culture, spirit, and tradition they have instilled over the last 50 years!  What a legacy that they built and shared with all of us who love our Huskers. And now Coach Pelini and his staff understand and appreciate all that makes Nebraska football what it is. I am very optimistic! As a saxophone player in the 70's, who watched the likes of Johnny Rodgers and David Humm perform on cold, fall days, and now as a college professor in sunny and far too hot Arizona, I am indeed very proud to be a diehard Husker fan through thick and thin. GBR! Larry Howery, Tucson, Arizona

Saturday night was special to me for many reasons. We started coming to games in 2006, so I never knew what Memorial Stadium could and should feel like. It felt like history, it felt like magic, it felt like no other place on Earth. I love what this team has done for us. Thank you so much. Daniel Mackey, Omaha, Nebraska

Thank you so much for the wonderful memories in your article. Wish I could have made the game. So many fond memories I still have of my years as a student-athlete at the U. I still remember being on the sidelines that very cold day we beat Oklahoma in '78 and also in the Orange Bowl loss as well. Loved the times of running around the old cinder track under the stadium and saying "hi" to Coach Tom. Remember the cold in the winters and the heat of the summers. Lots of folks kidding me, because I was from "back East". Boy how the years have gone by so quickly. Visited back in the spring of 2007 for a weekend. Enjoyed my visit so much, and it was great to see the changes on campus and also to notice the great traditions that have not changed at all! It made me so very proud to be a fan and an alum. God bless and GO BIG RED FOREVER. Bill Larson, '81, Horsham, Pennsylvania

That was an awesome article. I am so proud of my team! The NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS are the best out there, and so are our loyal fans! I am from the great state of Nebraska, born in David City in 1978. To my "boys", ya'll make me proud to be a Cornhusker! Even when we have gone through our slump, I was still rooting for you. Nobody is better than we are. Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, Frank Solich are all awesome coaches, and thank you, Bo Pelini, for believing in us and bringing us back! I told my brother, Patrick, that Bo would bring us back in two years. Patrick said, "Nah, three years." Looks like it's this year! Hot dawg. Tom Osborne, it's great to have you as our Athletic Director! We, your loyal fans, will always be here rooting for you across the country. People just don't understand why I have such love and respect for Nebraska when there are "better" teams out there, or why, as a female, I can have such passion for Nebraska. I tell 'em, that's your opinion, and mine is there is nobody bigger, badder, or better, than the Nebraska Cornhuskers for me. I bleed red for a reason - Nebraska is my one and only team! Guys, I bow down to you for your plays and the hits you take for us! You are the best, and our house is a very, very fine house! Much love and respect to our coaches - past and present - from your loyal fan. Yolanda Kucera, The Dalles, Oregon

I have followed and loved Husker football since 1970 when I moved to Nebraska. I have so much respect for the quality of coaches we have, and the concern they have for our athletes' education, quality of character and performance on the field -  in that order.  I am so proud to say, "I love the Huskers," and living in Big Ten territory, I really love to say it. I'm looking forward to all of the activities of the 300th game becoming available on DVD. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to see and hear ALL the things that happened on Friday and Saturday, including the game and all the activities after the game. Thank you for all you do for Big Red. Alice Fisher, Sycamore, Illinois

Editor's note: Huskers.com now has its own DVD Store. The Louisiana-Lafayette game, including activities and features surrounding the game, is available for individual purchase as our 300th Sellout Video. You can also choose a Complete Season Set of DVDs via Priority Mail. With the Big 12 Conference season up next, you might be interested in purchasing a Seven-game special via standard mail or a Seven-game special via priority mail.

My husband and I were at the game last night and enjoyed all the fans and the videos from everyone on the big screen. It shows how much Nebraska is respected when we have Frank, Turner, both Barrys and Keith saying what they did. I have been a Husker fan (of all sports) and especially football as long as I can remember. I remember listening to the games on a little AM radio in the late '50s and knew it was something special even then.  I was surprised that people left before the game was over. I'm glad we stayed until the end and still didn't want to leave then.  A great night for Husker fans and players!! Jan Lang, DuBois, Nebraska

I have so much appreciation for these great men in what they've done not only for Husker football, but for all Nebraskans! There is no place like Nebraska! Ron Conrad

What an awesome day for all of Nebraska. I have been a fan since 1962 and now children and grandchildren are fans even though we live in Texas. I have always been proud to be a Big Red fan and not just because of winning, but also because of the fan support, the sportsmanship always shown, the high standards of academics, and the emphasis always shown by the coaching staff for teaching our players values. Many out-of-town games I have been to, I have heard and read about the class shown by the Nebraska fans, even after defeat, which has not been too often. GO BIG RED! John Graeve, Beford, Texas

I am just writing to say I have been Husker fan since I was 7-years-old. I grew up in a small town near the Oklahoma border and was able to attend one game in Lincoln - when Gerry Gdowski was the quarterback. I still follow the Husker football team very closely. Now that Bo Pelini is the head coach, I see nothing but back to the "good ole' days" of Nebraska football and playing the game the way it should be played. I now live in a small town in southwest Montana, but I listen to every game on the radio, and am very proud of this team. Rick Chambers, Southwest Montana

Memorial Stadium is a very fine house indeed. As I sat there Saturday evening, I remembered watching games in 1962 after graduating from high school. Then having the privilege to attend and graduate from NU. Every Saturday game day was special. There is an excitement that runs through that stadium like electricity. I've always told everyone that you had to attend a game at Memorial Stadium to truly understand the passion of fans for a team, for sportsmanship and for a pure love of the game of football. Every Saturday I'm there, I'm still amazed at the fans and their following of the team and the coaches, who have done and accomplished so much. Yesterday's 300th sellout celebration was for the fans who have never given up on their team, their school and their belief that nothing is impossible if you are a Big Red Fan. Carl L. Haynes, Lincoln, Nebraska

What a beautiful article! Thank you very much. Cindy Bethel, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

At heart I'm still and always will be a Husker. I've been a fan since I was 5-years-old. My earliest memory was that of Johnny Rodgers' punt return against Oklahoma. I cried as I watched the heart-breaker at Miami whenTurner Gill, Mike Rozier and their teammates lost by one point. I cried when Florida State kicked the winning field goal to win the national championship (I still say we should have had a three-peat in 93-94-95). And I cried when my beloved Huskers played Tennessee and put Peyton Manning in his place - and it was Dr. Tom's last game as coach. Coming to Memorial Stadium is just awesome and an emotional experience, especially during the Tunnel Walk. I get goose bumps and all choked up. I try to make it to one home game per year, and it's worth the 6-hour drive to do it. Thanks for the great Husker articles. Keep up the good work! Ronda Detlefsen, North Liberty, Iowa

I shed a tear or two when I read this article. It was an awesome evening in Nebraska football history, and your article said it so well. Thank you. Ivette Bender

We listened to the game on the radio, but you gave us extra "visual". You put so much of "Nebraska Football" into words. Thank you for a great article! Connie Brost, Harrison, Nebraska

Regarding the 300th sellout, all of the highlights are absolutely wonderful. Saturday night's festivities put a tingle down the back of my neck, but I am the proudest of the way we treat opposing teams and coaches - with the respect that all collegiate athletes deserve. I have been to more than one game where we have stood and applauded the opposing team, and in this day and age of trash talk and negativity, it is wonderful to see opposing players applauded. I can say "There is no place like Nebraska", even though I haven't lived there in 38 years. To me, the best thing about getting Bo Pelini as the head coach is the fact that he will continue our traditions . . . and with a little fire in his belly along with it. He will get our program back in the Top 10 where it belongs, but until then, God bless all the athletes who have had the opportunity to play in the greatest facility in the nation . . . Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tom Gunlicks, Sioux Falls, S.D.

We live in Raleigh now, but join hundreds of other Huskers at Sammy's in Raleigh for every game. My husband and I used to go to games as students and will never forget the wonderful games we saw. We are planning to bring our son to his first game at Memorial Stadium next year. He doesn't remember living in Nebraska, but he will always be a Husker! Pennie Bliss, Raleigh, N.C.

What a wonderful article you have written about the House that Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne Built. It brought a tear to my eye as I read it and remembered. My wife, Carol, and I were 1968 and 1969 graduates and have many fond memories of attending the pre-game, game, and post-game festivities with our folks and friends over the years. Carol's dad, Bill Strauss, was the most loyal fan I have ever known. Dad and mom are gone now, but Carol and I still attend games when we can and watch faithfully on television all the games that are available, nationally or pay-per-view. It's nice to still be a part of this wonderful tradition, and yes, the Nebraska fans are still the greatest and most sportsmanlike of any fans in the country, if not the world. Thanks again for helping us remember and reminisce. It makes me feel very proud to have been and still be a part of this great heritage. Bob Burbridge, USAF Pilot, Retired




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