The third largest city on Game Day
There is no place like Nebraska,
Dear old Nebraska U.
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest,
Of any old school that I knew.
There is no place like Nebraska,
Where they’re all true blue.
We’ll all stick together,
In all kinds of weather,
For dear old Nebraska U.
93 counties. From Hooker County to Omaha, we’ve traveled from one corner of the state to the other, in search of what makes Nebraska unique. When we were kicking around ideas for the off-season, one thing we came back to, with Brian’s passing and the return of Scott Frost, was “going home” and what it means to be a fan. The last decade hasn’t gone according to plan, and to some degree, we’ve lost our way, as a program, as a fan base, as people.
We could’ve gone a lot of ways with that. We kicked around some ideas for the off-season on how we could work on those themes. Most of it was boring. We thought about memories of your first Husker game or what makes you love Nebraska, etc. Boring stuff everyone does every year.
Around that time, we were learning about how Central Florida put each player’s area code on their helmet. And we thought, “what if Nebraska did that, but with the counties”?
We are Nebraska pic.twitter.com/emFRiwsAhG— Nebraska Equipment (@NUequipment) August 30, 2018
And thus an idea on how to revisit “home” was born: we would dedicate 93 days leading up to game day, to each county of Nebraska, ending with Douglas County on the night before the game. And if I may be so bold, I think my colleagues hit that out of the park. I learned quite a bit about my adopted home, and I hope you did as well. (And yes, I double-checked, we hit all 93. And thank you to everyone who sent us corrections or reminders.)
As I sat there scheduling the last county, I realized we weren’t quite home yet. Those 93 counties are all so unique, but beyond the borders of the state, what’s the string that ties us all together? What draws those 93 counties together, besides administrative paperwork?
How about the third largest city of Nebraska on Saturdays in the fall? A place which has delivered a lot of joy and meaning to a lot of those 93 counties over the last 95 years.
Welcome to Memorial Stadium. It’s our house, and the game’s on. Today’s for the Big Red.
MEMORIAL Stadium opened October 13th, 1923 with a 24-0 shellacking of the University of Oklahoma. Since then, Nebraska has compiled an impressive 415-129-13 record at home. The stadium currently sits just over eighty-five thousand souls, most of whom should sit down for those in the back, as well as room for six thousand more souls in the aisles and concourses. Negotiations are on-going for a dome, including inverted seating, to increase capacity.
Memorial is home to an NCAA record 361 straight home sellouts (not capacity seating), which began under former Nebraska head coach Bob Devaney (Bill Moos’ spirit animal) in 1962 when over thirty-six thousand people watched Nebraska beat Missouri at Homecoming. The closest team to that sellout streak is Notre Dame at 262. It would take Notre Dame 15 years of 7 home game seasons to surpass Nebraska, assuming the sellout streak ended today. With the arrival of local man Scott Frost, this is unlikely to occur any time soon.
The stadium, like many others constructed in the early 1920s, was dedicated to the memory of soldiers who fought and didn’t come home in the First World War. The four corners of the stadium are inscribed:
Inscribed on the four corners of the stadium are the following words, written by former UNL professor of philosophy Hartley Burr Alexander:
Southeast: “In Commemoration of the men of Nebraska who served and fell in the Nations Wars.”
Southwest: “Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory.”
Northwest: “Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport.”
Northeast: “Their Lives they held their countrys trust; They kept its faith; They died its heroes.”
Yesterday, Nebraska announced a new seating arrangement to honor POWs and MIAs.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI, Memorial Stadium has designated a special POW/MIA chair.— ❄️ Nebraska Football ❄️ (@HuskerFBNation) August 31, 2018
Each game, a veteran of the U.S. military will take his or her post next to the unoccupied chair in honor of the Nebraskans lost in combat.
You are not forgotten.#GBR pic.twitter.com/NO7ZIsUW5h
We could list the players who were born and raised there, but the list would include over 2000 players and coaches and the Chorus CMS may not survive that. Instead, we’ll refer you to HuskerMax, who maintains a fantastic repository of Nebraska facts and knowledge.
While lacking an IMDb page, Memorial Stadium has appeared in film, including 2008’s “Yes Man” starring an anti-vaxxer who goes on a weird journey of only saying yes, which includes watching Nebraska get shellacked by Oklahoma State at home while wearing a corn cob hat and body paint. (Vaccinate your children, prevent losses to Okie Lite.)
In 2018, Nebraska will host seven home games. All of our opponents have visited Memorial before. Troy, Akron, and Purdue have never won in Lincoln. Illinois has not won in Lincoln since 1924. Let’s extend that another two years.
Oh, and since we’re posting photos of courthouses:
Let us know any facts you know about Memorial, or cool stories, below!