There is a gentleman, and his wife, who sit behind us who could probably fill this piece on his own every week. They are incredibly animated and passionate, and they come up with some real doozy's throughout the game. Earlier in the season, during the UNLV game, this gentleman came up with the nickname "Rash" for Ra'Shede Hageman. As in "WAY TO GO, RASH!!!" This now it appears he's taken to a new nickname for Phillip Nelson. "THATA WAY NELS!!! KEEP IT GOING, NELS!!!"
But this week, it was some female Nebraska fans sitting behind Jeffrick and I that provided the bulk of the fodder for this week's seen/heard.
First, these women had an unfortunate encounter with some female Gopher fans prior to kickoff. Apparently a female Gopher fan stepped in front of the Husker fan heading to a bathroom stall, leading the Husker fan to proclaim: "HEY! Where's that Minnesota nice?!?!?!"
When Nebraska went up 10-0 in the first quarter, this same woman made a comment to the effect of "this is going to be another blowout." I turned to her immediately and said "HEY! Where's that Nebraska nice?!?!?!"
She went on to tell me that we should come down to Lincoln next year and if we do we won't pay for a drink. She said that Husker fans down there are so nice they'll buy us all of our drinks. I made a crack about them having to take out a second mortgage if I show up.
What I really wanted to do was ask her, when the Gophers were winning, if she was still going to buy all my drinks next year, but I wanted to wait until the game was a little more in hand. As you will see later, I was never given the chance.
Those of you who attend the games know that there are several families that are honored by the University during timeouts throughout the games. After the Gophers scored on their second possession of the second half, putting the Gophers up 24-13, the woman sitting directly behind me turned to her friend and said "This is ridiculous. They have a family for EVERYTHING."
After the Husker's next possession, a 3 & out, there was another long Gophers drive that resulted in a field goal, putting the Gophers up 27-13. There was a level of disbelief in the stands at this point. Jeffrick and I were quiet, I think because we were afraid to jinx anything and the Husker fans around us were quiet because they couldn't believe they were losing to us.
But the animated female fan behind us broke the silence when she turned to someone near her and said "The sad thing is, they could beat us and then turn around and lose to Purdue." Now I didn't have the heard to tell her that we don't play Purdue because she was already pretty beaten down, but I thought that it was hilarious that even in the face of being beaten like a red-jersey'd step-child, and having already resigned herself to the fact they they were going to lose the game, she still had one more dig to quietly throw out at the Gophers.
After this comment, said fans disappeared, and did not return to their seats.
All in all, I thought the Husker fans were fantastic. Nice, knowledgeable and gracious. This couldn't have been better illustrated than after the game in the parking lot. The group I rode to the game with was having a celebratory beer while shedding layers before getting into the car. At this point I noticed an older gentleman dressed in all red, walking around the lot. It was clear that he was looking for some Gopher fans to chat with as he walked up to the group tailgating next to us. They didn't notice him and he moved on, walking semi-aimlessly toward us, so I extended the proverbial olive branch: "How are ya?"
He came to talk to us and gave us congratulations, talked about his respect for Coach Kill and how he and his family are praying that his medical situation gets resolved quickly, and told us about how the youth in Nebraska's trenches couldn't handle our physical play. It was fun to be on the winning end of that conversation.