LINCOLN — A bit of old and a whole lot of new were featured in the 2013 version of Nebraska's Tunnel Walk entrance.
The traditional video and music that play just before Nebraska comes onto the field had a throwback feel.
An animated scan of downtown Lincoln — featuring a new landscape, including the recently opened Pinnacle Bank Arena — was similar to the videos shown during some of the first Husker Tunnel Walks.
Once the tour got to Memorial Stadium, three new decks arose on the east side to display the stadium's recent expansion.
The clips of the past year also drew huge applause. The first, a shot of Kenny Bell's monster block on a Wisconsin defender in last year's Big Ten championship, got the juices flowing.
There was also a clip of Jack Hoffman's run at the spring game and his ESPY award acceptance.
The final one said, “Thanks T.O.” with a video of former Husker coach and Athletic Director Tom Osborne behind it.
The extra 6,000 or so people in East Stadium made a noticeable noise difference. Even head coach Bo Pelini was feeling it. Leading his team out of the tunnel, Pelini stopped, turned to those in front and couldn't help but smile over the stadium's energy.
A grand view
The fans farthest from the sidelines Saturday seemed to be some of the happiest.
The towering new upper deck on the east side of the stadium was way up there, but it came with an impressive view.
“You're looking down on everything,” Shannon McEvoy said. “It's a great seat.”
McEvoy was in the top few rows in the new seating and said he liked the spot more than a spot he used to have in South Stadium.
He said he had been on tours of the new area during its construction and watched it go up little by little while commuting from Gretna to Lincoln for work.
But actually getting up to his seat in a packed stadium made it much better, he said.
“It's pretty cool up here,” McEvoy said.
Handling the heat
For all the talk about Saturday's heat — and there was plenty of it — game-time temperatures didn't feel as hot as the announced 90 degrees at kickoff.
More than two hours before the game, giant misters were cranking out a cool breeze on both sidelines.
|BIG RED TODAY ON FACEBOOK|
|Join the conversation on the Big Red Today Facebook page.|
And even just standing in the sun was enough to break a sweat.
But by late in the first quarter, the entire stadium was in the shade. Fans in the higher sections even got an ever-so-slight breeze as the night went along.
Future Huskers on hand
Season openers tend to be on the light side when it comes to official recruiting visits, and Saturday's game was no different.
Just one official visitor was on hand: defensive end prospect Rohan Blackwood out of Brooksville, Fla. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Blackwood is a three-star prospect, according to rivals.com.
He has offers from Louisville, Miami, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others. He has an official visit planned next weekend at Wisconsin.
NU commits on hand included Luke Gifford and D.J. Foster of Lincoln Southeast, Mick Stoltenberg of Gretna, Tanner Farmer out of Illinois and Freedom Akinmoladun of Grandview, Mo.
Also roaming the sideline Saturday was Hiawatha, Kan., prospect Peyton Newell. The 6-3, 280-pound Newell committed to Nebraska in a ceremony at his school on Friday.
Walk-on draws some stares
NU fans wanting a glimpse of one of the more talked-about walk-ons of the spring didn't have to wait long Saturday.
But they had to know where to look.
Freshman Ishmail Jackson, a nephew of actor Matt Damon, wore his No. 15 jersey and was on the Husker sideline.
Jackson wasn't listed in the game's program, but is listed on the NU online roster. As the game started, Jackson stood on an equipment table with a teammate for a better view.
Yes, you could see them
Anything neon seems to be the popular color these days when it comes to fashion.
But neon with brown?
That's the look four Wyoming offensive assistants were sporting. The four all signaled in plays from the sideline wearing different colored neon hats (orange, pink, blue and yellow/green).
The assumption is that the hats are to stick out on a sideline filled with a lot of the same colors.
A season-long series honoring the top eight Blackshirts of the past 50 years got started Saturday. The revealing of the fan-voted list began with Rich Glover. ... Freshman quarterback Johnny Stanton had “Stanton IV” on the back of his No. 5 jersey. ... Wyoming's band, celebrating its 100th season, performed before the Husker band at halftime.
* * *
Video: NU coach Bo Pelini at the postgame press conference:
Video: NU's Quincy Enunwa at the postgame press conference:
Video: NU's Jeremiah Sirles at the postgame press conference: