MINNEAPOLIS — The pink coats stepped aside and let the masses storm the castle.
Those wearing pink windbreakers around the perimeter of TCF Bank Stadium were security folks hired to keep order during Saturday's Nebraska-Minnesota football game.
But after the Gophers ran out the clock in their 34-23 upset of the Huskers, long-suffering fans of the home team raced onto the field to celebrate with the players who had given them so many reasons to cheer.
The fans ranged in age from elementary school to old school, and it never felt like things would get out of hand. It was one of the most polite mosh pits, where folks were content to chant “We Hate Iowa” and “Let's Get Drunk” instead of roughing each other up.
Celebrating Minnesota's first victory over Nebraska since 1960, players also weren't in any hurry to leave the field. They mingled with fans, cheered with them and posed for photos before heading to the locker room to celebrate being bowl eligible with four games remaining in the season.
While there was plenty of cheering on the field, the loudest roars came from the locker room once all of the players had gathered to celebrate.
Plenty of red in the stands
Another Nebraska football road game, another strong showing of support from Husker football fans.
Joanie Swanson and her daughter, Sally, were among the estimated 15,000 Nebraska faithful who watched Minnesota's victory over NU.
“It's a nice atmosphere and a nice stadium,” Joanie Swanson said. “But I still appreciate and prefer the game-day atmosphere and the way things are presented in Lincoln.”
Joanie Swanson tries to get to at least one or two road games per season. Last season, she made trips to UCLA and Northwestern with her son, Nick. She said sharing these experiences with her children is the best part of the road trips.
“Sally may go to college up here,” she said, “but she's still a Husker at heart.”
Not so sticky this time
Best sign of the day by a Husker fan said, “Bell-Fro sticks to anything.” It was accompanied with a photo of the one-handed catch Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell made Oct. 5 against Illinois.
Reserve QBs simply watched, signaled
While Nebraska's defense was on the field, reserve quarterbacks Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg spent most of the time hanging out together on the sideline.
Neither warmed up or played catch during the game, an obvious signal that Taylor Martinez would play the entire game unless he suffered another injury.
Kellogg was wearing a headset and was one of the people sending signals to Martinez and others while the NU offense was on the field. Fourth-string quarterback Ryker Fyfe also was helping signal in plays.
Wearing purple for epilepsy awareness
Coaches and players from both teams were wearing purple ribbons and wristbands while cheerleaders waved purple pompoms for Minnesota's second annual Go-Pher Epilepsy Awareness game.
Fans also received commemorative rally towels as they entered the stadium. Gophers coach Jerry Kill is one of 2.2 million people in the United States who suffer from epileptic seizures.
Wayward Gopher takes a tumble
After being shoved out of bounds following an 11-yard run early in the second quarter, Minnesota's Donovahn Jones had trouble slowing his momentum.
A couple of Husker players tried to slow him, but Jones had to leap over the bench. If it would have been a high jump competition, it would have been a foul.
But Jones was OK after he had knocked over one of the benches and upset a container of water bottles.