LINCOLN — There were no tears Friday when 22 Nebraska football players accepted greetings from head coach Mike Riley during the pregame Senior Day ceremony.
The 21 seniors and junior linebacker Thomas Connely of Kearney Catholic, who isn’t returning for his senior year, were introduced to the Memorial Stadium crowd.
Kicker Drew Brown received the loudest ovation, and he was one of the players who shared a longer embrace with Riley before running across the field to share hugs with parents, other family members and friends.
Riley had a big smile and warm greeting for each of the players during introductions.
Among the others who received louder ovations were wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El, tight ends Tyler Hoppes and Connor Ketter, and three of Nebraska’s captains — linebacker Chris Weber, fullback Luke McNitt and safety Joshua Kalu.
Some new Husker fans
Athletic Director Bill Moos again was on the west sideline before the game and during much of the first quarter.
Moos, who took over last month as the replacement for Shawn Eichorst, had a little more company than he did during his first home game on Nov. 4 against Northwestern.
Several of Moos’ children, including son Bo and daughter Kaitlin, were decked out in Husker gear standing with their father, who wore a sharp gray suit with a light blue shirt and red tie.
During the first quarter, Moos met former Nebraska I-back Imani Cross, who was attending his first game since finishing his career in 2015.
“That was the first time an athletic director has ever introduced me to his entire family,” Cross said. “He’s a really nice guy. It was nice to feel welcomed like that, and they were all very nice.”
Blasts from the past
Moos also was intently focused on the HuskerVision replay board in the moment before the opening kickoff.
While taking in the highlights of past Nebraska on-field success, Moos paid special attention to the pregame speech and the familiar “Day by day, we get better and better” speech delivered by nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg.
That’s the speech that has been shared with the crowd for the past several years and was given before the Wisconsin game Oct. 7 by former Nebraska All-American Grant Wistrom.
Another sight Moos took note of was the annual letterwinner’s tunnel walk just before the football team took the field.
Former Huskers who lettered in any sport are invited to do the tunnel walk and line up with the marching band and others.
One who participated in the walk was former defensive tackle Larry Jacobson, a starter on both the 1970 and 1971 national championship teams under Bob Devaney.
Jacobson was Nebraska’s first Outland Trophy winner, an honor he received in 1971 as the nation’s best interior linemen.
During the second quarter, two game-day employees who work on the south end of the sixth floor of the Memorial Stadium press box greeted Dee Riley, coach Mike Riley’s wife.
Both employees were sharing with her how much they’ve enjoyed having her around the past three seasons. Dee has a suite at that end of the sixth level where she has hosted family and friends at all of Nebraska’s 21 home games since 2015.
There were a few tears during the conversation near the elevators, including a few from Dee, who seemed to genuinely appreciate the compliments she received from the staff.
Loud crowd — for a half
The announced crowd of 90,046 was the largest of the season, and at times during the first half the stadium was at its loudest.
Even with the upper 30-plus rows of sections 12 and 13 in South Stadium nearly empty throughout the game, the crowd reached a fever pitch several times both when the Huskers were driving for their two first-half touchdowns and when the defense was making big plays while limiting the Iowa offense to 14 points.
While Iowa was scoring four touchdowns in the decisive third quarter, the crowd in all four sections of the stadium noticeably thinned out. It was the fans who did make it to South Stadium who stayed the longest.
Press box low on gaudy blazers
With Iowa the only one of the two teams heading for a bowl game, the number of representatives from bowls with seats in the press box was much smaller than usual for an end-of-season game.
Only a representative from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando was on hand. There was one scout from the New York Jets and three from the Kansas City Chiefs, along with a scout from the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
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Nebraska players run onto the field for the game against Iowa. The Huskers ultimately fell 56-14.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley greets senior linebacker Marcus Newby during senior day recognition before the game.
Nebraska captains kneel together before running onto the field.
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos watches the pregame senior recognition from the sideline.
Iowa fan Spencer Otto, 15, of O'Neill, Neb., sits with his father, Nebraska fan Joe Otto.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley hugs senior wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley hugs senior defensive back Joshua Kalu.
Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley passes the ball.
Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle, left, reaches for Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley.
Nebraska's Jaylin Bradley, from left, rushes against Iowa's Keegan Glaus, behind, and Ben Niemann, right.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan gets wrapped up by Iowa defenders.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan celebrates his first-quarter touchdown.
Iowa's Noah Fant catches a touchdown pass.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan snags a one-handed touchdown catch.
Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg celebrates tackling Iowa's Akrum Wadley for a loss in the first quarter.
Fans cheer as Nebraska takes the field against Iowa.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan scores a first-quarter touchdown as Iowa's Joshua Jackson defends.
Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg, left, and Chris Weber, right, take down Iowa's Akrum Wadley.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan flexes after catching a touchdown pass.
Iowa's Matt VandeBerg catches a 21-yard pass ahead of Nebraska's Lamar Jackson.
Iowa fans Jaxson Jorth, 14, of Omaha and his brother, Carter, 12, cheer for the Hawkeyes.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan leaves the field with wide receivers coach Keith Williams.
Nebraska's Marquel Dismuke reacts to the loss.
Iowa's Noah Fant, an Omaha South graduate, runs down the sideline for a touchdown.
Nebraska defensive back Lamar Jackson reacts after an Iowa touchdown.
Iowa's Anthony Nelson, left, and Matt Hankins celebrate after intercepting a pass from Nebraska's Tanner Lee in the third quarter.
Iowa fans cheer for a Hawkeye touchdown in the third quarter.
Iowa's Anthony Nelson, from left, Nathan Bazata and Parker Hesse sack Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee.
Iowa's Noah Fant catches a long pass ahead of Nebraska's Joshua Kalu in the third quarter.
Iowa's James Butler dives into the end zone for a touchdown.
Iowa's Akrum Wadley breaks through Nebraska defenders.
Nebraska kicker Drew Brown tries to tackle Iowa's Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
Iowa's Ihmir Smith-Marsette breaks away from Nebraska defenders on a long kickoff return.
A Nebraska fans wears a bag over her head in the closing minutes of Nebraska's 56-14 loss to Iowa.
Nebraska seniors Luke McNitt, left, and Drew Brown leave the field following the loss.
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee hugs senior Luke McNitt.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley leaves the field.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley leaves the field.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley exits the field.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley leaves the field.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley heads for the tunnel.
Nebraska's Alex Davis, Freedom Akinmoladun and A.J. Natter come in to tackle Iowa's Colten Rastetter.
Iowa's Jake Gervase tackles Nebraska's Tyler Hoppes in the third quarter.
Iowa celebrates an interception against Nebraska in the third quarter.
Nebraska's Dedrick Young II, left, tackles Iowa's James Butler in the red zone.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan reacts to an incomplete pass intended for him.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley walks the sidelines.
Iowa's Geno Stone brings down Nebraska's Mikale Wilbon.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan and Iowa's Josh Jackson go up for the catch, which was later ruled incomplete.
Iowa's Akrum Wadley breaks past Nebraska defenders Collin Miller, left, and Dedrick Young.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan catches a touchdown pass.
Nebraska's Tanner Lee throws a second-quarter touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan.
Iowa's Nathan Stanley throws a third-quarter touchdown pass to Noah Fant.
Nebraska's Mikale Wilbon carries the ball in the third quarter as Iowa's Geno Stone tackles him.
Iowa's Joshua Jackson, right, breaks up a third-quarter pass intended for Nebraska's Stanley Morgan.
Brent Benson of LIncoln shows his frustration.
Nebraska's Joshua Kalu, left, forces Iowa's Akrum Wadley to fumble in the second quarter.
Iowa's Akrum Wadley runs 28 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
Nebraska fans show their displeasure with a non-call.
Nebraska and Iowa fans have different reactions to a third-quarter turnover.
Nebraska's Chris Jones chases Iowa's Noah Fant on a 68-yard, third-quarter touchdown reception.
Fans head to the exits in the third quarter.
Iowa's Noah Fant, left, celebrates with Jacob Coons.
Iowa's Bo Bower celebrates picking off a third-quarter pass.
Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg, left, and Chris Weber, right, take down Iowa's Akrum Wadley in the first quarter.
Mike Riley walks off the field after Nebraska suffered its fourth straight loss to end the season.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley leaves the post game press conference.