From the sidelines: All smiles for the Huskers during Senior Day ceremony

Joshua Kalu reaches out for a hug with Mike Riley during the Senior Day ceremony.

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.

Heartfelt scene

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.