LINCOLN — Dave Rimington made his first pregame sideline appearance as Nebraska’s interim athletic director Saturday, and his presence was warmly acknowledged by the sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium.
Rimington, a two-time first-team All-America center at Nebraska and a 1997 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, participated in the presentation of the Brook Berringer memorial scholarship. Junior nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg of Gretna was this year’s recipient.
Prior to the ceremony, Rimington greeted several well-wishers, some of whom told him they were glad he was back in Lincoln helping the athletic department in this transition period after former A.D. Shawn Eichorst was fired last month.
After the ceremony, Rimington posed for photos with members of both the Berringer and Stoltenberg families, as well as a few fans, before leaving the field to return to the athletic director’s suite in West Stadium.
Buckeyes draw a crowd
There are always a row or two of fans who line the fences along the east and west sidelines to watch pregame warmups and festivities.
On Saturday those areas at the south end of both sidelines had more than the usual number of visiting fans on hand as Ohio State faithful arrived early to cheer on their Buckeyes.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett attracted the biggest crowds as he threw baseballs and other smaller balls into a net. Barrett also had several other large sticks and other warm-up tools to get ready for the game.
More fans than usual also packed into the southwest corner to watch the Buckeyes take the field both for pregame warmups and to start the game.
Fans show up; some exit early
It took a bit longer than usual for fans to take their seats at Memorial Stadium. Some of lateness might have had to do with the windier-than-usual conditions, but by game time the seats were full with one notable exception.
The upper 20 rows of sections 12 and 13 in South Stadium, normally reserved for students, were empty the entire game. By halftime there were fewer than 100 fans in those two sections above the walkway that leads to the exit ramps.
When Nebraska picked up its second first down late in the second quarter, many fans gave the Husker offense a Bronx cheer. Some also used the moment to release the red balloons they had been holding that are normally reserved for release when NU scores its first points.
The majority of fans who hung on to their balloons were rewarded less than four minutes into the second half by the 77-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Lee to JD Spielman. They also provided a cheer for the TD and Drew Brown’s extra point that rivaled the pregame Tunnel Walk roar.
Once halftime finally arrived, with the score 35-0, several large pockets of seats in all four sections were empty, especially in the upper reaches of the East Stadium balconies and the lower level of West Stadium. The most populated portion at the start of the second half was the North Stadium.
Scouts get an eyeful
Scouts from four NFL teams — Cleveland, Oakland, Miami and Philadelphia — were at Memorial Stadium spending most the pregame warmups watching Ohio State players.
One of the Raiders scouts was Dave McCloughan, who played for Colorado and whose father, Kent, played for Nebraska. Dave’s brother Scot was the former general manager of the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.
The scouts from the Dolphins and Eagles spent a good amount of time carefully watching and taking notes on Barrett, the Ohio State quarterback.
There also were representatives of three Florida bowl games on hand — the Citrus, Orange and TaxSlayer.
Hall members introduced
During a break in the first quarter, six former Nebraska stars were introduced to the crowd as the newest members of the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame, which was started two years ago by Eichorst.
five inductees were able to attend the game and Friday’s induction ceremony: Rich Glover (football), Denise Day (softball), Karen Dahlgren Schonewise (volleyball), Scott Johnson (gymnastics) and Dave Hoppen (basketball).
The sixth member of the class — College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Brown — was unable to attend for health reasons. The 75-year-old Brown recorded a message from his home in Oakland, California, that was played at Friday’s ceremony.
How would you grade Nebraska's overall performance against Ohio State?
The Huskers lost to the Buckeyes 56-14 on Saturday. How would you grade NU's overall performance?