For Nebraska's senior class, losing was an all-too-common occurrence

Drew Brown struggled with his emotions after leaving the field at Memorial Stadium for the final time.

LINCOLN — Drew Brown had to be held up by a teammate and a coach.

The senior kicker — who at 2 months old was in attendance for Nebraska’s victory over Florida in the 1995 national title game — was inconsolable Friday leaving Tom Osborne Field for the final time.

As he left a nearly empty Memorial Stadium, with Iowa fans chanting at the Huskers’ demise, it hit him that his senior season would end with a 4-8 record. Nebraska’s worst season since 1961.

“I don’t know if I’m gonna get another shot at playing at the next level, so this could’ve potentially been my last competitive game for a sport in general,” Brown said.

He’s not alone. Nebraska honored 21 seniors and 22 players overall on Friday, most of whom are likely done with their football careers.

The 2017 seniors admit they’ve seen a lot.

They were recruited by former coach Bo Pelini and his assistants. They were part of the team that fought from behind in 2014 to win at Iowa in overtime, only to watch their head coach get fired two days later. They listened to that coach angrily bash the athletic director in a private meeting, then were introduced to Mike Riley less than a week later, the polar opposite of the coach they had committed to play for.

They saw three defensive backs coaches in three years and two defensive coordinators in two years. They changed offensive and defensive schemes constantly. They danced to DJ Kool in Memorial Stadium in 2015 after upsetting No. 5 Michigan State a week after a 55-45 loss at Purdue.

They lost a teammate in Sam Foltz to a car accident, and grieved with Nebraska fans in front of the Tom Osborne and Brook Berringer statue. They honored him that season by beginning 7-0 for the first time since 2001, and were even ranked in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff.

But what they said will stick out most this season — their senior year — is frustration, disappointment and sadness.

To end their career as a college football player this way — it stinks, senior fullback Luke McNitt said.

“When you start your senior season way back in fall camp, this isn’t the way you want it to go,” he said.

The season ended so gloomily — with four straight losses, three of which were by at least two scores — even the silver linings felt wrong. Senior tight end Tyler Hoppes set an NU tight end record this season with 34 receptions.

“I would trade any of those records to be on a winning team,” Hoppes said.

The only thing Brown and his fellow seniors have now is a pain they don’t want others to feel again. They have the knowledge of being one of the worst football teams in decades at NU. And only they can now pass that knowledge along.

“I just hope that they use this as motivation for years coming,” Brown said. “It’s not fun being a senior and not have a chance to go to a bowl game, and finishing the season losing six of your last seven games.”

They need to work even harder this offseason, Brown said. Do everything they can to send the next senior class out on a better note.

“Sometimes,” Brown said, “it just doesn’t work out.”