Memorial Stadium

It was a beautiful night for football in Memorial Stadium.

LINCOLN — Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.

It was a larger group than the one that followed from DeKalb, Illinois, two years ago when the Huskies upset Nebraska in a season that ended with a 4-8 record and the firing of coach Mike Riley and his staff.

There were a few Husker fans sprinkled in with the Huskies faithful. It was a peaceful coexistence for everyone, unlike the experience thousands of Huskers fans endured the week before in Boulder, Colorado.

Celebrating Bill Straub

Recently-retired bowling coach Bill Straub was introduced to the Memorial Stadium crowd between the first and second quarters.

Straub retired last month from the program he created from scratch when bowling started as a club sport for both men and women. Bowling became a varsity sport for women in 1996, and the Huskers won five NCAA national championships under his direction.

The first of those national titles was in 2004, the most recent in 2015. The Huskers finished third at the 2019 championships.

Where's the buzz?

It took a while for the pregame buzz to build inside Memorial Stadium.

Whether people were spending extra time at tailgate parties or lingering in the concourses waiting for the sun to slowly slide behind West stadium before taking their seats, especially in South stadium.

With just over one hour to go before kickoff, only three Northern Illinois players were on the field working on short field goals. With little action on the sidelines — there were no celebrities outside of the usual group of recruits — there wasn’t much for fans to do except watch the Arizona State-Michigan State game on Husker Vision.

Once the first group of Huskers took the field to begin warming up about 62 minutes prior to kickoff, that usual pregame buzz was back.

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.