'Little iffy in terms of safety,' but Husker fans willingly wait out weather delay

Nebraska fans donned ponchos during a weather delay that ultimately canceled Nebraska’s original season opener against Akron

LINCOLN — Lightning flashed overhead. Rain pattered lightly but steadily.

None of it was enough to drive Bobbie and Lindall Janis from their seats at the very top of Memorial Stadium. The couple from Hot Springs, South Dakota — nearly an eight-hour drive from campus — were going to get a game-day experience, darn it.

Their determination overrode any safety concerns about sitting at the southeastern-most tip of the facility, nearest the storm.

“I guess if it’s your time ...” Bobbie Janis said. “Besides, it’s probably way full on the concourse.”

The concourses were indeed packed, with fans seeking shelter under alcoves and sprawled out on stairwells. An abandoned $5 bill sat soaking in a puddle on one empty row of bleachers.

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In Row 15 of Section 602 — the very top of the northeast portion of the stadium — sat Huntington Trauger, 22, of Exeter and Lauren Morgan, 21, of Harrisonville, Missouri. This wasn’t the kind of date either had in mind when they bought tickets months ago to kick off the Scott Frost era. But they stood atop the metal bleachers watching the nearby lightning and agreed they were here to make memories.

“It’s a little iffy in terms of safety,” Trauger said. “But we’re taking the risk. I’d stay here for hours.”

Sitting under an East Stadium overhang was Chris Weber, the Elkhorn graduate who led the Huskers in tackles as a senior last season. Now in medical school, he didn’t mind weathering this storm from the stands.

“I miss (football),” Weber said. “But I like this view a lot better right now.”

Standing directly under a flagpole high in East Stadium stood friends Mike Bergen, 35, of Henderson and Steve Buller of York. They, too, were willing to wait until midnight if necessary for the game to resume. Buller said he hoped the Huskers would be ahead 35-7 by then, but that the radar on his phone indicated otherwise.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old Howells resident Travis Heard was taking pictures of his 12-year-old son, Carson, on the red carpet of the Tunnel Walk. They were this low to stay dry, the father said. The adrenaline of witnessing the opening kickoff would carry them well past Carson’s bedtime.

“Just hanging out and checking out the stadium and trying to get a glimpse of some of the players,” Travis Heard said. “We thought, ‘What the heck? Might as well check it out.’ We’ll be here awhile.”

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