EVANSTON, Ill. — As they did two years ago, Nebraska fans showed up in force and raised the noise level Saturday at Ryan Field.
More than half the crowd of 47,330 appeared to be wearing red and cheering for the Huskers against Northwestern at its homecoming game.
Whether it was roaring louder than the recorded wildcat growl or starting “Go Big Red” chants to drown out Northwestern cheers, Nebraska fans were consistently louder than their Northwestern counterparts.
Husker fans did out-boo Northwestern fans once. That happened before the start of the fourth quarter when former Creighton basketball standout Doug McDermott appeared on the Ryan Field replay board wearing a Northwestern shirt.
McDermott, a Chicago Bull, was showing his support for Chicago’s Big Ten school.
He likes Doug — and the Huskers
One person who didn’t boo McDermott was Mike Ulch of Waukegan, Illinois.
The Creighton graduate and former Omaha Public Schools teacher was decked out in a blue Creighton pullover. Ulch said he is a big fan of the Huskers as well as the Bluejays and always wears his blue gear to the NU games.
He also plans to attend several Bulls games. Ulch said it won’t take him long to get there after work, as his office is just a few blocks from the United Center.
Some upsetting penalties
Two Huskers got an earful from coaches following penalties that interrupted the flow of the game on both sides of the ball.
Offensive line coach John Garrison was visibly upset with senior guard Jake Cotton after a holding call negated a big run by the Huskers and killed a drive before it could get started.
When Randy Gregory was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the first half, defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski sent in a substitute for him and was chewing him out before he reached the sidelines.
Backups show how it’s done
For the Huskers’ first touchdown, Nebraska’s second-string offensive line paved the way.
After the drive ended with the first of Ameer Abdullah’s four touchdowns, the new group of blockers was understandably stoked.
The most animated of them was junior Givens Price. He was yelling, talking to other linemen and reminding them of the things they did right and what they needed to keep doing.
Nice arm for a receiver
The Husker bench also was celebrating heartily after the razzle-dazzle touchdown in the second quarter when quarterback Tommy Armstrong caught a 16-yard TD pass from wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El.
Pierson-El, a quarterback in high school, was getting his passing skills critiqued by several teammates, and Armstrong was congratulating everyone who helped on the play.