The lights in Memorial Stadium shut off.

The field and fans were aglow in red.

To add to the ambiance, fans whipped out their cellphones and flipped on the flashlights.

They clapped and swayed along, not to "Hail Varsity," but to an upbeat, Irish-inspired anthem blaring through the speakers. 

Some have speculated that the musical display, which first took place this season at the Ohio State game, is becoming a new tradition paired with the red lighting. 

The song — "The Cornhusker (Come A Runnin' Boys)" — has been floating around the university for more than 100 years.

While the song, reinvented and performed by Lincoln-based band The Killigans, has played at a few other home games, don't expect to see it regularly just yet. 

Right now, it's been played based on how the game is going, said Brandon Meier, senior associate athletic director for marketing and multimedia. If it were a close game, they might opt for a pump-up video instead, he said. 

It was the first to be a full-fledged fight song, said Tony Falcone, director of the Cornhusker Marching Band. It took time to catch on. The 1940-41 team used to sing it in the locker room to get pumped up for games, Falcone said.

By the 1970s and 1980s, the song fell out of favor in lieu of "Hail Varsity" and "There Is No Place Like Nebraska." 

Falcone learned about the song in the early 2000s when a fan asked why it didn't play anymore. He dug around and the band brought it back into its rotation.

"It's a good tune, and it's our oldest tune," Falcone said. 

The song was written in 1909 by Robert W. Stevens, a piano instructor at the School of Music at UNL.

The Killigans got ahold of it in 2014 and released their own revamped version. Since the release, their version has played sporadically at Husker home games, usually after the marching band finishes its halftime show, said band member Chris Nebesniak. 

Nebesniak, who grew up in the 90s, said the band experienced the Huskers in their heyday. The band had wanted to write a Husker song, but everything felt forced, "corny" even. So they went back to the drawing board and found the lesser-known "The Cornhusker." Releasing their version of the song was never designed to be used as a pump-up song. It was just for fun.

"My dream was always to play in Memorial Stadium when I grew up," Nebesniak said. "It's not quite the same to have my song played, but it's a close second. This kind of rekindles that childhood joy you feel watching your team play." 

If the song and lighting tricks stick and become a tradition, Nebesniak said the band would be happy. If not, he said they'll enjoy it while it lasts. 

Fans were mostly receptive to the song and light show, Meier said. But they had one request: display the words so we can sing along. At the Nebraska-Northwestern game on Oct. 5, the lyrics scrolled on the stadium's screens.

University officials started playing the song more the last two seasons at the suggestion of the student section. Music can be tricky and you won't please everyone, Meier said. It's a nice perk that "The Cornhusker" has such a storied history with the university.

"It's a song that's ours and we can kind of own it," Meier said. "The Killigans' version of it is almost an Irish soccer anthem."

It hasn't always gotten airtime at the end of the third quarter. During one game, it played after the first quarter. 

The bigger trend is toying around with stadium lights, Meier said. Officials didn't expect fans to get so into the display during the Ohio State game. But they pulled out their cellphones and went with the flow.

"It was a neat moment for the fans," Meier said. "It was all on them."