It may not be 1997 all over again, but this win is special for Scott Frost. As the team huddled around the head coach in the locker room following the game, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander held one of the game balls triumphantly over his head.
“First win. As the head coach. At Nebraska. At home. Many more to come.” Chinander’s voice lifted as he delivered that last line, and the team responded in kind, exploding into a boisterous round of applause. He flipped the ball over to a grinning Frost, who couldn’t have looked happier.
This scene could’ve played out back in September against Akron, but that game was cancelled due to weather. It could’ve happened the following week against Colorado, however Laviska Shenault Jr. caught a touchdown pass with just over a minute left after Colorado was gifted a first down on a penalty.
It didn’t happen against Troy. The Sun Belt team embarrassed the Huskers on their own home turf, receiving a generous check from Nebraska’s athletic department in the process. It didn’t happen in Evanston either, with the Huskers falling in overtime after letting the Wildcats drive for 99 yards and a touchdown to tie it up with 12 seconds to go.
“Our guys have deserved and played well enough to win some other ones, and we found some of the most unbelievable ways to lose games that I’ve ever seen,” Frost said. “This leaves me shaking my head, but sometimes when you break through the dam, the flood waters come.”
The floodwaters could certainly come, but the wins won’t come easy. Granted, the Huskers have Bethune-Cookman, an FCS opponent this upcoming Saturday. However after that, Nebraska has to take on Ohio State in Columbus, a potential national championship caliber team with a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback.
The Huskers also still need to take on a tough Michigan State squad and an Iowa team with just one loss to their record. But none of that matters right now. The Husker’s have their first win, and it might as well be a Big 10 title game for all anyone cares. As Frost said, “this is what it’s supposed to feel like.”
(Photo – Kenny Larabee)