This is it. The Huskers made it. The dream that Husker Nation has been clinging to since Pelini’s bold statement after the Ohio State game, or really since opening weekend for that matter, has come true. The Huskers finished the season 6-0. Tomorrow, they will march onto Lucas Oil field for the Big 10 Championship game for a chance to bring the 13 year drought to an end.
Merely hours ago, Big Red fans found out the potential Rose Bowl opponent as Stanford was able to surpass UCLA two straight weekends. The Cardinal is smelling roses all the way to Pasadena. The Huskers are also smelling roses, but come upon a fork in the road before they can get there. Before that fork is a bridge, and instead of a troll, there’s a badger. Defeat the badger, take the road left to Pasadena. Succumb to the badger, swerve right, most likely in a Florida direction and it won’t be for a BCS title.
As the two teams prepare for battle yet again, the two sides seem to be pretty evenly matched once more. Quarterback play will be a huge part of success and failure. Turnovers can be all the difference, and can land either team in a huge hole as Nebraska already understands. Most of all, motivation could be the biggest push. Which team is hungrier as those 60 giant minutes tick by?
A lot of these Huskers have already been in this position in their careers, some even twice, only to watch them slip away. Nebraska traveled to the conference title game in back-to-back seasons under Pelini, only to lose both by a gut wrenching total of 4 points.
However, on this latest trip, these Huskers have more guts than ever. One can feel the electricity in the air. While most of the nation will be fixed on and talking about the SEC Championship, Husker and Badger fans alike will care about nothing except Indianapolis. In a season of statement comebacks, the Huskers want to make one more and show that they belong in the elite that is the BCS series. Wisconsin, on the other hand, all of their losses have come by equally painful margins. To go to the Rose Bowl with an 8-5 record would be a very sweet ending to the year.
Most notably missing in action Saturday will be Baker Steinkuhler, whom went down with injury against Iowa. While those are some big shoes to fill, Nebraska showed in the second half of that blustery, cold day that they can rise to the occasion. It also doesn’t hurt that the offense will be seeing the return of its big 1-2 punch combo (Heck, why not 1-2-3-4 punch combo) in the running back position. While two seniors will miss the big stage, one will rise up to lead. Good to see you back, Rex.
Husker Nation may be willing to settle for even one more heart attack, as long as it means all the previous ones weren’t in vain. One has to imagine that the players are wanting to put on a show that the Big Red faithful have been dying to see since 1999.
One more win to go. Just have to make it over that bridge.
By Tyler Wanek
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