LINCOLN — Even with a career as one of the nation's most popular comedians, Dan Whitney, aka Larry the Cable Guy, said the honor he received Saturday ranks as his most special.
Whitney and wife Cara received the Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award from the Nebraska Chapter of the Football Hall of Fame for their contributions of personal service and support of the Husker football program.
“It's the coolest thing I ever got,” Whitney said. “I've won four Billboard awards and been nominated for two Grammys. This is better than any of those things.”
Being a Husker supporter has been part of Whitney's life for as long as he can remember.
“As a little boy in Pawnee City, I grew up a Husker fan,” Whitney said. “Even when we moved to Florida when I was a teenager — that was my dad's idea — I never stopped rooting for the Huskers.”
That love for Nebraska never left Whitney, as he and Cara have returned to the state to raise their family.
Hall of fame class introduced to fans
Only two of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductees weren't present to be introduced to the Memorial Stadium crowd — Frank Solich and Ahman Green.
Solich, who coached Ohio to a 44-10 victory Saturday over Norfolk State, said in a videotaped announcement that he was “humbled” to be admitted as a coach. He was inducted as a player in 1992.
A picture of Green in action was shown on the video boards while his career highlights were read.
Other Husker inductees were defensive end Steve Manstedt (1971-73), placekicker Dale Klein (1984-86), defensive end Bill Weber (1981-84), center Josh Heskew (1995-98) and cornerback DeJuan Groce (1999-2002). Joining them will be former Kearney State defensive back Mitch Johnson (1973-76) and receiver Jim Irwin (1960-63).
Ron and Jeanie Carson received the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award.
Pelini shows no signs of last week's illness
It didn't take long to see that Bo Pelini was in his old form.
On Nebraska's second offensive possession, the head coach gave fullback Mike Marrow an earful for a mistake.
Pelini told Marrow, in no uncertain terms, that he needed to get his head in the game. Later in the first half, Pelini was animated in a huddle following a Brett Maher field goal.
Pelini left last week's game at halftime in an ambulance after falling ill during the first half.
Blowout makes for some happy Huskers
It's amazing how many smiles come out during a 45-point half.
On one side of the field, that is.
On its way to 45 first-half points, Nebraska was having plenty of fun. Husker players were laughing and enjoying the blowout.
After Quincy Enunwa ran under a 35-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to give Nebraska a 21-0 lead, teammate P.J. Smith hurled the water in his cup toward the sky.
Even coach John Papuchis got into the mix. The defensive coordinator went up and down the bench, talking to his players with a wide grin on his face and giving them encouragement.
“Take what you want,” Papuchis told the NU defense. “It's yours.”
Fans have lots of time to work on the wave
How out of hand did Saturday's first half get?
Nebraska fans were doing the wave before the teams went to the locker room for halftime. And they did a pretty good job of it.
Late in the second quarter, the waves made their way around Memorial Stadium in full force.
There was a slow version, a quick one and even simultaneous waves — one going in each direction.
It was hard not to notice the thousands taking part. Even players and coaches were taking a sneak peek at the entertainment going on in the stands.
Late hit sends Bell into action
Kenny Bell didn't like the cheap shot on his teammate.
So the sophomore wide receiver stepped up and said something about it.
Bell had to be separated from Idaho State's Cameron Gupton after Gupton popped NU running back Ameer Abdullah late on the sideline.
Bell, helmet off, stepped up and had some words in the face of Gupton before coaches and teammates pulled him away.
Gupton was flagged for a late hit, giving Nebraska a first down on a drive that the Huskers eventually cashed in on with a 49-yard Brett Maher field goal.