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The Nebraska spring game is canceled. So is spring practice. Your current Husker football fix — gone.
Your hunger for Husker football glory — strong.
YouTube to the rescue.
Through various sources, the website is chock full of NU wins (and losses) over the years — especially the past 25 years. And The World-Herald Husker team — knowing you could use a little triple option and mad dog blitzes during a tough time — has come up with 25 Husker games from the past 25 years to enjoy.
Most — not all — are wins. Most — not all — seasons are included. The list is presented in reverse order so that you can climb into the glory years of the mid-1990s as the list progresses. (Some of those games, especially with the defense, are really, really fun.)
2017: Nebraska 25, Purdue 24
Why it’s cool: In the midst of a miserable season — as miserable a season as imaginable — the Huskers had a pretty great comeback in the rain at Purdue, which had one of its best defenses in the past decade. It was Tanner Lee’s big moment, as he led a fourth-quarter comeback with two touchdowns, and it was really the last time Bob Diaco’s defense stood tall, forcing three straight punts to end the game. It was the last win of the Mike Riley era and NU’s only win at Purdue since 2013.
Memorable moment: Lee’s final drive, in which he completed 7 of 8 passes for 78 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Stanley Morgan. Lee fired away confidently and Nebraska protected him well.
Time capsule moment: Jaylin Bradley, looking good in the most extensive action of his short Nebraska career. Bradley finished that game with 42 yards on seven carries. He’d never have that accomplished a game again.
2016: Nebraska 35, Oregon 32
Why it’s cool: Just listen to that crowd! NU’s Memorial Stadium rocked and rolled like it rarely has since its expansion in 2013. That wall of noise coming from East Stadium when Nebraska makes a fourth-down stop on Oregon late in the game comes through any speaker. The Huskers seemed a step slower than the Ducks most of the day, but a series of failed 2-point conversions — plays called by current Husker offensive coordinator Matt Lubick — kept Nebraska in it.
Memorable moment: Tommy Armstrong was resilient and terrific throughout the game, and his 34-yard touchdown run to win the game — while he was battling major cramp issues — was epic.
Why it’s cool: Upending the No. 6 Spartans — unbeaten and eventually a College Football Playoff qualifier — was NU’s first win over a top-six opponent in 14 years and a high point in the Mike Riley era. Down 12 points with less than three minutes to play, the Huskers rallied with a pair of touchdowns. By the end, fans, players and coaches were dancing around Memorial Stadium to DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat,” a song that became a symbol for any big moments in years to come.
Memorable moment: Nebraska’s winning play, which came with a twist of controversy. Receiver Brandon Reilly came from out of bounds to haul in the 30-yard go-ahead score with 17 seconds left. Officials ruled that MSU corner Jermaine Edmondson forced Reilly out — video replay suggested otherwise — and the call was upheld after a lengthy review.
Time capsule: A Husker fan dressed as an X-wing fighter holds up a sign reading “Help Us Obi-Wan Kenobi: You’re Our Only Hope” at the 2:13:33 mark. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was a month away from its anticipated debut worldwide.
Why it’s cool: The Huskers, down 24-7, rallied early in the second half to tie a school record for largest comeback on the road. Add to that the emotions of a close game between boarder rivals and that one of the perceived stakes was coach Bo Pelini’s job. Kenny Bell’s 9-yard touchdown catch in front of a near pylon still symbolizes the last time Nebraska topped Iowa or won a game in overtime.
Memorable moment: Freshman De’Mornay Pierson-El capped an electric regular season in a key moment with an 80-yard punt return for a score. He juked one defender after the catch, busted a seam and sprinted down the middle of the field as two pursuing Hawkeyes collided. The sequence gave the Huskers their first lead of the day at 28-24 and was his nation-leading third punt return TD of the season.
Time capsule: At the 2:21:07 mark, ESPN breaks in with news that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal of indefinite suspension after a domestic violence charge. He still never played another down in the NFL.
Why it’s cool: Well, it’s the only Hail Mary to win the game in Nebraska program history. Ron Kellogg launched it, the ball was tipped at the end zone, and Jordan Westerkamp — perfectly placed for the ricochet — caught the ball as he was leaning toward the goal line. Nebraska moved the ball up and down the field against Northwestern, but turnovers nearly doomed the Huskers. It was a key win in Pelini’s second-to-last season that left coaches weeping.
Memorable moment: Kellogg’s reaction — which was to turn toward North Stadium and run as fast as he could — was priceless. Sheer joy.
Why it’s cool: After three sloppy quarters, Nebraska tied the largest fourth-quarter comeback in school history by erasing a 28-16 deficit with barely eight minutes left and the ball at its own 20. Quarterback Taylor Martinez led the next two touchdown drives in impressive up-tempo fashion and the defense held on late. In a larger sense, this was the first of six straight victories to end the regular season that secured a spot in the Big Ten title game after coach Bo Pelini said NU must “win out” two weeks earlier after a loss to Ohio State.
Memorable moment: The Blackshirts held when it mattered the most. Following Ben Cotton’s 7-yard touchdown that put the Huskers ahead by one, Northwestern moved to the Nebraska 39-yard line with 1:35 to play. But breakups by Stanley Jean-Baptiste and P.J. Smith along with a short QB run set up a 53-yard field goal attempt. The kick had the distance but barely missed right as ESPN cameras showed a grinning Pelini celebrating with arms in the air.
Time capsule: The broadcast showed multiple graphics of the short-lived Legends and Leaders divisions, including at the 2:43:34 mark. NU at the time was grouped in the Legends with Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State and Minnesota.
Why it’s cool: This was a throwback evening at a raucous Memorial Stadium, complete with retro jerseys including Nebraska’s all-red uniforms and black helmets. Led by quarterback Taylor Martinez, the Huskers made up most of a 27-10 hole in the third quarter. Then they tacked on a pair of Brett Maher field goals to finish the game with 20 unanswered points and the second-best comeback in team history. This remains NU’s only win over the Badgers in their time together in the Big Ten.
Memorable moment: Nebraska’s oft-maligned front seven sealing the game. On fourth-and-1 from midfield with 1:26 left and the Huskers up three points, Wisconsin handed off to running back Montee Ball to the right side. NU linebacker Alonzo Whaley knifed in and jarred the ball loose, and safety Harvey Jackson recovered.
Time capsule: An ESPN promo at the 1:17:08 mark just before halftime reminded viewers of the “Monday Night Football” game between the Bears and Cowboys. Jay Cutler and Tony Romo were the featured images.
Why it’s cool: The best comeback in Husker football history, as Nebraska overcame a 27-6 deficit in the pouring rain against coach Bo Pelini’s alma mater. Pelini was fired up during — and after — the game, which required a heroic effort from running back Rex Burkhead — 31 touches, 178 total yards, two touchdowns — to pull out the win. It’s worth noting that Nebraska never really slowed down quarterback Braxton Miller — until Miller got hurt in the second half. Once Joe Bauserman replaced Miller, the Husker comeback was on its way to happening.
Memorable moment: The lead blocks of fullback Tyler Legate on Burkhead’s final two big runs of the game, including the game-winning touchdown. In offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s first year of play calling, he called a lot of power plays, and that offense suited Burkhead better than just about everything. Legate had a strong career as a lead blocker, and NU used that toss pitch very effectively under Beck.
Time capsule moment: Pelini, angry as usual, waving off the crowd as it booed quarterback Taylor Martinez’s interception at the end at the second quarter.
Why it’s cool: Nebraska’s defense was pretty darn good all season except for one game — in Stillwater. But Martinez and NU’s offense racked up 540 total yards. Martinez — this was before his first foot injury — never played better, throwing for 323 yards and five touchdowns and running for 112 yards. Yes, Martinez was terrific against Washington and Kansas State, but those games were blowouts. Oklahoma State was a shootout.
Memorable moment: Niles Paul returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, while teammate Eric Martin was not flagged — but was later suspended — for a violent block on that return.
2009: Nebraska 27, Missouri 12
Why it’s cool: Nebraska scored 27 straight points to rally and Ndamukong Suh stampeded all over Mizzou’s offensive line and quarterback Blaine Gabbert, finishing with six tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. NU survived a rough night on offense — and terrible, rainy weather — with its defense.
Memorable moment: One doesn’t want to be too rude, but the tears of Danario Alexander near the end of the fourth quarter opened a window to the importance of the game for the Tigers, who had won three of the previous four in the series.
2008: Nebraska 40, Colorado 31
Why it’s cool: The Kick, followed by the Pick-Six. Alex Henery’s 57-yard field goal — a school record — won the game while Suh provided the exclamation point when he picked off a pass, stiff-armed CU quarterback Cody Hawkins and stomped into the end zone to the delight of Husker fans.
Memorable moment: A disastrous fake field goal called by coach Bo Pelini, who attempted to replicate the holder’s no-look pitch used by LSU in 2007. Colorado intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Why it’s cool: The Huskers lost the game but showed their first real signs of life under first-year coach Bo Pelini against the seventh-ranked Red Raiders. This was a classic, wacky Big 12 contest complete with a blocked Tech extra point in overtime, a Nebraska fake field-goal pass and the Red Raiders unnecessarily going for and converting a fourth down on their own 36. Nebraska trailed 24-10 into the fourth quarter but scored on every possession in the second half. It also outgained Tech and its playmakers including QB Graham Harrell and wideout Michael Crabtree.
Memorable moment: Needing a touchdown and a PAT to win in overtime, NU quarterback Joe Ganz stepped up in the pocket on second-and-10 from the 25. But a defender pulled him backward, and his throw found the hands of closing cornerback Jamar Wall for the game-ender.
Time capsule: Tech coach Mike Leach, when he was a little heavier and with fewer gray hairs. But he already had his famous wit — he made a Sharon Stone reference in his postgame interview when asked about a fourth-down gamble.
Why it’s cool: Nebraska and A&M only met in College Station four times as Big 12 members, and this one had drama galore as NU nailed down the North Division title. The Huskers built a 21-7 lead behind some hard Cody Glenn runs, then the Aggies countered with 20 straight points before a Barry Turner blocked field goal set the stage for a theatrical final NU possession. One of the program’s finer days under coach Bill Callahan.
Memorable moment: The Drive. Eventual Big 12 offensive player of the year Zac Taylor engineered an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown trek for the difference-making score. It all happened with no timeouts and ended with a 9-yard fade pass to 6-foot-4 Maurice Purify in the end zone with seconds remaining. The possession was kept alive earlier on a fourth-and-3 as Taylor rolled right and hit Todd Peterson for a 22-yard gain.
Time capsule: A midgame update of the BCS standings. Ohio State and Michigan were Nos. 1 and 2, followed by Louisville, Florida and Texas. California was No. 8.
Why it’s cool: Building off the “Restore the Order” regular-season finale against Colorado, the Huskers shook off their 10-point underdog status to shock the 20th-ranked Wolverines. Nebraska rallied from down 11 in the fourth quarter, including a 31-yard Cory Ross touchdown run with 8:08 to play that left guard Greg Austin helped open up. Quarterback Zac Taylor took a beating — he was sacked four times and hit many more — but kept getting up.
Memorable moment: Michigan’s last-gasp final play nearly turned to disaster for Nebraska. The sequence lasted 43 seconds in real time and featured a pass, eight laterals and a fumble. It started at the Michigan 36, drifted back to the 21 and ended 13 yards from the end zone as an alert Zack Bowman and Titus Brothers tackled Tyler Ecker while both teams ran onto the field.
Time capsule: An all-time college football crew broadcast the bowl game on ESPN, with Mike Tirico (play by play), Kirk Herbstreit (color) and Erin Andrews (sideline) handling the prime-time affair. Tirico’s call on the final play — with Herbstreit shouting, “Oh, my gosh!” — is still thrilling.
Why it’s cool: The West Coastiest win of all the West Coast offense wins in the Bill Callahan era. The Huskers ran for all of 36 yards — and won because quarterback Zac Taylor, in his breakout game, threw for 431 yards and two touchdowns. Punter Sam Koch had a big game, too. After an ugly 2004 and a rough start to 2005 from an offensive perspective, Callahan’s crew needed this one.
Memorable moment: Cory Ross on one screen pass after another, including a 70-yard touchdown on 2nd-and-22. Callahan wasn’t a great head coach at NU, but few coaches — ever — could design a better screen, and few were better at throwing them than Taylor.
Time capsule: Future Husker starting quarterback Joe Ganz wearing No. 8 — with a visor pulled low on his head.
Why it’s cool: Bo Pelini’s defense in 2003 just kicking the crap out of two A&M quarterbacks, logging eight takeaways while the Huskers rushed for 333 yards. Nothing fancy about this win. NU rolled, the defense outscored A&M’s offense and Frank Solich, stunningly, was just a month away from being let go.
Memorable moment: Titus Adams spiking the ball halfway to Omaha after returning an interception, let’s see, 3 yards for a touchdown. To Adams’ credit, he caught a slant pass like he was a tight end.
Time capsule: An in-game mini-feature on Nebraska’s strength and conditioning, featuring Boyd Epley’s “Transformer” machine. It cost $32,000.
Why it’s cool: In a frustrating back half of the season — as Nebraska lost one Big 12 game after another — the Huskers’ ground game dug deep to overcome a 17-point deficit, racking up 381 yards en route to scoring the last 24 points of the game. Jammal Lord went for 159, David Horne rushed for 128 and Dahrran Diedrick rumbled for 85.
Memorable moment: Horne’s fourth and final touchdown, which put NU ahead for good. The Omaha Central product had a spectacular true freshman year after burning his redshirt five games in, rushing for 651 yards and seven touchdowns. He was passed, however, the following year by Cory Ross and transferred after a lackluster 2004.
Time capsule moment: Remember when Big 12 games were on TBS for a half-second?
2001: Nebraska 20, Oklahoma 10
Why it’s cool: A battle of heavyweights played out on a sunny Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The game featured 20 combined punts, but in the end the third-ranked Huskers extended their nation-leading home winning streak to 20 while ending the 20-game run by second-ranked and defending national champion Oklahoma. This was high-stakes, quality football that even featured a trick play that altered the season. One of the final great games of Nebraska’s decadeslong run as a national player.
Memorable moment: What other than Black 41 Flash Reverse? With 6:31 to play and NU up three, eventual Heisman-winning quarterback Eric Crouch handed off to running back Thunder Collins “flashing” in motion across the line of scrimmage. Collins flipped to seldom-used freshman Mike Stuntz, who found Crouch down the east sideline for a 63-yard touchdown.
Time capsule: In-game commercial graphics at the 13:21 mark included now-defunct brands Circuit City and Pontiac along with Budweiser and Morgan Stanley.
Why it’s cool: The lasting image on the nationally televised NBC broadcast was the ribbons of red — representing somewhere around 30,000 Nebraska fans — cutting through Notre Dame Stadium. The game lived up to the hype too, with the top-ranked Huskers rolling to a 21-7 third-quarter lead before the No. 23 Irish used long kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns to force overtime. NU’s option game was strong in the extra session as it pulled out the win.
Memorable moment: Quarterback Eric Crouch’s run for glory. No. 7 ran a keeper to the left side for a 7-yard score in overtime, then famously spun the football in celebration on a cement walkway before joining his teammates.
Why it’s cool: It’s Nebraska’s lone win over Texas in the Big 12 era, and it was a defensive masterpiece. The Huskers forced four turnovers, allowed 6 yards rushing and held the ball for nearly 38 minutes. For all the heartbreak against Texas — 1996, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2009 — NU rolled to a win in San Antonio.
Memorable moment: Quarterback Eric Crouch’s 31-yard touchdown run came on fourth down and was, effectively, the only touchdown NU needed.
Time capsule moment: Frank Solich giving a pregame sideline interview to ABC’s Jack Arute with his headset on. Plus, an Applebee’s game fact that noted Texas hadn’t played the same team twice in a season since 1918.
1999: Nebraska 24, Kansas 17
Why it’s cool: NU’s last Big 12 title was in 1999, and it doesn’t happen without a comeback victory in Lawrence. Nebraska had just lost at Texas and spent most of a rainy night at KU on the ropes. That’s when Bobby Newcombe bailed out Nebraska with a punt return for a touchdown and a late-game reception for a score. It was the first of six straight wins.
Memorable moment: Just before Eric Crouch’s game-winning throw to Newcombe, he had to convert a fourth-and-inches with a quarterback sneak.
Why it’s cool: In an incessantly loud and hostile road venue, the No. 1 Huskers overcame all odds in their closest call during an unbeaten national-title season. Everyone remembers Matt Davison’s diving touchdown grab to force overtime, but quarterback Scott Frost and the defense rose up time and again opposite a Missouri team that had lost 19 straight to NU. Frost’s 12-yard option scoring run in overtime set up the Blackshirts, who turned away the Tigers on four plays to end it.
Memorable moment: The “Flea Kicker.” Frost had moved Nebraska from its own 33-yard line to the Tiger 12 with seven seconds to go. He targeted wingback Shevin Wiggins over the middle, but the ball popped out and Wiggins kicked it before the freshman Davison snatched it inches above the grass as time expired. Missouri students stormed the field but had to be cleared as Nebraska kicked the tying extra point.
Time capsule: About 47 minutes in, the broadcast shifted to “ESPN Game Plan” for an update on scores around the country. For a full 90 seconds, groups of scores — three games at a time — cycled across the screen on a blue backdrop while up-tempo music played.
1996: Nebraska 17, Colorado 12
Why it’s cool: In as violent and physical a game as Nebraska has played over the years, the Huskers outlasted a great CU team in rotten weather on Black Friday. It was NU’s first Black Friday game with CU, and one of the best. The Buffs played a risky pass offense all day against Nebraska’s pass rush, and it didn’t pay off. On Nebraska’s final two defensive plays, defensive coordinator Charlie McBride blitzed six and seven defenders, respectively.
Memorable moment: Nebraska lost four fumbles to CU, but it was its one fumble recovery — at the NU 3-yard line — that may have saved the game.
Time capsule moment: Jason Peter playing with a heavily taped right hand that looked like a club. Also: The black 18 sticker worn on the helmets in memory of Brook Berringer.
Why it’s cool: If you ever want to see one ranked team truly beat another into submission, on its home turf, this is the game. NU outgained KSU 432-86 and forced nine punts on a 9-3 team. The Huskers’ defense at perhaps its best, with a defensive line — Wistrom, Tomich and Peter — that won’t soon be replicated.
Memorable moment: It was a trip back to DeAngelo Evans’ home state, and the true freshman played well, with 168 yards on 21 carries. One of touchdowns was a 69-yarder that silenced a K-State crowd not too fond of him.
Time capsule moment: You’ll notice NU had slightly different Adidas tops that season. The lettering on the backs of jerseys was smaller and more ornate. Plus, on white jerseys, Adidas’ logo appears in black lettering.
Why it’s cool: An all-time title game for an all-time college football team. Dominance and national attention never intersected for Nebraska like it did on that January night in a demolition of coach Steve Spurrier and his “Fun and Gun” offense. QB Tommie Frazier — perhaps making a point for being voted second in the Heisman Trophy voting — ran for 199 yards and two scores and passed for 105 and another touchdown. The Blackshirts sacked QB Danny Wuerffel seven times and picked off three passes while holding the Gators to minus-28 rushing yards.
Memorable moment: “How many tackles can one man break?” The call from CBS announcer Jim Nantz lives on as Frazier escaped seven Florida defenders and cruised down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. If one singular play epitomized how mismatched the teams were, that was it.
Time capsule: With the game long over — Nebraska led 55-18 — CBS floated a promo for David Letterman’s "Late Show" as Nantz wondered on air: “I wonder what else he has to say about college athletics.”