August 1, 2006

Top 10 Husker losses of all time - #10


Earlier this month, I asked you to nominate your favorite Husker loss in the past 25 years for my annual spectacular celebration of Husker heartache and misery. This week, each day (or so) I will take a look back at what I feel are some of the lowest of the lows....the bottom of the barrel of Husker moments that sting many a Hick fan to this day. Please note this is a non-scientific summary, and the final decision of the judge (ie - me) is final. Please feel free to add your own comments or disagreements.

Today.....#10

Texas - 1996 Big 12 Championship game


12/7/96
1 2 3 4 F

Nebraska 7 10 7 3 27
Texas 7 13 3 14 37
@ St. Louis
Att: 63,109

Riding an eight game winning streak, the Huskers took their lofty #3 ranking into the Edward D. Jones dome into St. Louis, looking to knock off the upstart seven-win longhorns. Thousands of Husker fans had already booked their trip to New Orleans, to witness an unprecedented third straight National Title against Florida State. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride that 4th and inches doesn't always mean a run up the middle.

I remember vividly, jumping up and down in my living room, as millions of red-clad Husker fans shouted in unison "Nooooooooooooooooooooo" as a wide open Wane McGarrity caught a floating pass from QB James Brown with 8:53 to play and Texas down by 3. The gigantic blunder in defensive philosophy (Seriously...who didn't see that coming?) propelled Texas to a program changing win, and a first-ever Big 12 championship.

Joe Montata look-alike and future NFL Hall-of-Famer James Brown (Hey, at least it wasn't Major Applewhite) finished the day 19 of 28 for 353 yards, as the blackshirts folded like a house of cards. Noted Husker quitter DeAngelo Evans ran for 130 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns, ironically months preceding comments by thousands of Hick fans that he "sucked anyway" and "wasn't a real Husker" when he suddenly quit the team the next off-season.

Tom Osborne was his usual flashy self as he quipped with his trademark style and charisma, "We didn't play with quite the intensity". Brilliant Tom...just brilliant. Media pundits to this day marvel at the level of "gunslinger guts" it took Texas coach John Mackovic, meanwhile never mentioning the boneheaded idiocy of Charlie McBride not to cover McGarrity. (Even with future NFL standout Mike Minter "covering" (I use the term loosely) him.

No official record has been kept on the number of suicides in the Cornhusker state that faithful night, but rest assured that THOUSANDS of airline employees from across the region had a much happier new year, dealing with empty seats on their assigned flights to New Orleans, and not thousands of howdy-doody looking fans, chanting "Go Big Red" on a DC9 while dressed in overalls. Although Nebraska had already lost for the first time in over 2 years earlier in the season (Because the Arizona State band kept them up all night...uhh.....yeah), this lost truly drove the stake into the heart of the beast.

For a win that killed a dynasty (if you call 2 years a dynasty), the 1996 Texas longhorns earn the #10 spot on our countdown.

Tomorrow? "Ohhhhhh so close"

6 Comments:

Blogger Sean Weide said...

It wasn't the Arizona State band that kept the Huskers up all night in that Sept. 21 loss at Sun Devil Stadium.

Rather, the team did not get onto the practice field for its walk-through until 11 p.m. (1 a.m. Lincoln time) and back to its hotel until well after midnight. Known then for its "routine," this was far from a well-executed trip.

A dinner to honor former coach Frank Kush ran long (by an hour) as the Huskers stewed on their team bus, parked outside the stadium. When they finally did take the field, fans were allowed inside - and a few Sun Devil faithful who showed up took the opportunity to heckle the Huskers throughout their walkthrough.

Granted, the game was the next night, but some of the damage had already been done. Plus, there was a certain swagger in the team that the game would be a repeat of the Fiesta Bowl. I guess the first clue that it wasn't going to be that way, would be the 40,000 yellow pom-poms that were lying on the stadium seats before the game.

Even the media (of which I was a member at the time) felt it was going to be a cakewalk game. That is, until the safety. Moments later, veteran sports writer Mike Babcock uttered some prophetic words:

"I don't think the Huskers are going to score tonight."

And they didn't...

11:55 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

I thought you were still at BC that year? or did you leave a couple years before that?

Either way..thanks for the clarification. I knew somebody had kept them up, I thought it was the band.

Hope all is well with you.

PS - Love your news blog. Cracks me up.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Sean Weide said...

I was the managing editor of Nebraska Sports America magazine (at one time known as "Nebraska Sports Magazine") during the 1995 and 1996 football seasons.

It's hard to believe now, but back then, we were producing online, live coverage of Husker games - home and away - on par with what is being done today by the World-Herald, ESPN, etc.

Special thanks to super-duper webmaster Jerry Underwood, who helped us pioneer the technology at the time.

1:27 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Oh yeah...forgot about NSM. That was actually a pretty good little rag. I remember talking to you guys after we won our title in 95.

Good times.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Husker Mike said...

The collective "ohhhh" from the 40,000 Husker fans in St. Louis that afternoon as James Brown threw that 4th down pass was louder than the estimated 3,000 Tejas fans.

The whole day seemed out of sync. Downtown St. Louis was a horrible place to hold a championship game. The streets were deserted; no atmosphere at all. Half the bars and restaurants weren't open.

To add insult to injury, when we got home on Sunday, there was a card from the Husker ticket office telling me that we'd get tickets to the National Championship game in the Sugar Bowl...

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a CU fan, i now have a new favorites link. I haven't had this much fun reading about Husker football since 2001.

3:07 PM  

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