HUSKER FOOTBALL

Jammal Lord's mother took this one hardest.

Escorted by her son, Claudia Lord left the Nebraska interview room with cheeks stained and red from the tears. Not that Nebraska's 38-9 loss to Kansas State was a red-letter day for Jammal either. The senior quarterback, who is normally reserved when faced with the press, seemed more subdued than usual after his final exit from Memorial Stadium.

"I didn't want it to end like this," Lord said quietly. "But I tried my best, so whatever ..."

That's about all Lord could hang his hat on after the Saturday debacle.

He couldn't hang it on the 8-of-26 showing he had throwing the ball. His 88 rushing yards were workmanlike and effective at times. After that, there's the "trying your best" thing, but 110-percent effort hardly ever is enough to assuage the grief that comes with such disappointment.

Lord kept Nebraska in the ballgame for the first 30 minutes, piloting Nebraska into halftime with a 7-7 tie. Heading into the locker room, Lord had directed NU's offense to 216 yards and kept pace with Kansas State.

He helped engineer an 8-play, 59-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mark LeFlore with 3:46 remaining. On the play, Lord avoided the Kansas State rush, and while being dragged down, let fly a throw to a wide-open LeFlore.

"I thought Jammal played very hard," Nebraska Coach Frank Solich said. "He did some really good things in the first half to make it a tied ballgame at halftime."

From there, Senior Day became a little more forgettable as the Wildcats scored 31 second-half points and NU's offense mustered 31 fewer than that.

Partially to blame for the futility were some miscues in the passing game. Lord missed long and short on a handful of deep throws while receivers didn't help the cause, dropping a number of catchable passes.

"I overthrew some receivers," Lord said.

"A lot of receivers," he then corrected himself.

Entering his final regular season game in two weeks at Colorado, Lord carries with him a 15-10 record as a starter and often has been the target of criticism from NU fans. As Lord was introduced during pregame ceremonies, the cheers for him were among the loudest for any of the 34 seniors playing in their final home game.

Not many of those fans stuck around to see Lord walk off the field for the final time, as many of the 78,014 had filed out long before the finish.

But Claudia stuck around and she and Jammal left together.

Tears still shone off mom's cheeks and son, staring at his toes, got a comforting slap on the shoulder from lineman Dan Vili Waldrop as they left.

"This," Jammal had said a few minutes earlier, "is probably the worst."