Football needs away-game win to break hex
Jeff Sheldon

Senior broadcasting major

The relationship between a football team and its fans can take on many forms.

It can be like the dependency between a drug and an addict.

It can be like the passionate devotion between two young lovers.

But, for Husker faithful and the Nebraska football team, the relationship takes on many characteristics of a time-tested marriage.

Shared joys and sorrows, lots of impatience and grumbling, but ultimately, you know when the day is done, the old couple wouldn't trade each other for anything.

Saturday's game against Troy State was another chapter in the sometimes-fickle relationship between fans and the players and coaches who love and boo them.

You know how couples always complain about each others' stubbornness?

Well, the grumbling coming from the stands was audible after Nebraska continued to utilize the quarterback run from the identical formation, and everyone, including the people in the skyboxes and Troy State's run-blitzing cornerback knew where Jammal Lord was headed.

In fact, Saturday marked the first time in four home games the Big Red exited the field at halftime without getting booed.

Lord misfired on open passes to Matt "I'm-behind-the-secondary-again" Herian, freshman kicker David Dyches' had the propensity to drill kicks into the right upright and NU was unable to establish its famed power running attack. They all made Saturday one of the worst days in the union that dates back to a simple friendly game against the Omaha YMCA in 1890.

But then, our couple still recognizes the common characteristics that drew them together in the first place and have helped each other ride out the hard times together.

Husker fans have embraced the tenacious work ethic of the refurbished Blackshirts and fallen in love with guys like Demorrio Williams, who made another push for the Big 12's defensive player of the week with 13 tackles against the Trojans.

And they admired the determination of Offensive Coordinator Barney Cotton to keep taking a risk on the big play when it appeared none of Lord's rainbows would ever find their pot of gold.

Like Coach Frank Solich said after the game, you can't have it all. This is never going to be the perfect marriage, not while the expectations of most Nebraskans still are sitting in the mid-1990s.

And like your main squeeze, this team has flaws you learn to live with. It's not exceptionally talented on the offensive side of the ball, nor particularly deep.

Marriage counselors would tell you, though, to think long and hard before changing your allegiances. Beware the flashy new thing, i.e. freshman QB Joe Dailey, who fired a beauty to Herian for his first career touchdown pass. Don't rush into things, when they seem too good to be true.

I know, it's a Nebraskan way of thinking. Conservative, guarded and sensible.

But, my advice for all you disgruntled spouses/fans: look for new reasons to love this unique team.

Admire the dependability of the defense.

Be patient with the offense, though it looks more conservative than a Bob Jones University mixer.

And thank your lucky stars your relationship hasn't soured like fans in Boulder, Colo., or Manhattan, Kan., whose weeping and gnashing of teeth can be heard even in Nebraska's capital city.

Like after the kids leave home, the marriage between NU fans and its team is turning the page in its long and sometimes acrimonious history.

You may get frustrated with some of your partners' tendencies, but you wouldn't turn down the sheets with someone else for anything.

And remember, ulcers are good for the soul.

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Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Fall 2003 Daily Nebraskan. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its student body or the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author; a cartoon is solely the opinion of its artist. The Board of Regents acts as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The UNL Publications Board, established by the regents, supervises the publication of the paper. According to policy set by the regents, responsibility for the editorial content of thenewspaper lies solely in the hands of its employees.