Well, we didn't have to wait until November after all to find out how fans sitting in that new upper deck would respond to a cold, windy day.
When Saturday’s game began, there were small pockets of empty seats in the new east addition of Memorial Stadium. Not glaring, but noticeable.
The majority of those folks headed for shelter at halftime — there were fewer than 200 fans in the upper deck who stayed in their seats during the break.
I counted, at one point, 76 fans who remained outside in the east club-level seats during halftime.
Not everyone returned for the second half, either, which created even more pockets of empty seats. However, as a whole, they fared better than the student section, which was a little more than half full for the second half. (Student-section empties have almost become the norm, though.)
The game-time temperature was 45 degrees, and the wind, officially, was out of the west-southwest, at 26 mph and gusty.
But anyone who’s been inside Memorial Stadium knows the wind swirls in all directions on even a slightly breezy day.
To wit: Before the game, the flags atop the north end zone, near the scoreboard, were pointed in opposite directions than the flags on the north goal posts.
Even more evidence was one of the more chaotic balloon launches you’ll ever see. Once the balloons escaped the stadium, they drifted northeast, but they swirled inside forever, with one last balloon still floating about when Nebraska lined up to kick off after its first touchdown.
Yeah, it was a hold-the-ball-on-the-tee kind of day.
Boy, was Rick Kaczenski giving his defensive linemen a what-for before the game.
The Nebraska assistant coach called his players into a circle on the northwest corner of the field and lit into them.
This wasn't something you’d confuse with a pep talk.
Kaczenski said after the game he saw a lack of energy and spirit from his group, and didn't like how the players were performing in pregame drills. So he told them as much.
“I told those guys when I called them up, when you run out of that tunnel, you've got an obligation, a responsibility,” Kaczenski said. “I didn't like our body language, I didn't like our demeanor in pregame. I said, ‘Hey, man, this has got to stop.’ I pulled Jason (Ankrah) aside and said ‘This is your group, you handle it.’”
Did they heed the wake-up call?
“I think so. I hope so,” Kaczenski said. “At least I let them know that I’m not liking what I’m seeing.”
* That sideline Husker “restroom” that ESPNU caught on camera? It’s been in business for years. As one former player pointed out, it’s just not usually displayed on TV. Also, “usually you get some more buddies to provide cover. This guy needs more friends,” the player said.
* Ah, this is why Nebraska joined the Big Ten: for a cold, gray, morning kickoff.
* Two new rules in today’s football: Don’t hit too hard, and don’t have any fun.