Husker 'Bo-lievers' back Pelini before, after Saturday's win

2013-09-21T19:50:00Z 2013-09-22T00:06:23Z Husker 'Bo-lievers' back Pelini before, after Saturday's winBy RILEY JOHNSON / Lincoln Journal Star
September 21, 2013 7:50 pm  • 

Debi White believes Bo Pelini is in it for the long haul. 

Her proof: Nebraska's win Saturday over FCS foe South Dakota State, Pelini’s apologetic response to a not-so-flattering leaked audiotape and university officials "graceful" handling of the situation.

"It put a wet blanket on the naysayers,” said White, who watched the game from seats in North Stadium.

Many called for Pelini's job as head coach of the Huskers after last week's loss to UCLA and surfacing of the recording. Thousands took to social media expressing discontent about Pelini’s comments in the recording, and 39 percent of voters in a Journal Star poll of more than 20,000 said Pelini should be fired.

Saturday's victory won't silence all of them, but even before kickoff, dozens of Husker fans in and around Memorial Stadium voiced support for Pelini.

Bo-lievers and nonbelievers alike admitted he still faces tremendous fan pressure to win this season.

“He’s got one of the best records in the country, and people are complaining about him,” said Brian Larkins, who works at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Brian Gray hopes to lose the bet he made with his mother last Sunday.

In the wake of Nebraska’s 41-21 loss to UCLA, Gray said Pelini would resign at the end of the season, regardless of his team’s record.

Gray, who wore a red “Bo Knows” shirt to Saturday’s game, said he agreed “110 percent” with what Pelini said on the tape about the fans at the Ohio State game.

“I would have melted the recorder if it was around me,” he said.

“I’d stick by Bo anytime,” said Toni Gabel, who lives in Omaha and has been coming to games off and on since 1961.

Bob Wilkerson took his 9-year-old son, Jaykwan, to his first Husker game Saturday. He said Pelini had a tough week, and he supported of the university’s decision not to punish Pelini.

“I look at what happens on the field, not what happens off,” Wilkerson said.

He said some Nebraska fans “take stuff a little far.”

Dan Block, who lives in Greeley, Colo., said calls for Pelini’s firing were ludicrous.

“If you’re a fair-weather fan, you shouldn’t be a fan in the first place,” said Block, who’s cheered on the Huskers for 45 years.

Twelve-year-old Madison Luderman held a sign as she posed with her sister Peyton, 5, in front of a North Stadium statue.

“Keep Calm and Go Big Red” it read.

Reach Riley Johnson at 402-473-7306 or

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