In the immediate aftermath of Saturday's stinker, a Texas fan gave a Husker fan a consolation gift: a get out of jail free card.
According to a Lincoln police report, a 34-year-old Waverly man walking downtown after the 20-13 Nebraska loss to the Longhorns spotted a white 2004 Cadillac Escalade with UT stickers on the doors, burnt orange and white pompons lining the dash, "WE R TX" vanity plates and the Lone Star State's automotive equivalent of the cherry on top, a 6-foot-long set of longhorns, mounted on the grill.
According to the police report, the Waverly man got "caught up in the emotion of the Nebraska loss to Texas and made a bad decision."
Patrick Flinn was still celebrating at the stadium about 6 p.m. when police say the Waverly man looked at Flinn's Escalade and made that decision.
He unhooked the horns.
More specifically, he broke the right one clean off of the colossal hood ornament on the Cadillac grill.
Flinn said the set of horns, which he bought on eBay for $395, made it through all of last season and the first half of 2010. But it's not the first pair he's lost.
He puts them on the Escalade the week before football season and leaves them on until the bowl game's over -- or until someone destroys them.
One pair broke at the Fiesta Bowl after a group sat on them to take pictures.
The second time, he said, "I stupidly went to Arkansas with ‘em."
Another set was stolen in Dallas.
"Yeah, things happen," Flinn said, adding that he has no hard feelings about the Lincoln incident.
"It all turns out really good," Flinn said Monday from his home in Portland, Texas.
A "gaggle of Husker fans" responded when the man bulldogged his Escalade, apprehending him and calling 911, Flinn said.
Police and Flinn both arrived at the north Haymarket tailgate site shortly and the officer spoke to the Waverly man and witnesses, and then, Flinn said, the officer told him he could ticket the man for vandalism.
That left open the prospect Flinn would have to come back to Lincoln, and considering Texas isn't scheduled to play at Memorial Stadium any more this millennium, that held few selling points to Flinn.
So, the Texas fan told the Husker fan he wouldn't press the issue if he got the $395 he paid for the horns.
The Waverly man and his wife went to an ATM and came back, cash in hand, half an hour later.
"He apologized a great deal," Flinn said.
A Husker fan even saved the horn for Flinn, he said.
"I say, thumbs up to the Husker fans, Corn Nation," he said. "We had a great, great time."
Flinn said he was part of a group of 15 that came up for the game.
The smart ones flew, he said. His younger brother's burnt orange Jeep was vandalized outside the Council Bluffs, Iowa, casino where the group stayed.
Flinn said someone ripped off the vanity plate -- a string of gibberish he said a Texan would recognize as a reference to "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You."
Meanwhile, Flinn's in the market for a new set of horns.
Reach Cory Matteson at 402-473-7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.