Updated

The last time Cory Richter watched a Husker football game, it was from 7,000 miles away in Bahrain.

Saturday, he stood around a pregame huddle before watching a larger-than-life Ndamukong Suh clobber quarterback after quarterback. The turf on Tom Osborne Field squished under Richter's Sketchers.

The video in the Heisman Room and the jaunt on the field were part of a tour of Memorial Stadium enjoyed by Richter and about two dozen other injured service members at the same time as the Huskers prepared for their game at the University of Minnesota.

They were joined by more than 400 other military members, veterans and loved ones as part of the fourth annual Husker Fans Salute the Troops -- a "weekend getaway" for football fans in Lincoln, said John Ward, whose brother-in-law started the event.

"This is one of the favorite trips, and it always fills up quick," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Zielke, commander of the wounded warrior battalion from Fort Riley, Kan.

After the stadium visit, the guests watched the game at the Cornhusker Marriott, where they spent the night free of charge. A brunch Sunday morning features a speech by former Husker and Lincoln talk-radio host Adrian Fiala and a prayer by Assistant Coach Ron Brown.

The stadium visit wasn't the first for many of the group's Husker fans.

Army Sgt. Richard Maple, who had a heart attack in Iraq on his 10-year wedding anniversary, attended the first few games of the season in person.

Still, he relished the chance to brush shoulders with ex-Husker linebacker Blake Lawrence, one of a few former players who guided the tours. Saturday was also Maple's first time on the field.

"It's awesome," he said.

Richter, who injured his shoulder after falling from a ladder on a water tower, has touched the turf before. But each time is exciting, he said.

"It's overwhelming. ... You can't really describe it to people."

Reach Zach Pluhacek at 402-473-7234 or zpluhacek@journalstar.com.