Minnestoa vs. Nebraska, 11.17.12

The east stadium spelled out "THANKS TOM" for retiring athletic director Tom Osborne at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.

If that didn’t give you goose bumps and send a chill down your spine, please consult a doctor and get your pulse checked.

Tom Osborne, dressed in a red windbreaker and wearing a red hat, leading the Nebraska football team out of the locker room Saturday was the most inspirational, emotional Tunnel Walk I can remember.

I don’t mind admitting I recorded the whole thing on my phone from the field.

Nebraska honored Osborne, in his final home game as athletic director, the only way it possibly could -- by having him take the field one final time with the Huskers.

No, Osborne didn’t want to do it. That’s no surprise.

Who pushed the idea and convinced Osborne?

Bo Pelini.

“I told him it’d mean a lot to me and to the football team, and that it’s the way I think it should be,” Pelini said. “Not just for us, but I think the fans wanted to see him walk out of there one last time.”

Osborne watched the game from his suite, and by halftime, he was back in his red sports coat and tie. He returned to the field with his wife, Nancy, and children and grandchildren, for a special halftime ceremony and video tribute.

Afterward, Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown emerged from the locker room a bit early for the second half, so he could congratulate Osborne. Brown is the only current NU assistant who coached under Osborne.

Brown said he thanked Osborne for giving him a chance.

“We went through a lot together, and he’s been a lifelong friend,” Brown said. “We haven’t always agreed, but most of the time, we have. I thank the Lord for him. It broke me a little bit, seeing him come out with the team early on.

“I realized I was blessed to have an opportunity to be with him. He was there with the birth of my children, and he’s kind of seen me grow up a little bit. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss him a lot.”

Join the club, Ron. Join the club.

Student seating

I received several more responses to last week’s column about the empty seats in the student section (there were more Saturday).

Another reason they aren’t filled, a couple of readers told me, is because students have no paper tickets to sell -- they’re attached to students' “N” cards -- and there’s a processing fee to sell tickets.

One reader wrote:

“For many students like my son, it's too much of a hassle to sell the ticket. They don't sell the ticket to someone else and they don't show up to the game either. This means the seats are empty.”

So that’s that.

Going deep

* Among those who wished Osborne well in video tributes were Grant Wistrom, Warren Buffett, Larry the Cable Guy, Tommie Frazier, Johnny Rodgers, Trev Alberts, Barry Switzer, Barry Alvarez and Bill Snyder.

* Loved the card stunt before the game. A special company was hired to stock East Stadium with the red-and-white cards that fans held to spell "THANKS TOM" and "GO BIG RED."

* I half expected Osborne to take a headset and join the team on the sideline, just for show. Really, would anyone have objected?

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.


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