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Sideline Chatter: Makovicka relishes return to Memorial Stadium

Sideline Chatter: Makovicka relishes return to Memorial Stadium

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The 1995 Nebraska football team is never very far from most fans’ hearts.

It’s one of the first things that come to mind when you hear “Nebraska football."

Before the usual Tunnel Walk on Saturday, the hype video for the 1996 Fiesta Bowl was shown on the HuskerVision screen and was the precursor for one more Tunnel Walk by the historic 1995 team.

With the Fiesta Bowl trophy and Sears Trophy crystal ball in tow, the former Huskers trotted onto the field celebrating the 20th anniversary of that season.

While Tommie Frazier was signing autographs for grown men who told the Hall of Famer, “Thanks for the memories growing up” and Ahman Green garnered rousing applause with an appearance on HuskerVision, another former Husker was enjoying the company of old friends.

Joel Makovicka, one of the most decorated fullbacks in school history and a member of that championship team, stood on the sideline with former teammates.

Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since he was in full pads and getting first downs.

“The best thing about coming back is seeing all the guys,” Makovicka said. “All the guys are back here telling stories. We fall right back into it. It could be 20 years, two weeks, whatever.”

There may not be a lot about Nebraska’s style of play that reminds him of the glory days, but seeing a fellow fullback getting the biggest cheers from the crowd does spark memories.

“If there’s one thing about Nebraska fans, it’s that they understand football and love their fullbacks,” Makovicka said. “They love people who don’t get a lot of the fanfare or the attention.

“We’re seeing the fullback becoming more a part of this offense and Andy Janovich being able to touch the football. It provides a weapon for this offense.”

The former Husker also has some high praise for the new fan favorite.

“We had great tradition here at fullback,” Makovicka said. “It needs to cycle back through, and fans love to see that, because Andy’s doing a great job. He’s done a good job to where they’re going to keep using him, keep running him and being a part of this offense.”

While he’d probably like to see Janovich be used in the same capacity as the fullbacks were 20 years ago, the Brainard native knows that things are considerably different.

“Football has changed,” he said. “The whole landscape of football has changed.”

While the outcome may not have been what the alumni hoped, support for the new coaching staff and for Nebraska is still very high.

“With this new coaching staff, we’re behind them as players,” Makovicka said. “The ’94 team, the ’95 team, the ’97. All of the championship teams are behind these guys to get it turned around."

Seen

* Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles. He was seen walking the concourse with two slices of Valentino’s pizza just before halftime. If he were also carrying a Runza he would legally be a Nebraskan.

* Colorado prep tight end Jack Stoll, who committed to Nebraska in June, was making an official visit. The high school senior got to see fans honor a team that played before he was even born.

* A week away from Halloween, and a few Nebraska students dressed in costume. Shoutout to whoever dressed up as Aquaman, he does too have useful superpowers!

Heard

* Just before a Northwestern punt in the second quarter, Nebraska students were singing “Must be De’Mornay” in hopes of a big return by De'Mornay Pierson-El. The Wildcats kicked away from the sophomore, as they did most of the game, and the students were not pleased.

* The Northwestern marching band made its first trip to Lincoln and played at halftime. The band took up more space in the southwest corner of the stadium than the small Wildcat fan contingent that also made the trip.

* Late in the fourth quarter, the guy manning "Der Wiener Schlinger" quipped: "If they can't leave happy, at least they won't leave hungry." If only everyone had that attitude.

Reach the writer at boltmans@journalstar.com or 402-473-2646. On Twitter @LJS_Brady.

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