Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini issued the call, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln students answered.
Despite the Thanksgiving holiday and temperatures in the low 40s, UNL students packed their sections during the Huskers’ matchup against Colorado Friday, reversing a home-game trend of empty seats that had prompted Osborne and Pelini to take action.
Osborne, Nebraska’s athletic director, and Pelini, head football coach, sent separate e-mails to students this month urging them to “pack the house” at the Colorado game — the Huskers’ final of the regular season — after seats at the top of South Stadium were noticeably vacant during home games against Baylor and Kansas.
And Osborne had hinted to the Journal Star that if students didn’t show up, he might consider selling some student tickets to the general public at regular price.
But Friday, students sent a message loud and clear: We’ll keep our seats, thank you very much.
In a 40-31 Husker victory that was close until the end, the students filled their sections — even the cold, faraway seats at the top of sections 12, 13 and 14 of South Stadium that had been sore spots earlier this season.
“Everyone I know showed up,” said UNL graduate student Brian Fandry, a Grand Island native.
“It’s Husker football. You don’t miss a game, in my opinion, unless you’re out of town.”
The packed house didn’t go unnoticed by Pelini and Osborne.
“We made a concerted effort to really stress to them that we needed them there, and I thought the crowd was great,” Pelini said. “They were behind us the whole way.”
Said Osborne: “We were pleased with the support of the whole crowd today and certainly the enthusiasim from the students. They have been great all year and we appreciate their support.”
Still, some students aren’t completely satisfied with recent changes in their seating.
Students were given about 200 more tickets but had about 2,000 of their seats moved from the front of South Stadium to the top, a move some believe contributed to student discontent because the seats are so far away from the field.
“We go to the university. We pay tuition,” Fandry said. “We should get the best seats in the house.”
In the cold, students tend to huddle together, likely contributing to the empty rows, Fandry said.
Brothers Joe, Adam and Tony Michaelsen, all UNL students from Columbus, also had minor gripes Friday.
After tailgating, the brothers showed up just before kickoff to claim their East Stadium seats — only to find there was no room for them to squeeze in.
So they decided to try their luck in South Stadium, even though they knew they’d likely end up near the top.
“We’re still avid Husker fans,” Tony Michaelsen, a graduate student, said as the trio made their way through the stadium.
Despite the hassle, the brothers, Husker fans since childhood, don’t plan to stop coming to games anytime soon, even after they graduate.
Said Joe Michaelsen, a senior: “We’ll be around.”
Reach Melissa Lee at 473-2682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.