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Yes, that really was a 1-point win over Ball State

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By MELISSA LEE / Lincoln Journal Star

Saturday, Sep 22, 2007 - 05:58:19 pm CDT

Folks, this could be a longer fall than anticipated.

Sure, Husker fans managed to swallow last week’s loss against No. 1 Southern Cal.

But Ball State?

Story Photo
A Nebraska cheerleader runs with the "N" flag in the south end zone after Nebraska's first touchdown of the game in the first quarter. (Michael McNamara)

Did this really happen?

The Cardinals played the Huskers tough ‘til the end, conceding a one-point defeat only when kicker Jake Hogue missed a 55-yard field goal with 17 seconds to go.

As the ball sailed into the air, Nebraska fans at Memorial Stadium could be seen praying, clinging to loved ones and burying heads in hands, unwilling to witness what would have been a crushing upset.

When the ball hooked left, the cheers were deafening.

Final score: Huskers 41, Ball State 40.

“Boy, we got lucky,” said Rich Newville of Cedar Creek, a longtime Nebraska fan.

“They looked flat. ... The defense has got to get better.”

The Sea of Red offered up all kinds of theories to explain why 24th-ranked Nebraska didn’t run all over unranked Ball State.

Maybe the Cardinals are better than they get credit for.

Maybe NU didn’t prepare as well as it should have.

Maybe USC’s show of dominance messed with Husker minds.

Maybe Nebraska should just count its blessings the team survived this one.

“I’m glad we got a W, but that’s about it,” Newville said. “It just wasn’t a very pretty W.”

Said a hoarse Nick Wohlgemuth, 18, of Columbus: “I’ve heard USC can do things to your mind. But I was optimistic.”

Play like they did today, the chorus went, and the Huskers won’t stand a chance against (insert any Big 12 team here).

They better fix things fast. Iowa State rolls into town next week to begin conference play.

To be sure, fans expect a bit more fire under Husker bellies.

Colleen Sellers of Maywood had hoped NU would take some revenge after the USC loss.

Now, well ...

“I wonder if they’re even going to win any more.”

Reach Melissa Lee at 473-2682 or mlee@journalstar.com.


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