Throwing the Bones
Discover the great stories of how Nebraksa became the Cornhuskers, how Herbie Husker became to be and the incrdible University landmarks and the fun traditions surrounding Huskers football.
University Nickname: CORNHUSKERS
The term husker might confuse college football fans that
lack an understanding of an ear of corn’s anatomy. If your
only acquaintance with corn has been the canned variety,
then you might know that the starchy vegetable comes
complete with a husk. A husk is a thin dry covering of a
seed or fruit and a husker is something or someone that
strips the husk away.
While Nebraska grows its fair share of corn, it was the
University of Iowa’s football teams that first were labeled
the Cornhuskers. However Iowa followers preferred
Hawkeyes, opening the door for another school to adopt
Mascots: Herbie Husker and Lil Red
The football team and other athletic programs are supported
in part by these fan-favorites that have both been national
award winners. Herbie made his first appearance on the
cover of the Husker’s media guide in 1974 and soon became
the school’s official mascot.
Through the years Herbie has
had several makeovers and has sported his current look
since 2003. With an eye towards the younger fans, Lil’ Red
took the field in 1993 and has also won national mascot
Sure enough the nickname finally ripened in 1900 when
former Lincoln sportswriter Charles S. (Cy) Sherman grew
tired of Nebraska’s nicknames that included Antelopes, Old
Gold Knights and Bugeaters. Sherman was aware of the
Cornhusker nickname that Iowa had used and began
applying it for his Nebraska stories. The Cornhusker name
grew tall in Nebraska circles and eventually became the
state’s nickname as well.
Memorial Stadium: Standing Room Only
Since 1962 in the Sea of Red
Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium is home to what many believe
to be college football’s greatest fans. In 1992 Sports
Illustrated went as far as to name Cornhusker fans as the
“Best Fans in College Football.” The red and cream faithful
have earned this designation for two reasons. First of all
they are well know for great sportsmanship and often
cheer the efforts of visiting teams. If you’ve witnessed a
game at Florida’s Swamp or LSU’s Death Valley, you know
that kind of treatment for the opposition is a rarity.
You might argue that there’s nothing else to do in Lincoln on
a Saturday, but Nebraska fans have filled Memorial Stadium
for every game since 1962. That length of fan commitment
easily outpaces 2nd place Penn State by more than 80
Memorial Stadium’s often-exceeded capacity is 72,700.
Each Husker home game attracts more than five percent of
the state’s population and the stadium becomes Nebraska’s
third-largest city on game days.
The overflowing crowds get pumped up when the Huskers
approach the stadium. The team goes through the “tunnel
walk,” down Big Red Boulevard and onto the field with the
music blasting and red-clad fans screaming at a frenzied
pitch. Nebraska fans also enjoy the performances of the
Nebraska Marching Band.
With the Big Red’s dominating style of play in the last few
decades, rooting for the Huskers usually pays off. “It’s
incredible cheering for a team that more than likely is
always going to win,” said 1998 Nebraska cheerleader
Tommy Stockton. The stadium in Lincoln is a sea of red and
everybody sings and screams. It’s an incredible feeling.”