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 the name.
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 competitions. 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 games.
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.”