Nebraska has one of the strongest fan bases not only in the Big Ten, but in all of college football.
The Huskers Memorial Stadium seats over 90,000 which means, with a full crowd, it’s the third-largest place in the state of Nebraska. This is a common occurrence, considering Memorial Stadium has sold out for every home game since 1962.
That being said, Nebraska has one of the best traveling fan bases in college football, consistently creating seas of red in opposing stadiums.
Spartan Stadium is not unfamiliar territory for Nebraska fans. The last time the two teams played in East Lansing was 2014, where the Spartans outlasted the Huskers 27-22 as the road team stormed back in the fourth to make it a tight game. It did not help that more than half of the student section was gone for the final quarter of the game, allowing the Nebraska fans in attendance to make their presence known.
Michigan State Head Coach Mel Tucker was well aware of Nebraska’s tendency to fill opposing stadiums heading into Saturday’s matchup. Tucker said Nebraska requested 2,500 tickets to sell to their season ticket holders and fans.
There is not an exact figure available of Nebraska fans that ended up in Spartan Stadium on Saturday, but there was certainly some red in that sea of green and white — not to mention, a few corn hats.
For many of the Nebraska fans, it was not their first time in a hostile environment.
Nebraska fan Jacob Wessel said he had been to Illinois just a few weeks ago and Purdue a few years back. Nebraska fan Chard Carlson has been a bit more ambitious in his travels, making it to 45 college football stadiums around the nation. Brad Barker was one of the Huskers fans making a return to East Lansing. In fact, it was his third time after attending the 2012 and 2014 games.
Other fans in attendance, like Craig Domann from Colorado Springs, had good reasons to be in attendance for the game. His son, JoJo Domann, is a senior offensive linebacker for Nebraska.
“I’ve seen more green than red," Domann said. "A lot of times when Nebraska decides to travel, they'll take over a stadium. They just make the decision — we’re all going on this road trip, we’re gonna show up, we’re gonna buy up the tickets, we’re gonna take over the hotels and restaurants. It’s pretty surreal, we’ve seen it a couple of times."
The one thing that seemed to unite the Huskers fans: the passion for their football team.
“There’s a passion," Carlson said. "You grow up with it. Literally, we're the only thing in the state. We don’t have pro football, we don’t have pro basketball, nothing. You’re out there on your tractor on a Saturday afternoon and dad’s listening in the combine and you’re listening in the truck, everybody’s listening to it and it builds a culture."
Domann expressed a similar sentiment; with the lack of pro sports teams or even other major college teams, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln essentially became the focus of the state’s sports fans.
Although the Nebraska fans were quite passionate about their own university, there were also some kind words thrown towards Michigan State’s way.
Barker expressed his respect for the passion of Michigan State students and fans, while Wissel’s mother, Michelle, said Jacob had been getting compliments for his corn hat since their arrival at the stadium.
“Watching Sparty go down the street here was pretty surreal," Carlson said. "You guys have a great tailgate scene going on and pretty nice people. I’ve been to Wisconsin and that’s not the case there."
With Michigan State’s thrilling overtime win, Nebraska fans did not manage to leave East Lansing with the results they were looking for. But they were able to witness peak Spartan Stadium: a Stripe the Stadium night game against a Michigan State team on its best start since 2015.
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