LINCOLN, Neb. – For all the emotion spent on the buildup for a season opener that didn’t get past the opening kickoff because of severe weather, Nebraska must start the process all over this week.
“We got all dressed up for nothing,” coach Scott Frost said Monday. “The guys are ready to play.”
The opponent for this Saturday’s home game is Colorado (1-0), the Cornhuskers’ old rival from the Big 12 and its previous iterations. The teams haven’t met since 2010, the season before the Buffaloes joining the Pac-12 and the Huskers the Big Ten.
“The challenge is you don’t get the benefit of your first game going into your second one,” Frost said. “Most coaches will say you improve the most between game one and game two. We don’t get the benefit of that, so we’re going to have to make up for it in practice. We had one of the best Mondays a team ever had today, so we’re on the right track.”
Colorado and quarterback Steven Montez looked impressive in a 45-13 win over Colorado State, piling up 596 total yards. Nebraska was supposed to play Akron on Saturday in one of the Huskers’ most anticipated openers in memory. The hiring of Frost, the native son and national championship quarterback who coached Central Florida to a 13-0 record last season, has been celebrated since his homecoming was announced in December.
Memorial Stadium was full a half-hour before game time, and the energy peaked when the team went through its traditional “Tunnel Walk” entrance. But right after Akron kicked off for a touchback, the game was stopped because of lightning in the Lincoln. After a 2-hour, 40-minute delay, the game was called off.
“Buzzkill, to say the least,” linebacker Luke McNitt said. “Everybody’s pumped, excited and then to have that happen is pretty frustrating. I’m pretty proud of the guys and how everyone handled it. Coming out to work today, man, we had a great day. We can take some good out of it. Everybody’s feeling fresh and ready to roll this week.”
Frost has been through a schedule shake-up before. In 2016, his first year at UCF, a game against Tulane was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. Last year, Hurricane Irma forced the cancellation of a game against Georgia Tech and necessitated the rescheduling of a game against Memphis.
“We’re snakebit, I think,” Frost said. “We’re used to dealing with this, and we’ll do our best to get our guys ready.”
Nebraska and Colorado were conference rivals for more than 60 years in the Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12. The game Saturday, the 70th all-time between the schools, is the first of four matchups between 2018 and 2024.
Frost was the Huskers’ quarterback for close wins over the Buffs in 1996 and ‘97, with the second victory coming against a CU team that was 5-5.
“There is enough going on with what happened last weekend, and with this being our first game now, that we don’t need to talk much about a Colorado rivalry,” Frost said. “I’ve got great memories of it. They were two really good games. It was the type of game where even if one team was quite a bit better than the other, it was going to be close, physical and a hard-fought game. I don’t expect anything different.”