American Football Comes to the Emerald Isle
It was a memorable day in Ireland for more than one reason this past Saturday. I knew that there were a handful of college football games on television, but I didn't realize I was going to be witnessing such a spectacular event.
If you are a Northwestern or Nebraska fan, the matchup was definitely a memorable one. If you were "lucky" enough to be in attendance, you will probably have even more memories.
I will be honest, it wasn't until about halfway throught the first quarter that I realized they were playing the game in Dublin, Ireland. I thought it was just a regular game. I had missed the pregame show, so I wasn't aware of all the hype.
Let's get the fun part out of the way first... Apparently the stadium where they were having the game was experiencing several "issues". Among them, credit card machines were not working at the vendors. Instead of shutting everything down, in true Irish fashion, they started just giving away the beer for free!
Concessions too. From what I read it was an issue with the concenssion companies payment processor. Either way, there were a lot of winners at the game on Saturday besides the Northwestern Wildcats.
Yeah, sorry if I just spoiled it for you. Nebraska has been really struggling for the past decade or so when it comes to pretty much all things football. I think there was some hope that poaching the undefeatd coach from UCF and homestate favorite would make a difference, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
It is sad becuase Nebraska used to have a storied program, steeped and built on the stuff of legends. Their stadium is a testament to the past success of their football team. Just ask @gooddream, he will likely tell you all about it.
Northwestern on the other hand has been one of those teams that consistently has flashes of greatness. They often give my Michigan State Spartans a run for their money. I can't count the number of times they have played spoiler to other teams in the Big 10 as well.
After the first half of football on Saturday, it looked like that wasn't going to be the case. The Wildcats were never out of the hunt, in fact, they were somehow up going into halftime, but Nebraska was seemed to be calling most of the shots in the first part of the game.
Then the second half came.
Maybe the Nebraska team partook in too much of the free beer at halftime. Maybe Northwestern realized that this could be their chance to play the upset on a whole other level. A whole other continent even!
A lot of people will point to the decision to make an on-side kick right after a Nebraska score. It wasn't advised, it wasn't even necessary. Nebraska was totally holding their own.
Now, I'm not saying it wasn't a close game, it was. I know I also implyed that Nebraska was dominiting. That also probably isn't the case, but the fact that they weren't totally imploding right off the bat was enough to give you a glimmer of hope.
If you go back and look, the number of games Nebraska has lost by less than five points in the last couple of years is pretty astounding. They have the talent and the ability, they just can't seem to get everthing firing on all cylinders consitently.
With a final score of 31 to 28, it was a great win for Northwestern. This could be the kind of win that propels them into some significant success in the Big 10 regular season.
Either way, I think the big winners on this day were most likely the fans!