Essential Gameday Stops and Rituals
With the students back on campus, the semester in full swing, and the weather (sort of) cooling off, we know exactly what’s on your (and everyone’s) mind: gameday. It will shock no one to learn that Husker Football Gamedays are some of the most anticipated days of the year among Husker students, staff, faculty and alumni — not to mention the nearly two million Nebraskans across the state.
If you’re a local or in-state student, you might be aware of some things that football gamedays in Lincoln have to offer. If you’re an out-of-stater, international student, or just plain not that into football, you might be less familiar with — or have no clue what to expect from — Husker gamedays. No matter your level of Husker fandom, gamedays have something to offer everyone!
Whether you’re making your way to Memorial Stadium for kickoff or just want to check out the atmosphere, here’s a list of essential gameday stops and rituals to get into the Husker spirit:
1. The Unity Walk
A longstanding tradition that welcomes the team into Memorial Stadium, the Unity Walk takes place about two and a half hours before kickoff time. As the players enter East Stadium, fans, marching band members, and the Spirit Squad create a path extending from the curb to the stadium entrance. In suave matching suits and red ties, players and coaching staff make their way inside Memorial while fans cheer them on! It’s a great way for the Husker community — students, fans and players — to get hyped up before the big game.
2. The Husker Legacy Statue
You may notice during the Unity Walk that Husker players make their way around a large bronze statue. That would be the Husker Legacy Statue, a 25-year-old piece created by sculptor Fred Hoppe to honor Nebraska’s pride in their football team. The statue depicts six Husker defensive players tackling a Kansas State offensive player, recreating a moment from the Nebraska vs. Kansas State game on October 22, 1995.
It was originally conceived as a celebration of Nebraska’s national championships but has since come to represent and honor all players throughout the team’s long history, dating back to the “Old Gold Knight” days of 1890. The statue is a beautiful testament to the storied history of Nebraska football and the longstanding sense of pride that Huskers everywhere have carried for their school’s achievements (it’s also an excellent photo-op).
3. The Cornhusker Marching Band Warm-Up
After you’ve successfully ushered the Husker team into the stadium at the Unity Walk, another pregame must is making your way over to the greenspace outside Kimball Hall for the Marching Band’s official warm-up show.
Why watch the band warm-up, you ask? Why not wait for their amazing pregame or halftime performances in the stadium? Because it’s extremely hype, that’s why. Go see them for yourself every football Saturday about one hour before kickoff!
3. The “Bone Yard” Student Tailgate
A newer addition to the Husker pregame festivities is the Bone Yard student tailgate, held in the Nebraska Union Plaza. At the university’s first-ever official student tailgate, you can explore dozens of RSO-hosted tents, music, food, and more! It’s a great opportunity to browse student organizations, talk to their members, meet new people and learn about some amazing opportunities for involvement around campus!
The Bone Yard tailgate gets going about four hours before kickoff, leaving you plenty of time to check out all it has to offer!
4. The Student Union
All those times you’ve considered purchasing a corn head but never followed through? Football gameday is the day to do it, and you can find those in the bookstore at the Nebraska Union. In general, the Union is a great place to stop and fuel up before making your way to the stadium! Head downstairs to the bookstore for all the Husker gear you could ever need, grab some caffeine at Starbucks, or grab a snack to-go before heading off to explore the bustle of gameday!
5. Food — So, So, So Much Food
What would a Husker Gameday be without copious amounts of delicious gameday grub? From the student union to the Bone Yard tailgate and all the way to Memorial Stadium, follow your nose to the nearest vendor of traditional eats. You’ll find typical tailgate fare like hotdogs, burgers, ice cream and more outside the perimeter of the stadium.
Real Husker football fanatics know, however, that when it comes to gameday at Memorial there are only two options for a truly authentic (and mouth-watering) experience: a slice of Valentino’s pizza, or a Runza. If you’re a veteran of Husker football games, you know this to be a core truth of Husker fandom. If you’re new to the whole experience, then either of these Nebraska staples are a must-have to complete your football Saturday. And to those who can’t decide between the two, we ask you this: why not both?