It was a “feel good” day at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln Saturday.
Gorgeous weather in late October. The Nebraska Huskers hosting overmatched Bethune-Cookman. Another sell out throng of Big Red fans, including numerous youngsters – many attending their first Husker game. Contributions to a 45-9 victory by players such as Simon Otte, Noah Vedral, Matt Jarzynka, Ethan Cox, Hunter Miller … and Wyatt Mazour.
In a throwback game resembling early blowout wins of the ‘80s and ‘90s, many Nebraska walkons had their chance to see meaningful action Saturday – something all Husker fans love. Some cheered for their hometown heros. Many searched through the game program to match numbers with names. All applauded the efforts by players who toil daily behind the Big Red curtain, doing their part to create a successul Nebraska football program.
Of course, those fans already knew who Wyatt Mazour was. The Albion native and Boone Central grad, who flashed his talent in previous spring games, then worked his way to regular special teams duty and a coveted scholarship under Scott Frost’s new staff. He also had a chance to display his talent in the late stages of a dispirated loss to Michigan earlier this season, scoring his first Husker touchdown.
But, for Wyatt, his family, friends and fans, Saturday’s exploits in a big NU victory were even more enjoyable.
With the game well in hand, Frost gave his offensive regulars the rest of the day off following halftime, and players like Vedral – the former Wahoo Neumann QB who followed Frost to Central Florida, then back to Lincoln – Mazour, Otte, Miller and others were put in the spotlight.
While not all went smoothly, the reserve units did light up the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, Vedral following an eight-yard Mazour gain with a 20-yard touchdown run.
One series later, the contest momentarily turned into the ‘Wyatt Mazour’ show. In a span of five plays, the former Cardinal flash broke loose for 18 yards, then bolted for additional gains of 12 and 14. Unfortunately, the possession ended with an interception, but those exciting Mazour dashes will be remembered.
It’s a very special feeling for these walkon players to know the cheers from 90,000 Big Red faithful are for them, to hear their names called along with Husker stars. And Saturday reinforced that Mazour, who began his career as a walkon, can – and will – produce when given the opportunity.
“When I get my chance, I try to do as well as I can, try to represent the state,” Wyatt told reporters after the game. “Being from here (Nebraska) represents a lot to me.”
It represents a lot about the Nebraska program, and just what it means to the people of the state – including the youngsters who grow up playing the game of football in cities and towns, large and small, dreaming of someday wearing a helmet with the Big Red N.
Yes, days like Saturday are a validation for so many young men who often get their reward only through self-satisfaction of their efforts in the weight room and on the practice field.
A “feel good” day.
Let’s hope for many more in the years to come.