It was a day full of emotion as Nebraska picked up its ninth win of the season in a 28-7 victory over Maryland.
“I was just trying to hold back the tears when there were doing the senior walk outs there,” said senior wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. “So many memories here in Memorial Stadium, it’s been such a great experience for me.”
Westerkamp was one of 30 seniors honored before the game on Saturday. That class included a special tribute to Sam Foltz, who would have been a senior this season. As each senior was introduced to the crowd they placed a rose on the 27 yard line to honor Foltz.
“Obviously he meant a lot to us,” said senior I-Back Terrell Newby. “We’d do anything to have him be out there and just participate in Senior Day. Like we have all this year, we dedicated this season to him.”
The game included an extra level of intrigue, with senior starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong out for the game with a hamstring injury. Fifth-year senior Ryker Fyfe was called on to start for only the second time in his career.
Fyfe went 23/37 passing for 220 yards, with a touchdown pass and no interceptions.
“I promise I am not surprised at all,” said head coach Mike Riley on Fyfe’s performance. “The guy has some special qualities that are real important to quarterbacking.”
Riley said Fyfe found out for sure on Thursday that he would be starting with Armstrong unavailable. Fyfe said he had prepared all week with that mindset.
“I am thinking that he won’t, and we won’t, and Grand Island won’t ever forget this game.”
Nebraska finishes the home schedule undefeated for the first time since 2012, with a 7-0 record this season at Memorial Stadium.
“It was a pretty emotional day but you got to move on and I was able to take it all in with no regrets here at the stadium,” said senior linebacker Josh Banderas. “It was a very emotional time. But there is no way better than to spend it with your brothers and go out there and fight on the field.”
Nebraska travels to Iowa City to close the regular season against Iowa on Friday.