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Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Dublin Dispatch III: People in Red, People in Purple, in a Park

August 26, 2022

DUBLIN –– Good news if you’re a Husker fan in Ireland, one of the organizers behind Saturday’s game, while on stage at a pep rally with Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts, gave those in red permission to “drink all our beer.”

It’s a tall task. Reportedly, more than 1 million pints of Guinness are poured in Dublin each day.

Husker fans do, as is usually the case any time the team hits the road, have strength in numbers, however. That’s been the feeling all week throughout the city, but Friday’s pep rally in Merrion Square Park drove the point home. Emphatically.

“Welcome to Nebraska East,” Coach Scott Frost said while looking out at a green park made red. “We’ve been planning this game for a long time, we’ve put a lot of thought into it. I can’t believe how many of you showed up here. We can’t wait to put on a good show here.”

In addition to Frost and Alberts, Chancellor Ronnie Green and Husker Sports Network radio host Greg Sharpe took turns at the mic to hype Husker fans. Frost also brought along a group of mostly freshman players. The bulk of the team stayed behind to maintain their usual Friday-before-game-day routin.

Northwestern did the same, bringing freshmen to flank Pat Fitzgerald, about 90 minutes before Nebraska, and its fans, took over.

The Wildcat fans in town also had a strong showing. Pardon the Interruption co-host, award-winning columnist and famed Northwestern alum Michael Wilbon was the guest of honor at the purple party.

Northwestern Wildcat fans in Merrion Square Park for a pep rally Friday, August 26th, in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Eric Francis

But there was no question which crowd ran deepest. If those in Ireland weren’t already ready for game day, Friday’s event may have provided the final push.

“I read an Irish saying two days ago that says you can never plow a field by going over it in your mind,” Frost said. “I thought that spoke to Nebraska people a little bit. We’ve been planning and thinking about this for a long time, we’ve been working toward this for a long time. Tomorrow, we get to go play ball and it’s time.”

More Dublin Dispatches: I, II

On to some other news, notes, stray quotes and observations from Dublin on Friday:

>>Two of the Huskers briefly addressed the crowd at the pep rally. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Elliott Brown offered this preview of the offense.

“I hope you guys are ready to cheer loud because we’re about to score a lot of points,” he said. “We’re about to throw it up, we’re going to run the ball, we’re ready. There’s going to be a lot of points scored tomorrow.

“I think everybody has been waiting for us to really kick it into gear. Last year we had our ups and downs, but we’ve gotten over it. We’ve fixed the little things and we’re ready to go out and show everybody tomorrow.”

For what it’s worth, Frost showed no signs of dissatisfaction with anything Brown was saying on stage.

>>Redshirt freshman linebacker Randolph Kpai handled the defense updates.

“We’ve been working hard for this,” he said. “We’ve been working hard all summer, all winter, and now it’s finally here. We’re ready to play some tough, hard-nosed Blackshirt football.”

Kpai also got the last word before Nebraska wrapped up its time at Merrion Square Park.

“Cheer loud tomorrow, we’re excited to get this W. We’re going to kick some ass.”

That was greeted with the response you’d expect.

>>Chatted briefly with Alberts about his memories of the Huskers’ trip to Japan in 1992. He said it was a good trip, but it was clear things were much different this time around for Nebraska. The athletic department sent representatives over to Ireland multiple times to prepare for this game, and, according to all reports, things have gone off without a hitch.

When Alberts traveled to Tokyo as a player, Nebraska and Kansas State shared a plane. The beds were too small and the food was a challenge, Alberts recalled. He also said there wasn’t much time carved out for sight-seeing. It was all business for the Huskers, who beat Kansas State 38-24 in front of an announced crowd of 50,000 to finish the regular season 9-2.

Nebraska and Northwestern kick things off at 5:30 p.m. local time Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Central.

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