Nebraska football fans of a certain age know how Penn State volleyball fans must feel after the Huskers beat the Nittany Lions in last night’s NCAA Semifinal. Remember “Sooner Magic”? Nebraska went 1-9 against Oklahoma on the gridiron between 1972 and 1980. The Huskers lost just 22 games total over that stretch and the Sooners accounted for nearly half of them.
Penn State volleyball may be dealing with Husker Magic on the volleyball court. Thursday’s win was Nebraska’s seventh straight over the Nittany Lions. Kelly Hunter never lost to one of the best programs of all time. “I mean, you tell me anybody ever in the history of volleyball that's done that,” Coach John Cook said.
There might not be anyone else. Consider the following:
- Penn State has lost three times since November 2016. All three came to the Huskers.
- The seven-match winning streak is the longest in the series, which dates to 1981. The Huskers now lead the all-time series 21-10.
- Since Cook arrived at Nebraska in 2000 the Huskers lead the series 12-5.
- Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011 the series stands at 10-4, Huskers. Penn State lost just 34 matches total from 2011 to 2017.
- There are just three other Big Ten teams with double-digit all-time wins against Penn State: Illinois (10), Minnesota (10) and Ohio State (15). The Nittany Lions joined the conference in 1993.
It’s not that nobody beats Penn State other than Nebraska, but it’s that the Huskers current run makes it feel that way. And when you consider how some of those matches have unfolded, some of remarkable comebacks and bizarre plays – very much including two Penn State players colliding at set point in the fourth last night, leaving an in-system ball to fall harmlessly to the court – and it’s enough to make you wonder if you’re a Nittany Lions fan if there isn’t some sort of karmic debt that has yet to be paid in full.
If you’re a Nebraska fan, of course, this is just the way things are supposed to work.
The Huskers will now face Florida for a national championship. The Gators beat Nebraska earlier this year, but that was without Hunter in the lineup.
The match starts at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.
The Grab Bag
- ICYMI: Here's Aaron Babcock's photo gallery from last night.
- Arizona State AD Ray Anderson tried to distract from his own bizarre coaching hire by essentially saying, "Well, look at Tennessee."
- Interesting tweet from Bruce Feldman on what adding a 10th assistant might mean in terms of coordinator moves.
- Pretty good bowl guide from ESPN.
Today's Song of Today