Saturday's unexpected victory over Nebraska drew Longhorn fans into streets and bars and left the trees on the West Mall garlanded with toilet paper.
Immediately after the game, hundreds of students clogged Guadalupe Street, from 21st to 26th streets, with a mass celebration.
The crowd trapped vehicles on the road, including a Capitol Metro bus, the top of which became a stage for a dozen flag waving fans who led the crowd in cheers and several renditions of The Eyes of Texas.
Rob Hough, a member of the crowd who recently graduated from the University with a degree in economics, wondered if the bus would make it out in one piece. Students had already removed the bus' back engine hatch.
"I wondered if Capital Metro had celebration expenses in their accounting budget," Hough said. "The bus driver looked a little scared, but people on the bus took it pretty good."
The crowd threw oranges in the air to signify their hopes that the football team would play in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Instead, the Texas Longhorns, will play the seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., Jan 1.
Cheering fans also threw confetti and rolls of toilet paper from Guadalupe street buildings to the crowds below.
The crowd had a sudden shift in agenda as hundreds of students broke into a dash across campus to Royal-Memorial stadium while chanting "goal post, goal post."
At the stadium, students began climbing and breaking open locked gates to make it onto the field.
The break-in was short-lived as UT police officers were waiting inside the stadium and sent the crowd scurrying the other way. The goal posts were saved.
Jeff Baker, a management information systems graduate, said he listened to the game during his graduation ceremony on headphones.
"That's the reason I waited to graduate until December," Baker joked. "So I could be here for another football season."
He said he would miss big football celebrations like this, but added he would return often to celebrations as a drunken alumnus.
Later Saturday night, the party moved to the bars along Sixth Street.
Sipping a beer with friends at b-w3 sports bar at 218 E. Sixth St., Scott Clark, a second-year law student, said he rearranged his priorities over the weekend after the victory.
"I was supposed to be studying for exams, but, oh well," Clark said.
Despite the revelry, Austin police officers patrolling Sixth Street said there were no unusual problems with the crowd.
ST. LOUIS -- As the fallout was just beginning, a dejected and defeated Tom Osborne sat at a podium with the nation's media watching and listening. But what could the head coach for the previously third-ranked Cornhuskers say?
His team had just been beaten by a team that was a 20-point underdog, a team led by the Joe Namath of the 1990s, a team that ran hot and cold through the regular season and a team that everyone thought shouldn't have been there in the first place.
"Obviously things did not work out like we had hoped," Osborne said. Obviously not.
Texas quarterback James Brown said his team could win by three touchdowns, and while they didn't win by such a bold margin, they did win nonetheless.
Yes, Texas (8-4) defeated Nebraska (10-2) by a 37-27 count to win the first Big 12 Championship. The win propelled the Longhorns into the Tier I Bowl Alliance, where they will face Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.
The seventh-ranked Nittany Lions, headed by coach Joe Paterno, are 9-2 and received one of the two at-large bids to the alliance. The game, to be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., will help bring the Big 12 Conference an estimated $8.3 million windfall that will be divided among the conference's members.
"Any time that you get to matchup against a team with that type of name and that type of tradition, it's exciting," Texas kicker Phil Dawson said. "It would be a great way to end up the season after beating [Texas] A&M, Nebraska and Penn State. That's quite a roll."
Dawson also said that this team would take a different approach to this game than they did the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve last season. The Longhorns were embarrassed by Virginia Tech as the Hokies capitalized on four Texas turnovers en route to a 28-10 victory in the Louisiana Superdome.
It only helped feed critics' fire that Texas can falter in big games. Saturday's matchup was another in a long line of possible stepping stones, and this was one that the Longhorns wouldn't let slip away.
Mackovic called this win one of the biggest during his five-year tenure, and it may have validated the promise that Texas football is back.
But due to just the sheer size of the Nebraska beast, some disbelieving Texas faithfuls were hoping that the Longhorns would just put on a good showing. Instead, Texas head coach John Mackovic deployed no trick plays and left the smoke and mirrors in Austin as the previously unranked Horns defeated the defending two-time national champions.
Nebraska meanwhile thought that Saturday's game was just a boorish reason to display the dominance of the Huskers' "Blackshirt" defense. Many felt that the Huskers would cruise to victory and move on to the Sugar Bowl for a shot at a third title, and Texas was already penciled into the Alamo Bowl.
"That's why they put erasers on pencils," Mackovic said afterwards. Nebraska will try to wash the egg from their face as the Huskers will accept the alliance's second at-large spot to the Orange Bowl in which they will face Virginia Tech (10-1).
"It's a great opportunity for us," Texas center Ryan Fiebiger said of the Fiesta Bowl invitation. "This is our second year to be in the Alliance which shows that we're one of the top programs in the nation. It's just really exciting that we're going to play a great team like Penn State.
"They have a great tradition, and I think that we'll matchup really well."
But both games are more than three weeks away, and Saturday's game, which has already been called one of the greatest upsets in Longhorn history, was one that featured plays and players that will never be forgotten.
The problem was when the hordes of Husker fans descended on the St. Louis area and the Trans World Dome itself, Texas was the team that was forgotten.
"According to everybody up here in St. Louis, we knew that Nebraska was here, but we thought we came to the wrong place because they didn't talk about Texas," inside linebacker Tyson King said. "They talked about Nebraska's fans, Nebraska's red, Nebraska's team, but they didn't say one word about Texas.
"They didn't even say we were playing."
After a stunning win that stopped Nebraska's 31-game conference winning streak, the estimated 40,000-plus Husker fans in attendance could only stand and applaud the team from Austin as the seemingly handful of Texas fans passed around high-fives and back slaps.
"Both Texas and Nebraska felt that it would probably come down to those two teams," Texas guard Dan Neil said. "And since Nebraska is the top guys, I thought, 'I want one shot at those guys. I'd love to knock off the best team in college football. And we did.
"It's a great feeling, and more than anything, it's a great win for this program. We've been coming so close to getting over the hump. Against Notre Dame, we had a chance and didn't do it, and I think today, Texas took a big step to getting over that hump."
Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook said: "[Friday], I was watching ESPN and CNN and all they were talking about was Nebraska this and Nebraska that. They didn't even mention the big game, and they didn't mention Texas, and we got kind of fired up by that. We just came out here and did the things that we had to do to win."
The Longhorns, already upset at the national snub, only became more angered when they opened Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch. On the cover of the Big 12 Preview pullout section, the photograph depicted a Husker mascot holding a Longhorn logo that was crying.
King offered a response that summed up the feelings of the entire Nebraska contingent as they packed their various red sweatshirts and suit jackets for the return trip to their respective homes.
"Who's crying now?"
ST. LOUIS -- Late in the fourth quarter, Texas found itself inches away from winning its biggest game since the Camelot days of Texas' past.
So Texas head coach John Mackovic pulled a page from that past.
Quarterback James Brown played the part of James Street. Tight end Derek Lewis played Randy Peschel. And Mackovic, maligned for not being the legendary coach, played Darrell Royal.
On Saturday, Texas faced a pivotal fourth down and inches at their own 28-yard line with a 30-27 lead. With just 2:58 on the clock, Mackovic decided to go for it. But instead of diving into Nebraska's stacked defensive front, Brown rolled out left and threw to a wide-open Lewis, who darted 61 yards to ice the game and boost the Texas program to heights previously relegated to Orangeblood memory.
"If it doesn't work, it's a really dumb call," Nebraska rush end Grant Wistrom said. "But now, Coach Mackovic is a genius."
The play, which Texas worked on all week, is called "Roll Left," simpler than Royal's "53 Veer right" in 1969. That time, Street threw deep to Peschel on fourth-and-three to give the Horns a shot at the national championship. Texas won't win the national championship, but that particular play was pivotal in a victory that has fans claiming Texas is back.
"We talked about that play all game and all week," Brown said. "We knew that play would work."
Tapes of Nebraska convinced Mackovic that the play could be run successfully against the goal line defense, which commits to stopping the short run. Texas almost ran the play on fourth and three earlier in the game but opted for a field goal instead.
Mackovic has been criticized for fourth-down calls in the past: against Texas A&M, Shea Morenz threw an interception when Texas needed one yard near the Aggies goal line.
This time, however, Mackovic reaped praise for the gutsy call from pundits across the country. Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne would probably agree. The Husker coach thought Mackovic would punt the ball.
"The fourth and a foot was a tremendous call," he said. "It was a gamble but it worked. If we had been able to hold them and make them punt or stop them on fourth down, I thought we would have been OK."
But instead, Brown faked a handoff to Priest Holmes and the Husker defense bit. Brown rolled left, while the Nebraska defenders rushed toward him, he dropped a pass to Lewis, who was chased down by Nebraska safety Jame Williamson 61 yards later.
Brown had a run-pass option and Mackovic urged Brown to run before the play. But Lewis was never covered as he drifted several yards behind Minter and Brown hit him.
"I didn't even know there was a receiver behind us," Minter said. "I mean, it was a great call."
Said Osborne: "When they snapped it, I was amazed. When I saw the quarterback run, I was more amazed. When I saw him throw, I was really amazed."
On Lewis' run down field, he used something Peschel never had the chance to use: he tried to dodge Minter when a glance at the Jumbotron showed that the safety was gaining ground.
Nebraska, however, couldn't gain ground on Texas after the play. Holmes scored from there and the game was over.
"I appreciate them getting to fourth and two so we could make the call we were dying to make," Mackovic said. "The rest is history."
History which repeats itself.
ST. LOUIS -- Texas quarterback James Brown grabbed the attention of Nebraska's vaunted defense by calling a Texas victory early last week. On Saturday, he grabbed the Big 12 Championship when he backed up his words.
Brown solidified a big spot in Texas history Saturday with his spectacular play that led to a shocking 37-27 victory over Nebraska and a Fiesta Bowl berth against Penn State.
The junior quarterback was almost unstoppable against a Nebraska defense that has stopped everything. After racking up 47 sacks this season, the Huskers could get none on Saturday. After allowing an average of 155 passing yards a game, the Huskers were gorged for 353 passing yards. On the national scale, Brown went from a quarterback with the same name as the soul singer to the quarterback who sliced up Nebraska on national television.
"The difference was James Brown," said Nebraska rush end Grant Wistrom after the Huskers went sackless for the first time in 39 games. "James Brown played darn good today. He evaded the pass rush well. I thought we had him sacked a couple of times but he got out of it. He deserves all the credit he gets."
Brown will get credit for pulling a bold impersonation of Joe Namath, who left a permanent legacy when he correctly predicted his New York Jets would topple the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Though Brown said the media misquoted him, he will be remembered for living up to a statement that Texas would beat two-time defending 20-point favorite Nebraska.
"I didn't make a prediction," Brown said. "You can't make a prediction like that. It's not smart football. I just said that they might lose by 21 points. You never know. I never backed down from it."
Said Texas tight end Pat Fitzgerald: "We knew James didn't mean it the way the press took it. But I thought, "So what if he did.' We're good enough to beat Nebraska."
Brown looked good enough to beat anyone. On Texas' opening drive, he eased down the field, completing all four of his passes.
Brown threw two interceptions during the day, including one thrown into triple coverage in the end zone that could have had a dramatic impact on the game. But he stayed on the constant move and was able to keep Nebraska's defenders from getting hold of him. Twice he made eye-popping scrambles, and he constantly found receivers while on the run.
The most memorable play of the game will last a long time in Texas lore. Needing inches on fourth down and with Texas at its own 28-yard line late in the fourth quarter, Brown rolled left and connected with tight end Derek Lewis for a 61-yard game-icing completion.
"James plays with great courage," Mackovic said. "He's been a great leader for us. He is one of the real true game players in college football."
Last week, his words seemed more careless than fearless. He received mail from Nebraska fans, thanking him for getting the Huskers focused. He made headlines in the Husker state for saying "We will win." Mackovic didn't publicly criticize Brown's remarks, but he was coy on the subject.
But Texas players, who have won the final Southwest Conference crown and the first Big 12 title behind Brown, may have been emboldened by the comments. Last week, Brown told them his remarks stemmed from his belief in them.
"If there had been a fist fight out there, our guys would have been lined up behind James," Mackovic said.
Mackovic said that he saw no Husker players talk to Brown about the comments, and Osborne said that the prediction was not a motivational factor in the game.
"I didn't talk to the players about it," Osborne said. "I told them they better go out and play Texas and not play James Brown. They've got 11 pretty good football players."
But only one stole the show.
ST. LOUIS -- It was meant to be a mere formality.
This was to be a weekend vacation in St. Louis for Nebraska fans, a chance to revel in the fact that they'd be fighting for a third national championship over the holidays. The Texas football team happened to be in town, too, but they were nothing more than supporting actors in the Cornhuskers title chase.
At least, that's what most predicted, and with Texas riding a mediocre 7-4 record to third-ranked Nebraska's superior 10-1, there seemed to be little reason to doubt it.
But the experts should have listened to James Brown. The Texas quarterback told them the Horns would win, but they just wouldn't believe him. So on Saturday, Brown was forced to prove it.
Joe Namath and Jimmy Johnson couldn't have done it better.
In front of 63,109 fans at St. Louis' Trans World Dome, most of which donned Nebraska red, Brown led the Horns to a stunning upset of the two-time defending national champion Cornhuskers to win the Big 12 championship, 37-27. The victory placed the Horns in the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State and is the Horns' largest win in more than a decade.
"We shocked the nation," Texas linebacker Tyson King yelled hysterically from the sideline in the game's final seconds. "Three rings, baby!"
Texas' third straight conference championship came in a virtual road game against 20-point favorites. But the Horns, accustomed to close games in unfriendly territory, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put away the Cornhuskers.
"Somewhere there were some people watching this game today that thought they didn't have a chance," Texas head coach John Mackovic said. "Someone in a wheelchair, maybe someone diagnosed with a disease or they've lost a loved one, and maybe they weren't a football fan but decided to turn on the game and watch a team that was predicted a three-touchdown underdog play someone else that was going on to bigger and better things. I think at the end of the game today they can say, 'you know, if those Texas Longhorns can do it, maybe I can do it as well.'"
The Horns, led by a dazzling Brown and backup tailback Priest Holmes, used big plays and risky play-calling to throttle the Cornhuskers' title hopes. The riskiest call of the game, and probably at Texas in many years, came with the Horns leading 30-27 with two minutes and 38 seconds remaining. Texas had the ball at its own 28-yard line and faced a fourth-and-inches. Instead of sending in the punt team, the Horns chose to go for it.
"What I thought they were going to do," Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne said, "was go into a freeze and not snap the ball and try to draw us offside."
Said Nebraska linebacker Mike Minter, "I thought they were going to run a quarterback sneak."
Neither was right. It seemed the only people in the stadium who knew for sure what was coming were Brown and Mackovic. On a play called "Steelers Roll Left," Brown rolled out with a run-pass option. When tight end Derek Lewis sprung loose behind the NU defense, Brown lobbed the pass over the defender to Lewis, who sprinted to the Cornhusker 11 for a 61-yard gain.
"If it hadn't worked, it would have been a really dumb call," Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom said. "So I guess now Coach Mackovic is a genius."
The Horns win marked a game of many firsts and mosts for Nebraska. It was the first time the Cornhuskers failed to record a sack in 40 games, and the first time a rushing touchdown was scored against them this season -- Holmes scored three on his way to 120 touchdowns on just nine carries, including a career-high 61-yard jaunt through the middle of NU's run-stopping defensive starters.
Texas rolled up 503 yards of total offense and scored 37 points, the most scored against NU since Oklahoma scored 45 in 1990.
It was the Cornhuskers' first conference loss in 31 games, the last one coming against Iowa State in 1992. And it was the first time since 1990 that the Huskers failed to grab a share of the conference title. It was a program and a defense that seemed almost invincible.
"The whole game, we were believing in ourselves," Holmes said. "The thing about this game was, we believe."
It was Holmes' rushing, along with Brown's 19-of-28 completion rate and 353 passing yards, that sparked the Longhorns to the shocking win. The Horns opened quickly, methodically marching down the field in the game's first drive, using 11 plays to drive 80 yards. Texas mixed in the pass with the run and capped it with a five-yard touchdown run from Priest Holmes to give the Horns a 7-0 lead just three minutes and 35 seconds into the game.
But the Horns could never keep the lead for long as Nebraska, sparked by freshman tailback DeAngelo Evans' 130 yards on 32 carries, used its power running game and short passing attack to torment the Texas defense; the Huskers held the ball for almost 40 minutes.
Texas had a 23-17 lead midway through the third quarter, but Nebraska quickly scored 10 points, taking a 27-23 lead early in the fourth quarter. The momentum appeared to be changing and the Horns looked vulnerable to a fourth-quarter collapse, the type that had been so prevalent earlier in the season. But this time, it was the Horns forcing the collapse.
On second-and-13 from its own 34-yard line, Brown floated a pass to Texas receiver Wane McGarity on a crossing pattern. Nebraska safety Mike Minter, who usually plays linebacker, mistimed his jump and McGarity hauled the ball in, juked a man at the 20, and sprinted to the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown, giving Texas the lead for good with 8:35 remaining.
"I knew the play was coming to me, I knew I was going to catch it, and I knew I was going to score," McGarity said. "That's the bottom line. That's how I felt about it."
On Nebraska's ensuing drive, the Texas defense made its biggest stand of the year. The Huskers drove to the Texas 38, but the Longhorns stuffed Evans on third-and-four. The Huskers chose to go for it, but a false start backed them up five yards and Osborne elected to punt with 4:47 left, leaving NU kicker Kris Brown on the sideline.
"It was a little bit out of his range," Osborne said. "We thought the percentages were better at fourth-and-four. Perhaps if we had made [the first down], we would have been able to go for the field goal."
After the punt and a penalty against Texas, the Horns found themselves backed to their own three-yard line, needing one more good drive to clinch the game. Fitzgerald made a leaping, one-handed eight-yard catch, giving the offense some breathing room. Five plays later, Brown, Mackovic and Lewis had pulled off the miraculous fourth-and-one play that handed the first Big 12 championship to the Longhorns.
"This is one of the greatest feelings of my life," Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook said. "Walking off that field and winning, there's nothing else like that."
Which in this game was hardly an understatement.
The Texas defensive line was using a rotation up front until defensive end Gray Mosier suffered a shoulder and ankle injury on the same play. Mosier left the game, but he was on the field when the jubilant Longhorns glided to the locker room after the 10-point win.
"As a defense, we just wanted to make them make another play and try our best to try to stop them," Texas defensive tackle Casey Hampton said. "They could drive all they want, but as long as they weren't in that end zone...you know."
The vaunted Nebraska rushing game lived up to every expectation. The Huskers racked up 243 yards on the ground as freshman sensation DeAngelo Evans had 132 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns.
Nebraska's other main threat on the ground was quarterback Scott Frost. The option attack that NU offers relies heavily on a mobile signal-caller who can create when things go awry. Frost finished the day with 70 rushing yards and 155 through the air.
"I think their defense did a good job," Frost said. "They kept us from hitting some big plays. If we had hit a couple more [big plays], the game could have gone differently."
With that in mind, Texas cornerbacks Bryant Westbrook and Taje Allen had to provide any run-stopping support that they could.
"We know that we're both two physical corners, so we like to like to come up and help with run support," Westbrook said. "I made a couple of tackles and Taje made a couple of tackles, so it worked out well."
Allen said the defense played more man-to-man coverages, which allowed them to break and help stop the run.
"Most of the time, when [Frost] kept the ball, it was on the option," Allen said. "He didn't bring it out as far as he's supposed to on the option. He was kind of cutting it up and taking it upon himself to see a little hole and get in there."
Both helped stop the run, but both also knew when to stick to their original assignments. Evans was Nebraska's leading receiver with six catches for 42 yards, and the longest catch of the day was a 22-yard catch by Evans out of the backfield.
Westbrook himself made two circus pass deflections that were worth of highlight material. Both passes were deep threats that had touchdown possibilities.
After Westbrook broke up the second pass, CBS radio commentator Tom Walsh said, "That's why Bryant Westbrook will be a No. 1 draft pick. Because of plays like that."
* When Texas' Priest Holmes drove home the final nail in Nebraska's coffin with an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:53 to play, Texas linebacker Tyson King knew that the game wasn't over.
"I've seen us lose in the last few seconds too many times," he said. "I grabbed the defense, and I said that there was still two minutes in this game, anything can happen, and we've got to stop them."
King and the defensive unit allowed Nebraska to move to their 38-yard line when King made what appeared to be the game-clinching interception of Frost's pass to Brendan Holbein on fourth down. Only problem was the dirty laundry lying at the line of scrimmage after Texas had jumped offside prior to the snap.
"I finally thought it was over when I made that interception, and they called it offsides," King said. "I thought that was it, but I saw the yellow flag, and the referee said, 'Don't go anywhere' and I thought, 'Oh, hell.'"
But three plays later, Frost was sacked by Texas linebacker Dwight Kirkpatrick and he fumbled the ball, which defensive lineman Cedric Woodard recovered.
"I saw the fumble on the other play, and we got it, and I just fell down," King said. "It was such a great feeling."
* The Texas football team has has its share of ups and down this season, and perhaps no player has been on more of an emotional roller coaster than Wane McGarity. After six games, the 5-8, 190-pound receiver had racked up just four receptions for 41 yards. McGarity said he was highly disappointed in his still-young career.
"I called my mom and said, 'You know, I don't think it's working out,'" McGarity said. "I didn't think they were ever going to give me the opportunity to play. She told me to keep playing and keep working. She knows I'm not a quiter."
In the last six games, McGarity has caught 14 balls for 277 yards and four touchdowns. Against Nebraska, his 66-yard touchdown catch was the turning point in the Horns' win. His confidence and attitude have changed greatly.
"This is probably the happiest moment for me," McGarity said.
* The implications of a Texas win were felt by more than just Longhorn and Nebraska fans. Florida needed a UT upset to gain a spot in the Sugar Bowl. After the Horns won, Florida's band and players payed tribute to Texas for their help.
Prior to the Gators matchup with Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game, the Florida band marched on the field and played The Eyes of Texas, Texas Fight, The Yellow Rose of Texas, and March Grandioso. Several Florida players gave the Hook 'em Horns sign when running on the field.
* Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook has earned the right to a full Christmas of taunting. One of his closest friends, Michael Booker, is a starting cornerback at Nebraska and Westbrook said that after the game, he made sure Booker was aware of the outcome.
"I talked trash," Westbrook said. "He was upset."
Westbrook also commented about Booker's little brother, who is a top high school recruit out of California. The younger Booker is visiting Texas next week, according to Westbrook.
"I told him to tell his brother to make sure he was going to come to a winning team."
* Enterprising business people stood outside the Trans World Dome following Saturday's game packing into boxes their poor investment: more than 2,000 T-shirts and sweatshirts pronouncing Nebraska as the Big 12 champs.
The retailers didn't make a dime. They didn't have any Texas Big 12 champion shirts so they couldn't sell them to Texas fans despite numerous offers.
-- By David Livingston, Mark Livingston and Brian Davis, Daily Texan staff
ST. LOUIS -- While walking up to the entrance of the Trans World Dome, there was really a sight that mere words couldn't describe.
Standing on the corner of Fifth Street and Missouri, just a block away from the stadium, one could look out and witness something nonexistent in Austin. People streamed through the streets of St. Louis, and because of their shirts, jackets and suits, it was a literal "Red Sea."
Now, this crowd wasn't like the ones that Longhorn fans are accustomed to in College Station and Lubbock. There were no tortillas or fears of having Horns sawed off and flipped upside down on a sticker on the back windshield of a car. No, these fans had to be the classiest group of college football fans that Texas has seen in a long time.
Make no mistake about it: the Trans World Dome was Lincoln South. When the Huskers took the field, the crowd rose to its feet as if Tom Osborne, Nebraska's head coach, was raising his hand to the crowd and casting a spell that forced them to give the field an electrically charged atmosphere.
"Every time I ran out onto the field at Memorial Stadium [Nebraska's home stadium in Lincoln], it was like I was walking on air," former Husker Trev Alberts once said. "It's the most incredible feeling."
The feeling inside the Dome was again incredible, and as many Husker fans found out, that feeling generated at every home game could be checked just like luggage to another place, another city, another state or even to another world.
* Many of the announced crowd of 63,109 stayed near the downtown St. Louis area, but quite a number of fans stayed near the airport.
Instead of renting cars to travel to the Trans World Dome, fans packed the Metrolink rail system hours before kickoff. Since there were hardly any Texas fans in sight, the rail cars were packed like sardines with people mostly wearing red sweatshirts with Nebraska logos.
At one particular stop along the route, four people who were clad in regular street clothes tried to force their way onto the car, but there was simply no room. The Nebraska fans on board cried out, "Sorry, no room here."
As the four shuffled to another car, three fans wearing Husker apparel approached the same door.
"Yea, come on. There's plenty of room," the same three said.
Sure enough, the three pushed their way into the car as the Nebraska fans were more than happy to oblige.
* The most amazing thing that came out of the Nebraska tunnel on Saturday sure wasn't the Cornhusker football team.
"Lil' Red," a mascot that has a liking to an overgrown Pillsbury dough boy costume, took the field to a roar of thunderous approval. The mascot, which is a person inside a suit filled with helium, parades around the field by moving with a bouncing motion and apparently suffers from computer-like twitches.
Lil' Red took to the stands, where the 40,000-plus Nebraska fans were happy to have their pictures taken. Fans lined the aisles adorned with NU construction helmets, gallons of face paint, hundreds of tattoo stickers, thousands of printed "Go Big Red" signs, team jerseys, bikini tops that read "N" followed by a "U," and leather jackets that chronicled the school's four national titles.
But after watching Texas down the Huskers, the once jubilant Trans World Dome turned into the world's largest moratorium. Nebraska fans found solace in giving Texas fans the "Hook 'em Horns" gesture while Texas fans were mostly stunned with amazement.
* Now about those Texas fans who were far and few between...
It will probably be easy to forgive the fans who didn't make the trip. After all, a plane ticket, a hotel room, a rental car, food and spirits and any other wanted mementos could have cost an average person upwards of $600-700 each.
Prior to kickoff, there was one section on the upper level of the stadium that was next to empty. That section was in the Texas seating area that featured a corner view.
"We figured out who the true fans were at this game," Texas kicker Phil Dawson said. "It was basically a road game. These people had to come spend a lot of money to come watch us play, and a lot of people probably stayed in Austin because they thought that we didn't have a chance.
"But I couldn't be prouder of our fans -- the ones that were here."
While the trip may have set some fans back on their Christmas shopping, the ones who came saw what could be the biggest upset of this generation. It draws serious competition with the classic Texas-Houston matchup of 1990.
Texas head coach John Mackovic said: "Those who didn't come really did miss a great game in person. Of course 20 years from now, 17 or 18,000 will have been here. Everyone will have been at this game in years to come."
* For those who were challenging themselves to be labeled either Best or Most Psychotic Fan in America, the largest sports bar in America was at the America's Center in St. Louis.
The Budweiser End Zone featured video games, foosball tables, punt-pass-kick competitions, basketball shooting contests and all the Anheuser-Busch product one's heart could desire. The room's centerpiece was a giant inflated football hanging from the middle of the room.
And a party zone wouldn't be complete without a huge, eyeball-popping TV screen with an endless amount of football scores and highlights.
Prior to the game, the End Zone had a 15-minute pep rally for both schools, and the area was the host of the loudest Battle of the School Bands contest around. All in all, a person trapped inside this pigskin palace would probably not mind having to stay.
* While many of the regular Texas media contingent have grown accustomed to all the various references to Texas quarterback James Brown and legendary singer James Brown, the media attending Saturday's game thought they had found gold.
One reference depicted Brown as "the hardest working man in the throw business" while others just simply called him "the Godfather." But the best play on Brown's moniker came from Bernie Miklasz's column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Miklasz quipped: "James Brown and the big payback. He had the feeling. He was on the good foot. This papa don't take no mess. When Texas needed a big play, Brown had a brand new bag. He feels good.
"Sorry; I can't think of any other usable James Brown hit songs at the moment. Except to say that Brown had Nebraska breaking into a cold sweat."
Nebraska 7 10 7 3 -- 27 Texas 7 13 3 14 -- 37 Texas P.Holmes 5 run (Dawson kick), 3:35. Nebraska Evans 2 run (K.Brown kick), 14:46. Texas FG Dawson 49, 3:10. Nebraska FG K.Brown 51, 7:21. Texas P.Holmes 61 run (Dawson kick), 7:36. Nebraska Evans 23 run (K.Brown kick), 12:37 Texas FG Dawson 30, 14:00. Texas FG Dawson 37, 6:20. Nebraska Evans 6 run (K.Brown kick), 12:49. Nebraska FG K.Brown 24, 4:49. Texas McGarity 66 pass from Brown (Dawson kick), 6:07. Texas P.Holmes 11 run (Dawson kick), 13:07. A--63,109. Nebraska Texas First Downs 26 22 Rushes-Yards 63-243 28-150 Passing 155 353 Comp-Att-Int 15-24-0 19-29-2 Return Yards 7 6 Punts-Avg 3-39.0 1-43.0 Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0 Penalties-Yards 5-35 4-24 Time of Possession 39:35 20:25 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING Nebraska - Evans 32-130, Frost 18-47, Sims 5-32, Schuster 6-29, Makovicka 2-5. Texas - P.Holmes 9-120, Mitchell 7-16, Brown 4-7, Williams 8-7. PASSING Nebraska - Frost 15-24-155. Texas - Brown 19-28-2-353, Mitchell 0-1-0-0. RECEIVING Nebraska - Evans 6-42, Holbein 3-43, Vedral 3-35, Wiggins 1-15, Cheatham 1-11, Schuster 1-9. Texas - McGarity 3-96, Adams 6-92, Fitzgerald 6-73, Lewis 1-61, Williams 2-21, Scott 1-10.