As any die-hard Nebraska Cornhusker fan would, I tuned into the annual University of Nebraska Red/White Spring game on the Big Ten Network yesterday afternoon. All in all it was a nice little teaser for what Big Red Nation is likely to see come September, but nowhere near the excitement that Fall game days bring. That was, until something phenomenal happened ....
Jack Hoffman, a 7-year old Husker Fan from Atkins, Nebraska was spotted on the sideline in one of those toy store issue football uniforms, sporting #22 -- the jersey of his favorite (former) Husker and friend, Rex Burkhead.
Now, Jack isn't your typical 7-year old, he's spent the last two years of his life battling brain cancer, traveling back and forth to his doctor in Boston, and spending as much time as he can cheering on his favorite team and player. Jack has become part of the team and part of the entire Nebraska Cornhusker community. But now, Jack Hoffman is known well beyond the Cornhusker community.
With a few minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the spring game, head coach Bo Pelini sent Jack out onto the field with his starting quarterback, Taylor Martinez. After helping Jack line up in the backfield, Martinez snapped the ball and handed off to the young star, guiding him behind his pulling guard. After navigating through the defensive secondary Jack turned on his afterburners and barrelled into the end zone for the game winning 69-yard touchdown.
Seconds after scampering into the famous Husker end zone, tailed be the entire team (sidelines included) Jack was hoisted up on shoulders and carried off the field. To top it off, Hoffman, as you can see from the official box score led both teams in overall rushing yards. Of all of the great moments in Nebraska Cornhusker history, and there have been a lot, I can't think of one quite this special.
There truly is no place like Nebraska.