Nebraska fans flood Madison

Some recall poor fan treatment in 2011 match-up
Nebraska fans flood Madison

A sea of red is flooding downtown Madison this weekend, but it’s not just Badgers fans you’ll find there.

Thousands of Nebraskans are expected to descend on the city as fans look forward to Saturday’s game. Last time the Huskers visited Madison in 2011, more than 30,000 fans came with them. More than a handful of those fans reported poor treatment from the Badger counterparts.

“Getting yelled at randomly by students and things like that,” remembers Nebraska fan Gabriel Long Soldier.  “When you look at the Jump Around and student section, which is four sections compared to Nebraska’s just two, you can just tell it’s a lot more hostile environment compared to anywhere else we’ve been to.”

Husker fans Jerry and Sheryl Bebb were in Madison for the first time Friday, but they’ve heard tales of Wisconsin from friends.

“I had a classmate, I was talking to her the other day and she said they got elbowed, you know, just stuff you wouldn’t see in Nebraska,” says Jerry.

Downtown businesses remember the Husker nation as one of the best and busiest crowds they’ve ever seen.

“Nebraska, it was something else,” says Jason Ilstrup, general manager of Hotel Red. “We’ve never had so many opposing team fans come, and they’re the nicest group of people we’ve ever worked with.”

“Every Nebraska fan I ran into, they were polite, friendly, willing to talk about anything and just have a good time,” says State Street Brats owner Kelly Meuer.

Both said they hope this time around, fans of both teams keep that good-natured ribbing to a minimum. 

Despite the stories, Jerry, Sheryl and Gabriel all expect a great game atmosphere at Saturday’s matchup.

“I hope they’ll be nice, and we’re just going to be nice,” Sheryl says. “If they’re not, we’ll keep our head down and keep walking.”