LINCOLN – One last time.
“It’s going to be weird, honestly,” said Mike Moudy, who will be among 13 seniors taking the Tunnel Walk for the final time on Saturday, prior to Nebraska’s game against Minnesota.
“It’s kind of a hard realization that’s the last time I’ll be playing here. But I’m going to try to take advantage of every last minute I’ve got with these guys.”
First things first, however. He and his teammates have been focused this week on rebounding from last Saturday’s loss at Wisconsin, no small task given the particulars.
But “we’ve got a strong team, a very resilient team, and that’s what I love about these guys,” Moudy said. “I think that every adversity, every obstacle we face, guys will come closer.
“We’re a close-knit group, especially on the senior side.”
There was plenty of adversity in Madison, of course. Though everyone remembers Melvin Gordon’s record-setting performance – rushing for 408 yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters – Nebraska’s offense struggled, too, managing just 180 total yards and 2.6 yards per rush.
The Huskers lost four fumbles. And the line, of which Moudy is a part, allowed four sacks.
He has moved on, and thinks his teammates have, too.
“I’m blessed with a short memory,” he said. “It’s done. It’s in the past. You can’t change that. I’m just going to worry about stuff we can control.”
And that’s playing well against Minnesota.
Moudy was among 18 scholarship freshmen in the 2010 recruiting class. Only eight have made it through, including three who finished last season.
The other four are Jake Cotton, Josh Mitchell, Corey Cooper and Kenny Bell. “After five years, I’d say this is the most close-knit group that we’ve had,” said Moudy. “Adversity is what it is. You’re going to face it. You’re going to come across challenges like we faced on Saturday.
“You can go one of two ways, come together or don’t. We choose the first one.”
As with the other seniors, Moudy has dealt with adversity during his time at Nebraska. He didn’t see action his first season after redshirting and then played in only three games as a sophomore. He was a back-up a year ago until Spencer Long was injured. Then he stepped in as a starter, for two games at right guard and a third at left guard, three consecutive weeks.
He suffered a shoulder injury during practice the week before the Michigan State game, however, and missed the remainder of the season. He also was held out of contact during spring practice.
He has come back to start every game at right guard this season.
Minnesota has personal significance for Moudy, whose first start came at Minneapolis.
“I remember (Ra’Shede) Hageman giving me fits,” he said of the former Gopher defensive lineman now with the Atlanta Falcons. “That’ll stick in my mind.
“It was a fun game, (though) it obviously didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”
The Huskers lost 34-23.
He was “a little wide-eyed, first game,” Moudy said. “But I had a lot of fun in that game, strapping up and going after some guys.”
Moudy will graduate in December, with a degree in English. He’s a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and has made the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll six times.
When football is finished he plans to teach and coach.
Among the offensive linemen, he, Cotton, Mark Pelini, another of the seniors, and junior Alex Lewis have done “most of the talking” this week, said Moudy.
Though winning the Big Ten’s Western Division is a longshot now – if Wisconsin wins at Iowa, the Badgers will play in the Big Ten title game – Nebraska still has plenty for which to play.
Ten wins “is nothing to shake your head about, nothing to be ashamed about,” Moudy said. “So we’re just going to try to win out. We’re just going to worry about one game at a time.”
And the next one up will be his last at Memorial Stadium.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
Mike Babcock is a freelance writer who covers the Huskers.