Vicki Scruggs is thrilled she doesn’t have to work this weekend. Scruggs, a server at Bob Evans Restaurant for the past five years, knows Missouri plays Nebraska on Saturday, and she remembers how busy she’s been when the red-clad fans arrive.
“When Nebraska comes to town, it’s a full town,” Scruggs said.
Nebraska fans are known for taking over college towns.
MU’s ticket office allotted 4,000 seats for Nebraska fans. The tickets sold out in June.
Marti Paquette, travel coordinator for Nebraska’s alumni association, estimates that 10,000 Nebraska fans will travel to Columbia for the game this weekend.
“I know there are people who do not have tickets who are going to try to buy ones from scalpers,” Paquette said.
Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce has received dozens of calls about hotel availability, but have had to tell callers for the past two weeks that all Columbia hotels are sold out. Stoney Creek Inn, which opened Aug. 18, sold out its rooms for this weekend not long after it opened.
Don and Laura Clark, from Kearney, Neb., reserved a hotel room for the weekend in January. This is their fourth trip to Columbia.
“We love your restaurant Bob Evans,” Laura Clark said.
Nebraska fans who can’t find a place to stay in Columbia are finding ways around the problem. NU alumnus Lucinda Bugbee and eight of her friends are staying in Kansas City after the game.
“It’s a good time when we go to Missouri,” Bugbee said. “It’s a good rivalry game for NU.”
Jaime and Tom Ruud, of Lincoln, Neb., have two sons who play for the Huskers. Junior Barrett Ruud starts at middle linebacker and Bo Ruud is redshirting. The Ruuds are leaving their home Saturday morning. To avoid traffic jams on Interstate 70 after the game, they are driving a few hours north on U.S 63 to a hotel.
The 68,349 tickets sold make this game the third sellout at Memorial Stadium in the past six years. Three of MU’s top 10 crowds and eight of the top 25 have come when hosting the Huskers.
Nebraska has a NCAA-record 259 straight sellouts in its home stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Missouri players know the Husker fans will be a factor.
“You’ve gotta want to beat them,” MU outside safety Dedrick Harrington said. “Their fans come in here on Thursday night and they stay until Sunday. They come in like they own the place. This is our house, and we’ve gotta start making it like that.”
Not all fans traveling from Nebraska for the game are cheering for the Huskers. Don and Gayl Johnson started a Missouri alumni group for native Nebraskans, Tigers of the Corn. A group of 110 are traveling from Omaha. The group made a “Nebraskans for Missouri” sign to hang over the edge of the stands.
Chamber of Commerce President Don Laird said Nebraska fans are used to traveling so he doesn’t foresee any problems. He hopes they get everything they want out of their visit – except for a win.
“I hope they have a good time, but not too good of a time,” Laird said.