September 3 at 9:39 PM
In July, Nebraska senior punter Sam Foltz lost his life in a car accident. On Saturday, the Cornhuskers paid tribute to their friend and teammate by making his absence all too noticeable during their first punt attempt.
Nebraska went three-and-out on its first possession against Fresno State, so it sent out the punting unit. Except just 10 players took the field, lining up in a formation that was one man short — the man who was supposed to kick the ball.The Cornhuskers allowed the play clock to expire, all the better to let the home crowd at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln cheer in honor of Foltz’s memory. Nebraska took a delay-of-game penalty, but Fresno State declined to accept it, and a freshman, Caleb Lightbourn, then entered the field to punt the ball away.
A former punter at Michigan State, Mike Sadler, also died in the accident, which occurred when he and Foltz were working as instructors at a kicking camp in Wisconsin. Local authorities said that the vehicle appeared to have lost control on wet pavement and hit a tree, with speed being a possible factor. A place kicker for LSU, Colby Delahoussaye, was in the car with them but managed to emerge with minor injuries.
Before Saturday’s game, Nebraska held a moment of silence for Foltz and placed his No. 27 jersey on its bench. Cornhuskers coaches wore patches with an “SF27″ logo, and players will wear that as a helmet decal all season.
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