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By Patrick Cooley – Sports Editor

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DJ Sokol Vision

The $1 million-plus video and scoreboard, UNO football’s newest toy, looks great.  The only problem is that no one is there to enjoy it.

While the season began with plans of winning over the hearts of Omaha via a 21 by 42 foot ‘wow-board,’ it has turned out much differently.

UNO lost its first three home games and saw attendance figures drop from 7,831 on opening night against Kearney to 1,647 three weeks later against Missouri Southern State. Only 1,468 fans turned out the last time the Mavs were at home on Oct. 16 against Fort Hays State, a far cry from the 9,500 that Caniglia Field can accommodate.

The Mavs’ losing ways have done little to help Trev Alberts and Co. market a program that everyone knows about, but few care about.    

While it is foolish to think that UNO football is going to become a hot-ticket, you would hope that more than a handful would come out to see a team that is thinking of making the jump up to Division I.  If you can’t get fans in the seats now, then don’t expect it to magically happen in the future.

Alberts needs a winner sooner than later, and you can bet he will make that clear to head coach Pat Behrns.  

   

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Mav Rushing game  

Sure, UNO football head coach Behrns has been producing ground games for years, but this year’s installment is scary-good.

Freshman James Franklin III and Sophomore Levi Terrell are leading a UNO rushing attack that ranks second in the MIAA at 202 yards per game.  

While Terrell is a powerful north-south runner, Franklin offers more of an east-west approach, utilizing his 5’9″ 175-pound frame and 4.6 speed.  

Imagine them as 72nd and Dodge streets; Franklin leaves you guessing which way he’s going (think middle lane), while Terrell’s power wears you down (think rush-hour traffic).

The pair has combined for 1,373 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns on the year and give the Mavs hope for a brighter future.

   

Family Connections

Thanks to senior guard Torrian Harris, the UNO men’s basketball team will be heading to East Lansing, Mich. this Monday to take on No. 2 Michigan State Spartans.  

Harris is the brother of Michigan State junior forward Draymond Green, who averaged 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last year for the Spartans.  

UNO head coach Derrin Hansen took full advantage of Harris’ connection in an attempt to entice Spartan head coach Tom Izzo and his team into allowing the brothers to meet on the court. While Michigan State agreed, the game was in jeopardy this summer as rumors of Izzo leaving the Spartans for the NBA intensified. Ultimately Izzo decided to stay, ensuring UNO would stay on the schedule and allowing Hansen to breathe a sigh of relief.

Five days after the Mavs play a Michigan State team that made it all the way to the Final Four last year, they will turn around and play Nebraska Wesleyan – a Division III program picked to finish ninth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

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