Perhaps it’s time to give the black jerseys a proper burial.
Or burning, depending on who you ask.
Nebraska broke out this year’s version of its alternate Blackshirt uniforms Saturday against Illinois, and for the fourth time since the program decided to add alternate jerseys to the wardrobe, the Huskers lost while wearing black as a primary color.
NU fell to 0-4 in black jerseys, with Saturday’s game joining defeats against UCLA in 2013, Northwestern in 2015 and Indiana in 2019 on the inglorious list.
In all four games, Nebraska allowed at least 30 points.
The jerseys don't play the games, of course. The players wearing them do.
And the Huskers' performance, just days after it was revealed that Nebraska had handed out its coveted Blackshirt practice jerseys earlier in the week, brought a certain gravity to NU coach Scott Frost’s words from Thursday.
“They don’t have them permanently. If they don’t live up to the standards of a Blackshirt, they won’t keep them. I don’t want this to be like Halloween where you just walk up and knock on the door and get a piece of candy. It’s got to be a little harder than that,” Frost said.
“Those kids won us a game last week with their play at the end of the game and they deserve them. But they have to keep doing the things that they need to do to continue to deserve them.”
NU’s tops were the same as last year’s against the Hoosiers: black, with white numbers on the front and back, red numbers on the tops of the shoulders, and names in red on the back with the Blackshirt skull and crossbones on the sides of the shoulders.
The helmets were the same, too: white shells with black N's and a black stripe down the middle.
This year they were paired with black pants and black shoes, with a few special-teamers wearing red shoes.
The threads were in sharp contrast to Illinois’ uniforms: white helmets, white jerseys, orange pants and orange numbers that were reminiscent of Oklahoma State.
And for much of the game, Nebraska’s play was in sharp contrast to Illinois’.
Nebraska also has a white Blackshirt jersey that can be worn on the road. That alternate was revealed Oct. 13 in a more than two-minute long video styled after a horror movie.
Make your own joke there.
There was no joking from Nebraska's players afterward.
"Any time we put those things on we have to understand exactly what's going on," senior defensive back Dicaprio Bootle said. "That's a special uniform regardless. When we put on that red we've got to feel the same way. When we put on the white we've got to feel the same thing. We've just got to know what we're defending, what's at hand, what's at stake, just understanding that, that N on the side of your helmet is the most important thing."
UCLA was ranked 16th in the country when it scored 38 consecutive points to beat a black-clad Husker squad.
Northwestern was 6-2 when it beat alternate-wearing NU.
And Indiana clinched the program’s first bowl berth since 2007 when it came into Lincoln and won last season.
Illinois, it should be noted, is none of those teams. The Illini needed a comeback and a last-second field goal to get their first win of the season last week.
But in Lincoln, wearing their normal school colors, the Illini looked like every other opponent Nebraska gets all dressed up for with no place to go.