Nebraska's football team began its history as the "Old Gold Knights", and was also sometimes known as the "Tree Planters", "Nebraskans", "The Rattlesnake Boys", "Red Stockings", "Antelopes" or "Goldenrods" in their early years.
Once again Nebraska had a new coach, and again chose a future College Football Hall-of-Famer in Fielding H. Yost. Unfortunately for Nebraska, Coach Yost only stayed one year before moving on through Kansas and Stanford before establishing his legendary tenure at Michigan.
Nebraska left the Western Inter-State University Football Association after the 1897 season and played this year as an independent, not joining a league again until 1907. The slate of teams scheduled this year was heavy, as there were three instances on the schedule where Nebraska played a game with only one day off since the previous game.
Nebraska hosted nearby Hastings College to open the season, and the theme of the day was Bugeater domination. The 76-0 shutout smashing of Hastings set new Nebraska records for margin of victory and total points scored, besting the 41-0 mark set against Missouri in the previous season.
Nebraska extended their win streak to seven straight with the win over Iowa State in Lincoln. The Cyclones settled down in the second half and put up ten points, but it was not enough to overcome the momentum of the Bugeaters. Nebraska's record over Iowa State improved to 2-1.
The Tarkio squad found themselves behind early on when Nebraska jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead, and the Bugeaters never let them find the end zone in a 24-0 shutout that improved Nebraska's record in this series to 2-0.
The Nebraska players took advantage of their larger average size to overpower the William Jewell team in Kansas City, having no difficulty posting a 38-0 shutout victory. This was Nebraska's seventh shutout in the previous nine games. This was the only time these teams would meet.
Only two days after the victory against Williams Jewell, Nebraska faced Missouri in Columbia. If the Tigers had any hopes of taking advantage of an exhausted Bugeater team when they jumped out to a prompt 6-0 lead, those hopes were dashed severely as Nebraska ran off a string of 47 unanswered points to claim the win, which improved Nebraska's record over Missouri to 5-2.
Grinnell forced the cancellation of the game when they refused to play, claiming that Nebraska did not follow the full requirements put forth by Grinnell when designating game officials for the contest.
Kansas found themselves in trouble early on, after losing a key player to injury shortly after the game began. Although they managed a touchdown later in the game, it was not enough. This was Nebraska's 11th straight victory, but the Bugeaters still lagged in this series, 3-4.
Only two days after the defeat of Kansas, Nebraska faced the Kansas City Medical School squad. Although the last time they played with only one day off went well for the Bugeaters, the story today was different as the KC Medics hung 24 points on the scoreless Nebraska team, ending their winning streak and evening up the series record at 1-1. It was Nebraska's first shutout loss since the 0-10 defeat at the hands of Iowa to start the previous season.
Several key Nebraska players were out due to injuries sustained in the long stretch of closely spaced games over the past few weeks, and Drake took advantage of the weakened Bugeaters to scrape out a 5-6 win in the first meeting of these teams.
Nebraska traveled to Boulder to meet the team which would eventually set their sights on the Bugeater squad as the team to beat in later decades. It was not a good way for the Colorado squad to start the series, falling at home to Nebraska 10-23.
A newspaper account of the time stated that this game was "the most even and hardy contested fight that has been waged on the Denver gridiron". Yet again, Nebraska played with only a day off since the previous game. Against the Denver Athletic Club, which held a 2-1 record against the Bugeaters, it was a tall order. Missed kicks by Denver came back to haunt them by the end, as Nebraska's kicker successfully added to his season total of 41 successful kicks in 43 attempts. In the end, down by just one point, the Denver AC squad was driving and putting the scare into the Bugeaters when time ran out and Nebraska escaped with the win. This was the last time these teams would meet, which left the series forever tied at 2-2.
Nebraska jumped out first with an early touchdown, but with a missed kick after had only the 5-0 lead to boast by halftime. The game was a slow affair overall as both teams repeatedly argued calls. The defensive struggle kept points off the board until Iowa successfully found their way in and made the kick after to pull ahead by one point. The game had started late due to the delayed arrival of Iowa, and the frequent arguing on the field pushed the game so late that it was eventually called due to lack of daylight with Iowa ahead 6-5. Nebraska still held on to the series lead, however, with a slight edge of 4-3-2.
Coach Yost had a remarkable start to his one year at Nebraska, outscoring opponents 226-16 in the first six games. Yost's one year record contribution of 8-3 (.727) improved the program total, raising it to 40-18-3 (.680). Once again, however, Nebraska was in search of a coach.