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Lopers ring Victory Bell after beating UNO for first time since 2002
Nate Britton
Antelope Staff
Photo by Clayton Kush
Quarterback Jake Spitzlberger runs the ball for a touchdown at the football game against UNO that was held on Sept 5.
Photo by Clayton Kush
Spitzlberger celebrates after scoring a touchdown late in the game for the Lopers. UNK defeated UNO for the first time since 2002 with a score of 31-28, bringing home the Victory Bell.

It has been 20 years since the UNK Lopers beat the UNO Mavericks at home. However on Sept. 5, the Lopers found themselves bringing home the Victory Bell for the first time after an impressive win over the Mavericks 31-28. The quarterback, Jake Spitzlberger, threw for 240 yards to help with their win. The defensive schemes paid off by bringing in two interceptions and numerous defensive stops.

UNK and UNO Alumni Associations commissioned the Victory Bell in 2003 to commemorate the longtime football series between the two schools. The 50-pound bronze bell rests on an oaken base that holds brass plates with the scores etched after each game played since 1915. The winning team gets to keep the bell on campus until the two teams meet again.

Lucas Dart, director of Alumni Relations for the last 14 months, loves the idea of the Victory Bell.

“I think it is great having the involvement of athletics to keep in touch with the alumni,” Dart said, “and that’s exactly what the Victory Bell does. It makes former football players want to come back and see UNK take home the bell.”

The bell does more than bring home the alumni.

“Having the Victory Bell housed at UNK really makes the rivalry real,” Dart said, “It gives the players the idea that a win over UNO really means something to the whole campus.”

Lopers Head Coach Darrell Morris smiles every time he looks at the Victory Bell.

 “I didn’t change anything about practice. All we did was go about business as usual, and it paid off in time for the game. The players really needed that win after the loss at Wayne State,” Morris said.
The bell means more to Morris than just a win over UNO.

“The biggest thing the trophy shows is that we are a good team, and we can overcome adversity,” Morris said, “and because of that fact we are going to keep it shined up all year.”

“The win over UNO means a lot to this program and coaches because everyone has put out a lot,” said Spitzlberger, a sophomore industrial distribution major from Denver.
The last few years UNK has come close to beating UNO but couldn’t get the job done.

“For the past three years we have felt we had the team to beat the Mavericks but just came up short,” Spitzlberger said, “so it feels good to get the trophy in Coach Morris’s hands because I know it means a lot to him.”

From the Director of Alumni Relations to the head coach to the players, everyone agrees that it means a lot to have the Victory Bell on UNK’s campus. The bell will be on campus until UNK and UNO play again, and win or lose, until that time it will be shining like a star in the sky.

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