It’s been another long season in Boulder for football fans, but things may be looking up. The University of Colorado Buffaloes have logged two solid wins since embattled coach Dan Hawkins was fired, perhaps benefiting from the leadership of longtime defensive assistant Brian Cabral. The Denver Post points out that Cabral has motivated the Buffs to great accomplishments, including 39 points per game (compared to 20.8 points per game prior to his taking over) and more throwing touchdowns and rushing yards per game. Morale has “been through the roof,” says offensive lineman Ryan Miller.

The Buffs are going to need all the morale and inspiration they can get on Friday, as they head to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the 15th-ranked Cornhuskers. CU has a lot more to play for than pride in the annual inter-state rivalry. Sitting at 5-6, the Buffs need just one more win to become bowl eligible. The Huskers are coming off a tough loss to Texas A&M, so they’ll be playing hard to avoid a third loss on the year.

With CU headed to the Pac-12 and Nebraska going to the Big 10 next year, Friday’s game will mark the end of this annual post-Thanksgiving grudge match. “Our whole season gravitates toward this game,” longtime CU season-ticket holder Sue Carter tells the Colorado Daily. “This game is not just about football. It’s about being with family and with our Buff family. There’s going to be something missing next year.”