Jan. 21, 1994 - July 23, 2016
Sam Foltz was honored all season by friend and foe alike. • Nebraska produced a video tribute to the late punter in August at Fan Day and another for the Nov. 19 Senior Day against Maryland. • On the way out of the northwest tunnel to meet their own parents, Husker seniors hugged Foltz’s parents, Gerald and Jill, and put roses on the 27-yard line in Foltz’s memory.
Opponents found their own ways to salute Foltz. • Illinois players presented the Huskers with a white jersey identical to the one the Fighting Illini wore for their Oct. 1 conference opener. It bore the number 27 with the name Foltz stitched on the back and surrounded by signatures of Illinois players. • Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone, who had attended Foltz’s funeral and changed his number this season to 27, helped NU specialists carry Foltz’s jersey to the Husker sideline for the Oct. 29 game in Madison. Gaglianone and Gerald Foltz shared a long embrace. • At Ohio State, a student organization known as the Block O group followed Nebraska’s first punt by choreographing a card display creating an image of the number 27. The Buckeye marching band formed “SF 27” on the field during its halftime show, and the public address announcer read a tribute to the punter. Before the game, Buckeyes special teams players presented Gerald and Jill Foltz with an Ohio State helmet. On the silver helmet were 27 buckeye leaf stickers. • Iowa joined in the tributes in the regular-season finale, giving Husker specialists and Foltz family members a black Iowa home jersey with the number 27 and Foltz’s name on the back. They also set up a locker for Foltz with both Nebraska and Iowa name plates and jerseys.
Jill Foltz, who attended home and road games with her husband, said the outpouring of support for her son helped the family grieve and heal. “We’re just very grateful,” she said. “People are so kind. Every team has done something special, and it just warms our heart. I mean, we had no clue at the beginning of the season that every team would honor Sam.”
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With the 2016 season nearly complete, we're asking World-Herald readers to share their memories of the lasting impact Sam Foltz had on those who followed his life from the sidelines, from the seats at Memorial Stadium, from their living rooms and from afar.
This is the legacy of Sam, as felt by those impacted by his loss, in their own words.
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