NU Prepares to Wrap-Up Non-Conference Play
Nebraska returns to Lincoln on Saturday evening to take on Louisiana-Lafayette in a 6 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium. The game will conclude Nebraska’s non-conference campaign. The Huskers are coming off a heartbreaking 16-15 loss at No. 13 Virginia Tech, dropping Nebraska to 2-1 on the season. ULL also enters the contest with a 2-1 record, following a 31-3 loss at No. 9 LSU last Saturday.
While the main event takes place on the field, this weekend’s game is filled with additional storylines. Nebraska will be celebrating the 300th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, an ongoing NCAA-record streak that dates back to 1962. To help celebrate the milestone, NU will don throwback uniforms similar to those the Cornhuskers wore in 1962. The 1962 team will also be honored before the start of the game and will have a reunion on Friday evening.
Saturday also marks Nebraska’s Homecoming contest. The Huskers have dropped three of their last four Homecoming games after winning 36 straight from 1969 to 2004.
Saturday’s meeting will be the first between the two schools. Nebraska will be playing its third Sun Belt foe of the season after defeating Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State to open the season. ULL knocked off Kansas State of the Big 12 earlier this season in Lafayette.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 12-5 record in his second season with the Huskers. Pelini guided Nebraska to nine wins in his first season as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich as the only Nebraska coaches to win nine games in their first season leading the Cornhuskers. Prior to taking over as the Huskers’ head coach, Pelini served as defensive coordinator at NU, Oklahoma and LSU. Previously, he had stints as an NFL assistant with San Francisco, New England and Green Bay.
ULL: Rickey Bustle (Clemson, ‘76) is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns. Bustle has guided ULL to a 34-51 record in his tenure in Lafayette. Bustle’s teams have a 1-6 record against Big 12 opponents. Before taking over as head coach, Bustle served stints as an assistant at six schools, most recently Virginia Tech.
Huskers Set to Celebrate 300 Consecutive Sellouts
One of the most remarkable streaks in collegiate sports will reach another milestone on Saturday night when Nebraska celebrates the 300th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium. The NCAA-record streak reached 299 games after sellouts against Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State and will hit 300 games when the Cornhuskers take on the Ragin’ Cajuns.
The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney’s first year in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3). Notre Dame is second in all-time consecutive sellouts with 207, 92 fewer than Nebraska.
A few other numbers to consider relative to Nebraska’s sellout streak:
260-39–Nebraska’s record during the 299 consecutive sellouts. The mark includes a 39-24 record against ranked teams.
5-0–Nebraska is perfect in the five milestone sellout games in the streak (50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th sellouts), including a 24-7 win over No. 2 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994 (No. 200).
75–When the Huskers take on UL-Lafayette in the 300th sellout it will mark the 75th opponent that Nebraska will have played during the streak.
35–The opponents in the 300-sellout streak have come from 35 states.
22,127,996– The total number of fans who have passed through the Memorial Stadium gates during the 299 consecutive sellouts entering the Louisiana-Lafayette game. Last year Nebraska set a Memorial Stadium single-season record with 680,564 fans for eight home games.
Huskers to Don Throwback Uniforms as Part of 300th Sellout Celebration
Nebraska will have a number of festivities to mark the 300th consecutive sellout (detailed below). The most visible of those tributes will be the throwback uniforms worn by the Cornhuskers against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Huskers will wear uniforms designed by adidas that match those worn by Nebraska in 1962–the season the sellout streak began. The uniforms are currently available for auction on Huskers.com. Replica jerseys and helmets are also available for sale.
Numerous Other Events Associated With Saturday’s Contest
Devaney Family Honored–The sellout streak began in former NU Head Coach Bob Devaney’s first season in Lincoln after moving his family from Wyoming. When he arrived, the Huskers had not posted a winning season since 1954. Coach Devaney’s children, including Mike and his wife Suzanne and Pat Devaney will be in attendance for the 300th sellout and will be a part of the weekend’s activities and introduced to the crowd during the game.
1962 Team Reunion–All Husker players and staff who were a part of the 1962 team have been invited to return to the site of the nation’s longest sellout streak for this occasion. The 1962 team will enjoy a banquet on Friday evening at the Wick Center and will be honored on game day during pregame ceremonies. To date, 21 members of the 1962 team will attend the banquet and/or game, including: Ernie Bonistall, Curtis Bryan, Dick Callahan, co-captain Dwain Carlson, Dennis Claridge, Larry Donovan, John Kirby, John Koinzan, Noel Martin, Joe McNulty, William Paschall, Tyrone Robertson, Jed Rood, Willie Ross, Lyle Sittler, Maynard Smidt, John Strohmyer, Larry Tomlinson, Douglas Tucker, John Vujevich and Gene Young.
Of Bob Devaney’s first staff, John Melton (freshman coach), Jim Ross (ends and defensive backs) and Carl Selmer (offensive line) will attend the banquet and Tom Osborne (graduate assistant) will attend the banquet and game. Coach Devaney and three other members of his first staff, Mike Corgan (offensive backfield), George Kelly (defensive line) and Cletus Fischer (freshman line coach) are deceased.
Other Celebration Activities Include:
300th sellout logo placements on the field. Two 25-foot 300th sellout logos will be painted on the field.
The state capitol will be beaming in red to celebrate the occasion.
The Cornhusker Marching band will play songs from the early 60s.
Video salutes by HuskerVision for the 1962 team and the Devaney family; special video messages to Husker fans from Nebraska celebrities and a special postgame fan tribute video.
Weather permitting, there will be fireworks following the game.
The commission of a Mike Sullivan painting for display in the Osborne Athletic Complex lobby. The painting by the nationally known artist is part of a salute to Husker fans and will be unveiled on Thursday, Sept. 24.
An on-site display featuring memorabilia from the 1960s is available in the West Stadium main entry.
At the Husker Nation Pavilion, every team picture from 1962 to current will be on display.
Huskers Look to Return to Homecoming Dominance
Saturday will also mark Homecoming at Memorial Stadium, and Nebraska will be looking to end a two-game slide on Homecoming Day in Lincoln. Nebraska lost to Oklahoma State in 2007 and dropped last year’s Homecoming game to Missouri. Nebraska also lost on Homecoming against Texas Tech in 2005.
Prior to the 2005 setback Nebraska won 36 straight Homecoming contests from 1969 to 2004. Overall, Nebraska is 72-22-4 in Homecoming games, including 63-20-3 at Memorial Stadium.
The Homecoming contest against a non-league foe is an oddity. The last time Nebraska faced a non-conference opponent on Homecoming was in 1954 when Pittsburgh defeated Nebraska. This will mark just the ninth time in school history Nebraska has played its Homecoming game against a non-conference opponent.
The Sun Belt Moves North
Lincoln, Nebraska is not regulary considered part of the Sun Belt, but at least for the month of September that is changing. Three members of the Sun Belt Conference are visiting Memorial Stadium in September. Nebraska defeated Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State to open the season and will take on Louisiana-Lafayette to conclude non-conference play on Saturday night.
Nebraska owns an 8-0 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Huskers are 4-0 against Troy and 1-0 against North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic.
The Huskers are scheduled to play Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt in 2010.
The last time Nebraska faced three non-conference opponents from the same league was in 1998 when Nebraska faced California and Washington in the regular season, before matching up with Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. In 1974, Nebraska played three Big Ten opponents in regular-season non-conference action.
Huskers Look to Complete Non-League Play With Winning Record
Nebraska enters its final non-conference game with a 2-1 record and will be looking to post a victory and head into Big 12 play with a winning record. A victory would mark the 28th straight season Nebraska has had a winning non-conference record, dating back to a 2-2 record in 1981. Since 1981, the Huskers have lost either one (12 times) or zero (16 times) non-conference games.
Points Hard to Come By Against Nebraska Defense
Nebraska has allowed just 28 points through three games this season, an average of just 9.3 points per contest, good for seventh in the nation. The 28 points allowed through three games represent the fifth-best total for a Nebraska team since 1990.
The Nebraska defense has surrendered only three touchdowns this season. The Blackshirts did not allow a touchdown until the second quarter of the second game, as the Huskers held their opponents out of the end zone for the first five quarters of the year, the longest season-opening streak since 1994. The 2009 Blackshirts became just the third NU team in the past 40 seasons to not allow a touchdown in the season opener.
Nebraska has held three straight opponents under 20 points for the first time since the opening three games of the 2005 season. NU has not held four consecutive opponents to fewer than 20 points since a streak of five games to open the 2003 season. Head Coach Bo Pelini was Nebraska’s defensive coordinator that season.
Nebraska Run Defense Continues to Slow Opposition
Nebraska faced a significant task in stopping the run last weekend at Virginia Tech. While the ultimate outcome was not what the Huskers had hoped for, the NU run defense held the Hokies to just 86 rushing yards, after VT entered the game 13th nationally in rushing at 254.0 yards per game. The performance continued a strong run of success against the run, as NU has limited four of its last six opponents to 86 or fewer rushing yards.
4During Nebraska’s past seven games its run defense has played a key role in the success. The Huskers have allowed an average of just 83.4 rushing yards in those contests. Nebraska allowed an average of 120.3 yards rushing in its first three games of 2009, and has allowed two rushing touchdowns.