GAME 9: NEBRASKA at MICHIGAN
NOV. 9, 2013 | MICHIGAN STADIUM
ANN ARBOR, MICH. | 2:30 p.m. (CT)
TV - ABC
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
NATIONAL RADIO - Westwood One
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 91, XM 91
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 6-2, 3-1
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: def. Northwestern, 27-24
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 55-22/6th year
vs. Michigan: 1-1
Record: 6-2, 2-2
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to Michigan St., 29-6
Coach: Brady Hoke
Career/UM Record: 72-59/10th year 25-9/3rd year
vs. NU: 1-1
Nebraska and Michigan are set to square off this Saturday in a matchup of two of college football’s most historic programs. Game time from Michigan Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m. ET, with ABC providing national television coverage of the contest.
It is a key game for both teams as they try to keep their hopes of a Big Ten Legends Division title alive. Nebraska sits at 3-1 in conference play, while Michigan will come into the contest at 2-2 in conference action. Both teams are currently looking up in the standings at Michigan State, the Legends division leader at 5-0 in Big Ten play.
The Huskers are coming off a dramatic, 27-24, victory over Northwestern on Saturday in Lincoln. Nebraska pulled out the win on a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Ron Kellogg III to Jordan Westerkamp on the game’s final play. The game marked the third straight year Nebraska and Northwestern have played a game decided in the final minutes.
Michigan comes into the game at 6-2 overall, following a 29-6 loss at Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. The explosive Michigan offense was limited to less than 200 yards and a pair of field goals by the Spartans.
Nebraska will face a tall task at Michigan Stadium on Saturday. The Wolverines are a perfect 19-0 at home in Brady Hoke’s three seasons as head coach, including a victory over Nebraska in 2011.
The matchup features two of the four winningest programs in college football history, as Michigan is first in alltime victories and the Huskers are fourth on that list.
Saturday’s contest will mark the ninth all-time meeting between the schools and the third as members of the Big Ten Conference. Michigan holds a 4-3-1 edge in the series, including a 3-1 advantage in Ann Arbor. Following this season, the schools are not scheduled to meet again in the regular season until a 2018 matchup at Michigan.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 54-22 record (.711) in his sixth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first five seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne in accomplishing that feat at Nebraska. With Nebraska’s win over Wyoming in the season opener, Pelini became the fifth coach in NU history to win 50 games on the NU sideline, joining Dana Bible, Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.
Michigan: Brady Hoke (Ball State, ‘82) is in his third season as Michigan’s head coach and his 10th season overall as a collegiate head coach. Hoke has a 25-9 record with the Wolverines and a 72-59 overall record as a head coach. Hoke has guided Michigan to bowl games in both seasons, including a BCS bid in 2011.
Nebraska is 862-355-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories
- Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).
- The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships.
- NU’s 49 all-time bowl appearances rank third nationally.
- Since 1970, NU has 427 wins, 24 more than any other school.
- Nebraska’s 106 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
- The Huskers have 110 All-Americans in school history.
Michigan opened its season with five straight wins, but the Wolverines have lost two of their last three games and bring a 6-2 overall record into Saturday’s game. Michigan is in third place in the Big Ten Legends Division standings with a 2-2 mark in conference play. The Wolverines own Big Ten wins over Minnesota and Indiana and have lost both conference road games at Penn State and Michigan State.
Michigan is just 1-2 on the road overall this season, but the Wolverines are 5-0 at home. Michigan owns a 19-game home winning streak dating back to 2010, the longest active streak in the nation. The Wolverines are perfect at home in Brady Hoke’s three seasons as head coach.
Offensively, Michigan is averaging 37.9 points per game this fall, and the Wolverines have been held below 24 points only once this season, a 29-6 loss at Michigan State last Saturday. Quarterback Devin Gardner possesses big play ability, as he ranks fourth nationally by averaging 16.4 yards per completion. Gardner is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes this year and has thrown for 1,989 yards, the second-highest total among Big Ten quarterbacks. Gardner has added 13 touchdowns, but he has also thrown 11 interceptions. Gardner has added 474 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns.
In the passing game, Jeremy Gallon has been Gardner’s favorite target, ranking second in the Big Ten with 50 receptions and 898 receiving yards. On the ground, Fitzgerald Toussaint has rushed for a team-high 595 yards, while scoring a Big Ten-best 11 rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Michigan is allowing 27.0 points per game. Opponents are only averaging 105.1 rushing yards per game, but have found success through the air, throwing for 255.0 yards per game. Opponents have thrown 15 touchdown passes in eight games against Michigan, but the Wolverine secondary has also picked off 12 passes and Blake Countess is tied with Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste for the Big Ten interception lead with four picks.
Michigan leads the all-time series, 4-3-1, and the teams have split a pair of meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2011 season. In 2011, the 20th-ranked Wolverines upset the No. 11 Huskers, 45-17, at Michigan Stadium. Last season, Nebraska upset No. 20 Michigan in a 23-9 win at Memorial Stadium. Michigan leads the series 3-1 in Ann Arbor, with Nebraska’s lone win coming on Sept. 29, 1962, in Bob Devaney’s second game as NU’s head coach.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is his sixth season as Nebraska’s head coach and owns a 55-22 record with the Huskers. Pelini added a Big Ten Legends Division title in 2012 to three straight Big 12 North Division crowns from 2008 to 2010, when Pelini was the the first coach in the history of the Big 12 to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first three years.
He has guided Nebraska to at least nine wins each of his first five seasons in Lincoln, and three 10-win seasons. With the win over Wyoming in the opener, Pelini reached 50 career wins at Nebraska, making him just the fifth Husker coach to reach that milestone, joining Tom Osborne, Bob Devaney, Frank Solich and Dana X. Bible.
Pelini took charge of the Huskers after a highly successful five-year run as a collegiate defensive coordinator, including orchestrating NU’s defensive efforts in 2003. Pelini picked up his first college head coaching victory as NU’s interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
Following his one season at Nebraska, Pelini served as the co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Sooners to the Big 12 title and BCS title game. He then followed with three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU. With the Tigers, Pelini led three consecutive defenses to No. 3 national rankings in total defense. He culminated his time in Baton Rouge by helping the Tigers to the 2007 national championship.
In addition to his five seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level, Pelini coached in the NFL for nine seasons, serving three years each with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Pelini was a team captain and four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990.
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Brady Hoke is in his third season at Michigan, where he owns a 25-9 record. Overall, Hoke is in his 11th year as a collegiate head coach, and he boasts a 72-59 record. Hoke has Michigan eligible for a third straight bowl game this season, marking the fifth time he will take a team to a bowl game in his 11 seasons as a head coach. Hoke led Michigan to a Sugar Bowl title in his first season in Ann Arbor in 2011, when the Wolverines finished 11-2.
Prior to taking the Michigan job, Hoke was the head coach at San Diego State in 2009 and 2010. The Aztecs finished 4-8 in 2009 before improving to 9-4 in 2010, which culminated with a win in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Hoke spent six seasons at Ball State, his alma mater, from 2003 to 2008, when he led the Cardinals to a 34-38 record. Ball State had a losing record in each of Hoke’s first four seasons, before a 7-6 campaign in 2007, which included a 41-40 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln. The next season, Ball State finished 12-1 in Hoke’s final season.
Before becoming a head coach, Hoke was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1995 to 2002. He also held assistant coaching positions at Oregon State (1989-94), Toledo (1987-89), Western Michigan (1984-86) and Grand Valley State (1983).
Huskers, Michigan to Meet in Battle of Historic Programs
Saturday’s meeting between Nebraska and Michigan will match two of the top programs in the history of college football. The Wolverines have a nation-leading 909 all-time victories, while Nebraska ranks fourth on that list with 862 wins. When looking at records since 1970, Nebraska tops the list with 428 wins, while Michigan is fourth in that time period with 392 victories.
The Huskers and Wolverines have been opponents each of the past three seasons with both schools in the Legends Division. However, the schools will be in opposite divisions of the Big Ten beginning next year, with Nebraska in the West and Michigan in the East division. The schools will not play in the regular season between 2014 and 2017. The next scheduled matchup between the powers will be at Michigan in 2018.
Huskers Look to Continue November Success
Nebraska opened the month of November with a 27-24 victory over Northwestern last Saturday in Lincoln. The win was Nebraska’s sixth straight in the month of November, dating back to a loss at Michigan in 2011.
- Nebraska is 17-4 in the month of November in Bo Pelini’s six seasons as head coach, including perfect records in the month of November in 2009 and 2012.
- Nebraska’s current streak of six straight wins in November is its second longest November win streak under Pelini. Nebraska won nine straight November games from 2008 to 2010.
Huskers Continue to Show Ability to Rally; Win Close Games
Nebraska defeated Northwestern, 27-24, in Lincoln last Saturday after falling behind 21-7 early in the second quarter. The rally for a close victory continued two recent Nebraska trends.
- The win was Nebraska’s fifth win in Big Ten play over the last two seasons when trailing by double digits. Nebraska also rallied from double-figure deficits for conference wins last season against Wisconsin (17 points), Northwestern (12 points), Michigan State (10 points) and Penn State (14 points).
- The Huskers’ three-point win over Northwestern was NU’s sixth straight victory in games decided by seven points or less. That ties for the fourth-longest winning streak in the country in games decided by seven or fewer points.
Nebraska Among Big Ten Leaders in Wins Since Joining Conference
Nebraska stands at 3-1 in Big Ten play through four games in 2013. Nebraska has won 15 of 20 regular-season Big Ten games since joining the conference in 2011. The 15 wins since the start of the 2011 season are tied for the second-most regular-season victories in the Big Ten in that time period.
Nebraska captured the Legends Division crown and made a trip to the Big Ten Conference Championship Game in 2012. Nebraska had won eight straight regular-season conference games before losing at Minnesota on Oct. 26.
NU Shoots for Sixth Straight Year With Nine or More Wins
Nebraska posted a 10-4 record in 2012, giving the Huskers nine or more victories in each of Bo Pelini’s first five seasons as head coach. The streak of five straight nine-win seasons puts Nebraska in an elite class nationally.
- Nebraska is one of four schools that has won at least nine games each of the past five seasons. The others in that group include Alabama, Boise State and Oregon.
- Pelini has guided Nebraska to 10-win seasons in three of the last four years.
- The five straight years of at least nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.
- Nebraska has 47 nine-win seasons in school history, including 39 since 1969.
Abdullah Running at Impressive Pace in 2013
Junior I-back Ameer Abdullah has been one of the nation’s top running backs in 2013. The Homewood, Ala., native has seven 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 225 rushing yards against Illinois, and 165 yards at Minnesota.
Abdullah has rushed for 1,108 yards and six touchdowns in 2013, while averaging an impressive 7.1 yards per carry. Abdullah’s average of 138.5 rushing yards per game leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth nationally. In conference games only, Abdullah averages a Big Ten-leading 160.8 yards per game, 28 yards more per game than any other Big Ten runner.
- With 1,108 rushing yards through eight games this season, Abdullah’s rushing total stacks up well in recent Husker history. His eight-game rushing total is the fifth-best for Nebraska players since World War II.
- Abdullah is the first Nebraska player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in eight or fewer games since Ahman Green had 1,098 rushing yards through eight games in 1997.
Enunwa Producing Monster Senior Season
Nebraska’s passing game in 2013 has been paced by the play of senior receiver Quincy Enunwa, one of four Nebraska captains.
The 6-2, 225-pound Enunwa has turned into the favorite red zone target for Nebraska’s quarterbacks in 2013. Enunwa has caught eight touchdowns, including a pair of touchdowns against both Southern Miss and UCLA. Enunwa leads the Big Ten and is tied for 12th in the country in touchdown receptions.
Enunwa entered the 2013 season with three career touchdowns, but has more than doubled that total this season. If Enunwa were to add a third multiple-TD catch game in 2013, he would be the first Husker with three games with two or more TD catches in a season since Irving Fryar in 1983. With his eight touchdowns, Enunwa is already tied for fourth on the Nebraska single-season TD receptions list and is within striking distance of the school record of 11 touchdown catches by Johnny Rodgers in 1971.
Enunwa has team-leading totals of 34 receptions and 467 yards this fall. He tied his career high with six receptions for 67 yards against Northwestern, marking the second time in 2013 and fourth time in his career Enunwa has had six catches. Enunwa had a season-high 80 receiving yards on four catches against Illinois.
- Enunwa continues to move up the Nebraska career receptions list. With six catches vs. Northwestern, Enunwa increased his career total to 98 receptions, good for eighth place on the NU career receptions list. Enunwa needs two catches to become the eighth player in school history with 100 career receptions.
- Enunwa eclipsed the 1,000-yard career receiving yardage mark against Illinois, becoming the 22nd Nebraska player to accomplish that feat. Enunwa has 1,240 career receiving yards to rank 11th in school history. He is three yards from moving into the top 10 on that career chart.
- Enunwa has caught at least one pass in 22 straight games, good the fourth-longest streak in school history. Last season, Enunwa caught 42 passes to rank just outside of the single-season top 10 on the NU charts. With both Enunwa and fellow wideout Kenny Bell topping the 40-catch barrier last season, Nebraska had a pair of players with at least 40 receptions for just the fifth time in school history. Both players are on pace to reach 40 catches again this season. Only three players in Nebraska history have recorded two seasons with 40-plus receptions, and both Enunwa and Bell are poised to join that group in the coming weeks.
Click on the "Game Notes" link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend's game.