Randy York’s N-Sider
The Official Blog of the Huskers
With 60 days standing between Nebraska’s season-opening kick-off against Wyoming, the school that launched Bob Devaney's head coaching career, The N-Sider serves up some July 4th appetizers guaranteed to make your barbecued beef, brats and baked beans taste even better. Thanks to exhaustive research by Keith Mann's Media Relations team, our holiday special includes 13 fast, fun and fascinating football facts for everyone to chew on before the curtain goes up on 2013. It’s the 30th anniversary season of the legendary Scoring Explosion team that featured Nebraska’s version of Earth (Mike Rozier), Wind (Turner Gill) and Fire (Irving Fryar).
The central figure in this new cast that can light up the scoreboard is, of course, Taylor Martinez, who should be his electrifying self in a stadium that will grow to more than 92,000 fans this fall. No one is bold enough to predict that the 2013 Huskers can mow down their 12-game schedule with a 50-plus point average like the 1983 Huskers, which scored a mind-blowing 654 points. That team erupted for 84 points at Minnesota, 72 against Iowa State, 69 against Colorado, 67 against Kansas, 56 against Wyoming and 51 at Kansas State. The Huskers also scored 44 points that year against Penn State at Giants Stadium and 42 at home against UCLA.
Like Gill in 1983, Martinez has all kinds of explosives surrounding him. Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Imani Cross, Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Turner are proven dynamite now playing behind a veteran offensive line. Let each rocket red glare explode in your mind as you ponder the pyrotechnic potential that can go off at any time on the new turf being installed at Memorial Stadium. As you sift through these 13 fascinating facts for ‘13, you might even visualize an explosion or two and conjure up the imaginary roar that goes with it. Please read on and enjoy 13 facts for 2013:
1) NINE-WIN SEASONS: Nebraska is one of only four teams nationally to win at least nine games in each of the past five seasons. The other teams to accomplish that feat are Alabama, Boise State and Oregon.
2) BIG TEN BEST: In Nebraska’s first two years in the Big Ten, the Huskers own the best overall conference record (12-4) and the best division record (8-2).
3) WINNING THE DIVISION: Bo Pelini is the nation’s only coach to lead a team to three conference title games in the past four years. Overall, Nebraska and Northern Illinois are the only two programs in the country which have made three conference championship game appearances in the past four seasons.
4) OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER: Nebraska's 6,451 yards of total offense in 2012 ranked second best in school history. The Huskers return 84 percent of that offense in 2013, including 99.6 percent of the passing yards and 71.1 percent of the rushing yards.
5) SURPRISING HUSKER FIRST: For the first time in school history, Nebraska boasts a pair of returning 1,000-yard rushers from the previous season. Martinez returns for his 2013 senior season after rushing for 1,019 yards in 2012, and Abdullah returns for his junior season after rushing for 1,137 yards as a sophomore.
6) HUSKER PIPELINE: Nebraska’s offensive line features players who have combined to start 78 career games. For the first time since 1997, the line also returns an All-American – 2012 second-team selection Spencer Long.
7) EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE: Nebraska set a school record with 330 first downs last season with contributions coming courtesy of big plays from returning players. NU had 111 plays cover at least 20 yards in 2012, and returning Huskers were involved in 96 of those big gains. Martinez accounted for 56 plays of 20 or more yards in 2012, and he owns 129 gains of at least 20 yards in his career. Martinez produced three runs of 70 yards or longer in 2012 and has five such runs in his career. Bell had 25 gains of 20 or more yards in 2012, and each of his eight touchdown catches covered at least 25 yards.
8) STRONG SKILL POSITIONS: Nebraska is one of only three teams in the country that has a player with 5,000 career passing yards (Martinez – 6,591 yards), a player with 1,000 career receiving yards (Bell – 1,324 yards) and two players with 1,000 career rushing yards (Martinez – 2,858 yards; Abdullah – 1,287 yards). Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio are the other schools with a 5,000-yard career passer, a 1,000-yard career receiver and two 1,000-yard career rushers.
9) NATION’S LEADING ACTIVE RUSHER: Martinez has rushed for more yards in his career (2,858) than any other current FBS player. He’s the nation’s leading career rusher, regardless of position.
10) DUAL-THREAT UNDER CENTER: Martinez owns 6,591 career passing yards and 2,858 career rushing yards. He’s one of only 12 quarterbacks in NCAA FBS history to throw for 6,000 yards and rush for 2,500 yards. Martinez has an excellent chance to join Colin Kaepernick as the only players in NCAA FBS history to throw for 9,000 career yards and rush for 3,000 career yards.
11) STRONG SECONDARY: The Huskers led the nation in opponent completion percentage in 2012, allowing opponents to complete only 47.1 percent of their passes.
12) DEFENSIVE TRENDS: Combining statistics from the past four seasons, Nebraska ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense, fourth in pass defense, 11th in scoring.
13) TOUGH AT HOME: Nebraska has won eight consecutive home games, which ties for the nation’s sixth-longest active home winning streak. The Huskers were 7-0 at Memorial Stadium in 2012, marking their first unbeaten home season since 2001.
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