GAME 6: NEBRASKA at PURDUE
OCT. 12, 2013 | ROSS-ADE STADIUM
WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. | 11 a.m. (CT)
Record: 4-1, 0-0
Rankings: Coaches-24; AP-RV
Last Game: def. Illinois, 39-19
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 53-21/6th year
vs. Purdue: First Meeting
Record: 1-4, 0-1
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to No. Illinois, 55-24
Coach: Darrell Hazell
Career/IU Record: 1-4/1st Year 17-14/3rd
vs. NU: First Meeting
Nebraska goes on the road for the first time in the 2013 season, traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Purdue on Saturday. Game time at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium is set for Noon local time (11 a.m. CT), with the Big Ten Network providing television coverage of the contest.
The Huskers enter the game with a 4-1 record overall, and a 1-0 Big Ten mark, following a 39-19 victory over Illinois last Saturday in Lincoln. The Nebraska offense was strong in the victory, racking up 335 rushing yards and 521 yards of total offense. With the win, NU moved up one spot to 24th in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and continues to receive votes in the Associated Press poll.
Purdue will come into the contest with a 1-4 record, and an 0-1 mark in Big Ten Conference play. The Boilermakers were off last weekend following a home loss to Northern Illinois on Sept. 28. Purdue is playing its second Big Ten Conference game after opening league play with a loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 21.
The matchup between Nebraska and Purdue is just the second ever between the two schools and the first since Purdue defeated Nebraska in West Lafayette in 1958.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first between Nebraska and Purdue as Big Ten opponents, and just the second ever between the schools. Purdue defeated Nebraska, 28-0, in 1958 in West Lafayette. Nebraska and Purdue will play each year in the future with the schools both set to compete in the Big Ten’s West Division. Purdue is scheduled to make their first visit to Lincoln on Nov. 1, 2014.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 53-21 record (.716) 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.
Purdue: Darrell Hazell (Muskingum, ‘86) is in his first season as the head coach at Purdue and his third season overall as a college head coach. Hazell has a 1-4 record with the Boilermakers and a 17-14 overall record. He spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Kent State, guiding his team to an 11-3 record in 2012. Hazell spent 24 seasons as an assistant coach, including stops at Ohio State, Rutgers and West Virginia.
Nebraska is 860-354-40 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 426 wins, 25 more than any other school.
- Nebraska’s 106 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
- The Huskers have 110 All-Americans in school history.
Scouting the Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue was off last weekend, as the Boilermakers have had two weeks to prepare for their Big Ten home opener against the Huskers. Purdue is 1-4 this fall, with its lone win coming over Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent Indiana State. The Boilermakers are 0-4 against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents this year, losing those four games by an average of nearly four touchdowns per game.
During the off week, first-year Head Coach Darrell Hazell announced a quarterback change last week, tabbing true freshman Danny Etling as the new starter, replacing fifth-year senior Rob Henry.
Henry started each of Purdue’s first five games this season, helping the Boilermakers average 301.6 yards of total offense per game and 17.0 points per contest. Both of those marks rank among the bottom 15 teams in the FBS ranks. The Boilermakers average 214.6 passing yards per game and 87.0 rushing yards per contest.
Henry is completing 53.6 percent of his passes this season, but has thrown six interceptions and just four touchdowns. Etling is completing 48.7 percent of his passes with two picks and two touchdowns. On the ground, Akeem Hunt is Purdue’s leading rusher, averaging 38.6 yards per game.
Defensively, Purdue is allowing 413.6 yards per game and 36.6 points per contest. Each of the Boilermakers’ four FBS opponents have scored at least 31 points while averaging 42.3 points per game. Purdue is allowing opponents to rush for 183.2 yards per game and nearly five yards per carry, while the Boilermakers are surrendering 230.4 passing yards per game.
Safety Taylor Richards is Purdue’s leading tackler with 31 stops this season, while Bruce Gaston leads the team with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 of Purdue’s 9.0 sacks. On special teams, Cody Webster is averaging 45.3 yards per punt and the Boilermakers are allowing just 4.0 yards per punt return to rank second nationally in net punting.
Saturday’s game will mark just the second meeting between Nebraska and Purdue on the football field. Purdue shut out Nebraska, 28-0, in the only meeting On Sept. 27, 1958 in West Lafayette. Purdue is the only Big Ten team that Nebraska has never defeated.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his sixth season as Nebraska’s head coach and owns a 53-21 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.
Purdue Head Coach Darrell Hazell
Darrell Hazell is in his first season at Purdue and his third season as a head coach overall. He picked up his first win as a Boilermaker on Sept. 7, when Purdue defeated Indiana State, 20-14. Overall, he owns a 1-4 record at Purdue and a 17-14 career record.
Hazell came to West Lafayette from Kent State, where he served as head coach in 2011 and 2012 and compiled a 16-10 record. In 2012, Kent State finished 11-3 and played in its first bowl game in 40 years. The 2012 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, Hazell’s Golden Flashes set a school record with 11 victories and defeated No. 15 Rutgers to post the program’s first win over a ranked team. In 2011, Hazell guided Kent State to a 5-7 record with wins in four of the final five games.
A 27-year veteran of the college coaching ranks, Hazell previously coached at Ohio State (2004-09), Rutgers (2001-03), West Virginia (1999-2000), Army (1997-98), Western Michigan (1995-96), Pennsylvania (1992-94), Eastern Illinois (1988) and Oberlin (1986-87 and 1989-91).
Nebraska Hits the Road for the First Time in 2013
Nebraska’s game at Purdue on Saturday will mark its first road game of the 2013 season after five straight home games to start the year. The Oct. 12 road game marks Nebraska’s latest road opener since playing its first road game in 2005 at Baylor on Oct. 15, and is Nebraska’s third latest road opener on the calendar since 1970.
- Nebraska is 2-3 in its first road game of the season under Pelini, including a 36-30 loss at UCLA last season. The Huskers’ three road opening losses under Pelini have been by a total of 13 points, including a six-point overtime loss at Texas Tech in 2008.
- The Huskers are also 2-3 in conference road openers under Pelini, including 0-2 in the Big Ten. Four of Nebraska’s five road conference openers have come against ranked opponents, including both Big Ten road openers. NU lost at No. 7 Wisconsin in 2011, and at 12th-ranked Ohio State last season.
Nebraska-Purdue to Become an Annual Matchup
While Saturday’s game is the first between Nebraska and Purdue as Big Ten foes, and just the second game between the schools overall, it also marks the first of what will become an annual matchup. This year, the Huskers and Purdue are competing in the Legends and Leaders divisions, respectively, but starting in 2014 both schools will play in the Big Ten West Division and will meet each fall. Purdue makes its first trip to Lincoln on Nov. 1, 2014.
Nebraska Tops Big Ten in Wins in First Two Seasons in Conference
Nebraska began its third season of Big Ten Conference action last Saturday with a 39-19 win over Illinois. Nebraska’s victory was its 13th in 17 regular-season Big Ten games since joining the conference in 2011. The 13 wins since the start of the 2011 season are tied for the most in the Big Ten. The Huskers’ 8-2 record in division play also leads the conference.
Nebraska captured the Legends Division crown and made a trip to the Big Ten Conference Championship Game in 2012. Nebraska has won seven straight regular-season conference games entering Saturday’s game at Purdue.
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.
NU Keeps Running Game in High Gear in 2013
Nebraska has featured one of the nation’s top rushing attacks each of the past three seasons, and the Huskers are proving to be a dominant running team again in 2013. The Husker running game came out of the gate fast in 2013, rushing for 375 yards in the season opener against Wyoming, with four players topping 75 yards on the ground. NU also eclipsed 300 yards on the ground against South Dakota State and Illinois, rushing for 335 yards in each of those games. Nebraska is averaging 291.6 rushing yards per game to rank second in the Big Ten and ninth nationally.
- Nebraska’s 375 rushing yards vs. Wyoming were its most in a season opener since 2007. With back-to-back 300-yard games against South Dakota State and Illinois, Nebraska has topped 300 yards on the ground 15 times under Pelini, with six of those games coming since the start of the 2012 season. Nebraska is 15-0 in those games.
- Nebraska’s 335 rushing yards against Illinois marked its second-highest total in a Big Ten Conference game and its most since rushing for 346 yards at Minnesota in 2011.
Abdullah Looking for Back-to-Back 1,000-Yard Seasons
Junior I-back Ameer Abdullah became one of the Big Ten’s top running backs in 2012, as he broke out with a 1,000-yard rushing season. Abdullah carried a heavy load in the rushing game, teaming with quarterback Taylor Martinez to give Nebraska a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, and is once again on track for an outstanding season in 2013.
Abdullah opened 2013 with a pair of 100-yard rushing games, rushing for 114 yards against both Wyoming and Southern Miss, including a career-long 62-yard run against Wyoming. He churned out a hard-fought 98 yards against UCLA, before rushing for 139 yards on 15 carries against South Dakota State. Abdullah carried the ball just once after halftime in the win over the Jackrabbits.
The non-conference season set the stage for a career day for Abdullah in the Big Ten opener against Illinois. Abdullah rushed 20 times for a career-high 225 yards and two touchdowns. He had three runs of better than 30 yards in the game, including a highlight-reel 43-yard TD run in the third quarter. His 225 yards were the most by a Husker since Roy Helu Jr. ran for a school-record 307 yards against Missouri in 2010. For his performance, Abdullah was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week. It was the first time Abdullah had earned the offensive player-of-the-week honors, but his fourth Big Ten weekly honor. He previously earned the Special Teams Player of the Week twice, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week once in 2011.
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.