Honors & Awards
Joel Makovicka was a member of three national championship teams under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne in his five seasons at Nebraska. A redshirt on NU's 1994 Big Eight and national title team, Makovicka saw his first action on the Huskers' dominant 1995 championship team, while sharing time with his brother Jeff in the backfield.
In 1996, Makovicka made his first career start and played in 10 games, before stepping into the national spotlight in 1997. As a junior, Makovicka made 10 starts at fullback and carried 105 times for 685 yards and nine touchdowns. He bashed his way for a career-high 129 yards, including a career-long 43-yard gallop in a win over No. 2 Washington on national television, before adding the second 100-yard game of his career with 101 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in a win over Oklahoma. His efforts helped the Huskers claim their third national title in four years.
As a senior, Makovicka added 11 starts in 12 regular-season games and rushed for 458 yards on 97 carries. He finished his career with 1,447 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 5.9 yards per carry. A co-captain as a senior, Makovicka won Nebraska's prestigious Guy Chamberlin Trophy, before appearing in the Senior Bowl. Nebraska combined for a 58-6 overall record, three conference crowns and a trio of national titles while earning four varsity letters in his five seasons in Lincoln.
Off the field, Makovicka became part of Nebraska's rich academic All-America tradition by claiming first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in both 1997 and 1998. As a senior, he added a prestigious National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Postgraduate Scholarship worth $18,000 in 1998. He was also a three-time first-team academic all-conference selection.
Following his Nebraska career, Makovicka was chosen in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He spent four seasons with Arizona from 1999 to 2002.
He took over the starting fullback duties with the graduation of Brian Schuster from the NU backfield. Makovicka produced the fourth-best rushing total in the nation by a fullback with 685 yards on 105 carries with nine touchdowns. His 6.5 yards per carry led all fullbacks in the country, while his nine scores were a Husker record for fullbacks. Makovicka added another NU fullback record with his three rushing touchdowns against Oklahoma, when he posted his second 100-yard rushing effort of the season with 101 yards in the win over the Sooners.
Makovicka rushed for 50 or more yards in each of the first three games, including a career-high 129 yards on 12 carries in a win over then-No. 2 Washington. His effort against the Huskies included a career-long 43-yard burst. He finished the season with seven games of 50 or more yards. Makovicka added two touchdowns against Kansas and Akron, while adding solo scores against Iowa State and Baylor.
He also hauled in five passes for 60 yards, including a three-yard touchdown catch against Texas Tech. It was the first touchdown reception by a Nebraska fullback since Lance Lewis had a scoring grab against Iowa State in 1992. In the FedEx Orange Bowl against Tennessee, Makovicka was NU's second-leading rusher with 61 yards on nine carries.
Makovicka also had three tackles on special teams, and was on the receiving end of a successful two-point conversion pass from holder Jon Vedral vs. Iowa State. Makovicka carried four times for 12 yards in Nebraska's win over Virginia Tech in the 1996 Orange Bowl.
1995 (Redshirt Freshman)
In the 1996 Fiesta Bowl win over Florida, Makovicka registered two carries for two yards and added three tackles on special teams, as Nebraska rolled to a 62-24 win over the Gators.
Joel was active in Ventures in Parternship and was part of the McCook Dedicated to Excellence Tour and the North Platte School is Cool Jam. He also spoke at numerous school assemblies in both Lincoln and Omaha during his Husker career.
Makovicka's Career Statistics
Tackles: 5 UT, 4 AT, 9 TT in career; 1 UT, 2 AT, 3 TT in 1995; 2 UT, 1 AT, 3 TT in 1996; 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT, 1997; 1 UT, 1 AT, 2 TT in 1998
Receiving: 12-155-1 career: 3-28-0 in 1996; 5-60-1 in 1997 (TD vs. Texas Tech); long of 21 vs. Texas A&M; 4-67-0 in 1998
1996 Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida: Rushing, 2-4, Tackles, 0 UT, 3 AT, 3 TT
1996 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech: Rushing, 4-12; Tackles, 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT
1998 Orange Bowl vs. Tennessee: Rushing, 9-61
1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona: Rushing, 5-26; Receiving, 1-22
Most Rushing Attempts: 13, vs. Cal, 1998
Most Rushing Yards: 129, vs. Washington, 1997
Long Rush: 43, vs. Washington, 1997
Long Reception: 25, vs. Kansas, 1998
Most TDs Rushing: 3, vs. Oklahoma, 1997
Long TD Rush: 37, vs. Oklahoma, 1997
Number of 100-Yard Rushing Games: 2, vs. Washington, vs. Oklahoma, 1997
Number of Career Rushes of 25-plus yards: 5, 1 in 1995; 4 in 1997
Number of Career Receptions of 25-plus yards: 1 (25 vs. Kansas, 1998)