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Huskers Honor 1997 Title Team with Reunion
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
10/07/2007
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Coach Tom Osborne and the 1997 national championship will be honored during Nebraska's homecoming weekend against Oklahoma State on Oct. 13.
Courtesy: None

Lincoln The Nebraska Athletic Department is proud to welcome members of the 1997 national championship Husker football team back to Lincoln Friday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Oct. 13 for a two-day reunion celebration marking the team’s 10th anniversary.

 

The event will kick off with the Anniversary Program Celebration on Friday night, where former players, coaches and staff will have the opportunity to reunite in celebration of Nebraska’s perfect 13-0 season. Players will then be honored before kickoff of Nebraska’s home contest against Oklahoma State on Saturday, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Two members of the 1997 team, Chad Kelsay and Julius Jackson, will be making a special appearance to sign autographs at the Husker Nation Pavilion prior to the game.

 

The 1997 Nebraska Huskers, led by the Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne, were one of the most talented, successful teams in school history. Captained by Vershan Jackson, Jason Peter, Aaron Taylor and Grant Wistrom, NU capped its perfect 13-0 season with a Big 12 title win over Texas A&M and Nebraska’s fifth national championship by knocking off Tennessee and Peyton Manning in the Orange Bowl.

 

Nebraska became only the second major college football program since the Associated Press began ranking teams in 1936 to earn three national titles in four seasons. Notre Dame won titles in 1946, 1947 and 1949.

 

Defensive tackle Jason Peter and rush end Grant Wistrom earned All-America honors that year, as did offensive guard Aaron Taylor, the first Cornhusker to be named an All-American at two positions. He played center in 1996. Taylor was voted the Outland Trophy winner, with Peter being one of two runners-up.

 

Quarterback Scott Frost and I-back Ahman Green were among other key players on offense. Frost became only the 10th player in major college history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season, finishing with 1,095 and 1,237, respectively.

 

Frost’s 2,332 yards of total offense were one short of the Nebraska single-season record, set by Jerry Tagge in 1971, since surpassed by Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch (2,625) in 2001 and Jammal Lord (2,774) in 2002.

 

Green rushed for 1,877 yards, which ranked second in the nation. His yards also placed him second on the Cornhuskers’ all-time single-season list, behind 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier’s 2,148 yards.

Every Cornhusker, from freshman Matt Davison, whose touchdown catch of a deflected Frost pass on the final play of regulation against Missouri kept the title hopes alive, to scout team players contributed in varying degrees to Nebraska’s fifth national title.

 

Since that remarkable season, 26 players from the 1997 team have gone on to find success in the National Football League, including 10 who are still active members of NFL rosters in 2007. Still four others have gone on to perform at the next level as members of NFL Europe, giving NU 30 total players from that team that went on to professional careers..

 

Among the most notable of the NFL stars from the 1997 squad, Wistrom played nine seasons in the NFL with three Super Bowl appearances before retiring after the 2006 season. Green has earned a spot as one of the NFL’s top running backs, spending seven outstanding seven seasons in Green Bay Packers, before joining the Houston Texans this season. Peter retired from the NFL in 2001 after playing four seasons for the Carolina Panthers.

 

This is the third national championship team that has been honored at Nebraska in the last four seasons, as the 1994 and 1995 teams held their reunions in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

 

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