Nebraska and Kansas will continue the longest uninterrupted series in college football on Saturday, when the Huskers and Jayhawks meet for the 102nd straight season in Lawrence. Game time for the 114th overall meeting in the series is 11:30 a.m., with FSN providing television coverage of the contest.
The main storyline in this year’s meeting of Big 12 North teams is the reversal of traditional roles in this matchup. The 8-0 Jayhawks enter the game as one of five unbeaten teams in the nation and carrying a No. 8 ranking the BCS Standings. Nebraska on the other hand will be trying to snap a four-game losing skid, the longest for the Huskers since the 1961 season. Nebraska dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in Big 12 Conference play with a 28-25 loss at Texas last weekend. The Huskers jumped to a two-touchdown lead early in the third quarter, but were unable to hold on against the heavily favored Longhorns.
Saturday’s game at KU’s Memorial Stadium will mark just the seventh time Nebraska has faced a ranked Jayhawk team, and only the second time in series history an unranked Husker team has taken on a nationally ranked KU team (1952). By contrast, there have been 37 games in series history in which Nebraska entered nationally ranked against an unranked Kansas team. In fact, the Huskers were ranked in the top 10 according to the AP in 30 of those previous meetings.
The game against the Jayhawks is Nebraska’s second straight road game against a ranked team. Coupled with last week’s game at Texas, this marks the first time Nebraska has faced a pair of ranked teams on the road in successive Saturdays since playing at Penn State and Auburn early in the 1982 season.
Nebraska will also be looking to defeat an unbeaten team after Nov. 1 for the first time since a win over Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. It would be NU’s first regular-season win against an unbeaten team this late in the season since a 17-14 victory over No. 1 Oklahoma on Nov. 11, 1978 in Lincoln.
Kansas has built its solid resume on a strong defense that ranks in the top six nationally in all four major statistical categories. KU also owns an explosive offense that ranks fith nationally in scoring and 11th in total offense. In KU’s 4-0 start in Big 12 Conference play, the Jayhawks have already produced three road victories. Saturday’s game in Lawrence is just the second home contest for KU in league play.
Scouting the Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas is one of college football’s most surprising teams of 2007, ranked eighth in the nation with an 8-0 record (4-0 in Big 12), its best start in nearly a century. In July, Kansas was picked finish fourth in the Big 12 North, but it sits in first place heading into this week’s game against Nebraska with four games to play.
The Jayhawks faced an intimidating task at Kyle Field last weekend against Texas A&M, but came out on top with a 19-11 victory over the Aggies. Sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing has been the brighest spot for the Jayhawks by leading KU to a 8-0 start. After attempting just 24 passes as a freshman in 2006, Reesing has passed for 1,985 yards in 2007 while connecting on 150-of-253 attempts. He’s a dual-threat quarterback, also rushing for 193 yards this season. His average of 272.3 total offense yards per game ranks 25th in the nation. Behind Reesing, Kansas ranks third in the league in scoring offense at 42.5 points per game, including four contests over 50 points.
In the Jayhawk backfield, senior running back Brandon McAnderson leads the team with nine touchdowns on the ground and 86.0 rushing yards per contest while sophomore running back Jake Sharp is averaging 77.1 yards per game with six touchdowns to rank second on the squad. McAnderson carried the ball five times for 19 yards and a touchdown in KU’s 39-32 overtime loss against the Huskers last season. Sharp returned one kickoff for 14 yards against Nebraska, while Reesing did not see any action.
Senior wide receiver Marcus Henry is one of the best in the Big 12, with 32 catches on the year for 585 yards and three touchdowns. Along with Henry, Derek Fine has 30 catches and is one of five Jayhawks with at least three receiving touchdowns this season.
The Kansas defense got off to a great start in non-conference action by holding three of its first four opponents to single digits. The unit has continued solid play into conference action as it is second in the nation in scoring defense at 10.25 points per game and first in the Big 12 in total defense at 263.8 yards per game.
Senior placekicker Scott Webb was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 22, following Kansas’ 19-14 win at Colorado. Webb is 13-of-17 on field goals this year, including 9-of-11 from 30-39 yards. He kicked field goals of 31 and 32 yards against Texas A&M last Saturday.
Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino
Sixth-year head coach Mark Mangino is making a strong case for Big 12 and national Coach of the Year in 2007. After a 6-6 campaign in 2006, Mangino has rallied the Jayhawks to one of its best starts in school history this season.
With a 33-35 record as the Kansas head coach, Mangino led Kansas to its first bowl victory in 10 years with a 42-13 win over Houston in the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl. By doing so, Mangino became the only coach in KU history to lead the Jayhawks to a pair of bowl contests in a three-year span. Kansas also played in the Tangerine Bowl during a 6-7 season in 2004.
Mangino, a graduate of Youngstown State, began his college coaching career as an assistant at Kansas State in 1991. Following an eight-year stint with the Wildcats, he served as assistant head coach at Oklahoma from 1999 to 2001, when he tutored the offensive line and was offensive coordinator for his final two seasons.
Nebraska-Kansas Series...114th Meeting
Nebraska and Kansas continue one of college football’s longest series as they meet for the 114th time this Saturday. Nebraska has won 37 of the last 38 in the series, dropping only a 2005 match-up in Lawrence. The Huskers lead the all-time series, 88-22-3, and are 46-7-1 on the road against the Jayhawks.
The NU-KU series is tied for third-longest in NCAA Division 1A history, trailing only Minnesota-Wisconsin (117) and Kansas-Missouri (116).
►The series is continuous since 1906 (101 games), making it the longest current continuous series in I-A and an NCAA record (surpassing the 95 games by Kansas-Oklahoma, 1903-97).
►In the last match-up in Lawrence, Kansas’ 40-15 win marked the largest point total for the Jayhawks in series history.
►During NU’s 36-game win streak from 1968 to 2004, KU played the Huskers within one touchdown only five times.
►Kansas head coach Mark Mangino is 1-4 against Nebraska, while Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan is 2-1 against Kansas.
►Nebraska has not lost back-to-back games in Lawrence since the 1958 and 1960 seasons.
►Nebraska’s 2005 loss at Kansas was its first in Lawrence since a 10-0 defeat in 1967.
►The Huskers have three players from the state of Kansas–senior linebacker Lance Brandenburgh (Overland Park), freshman linebacker Blake Lawrence and senior running back Kenny Wilson (Liberal). The Jayhawks have two players from the state of Nebraska-sophomore wide receiver Micah Brown (Kearney) and Matt Weiderspon (Sidney).
►Kansas had offensive games of 428 and 511 total yards in the 2005 and 2006 contests against Nebraska.
►This Saturday will mark the first time Kansas has played Nebraska as a ranked team since 1995 (No. 10). Kansas’ No. 8 ranking marks the third-highest for a KU team facing Nebraska and the highest entering a meeting with NU since 1968 (No. 6).
Fourth-Quarter Texas Rally Ends Husker Upset Bid
In a matchup of two of college football’s storied programs, Nebraska jumped to a two-touchdown lead early in the third quarter at Texas, but the Longhorns rallied behind a powerful fourth-quarter rushing attack to pull out a 28-25 victory on Saturday in Austin.
The crowd of 85,968 fans–the largest ever to see a Nebraska conference game–was largely quiet until the ‘Horns Jamaal Charles exploded in the fourth quarter, pacing the Longhorn comeback. Up to that point, the game had been controlled by an efficient Husker offense and a spirited Nebraska defensive effort.
The Huskers forged a 17-3 lead early in the second half on the second Sam Keller to Nate Swift touchdown pass of the day. After hooking up on a 24-yard scoring strike just before halftime, Keller hit Swift on a 23-yarder on third down to give NU a two-touchdown lead with 12:32 remaining in the third. The two scoring strikes were the first touchdowns of the day after the offenses managed only an exchange of field goals in the first 29 minutes.
Texas chipped away at the Husker lead in the third quarter, as Ryan Bailey connected on 47- and 49-yard field goals to slice the lead to 17-9 after 45 minutes. In the fourth quarter, Charles broke loose for 216 of his Nebraska opponent-record 290 rushing yards, including touchdown runs of 25, 86 and 40 yards.
The Longhorns cut the lead to 17-15 with 12:23 left on the first of Charles’ TD runs, but the two-point conversion failed, leaving NU in the lead. Nebraska appeared to regain momentum on a Zach Potter interception with 10:17 left, but the Huskers could not capitalize. After NU downed a punt at the Longhorn 2, Charles cut loose for an 86-yard run to give UT its first lead since the first quarter. Charles pushed the lead to 28-17 with his third touchdown, but Nebraska did not give in.
Junior quarterback Joe Ganz subbed for the injured Keller and connected with Maurice Purify on a four-yard touchdown pass. A successful two-point pass to Swift cut the lead to 28-25. However, Texas covered NU’s on-side kick attempt and ran out the clock.
Texas held a 545-447 edge in total yardage, including 364 rushing yards. Keller threw for 298 yards before leaving the game, with Swift on the receiving end of six catches for 112 yards. I-back Marlon Lucky also caught six passes to go along with his 111 rushing yards on 24 carries.
Noting Game Nine...Texas 28, Nebraska 25
►Texas’ three-point victory marked the fifth time in the past seven meetings between the two schools that the outcome has been decided by four points or less. Texas has won all five of those games. The ‘Horns have also won all six regular-season meetings between the schools since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.
►Junior wide receiver Nate Swift caught six passes for 112 yards, including a pair of touchdown catches. The two touchdown receptions give Swift 12 career touchdown catches, incuding three this season. Swift’s 12 career touchdown catches place him in a tie for sixth on the NU career list.
►The 100-yard receiving day was the fourth of Swift’s career and his first since his freshman season in 2005.
►Swift’s six catches moved him into third place on the Nebraska career receptions list with 96 catches, passing Matt Davison’s total of 93 receptions from 1997 to 2000.
►Junior running back Marlon Lucky rushed 24 times for 111 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of 2007 and the seventh of his Husker career. With his 111 yards, Lucky moved his season rushing total to 832 and his career rushing total to 1,689.
►Lucky’s 33-yard run in the second quarter was the second-longest rush by NU this season, bettered only by Lucky’s 41-yard TD run against Iowa State.
►Lucky caught six passes for 41 yards, pushing his season receptions total to 55, tying Johnny Rodgers’ school-record set in 1972. Lucky has 89 career receptions, good for fifth place on the Husker career list.
►Senior wide receiver Frantz Hardy caught a 56-yard pass on the second play of the second half, giving him five career receptions of 50 yards or more, including two this season.
►Nebraska forced a fourth quarter turnover by Texas (interception by Zach Potter), marking the first takeaway by the Husker defense in four games (four vs. Iowa State).
►Redshirt freshman place-kicker Alex Henery connected on a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter to improve to a perfect 6-of-6 on field goal attempts this season. Henery is also 26-of-26 on extra-point attempts.
►Freshman offensive tackle Jaivorio Burkes played in his first career game and made his first career start. The start by Burkes marks the third straight season that Nebraska has had a true freshman offensive lineman earn a start. In 2005, Matt Slauson started the final three games of the season and a year ago Jacob Hickman earned a start in game 10 against Missouri. Burkes, Hickman and Slauson are the only true freshmen to start on the offensive line since 1972.
►Senior fullback Andy Sand caught two passes for 16 yards. Sand entered the game with just one reception for 15 yards in his career.
►Senior safety Ben Eisenhart collected a career-high six tackles, bettering his five tackles earlier this season against Oklahoma State.
►Junior punter Dan Titchener averaged 42.6 yards on eight punts, and had four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
►Texas running back Jamaal Charles had 290 yards rushing against the Huskers, the most recorded by an individual against Nebraska in school history. Charles bettered a 247-yard game by Oklahoma’s Billy Sims at Oklahoma on Nov. 24, 1979.
Nebraska, Jayhawks Meeting for 102nd Straight Season
Nebraska and Kansas renew one of the nation’s oldest rivalries this weekend. Saturday’s meeting will be the 114th all-time between the two schools, and the 55th all-time matchup in Lawrence.
►The 114 meetings between the two schools makes NU-Kansas the third-longest series in Division I-A, trailing only Minnesota-Wisconsin (117th meeting on Nov. 17) and KU-Missouri (116th meeting on Nov. 24).
►Saturday’s game marks the 102nd straight year the two schools have met, making the NU-KU series the longest continuous series in the country. The schools have met every season since 1906.
Huskers Face Second Straight Ranked Opponent
Nebraska's matchup with No. 8 (AP) Kansas is the second of two straight road games against nationally ranked opponents. Last weekend the Huskers fell just short of defeating No. 17 Texas in Austin, losing 28-25.
►The consecutive road games against nationally ranked opponents marks a first since 2000, when NU faced back-to-back road games against No. 3 Oklahoma (Oct. 28) and 16th-ranked Kansas State (Nov. 11).
►The last time Nebraska played road games in consecutive weeks against ranked teams was in 1982, when Nebraska lost 27-24 at No. 8 Penn State (Sept. 25), before picking up a 41-7 victory at 20th-ranked Auburn (Oct. 2).
Huskers Look to Upend Nationally Ranked Jayhawks
Nebraska enters Saturday’s game unranked, while Kansas is ranked eighth by the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches Poll. It marks just the second time in series history an unranked Nebraska team has taken on a nationally ranked Jayhawk squad. In 1952, unranked Nebraska upset No. 7 Kansas, 14-13, in Lawrence.
►Since 1964, Nebraska has been unranked entering a matchup with Kansas just five times, while this season is just the seventh time in series history that Nebraska has faced a nationally ranked Jayhawk squad.
►A Nebraska win would mark the highest-ranked team the Huskers have defeated on the road since a 27-14 win at No. 2 Washington in 1997.
Late-Season Matchups with Unbeatens are Rare for Huskers
Nebraska enters Saturday’s game with the opportunity to upend an 8-0 Kansas team. Matchups with undefeated teams this late in the season are a rarity for any team, including Nebraska.
►The last time Nebraska faced an unbeaten team after Nov. 1 was in 2004, when NU lost 30-3 at No. 2 Oklahoma.
►Nebraska last defeated an unbeaten team after Nov. 1 with a 62-24 victory over Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl in a matchup for the national championship.
►NU’s last November regular-season win against an unbeaten team came on Nov. 11, 1978, when the Huskers knocked off No. 1 and unbeaten Oklahoma, 17-14, in Lincoln. The last time NU won a road game against an unbeaten team in November was the 35-31 1971 win at Oklahoma in the “Game of the Century.”
►In recent years, NU has two late-October wins over unbeaten and second-ranked teams–a 20-10 win over 7-0 Oklahoma on Oct. 27, 2001, and a 24-7 win over 7-0 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994.
Huskers Look to Find Success in Lawrence
Nebraska saw its 36-game win streak in the series end in its last trip to Lawrence in 2005, when KU knocked off the Huskers 40-15. Nebraska resumed its winning ways in the series with a 39-32 overtime victory last season in Lincoln.
The 2005 Kansas victory reversed a long history of Nebraska dominance in the series, however...
►The Huskers have scored 40 or more points in 26 of the last 38 meetings, while holding Kansas to single digits 24 times in the same stretch, including 10 Nebraska shutouts.
►The Huskers hold a 46-7-1 all-time edge in the series in Lawrence, including a 37-6 mark at KU’s Memorial Stadium.
Husker Offense Looks for Success Against Strong Jayhawk Defense
Nebraska featured one of the nation’s most diverse offensive attacks in 2006, and has again showed flashes of outstanding play in 2007. In 2006, Nebraska was one of only three teams to rank in the top 25 nationally in all four major offensive statistical categories (Louisville, Oregon).
Nebraska opened the 2007 season against Nevada by rolling up its largest rushing total in five years (413 yards), the top rushing total in the country on opening weekend. The Huskers’ 625 total yards were their most since 2001 and the 35 first downs in the game were the most by the Huskers since recording 37 in a 1995 victory over Iowa State.
Nebraska unleashed the best two-week aerial assault in school history against USC and Ball State. After throwing for 389 yards in a loss to the Trojans, quarterback Sam Keller threw for a school-record 438 yards in a 41-40 victory over Ball State, part of a 552-yard total offensive effort. NU enters the Kansas game ranked 36th nationally in total offense at 424.8 yards per game.
The Huskers finished 2006 ranked 14th nationally and third in the Big 12 in total offense at 414.6 yards per game. Those numbers represented a 94.3-yard improvement over the 2005 season, when the Husker offense clicked late in the year. The 2005 Huskers finished the season 96th nationally in total offense at 320.3 yards per game.
The Huskers' offensive gain was largely attributed to a much-improved running attack. In 2005, Nebraska finished last in the Big 12 and 110th nationally at 96.0 rushing yards per game. A year ago, Nebraska finished 23rd nationally in rushing offense at 170.5 yards per game, an improvement of 74.5 yards per contest.
NU also made strong improvements in scoring offense going from 67th nationally in 2005 to 17th in 2006 at 30.6 points per contest. The Huskers also made a 31-spot jump in passing offense, improving from 54th in 2005 to 23rd in 2006.
Husker Offense Continuing to Find Success in Red Zone
Nebraska has been extremely efficient in the Red Zone the past two seasons. A year ago, the Huskers finished the season with an 86 percent efficiency rate in the Red Zone (44-of-51), including 41 touchdowns. At one point in the season, Nebraska was perfect in the Red Zone for seven straight games.
The 2007 Husker offense is showing the same ability to convert scoring opportunities into points. Through nine games, Nebraska has an 85 percent (29-of-34) Red Zone conversion rate. The Huskers have scored 23 touchdowns and connected on six field goals after moving inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Among Nebraska’s five failed Red Zone opportunities, two have come on loss of downs, one at the end of the half, one at the end of the game and one by a turnover.
Nebraska is seventh in the Big 12 in Red Zone efficiency. Kansas is also strong when penetrating the Red Zone, converting 35-of-41 opportunities (85 percent) into scores. KU ranks sixth in the Big 12 in that category.
Nebraska Looking to Get Big Plays Back in Offensive Attack
The Nebraska offense has shown the ability to produce big plays throughout the 2007 season. In fact, through five games, the Huskers produced 30 plays from scrimmage that covered at least 20 yards. NU’s most explosive offensive day came against Ball State when the Huskers rolled up 552 yards of total offense, partially due to nine plays of 20 yards or more.
NU also had nine long plays against Nevada, four against Wake Forest, three vs. USC and five against Iowa State. Nebraska’s offensive explosiveness slowed against Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, producing just seven plays of 20 yards or more (1 run, 6 pass). Nebraska got back on track with six plays of 20 yards or more against Texas, including five through the air, giving NU 43 plays of 20 yards or more on the year. The Husker offense of the past two seasons has been much more explosive than in 2004 and 2005. Last season, NU had 54 plays of 20 yards or more through nine games and finished the year with 74 long plays.
Lucky Producing Record-Setting Receiving Numbers for NU Offense
Nebraska junior I-back Marlon Lucky has proven himself as an all-purpose back throughout the 2007 season. Beginning with his 233-yard rushing effort against Nevada in the season opener, the 6-0, 210-pounder has shown himself to be a versatile and productive performer for the Husker offense.
In recent weeks, Lucky has distinguished himself as a receiver in the Nebraska offense. He already shattered most NU running back position receiving records and is also erasing receiving records regardless of position.
Lucky made six catches at Texas, pushing his season total to 55 receptions. That total ties Johnny Rodgers’ season record set in 1972. Lucky had previously eclipsed the running back season record of 43 receptions set by Cory Ross in 2005.
►The 55 receptions by Lucky are the most by any running back in the nation. In fact, Lucky ranks 35th nationally and sixth in the Big 12 Conference in receptions per game at 6.1 per game. Lucky is the only running back in the country ranked in the top 100 in receptions per game.
►Lucky has recorded the top two games in terms of receptions by a Nebraska running back in the past six games. Against Ball State, Lucky collected 11 catches for 81 yards to break the previous single-game record for receptions by a back (9). That record lasted all of four weeks, as Lucky hauled in 13 catches for 125 yards against Texas A&M.
►The 13 and 11 reception games rank No. 2 and No. 3 on the single-game receptions chart for any player in school history. Only Dennis Richnafsky’s 14 receptions against Kansas State in 1967 top Lucky’s two receiving games.
►Lucky has at least three receptions in 12 of the past 15 games dating back to last season and has had four or more catches in seven of the past eight games.
►Lucky has 89 career receptions, fifth on the Husker career list, four behind Matt Davison who is in third place on the career list. Lucky has set a new standard for career catches by a Husker running back, passing Jeff Kinney's total of 82 career catches.
►Lucky has a team-high 429 receiving yards in 2007, and needs five yards to set a new NU running back record for receiving yards in a season. Jeff Kinney currently holds that mark with 433 yards on 41 catches in 1969. Lucky has 815 career receiving yards, just 49 yards shy of the Husker running back career record (864, Kinney, 1969-71).
Ground Game Also Keyed by Lucky
Marlon Lucky had a career day in the opener against Nevada, carrying a career-high 30 times for 233 yards and three rushing touchdowns against the Wolf Pack. Lucky’s big day against Nevada earned him National Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was also named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, the second time in his career he has earned that honor.
In the process of running wild through the Wolf Pack defense, Lucky ran his way into the Husker record books.
►His 233 rushing yards shattered his previous career high of 156 yards on 10 carries last season against Troy. The 30 carries were five more than his previous career high of 25 against Auburn in the Cotton Bowl.
►Lucky became the 15th Husker player to rush for more than 200 yards in a game (33 games overall). Lucky’s 233 yards marked the 12th-best rushing day in school history, and was just one yard from the single-game top 10.
►The previous time a Husker topped 200 rushing yards was quarterback Jammal Lord who ran for 234 yards against Texas on Nov. 2, 2002. Lucky’s 233-yard day was the first 200-yard effort by a Nebraska I-back since Dan Alexander rushed for 240 yards in the 2000 Alamo Bowl against Northwestern. The 233 rushing yards were also the most ever by a Husker in a season opener. His four touchdowns were the most by a Husker since David Horne had four rushing scores at Texas A&M on Oct. 26, 2002.
►Lucky became the 56th Husker to rush for 1,000 career yards against Nevada. He now has 1,689 yards to rank 28th on the NU career list.
►Lucky has 832 rushing yards in 2007 and needs needs 168 yards to record the 28th, 1,000-yard rushing season in school history.
►Lucky produced his fourth 100-yard rushing day of the season with 111 yards on 24 carries against Texas. Lucky now has seven career 100-yard rushing days, including three in 2006.
►Lucky has 1,261 all-purpose yards in 2007, six yards shy of his 14-game total in 2006. Lucky averages 140.1 all-purpose yards per game to rank fifth in the Big 12 and 37th nationally. He needs 214 all-purpose yards to post the top all-purpose yardage season by a Husker since Ahman Green racked up 1,982 all-purpose yards in 1997.
►Lucky’s 266 all-purpose yards against Nevada were the most by a Husker since 1991, when Calvin Jones had a school-record 298 yards against Kansas. The 266 yards tied for the fifth-best total in school history.
Freshman I-Backs Providing Complement to Lucky
While Marlon Lucky has handled the bulk of Nebraska’s rushing chores, he has received plenty of assistance in recent weeks from true freshmen I-backs Quentin Castille and Roy Helu.
Against Oklahoma State, Castille and Helu both established new highs for carries and rushing yards, helping the Huskers top 200 yards on the ground for the first time since the season opener.
►The 6-2, 235-pound Castille carried 20 times for 102 yards against the Cowboys, giving the Huskers one of five 100-yard rushing games this season (4 by Lucky). Castille added 60 yards and a touchdown on nine carries against Texas A&M. Castille has produced 296 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 64 carries.
►Helu has not seen as much action as Castille, but figures into the offensive plans for the remainder of the year. The Danville, Calif., native has rushed for 147 yards on 34 carries, while also catching four passes. Against OSU, Helu rushed 14 times for 55 yards and caught a 21-yard screen pass, and he had five rushes for 39 yards against A&M.
Nunn Closing Fast on Receiving Records
Nebraska's switch to a balanced offensive attack three seasons ago has allowed Husker passers and receivers to re-write the Nebraska record book. Quarterbacks Zac Taylor and Sam Keller have been the beneficiaries of the Husker offense, holding nearly every NU passing record between them. Husker receivers have also put their names in a prominent position in the record book. The entire corps of wideouts returned for 2007, along with three of four tight ends who saw extensive action last season.
Leading the way is senior Terrence Nunn, who has his sights on the Nebraska career receptions record. The Houston native has been a steady performer in the Nebraska offense since starting the season opener as a true freshman in 2004. Nunn has joined Johnny Rodgers as the only Huskers to record two 40-reception seasons in a career after Nunn posted 43 and 42 catches, respectively, the past two seasons. Nunn's career receptions total of 126 ranks second only to Rodgers on the Husker chart, 17 catches behind the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner. In addition to his receptions total, Nunn ranks second in school history in yardage at 1,609 yards.
Nunn did see his pursuit of one record end at Missouri. After having at least one catch in 32 straight games, Nunn was blanked against the Tigers, ending his streak six games shy of Rodgers’ record of 38 straight games.
Nunn had one of his finest games as a Husker against Wake Forest, catching six passes for 83 yards in a 20-17 win. The six catches were the second-highest output of Nunn’s career. Nunn has 17 career games with four or more catches, including two this season.
Swift Also on Record-Setting Receiving Pace
Junior Nate Swift is not far behind Nunn in terms of production. The two players joined the Nebraska program together in the fall of 2004, but Swift redshirted his first season in Lincoln. Swift is in close pursuit of Nunn in terms of both career receptions and receiving yards.
The Hutchinson, Minn., native is coming off his most productive game in two seasons, after catching six passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns at Texas. He also added a two-point conversion catch and his 100-yard day was the fourth of his career, but first since 2005. Swift’s four 100-yard receiving days rank third on the NU career list.
Swift has 29 receptions for 408 yards and three touchdowns this season. His receptions total gives him 96 career catches, third on the NU chart. Swift is also close to moving into third place on the career receiving yardage list, trailing Matt Davison by just 33 yards entering Saturday’s game at Kansas.
Swift set a Nebraska freshman record with 45 receptions in 2005, the third-best receptions total in school history regardless of class. His 641 receiving yards that season ranked fifth on the season chart.
The two touchdown catches at Texas gave Swift 12 career touchdown receptions, good for a tie for sixth on the NU career list. He is just three touchdown catches from moving into a tie for second on the Husker career touchdown receptions list.
Other Receivers Also Making Their Mark for Huskers
In addition to the record-setting numbers of Terrence Nunn and Nate Swift, Nebraska has several other receivers who give the Huskers one of the Big 12’s best and deepest group of pass catchers.
Senior Maurice Purify had an outstanding first season at Nebraska and is producing a solid 2007 campaign. A year ago, Purify caught 34 passes for a team-leading 630 yards. Purify also led the team with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged 18.5 yards per catch. Purify's 630 receiving yards marked the sixth-best season total in school history, while his seven touchdowns tied for fifth place on the season list.
Purify ranks second on the team with 33 catches for 412 yards in eight games. Against Texas, Purify had five catches for 38 yards, including his 10th career touchdown. A week earlier, Purify became the 15th Husker to record 1,000 career receiving yards and now has 1,042 career receiving yards. Purify caught a career-best seven passes that covered 80 yards against USC. A week later, Purify set a career receiving yardage high with 122 yards on six catches against Ball State. His effort was part of a school-record 438 yards passing and his 11-yard TD late in the fourth quarter provided the winning points in a 41-40 win.
Senior Frantz Hardy does not possess the same volume of catches, but boasts two of the most explosive receiving games in NU history. His 152 receiving yards against Maine in his Nebraska debut in 2005 rank as the fifth-best single-game total in school history. Last season, Hardy had three catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas, the No. 4 game on the single-season receiving yards list. Hardy has 10 catches for 198 yards to his credit in 2007, including a 60-yard reception against Iowa State and a 56-yarder last week at Texas. Hardy has five career catches of 55 yards or more and averages 17.6 yards on his 49 career receptions.
Junior Todd Peterson and senior Dan Erickson also had extensive game experience entering 2007. Peterson has 10 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns this season, while Erickson has five receptions.
Keller Posts Impressive Offensive Numbers in Husker Attack
Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan turned the reins of the 2007 offense over to senior Sam Keller. Keller and junior Joe Ganz entered fall camp listed jointly atop the depth chart, but Keller owned a slight edge during the fall to earn the starting nod. Keller is in his second year in the Nebraska program. A year ago, the 6-4, 230-pound Keller sat out as a redshirt after transferring from Arizona State in August. Keller directed the NU scout team offense and was the Huskers’ Scout Team MVP. Prior to coming to Lincoln, Keller had a standout career at Arizona State, throwing for 3,018 yards and 26 touchdowns, including more than 2,100 yards in eight games in 2005.
Keller suffered a shoulder injury late in the game against Texas and is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season.
Keller has been solid at the helm of the Husker offense. He threw for 389 yards against then-top-ranked USC, then put up a school-record 438 yards against Ball State on Sept. 22. Keller is the latest quarterback with the opportunity to flourish in Callahan’s West Coast Offense. A year ago, senior Zac Taylor re-wrote the Nebraska record book and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Of course, Callahan also enjoyed successful quarterback play in the NFL, as Rich Gannon was named the 2002 NFL MVP, while guiding the Raiders to the Super Bowl in Callahan’s first season as head coach.
The 6-4, 230-pound Keller opened his NU career with 191 passing yards against Nevada, then threw for 258 yards and a touchdown in the Huskers’ 20-17 win at Wake Forest. The 389-yard effort against the Trojans was the fifth-highest passing total in school history, and his 36 completions against USC tied Taylor’s school record.
Among Keller’s notable accomplishments through the first nine games are...
►Keller has thrown for 2,422 yards, good for third on the Nebraska season passing list. Keller’s season total marks the seventh 2,000-yard passing season in school history.
►Keller has completed 63.08 percent of his pass attempts, a completion rate that would break the Nebraska season record of 63.03 percent by Jerry Tagge in 1970.
►Keller has 205 pass completions, 32 completions shy of the NU season record of 237 set by Zac Taylor in 2005.
►Keller ranks 31st nationally in total offense at 260.4 yards per game.
The Danville, Calif., native now has 5,440 career passing yards, including his career at Arizona State.
McKeon Making Way up Nebraska Tackles List
Nebraska senior linebacker Corey McKeon is tied for second on the Nebraska defense in tackles with 56 stops this season, four behind team leader Steve Octavien. McKeon has had his top tackle games in recent weeks with 10 stops against Oklahoma State, followed by a career-high 14 stops against Texas A&M on Oct. 20.
McKeon’s 56 tackles this season have pushed his career tackles total to 223, good for 17th place on the Nebraska career charts. He is 25 stops from becoming one of Nebraska’s top 10 career tacklers. McKeon also has six tackles for loss in 2007, giving the Naperville, Ill., native a total of 36 career stops behind the line of scrimmage. He needs 1.5 tackles for loss to move into the top 10 on that career list.
A high school safety, McKeon has also recorded five career interceptions, including one earlier this season in Nebraska’s 20-17 win at Wake Forest.
Ruud Continues to Show Knack for Big Plays
Nebraska senior linebacker Bo Ruud continues to show his knack for providing big plays for the Husker defense. Against Iowa State, Ruud intercepted a third-quarter Bret Meyer pass and raced 93 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that gave the Huskers a comfortable 28-10 lead. The interception return for a score marked the second straight week Ruud had found the end zone. A week earlier, Ruud intercepted a Ball State pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown to help fuel Nebraska’s come-from-behind victory.
The interceptions in two straight games gave Ruud five career interceptions, including three that he has returned for touchdowns (also 2005 vs. Maine). Ruud has made the most of his five interceptions, returning them a total of 208 yards and each of them at least 14 yards. The three interception returns for touchdowns are a record for a Husker linebacker.
The 93-yard interception return against Iowa State was the longest ever by a Nebraska linebacker and the third-longest in school history. Ruud also became the first Nebraska linebacker to score two touchdowns in a season since Julius Jackson had a fumble and an interception return for a score against Southern Miss in 1999. Ruud’s two interception returns for touchdowns in a season ties a Nebraska linebacker record.
In addition to his interception stats, Ruud has also consistently been around ball-carriers during his career. The Lincoln native has forced six fumbles in his career, while recovering four others.
Ruud is in his third season as a starter for the defense. He lined up at WILL linebacker the past two seasons before moving to the SAM linebacker spot in 2007. Ruud ranks sixth on the team with 42 tackles, including a season-high 14 stops against Iowa State and a team-high 10 stops at Missouri. His 14 tackles against Iowa State were one off his career high of 15 stops at Colorado in 2005.
Ruud’s 42 tackles have pushed his career tackles total to 204. Against Missouri, Ruud passed his father, Tom (202), on the Nebraska all-time tackles list. Bo’s older brother, Barrett, is the Huskers' all-time leader with 432 tackles and currently leads the National Football League in tackles.
Nebraska freshman place-kicker Adi Kunalic has made a significant difference in the Husker kickoff game. Through nine games, Kunalic has kicked off 43 times and delivered 22 touchbacks. Kunalic’s strong leg has helped Nebraska rank second nationally in touchbacks. Kunalic has the best touchback percentage of any kicker in the country at 51 percent.
A year ago, Nebraska had a strong kickoff return defense ranking 16th nationally in average yards allowed per kickoff return, despite being one of only seven schools to defend 60 or more kickoffs. Last season Nebraska produced just 12 touchbacks in 77 total kickoffs, 10 fewer than Kunalic has provided in nine games this season, despite the change to kicking off from the 30-yard line. Nebraska ranks 23rd nationally in kickoff return defense in 2007.
Henery, Other Walk-ons Playing Large Role for 2007 Huskers
While Adi Kunalic has paced the Husker kickoff game, redshirt fresman place-kicker Alex Henery has handled the place-kicking chores in fine fashion. Henery is a perfect 6-of-6 on field goals this season and has connected on all 26 of his extra-point attempts. Henery leads the team in scoring with 44 points this season.
Henery is part of an impressive output by Nebraska walk-ons this season. The Huskers have totaled 238 points through eight games, with 94 of those points (39 percent) by walk-ons or former walk-ons. In addition to Henery’s 44 points, tight end Sean Hill has provided 20 points, fullback Thomas Lawson has 18 points, and wide receiver Todd Peterson has scored two touchdowns for 12 points.
Peterson is one of 21 former walk-ons who have been placed on scholarship by Head Coach Bill Callahan since he took over the Nebraska program in January of 2004. Of the 21 players, 15 are native Nebraskans.
NCAA-Record 288 Consecutive Home Sellouts
Nebraska boasts an incredible NCAA-record 288 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium. The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney's first year in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3). Notre Dame is second in all-time consecutive sellouts with 195, 93 fewer than Nebraska. The Huskers are 251-37 during the 288 sellouts. The mark includes a 39-23 record against ranked teams. Nebraska is 5-0 in the five milestone sellouts during that period (50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th sellouts), including a 24-7 win over No. 2 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994 (No. 200) and a 44-13 victory over Utah State on Sept. 7, 2002 (No. 250).
The fan support at Memorial Stadium has led to a dominant home advantage for the Huskers. NU has won at least six home games in 18 of the past 21 seasons (updated including 2007) and is 163-21 at home since 1981. Nebraska's sellout streak will reach 289 in the home finale against Kansas State on Nov. 10.
Nebraska Owns Dominant Edge at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska has rewarded the loyalty of its fans with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years. Nebraska finished 6-1 at home in 2006, and has won at least six home games in 18 of the past 21 seasons (updated to include 2007). Nebraska is 119-14 at home in the last 18 seasons (since 1989), including a pair of losses against teams that went on to win the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991.
During Nebraska’s run of success at home in the past 25 years, Nebraska has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games. Nebraska had a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998, a 26-game home streak from 1998 to 2002 and a 21-game win streak in the early 1980s.
Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (254 games), and has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. The Huskers are 486-133-20 (.776, 639 games, 118 years) in Lincoln, 361-110-13 (.759, 484 games, 85 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923).
Nebraska made its first appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game since 1999 with its 2006 trip to the league title game in Kansas City. The Huskers played in three of the first four Big 12 title games. Nebraska is one of three teams to capture two or more Big 12 titles in the first 11 years of the conference, joining Oklahoma with four and Texas with two. Kansas State, Texas A&M and Colorado each captured one Big 12 crown. Oklahoma leads the way with five Big 12 title game appearances, followed by Nebraska, Colorado and Texas with four each.
The Huskers have won 43 football conference championships overall, including eight under Coach Bob Devaney and 13 under Coach Tom Osborne. Oklahoma has won 36 conference championships to rank second behind NU among league schools.
Huskers Among Leaders in AP National Titles
Notre Dame leads the nation by winning eight Associated Press national titles since 1936, with Oklahoma (7), Alabama (6), Miami (5), USC (5), Nebraska (4) and Minnesota (4) next in line. While the Huskers were awarded the national title by the coaches in 1997, NU finished second to Michigan in the AP poll.
In 1970, Nebraska was awarded the AP national title, but not the coaches (Texas was first, Ohio State second and NU third) as the final poll was released before the bowl games were played. In the coaches poll (since 1950), Nebraska is tied for fourth with Miami and Texas with four titles, behind Alabama and Oklahoma with six apiece, and USC with five.
Callahan's Huskers Continue to Perform in Classroom
Nebraska has continued its tradition of excellence in the classroom under Head Coach Bill Callahan. In 2006, senior Dane Todd was selected as a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. Todd completed his career with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in biological sciences.
Todd was a first-team selection as a junior. In addition to his academic All-America honors, Todd also received the 2007 Walter Byers Award, the highest honor bestowed on a student-athlete by the NCAA.
The selection of Todd as a second-team academic All-American gave the Husker football program 93 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, a nation-leading total. The Husker athletic program as a whole also leads the nation with 252 academic All-America selections across all teams and all sports.
Big 12 Leader in First-Team Academic All-Conference Selections
A Big 12-leading 15 Nebraska football players were named first-team academic All-Big 12 in 2006. Overall, 22 Huskers received either first- or second-team recognition by the Big 12. Dane Todd was one of five Huskers who were named first-team academic All-Big 12 for the third time in their careers. Also named to the first team for the third time were 2006 seniors Kurt Mann, Brandon Rigoni and Andrew Shanle, along with tight end J.B. Phillips. A 2007 senior on the field, Phillips earned his undergraduate degree in 3 1/2 years, finishing last December. He plans to complete his master’s degree in marketing by May of 2008. Phillips has already completed 18 hours toward his MBA.
Eighteen Seniors on Track to Graduate by December
J.B. Phillips will be in good company by bowl season. A remarkable number of 23 seniors are on track to earn their undergraduate degrees by the completion of the fall semester.
Among Callahan’s first three senior classes, 53 of 64 student-athletes have graduated with several others very near completion of their degrees.
Husker Freshmen off to Strong Start in the Classroom
The Husker football program had 18 incoming freshmen take courses in the 2007 summer session. Those newcomers quickly made the transition to the college classroom, completing a combined 102 credit hours with an average GPA of 3.720.
Nebraska Leads Big 12 in Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rates
The University of Nebraska is the Big 12 leader in exhausted eligibility graduation rates for the fourth consecutive year. Nebraska boasts an impressive 94 percent rate, a percentage point higher than last year’s mark of 93 percent. The exhausted eligibility rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes in 10 incoming freshman classes who complete their eligibility at the University. Nebraska’s exhausted eligibility rate has increased from 87 to 94 percent in the past six years and has improved 22 percentage points since the inception of the rate in 1991-92.
The current exhausted eligibility rate includes members of incoming classes from 1990-91 through 1999-2000. During that time, 424 of 453 Nebraska scholarship student-athletes who completed their eligibility earned their undergraduate degree.
Nebraska’s 94 percent rate is three points higher than Baylor, which was second in the conference at 91 percent. The national average for exhausted eligibility is 85 percent for Division I schools.
Huskers Fare Well in Graduation Success Rate Report
The Husker football program also scored well in the recent Graduation Success Rate scores that were released by the NCAA. NU ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in GSR at 83 percent, just one percentage point behind league leader Baylor. Among teams ranked in the AP Top 25 of Sept. 30, Nebraska was one of only two schools to record a GSR score of better than 80 percent (also Boston College).
NU Leads in Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll
In addition to leading the league in first-team academic All-Big 12 picks, Nebraska also paced the field in Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selections. During the fall 2006 semester, Nebraska placed 39 players on the Big 12 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll, including six student-athletes who had perfect 4.0 grade-point averages for the semester. During the spring, 35 Huskers were named to the honor roll, with six players recording 4.0 GPAs for the spring semester. The honor roll recognizes all student-athletes who earned a 3.0 grade-point average or better in the previous semester.
Nebraska Honored by AFCA for Grad Rate
The Husker football program was one of 34 schools from across the nation honored this spring by the American Football Coaches Association with the 2007 Academic Achievement Award.
The 34 schools that were honored achieved a graduation rate of 70 percent or better for the 2000-01 incoming freshman class. This year marked the seventh straight year Nebraska has received the honor and the 11th time since 1994 Nebraska has been recognized.
Peterson Receives Brook Berringer Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Nebraska junior wide receiver Todd Peterson was this year's recipient of the Brook Berringer Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship was endowed in the memory of former Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer, who died in a plane crash on April 18, 1996. Peterson received the honor before the Ball State game.
Criteria for the Brook Berringer Memorial Scholarship includes the following: Must be a football student-athlete; must be involved in community service along with high ideals, excellent character and integrity.
A native of Grand Island, Peterson embodies the description of the Berringer Scholarship criteria. He has been a contributor to the Nebraska receiving corps since his freshman season in 2005 and has made 37 career receptions, including six touchdown grabs. Off the field, Peterson is heavily involved in community outreach. He was selected to the 2007 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team, which recognizes Husker football players who take a leading role in Nebraska's community outreach activities. Peterson is also a member of the Nebraska Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Peterson is majoring in nutrition, exercise and health science and carries a 3.726 cumulative grade-point average. He is a two-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.
Christensen Honored with Jake Young Memorial Scholarship
Nebraska junior offensive lineman Andy Christensen was honored as the 2007 recipient of the Jake Young Memorial Scholarship. Christensen was honored on the field before Nebraska’s game against Texas A&M.
A native of Bennington, Neb., Christensen started six games on the Husker offensive line last season as a sophomore. He started the first three games of 2007 at offensive guard, before suffering a season-ending knee injury against USC.
In addition to his on-field talents, Christensen is a standout performer in the classroom, carrying a 3.651 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in construction management. He was a 2006 first-team academic All-Big 12 pick and a CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-District VII selection. Christensen has also been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll each of his first six semesters on campus.
The Jake Young Memorial Scholarship was made possible by generous donations from friends and family, Husker fans across the nation and by a generous donation from Lynn and Dana Roper. The Roper’s were Young’s Lincoln parents. The scholarship is given annually to a Cornhusker offensive lineman who has distinguished himself both on the field and in the classroom in a similar fashion as the late Husker All-American. Young was among nearly 200 people killed in Bali on Oct. 12, 2002, by a bomb attack.
Misc. 2007 Game-by-Game Notes
►Nebraska’s victory was its 22nd straight win in a season opener, continuing a nation-best streak in season openers.
►Nebraska’s 413 rushing yards marked the most by a Nebraska team since a 2001 win at Baylor and NU’s 625 yards of total offense was also its most in six seasons. Nebraska held the ball for 40:38, the most possession time by the Huskers in 15 seasons and the 35 first downs were its most since a 1995 win over Iowa State.
►The 96 offensive plays by Nebraska against Nevada were its most since running 106 against Pacific in 1995, and the third-most by a Husker team in the past 20 years.
►Nebraska ran the football 70 times against Nevada, the most since NU rushed the ball 72 times against Penn State in 2003. The previous high for number of rushes in Callahan’s four seasons was 51 in a 23-14 win at Baylor in 2005.
►The crowd of 32,483 was the smallest at a Nebraska game since 30,150 fans were in attendance at Nebraska’s 1991 win at Oklahoma State.
►The game was Nebraska’s first-ever true road game against an ACC opponent, and improved NU to 5-0 all-time in the regular season against ACC foes. Nebraska will face Virginia Tech in 2008 and 2009, including a trip to Blacksburg in 2009.
►USC was just the second non-conference to win in Lincoln since 1991.
►The nine-point deficit overcome by Nebraska tied the fourth-largest fourth-quarter comeback in school history, and was the largest at Memorial Stadium since overcoming a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit against Colorado in 1966 (trailed 19-7 before winning 21-19). Of the five-largest comebacks in school history, two have happened under Bill Callahan (also 10-point deficit against Michigan in the 2005 Alamo Bowl). The previous time NU trailed entering the fourth quarter and won at home was against Colorado in 1998 (trailed 14-13 and won 16-14).
►Nebraska had two players surpass 100 receiving yards in a game for the first time in school history with Sean Hill’s 129 yards and Maurice Purify’s 122-yard effort.
►Keller’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Hill in the third quarter marked the longest reception by a Nebraska tight end since a 77-yard touchdown pass from Jammal Lord to Matt Herian against Troy in 2003. Hill finished the day with 129 yards receiving, the third-most ever by a Nebraska tight end and the most since Johnny Mitchell set NU’s tight end record with 138 yards against Georgia Tech in the 1991 Citrus Bowl. Hill’s 100-yard day was the first by a Husker tight end since Matt Herian caught three passes for 110 yards against Troy on Oct. 4, 2003.
►Nebraska’s victory was its 32nd win in its past 33 conference openers. NU has also won its past 30 league home openers, including all 12 since the start of the Big 12 Conference.
►Junior fullback Thomas Lawson caught two touchdown passes, marking the first time in school history a fullback has recorded two touchdown receptions in a game. He joined Cory Ross (Oct. 1, 2005 vs. Iowa State) and Ahman Green (Oct. 21, 1995 vs. Kansas State) as the only Nebraska running backs with two touchdown receptions in a single game.
►Senior linebacker Bo Ruud’s 93-yard return was the third-longest interception return in school history, bettered only by 95-yard returns by Bill Kosch against Texas A&M in 1971 and Willie Greenlaw against Colorado in 1955. It is the longest ever by an NU linebacker, bettering an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown by Noel Martin against Missouri in 1962.
►Nebraska held the football for 20:48, marking its lowest time of possession since holding the ball for just 19:33 in a 51-25 win at Kansas State in 1983.
►Nebraska’s loss ended the Huskers’ eight-game win streak against Big 12 North opponents and was the Huskers’ third consecutive setback against Missouri in Columbia.
►The 35-point loss was the largest to Missouri since a 47-6 setback against the Tigers in 1947, the largest ever victory margin for Mizzou in the series.
►Oklahoma State’s win was just its second all-time in Lincoln, and the victory broke a 20-game Husker winning streak over the Cowboys at Memorial Stadium.
►OSU’s 38 points in the first half were four points shy of the Nebraska opponent record for most points in a first half (Colorado, 42, 2001). The 38 points are the most allowed by Nebraska in the first half of a home game.
►Texas A&M’s win marked the Aggies’ third in 13 tries against the Huskers and just their second in eight games at Memorial Stadium. The Texas A&M victory also snapped a four-game Husker win streak in the series.
Osborne Named Interim Athletic Director
Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced on Tuesday, Oct. 16, that Tom Osborne had agreed to serve as Nebraska athletic director on an interim basis. Osborne left his head coaching post at Nebraska in 1997 after 30 years coaching football. He led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to three national championships, 12 Big Eight titles and one Big 12 title. Osborne’s teams finished in the top 10 17 times. He ended his head coaching career with a record of 255-49-3.
Since Osborne left his post as 3rd district Congressman following a gubernatorial bid in 2006, he has been a senior lecturer in the UNL College of Business Administration, teaching leadership and business ethics.
Osborne agreed to serve, on an open-ended arrangement, until Perlman finds a permanent athletic director. Osborne replaced Steve Pederson who was asked to leave the post by Perlman on Monday, Oct. 15.
“I’ve spent the majority of my life working with the Athletic Department at the university and I want to do what I can at this point to continue in the pursuit of excellence that has been previously established,” Osborne said.
Osborne took over duties immediately and will also finish the semester teaching his two classes.
Chancellor Perlman said he is pleased that Osborne agreed to provide leadership and that the university will benefit from Osborne’s vast experience.
“I am very pleased that Tom Osborne has agreed to help bring some leadership and direction to our Athletic program. Tom is committed to making the entire program successful. He brings the right experience, an understanding of Nebraska, and our aspirations. I look forward to working with him.”
1997 National Championship Team Enjoys Reunion in Lincoln
More than 90 members of Nebraska’s 1997 national championship team took part in a 10th year anniversary celebration the weekend of the Oklahoma State game. Team members enjoyed a private banquet on Friday, Oct. 12, where the featured speakers were Head Coach Tom Osborne, defensive coordinator Charlie McBride and defensive tackle Jason Peter, one of four captains on the 1997 squad.
The players then were back on the Memorial Stadium field as a team for the first time in a decade, going through a tunnel walk just before the 2007 Huskers took the field. The 1997 Huskers were led onto the field by Osborne and five of his assistant coaches who were on hand for the weekend. Nebraska previously welcomed back the 1994 and 1995 national championship teams for 10-year celebrations in 2004 and 2005, respectively.