Huskers Set to Battle Cyclones in Ames
Nebraska plays its second straight road game on Saturday when it takes on Big 12 North Division foe Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. Kickoff at ISU’s Jack Trice Stadium is set for 11:37 a.m. with Versus televising the game nationally.
The Huskers are coming off a 37-31 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas Tech last Saturday, when NU rallied from a two-touchdown fourth-quarter deficit. The loss was Nebraska’s third straight and dropped the Huskers to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. Iowa State enters the game with an 0-2 record in Big 12 action and a 2-4 overall mark, following a 38-10 loss at Baylor on Saturday.
The matchup will be the 103rd all-time matchup between the two schools, with Nebraska holding a commanding 84-16-2 edge. The Huskers are 34-10-2 against ISU in Ames, including a 12-4 record at Jack Trice Stadium. Nebraska has won three straight games in the series after the Cyclones won two of three meetings between 2002 and 2004. A Nebraska victory would give the Huskers their eighth winning streak of at least four games against ISU.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State ‘90) is in his first season with the Huskers. Pelini owns a 4-3 career record. In addition to three 2008 wins, Pelini led Nebraska to a victory as interim head coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. Pelini has served as defensive coordinator at Nebraska, Oklahoma and most recently LSU over the past five seasons. Previously, he had stints as an NFL assistant with San Francisco, New England and Green Bay.
Iowa State: Gene Chizik (Florida, ‘85) is in his second season as the head coach at Iowa State and overall as a head coach. Chizik is 5-13 in two seasons as the Cyclones head coach, and is 0-1 against Nebraska. Chizik served as an assitant at Clemson, Middle Tennessee State, Stephen F. Austin, Central Florida, Auburn and Texas before taking over as ISU’s head coach.
Huskers Continue Difficult 2008 Slate With Road Test at ISU
Nebraska’s 2008 schedule turned up several notches when NU faced Virginia Tech on Sept. 27 and got even more difficult with back-to-back games against top-10 foes Missouri and Texas Tech.The Hokies, Tigers and Red Raiders are among six 2008 opponents that participated in a bowl game last season. Virginia Tech and Missouri are among four 2008 opponents that were ranked in the final top 10 a year ago. Nebraska’s tough slate continues with a road test this Saturday at Iowa State.
Last year, Nebraska faced 10 bowl teams, including four teams that finished in the top 10, and this year’s schedule is shaping up to be equally difficult.
Six of Nebraska’s 12 regular-season contests are against teams that participated in a bowl game following the 2007 campaign. Among the group are three teams that played in the Bowl Championship Series, including Virginia Tech (Orange), Oklahoma (Fiesta) and Kansas (Orange). Missouri (Cotton), Texas Tech (Gator) and Colorado (Independence) also played in bowl games following last season.
Four of Nebraska’s 2008 opponents finished in the top 10 in the national polls last fall, including Missouri (4-AP, 5–Coaches), Kansas (7), Oklahoma (8) and Virginia Tech (9).
Five Nebraska opponents were ranked in the top 17 in the preseason Associated Press Poll.
NU is one of just four teams in the country scheduled to play three 2007 BCS teams this fall, and one of two teams that will face four foes that were ranked in the final top 10.
In this week’s AP Poll, Nebraska has two remaining games against ranked teams, including No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 16 Kansas. NU has already faced No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 11 Missouri and No. 17 Virginia Tech.
Nebraska’s six opponents to date in 2008 have a combined record of 29-7 with three of those losses against the Huskers.
Nebraska Hoping to Find Road Success
Nebraska was the last Football Bowl Subdivision team to play a road game when the Huskers traveled to Texas Tech last weekend. The Huskers will face their second straight road trip this weekend at Iowa State and will look to find a winning formula on the road.
The Huskers will be looking to snap a five-game road losing streak, dating back to last year’s 20-17 victory at Wake Forest. Nebraska will also attempt to pick up its first road victory over a Big 12 team since a 28-27 victory at No. 24 Texas A&M in 2006.
Nebraska owns a 12-4 all-time record at Jack Trice Stadium and was victorious in its last trip to Ames–a 28-14 win in 2006. ISU had won the previous two meetings in Ames, defeating the Huskers in 2002 and 2004.
Husker Offense Shows Ball-Control Ability at Texas Tech
The Nebraska offense put together its most complete game of the season in a near-miss at No. 7 Texas Tech. The Huskers piled up 471 total yards, including 357 yards through the air. Most importantly, Nebraska controlled the football, keeping the Red Raiders’ high-powered offense on the sidelines for the majority of the game.
Nebraska held the ball for 40:12 in the game, its highest possession time since having the ball for 40:38 in the season opener against Nevada last season. It also marked Nebraska’s highest possession time on the road since at least 1980, and Nebraska’s largest possession advantage against a conference opponent since holding the ball for 42:50 against Colorado in 1992.
The ball-control ability of the Husker offense is even more evident when taking a closer look at Nebraska’s five scoring drives against Texas Tech.
Nebraska’s five scoring drives against the Red Raiders lasted an average of 11.6 plays and 5:43. The drives covered an average distance of 73.8 yards.
The Huskers’ 15-play scoring drive that consumed 8:03 of the first half marked the Huskers’ longest scoring drive of the season in terms of both time and plays. The Huskers last had a longer scoring drive in terms of plays against Oklahoma in 2005. The last time an NU scoring drive took longer than 8:03 was against Penn State in 2003, when the Huskers used 8:12 on a touchdown drive.
In addition to the five scoring drives, Nebraska had two other drives that used at least 4:42.
The game marked the first time since at least 1989 Nebraska had three scoring drives in a game that each consumed at least 7:00. In fact, only once in the past 19 seasons has Nebraska had two 7:00-plus scoring drives in a game (2005 at Baylor). Nebraska had not had three scoring drives of at least 10 plays in the same game since four 10-plus play drives in a 73-31 win over Kansas State last season.
Ascension in NU Record Book Continues for Ganz
After shredding defenses and the passing record book in the final three games of 2007, Ganz got his 2008 season off to a strong start against Western Michigan and has continued to produce big numbers throughout the season.
The 345 yards passing against the Broncos were the most ever in a Nebraska season opener and rank No. 10 on the Husker single-game passing list. Ganz had his most accurate passing day at Texas Tech, hitting 36-of-44 passes for 349 yards, the ninth-best passing day in school history.
The 36 completions at Texas Tech tied a Nebraska school record. Ganz’s previouis high in completions was 31 at Colorado last season.
Ganz has connected on 63-of-83 passes the past two weeks (75.9 percent) and his 69.4 completion percentage in 2008 is well ahead of the NU record of 63.1 percent, set by Sam Keller last season.
The 1,636 passing yards by Ganz this season already ranks eighth on the NU single-season list. Ganz would need to average 260.2 yards passing in Nebraska’s six regular-season games to surpass Zac Taylor’s school record of 3,197 passing yards in 2006.
Ganz has 27 passes of 20 yards or more in 2008, and the Huskers have had at least seven receivers catch passes in all six games.
Ganz had at least four touchdown passes in each of his first four starts with 19 total in the four-game period. His 19 TD passes were the most ever by a Nebraska quarterback in a four-game stretch. Ganz has thrown for a total of eight touchdowns in the past five games and has 26 touchown passes in nine career starts. For perspective, the NU season record for passing TDs is 26 by Zac Taylor in 2006.
Ganz’s 30 career touchdown passes is tied for seventh on the Nebraska career list. He is four touchdown passes from fourth on the Husker career list.
Peterson Gives NU Veteran Receiving Tandem
Senior Todd Peterson teams with Swift to give Nebraska one of the Big 12’s most veteran receiving tandems. Peterson leads the Huskers with 30 catches this season, bettering his previous season best for receptions.
The Grand Island, Neb., native has hauled in 15 receptions over the past two weeks, including a career-high eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown at Texas Tech. His touchdown tied the game at 31-31 in the waning moments and forced overtime. Peterson has caught at least three passes in every game this season and has topped 60 receiving yards each of the past three weeks.
Against Texas Tech, Peterson also cracked the top 10 on both the career receptions and receiving yards list. His 76 career catches are good for eighth on that list, while his 1,161 yards rank ninth.
The 6-4, 215-pound Peterson began his career on academic scholarship and as a walk-on football player, but was awarded a scholarship before the 2006 season. He is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 pick and a strong contender for Academic All-America honors this fall. Peterson was recently named as a semifinalist for a National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame National Scholar-Athlete Award.