Huskers Travel to Iowa State for Big 12 North Battle
Nebraska continues a three-game stretch against Big 12 North opponents when it travels to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday afternoon. Game time at ISU's Jack Trice Stadium is set for 2:30 p.m. CT, with the game televised to a regional audience on ABC.
Nebraska heads into the contest with a 7-1 overall record and a 3-1 mark in the Big 12 following a 31-17 victory over No. 7 Missouri on Saturday in Lincoln. The Huskers surged to a 24-0 lead after the first quarter of the contest and never allowed the Tigers closer than 10 points. Senior running back Roy Helu Jr. had a day to remember, running for a Nebraska record 307 yards and three touchdowns. The victory allowed NU to jump five spots to ninth in the AP poll, two spots to 10th in the coaches poll and seven spots to seventh in the BCS rankings.
Nebraska will face a confident Iowa State team on Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones have won two straight games, including a 28-21 victory at Texas on Oct. 23, and a 28-16 win over Kansas last Saturday in Ames. The consecutive wins have improved ISU to 5-4 on the season and 3-2 in Big 12 action. The Cyclones remain a factor in the Big 12 North race, as ISU and Nebraska both control their own destiny in the race for the division crown.
Nebraska has a commanding 85-17-2 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools, including a 35-10-2 record in Ames. The Huskers have won each of their past two trips to Iowa State, after the 'Clones won consecutive games in Ames in 2002 and 2004. ISU's 9-7 win in LIncoln last year was just its fourth in the past 32 meetings overall.
Nebraska: Nebraska.Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 27-9 record in his third season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first two seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich in accomplishing that feat. Pelini is the first coach in Big 12 history to guide his team to at least a share of division titles in each of his first two seasons.
Iowa State: Paul Rhoads (Missouri Western, '89) is in his second season with the Cyclones. Rhoads has compiled a 12-10 record in Ames, including a 7-6 mark and Insight Bowl victory during his first season. He is 1-0 vs. Nebraska.
Nebraska is 834-342-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories w Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997). The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships. Nebraska's 46 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally. Since 1970, Nebraska has 400 wins, 25 more than any other school. Nebraska's 98 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation. The Huskers have had 107 All-Americans in school history.
Noting Game 8...Nebraska 31, Missouri 17
*-Nebraska senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. rushed for a school-record 307 yards with three touchdowns on a career-high-tying 28 carries. Helu surpassed the previous school record of 294 yards on 27 carries by Calvin Jones against Kansas on Nov. 9, 1991. Helu had 228 yards and three touchdowns on his first 10 carries. It was his 11th career 100-yard rushing game and first career 200-plus rushing performance.
*-Helu's 307 rushing yards marked NU's second 200-yard rushing game of the season, the first being Taylor Martinez's 241 rushing yards at Kansas State. Helu's rushing total was also the highest by any player in the country this season.
*-Helu had TD runs of 66, 73 (career-long) and 53 yards, and has six TD runs this season that have covered at least 53 yards. His three rushing touchdowns marked the third time in his career he has accomplished that (also vs. FAU, KU in 2009). He has 25 career rushing touchdowns, including eight in 2010.
*-Helu moved into the NU career rushing top 10 with the 66-yard run on the Huskers' first play from scrimmage. In the game, he moved from 11th to sixth on the career rushing list, passing Derek Brown, Cory Ross, Dahrran Diedrick, Lawrence Phillips and I.M. Hipp. Helu Jr. now has 2,966 career rushing yards.
*-Nebraska improved to 7-1 for the first time since 2003. The win over the No. 7 Tigers (AP) marked the highest-ranked team NU has defeated since a 20-10 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma in 2001. The win ended a streak of 12 straight losses against AP top-10 teams.
*-Nebraska's win combined with its Oct. 23 win at No. 17 Oklahoma State marked the first time NU has defeated top-20 opponents in back-to-back games since defeating No. 12 Texas and No. 6 Tennessee in the final two games of 1999.
*-Nebraska improved to 5-2 against ranked teams since the start of the 2009 season, including 3-2 last season and 2-0 in 2010. The past two seasons marks the first time NU has posted multiple wins over ranked teams in back-to-back seasons since 2000 and 2001.
*-The 14-point NU win marked the 12th straight game between the two schools decided by 10 or more points.
*-Nebraska has scored on its opening possession in six of eight games this season and is 6-0 in those games. Nebraska scored 24 points in the opening quarter, its most points in a first quarter since scoring 38 against Baylor in 2000. NU's most points in any quarter this season was 28 in the second quarter of a 38-17 win over Idaho.
*-Nebraska averaged 19.7 yards on 13 snaps in the first quarter. The Huskers also had two one-play scoring drives in the first quarter (two Helu runs).
*-Senior kicker Alex Henery connected on a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter, establishing a new school record with 18 consecutive made field goals. The previous record of 17 straight was held by Kris Brown. Henery did have a 51-yard attempt blocked in the fourth quarter, ending his consecutive made streak.
*-Sophomore tight end Kyler Reed caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The TD was Reed's fourth TD catch of the season among his six overall catches. Each of Reed's four touchdowns have covered at least 33 yards, including a 33-yarder vs. South Dakota State, a 79-yard TD catch at Kansas State and a 41-yarder at Oklahoma State.
*-Nebraska limited Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert to an 18-for-42 passing effort for a season-low 199 yards and one interception. Gabbert completed only 10-of-26 passes before halftime, including an interception.
*-Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick, finished with a season-high eight tackles, including a seven-yard sack, and two tackles for loss totaling seven yards.
*-Senior cornerback Prince Amukamara tied his career high with three pass breakups (also Baylor, 2009), giving him a team-high 10 PBU this season. He has 24 career pass breakups, seventh on the NU career pass breakups list.
*-Senior defensive back DeJon Gomes finished the day with four tackles, an interception and two pass breakups. Gomes' first-quarter interception was the sixth of his career and second against Missouri. He also has five career fumbles caused.
*-The Nebraska defense finished the day with six sacks for 44 yards, its most since a season-high seven against Idaho. Nebraska has 18 sacks this season. Nebraska also had six pass breakups and seven hurries.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
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 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.
Pelini Stacks up Well with Peers
In guiding Nebraska to a 27-9 record in his first three seasons, Pelini put himself in some impressive company.
*-Pelini is the fourth Nebraska head coach to win nine games in each of his first two seasons with the Cornhuskers. The others to reach that win plateau were Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.
*-Pelini's nine victories in 2008 tied for the most among 18 coaches in their first season at their respective school. Among first-time head coaches, Pelini's victory total was the best in the nation. Pelini's 19 victories in his first two seasons are second among the hiring class of 2008.
*-Pelini was just the eighth BCS Conference (since 1998) first-time head coach to post nine or more victories in his first season. He was just the second first-year head coach in that span to win nine games after inheriting a team with a losing record the previous year.
Pelini Continues Defensive Accomplishments at Nebraska
Pelini has led an amazing defensive turnaround at Nebraska. The 2008 Nebraska defense was one of the nation's most improved units. In his first season, Pelini helped Nebraska finish second in the Big 12 in total defense, a year after the Huskers were 100th or worse in nearly every defensive category. Last fall, Nebraska was dominant on defense and its improvement was just as impressive. The Huskers led the nation in total defense and had the nation's best scoring defensive improvement (18.1 ppg).
With Pelini's previous track record, the success of his Nebraska defenses is no surprise.
*-Pelini led the 2003 Blackshirts to impressive numbers. NU had a school-record 47 takeaways, including a Big 12-record 32 interceptions, and finished second nationally in scoring defense, first in pass efficiency defense and 11th in total defense.
*-Pelini guided LSU defenses to No. 3 national finishes in total defense each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge.
*-In 102 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 34 times and to 20 points or less 67 times.
*-Pelini-led defenses have 207 total takeaways, including two top-three national rankings.
Staff Intact for Third Straight Season
Nebraska was long known for coaching staff continuity under Hall of Fame Coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Third-year Head Coach Bo Pelini appears to embrace that same philosophy. NU is in its third straight season with its staff intact in 2010, as all nine full-time assistants enter at least their third season on the Husker sideline.
Nebraska is one of only nine schools nationally to have the same full-time coaching staff for at least the past three years, including only Baylor and Texas in the Big 12. Prior to last season, Nebraska had not had its full coaching staff remain the same from one season to the next since 2001 to 2002 when Frank Solich's staff was unchanged.
Pelini's staff had extensive ties to Nebraska and the Big 12 prior to the 2008 season. Every member of the Husker coaching staff had prior experience in the Big 12 before joining forces for the Huskers.
Scouting Iowa State
Iowa State (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) is looking to make a late run at the Big 12 North title as it hosts the Huskers this Saturday. The Cyclones are coming off back-to-back Big 12 wins over Texas and Kansas to climb to third in the Big 12 North standings with three games remaining. Under second-year head coach Paul Rhoades, Iowa State is aiminig for its second straight bowl appearance after winning the 2009 Insight Bowl.
The Cyclones have a pair of experienced starters leading the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson. Neither player was healthy for last year's Nebraska-Iowa State matchup in Lincoln when the Huskers committed eight turnovers in a 9-7 loss. Arnaud ranks second in school history in all-time passing yards (6,438). The Ames, Iowa native is bidding to leave ISU as the all-time leader in completition percentage (.601 entering 2010). This season, Arnaud is completing 57.4 percent of his passing and has 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Arnaud has hooked up with senior tight end Collin Franklin a team-leading 37 times this year. Franklin averages 36.9 receiving yards per game and has two touchdowns.
A 2009 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection, Robinson is averaging 80.6 rushing yards per game and has eight touchdowns. The Minneapolis native rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns in Iowa State's 28-21 upset at Texas two weeks ago. He ranked third in the Big 12 last season with 99.6 yards per game.
Sophomore linebacker A.J. Klein is one of the top defenders in the conference as he leads the Big 12 with 93 total tackles. He also leads ISU in tackles for loss (5.5) and is second in interceptions (3). Fellow sophomore linebacker Jake Knott is nearly as impressive with a team-leading four interceptions, third in the Big 12, while also ranking second in the league with 92 total tackles. The ISU defense has struggled as a unit, ranking 102nd nationally by giving up 432.8 yards per game. The Cyclones rank 99th in rushing defense (194.3), while the Huskers have the top rushing attack in the Big 12 with 294.8 yards per game.
This season's matchup will be the 105th in series history, the second-longest for Nebraska behind only the NU-Kansas series (116 games) entering 2010...Nebraska had won four in a row before Iowa State's 9-7 win in Lincoln last October, including a 35-7 victory in Ames in 2008...NU's 2006 win snapped ISU's two-game streak in Ames...NU has had win streaks in the series of 15, 14, 11 and 11 games; unbeaten streaks of 15 and 8 games...in 1976, ISU won the first game played at the new Cyclone Stadium...1992's 19-10 NU loss marked the only time a Tom Osborne-coached NU team lost a game to a team that finished below .500...NU's 77 points in 1997 is its most ever against a league opponent and tied the record for most points at Memorial Stadium.
Iowa State Head Coach Paul Rhoads
Paul Rhoads (Missouri Western, '89) is in his first season as ISU's head coach and owns a 4-3 record with the Cyclones. A native Iowan, Rhoads was linebackers and defensive backs coach at Iowa State from 1995 to 1999. He spent seven years as Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator (2000-07) before serving the same role at Auburn during the 2008 season. He was named Iowa State's head coach on Dec. 20, 2008 and is 1-0 against Nebraska following last year's 9-7 win in Lincoln.
Nebraska Looks to Avoid Second Straight Loss to ISU
Iowa State picked up a 9-7 upset of the Huskers last year in Lincoln, marking the Cyclones' first victory at Memorial Stadium since 1977. It was also just ISU's fourth win in the past 32 meetings overall against Nebraska.
*-Iowa State will go for two straight against Nebraska on Saturday, but Nebraska has not dropped two straight in the series since 1976 and 1977.
*-In the 104-game series, Iowa State has won consecutive games just three times. The Cyclones won three straight from 1943 to 1945 and back-to-back games in 1959-1960 and 1976-77.
Nebraska Gearing up For Another Strong Second-Half Run
A trademark of Bo Pelini's first two Nebraska teams has been stready improvement throughout the season. The 2010 Huskers are hoping to continue that trend and are off to a good start with a win over No. 7 Missouri.
*-Nebraska has won six of its final seven games in both 2008 and 2009. The 6-1 second-half records the past two seasons are the school's best seven-game finishes since 1999. Nebraska was one of only 12 teams in the FBS to win at least six of its final seven games last season.
*-The Huskers went 5-1 in the first half of the regular season, but are 2-0 since the midway point of the regular season, defeating ranked foes Oklahoma State and Missouri.
*-Nebraska's 3-1 record in October marked the first time since 2003 that NU had just one loss in October.
Pelini-coached Nebraska teams are 17-7 in games played before Halloween, including 7-5 in October, and 10-2 in games on or after Nov. 1, with the only losses against teams ranked in the top four nationally.
Nebraska returns to the road this week, and the Huskers have found their trips away from home to their liking. Nebraska's 51-41 win at Oklahoma State on Oct. 23 marked the Huskers' sixth straight road victory. Each of the six wins in Nebraska's current road win streak have been by at least eight points. The winning streak is Nebraska's longest on the road since winning 10 straight road games from 1996 to 1998. The Huskers' last road loss was a 16-15 setback at Virginia Tech last season.
Nebraska has also won its last seven Big 12 road games, NU's longest streak since winning its first eight league road games when the Big 12 was formed in 1996 and 1997. Nebraska won 19 straight league road games from 1992 to 1997 (Big Eight and Big 12). The 4-0 record in Big 12 road games in 2009 was the first for Nebraska since 1997.
*-Nebraska was one of just 13 teams nationally to own a perfect conference road record in 2009.
*-Nebraska is 8-2 on the road in Big 12 play under Bo Pelini, with both losses against top-10 teams.
NU Keeping the Opposing Scoreboard Operator Busy
Nebraska has scored at least 48 points in each of its three road games this season, racking up a 3-0 record away from Lincoln. In fact, the Huskers are scoring points at a record pace on the road.
*-Nebraska has scored 155 points in its three road games this season, after scoring 121 points in five road games a year ago. The most points Nebraska has ever scored in four consecutive road games is 199 during the entire four-game road schedule in 1995.
*-The Huskers are averaging 51.7 points per game on the road. The school record is 49.8 points per game in 1995.
*-Nebraska has scored 40 points in each of its three road games. In the eight years prior to this season, the Huskers scored 40 points in only two road games.
*-The Huskers have scored 45 points in three consecutive road games for the first time in school history.
*-Only two Nebraska teams (1982 and 1995) have reached 40 points in four consecutive road games.
Top Nebraska Season Scoring Efforts on the Road
1) 49.8 ppg in 1995
2) 42.2 ppg in 1983
3) 42.0 ppg in 1978
4) 41.8 ppg in 1989
5) 40.3 ppg in 1982
6) 40.2 ppg in 1971
51.7 ppg in 2010 (3 games)
Fast Starts a Key for Huskers
Led by its quick-strike offense, Nebraska has been accustomed to fast starts this season, scoring less than nine minutes into the game in six of eight games. In its only loss to Texas, NU got off to a slow start with a 10-0 deficit less than seven minutes into the game and the Huskers could not recover.
*-The Huskers have scored on their opening possession in eight of their last 10 games, dating back to last season. During the streak, the Huskers have scored six touchdowns (Arizona in 2009 and WKU, UW, KSU, OSU and MU in 2010) and two field goals (Texas in 2009 and Idaho in 2010).
*-The Huskers have been especially fast starters on the road, scoring in the first four minutes of the game six times in the past eight games away from Lincoln. Nebraska also scored less than nine minutes into the game at Kansas State on its first possession.
*-Nebraska's 10-0 deficit after the first quarter against Texas ended a streak of 13 straight games in which NU had led or been tied after the first quarter. Nebraska has outscored the opposition 76-30 in the first quarter in 2010. Nebraska opened a 24-0 first-quarter lead against Missouri, including a touchdown on its first offensive play. The Huskers' 24 first-quarter points were their most in the opening quarter since scoring 38 against Baylor in 2000.
4The quick scores have afforded Nebraska the luxury of playing with a lead. In its first five games and the Missouri contest, NU did not trail and was tied at 0-0 for a total of only 38:29. Nebraska trailed for the final 55 minutes against Texas, but trailed for just 5:04 at Oklahoma State.
4Forcing turnovers has also been a key part of the quick starts. In 11 of the past 15 games, NU has forced a first-half turnover. These turnovers have resulted in seven touchdowns and two field goals.
Nebraska Churning out Impressive Rushing Numbers
Nebraska finds itself back among the Big 12 and national leaders in rushing offense. Nebraska is averaging 294.8 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 and sixth nationally in rushing. Nebraska finished seventh in the nation in rushing in 2003, but has not finished higher than 23rd in that category since.
The Huskers opened the season with 289 rushing yards against Western Kentucky and has since topped that total four times. NU picked up 360 rushing yards against Idaho, and 383 yards at Washington. NU saved its most powerful running attack for Big 12 play, racking up 451 rushing yards at Kansas State-its most rushing yards in 109 games. The Huskers churned out 328 rushing yards against Missouri last Saturday in Lincoln.
*-Before its back-to-back 300-yard rushing games in games 2 and 3, NU had not topped 300 rushing yards in consecutive games since late in the 2002 season. NU had five straight 200-yard rushing games to start the season and six overall including the Holiday Bowl, marking the longest streak for the Huskers since also posting six straight 200-yard rushing games during the 2002 season. NU has topped 200 rushing yards in seven of eight games this season.
*-Nebraska's 451 rushing yards at Kansas State were its most since posting 641 rushing yards at Baylor in 2001. It also marked just the Huskers' second 400-yard rushing game in the past seven seasons (413 vs. Nevada, 2007).
*-In thrashing Washington and Kansas State away from Lincoln, Nebraska rushed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back road games for the first time since 2001 when NU topped 300 rushing yards in back-to-back games at Missouri and Baylor. NU posted 217 rushing yards in its win at No. 17 Oklahoma State on Oct. 23.
*-Nebraska has produced five of the top 10 team rushing efforts since 2004 in the season's first eight games, including the first, third and fifth-best rushing efforts in that stretch.
*-Nebraska had three players crack the century mark in rushing yards at Washington, as Taylor Martinez, Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead all surpassed 100 yards. The game marked the fifth time in school history Nebraska has had three players reach 100 rushing yards in the same game, and the first time it has happened since four Husker runners topped 100 yards at Baylor in 2001.
*-Martinez and Helu Jr. also teamed up to produce double 100-yard rushing games against Idaho and Kansas State. The Idaho game marked the first time since 2006 (Iowa State) NU had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. Nebraska has now had two players rush for 100 yards in the same game 68 times in school history. Nebraska already has had 10 100-yard rushing games in 2010 after having just five each of the past two years and six in 2007.
*-Helu Jr. set a Nebraska school-record with 307 rushing yards in Nebraska's win over Missouri. His rushing yardage topped the previous NCAA single-game high for 2010 by 30 yards.
*-Nebraska is averaging a nation-leading 6.68 yards-per-carry, ahead of Oregon's 6.48 yards per rushing attempt.
*-Nebraska has rushed for 2,358 yards in eight games this season. In 14 games in 2009, NU rushed for 2,059 yards.
Huskers Showing Explosive Ability in all Phases
Nebraska has shown the ability to light up the scoreboard from anywhere on the field in 2010.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez has been the headliner in an offense that has flashed tremendous big-play ability and finds itself averaging 7.32 yards per play, the sixth-best total in the nation. That is just one of several impressive numbers posted by Nebraska in 2010.
*-Nebraska has reached the end zone 39 times in eight games. The average length of those 35 touchdown plays has been 38.1 yards, with 23 of those plays covering at least 31 yards.
*-Through eight games, Nebraska has 49 offensive plays from scrimmage of at least 20 yards (27 rush, 22 pass). Last season, Nebraska posted 53 scrimmage plays of 20 yards or more in 14 games.
*-The Husker offense has found the end zone in five-or-fewer plays on 19 of 34 touchdown drives, including five one-play scoring drives, four two-play scoring drives and four three-play touchdown drives. Sixteen of the 34 drives have taken less than 2:00, including 11 touchdown drives using 1:00 or less, most recently three against Missouri.
*-Nebraska has five return TDs this season, including three INT returns, a kickoff return and a punt return. On its five one-play scoring drives and its five return touchdowns, the average length of NU's scores is 65.8 yards.
*-Nebraska has 24 TD runs that total 860 yards (35.8 yds per TD), 10 TD passes that total 313 yds (31.3 yds per TD) and 34 TDs from scrimmage for a total of 1,173 yds (34.5 per TD).
*-NU's total of 860 yards on 24 TD runs is more than yards than 17 FBS teams have in total rushing yards in 2010.
*-Including a pair of interception return touchdowns, Nebraska had four scoring plays of 40 yards or more against Idaho, with each of those long scores coming in the second quarter. The four 40+-yard scores marked the first time Nebraska had four touchdowns of at least 40 yards since Nov. 2, 1996 at Oklahoma when NU also had four. Nebraska accomplished the feat for a second time vs. Mizzou, including three runs of at least 53 yards by Roy Helu Jr.
*-Nebraska showed its lightning-quick scoring ability in a similar way at Washington. The Huskers opened the game with a two-play scoring drive, then scored three times in a span of less than seven minutes to open the second half, with each of those third-quarter scores covering at least 31 yards.
*-Nebraska's offensive display at Kansas State was also remarkable. The Huskers had five touchdowns cover at least 35 yards, including scores of 80, 79 and 68 yards. The 79-yard pass play from Taylor Martinez to Kyler Reed was NU's longest pass play in eight seasons. NU set a school record at KSU by averaging 11.3 yards per play.
*-Against Oklahoma State, Nebraska had scoring passes of 45 and 41 yards, and a 100-yard kickoff return.
*-Nebraska's average touchdown drive this season lasts 5.0 plays and covers 67.8 yards in 2:00.
*-Thirty-one of the 34 TD drives have taken less than four minutes. The Huskers' longest touchdown drive of the season came on their final scoring drive at Oklahoma State, when they took 6:23 and 12 plays to cover 81 yards. That drive iced the OSU game, and last week against Missouri, NU killed the final 8:40 on the clock on a non-scoring drive.
Martinez Making Name for Himself on National Level
Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez has quickly emerged as a leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year, and perhaps bigger honors with his impressive performance. Just eight games into his career, Martinez has already made a prominent mark in the NU record book and shown the game-breaking ability that made him the choice in a tight three-quarterback battle for the starting job.
Martinez has accounted for the top five rushing games in school history by a freshman quarterback and four of the top 12 rushing efforts by any NU frosh. He has also accounted for at least 215 yards of total offense six times, while completing 72-of-120 passes and throwing for nine touchdowns.
Martinez's signature performances in the first half of the season came at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. Martinez set an NU quarterback record with 241 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries against the Wildcats. He also set a then-Husker freshman total offense record with 369 yards.
That record lasted less than three weeks, as Martinez accumulated 435 yards of total offense at No. 17 Oklahoma State, including an NU freshman record 323 passing yards, and another 112 rushing yards. In the 51-41 win, he also threw for a freshman-record five touchdowns, the second-most ever by a Nebraska quarterback.
Those explosive efforts are the biggest highlights of Martinez's highlight-filled 2010 campaign:
*-Martinez has rushed for 886 yards on 112 carries, an average of 7.9 yards per carry. Martinez has 14 rushes of at least 20 yards, including touchdown runs of 67, 46, 43, 20, 80, 35, 80 and 41 yards. The 80-yard touchdown runs against Washington and Kansas State are the longest ever by a Nebraska freshman and the second-longest in school history by a Husker quarterback, trailing only Eric Crouch's school-record 95-yard TD run at Missouri in 2001. Martinez owns the three longest runs by an NU quarterback in the past nine seasons.
*-Martinez averages 110.8 rushing yards per game to rank 13th in the nation and third in the Big 12. He is third among quarterbacks, trailing only Michigan's Denard Robinson and Auburn's Cam Newton. Martinez is second among freshmen nationally in rushing, trailing only San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman (113.1 ypg).
*-Martinez's 7.91 yards per rush is tied for second with teammate Roy Helu Jr. among players in the top 100 nationally in rushing.
*-Martinez had 127 rushing yards in the opener, the most ever by a Nebraska freshman quarterback, but he has topped that three times since. He had 157 yards on 14 carries against Idaho, 137 yards at Washington, and an NU quarterback record 241 yards at Kansas State. The 241 rushing yards were the second-most ever by an NU freshman, while his 157 yards vs. Idaho were the sixth-most ever for a Husker frosh. The five 100+ outings this season are the top five rushing totals by an NU quarterback in the past eight seasons. His five 100-yard rushing games ties Ahman Green for the Nebraska freshman record.
*-In three road games, Martinez has rushed 53 times for 490 yards and seven touchdowns. He averages 9.2 yards per rush away from home and has scored seven touchdowns in 53 carries-one TD every 7.6 carries.
*-Martinez's 127 rushing yards against Western Kentucky were the most by an NU quarterback in an opener since Tommie Frazier's 130-yard effort against West Virginia in 1994.
*-The three straight 100-yard rushing games to open the year marked the first time a Nebraska quarterback topped the century mark in three straight games since Eric Crouch in 2001. Prior to this season, no NU quarterback had topped the century mark on the ground since Jammal Lord in 2003.
*-Martinez has 12 rushing touchdowns, tied for sixth-most in the country. He had three each against Western Kentucky and Washington, and four against Kansas State. Martinez is tied for 24th nationally in scoring, averaging 9.0 points per game. His 12 rushing TDs are the fourth-most ever by a Nebraska freshman, just two shy of the record.
*-Martinez's three rushing TDs vs. WKU were the most ever by an NU freshman in a season opener. It marked the second straight season an NU player has rushed for three touchdowns in the season opener.
*-Martinez is the first player to have three games with three or more rushing touchdowns in a season since Eric Crouch had four games with at least three touchdowns in 2000. Martinez's effort at KSU also marked the most rushing TDs by a Husker since true freshman I-back David Horne had four rushing touchdowns at Texas A&M in 2002.
*-Martinez's two 80-yard rushes are the longest by any Nebraska player since Cory Ross had an 86-yard touchdown run against Missouri in 2004.
*-Martinez's 886 rushing yards rank third on the Nebraska freshman season rushing chart, and tops among quarterbacks. Eric Crouch held the previous NU freshman QB record with 459 yards in 1998. Martinez is 114 yards from the second 1,000-yard rushing season by a Nebraska freshman and the fourth 1,000-yard season by a NU quarterback. It would also mark only the third 1,000-yard rushing season in NCAA history by a freshman quarterback. He is 208 yards from the NCAA record for rushing yards by a freshman quarterback (1,093, Brad Smith, Missouri, 2002).
Martinez Shows Ability to Beat you With His Arm
Most of the attention Martinez received through the first six games this season centered on his running ability. That changed at Oklahoma State, when the freshman had easily his most prolific passing day.
In a road victory over the No. 17 Cowboys, Martinez completed 23-of-35 passes for 323 yards and five touchdowns. Coupled with his 112 rushing yards, Martinez had one of the most dynamic games in school history for a quarterback.
*-The 435 yards of total offense were an NU freshman record and the third-highest single-game total offense outing in school history.
*-His 323 passing yards shattered the previous freshman passing record of 193 yards by Eric Crouch in the 1998 Holiday Bowl. The five touchdowns also broke the frosh TD pass record of three shared by Crouch and Tommie Frazier. The five touchdowns tied for the second-most in school history by any player.
*-With 323 passing yards and 112 rushing yards, Martinez became the first Nebraska player to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. Martinez was also the first to pass for 200 and rush for 100 yards in a game.
His performance at Oklahoma State earned Martinez the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards.
Backs Making Most of Touches
Nebraska quarterbacks and I-backs made the most of their offensive touches this season. The explosive NU offense has averaged just 62.9 plays per game, but plenty of players have taken advantage of their opportunities to post impressive numbers.
Nebraska averaged 8.8 yards per tote in the opener against Western Kentucky, its best since the 2004 opener against Western Illinois when NU averaged 9.3 yards per rush. Nebraska didn't miss a beat against Idaho, again averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with 360 yards on 41 rushing attempts. At Washington, Nebraska totaled 383 yards on 54 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per carry. Those impressive totals were nothing compared to NU's 10.74 yards per rush against Kansas State, just shy of the school record of 10.82 yards per carry set in 1983.
*-Martinez has averaged more than 10 yards per rush three times, including 18.1 yards on seven rushes vs. WKU, 11.2 yards per attempt on 14 carries against Idaho, and 16.1 yards on 15 carries at Kansas State. He ranks second in the nation at 7.9 yards per carry.
*-Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead has 82 touches this season, and has accumulated 550 yards, an average of 6.7 yards per touch. He is averaging 6.0 yards on his 73 rushing attempts and 12.1 yards on nine pass receptions. Seven of his touches have covered at least 20 yards.
*-Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. has also made the most of 102 rushing attempts, rolling up 807 yards. Helu Jr. is averaging 7.91 yards per carry, tied for second nationally with teammate Taylor Martinez. Helu has six touchdown runs of at least 53 yards this season and has 10 rushes of 50 yards or more in his career. His 73-yard touchdown run against Missouri was a career long, bettering his 68-yarder at Kansas State earlier in October.
Helu Jr. Has Record-Setting Day to Continue Climb up NU Rushing Chart
Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr. emerged as one of the Big 12's top backs in 2008, and battled through injuries to surpass 1,000 rushing yards last year as a junior. Helu's effort in 2009 earned him second-team All-Big 12 honors and the 6-0, 220-pounder is again producing impressive results in 2010.
Helu Jr. had a record-setting effort in Nebraska's 31-17 victory over Missouri on Saturday in Lincoln. Helu took the Huskers' first snap from scrimmage and raced 66 yards for a touchdown. That long score was a sign of things to come, as Helu added a career-long 73-yard TD run later in the first quarter and a 53-yarder in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, he showed the ability to be a workhorse and helped NU run the final 8:40 off the clock. In doing so, Helu Jr. set a Nebraska single-game record with 307 rushing yards on 28 carries. The mark topped the previous Nebraska school-record of 294 rushing yards by Calvin Jones in 1991. Helu Jr.'s rushing total was also 30 yards more than any other play in the FBS ranks this season.
Helu Jr.'s effort marked just the third time in the past five seasons a player in the Football Bowl Subdivision has had three touchdown runs of at least 50 yards in a game. Helu also set a Nebraska record for single-game all-purpose yards with 321 against the Tigers.
Helu posted four 100-yard rushing games in 2009, and in addition to his record effort against Mizzou, he has topped the century mark against Idaho, Washington and Kansas State, giving him 11 career 100-yard games. He is just the 15th player in NU history with at least 10 100-yard rushing games. Helu has eight rushing touchdowns this season, including a career-high tying three against Missouri. His 25 career rushing touchdowns make him one of 17 Nebraska players with at least 25 career rushing touchdowns.
The Missouri game was the biggest evidence that Helu's best games seem to come against top competition. He surpassed the century mark against both Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in 2009, including a then-career-high 169 yards against the Hokies. Helu's 81.9 yards per game in 2009 ranked fourth in the Big 12, and his 1,147 rushing yards were the 16th-most in NU history. In 2010, he is averaging 100.9 yards per game to rank fourth in the Big 12 and 20th nationally.
*-Helu has 2,966 career rushing yards, and moved up from 11th to sixth on the NU career rushing effort against Missouri. In that game he passed Derek Brown, Cory Ross, Dahrran Diedrick, Lawrence Phillips and I.M. Hipp on the career chart. Helu Jr. is just 34 yards from becoming the sixth Husker with 3,000 career rushing yards, and only 188 yards from fourth on the career rushing list. Helu is also bidding to be the first Husker to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993.
*-Helu has shined against top competition and in road environments. Helu has four 100-yard rushing games in NU's last nine contests against ranked opponents. In 11 road games since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, Helu has rushed for 1,073 yards on 163 carries, 6.6 yards per tote.
*-Helu had a Big 12-best 12 runs of 20+ yards in 2009, and 26 rushes of at least 20 yards over his past 24 games.
*-Helu had three of the nine 150-yard rushing games by Big 12 players in 2009, and four of the top 13 rushing efforts in the league last season.
Points Don't Come Easy
Oklahoma State was the first Nebraska opponent to top 21 points in 15 games, and Nebraska has been remarkably stingy on the scoreboard the past two seasons. The 2009 NU defense led the nation in scoring defense at 10.4 points per game, and held seven foes to single digits and eight teams to 10 or fewer points. Both of those totals led the nation. Nebraska posted two shutouts for the first time since 2003. This season, Nebraska ranks 16th in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game.
*-Nebraska's 10.4 points per game allowed last season were the fewest since the 1984 Nebraska defense also led the nation by allowing just 9.5 points per game. NU had not allowed fewer than 15 points per game since 2003.
*-NU allowed just 25 trips into the red zone by its opponents, the second-fewest red-zone chances in the nation. Only 11 of those drives ended in touchdowns, and Nebraska's 64 percent rank in red zone defense was the nation's best. Nebraska has allowed 22 red-zone drives in 2010, with 19 resulting in scores (11 TD, 8 FG).
*-The Huskers allowed only 10 offensive touchdowns in eight Big 12 games in 2009.
*-Nebraska held 13 of 14 opponents to 20 or fewer points last season. To put that accomplishment in perspective, NU held just six opponents to less than 20 points in 2007 and 2008 combined. This season six of eight teams have scored 20 or fewer points.
*-Only eight Nebraska opponents have scored as many as 17 points since the start of the 2009 season (22 games). In the past two seasons, Nebraska has allowed 10 or fewer points in 10 games.
No Free Passes
"This is the best pass defense in America."
-Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian after Nebraska held the Huskies to just four completions and 71 passing yards
Nebraska led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2009 and returned eight defensive backs with starting experience this fall, making the Husker secondary one of the most highly regarded in the nation. Through eight games, NU is first nationally in pass efficiency defense (89.36 rating) and third in passing yards allowed per game (148.0 ypg). The Huskers have caused major problems for opposing passers, including highly rated prospects Nathan Enderle of Idaho, Jake Locker of Washington and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri.
*-Nebraska opponents are completing a nation-low 47.16 percent of their pass attempts, including a 4-of-20 effort by Washington's Jake Locker, and a 4-of-16 showing by Texas' Garrett Gilbert. Opponents have thrown for seven touchdown passes. Last season, NU opponents completed 47.8 percent of their passes (No. 4 in nation), and NU allowed just seven passing TDs (second-fewest nationally).
*-Nebraska has 13 interceptions this season. NU had a streak of nine straight games with at least one pick end against Texas, but its 13 interceptions are tied for ninth nationally. Nebraska has intercepted 5.68 percent of opposing passes, fifth in the nation. Last season, Nebraska tied for seventh in the nation with 20 interceptions.
*-Ten of NU's 14 opponents in 2009 completed 50 percent or less of their pass attempts, and five opponents had less than 150 yards passing. NU's 2010 opponents are averaging 148.0 passing yards per game, including five with 135 yards or less. Washington threw for just 71 yards, South Dakota State had 95 yards and Texas threw for only 62 yards. Oklahoma State threw for a season-high 283 yards, but that total was 78 yards fewer than the Cowboys' season average heading into the game.
*-Nebraska allowed an average of 178.9 yards per game through the air in 2009, NU's best pass defense since allowing 177.8 yards per game in 2003.
*-The Huskers' five-interception effort against Idaho was the second time in the past two seasons NU has picked off five passes (also Oklahoma, 2009). Nebraska has intercepted at least two passes in seven of its past 14 games.
*-Nebraska returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Idaho, tying a school record that had been accomplished five other times. Both of the pick-six scores came in the second quarter marking the first time NU has ever returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the same quarter. Nebraska added an interception return for a touchdown at Washington. It is the first time Nebraska has had three INT returns for a touchdown in a season since 2005. The school record for interceptions for touchdowns is five set in both 1971 and 1995.
Prince Leads a Royal Nebraska Secondary
In the season's first seven games it has been hard to single out one player as the standout in the Nebraska secondary. Every player who has seen extensive action has produced big plays and played key roles in the shutdown ability of the Cornhusker secondary.
Senior cornerback Prince Amukamara was the most recognizable name coming into the season after earning his share of honors last fall and putting his name on many preseason All-America teams. A first-team All-Big 12 pick in 2009, Amukamara is regarded as the cornerstone of a deep and veteran Nebraska secondary.
Amukamara has shown why he earned the preseason hype, but ironically he is the only player among NU's top seven defensive backs who has not picked off a pass in 2010. Despite not picking off a pass, his lockdown ability has been a key part of Nebraska defenders recording 13 picks.
Amukamara has made 29 tackles, while posting a team-high 10 pass breakups. He had a career-high tying three PBU against Missouri, and had two breakups each against Idaho and Kansas State. Amukamara has seven games the past two seasons with multiple pass breakups. His first PBU against the Vandals deflected into the air and was intercepted by P.J. Smith--the first of five NU picks in the game. The 6-1, 205-pounder has 24 career pass breakups, which places him seventh on the Husker career list.
*-Amukamara's impact can not be measured only by interceptions, tackles and PBU. Through seven game,s opponents had targeted Amukamara just 26 times, and completed only five passes against the lock-down corner.
*-His 10 pass breakups are tied for the national lead.
Band of Blackshirt Thieves
Amukamara is the highest profile member of the Nebraska secondary, but opposing quarterbacks have found that the football is never safe with the Huskers' ball-hawking secondary crew.
*-Fellow cornerback Alfonzo Dennard gives Nebraska two of the nation's top cover corners. Dennard has three interceptions this season, including a 31-yard touchdown return for a score against Washington. He is tied for 28th nationally in interceptions, and also has 16 tackles and six pass breakups. He is tied for 24th nationally in passes defended at 1.13 per game.
*-Senior safety DeJon Gomes has been a turnover machine during his Nebraska career. Gomes has intercepted six passes in 18 career games, and has also caused five fumbles. Gomes has caused fumbles against Western Kentucky and Kansas State. He also picked off an Idaho pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and added his second pick against Missouri. Gomes ranks second on the team with 67 tackles, including a career-high 12 stops at Kansas State and double-figure tackle totals against Texas and Oklahoma State.
*-Senior Eric Hagg is Nebraska's nickel back. Hagg has three interceptions this season, including Washington's first pass attempt of the game, that set up the Huskers' opening score. He also had two breakups against the Huskies and his three PBU this season are third on the team. Hagg earned Big 12 Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors for his effort at Washington. He showed his play-making ability against Texas with a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown, the longest punt return in school history on his first career return. Hagg had a season-high eight tackles and an interception at Oklahoma State and seven solo stops and two TFL vs. Missouri. He was chosen as a second-team mid-season All-American by SI.com.
*-Senior safety Rickey Thenarse has returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2009. Thenarse had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown against Idaho. He ranks fifth on the team with 34 tackles and forced a fumble against Washington. He had a career-high 10 tackles against South Dakota State.
*-Sophomore safety P.J. Smith often enters the game when Nebraska moves to six defensive backs, and has made three starts this season. Smith is tied for the team lead and ranks 28th nationally with three interceptions. He also has 36 tackles to rank fourth on the team, including a career-high 11 stops against Texas.
*-Three new faces excelled in the NU secondary against Missouri. Junior Austin Cassidy and sophomore Courtney Osborne were Nebraska's starting safeties, and performed well with six tackles each. True freshman corner Ciante Evans was called upon when Dennard went out with an injury, and responded with four tackles and two breakups.Blackshirts Tough at Home
Although Nebraska saw its nation-leading streak of 14 consecutive games holding the opponent to 21-or-fewer points snapped on Oct. 23 in Stillwater, the Husker defense has been especially stout at home. Since the start of the 2009 season, Nebraska has allowed only 125 points in 12 homes games, an average of only 10.4 points per game.
In their last 12 home games, the Huskers have allowed only 12 touchdowns. The Blackshirts have held eight opponents to 10 points or less during that stretch, including five to a field goal or fewer. Only two teams have scored more than 17 points at Memorial Stadium the past two seasons, and Nebraska lost both of those contests. Texas Tech posted a 31-10 win in Lincoln last season, while Texas handed Nebraska its only loss of 2010, 20-13, two weeks ago.
The Blackshirts have allowed 300 total yards only three times in 12 home games the past two seasons, giving up an average of only 283.8 yards per game. The defense has also forced 25 turnovers in its last 12 games at home.
Blackshirts Boast Amazing Improvements over Past Two Seasons
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and a strong defensive staff have led one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college football in recent years. Nebraska was one of the nation's most improved defenses in 2008, finishing second in the Big 12 in total defense just one season after ranking last in the Big 12 and 112th nationally in total defense. As impressive as the progress was in 2008, the Blackshirts made even larger strides as a unit in 2009 and are continuing to be among the nation's best in 2010.
*-Two seasons after ranking 116th nationally in scoring defense (37.9 ppg), NU led the nation in that category at 10.4 points per game. NU allowed 28.5 points per game in 2008 and its 18.1 ppg improvement last fall easily led the nation. Nebraska's 79-spot move from 80th nationally in total defense in 2008 to first in 2009 was also the nation's best. This season Nebraska is allowing 17.8 ppg.
*-In two seasons, Nebraska's sack total has increased from 13 to 35 to 44 in 2009. Through eight games this season, NU has 18 sacks, including a seven-sack effort against Idaho and six against Missouri.
*-Against the run, NU cut its per-game average nearly in half in 2008, then shaved another 23 yards per game off its average allowed in 2009.
*-Nebraska improved 48 places (55th to 7th) in total defense in 2009, improving from 349.9 yards per game to 272.0 yards per game and the 77.9-yard improvement was the sixth-best in the nation. The Huskers are allowing 310.3 yards per game this season and have held five of eight foes to less than 300 yards.
*-Nebraska led the nation in pass efficiency defense and finished 18th in passing yards allowed per game, an improvement of 71 places--the fourth-best in the nation. This season, Nebraska is first in pass efficiency defense and third in passing yards allowed at just 148.0 yards per game.
Crick Looking for Another Award-Winning Season
Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick emerged as a standout performer last fall and is the anchor of Nebraska's defensive line in 2010. The 6-6, 285-pound Crick was named the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team preseason All-America choice by numerous outlets. He recently received first-team mid-season All-America honors from Rivals.com, and second-team All-America honors from two other outlets. Last week, Crick was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Crick has helped set the tone for the 2010 Blackshirts. Crick has 39 tackles, good for third on the team and the most among linemen. He tops the Big 12 in tackles among interior defensive lineman at 4.9 per game.
Crick also leads the Blackshirts with 4.5 sacks, including one each of the past two weeks. His eight tackles for loss lead the team and his seven quarterback hurries rank third. Crick has pushed his career sack total to 14, just two shy of the Nebraska career top 10. His top game of the 2010 season came against Idaho, when Crick had 2.5 sacks for 30 yards and four tackles for losses, totaling 32 yards, and he had a season-high eight tackles and two TFL in the win over Missouri.
In 2009, Crick pushed Ndamukong Suh for team statistical leads in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss all season. Crick finished with 73 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries. Crick had one of the most prolific defensive days in school history with a record-setting performance at Baylor.
*-Crick had a school-record five sacks for 24 yards in the game. His five sacks were the most in a single game by any player in the nation in 2009, just ahead of Suh's 4.5 sacks against Texas.
*-Crick had seven tackles for loss, tying the NU school record also held by Jim Skow (1985 vs. Missouri) and Suh (2009 vs. Texas). The seven TFLs by Crick and Suh were three more than any other Big 12 player in 2009.
*-Crick earned Big 12 and national defensive player-of-the-week honors for his performance, before going on to first-team All-Big 12 honors. His 5.2 tackles per game ranked second only to Suh among Big 12 defensive linemen.
David Posting Impressive Tackle Totals
Nebraska junior linebacker Lavonte David arrived on the Nebraska campus just a few short months ago. But he has proven to be a quick learner and has moved into a leading role on the Nebraska defense. David has a team-high 86 tackles, and his 10.8 tackles per game leads the Big 12 and ranks 11th nationally. He is within 33 tackles of the Nebraska single-season top 10 in tackles. David is also second on the team with seven pass breakups and his seven tackles for loss are second on the team.
The play of the 6-1, 210-pound David has drawn national attention. He has been named a first-team midseason All-American by Rivals.com and SI.com, and he is the leading contender for Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
*-David had a team season-high 19 tackles in the Huskers' victory over South Dakota State. David's tackle total was the most in the Big 12 this season, and the highest for a Nebraska player since Barrett Ruud totaled 19 tackles at Kansas State in 2004. Ruud, a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is Nebraska's all-time leading tackler.
*-The 19 tackles vs. SDSU were not only the best by a Husker in six seasons, but the total also ranked in a tie for the seventh-most tackles in school history.
*-David backed that up with 16 tackles at Kansas State, giving him the top two single-game tackle totals for the Huskers in the past six seasons. His effort at Kansas State also earned David Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors. His 35 tackles in back-to-back games are the best for a Husker since Ruud had 36 tackles in back-to-back games against Kansas State and Missouri in 2004.
*-David has four games with double-figure tackle totals this season, most recently 10 vs. Texas.
Henery Making a Run at NCAA Records
Nebraska place-kicker Alex Henery has been one of the nation's best place-kickers for the past four seasons. However, a closer examination of Henery's amazing kicking numbers reveals that he is one of the best place-kickers in NCAA history.
*-Henery has made 88.2 percent of his career field goal attempts (60-of-68). The NCAA record is 87.8 percent by Florida's Bobby Raymond. (min. 45 attempts)
*-Henery has made 75.0 percent of his career field goals from 40 yards or longer (21-of-28). The NCAA career record is 72.1 percent by Georgia's Billy Bennet.
*-Henery has made 97.5 percent of his career field goals from inside 40 yards (39-of-40). The NCAA career record is 97.0 percent by Florida's Bobby Ramond.
*-Henery is tied for the NCAA record with six career games with at least four field goals.
*-Henery has combined to make 238 of his 247 career kicks (PATs and field goals), a 96.4 percent accuracy rate. The NCAA FBS career record is 94.9 percent set by Missouri's Jeff Wolfert.
Nebraska Records Falling by the Wayside
While Henery has begun to make a push on a few NCAA records, he has already made a significant mark in the Husker record book and figures to make his name even more prominent in the stretch run of his career. In addition to his place-kicking prowess, the senior from Omaha has also emerged as one of the nation's top punters the past two seasons.
Henery was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award last week, marking his second straight year as a semifinalist. He was also named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List last week, making Henery the only player in the nation who is both a semifinalist for the Groza Award, and a candidate for the Ray Guy Award.
Henery made his first field goal against Missouri, before having a 51-yarder blocked in the fourth quarter. Henery is now 10-of-11 on the season. His 41-yard field goal against Missouri was his 18th consecutive made field goal, breaking Kris Brown's school record of 17 straight. Henery has also increased his career field goal total to 60, three better than Brown's previous school record of 57.
Henery connected on a school-record 24-of-28 field goals in 2009, including three games with at least four field goals. He hit 5-of-5 field goals at Virginia Tech, the second-highest field goal total in school history, trailing only Dale Klein's school-record seven field goals in 1985. He also supplied all the scoring by hitting 4-of-4 field goals in a 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game, and finished the year with a perfect 4-of-4 effort against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
*-Henery has six career games with four or more field goals, an accomplishment that has already tied an NCAA record. He has 14 multiple-FG games in his career, including three in Big 12 Conference play.
*-Henery's 24 field goals in 2009 shattered the school record, and his 60 made field goals have come on 68 attempts, making him the most accurate kicker in school history.
*-Among kickers with at least 50 career attempts, Henery is the most accurate active field goal kicker in the nation. He is also the most accurate kicker in NU history on extra points, hitting 178-of-179 in his career, a 99.4 percent accuracy rate. He has made 101 straight PATs, including perfect PAT seasons as a freshman and junior. He is 39-of-39 in 2010.
*-Among Henery's eight career missed field goals, just two have come from inside 50 yards. In fact, Henery had a streak of 25 straight made field goals from inside 50 yards. Henery has also made 16 career field goals from 44 yards or longer. His 52-yard field goal at Oklahoma State tied for the longest ever by a Nebraska player in a road game.
*-Henery became the fifth Nebraska player with at least 300 career points against Idaho. He currently has 358 points to rank third in school history. Henery needs 31 points to set a new career scoring record. Henery is third nationally in scoring among active players.
*-Henery has scored 110 points each of the past two seasons, eighth on the single-season list. His two 110-point seasons trail only Kris Brown (116 in 1997) for season scoring by a kicker.
*Henery averaged 41.4 yards in his first season as Nebraska's starting punter in 2009, making him one of only three players nationally to rank in the top 50 in both field goals and punting average. Henery led the Big 12 with 30 punts downed inside the 20, including an impressive eight inside the three-yard line.
*-This season, Henery's punting has been strong and consistent. He is averaging 45.6 yards per punt to rank fourth in the Big 12 and 14th nationally. He has had 12 kicks downed inside the 20 and 12 punts travel at least 50 yards. Henery has averaged at least 47.0 yards per punt five times in eight games.
Paul Again Setting the Tone for Receivers and Return Game
Wide receiver Niles Paul has been a key figure in Nebraska's receiving corps and return game for each of the past three seasons. A year ago, Paul caught 40 passes for 796 yards and four touchdowns. Paul's receiving yardage total was the fifth-best total in school history and his 19.9 yards per catch led the Big 12 Conference. His per-catch average also ranked third in school history among players with at least 20 receptions and tops among players with 40 catches in a season.
This season, Paul has shown similar all-around skills and had the most complete game of his career in Nebraska's 51-41 victory at Oklahoma State. Paul accounted for a career-high 274 all-purpose yards in the game, the sixth-best all-purpose game in school history.
Included in his effort at Oklahoma State was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, marking the longest for Nebraska in 61 years and tying the second-longest in NU history. Paul also caught a career-high nine passes, tying for the eighth-most catches for a Husker player. His 131 receiving yards marked the fifth 100-yard receiving game of his career and his first in 2010.
*-Paul opened the year with 158 all-purpose yards against Western Kentucky, including five receptions for 92 yards and a 33-yard TD grab. He had two catches of at least 20 yards against the Hilltoppers, then led NU with four catches against Idaho. He tied his previous career high with six catches against Texas, and has had at least four catches in seven of 13 games dating back to last season.
*-Paul has moved into the top 10 on the Nebraska career receptions, and at 91 career catches, he is poised to become just the sixth player in school history with 100 career catches. Paul's 1,395 career receiving yards are seventh in NU history.
In 2009, Paul had an impressive list of accomplishments.
*-Paul tied the NU school record in 2009 with four 100-yard receiving games, including three in Big 12 play and against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. His 154 yards on four catches at Kansas represented the sixth-best receiving day in NU history, while his 143 yards vs. Iowa State ranked ninth.
*-Paul earned Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP honors by accounting for 237 all-purpose yards, including 123 receiving yards. He had a career-long 74-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to cap the scoring in a 33-0 rout.
*-Paul had 11 catches of at least 20 yards, with nine of those covering 35 yards or more. His 38.5 yards per catch at Kansas was the second-best single-game effort in the Big 12 in 2009.
*-Paul ranked second in the Big 12 in both kickoff return and punt return average in 2009, and his 121.2 all-purpose yards per game ranked ninth in the Big 12.
*-Paul became the first Husker since Dana Brinson (1986) to lead Nebraska in receiving, kickoff return yards, punt return yards and all-purpose yards. The only other Huskers in history to lead the Huskers in all four categories in the same season are: Johnny Rodgers (1970, 1971, 1972), Pat Fischer (1958) and Dick Hutton (1946). The only other Husker in history to lead NU in four offense/special teams yardage categories in the same season was Frank Solich (1964 - all-purpose, KOR, PR, rushing).
McNeill and Kinnie Also Provide Dangerous Receiving Targets
Senior Mike McNeill has been a fixture in the Nebraska passing game for the past three seasons. He was a prolific pass catching tight end, before the 6-4, 235-pound McNeill moved to wide receiver last spring. He teams with Paul and junior Brandon Kinnie to give Nebraska one of the biggest and most physical receiving corps in the Big 12.
McNeill set a tight end record with 32 catches as a sophomore in 2008, and was second on the team with 28 catches for 259 yards last season. He also tied with Paul for the team lead with four touchdown catches.
*-In addition to a tight end position record 32 catches in 2008, McNeill's six touchdown receptions were just one shy of the position record.
*-McNeill has 72 career catches to rank in a tie for 11th on the Nebraska career list. McNeill's receptions total represents a Nebraska career tight ends reception record, bettering the 65 by Matt Herian from 2002 to 2006. McNeill is 83 yards from becoming the 19th Husker and fourth NU tight end to reach 1,000 career receiving yards. He snared his 11th career touchdown with a 24-yard grab at Washington, then had a career-long 64-yard reception against South Dakota State.
*-McNeill had his best game of 2010 at Oklahoma State, career-high five catches for 61 yards.
Kinnie also made huge strides in the offseason, and that has carried into outstanding play in 2010. Kinnie ranks second on the team with 22 catches for 294 yards.
*-Kinnie posted his first three career touchdown receptions at Oklahoma State, incuding a 45-yard catch and run to open the scoring in the first quarter. Kinnie's three TD catches tied a school record, accomplished nine previous times in NU history.
The Oklahoma State game was not the only 2010 highlight for Kinnie. He opened the year with a career-high six receptions and 59 yards against Western Kentucky. He excelled against Washington with five receptions for a career-high 105 yards. He totaled 180 all-purpose yards, adding 75 yards on kickoff returns.
Behind Paul, McNeill and Kinnie, Nebraska is averaging 15.1 yards per completion this season, a mark that ranks fifth in the country.
NU Knocks Off Back-to-Back Ranked Unbeatens
Nebraska defeated seventh-ranked Missouri, 31-17, last Saturday in Lincoln, a week after it went on the road and defeated an unbeaten and 17th-ranked Oklahoma State team, 51-41.
*-The wins over Oklahoma State and Missouri marked the first time Nebraska has defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games since defeating No. 25 Missouri (34-20) and No. 24 Texas A&M (28-27) in 2006. Prior to this season, the last time Nebraska last defeated a pair of teams ranked 20th or higher in consecutive games at the end of the 1999 season when NU knocked off No. 12 Texas in the Big 12 title game and sixth-ranked Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl.
*-The win over No. 7 Missouri was the highest ranked team NU had defeated since a win over No. 2 Oklahoma in 2001 in Lincoln. It also marked the first time NU had defeated a top-10 team since that 2001 game against OU, ending a streak of 12 straight losses against top-10 teams.
*-The win at 17th-ranked Oklahoma State represented the highest ranked team NU had defeated on the road since a 27-14 win at No. 2 Washington in September of 1997.
*-Nebraska is 5-2 against ranked teams since the start of the 2009 season. The Huskers were 3-2 against ranked teams in 2009, and are 2-0 this season. The Huskers' three wins against ranked teams last year marked its most wins over ranked teams since four wins over ranked foes during a 12-1 campaign in 1999.
*-Nebraska's win at Oklahoma State was its third win over a ranked team away from home in the past two seasons, including the win at Missouri last year and a victory over No. 22 Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
*-Before the 2009 and 2010 seasons, NU last posted multiple wins over ranked teams in back-to-back seasons in 2000 and 2001. Nebraska won at least two games against ranked teams in 11 straight seasons from 1991 to 2001.
*-In four Big 12 games, NU has defeated three teams that entered the contest unbeaten (KSU, OSU, MU). Before its wins over Oklahoma State and Missouri, NU last defeated a pair of unbeatens that late in the season was in 1995 when NU knocked off 6-0 Kansas State on Oct. 21 and 12-0 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to close the year.
Nebraska finished the 2009 season with its highest post-season ranking (No. 14 in both polls) since the 2001 season. The Huskers also started the 2010 season in its best poll position in several seasons.
*-The Huskers were No. 8 in the preseason Associated Press Poll and were ranked ninth in the first USA Today Coaches Poll. The rankings represent NU's highest starting position since opening at No. 4 in the AP poll in 2001.
*-Nebraska's No. 8 preseason ranking was the first time in the top 10 at any point since being ranked 10th by the AP in October of 2003 following a 5-0 start to the season.
*-NU was ranked fifth in the Oct. 10 AP poll and fourth in the coaches poll, Nebraska's highest rankings since entering the 2002 Rose Bowl against Miami ranked fourth in the nation. The Huskers moved back into the top 10 in both polls this week.
*-Nebraska has received first-place votes in the coaches poll two separate weeks this season, the first time since 2001 that NU has received a first-place vote in either poll.
Nebraska hoping to Continue Fourth-Quarter Excellence
Nebraska has been among the nation's best fourth-quarter teams each of the past two seasons. In 2008, NU ranked second nationally in fourth-quarter points scored (155) and fourth-quarter point differential (+103).
The 2009 season was no different as NU outscored the opposition 96-32, with the 32 points allowed tying Alabama for the lowest in the nation. The 64-point differential in the fourth quarter was the fourth-best nationally.
*-The fourth-quarter highlight in 2009 was at No. 24 Missouri. NU trailed 12-0 entering the fourth quarter, before scoring 27 unanswered points. The rally from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit tied a school record, and the 27 points were the most by NU in any quarter since the 2004 season opener, and the most in the fourth quarter since 2001.
*-NU allowed nine Big 12 opponents just 23 fourth-quarter points and held eight foes without a fourth-quarter point.
*-Nebraska outscored its opponents 154-55 in the second half in 2009. The 55 second-half points were the fewest allowed by any team in the nation.
*-Under Bo Pelini, Nebraska is 26-2 when leading at any point in the fourth quarter. The lone losses were one-point setbacks against Virginia Tech and Texas in 2009.
This season, Nebraska has allowed 28 fourth-quarter points, while scoring 51 of its own.
Injury Bug Hits Huskers During Fall Camp
Nebraska endured more than its share of injuries during fall camp, with two returning starters sidelined for the entire season and two others lost for a significant amount of time.
*-Senior offensive lineman Mike Smith suffered a leg injury during the first week of fall camp that will sideline the Las Vegas native for the season. Smith was Nebraska's starting left tackle each of the past two seasons, collecting 26 career starts. Smith was set to play a key role on the line this fall, with the ability to possibly serve as a key backup at tackle, guard or even center.
*-Sophomore linebacker Sean Fisher also suffered a season-ending leg injury during fall camp. Fisher started six games as a redshirt freshman last fall, and was expected to be among the Huskers' top linebackers in 2010.
*-Sophomore linebacker Will Compton joined Fisher on the sidelines when he suffered a foot injury in practice on Sept. 2, just two days before the opener. Compton has since returned, seeing action against Texas, Oklahoma State and Missouri.
*-Senior tight end Dreu Young underwent back surgery in late August and is out for an extended period of time. Young also battled back issues during his junior campaign.
*-Junior reserve cornerback Anthony Blue suffered his second knee injury in the past 2 1/2 years during fall camp and will be sidelined for the year. Blue was expected to be among Nebraska's top reserves at corner, and was also one of the Huskers' top special teams perfomers last season.
NCAA Record Sellout Streak
One of the most remarkable streaks in collegiate sports reached another milestone on Sept. 26, 2009, against Louisiana-Lafayette when Nebraska celebrated the 300th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium. A stadium record crowd of 86,304 fans were on hand for the historic event, and the streak is at 309 games and is expected to reach 311 by season's end. 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 219, 90 fewer than Nebraska.
NU Owns Dominant Advantage at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska has rewarded the loyalty of its fans with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years.
*-Nebraska has won at least six home games in 19 of the past 23 seasons. Nebraska is 133-19 at home in the last 22 seasons (since 1989).
*-During Nebraska's run of success at home in the past 25 years, NU has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games, and overall has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons.
*-The Huskers are 502-138-20 (.775, 660 games, 121 years) in Lincoln, and 377-115-13 (.759, 505 games, 88 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). Nebraska has had 42 straight winning home seasons, including 2010.
Memorial Stadium Expansion for 2013 Approved
The Nebraska Board of Regents approved an expansion plan for the east side of Memorial Stadium, which will increase Memorial Stadium's attendance to more than 90,000. NU plans to expand Memorial Stadium by adding approximately 5,000 new seats, which will include between 2,000 and 2,250 new club seats, approximately 400 to 500 seats within approximately 30 new indoor/outdoor suites, and approximately 2,500 to 2,800 new general seats, including additional seating for disabled patrons. Each new seating area would include dedicated restrooms and concessions areas. A new grand lobby, expanded concourse, and additional first-aid areas would also be added. No current East Stadium seats will be removed and no season ticket holders will be required to relocate their seats as part of this project.
The proposed height of the new addition to be constructed above and around the current east balcony will be similar to the West Stadium, completed in 1999. Within the six proposed levels of the new East Stadium building, approximately 40,000 square feet of interior shell space will also be created. Athletics will retain approximately 20,000 of the undeveloped space for future growth, and as part of a unique partnership between athletics and UNL Research, will allocate approximately 20,000 square feet for future office and laboratory space for research at UNL.
The total projected cost of the project is $55.5 million. The proposal calls for $40.5 million to come from private donations and the remaining $15 million from bond revenues. Approximately $7 million in new revenue is expected to be generated annually from the new seating. These additional revenues will be used to pay off the bonds.
Construction could begin in November of 2011 and be complete by the fall of 2013.
Nebraska Set for Move to Big Ten in 2011
June 11, 2010 was a historic day for the University of Nebraska, as NU was admitted to the Big Ten Conference as the 12th member of the nation's oldest conference. The Cornhuskers will begin play in the Big Ten in 2011-12.
The Huskers have a long history of meeting Big Ten opponents on the gridiron, compiling an 81-68-10 all-time record against the league's other 11 members. Nebraska most recently met a Big Ten opponent in a 32-28 victory over Michigan in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. NU's last regular-season matchup with a Big Ten opponent was a home-and-home series in 2002 and 2003 with Penn State. The schools split the two games, each winning at home.
The Big Ten Conference announced its divisional alignment on Sept. 1. The Huskers will compete in a football division with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The other division is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Nebraska's first Big Ten game will be at Wisconsin on Oct. 1, 2011, with its first Big Ten home game against Ohio State on Oct. 8, 2011.
Huskers Compete in Final Season in Big 12 Conference
With Nebraska's move to the Big Ten on the horizon, 2010 marks Nebraska's final season of action in the Big 12. The conference has been NU's home since 1996 and the Huskers have had their share of football success in the league. Nebraska has played in the Big 12 Championship Game five times, including the 2009 title game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Nebraska has captured Big 12 titles in 1997 and 1999.
*-Nebraska's five Big 12 Championship Game appearances are tied for second among all Big 12 schools along with Texas, trailing only Oklahoma's seven Big 12 Championship Game appearances.
*-Nebraska has squared off against three conference foes more than 100 times, including 116 meetings with Kansas, 105 with Iowa State and 104 with Missouri.
*-Nebraska and Kansas will meet for the 105th consecutive season in 2010, which is currently the nation's longest uninterrupted streak. Overall, the 116 meetings are the third most of any series in the country.
*-Nebraska will play its final Big 12 Conference game against Colorado on Friday, Nov. 26. The 2010 season will mark the 15th straight year the Big 12 North schools have met on the day after Thanksgiving and the 21st straight year Nebraska has played on that date, meeting Oklahoma six consecutive years from 1990 to 1995.
The 2010 Nebraska roster includes three sets of twins and five total sets of brothers. Courtney and Steven Osborne of Garland, Texas, signed with the Huskers in 2008 and enter their third season in the program-Courtney as a safety and Steven at wide receiver. Colin and Conor McDermott walked on to Nebraska from Omaha Creighton Prep high school and will both be sophomore defensive ends this fall. Jake and Spencer Long also hail from Omaha (Elkhorn High School) and are in their second season in the program. Jake lines up at tight end, while Spencer is an offensive lineman.
In addition to the three sets of twins, Nebraska also has another set of brothers on the roster-Ben and Jake Cotton. The Cottons are the sons of Nebraska associate head coach Barney Cotton, and senior defensive back Adam Watson is the son of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. In addition, walk-on freshman offensive lineman Mark Pelini is the nephew of Bo and Carl Pelini.
Nebraska Football-A Family Affair
The Cotton family is one of just several father-son combinations who have played for Nebraska represented on the 2010 Cornhusker roster. Barney lettered at Nebraska in 1976-78, while Ben is a sophomore tight end and Jake is a freshman defensive lineman.
Other current Nebraska players whose fathers also played at NU include DB Joey Felici (Tony, 1980-82), LB Sean Fisher (Todd, 1983), DE Andy Gdowski (Tom, 1980-82), WR KC Hyland (John, 1970-72), DB Brent Moravec (Mark, 1980-82), DE Jay Martin (Bob, 1973-75), C Cole Pensick (Dan, 1977-79), LB Colby Starkebaum (John, 1972-74) and DT Baker Steinkuhler (Dean, 1981-83).
NFL Has Large Influence on Nebraska Roster
Several players also have family connections with the National Football League. Barney Cotton logged four seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Cardinals from 1979 to 1982. Other players whose fathers played in the NFL include Anthony Blue (Anthony, Sr., Seattle, 1987), Zac Lee (Bob, Minnesota, Atlanta, L.A. Rams, 1969-80), Jay Martin (Bob, N.Y. Jets, San Francisco, 1976-79), Baker Steinkuhler (Dean, Houston, 1984-91), Anthony West (Robert, Kansas City, San Francisco, 1972-74) and Lester Ward (Lester, Sr., Dallas).
1970 Championship Team Reunited
More than 50 members of the first Nebraska national championship team were together again in Lincoln on Oct. 15-16 for the 40th anniversary of the championship. The group had a private dinner on Friday evening and were honored on the field at halftime of the Nebraska-Texas game.
The 1970 team won the first of Nebraska's five national championships. Led by Coach Bob Devaney, the Huskers finished 11-0-1, and captured the Associated Press title.
Despite an undefeated record, Nebraska needed to win its bowl game and have both Texas and Ohio State lose to jump from third to first in the Associated Press poll. The Huskers took care of business with a 17-12 win over LSU in the Orange Bowl and both the Longhorns and Buckeyes lost their bowl games, allowing Nebraska to move to the No. 1 spot and claim its first-ever national title.
The Huskers shared the crown that season with Texas, who was the No. 1 team in the United Press International (UPI) poll. That final poll was voted on before the bowl season, when the undefeated Longhorns fell to No. 6 Notre Dame, 24-11, in the Cotton Bowl.
Nebraska Football Continues to Win in the Classroom
Nebraska football has long been one of the nation's most successful programs on the field. Success in the classroom is also a cornerstone of the Nebraska football program.
NU Among Leaders in Academic All-Americans
Nebraska had 22 players named to the 2009 academic All-Big 12 team, including 15 first-team selections, and seven second-team honorees. Nebraska's 22 honorees were the second-highest total in the Big 12 Conference.
The group was highlighted by defensive back Austin Cassidy and linebacker Sean Fisher, who were each nominated with a 4.0 grade-point average. Fisher has a perfect cumulative grade-point average, while Cassidy earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in the two previous semesters. Fisher and Cassidy were two of just three student-athletes in the Big 12 Conference nominated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Nation-Leading Total of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
Seniors Todd Peterson and Tyler Wortman were selected as second-team ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2008. The selection of Peterson and Wortman gave NU a nation-leading total of 98 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in football. Nebraska also leads the nation in academic All-Americans with 277 academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports entering the 2010-11 academic year.
Senior Class in Strong Academic Standing
Nebraska's 23-player senior class includes six players playing the 2010 season as graduate students. Among those, defensive end Tyrone Fahie graduated in December of 2009 in just 3 ½ years, while offensive lineman D.J. Jones, quarterback Zac Lee and defensive back Anthony West picked up their degrees in May. Tight end Mike McNeill and offensive lineman Mike Smith joined the group in summer commencement exercises.
*-Another nine seniors are expected to complete their degree work in the fall, giving the Huskers 15 graduates in time for the bowl game. All but one member of the senior class are expected to complete their degrees by the end of the 2011 spring semester.
*-Among Bo Pelini's first three senior classes, 52 of 57 players are on track to earn their degree by next August.
Nebraska Post Impressive Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rates
Nebraska athletic teams continue to graduate student-athletes at an impressive rate. Nebraska led the Big 12 in exhausted eligibility graduation rates for seven straight years before the NCAA chose not to calculate the rate in 2010. Nebraska however has increased its exhausted eligibility grad rate to an impressive 95 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 improved 23 percentage points since the inception of the rate in 1991-92.