Close Video
Play Video
 
Buy Photo >
Saturday is scheduled to be the 320th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 09/10/2012
Send this article to a friend Print RSS

Huskers Welcome Red Wolves to Memorial Stadium

GAME 3: ARKANSAS STATE at NEBRASKA
SEPT. 15, 2012 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. | 11 a.m. (CT)

BROADCAST INFO
TV - ESPN2
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 138, XM 203
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com

HUSKERS

Record: 1-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-24; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to UCLA, 36-30
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 40-17/5th year 
vs. Ark. State: 1-0

RED WOLVES
Record: 1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: def. Memphis, 33-28
Coach: Gus Malzahn
ASU/Career Record: 1-1/1st Year
vs. NU: 0-0

The Matchup
Nebraska begins a three-game homestand on Saturday when the Huskers take on Arkansas State at Memorial Stadium. The game willl be televised on ESPN2 with kickoff set for 11 a.m. (CDT).

The Huskers will look to bounce back from a disappointing 36-30 loss at UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. Nebraska was tied 24-24 at the half in an offensive shootout, but the Huskers managed just two field goals in the second half, and UCLA scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory. The setback dropped Nebraska to 1-1 on the season, and also dropped the Huskers from the Associated Press Poll this week, ending a streak of 37 straight weeks in the AP listing for Nebraska. The Huskers are 24th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Huskers will look to keep its explosive offensive start rolling this week against Arkansas State. NU ranks 16th nationally in total offense, averaging 535.5 yards per game after the first two weeks.

Arkansas State also enters Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record following a 33-28 victory over Memphis on Saturday night in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves opened the season with a road loss at No. 4 Oregon. Like Nebraska, the Red Wolves have shown an explosive offense early in the season, averaging 574.5 yards of total offense through the first two games. A year ago, Arkansas State captured the Sun Belt Conference title and posted a 10-3 overall record.

The Coaches

Nebraska:
Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 40-17 record in his fifth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first four seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich in accomplishing that feat. Pelini is one of only six first-time head coaches in NCAA history to win at least nine games in each of his first four seasons at a BCS conference school.

Arkansas State:
Gus Malzahn (Henderson State, ‘90) is in his first season as head coach at Arkansas State and his first season as a collegiate head coach. Before taking over as the Red Wolves’ head coach, Malzahn had built a reputation as one of the top offensive coordinators in college football. He helped guide Auburn to the 2010 national title and also spent time as an offensive coordinator at Tulsa and Arkansas.

Scouting Arkansas State:
Arkansas State brings one of the nation’s top offenses into today’s game at Memorial Stadium. The Red Wolves won 10 games last season and went unbeaten in the Sun Belt Conference. Although ASU lost 16 starters from the 2011 season and has a first-time head coach in Gus Malzahn, the Red Wolves boast one of the nation’s top quarterbacks.
In his third season as Arkansas State’s starting quarterback, Ryan Aplin has accounted for 716 yards of total offense and five touchdowns through two games this season. He has completed 60 percent of his passes and thrown for 606 yards, as ASU ranks 26th nationally in passing. Aplin has also rushed for 110 yards, while David Oku has gained 211 yards. Three Red Wolves have run for more than 100 yards this season, while ASU ranks 15th nationally by averaging 271.5 rushing yards per game. Arkansas State is averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

The offense is led by Aplin, who ranks fourth nationally among all active quarterbacks with 9,445 yards of career total offense and an average of 262.4 yards per game. He also ranks fifth with 74 career total touchdowns and 11th with 222.7 career passing yards per game.
While Arkansas State’s offense has been among the nation’s best through two games, the defense has struggled. ASU has given up 85 points, an average of 42.5 points per game that ranks 113th nationally. Opponents have averaged 449.0 yards of total offense against the Red Wolves, as ASU ranks 71st nationally against the pass (231.0 ypg) and 101st against the run (218.0 ypg).

ASU has also struggled with special teams, as the Red Wolves rank 81st nationally in kickoff returns, 114th in net punting and 118th in punt returns.

Series History
Nebraska and Arkansas State meet for the second time today. The 22nd-ranked Huskers defeated the Red Wolves, 38-9, in the second game of the 2009 season in Lincoln. Arkansas State is one of five teams on the Huskers’ 2012 schedule that won at least 10 games in 2011, and the Red Wolves mark Nebraska’s fifth opponent from the Sun Belt Conference in the past four seasons.

Arkansas State Head Coach Gus Malzahn
Gus Malzahn is in his first season at Arkansas State and his first season as a collegiate head coach. Malzahn is 1-1 with the Red Wolves, as ASU lost at then-No. 5 Oregon in the season opener before defeating Memphis, 33-28, last Saturday. Malzahn is the 28th head coach in the history of Arkansas State football.

Before accepting the ASU job, Malzahn was widely regarded as one of the nation’s top offensive minds while coordinating Auburn’s offense from 2009 to 2011. The Tigers’ offense excelled under Malzahn, as Auburn went from ranking 110th in the nation in scoring offense and 104th in total offense the year before Malzhan’s arrival in 2008, to ranking seventh nationally in both categories in 2010. That season, Malzhan’s offense helped lead Auburn to a 14-0 record and a national championship. Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton quarterbacked an offense that set nine school records, while averaging 41.2 points per game.

Prior to his three-year stint as Auburn’s offensive coordinator, Malzahn was the assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator at Tulsa for two seasons in 2007 and 2008. His first coaching job in the collegiate ranks came as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator for the 2006 season.

Before becoming a collegiate coordinator, Malzahn spent 14 years as a high school head coach. He coached at Springdale High School in Springdale, Ark., from 2001 to 2005, after spending the previous five seasons as head coach at Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale. Malzahn landed his first head coaching job at Hughes High School in Hughes, Ark., in 1992 and spent four years at the school.

Nebraska Football
*- Nebraska is 847-350-40 all-time, one of just seven schools with 800 all-time victories

*- Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).

*- The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships.

*- 48 all-time bowl appearances rank fourth nationally.

*- Since 1970, NU has 413 wins, 25 more than any other school.

*- Nebraska's 102 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.

*- The Huskers have had 108 All-Americans in school history.

Huskers Off to Explosive Offensive Start in 2012
Nebraska has started strong on offense in 2012, beginning with rolling up 632 yards of total offense in the season opener against Southern Miss, including 354 passing yards and 278 rushing. The 632 yards were the most for Nebraska in 57 games since rolling up 710 yards against Kansas State in 2007. It was the most in Bo Pelini’s 56 games as head coach, bettering a 610-yard effort at K-State in 2008.

The Huskers responded with more than 330 yards of total offense in the first half at UCLA and finished the game with 439 yards of total offense. Entering this week’s contest with Arkansas State, Nebraska ranks 16th nationally and first in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 535.5 yards of total offense. NU is also 16th in rushing offense at 269.0 yards per game. The offensive success has come despite the absence of senior I-back Rex Burkhead for all but three carries in the first quarter of the opener. Without Burkhead, Nebraska has shown its numerous offensive playmakers.

Nebraska Enjoying Success on First Down
A big part of Nebraska’s early-season success offensively has been the Huskers’ efficiency on first down. Through two games, NU has posted an average gain of 7.8 yards on first down. The Huskers have run 71 first-down plays this season and totaled 553 yards, producing 52 percent of their total yards on first down.

Nebraska totaled 359 yards on 38 first-down snaps in the season opener against Southern Miss, averaging 9.4 yards on first down. Against UCLA last Saturday, the Huskers gained 194 yards on 33 first-down snaps, an average of 5.9 yards per play.

NU’s ability to succeed on first down has played a pivotal role in the Huskers’ ability to score points. Nebraska scored at least one touchdown in each of the first six quarters this season. During that stretch, the Huskers scored a touchdown on first down five times while recording an average first-down gain of 8.7 yards. But Nebraska was kept out of the end zone in the second half at UCLA last Saturday, when the Huskers averaged only 1.3 yards per play on first down.

Huskers at Home in Red Zone
The Red Zone has been good to Nebraska through the season’s first two games. Offensively, the Huskers have scored on seven of their nine trips into the red zone, producing six touchdowns. Defensively, the Blackshirts have allowed the opponent to score on just five of their nine trips to the red zone, including only two touchdowns. Overall, Nebraska and its opponents have each made nine trips inside the red zone this season, but the Huskers have outscored their opponents 45-23.

Martinez Continuing Charge up Nebraska Stat Charts
The Red Zone has been good to Nebraska through the season’s first two games. Offensively, the Huskers have scored on seven of their nine trips into the red zone, producing six touchdowns. Defensively, the Blackshirts have allowed the opponent to score on just five of their nine trips to the red zone, including only two touchdowns. Overall, Nebraska and its opponents have each made nine trips inside the red zone this season, but the Huskers have outscored their opponents 45-23.

Click on the "Game Notes" link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend's game.

Back

Advertisement
Game One Button
Nebraska JV Club Add 2013-14
Husker Sports Marketing
First National Bank
Previous Next