Huskers Open 124th Season on Saturday at 7 p.m.
GAME 1: NEBRASKA vs. WYOMING
AUG. 31, 2013 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. | 7 p.m. (CT)
TV - BTN
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 128, XM 191
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 0-0, 0-0
Rankings: Coaches-18; AP-18
Last Game: Season Opener
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 49-20/6th year
vs. Wyoming: 1-0
Record: 0-0, 0-0
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: Season Opener
Coach: Dave Christensen
Career/WYO Record: 22-28/5th Year
vs. NU: 0-1
Nebraska opens its 2013 campaign on Saturday evening when the Huskers take on Wyoming at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff for the opening contest of Nebraska’s 124th season of intercollegiate football is set for 7:01 p.m. CDT with BTN providing the national television coverage.
Nebraska is coming off a 10-4 season in 2012, when the Huskers captured the Big Ten Legends Division and played in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Huskers bring the nation’s longest winning streak in season-opening contests into Saturday night’s game. Nebraska has won 27 consecutive season openers dating back to 1986, and has won each game in the streak by nine or more points.
Nebraska opens the 2013 season ranked 18th by both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches Poll, marking the fourth consecutive season the Huskers have been ranked in the preseason polls. NU has finished each of the past four years in the national polls, one of only five schools to be ranked in the final AP poll for the last four seasons. The Huskers are also one of only four schools to win at least nine games each of the last five years.
Wyoming will come to Lincoln following a 4-8 record in 2012. The Cowboys feature one of the more explosive offenses in the Mountain West Conference and should provide a stern test for a young Nebraska defense.
Nebraska and Wyoming will meet for the seventh time, with Nebraska owning a 6-0 series advantage. Nebraska has won all five meetings in Lincoln and won the only matchup in Laramie, 38-14, two seasons ago. The schools are scheduled to complete a three-game series in Lincoln in 2016.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 49-20 record (.731) in his sixth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first five seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne in accomplishing that feat at Nebraska. Pelini is one of only four first-time head coaches in NCAA history to win at least nine games in each of his first five seasons at a BCS conference school.
Wyoming: Dave Christensen (Western Washington, ‘85) is in his fifth season as Wyoming’s head coach. Christensen has guided the Cowboys to a 22-28 record, including two bowl appearances. Prior to taking over at Wyoming, Christensen served as an assistant coach at Missouri for eight seasons.
Nebraska is 856-353-40 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. w NU’s 49 all-time bowl appearances rank third nationally.
- Since 1970, NU has 422 wins, 26 more than any other school.
- Nebraska’s 106 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
- The Huskers have 110 All-Americans in school history.
Scouting the Wyoming Cowboys
Wyoming battled through injuries to post a 4-8 record in 2012. The Cowboys return 15 total starters this fall, including seven on offense, seven on defense and their returning place-kicker.
Offensively, Wyoming returns the majority of its production from last season. The unit is led by quarterback Brett Smith, who completed better than 62 percent of his passes last season while throwing for 2,837 yards and 27 touchdowns in only 10 games. Despite injuries, Smith ranked
11th nationally in passing efficiency and 16th in total offense in 2012. Four of his top five receiving targets from last season return, including Robert Herron, who averaged 21.2 yards per game and grabbed eight touchdowns. On the ground, Wyoming returns its top three rushers from 2012.
Defensively, Wyoming was among the 15 worst teams in rushing defense (117th) and pass efficiency defense (108th) in 2012, while ranking 106th in total defense and 97th in scoring defense. The Cowboys return seven starters from 2012, but must replace their three leading tacklers who combined for 292 tackles and recorded 21 of Wyoming’s 51 tackles for loss.
Nebraska is a perfect 6-0 against Wyoming, including a 3-0 record in season openers and a 4-0 mark in home openers. The Huskers also opened their season against Wyoming in 1934 (50-0), 1968 (13-10) and 1984 (42-7), while NU’s 56-20 victory in 1983 marked Nebraska’s first home game of the season. Five of the six all-time meetings have been played at Memorial Stadium, with the exception being Nebraska’s 38-14 win in Laramie in the most recent meeting in 2011.
NU has won five of the six all-time meetings by double digits, as the average score in the series is 40-14. Nebraska has also scored more than 40 points four times in the six meetings, including four of the five games at Memorial Stadium.
The closest the Cowboys have come to knocking off the Huskers came in 1968. Wyoming scored 10 points in the first nine minutes of the game, only to see the Huskers score the game’s final 13 points, including a fourth-quarter touchdown and a Paul Rogers’ 51-yard game-winning field goal with 21 seconds left.
That 1968 contest opened Bob Devaney’s seventh season on the Husker sideline. The Hall of Fame coach won 12 Big Eight crowns and two national titles at Nebraska after compiling a 35-10-5 record and winning four conference championships at Wyoming from 1957 to 1961.
Wyoming Head Coach Dave Christensen
Dave Christensen is beginning his fifth season at Wyoming, where he owns a 22-28 overall record in his first head coaching job. Christensen is 0-1 against Nebraska, as the Huskers defeated the Cowboys 38-14 in Laramie in 2011. But Christensen has enjoyed success against Nebraska, posting a 4-4 record against the Huskers while he was an assistant at Missouri from 2001 to 2008. The last time he coached inside Memorial Stadium, Missouri defeated Nebraska, 52-17.
Wyoming has finished with a winning record in two of Christensen’s first five seasons after the Cowboys posted just one winning season in the nine years before his arrival. Wyoming appeared in the New Mexico Bowl in Christensen’s first season in 2009, then posted an 8-5 record in 2011 that included the program’s most victories since 1998 and just the second winning conference season since 2000. The Cowboys hoped to build off the 2011 success for a strong 2012 season, but a flurry of injuries contributed to Wyoming’s 4-8 record last fall.
In addition to his eight years as the offensive coordinator at Missouri, Christensen also spent four years as the offensive coordinator at Toledo from 1997 to 2000. He spent nine total years at Toledo, following his first full-time collegiate coaching job at Idaho State from 1990 to 1991.
Nebraska Looks to Add to Season-Opening Win Streak
Nebraska will have the opportunity to extend a remarkable streak of success in season openers on Saturday night against Wyoming.
The Huskers will head into the game against Wyoming with victories in each of their last 27 season openers. The streak leads the nation, bettering Florida’s 23 straight season-opening wins.
The Huskers have won each of their last 27 season openers by nine or more points, including a 49-20 win over Southern Miss in 2012. NU has scored 40 or more points in the opener in 20 of the past 27 seasons. During the win streak, NU has limited opponents to 14 points or less 18 times.
NU Starts Quest for Sixth Straight Year With Nine or More Wins
Nebraska posted a 10-4 record in 2012, giving the Huskers nine or more victories in each of Bo Pelini’s first five seasons as head coach. The streak of five straight nine-win seasons puts Nebraska in an elite class nationally.
- Nebraska is one of four schools that has won at least nine games each of the past five seasons. The others in that group include Alabama, Boise State and Oregon.
- Pelini has guided Nebraska to 10-win seasons in three of the last four years.
- The five straight years of at least nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.
- Nebraska has 47 nine-win seasons in school history, including 39 since 1969.
Memorial stadium Construction Complete for 2013 Season
Fans coming to Memorial Stadium this fall will be greeted by a new look to the East side of Memorial Stadium. The East Stadium expansion will push Nebraska’s average attendance beyond 90,000. While adding nearly 6,000 seats, including a combination of club seats, suites and general public seating, the addition preserves the rich tradition and original architecture of Memorial Stadium.
The East Stadium addition also includes dedicated restrooms and concessions areas. A new grand lobby, expanded concourse and additional first-aid areas also were added. No East Stadium seats were removed during the expansion and no season ticket holders were required to relocate their seats as part of this project.
The addition includes dedicated areas on the ground floor for research, both for Athletics and UNL Research. The 50,000-square foot research area is a unique collaboration between Athletics and Academics. The Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab is housed on the north end of the facility, and is operated by the Athletic Department. The Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior is housed in the south half of the facility.
Along with the additions on the East Stadium, Nebraska also replaced the FieldTurf at Memorial Stadium this summer. The field features the “Tom Osborne Field” lettering for the first time since the 1998 season. A detailed description of the East Stadium addition can be found later in this notes package.
Nebraska, Cowboys Share Devaney Tie
Nebraska and Wyoming share a border and have met six times previously on the gridiron. However, the person that ties the two football programs together historically is Hall of Fame Head Coach Bob Devaney. Before his 11-year run as Nebraska’s head coach, Devaney served as the Cowboys’ head coach for five seasons from 1956 to 1961.
In his career, Devaney posted a 136-30-7 overall record for an .806 winning percentage. He guided Wyoming to a 35-10-5 record during his run in Laramie. At Nebraska, Devaney led the Huskers to a 101-20-2 record (.829) and won national championships in 1970 and 1971. During Devaney’s first season as NU head coach the Huskers’ remarkable sellout streak at Memorial Stadium began. The streak will reach 326 games on Saturday evening.
Huskers Look to Continue Non-Conference Success in Lincoln
Nebraska has dominated the opposition in non-conference play at Memorial Stadium in Bo Pelini’s five seasons as head coach. Pelini has guided Nebraska to perfect non-conference home records in each of the past four seasons, and the Huskers own a 12-game home non-conference winning streak heading into Saturday’s contest with Wyoming. Overall, NU is 15-1 in home non-conference games under Pelini with the only loss a 35-30 setback against Virginia Tech in 2008.
Huskers Name Captains for 2013 Season
Nebraska has named season-long team captains for the 2013 season, a first in the Bo Pelini era. Leading the Huskers as captains are senior quarterback Taylor Martinez, senior wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, senior offensive guard Spencer Long and senior cornerback Ciante Evans.
In each of the past five seasons under Pelini, Nebraska has named captains on a game-by-game basis throughout the regular season, before electing season captains at the end of the year.
The four 2013 captains bring a great deal of experience to the Huskers. As a group, the four players have played in a total of 139 games with a combined 107 starts.
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.