Huskers Return Home, Host Huskies
GAME 3: NEBRASKA vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
SEPT. 16, 2017 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. | 11 a.m. (CT)
TV - FS1
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 135, XM 195
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 1-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Last Game: lost to Oregon, 42-35
Coach: Mike Riley
Career/NU Record: 109-92 (17th Year)/16-12 (3rd Year)
vs. NIU: first meeting
Record: 1-1, 0-0 MAC
Last Game: def. Eastern Illinois, 38-10
Coach: Rod Carey
Career/NIU Record: 37-19 (5th Year)/Same
vs. Nebraska: first meeting
Nebraska returns home for the first of two straight games at Memorial Stadium on Saturday when the Huskers play host to Northern Illinois. Game time in Lincoln is set for shortly after 11 a.m. CT, with national television coverage on FS1 and radio coverage on the IMG Husker Sports Network.
The Huskers sit at 1-1 on the season after a 42-35 setback at Oregon last Saturday afternoon. Nebraska struggled in the first half in Eugene, falling behind 42-14 at intermission before rallying in the second half and having a chance at victory in the final minutes.
Saturday's game will close non-conference play for the Huskers, before opening Big Ten action against Rutgers on Sept. 23. Nebraska will be looking to extend its home winning streak to nine games this weekend.
Nebraska's meeting with Northern Illinois is the first of four matchups between the two schools between 2017 and 2023. The Huskies will visit Memorial Stadium in alternating years over the next seven seasons. The game is also Nebraska's first against a Mid-American Conference opponent since taking on Western Michigan in 2008.
Northern Illinois will bring a 1-1 record to Lincoln for Saturday's matchup. The Huskies are coming off an impressive 38-10 victory over Eastern Illinois on Saturday afternoon. In its season opener, NIU held a second-half lead before Boston College rallied to defeat the Huskies, 23-20. Northern Illinois has featured a strong defense through two games, allowing opponents just 16.5 points per game and 263.0 total yards per contest.
Nebraska Football Top 10
• Nebraska is 890-373-40 all-time, one of only 10 schools with 800 wins.
• The Cornhuskers rank fourth all-time with their 890 victories.
• Nebraska has won five national titles (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).
• The Huskers have won 46 conference championships.
• Nebraska’s 53 all-time bowl appearances rank second in NCAA history.
• Three Huskers have won the Heisman Trophy (Rodgers, Rozier, Crouch).
• Nebraska’s 107 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
• The Huskers have 110 first-team All-Americans in school history.
• Nebraska football is the only team in any sport in NCAA history to total 100 athletic and academic All-Americans.
• Memorial Stadium has been sold out every game since Nov. 2, 1962, a streak of 355 consecutive sellouts.
Nebraska-Northern Illinois Series
Nebraska’s matchup on Saturday with Northern Illinois is the third all-time between the two schools and the first since 1990. This week's game is the first of four matchups in Lincoln in the next seven seasons, as the Huskies also visit Memorial Stadium in 2019, 2021 and 2023.
• Nebraska's matchup with Northern Illinois is its first against a current member of the Mid-American Conference since a victory over Western Michigan in the 2008 season opener.
• Nebraska is 5-0 all-time against members of the MAC, with single victories over Western Michigan, Akron and Ball State, in addition to the two wins against Northern Illinois.
• Including the four meetings with Northern Illinois, Nebraska has seven games scheduled against MAC foes between the 2017 and 2023 seasons.
Huskers Complete Non-League Play
Nebraska's matchup with Northern Illinois on Saturday will complete non-conference action for the Huskers. The non-conference slate is the start of a strong 2017 Husker schedule.
A win on Saturday would give the Huskers a 2-1 non-conference record, marking the 36th time in 37 seasons Nebraska has had a winning non-league record.
Nebraska plays host to a strong seven-game home schedule, as part of an attractive schedule that includes nine Big Ten games. Nebraska posted a perfect 7-0 home record in 2016, just the second undefeated record in Lincoln since 2001.
The home schedule is highlighted by matchups against 2016 College Football Playoff participant Ohio State, Big Ten West Division champion Wisconsin and Iowa. Northwestern and Rutgers will also visit during Big Ten play.
The Huskers make Big Ten road trips to Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and 2016 Big Ten champion Penn State. Nebraska’s 2017 schedule features games against seven teams that played in a bowl game last year.
Riley in Third Season at Helm of Husker Program
Head Coach Mike Riley is in his third season as the Nebraska head coach in 2017. Riley has guided the Huskers to a 16-12 record.
• Riley is in his 26th season as a head coach, tying for the second-most experience of any FBS head coach entering the 2017 season.
• Riley is one of eight active FBS head coaches who also has experience as an NFL head coach.
• Riley owns 16 victories over nationally ranked opponents during his college head coaching tenure.
Diaco Leading-New Look Blackshirt Defense
Nebraska has three new faces on its defensive staff in 2017. The group is led by new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, while Donté Williams coaches the Husker cornerbacks and Scott Booker tutors the NU safeties.
• Diaco was the winner of the 2012 Broyles Award as the nation's best assistant coach, while at Notre Dame. He is regarded as one of the top defensive minds in college football and has a proven track record of success at the highest level. Diaco came to Nebraska after three seasons as the head coach at the University of Connecticut. Diaco has roots in the Big Ten, twice earning All-Big Ten honors as a linebacker at Iowa in the mid-1990s.
• Williams joined the Nebraska staff last December prior to the Music City Bowl and worked with the secondary during bowl preparation. Williams spent the 2016 season at Arizona, helping compile the Wildcats’ top recruiting class in recent years. He previously coached the secondary at San Jose State, where the Spartans ranked among the nation’s best against the pass under Williams’ direction.
• Booker brings 10 years of full-time FBS coaching experience to the Nebraska sideline, including five seasons on the Notre Dame coaching staff. Before being elevated to safeties coach in June, Booker served as a special teams consultant with the Huskers. In addition to his duties with the safeties, Booker serves as Nebraska's special teams coordinator in 2017.
Farniok Joins First-Team Starters for 2017 Huskers
Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Matt Farniok was the sixth Husker to earn their first career start in 2017 on Saturday at Oregon. Farniok stepped into the right tackle spot in place of an injured David Knevel.
While veterans hold many key positions in the Husker lineup, Nebraska is also looking to several new faces to play key roles in 2017. In the season opener against Arkansas State, six Huskers made their first career starts at Nebraska. Five of those players were making their first college starts in addition to Tanner Lee making his first start in Lincoln.
First-Time starters in 2017
• Tre Bryant, IB (2)
• Tyler Hoppes, TE (2)
• Connor Ketter, TE (2)
• Luke Gifford, LB (2)
• Eric Lee Jr., CB (2)
• Matt Farniok, RFr., OT (1)
Bryant Carries Heavy Load in Nebraska Run Game
Sophomore I-back Tre Bryant earned the starting job with a strong preseason practice effort. The 5-11, 200-pound Bryant has shown through two games why he sits atop the depth chart.
Bryant carried 31 times for 192 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. It marked the most rushing yards for a Husker in 25 games, dating back to Terrell Newby's 198 yards against South Alabama in 2015. Bryant responded with 20 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown at Oregon before leaving with an injury.
• Bryant's 31 carries against Arkansas State were the most by a Husker since Ameer Abdullah carried 35 times for 229 yards against Miami in September of 2014.
• Bryant's previous career highs were 13 carries for 56 yards against Maryland last season. Bryant reached those totals before halftime against Arkansas State with 13 carries for 78 yards before intermission.
• With his second straight 100-yard rushing day at Oregon, Bryant is the first Husker to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to start the season since Ameer Abdullah in 2013. • Bryant's 299 rushing yards through two games is the best by a Husker since Taylor Martinez rushed for 301 yards in the first two games in 2011. Bryant's total is the most by a Husker running back since Marlon Lucky rushed for 323 yards in the first two games of the 2007 season.
• Bryant has posted the three longest runs of his career over the first two games. He had runs of 24 and 35 yards against Arkansas State and had a 25-yard rush at Oregon.
• Bryant has been impressive on first down through two games. He is averaging 6.5 yards per carry on 36 first-down rushes. Bryant has two touchdowns and eight runs for a first down on his 36 first-down carries.
• Through two games, Bryant ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth nationally in rushing average at 149.5 yards per game. His 192-yard effort against Arkansas State is the 10th-best rushing outing of the 2017 season in the FBS ranks.
Veteran Receiing Duo Leading Passing Attack
Nebraska has the luxury of two veteran and proven pass catchers to lead the receiving corps. Senior De'Mornay Pierson-El and junior Stanley Morgan Jr. Both have extensive playing experience and are off to strong starts to the 2017 season.
The duo leads a receiving corps that also features a pair of explosive newcomers in redshirt freshman JD Spielman and true freshman Tyjon Lindsey.
• Morgan has opened the 2017 season with a pair of 100-yard receiving games. He is the first player in Nebraska history to have 100 receiving yards in each of the first two games. This week, he could tie a Nebraska record with a third straight 100-yard receiving effort.
• The 205 receiving yards by Morgan through two games is the most in NU history through the season's first two contests. The only other Husker to top 200 receiving yards through two games was Alonzo Moore in 2016 (201 yards).
• The Nebraska season record for 100-yard receiving games is four by six Huskers, most recently Jordan Westerkamp in 2015.
• Morgan had seven catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns at Oregon, setting career highs in all three categories. His seven catches bettered five-reception efforts on two previous occasions. His 103 yards were one yard better than his 102 yards in the season opener.
• Morgan had touchdown catches of 28 and 18 yards at Oregon, marking his first career multiple-TD game.
• Morgan's five catches for 102 yards against Arkansas State marked the first time he topped the century mark as a Husker. His 44-yard catch was the second-longest catch in his three seasons as a Husker.
• Morgan was Nebraska's second-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 453 yards and a pair of touchdowns. • Morgan is nearing the Huskers' 1,000-yard receiving club. He has 70 career receptions for 962 yards, leaving him 38 yards from becoming the 25th Husker with 1,000 receiving yards.
• Pierson-El earned All-America honors as a punt returner in 2014 and has shown flashes of his potential as a receiver. He opened the 2017 season with two catches for 20 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown against Arkansas State. He added a second touchdown of the season at Oregon, while catching four passes for 67 yards.
• Pierson-El is a versatile performer who is an electrifying punt returner and is used in the NU run game. Against Arkansas State, he rushed two times for 23 yards and narrowly missed a 71-yard touchdown run as he just stepped out of bounds.
• Pierson-El has 61 career catches for 773 yards and eight touchdowns.
Nebraska's full notes package can be found in the PDF file at the top of this page