Nebraska Prepares for Battle with Cyclones
Big 12 North leader Nebraska faces a key divisional game for a third consecutive weekend when the Huskers travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State on Saturday afternoon. Game time at ISU’s Jack Trice Stadium is set for 1 p.m. and no television coverage is planned for the contest.
Nebraska improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12 Conference with a 24-3 victory over Missouri last Saturday in Lincoln. The Huskers carry a one-game divisional lead into this weekend’s matchup. Missouri and Iowa State sit one game behind the Huskers at 2-3 in conference action.
Iowa State carries momentum into Saturday’s matchup with the Huskers. The Cyclones improved to 4-4 overall on Saturday with a 13-7 victory over Kansas. The win was the second straight for Iowa State, following a road victory at Baylor on Oct. 23. Nebraska and Iowa State are the only Big 12 North teams that control their own destiny for a trip to the Dec. 4 Big 12 Championship Game in Kansas City.
Nebraska has a commanding 81-15-2 lead in the all-time series between the two schools, including victories in 10 of the last 11 meetings. However Iowa State was victorious in the most recent matchup in Ames, a 36-14 victory in the 2002 season.
Huskers Grab North Division Lead with Win over Missouri
The Blackshirts flexed their muscles and the Husker special teams came up with two huge plays to fuel Nebraska to a 24-3 victory over Missouri on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The victory improved Nebraska to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12 Conference, good for a one-game lead in the Big 12 North. The victory also extended Nebraska’s Homecoming winning streak to 36 straight.
The Huskers defeated Missouri for the 25th time in the last 26 meetings, including 14 straight games against the Tigers in Lincoln. Nebraska’s defense kept Missouri quarterback Brad Smith and the rest of the Tigers in check throughout the afternoon, limiting MU to just three long field goal attempts on the day. The Tigers converted just one of those three field goal attempts, and also hurt themselves with a pair major mistakes in their punting game.
Cory Ross provided the offensive highlights for the Huskers by erupting for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. Ross’ career-best effort included a career-long 86-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to seal the Husker victory. It was the eighth-longest scoring run in school history.
The Huskers struck on the opening drive by marching 52 yards in 10 plays capped by Sandro DeAngelis’ career-long 41-yard field goal to give NU a quick 3-0 lead. Missouri’s attempt to answer Nebraska’s opening score sailed wide right on the Tigers’ second drive of the day when Joe Tantarelli missed a 42-yard field goal with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Nebraska’s 3-0 lead held up for the first quarter, but Missouri struck quickly in the second quarter. MU’s Brandon Massey blocked a Sam Koch punt to give MU the ball at NU’s 26-yard line with nine seconds left in the first quarter. The Tigers tied the score on a 39-yard field goal by Tantarelli 14:46 into the second period. The Huskers then answered with a special teams gem of their own, as Andrew Shanle broke through to block a Tiger punt and Adam Ickes scooped up the ball and sprinted 16 yards untouched for a touchdown to give NU a 10-3 lead with 9:42 left in the first half.
Missouri missed a 44-yard field goal on its first drive of the second half, then both defenses dominated the remainder of the third quarter. Another botched MU punt attempt put the Huskers up by two touchdowns. The snap went through the hands of Matt Hoenes, who fumbled while on the run. Shanle jumped on the loose ball to give NU possession at the Tigers’ 15-yard line. Ross scored on a 15-yard run on Nebraska’s next play from scrimmage to give the Huskers a 17-3 lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Ross’ big day sparked a Nebraska rushing attack that rolled for 209 yards, while the NU offense managed 235 total yards. Missouri produced 328 total yards, but never found its way into the end zone. Koch’s performance included a career-long 65-yard punt to flip the field on the Tigers. For the game, Koch averaged 39.5 yards on 10 punts, including five punts that buried Missouri inside its own 20-yard line.
Recapping Game Eight...Nebraska 24, Missouri 3
Nebraska’s win was its 25th in the last 26 meetings with Missouri and the Huskers’ 14th straight victory over the Tigers in Lincoln.
The victory was Nebraska’s 36th straight Homecoming victory, dating back to a loss to Kansas State in 1968.
Nebraska’s blocked punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter marked the second straight week the Huskers have scored on an opponent punt attempt. Andrew Shanle blocked the Tiger punt and linebacker Adam Ickes scooped up the ball and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown to give Nebraska a 10-3 lead. Last week, Nebraska’s Daniel Bullocks picked up a botched Kansas State punt attempt and returned it for a touchdown.
Shanle’s block of the Missouri punt marked the first time the Huskers have blocked a punt since Demorrio Williams blocked a punt last season against Iowa State in Lincoln.
Shanle later recovered a fumbled Missouri punt attempt at the Missouri 15-yard line, and the Huskers scored one play later to take a 17-3 advantage.
Ickes’ blocked punt return for a touchdown marked the third straight Nebraska-Missouri game in Lincoln in which the Huskers have scored a non-offensive touchdown. In the Huskers’ 42-24 win over Mizzou in 2000, Bobby Newcombe returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown. In 2002, NU’s DeJuan Groce returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown.
Junior I-back Cory Ross rushed 19 times for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri. Ross’ career-best effort included a career-long 86-yard touchdown burst late in the fourth quarter to seal the Husker victory. It was the eighth-longest rushing touchdown in Nebraska history. His 194 yards surpassed his previous career-high of 169 yards on 27 carries set against Southern Miss earlier this season. His total was also the most by a Nebraska player since Jammal Lord ran for 234 yards against Texas on Nov. 2, 2002. Ross pushed his career rushing total to 1,570 yards to climb into 29th place on the Nebraska career rushing list.
Ross’ 86-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter continued a big play tradition for the Huskers against the Tigers. Nebraska has had at least one scrimmage play or return of 50 yards or more in each of the last nine meetings against Missouri, including plays of 85 yards or more in four of the last five meetings–Groce’s 2002 punt return, Newcombe’s 2000 punt return and Eric Crouch’s school-record 95-yard touchdown run in a 36-3 NU win in 2001.
Senior linebacker Barrett Ruud made 17 tackles, marking the sixth straight game Ruud has had double figures in tackles and the seventh time in eight games in 2004. Ruud now has 19 double-figure tackle games in his career and pushed his career tackle total to 398. Ruud has 109 tackles this season and is just the fourth player in school history to record two seasons with 100 or more tackles, joining Lee Kunz, Jerry Murtaugh and Clete Pillen.
Ruud had four tackles for loss against Missouri, pushing his career total to 46 tackles for loss, good for second on the Nebraska career tackles for loss chart. Ruud moved past Jim Skow and Trev Alberts into second place on the list. Ruud’s 14 tackles for loss this season are just three shy of the top 10 on the Nebraska single-season list.
The Nebraska defense limited Missouri to 51 rushing yards on 35 attempts, marking the seventh opponent in eight games that has rushed for 105 yards or less against the Husker defense. The Huskers finished the game with 14 tackles for loss for 47 yards lost, including four sacks for 30 yards lost.
Missouri quarterback Brad Smith set the NU opponent record for total-offense attempts with 77, surpassing the 74 total-offense attempts by Tim Rattay of Louisiana Tech on Aug. 29, 1998. Smith had 21 carries for 25 rushing yards and completed 24-of-56 passes for 277 yards with one interception. Smith rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns in the 2003 game against Nebraska.
Junior free safety Josh Bullocks intercepted a fourth-quarter Brad Smith pass for his second interception of the season and the 13th of his Nebraska career. Bullocks’ 13 career interceptions are one behind Nebraska career leader Dana Stephenson who had 14 picks in his Husker career.
Nebraska punter Sam Koch had a 65-yard punt in the third quarter, the longest of his Nebraska career. For the game, Koch averaged 39.5 yards on 10 punts and buried Missouri inside its own 20-yard line on five occasions.
Nebraska senior place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis connected on a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter to give Nebraska a 3-0 advantage. The 41-yard field goal was the longest of DeAngelis’ Nebraska career.
The two teams combined for 20 punts, the most combined punts in a Nebraska game since Nebraska (10) and Oklahoma (10) combined for 20 punts in the Huskers’ 20-10 win over the Sooners in Lincoln on Oct. 27, 2001. Nebraska punted 11 times against the Tigers, while Missouri attempted nine punts against the Huskers.
Scouting the Iowa State Cyclones
The Huskers travel to Ames, Iowa, this weekend for the start of a two-game road swing. Nebraska looks to continue its dominating play against the Cyclones, as it owns a 33-9-2 record in Ames and an 81-15-2 all-time series lead.
The Cyclones won the last meeting in Ames, 36-14, in 2002, and are coming off a pair of momentum-building victories. ISU picked up a one-point road victory at Baylor two weeks ago and followed with a 13-7 victory over Kansas at home last weekend. The wins pushed the Cyclones into a tie for second place in the Big 12 North standings with Missouri.
ISU’s late-season push has come behind a solid defensive effort that has helped the Cyclones rank 29th nationally in total defense (317 ypg). Iowa State has allowed just 118.8 rushing yards per game this year to rank 33rd nationally.
Nik Moser and Brandon Brown lead the Cyclone defense with 58 tackles apiece, with Brown adding six tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Moser is tied with Ellis Hobbs with three interceptions apiece. Tyson Smith paces the team and ranks among the conference leaders with 11 tackles for loss and five sacks.
The Cyclone offense has been set up well, as ISU ranks 17th nationally in kickoff returns with a 23.8 yards-per-return average. Tyease Thompson leads the squad by gaining 23.2 yards on 13 returns.
Omaha native Stevie Hicks has paced the Cyclone offense with 631 rushing yards and one touchdown, while receivers Jon Davis and Todd Blythe each have at least 23 receptions and 400 receiving yards. Blythe has been ISU’s most productive offensive option, as he has eight touchdown receptions. Quarterback Bret Meyer has completed 54.2 percent (90-of-166) of his attempts for 1,027 yards and six touchdowns.
Iowa State Coach Dan McCarney
Coach Dan McCarney (Iowa, 1975) is in his 10th season in charge of the Cyclone program, where he owns a 38-67 career mark. McCarney has guided the Cyclones to three bowl games in the past decade and three .500-or-better seasons, including a 9-3 mark in 2000.
McCarney spent five seasons on staff at Wisconsin before taking over the reigns at ISU. He was on Barry Alvarez’s staff from 1990 to 1994 as defensive coordinator, and has strong ties with the Husker coaching staff.
While McCarney was in Madison, Bill Callahan served as offensive line coach, Kevin Cosgrove was linebackers coach and Jay Norvell was receivers coach. Cosgrove took over defensive coordinator duties for the Badgers when McCarney departed for Ames.
Norvell went to Ames with McCarney and served as offensive coordinator for three seasons before moving to the NFL. McCarney was also on the Iowa staff from 1977 to 1989, and was defensive line coach when Norvell played for the Hawkeyes as a defensive back.
Nebraska-Iowa State Series...NU leads, 81-15-2
The Huskers and Cyclones renew their yearly series for the 99th time this Saturday in Ames. It will be the 79th consecutive season the teams have played dating back to a 31-6 Husker victory in 1926.
Nebraska has dominated the annual matchups that began in the 1896 campaign, and now holds an 81-15-2 series advantage. The Huskers have won 24 of the past 26 matchups, and have won 17 of the past 21 contests in Ames dating back to 1961. The Huskers own a 33-9-2 series lead in Ames, and have won 11 of 14 all-time matchups at Jack Trice Stadium. The Huskers recorded a shutout last season, 28-0, in Memorial Stadium, the 25th shutout by the Blackshirts in series history. The Cyclones have been held to 20 or fewer points in 18 of last 20 matchups.
Fast Start Key for Nebraska Against Cyclones
Nebraska took a 3-0 lead on its opening drive against Missouri last week en route to a 24-3 victory. The opening drive score marked a continuing trend of momentum being grabbed early in Husker games in Big 12 Conference action. Both Texas Tech and Kansas State scored on their opening drive to jump-start victories over Nebraska. In Nebraska’s victories over Kansas and Baylor, the Huskers overcame early advantages by the opposition. Kansas posted a safety on NU’s first possession of the game for a 2-0 lead, while Baylor kicked a field goal on its initial possession.
Fast starts have also played a key role in the recent series history between Nebraska and Iowa State. The Huskers floored Iowa State last season with 21 first-quarter points en route to a 28-0 shutout victory. In 2001, the Huskers threw a similar knockout blow at Iowa State in Lincoln, leading 21-0 after one quarter and 42-0 at the half on their way to a 48-14 victory. In 2002, Iowa State was the beneficiary of a fast start. The Cylcones posted a 36-14 win in Ames, after jumping to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter and a 19-7 halftime edge.
Blackshirts Re-Establish Run Defense in Victory over Mizzou
The Nebraska Blackshirt defense rebounded against Missouri with a strong performance against a strong Tiger rushing attack. A week after Kansas State pounded out 294 yards rushing, the Huskers held quarterback Brad Smith and Mizzoui in check, holding the Tigers to 51 rushing yards on 35 attempts. Missouri entered the game fifth in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally in rushing offense at 189.0 yards per game.
The effort of the Blackshirts against Missouri marked the seventh time in eight games Nebraska has surrendered 105 yards or less on the ground in 2004. In addition to Kansas State, only Kansas (105) and Baylor (100) have topped the century mark on the ground against Nebraska’s defense.
The Huskers are allowing 93.3 rushing yards per game, second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally. Oklahoma leads the Big 12, holding opponents to 85.6 yards rushing per game. With the exception of the Kansas State contest, the Huskers have succeeded this season in making opposing offenses one-dimensional by shutting down the running game.
Nebraska allows just 2.71 yards per rush, the sixth-best mark in the country.
Nebraska had a streak of 25 straight quarters without allowing a rushing touchdown end against Texas Tech. Only three opponents have rushed for a touchdown against Nebraska.
Nebraska has allowed just five runs of longer than 20 yards in the first eight games.
The Huskers held Western Illinois to minus-three yards rushing, marking the 19th time in school history the Huskers held an opponent to negative rushing yards.
Part of Nebraska’s rush defense excellence has been the negative yardage piled up as a result of sacks. The Huskers have recorded 22 sacks this season, including a team-high four by senior defensive end Benard Thomas. Sophomore defensive end Jay Moore, junior defensive end Wali Muhammad and senior linebacker Barrett Ruud have each chipped in three sacks. The Huskers have 68 total tackles for loss, including 14 tackles behind the line against Missouri. Ruud leads the charge with 14 tackles for loss.
Turnovers Continue to Play Key Role in NU Fortunes
Nebraska’s Blackshirt defense has a reputation of traditionally being one of the nation’s most dominant defenses. The current group of Blackshirts has shown a special knack for taking the ball away from the opposition. Last season, Nebraska had a school-record 47 takeaways. This season Nebraska has not been quite as disruptive in the turnover department, but has still shown the ability to change a game with takeaways, forcing 18 opponent turnovers in eight games, including 12 interceptions.
As always, the turnover battle will play a key role against Iowa State. Nebraska entered last week’s game with Missouri ranked 113th nationally in turnover margin, while the Tigers were seventh in that category entering the contest. Nebraska turned the tables on Mizzou, with a plus-two turnover margin in a 24-3 victory. The Huskers will face another strong team in the turnover margin department this weekend, as Iowa State has a +0.50 turnover margin per game and was a plus-three in that category in a 13-7 win over Kansas last weekend.
Last season’s 47 takeaways tied the Nebraska school record, also set in 1972, while Nebraska’s 32 interceptions set a school record. Over the past 30 years, Nebraska has had a positive turnover margin in 27 of those seasons and was even in another season.
NU forced five Western Illinois turnovers in the 2004 opener, including four interceptions. The five takeaways marked the second straight year the Blackshirts had forced five turnovers in the season opener. The Huskers had four takeaways at Pittsburgh, all before half and converted those miscues into 17 points. The Husker defense has now caused five or more turnovers four times in the past 21 games after not having a five-takeaway game in the previous 43 games. In 20 games since the start of the 2003 season, Nebraska has forced at least three turnovers 12 times.
Nebraska’s 12 interceptions are tied for ninth nationally.
In addition to causing turnovers, the Blackshirt defense responded very well to Nebraska’s own turnovers in the first four games. The Husker offense committed 16 turnovers in the first four games, while the kickoff return unit mishandled two kicks against Western Illinois for a total of 18 "sudden changes". Off those opportunities, the opposition scored just 28 points, with six of those points coming on an interception return for a touchdown by Southern Miss. Texas Tech converted seven Nebraska turnovers into 35 points.
A "Ruud" Awakening
Nebraska senior Mike linebacker Barrett Ruud continues to make a strong case for All-America consideration. The Lincoln native has enjoyed a memorable career in the Husker program and his senior season is shaping up to be his finest in a Husker uniform. Ruud’s 17-tackle performance against Missouri, including four tackles for loss, earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in 2004 and the second time in his career.
The 6-2, 240-pound Ruud had a record-setting 2003 campaign when he racked up 149 tackles, the most ever in a season by a Husker defender. Ruud had 78 unassisted tackles among his total, the second most in a season in Nebraska history, trailing only 2003 teammate Demorrio Williams who racked up 83 unassisted tackles. Both of Ruud’s 2003 totals are in serious jeopardy because of his dominant play this fall.
The dominant presence on a Nebraska defense that ranks ninth nationally against the run, Ruud has a team-leading 109 tackles in 2004, including 67 solo stops. Ruud’s 109 total tackles this season are just three tackles from the Husker season top 10 in tackles. Ruud’s list of Nebraska milestones and records is nearly too long to detail, but includes...
Ruud became Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler on Oct. 9 at Texas Tech. He made 12 tackles in that game to push his career total to 347 stops, surpassing the previous Nebraska record of 342 tackles by Jerry Murtaugh from 1968 to 1970.
Ruud continues to add to the new Nebraska tackle standard. After a 17-tackle effort against Missouri, Ruud has 398 career tackles, including a school-record 199 solo stops.
Ruud is just two tackles from becoming the seventh player in Big 12 history (1996 to present) to record 400 career tackles. He is within 33 tackles (431) of becoming the No. 2 tackler in conference history.
Two weeks ago at Kansas State, Ruud had a career-high 19 tackles, including a school-record 16 solo stops. His 17-tackle tackle effort against Missouri was his sixth straight double-figure tackle effort and seventh in eight games this season.
Ruud has posted games with 15-plus tackles in four of the past five games, including 15 each against Kansas and Baylor and his 19 and 17-tackle efforts the past two weeks.
Ruud has 19 double-figure tackle games in his career, including 14 of the past 16 games.
In Nebraska’s past two games, Ruud has seven tackles for loss. His four stops behind the line against Missouri tied a single-game Nebraska record for linebackers.
Ruud’s 14 tackles for loss this season are a team-high and his 46 career tackles for loss are second in school history, trailing only 1997 Lombardi winner Grant Wistrom. Against Missouri, he passed 1993 Butkus winner Trev Alberts (45) and 1985 All-American Jim Skow (44) on NU’s career tackles for loss list.
Ruud became just the fourth player in school history to record more than one season with 100-plus tackles when he cracked the century mark against Missouri.
Ruud leads the Big 12 in tackles per game and is among the top five nationally in that category.
Tackling Part of Ruud Family Tradition
During his record-setting 2003 season, Barrett Ruud raced past his father, Tom, on the NU career tackles list. Tom Ruud finished his Husker career (1972-74) with 202 career tackles, including a team-leading 104 tackles in 1974.
The father-son Ruud combination owns several Husker defensive milestones.
Tom and Barrett Ruud are the only father-son combination to both lead Nebraska in tackles in a single season. Barrett accomplished the feat last season and is well on his way to doing so in 2004, while Tom’s 104 tackles in 1974 were a team-high.
The Ruud's are the only family combination to both rank in the top 25 on Nebraska's career tackles list.
Barrett and Tom Ruud have a combined 600 tackles.
During fall camp, Barrett Ruud was elected as one of four team captains for the 2004 season, allowing the Butkus Award candidate to join his father in the fraternity of Husker captains. The Ruuds are the first father-son duo to serve as captains during their respective Husker careers.
The family connections continue beyond the father-son relationship for the Ruud family. In addition to Tom and Barrett Ruud, several other family members have made their mark at Nebraska. Barrett's great-grandfather, Clarence Swanson, was an all-conference selection during his Nebraska career (1918-21), while two of Barrett's uncles, Bob Martin (1973-75) and John Ruud (1978-79) also played for Nebraska. Both Swanson and Martin also served as Husker team captains. This fall, the Ruud family connection grows, as Barrett's younger brother, Bo, is a redshirt freshman Sam linebacker.
The Nebraska defensive backfield is one of the nation’s most experienced units. The Huskers returned three starters for the 2004 season–free safety Josh Bullocks, strong safety Daniel Bullocks and cornerback Fabian Washington. Fifth-year senior Lornell McPherson had played in 38 games and made nine starts entering his senior season.
The Sporting News listed the unit as the top defensive backfield in the nation, while Lindy's ranked the unit second and Athlon Sports tabbed the NU secondary sixth. Josh Bullocks earned first-team All-America honors last season when he intercepted a school-record 10 passes. This summer, Bullocks was named to nearly every first-team All-America list and is a leading contender for the Thorpe Award. Washington was a third-team All-Big 12 pick and the No. 6 cornerback in the country by The Sporting News heading into the 2004 season.
As a group the Bullocks' brothers, McPherson and Washington have played in 145 career games at Nebraska with a combined 91 starts. They have also combined to intercept 36 passes, led by Josh Bullocks' 13 picks, and break up 73 passes, including 35 by Washington. McPherson is the only senior among the group, while the others are in their junior seasons.
The Blackshirts have a history of outstanding defensive backs, but never before has a Nebraska defense featured a secondary with a chance to make such a significant dent in the school record book.
Josh Bullocks picked off his second pass of the season against Missouri, pushing his career total to 13 interceptions. Bullocks is second on the Nebraska career interceptions list, just one behind career leader Dana Stephenson. Washington has three interceptions in 2004, giving him 11 in his career, good for a tie for fourth on the Husker career list. McPherson and Daniel Bullocks have the top 10 in their sights with six career picks each. Daniel Bullocks leads the 2004 Huskers with four interceptions and ranks seventh nationally in interceptions per game at 0.50 per contest.
The 1969 Husker team featured a threesome that completed their careers with 33 interceptions (Stephenson, 14; Bill Kosch, 10; Jim Anderson, 9), while Kosch, Anderson and Joe Blahak were all members of the 1970 and 1971 national championship teams and completed their careers with a combined 29 interceptions. Josh Bullocks, Washington and McPherson or Daniel Bullocks need four more combined interceptions to become the top trio of teammates in career interceptions.
The 24 combined interceptions of Josh Bullocks and Fabian Washington ties the most of two teammates in school history, matching the 24 combined picks of Stephenson and Kosch who were teammates on the 1969 team.
The Husker secondary has also exhibited its depth this season. McPherson missed the Pittsburgh and Kansas games with an injury, while Washington sat out the second half at Pittsburgh with an injury. True freshman Cortney Grixby started two games in McPherson’s place, while fifth-year senior Kellen Huston has been a key player throughout the season.
Both Grixby and Huston responded well. Grixby had seven tackles and two pass breakups in his two starts, while Huston had 10 tackles, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and seven pass breakups in wins over Kansas and Pittsburgh. Huston’s five breakups at Pittsburgh tied for the third-most in school history. Reserve free safety Andrew Shanle was called on for major duty against Kansas State with Josh Bullocks slowed with an injury. Shanle had seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery against the Wildcats, and blocked a punt and recovered a fumble in Nebraska’s 24-3 win over Missouri.
NU Passing Record Falls after 31 Years
One of college football’s more amazing statistical records came to an end in Nebraska’s victory over Baylor. For the first time in school history, the Huskers passed for more than 300 yards. Sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey completed 13-of-20 passes for a school-record 342 yards and five touchdowns.
The Nebraska single-game passing record stood for 387 games.
Dailey moved past 300 yards early in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard strike to tight end Matt Herian. He surpassed the previous Nebraska passing record of 297 yards by Dave Humm against Wisconsin on Sept. 29, 1973.
In his record-setting day, Dailey completed passes to seven receivers, including four players who had more than 60 yards receiving.
Dailey averaged 17.1 yards per attempt and 26.3 yards per completion in the record-setting effort.
Dailey’s 65 percent completion rate, plus five touchdowns without an interception resulted in a 291.14 pass efficiency rating, the third-best single-game rating in Nebraska school history.
Sophomore Dailey Leading NU’s West Coast Attack
Sophomore Joe Dailey has been the man under the microscope as Nebraska’s starting quarterback. The Jersey City, N.J. native threw for a Nebraska record 342 yards in the victory, including five touchdown passes and no interceptions. In addition to his record-setting performance against Baylor, Dailey topped 200 yards passing in each of the season’s first two games. Through eight games, Dailey has completed 48.8 percent of his passes for 1,416 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The 6-0, 205-pound Dailey has recorded several passing accomplishments in 2004, including...
Dailey’s 342 passing yards against Baylor marked the first 300-yard passing day in school history and shattered the old NU single-game passing record by 45 yards (297, Dave Humm vs. Wisconsin, 1973). Dailey also tied the school record with five touchdown passes against the Bears, including four before halftime.
Dailey’s 218 passing yards against Western Illinois marked the first time a Husker had passed for more than 200 yards in five seasons. Dailey threw for 213 yards in the first half, the most by a Husker player before halftime since Scott Frost threw for 220 yards against Kansas in 1996.
Dailey is the first Husker since World War II to throw six touchdown passes in the first two games of a season.
Dailey’s six total touchdowns against Western Illinois tied a Nebraska school record, joining quarterback Gerry Gdowski who accounted for six touchdowns in a 1989 win over Iowa State (4 rush, 2 pass), and I-back Calvin Jones who rushed for six touchdowns at Kansas in 1991.
The 218 passing yards against Western Illinois were the most ever by a Husker in a season opener, and his 420 passing yards in the first two games were the most since at least 1946. The last time a Husker had passed for 200 yards in two straight games prior to Dailey was Vince Ferragamo against TCU (218) and Miami (264) in 1976.
Dailey has 1,416 yards passing this season, just 24 yards from cracking the top 10 on NU’s single-season passing list. Dailey surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark in six games, and his 1,274 yards passing was the most ever by a Husker quarterback in the first six games, surpassing Dave Humm’s 1,227 yards in the first six games of 1972.
Dailey’s 291.14 pass efficiency rating vs. Baylor was the third-best in school history and the best in 15 years.
West Coast Offense Makes Exciting Debut in Heartland
Nebraska’s West Coast Offense made a strong debut in the season opener against Western Illinois. The Huskers took just 1:53 to reach the end zone on the first drive of the game in the season opener against Western Illinois, mixing the run and the pass. By the end of the first quarter against WIU the stat sheet exhibited the precision, potency and versatility of Nebraska’s West Coast Offense.
13 first downs
13 rushing attempts for 110 yards
13 passing attempts for 105 yards
215 total offensive yards, the most by Nebraska in an opening quarter since the Huskers piled up 224 yards in the opening quarter of a 41-31 victory over Texas Tech in 2001 (NU led 21-13 after first quarter)
The offensive execution continued in the second quarter, as NU rolled up 398 yards before half. The Huskers finished the game with 581 total yards, their most since posting 595 total yards in a victory over McNeese State in 2002. The Huskers’ 56-point output was the most by Nebraska in 41 games, dating back to a 66-17 victory over Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl. Nebraska surpassed its point total with 59 points in the win over Baylor.
Loss of Tight End Herian to Impact Husker Offense
Junior tight end Matt Herian has been one of Nebraska’s key offensive threats each of the past three seasons. Herian made a strong impression during his first two seasons, becoming known as a big-play threat while earning first-team All-Big 12 honors. The 6-5, 240-pound Herian hauled in seven touchdown catches in his first two seasons. This season he was one of the main beneficiaries of Nebraska’s new offensive attack, catching a team-leading 24 passes before sufferering a fractured left leg against Missouri.
The junior caught seven passes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the opener against Western Illinois, including six catches by halftime. Herian did not let up in game two against Southern Miss, tying the Nebraska single-game record for receptions by a tight end with eight catches for 71 yards and a third touchdown. Before his injury, Herian put together a strong 2004 season, including...
Herian’s seven and eight-catch efforts to open the season rank as two of the five best receiving days by a tight end in school history. Herian’s eight receptions tied Dennis Morrison’s eight receptions at Colorado on Oct. 22, 1966, and his seven-catch effort is tied for third on the single-game tight end list.
Herian's 15 receptions in the first two games were the most in a two-game stretch by any Husker since Johnny Rodgers caught 15 passes in consecutive games at Kansas State (10) and at Oklahoma (5) in 1971. Jeff Kinney caught 17 passes out of the backfield in a two-game stretch against Missouri (8) and Kansas (9) in 1969.
Herian’s 10 career touchdown receptions are just four shy of the Nebraska career record for TD catches by a tight end, held by Todd Millikan (1985-88).
Herian, a native of Pierce, Neb., ranks second in school history for receiving yards among tight ends. Herian’s 312 receiving yards this season pushed his career receiving yardage total to 1,097 yards. Herian is the 12th Husker with 1,000 career receiving yards and just the third tight end. He passed Junior Miller (1,045) in career receiving yards against Baylor and is just 53 yards shy of career tight end leader Tracey Wistrom (1,150).
Herian's 53 career receptions are tied for the fourth-most by a Husker tight end, and just eight shy of the career tight end record of 61 catches, set by Jerry List from 1970 to 1972. Additionally, Herian is tied for 19th on the overall receptions list, just eight catches shy of moving into the top 10.
Ross Leading Productive Nebraska I-Back Committee
Junior I-back Cory Ross is the featured back in Nebraska’s offensive attack, but he has plenty of capable help at the position as evidenced by the Huskers’ ground production in 2004.
The Huskers rank 24th nationally in rushing offense at 184.5 yards per game. Nebraska churned out 363 rushing yards against Western Illinois, its most since rushing for 383 yards in a 38-31 win at Texas A&M in 2002.
While running backs coach Randy Jordan has employed a committee-like rotation, Ross has been the chairman of the I-back committee. Ross is averaging 101.4 yards rushing per game, highlighted by a career-high 194 yards in the Huskers’ 24-3 victory over Missouri last Saturday. Ross capped the career day with a career-long 86-yard run late in the fourth quarter, the eighth-longest run in school history and the longest by a Nebraska I-back since 1992. Ross’ 194 rushing yards were the most by a Nebraska I-back since Dan Alexander rushed for 240 yards against Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
Ross has rushed for more than 100 yards four times in 2004 and seven times in his past 12 games. In addition to his performance against Missouri, Ross also topped 100 yards against Western Illinois (125), Southern Miss (169) and Kansas (107).
Ross topped the 1,000-yard career rushing mark against Southern Miss and continues to climb the NU career rushing list. After his 194-yard effort against Missouri, Ross has 1,570 rushing yards, good for 29th in Nebraska history.
In producing seven 100-yard games in the past 12 games since last season, Ross has piled up 1,247 yards (103.9 ypg).
Ross’ 101.4 yards per game ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 26th nationally, while his 133.9 all-purpose yards per game is also fifth in the conference.
Ross is 189 yards from producing the 27th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history.
Ross ranks third for the Huskers with 14 receptions for 231 yards. He has a pair of touchdown receptions, including a 74-yard score against Baylor, the longest reception by a Husker back since 1978.
Other committee members have also had plenty of input on Nebraska’s offense. Redshirt freshman Tierre Green and true freshman Brandon Jackson got off to outstanding starts in the season opener against Western Illinois and have played key roles throughout the year. Junior David Horne gives Nebraska four excellent options at the I-back spot, and gives Nebraska a pair of 1,000-yard career rushers, as he has 1,113 career rushing yards.
Green rushed for 112 yards on seven carries (16.0 ypc) against Western Illinois, including two touchdowns. His rushing total is the most rushing yards by a Husker in a varsity debut since Tony Davis ran for 147 yards in the 1973 season opener against UCLA. Green has totaled 257 yards on 40 carries (6.4 ypc).
The double 100-yard performance by Ross and Green against WIU marked the 70th time in school history that NU has had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game.
Jackson combined with Green to carry the bulk of Nebraska’s second-half rushing load vs. Western Illinois. Jackson carried 13 times for 79 yards. His 79 yards were the most by an NU true freshman since Horne rushed for 122 yards against Kansas in 2002, and the most by a Husker true freshman in a season opener since at least 1973.
Jackson had a breakout game in Nebraska’s victory over Baylor. The native of Horn Lake, Miss., rushed 18 times for 89 yards and his first two career touchdowns. Jackson also sparked Nebraska’s kickoff return game with five returns for 158 yards, including returns of 59 and 40 yards, Nebraska’s two longest returns of the season. Jackson tallied 247 all-purpose yards in the game, the 10th-best total in school history and second-best by a Nebraska freshman. Jackson added his third kickoff return of 40-plus yards against Missouri (40 yards).
In addition to his effort at Baylor, Jackson led Nebraska in rushing at Kansas State, rushing 11 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. He has rushed for 334 yards this season, the 10th-most by a Nebraska freshman.
The I-back committee has combined for 1,423 yards on 269 carries, an average of 5.29 yards per attempt.
Mizzou Win is "Special" for Huskers
Nebraska received a large boost from its special teams in its 24-3 victory over Missouri on Saturday in Lincoln. Sophomore free safety Andrew Shanle blocked a second-quarter Missouri punt and junior linebacker Adam Ickes scooped up the ball and raced 16 yards for a score to give the Huskers a 10-3 lead. The Nebraska natives hooked up on another big special teams play in the third quarter. Tiger punter Matt Hoenes bobbled a snap and was flushed to his right by Ickes, then fumbled as he tried to punt. Shanle recovered the fumble and Nebraska scored one play later to take a 17-3 advantage.
Husker punter Sam Koch also played a key role on a windy day at Memorial Stadium. Koch punted a season-high 10 times against the Tigers, averaging 39.5 yards per boot. He pinned Mizzou inside its own 20 five times during the game and also uncorked a career-long 65-yard boot in the third quarter. Place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis got into the act, connecting on a career-long 41-yard field goal in the first quarter to give Nebraska 3-0 lead. Freshman Brandon Jackson had his third kickoff return of 40 yards or more this season with a 40-yarder in the second quarter.
1994 National Championship Team Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Nebraska celebrated the 10th anniversary of its run to the 1994 national championship last weekend in conjunction with the 24-3 win over Missouri. More than 90 members of the 1994 team that went 13-0 and defeated Miami in the Orange Bowl were on hand for festivities that included a Friday night reception and a Tunnel Walk reunion on Saturday before kickoff.
The 1994 Huskers overcame injuries and adversity to give Head Coach Tom Osborne his first of three national championships. The Huskers used three starting quarterbacks in their championship run. Coach Osborne was joined by former assistant coaches Charlie McBride, Milt Tenopir and Dan Young as coaching staff members on hand for the weekend. Captains of the 1994 team were offensive linemen Zach Wiegert and Rob Zatechka, linebacker Ed Stewart and defensive tackle Terry Connealy.
2004 Husker Schedule Full of Challenges
Nebraska is in the midst of a daunting 2004 schedule, as it looks for its NCAA-record 36th consecutive bowl trip. Overall, the Huskers will face seven teams that participated in bowl games in 2003, including five Big 12 foes that appeared in the postseason a year ago. Western Illinois opened a solid non-conference schedule that included a Division I-AA quarterfinalist from 2003, and a pair of 2003 bowl teams.
The Huskers completed a three-game contract with Southern Miss when the Golden Eagles traveled to Lincoln and NU’s trip to Pittsburgh was the first in a two-game series. The Panthers, who played in the Continental Tire Bowl in 2003, are scheduled to travel to Lincoln on Sept. 17, 2005.
Nebraska has played Big 12 Conference home games against Kansas (Tangerine Bowl), Baylor and Missouri (Independence Bowl), and will close the home slate against Colorado (Nov. 26). The Huskers have encountered a difficult 2004 league road slate. The Huskers have traveled to Texas Tech (Houston Bowl), and Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl), with remaining road trips to Iowa State (Nov. 6) and 2003 South Division champ Oklahoma (Nov. 13, Sugar Bowl). Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma rotated onto the Huskers' schedule this fall, while Nebraska will not face Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State this season.
Seven of Nebraska's 2004 opponents won eight or more games last season, including Western Illinois, Southern Miss, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Scanning the Polls
Nebraska was unranked entering the season for the second consecutive year. The Huskers received enough points in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll to rank 26th and were 27th in points in the Associated Press listing. This season marked just the second time since 1969 that Nebraska has opened the season unranked in the Associated Press Poll (also 2003).
Nebraska received six points in this week’s Associated Press poll and one point in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Oklahoma (Nov. 13) is the only team on Nebraska’s remaining 2004 schedule that is currently nationally ranked as the Sooners check in at No. 2 in both polls. Three other Big 12 teams are ranked in at least one poll this week. Texas is No. 6 in the AP poll and seventh in the coaches listing, Oklahoma State is 19th in both polls and Texas A&M is 22nd in both polls. Non-conference opponent Southern Miss is 21st in both polls, while Texas Tech and Pittsburgh received votes in this week’s polls.
Huskers Continue Nation’s Best Win Streak in Season Openers
Nebraska continued a long run of dominance in season openers with a 56-17 win over Western Illinois. The Huskers have been victorious in their last 19 season openers since a 17-13 setback against Florida State in 1985 at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska’s 19-game win streak in season openers tops the nation, followed by Kansas State and Florida with 15 each.
Nebraska has won each of those 19 games by at least 10 points, and owns an 84-26-5 all-time record in season openers. Since 1973, the Huskers are 27-4-1 in season openers, including 22-2 at Memorial Stadium, with losses to only Florida State in 1985 and Washington State in 1977. In all-time home openers, Nebraska is 93-17-5, including 65-14-3 at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers are 29-2 in their last 31 home openers.
Construction at Memorial Stadium to Continue Throughout 2004
Nebraska is in the midst of a major building and stadium improvement project on the north end of Memorial Stadium. The $50 million project includes an addition of more than 6,000 seats to Memorial Stadium, which will raise Nebraska’s average crowd to 80,000 fans per game.
The project also includes the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex, which will include a new locker room for the Husker football program. The building will include new football offices, a new strength complex, new training room, water therapy pools and administrative offices. The improvement project also features a new indoor workout facility, giving the Huskers two full-sized indoor practice areas adjacent to two outdoor grass fields. The project will not be completed until the 2006 season, leading to a few changes for Husker fans and opponents this fall.
The demolition of the north fieldhouse has forced the relocation of opposing teams to East Stadium. Husker opponents will locker in the south end of the East Stadium. The opponent will travel under East Stadium and enter and exit the field from the northeast corner. Nebraska will continue to enter the playing field from the southwest corner for the next two seasons, before moving to the North Stadium for the 2006 season.
Husker fans have also seen minor changes in their game-day routine. Gate 14 on the northeast corner of the stadium has been combined with Gate 15. Fans previously using that entrance now use Gate 15.
Husker Personnel, Injury Update
Nebraska took a significant hit on the injury front against Missouri when All-Big 12 tight end Matt Herian went down with a fractured left leg. Herian was injured while blocking on a second-quarter rushing play. Senior Dusty Keiser has seen significant action all season at tight end and will likely move into the top position at tight end. Redshirt freshman J.B. Phillips has seen more action in the past two weeks and is likely to see his playing time increase in Herian’s absence.
The Huskers are in relatively good shape late in the season aside from the injury to Herian. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Adams, a transfer from Grossmont (Calif.) College, has not played this season. Adams had his spleen removed on Friday, Aug. 27 but returned to practice on a limited basis the week before the Pittsburgh contest.
Several Husker newcomers have made their mark in 2004. Six Husker first-timers made their debut in the season opener and eight true freshmen have played through seven games.
True freshman wide receiver Terrence Nunn was the first Husker rookie to make noise in 2004. Nunn was in the starting lineup in the opener, and became the first Husker offensive player to start the first game of his true freshman season since World War II. Other Husker offensive newcomers who saw action against Western Illinois included true freshman quarterback Ryan Goodman, true freshman I-back Brandon Jackson and junior college transfers Shamus McKoy (WR) and Cornealius Thomas (OT). Defensively, true freshman Cortney Grixby made his Husker debut at cornerback against Western Illinois and started the Pittsburgh and Kansas games at right corner in place of the injured Lornell McPherson.
Four true freshman have made their debuts since the season opener. Three frosh made their debuts on special teams in game two, including receiver Santino Panico who is serving as NU’s punt returner, and linebackers Michael Keenan and Lance Brandenburgh who have played on Husker coverage units. Quarterback Beau Davis played the majority of the second half in Nebraska’s loss at Texas Tech.
NCAA-Record 267 Consecutive Sellouts
Nebraska boasts an incredible NCAA-record 267 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium. 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 178, 89 fewer than Nebraska.
The Huskers are 237-30 during the 267 sellouts. The mark includes a 38-20 record against ranked teams. Nebraska is 5-0 in the five milestone sellouts during that period (50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th sellouts), including a 24-7 win over No. 2 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994 (No. 200) and a 44-13 victory over Utah State on Sept. 7, 2002 (No. 250).
The fan support at Memorial Stadium has led to a dominant home field advantage for the Huskers in Lincoln. Nebraska is a remarkable 148-14 at Memorial Stadium since 1981, with eight of those losses coming against teams that finished the season ranked in the top eight of the Associated Press Poll. Nebraska closes its 2004 home schedule on Nov. 26 against Colorado, which will push the sellout streak to 268 games.
Memorial Stadium Magic
Nebraska’s record home sellout streak is testament to the Huskers playing in front of the nation’s best college football fans. On the field, Nebraska has rewarded the loyalty of the Husker Nation with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years. Nebraska had a nation-leading 26-game home winning streak end with a loss to Texas in November, 2002. The loss ended the third-longest home winning streak in school history and Nebraska’s third home win streak of 20 games or more since 1980, including a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998.
The Huskers finished 6-1 at home in 2003, and Nebraska is 105-7 at home the last 16 years, including a pair of losses to teams that went on to win shares of the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991. The Huskers are 472-126-20 (.780, 618 games, 115 years) in Lincoln, 347-103-13 (.763, 463 games, 82 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). The 2002 season marked the first time Nebraska has lost two home games (Texas, Colorado) in a season since 1980.
Since 1986 (19 seasons), NU is 116-9 in Lincoln, with losses to Colorado (twice), Washington, Oklahoma (twice), Texas (twice), Kansas State and Southern Miss. Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (233 games). NU has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. Husker faithful set a new attendance record in Memorial Stadium in 2002 against Texas with 78,268 fans.
Huskers Own An Unprecedented Winning Tradition
Nebraska, the nation's third-winningest program all time (fourth by percentage), boasts a 786-314-40 record in 1,140 games (.707) in 115 years of football. In the last 36 years, NU is tops, posting a record of 352-73-5 for an .824 winning percentage (430 games), an average of nearly 10 wins per year.
NU has won 10-or-more games 24 times since 1962, has gone undefeated and untied through the regular season seven times, played in 13 national title games (for at least one of the teams) and won the championship five times. Since the first Nebraska season in 1890, Husker teams have won 11 or more games 12 times, including seven of the last 11 years. NU has won 12 or more games seven times, and 13 games three times (1971, 1994 and 1997).
Nebraska (702), Michigan (705), Alabama (728) and Notre Dame (736) were the only four programs to win 700 games in the 1900s. NU became the first Division I team to win 100 or more games in consecutive decades, ranking first in the 1980s (103-20-0, .837) and second in the 1990s (108-16-1, .890) and posted a nation’s best 309-56-5 record in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
NU One Win from Qualifying for NCAA-Record 36th Consecutive Bowl Appearance
A win on Saturday at Iowa State would give Nebraska six wins and qualify the Huskers for an NCAA-record 36th consecutive bowl trip. Michigan’s streak of consecutive bowl appearances reached 29 last year, the second-longest streak in NCAA history. Nebraska's 42 overall bowl appearances is tied for fourth best with USC, trailing Alabama's 51, Tennessee’s 44 and Texas’ 43.
Nebraska played the first of its 42 bowls in the Rose Bowl, when No. 7 Nebraska lost to No. 2 Stanford, 21-13, following the 1940 season. NU's 35 consecutive bowls began with a 45-6 win over Georgia in the 1969 Sun Bowl. The Huskers are 21-21 all-time in bowl games.
NU Owns 42 Consecutive Winning Regular Seasons
The Huskers own a remarkable 42 consecutive winning regular seasons and have posted 41 winning seasons in the last 42 years. A victory on Saturday at Iowa State would guarantee a 43rd consecutive winning regular season. Nebraska saw its streak of 40 consecutive winning seasons end with a 7-7 mark in 2002. Nebraska’s streak of 40 consecutive winning seasons fell two years short of Notre Dame’s NCAA-record run of 42 straight winning campaigns from 1889 to 1932.
Nebraska’s 42 straight non-losing seasons is tied for second all-time in NCAA Division I-A, with Notre Dame's 42 (1889-1932), trailing only Penn State’s 49 (1939-87). Since Nebraska’s 42-year .500-or-better streak began, the Huskers have averaged nearly 10 wins per season with a 420-91-5 record (.819).
Huskers a Regular in National Polls
Nebraska is currently unranked, but historically is a regular visitor to the national polls. Including the Oct. 31 AP poll, Nebraska has been ranked in 538 of 563 AP polls since 1969 (all but one week in 1977, two weeks in 1981, the final 11 weeks of 2002; the 2003 preseason poll; and the first 10 polls of 2004). Additionally, Nebraska has been ranked in the AP top 10 for at least one week in 40 of the last 41 years.
The Huskers saw an AP Poll record streak of 348 consecutive weeks in the poll end after a 2002 loss at Iowa State. Nebraska appeared in every weekly poll from Oct. 17, 1981, to Sept. 22, 2002.
All-Americans Call Nebraska Home
Free safety Josh Bullocks and punter Kyle Larson are the latest players to add their names to Nebraska's prestigious list of All-Americans, receiving honors in 2003. Larson was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, while Bullocks was tabbed by The Sporting News.
Larson and Bullocks' All-America selections added to Nebraska’s long list of All-Americans, beginning with tackle Vic Halligan in 1914. The Huskers have had at least one All-American in all but two (1991, 1998) of the past 34 years. Overall, Nebraska has seen 92 different players earn first-team All-America honors from at least one recognized source with 14 winning double honors for a total of 106 first-team awards. Nebraska had its most All-Americans in one season when six Huskers earned first-team honors in the 1971 national championship campaign. The offensive line is Nebraska’s most honored position, with 26 players earning 31 first-team All-America certificates.
Huskers Continue Nebraska Tradition of Award-Winning Excellence in Classroom
The Husker football program has a tradition of winning that can be matched by few in college football. Off the field, Nebraska has established a tradition of academic excellence that is matched by no one.
Huskers Continue to Lead Nation in Academic Honors
Nebraska continues to lead the nation in CoSIDA Academic All-Americans for all sports and all teams with 217; in first-team winners for all sports with 109; and also leads the nation in football academic honor winners with 59 first-team certificates and 81 football all-teams certificates. The 217 overall honorees is 61 better than second-place Notre Dame, while the 59 football honorees is 21 more than second-place Notre Dame's 38.
The Husker football program also leads the nation with nine NCAA Today's Top Eight Award winners, 31 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners, including Judd Davies in 2004, and 20 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, most recently Chris Kelsay in 2002.
Kriewald, Cooper Playing 2004 Season as Graduate Students
Two members of Nebraska's 20-player senior class will compete in their senior seasons as graduate students. Fullback Steve Kriewald picked up his degree in construction management in May. Linebacker Ira Cooper graduated with his degree in sociology at the close of summer school in August. In addition to Kriewald and Cooper, nine Huskers are on track to finish their undergraduate work in December. Another eight are scheduled to graduate in May of 2005, putting 19 of 20 Husker seniors on track to earn their degrees by next spring.
4.0 GPAs not Uncommon to Husker Football Team
Three Husker players carry a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average into the fall semester. Senior linebacker Chad Sievers (business administration) has completed his first eight semesters of college without a blemish on his report card. In addition to Sievers, sophomore offensive lineman Kurt Mann and sophomore fullback Dane Todd have each completed four semesters of college with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.
During the spring 2004 semester, a total of seven players had 4.0 grade-point averages. Joining the three players listed above were quarterback Garth Glissman, defensive lineman Nathan Krug, safety Brandon Rigoni and safety Blake Tiedtke. A total of nine players had perfect 4.0 semesters in the fall of 2003.
Eleven Huskers Nominated for CoSIDA All-America Honors
Eleven Huskers have been nominated for academic All-America honors in 2004. To be eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, a player must be a starter or significant reserve and carry a 3.2 or higher cumulative grade-point average. Players nominated in 2004 include, senior place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis, senior cornerback Kellen Huston, sophomore center Kurt Mann, junior offensive lineman Gary Pike, sophomore defensive back Brandon Rigoni, senior linebacker Barrett Ruud, sophomore safety Andrew Shanle, junior safety Shane Siegel, senior linebacker Chad Sievers, junior defensive back Blake Tiedtke and sophomore fullback Dane Todd.
Huskers Top Big 12 in Graduation Rates
Nebraska has led the Big 12 in graduation rates four times since the conference was formed eight years ago. In addition, Nebraska’s Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate increased for the fifth consecutive year and is currently a Big 12-leading 91 percent. The Exhausted Eligibility Rate surveys the graduation of scholarship student-athletes who entered the University of Nebraska from 1988 through 1997 and exhausted their athletic eligibility at Nebraska.
Nebraska’s football averages are higher than the national average and are higher than the general student population at UNL as well. Nebraska’s one-class average for football students entering school in 1997 is 72 percent, which is ahead of UNL's 59 percent for all students. Nebraska was one of 30 schools honored by the American Football Coaches Association, when the school received the 2004 Academic Achievement Award in late June. Nebraska was recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of its football student-athletes from the freshman class of 1998-99, as its graduation rate was 77 percent.
Two members of this year’s senior class (Steve Kriewald, Ira Cooper) have already earned their degrees with nine more set to pick up their diplomas in December.
Nebraska Unveils Hall of Distinction
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department unveiled the Hall of Distinction on Thursday, Sept. 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Hall of Distinction, which is located in the Hewit Center in West Memorial Stadium, honors every Husker letterwinner who has graduated and those who have earned national academic honors.
Nebraska men’s sports date back to 1890 and its women’s sports began nearly 30 years ago. During that span, 4,625 letterwinners have earned their degrees. Nebraska currently carries a 91 percent graduation rate for student-athletes who complete their eligibility at Nebraska.
The graduation display, which honors every student-athlete who lettered and earned their undergraduate degree, is in the same hallway as the academic All-American portraits, and a display honoring Nebraska’s nation-leading 14 NCAA Today’s Top Eight Award winners. Since the award began, Nebraska leads the nation in academic All-Americans with 217 first-, second-, and third-team honorees from all sports and also leads the nation in with 109 first-team academic All-Americans.
NU Athletic Director Steve Pederson said the display was the brainchild of Associate Athletic Director for Academic Programs and Student Services Dennis Leblanc. Approximately two years of research went into tracking the letterwinners to verify names, graduation dates and degrees.