GAME 2: NEBRASKA at UCLA
SEPT. 8, 2012 | ROSE BOWL
LINCOLN, NEB. | 6:30 p.m. (CT)
TV - FOX
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 113, XM 196
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 1-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-16; AP-17
Last Game: def. Southern Miss, 49-20
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 40-16/5th year
vs. UCLA: 0-0
Record: 1-0, 0-0 Pac-12
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: def. Rice, 49-24
Coach: Jim Mora
Career/UCLA Record: 1-0/1st Year
vs. NU: 0-0
Nebraska takes to the road for the first time in 2012, when it travels to the Rose Bowl to battle the UCLA Bruins in a key non-conference matchup. The game will be televised nationally on Fox, with kickoff set for shortly after 6:30 p.m. CDT/4:30 p.m. local time in California.
The Huskers are coming off an impressive 49-20 victory over Southern Miss in the season opener, as Nebraska put together one of its most complete offensive performances in several seasons. The Huskers rolled up 632 yards of total offense, its highest total in five years, while not committing a turnover and just two penalties in the game. Junior quarterback Taylor Martinez had the most impressive throwing day of his career, completing 26-of-34 passes for a career-high 354 yards and five touchdowns.
Nebraska will take on a UCLA team that also had an impressive offensive explosion in its season opener. The Bruins rolled to a 49-24 victory at Rice last Thursday, racking up 646 yards of total offense in the process. Like Nebraska, UCLA had a balanced attack with 343 yards rushing and 303 through the air.
The Huskers’ matchup with UCLA marks the third consecutive regular season that Nebraska has met a Pac-12 opponent in non-conference play. UCLA will make a return trip to Lincoln next September.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 40-16 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.
UCLA: Jim Mora (Washington, 1984) is in his first season as head coach at UCLA and his first season as a college head coach. Mora has served for four years as a head coach in the National Football League, three with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Seattle Seahawks. Mora posted a 31-33 record in his NFL career. Prior to taking over at UCLA, Mora’s last college coaching job was as a graduate assistant at Washington in 1984.
UCLA opened the Jim Mora era with an outstanding offensive performance in a 49-28 victory at Rice last Thursday. The Bruins scored three touchdowns on their first five plays, jumping out to a 19-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Rice cut it to 29-24 late in the second quarter, but a 44-yard Damien Holmes fumble return for a touchdown with 17 seconds left in the first half stretched the lead back to 11. UCLA’s defense then shut out the Owls in the second half, while the Bruin offense added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the win.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, making his career debut, ran for a 72-yard touchdown on UCLA’s first play from scrimmage. Three plays later he threw his first career touchdown, an 11-yard strike to Jerry Johnson. On the Bruins’ next play from scrimmage, Johnathan Franklin added a 74-yard touchdown run. Franklin added a 78-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 22-yard TD run in the fourth.
On the game, Franklin carried 15 times for 214 yards, an average of 14.3 yards per carry. Hundley added seven carries for 68 yards, as the Bruins ran for 343 yards as a team, while averaging 9.3 yards per carry. Through the air, UCLA completed 75 percent of its passes for 303 yards and two scores.
Defensively, UCLA allowed 358 total yards, but the Bruins surrendered only 77 yards in the second half while holding Rice to a three-and-out on five of the Owls’ six second-half possessions.
Nebraska and UCLA will meet for the first time since 1994 on Saturday. The Huskers lead the all-time series, 6-4, and NU has won two straight in the series and six of the last seven. UCLA won the first three meetings including a pair of victories in Los Angeles, where the Bruins own a 3-2 advantage.
Nebraska enters Saturday’s matchup nationally ranked, marking the ninth consecutive time dating to 1972 that a ranked Husker team will play UCLA. Previously, the Huskers had been ranked in the top 10 in each of the last eight meetings, including No. 1 three times and No. 2 three times.
UCLA, which was Nebraska’s second-most frequent non-conference opponent under Tom Osborne (1973-97), has proven to be a tough foe at home for the Huskers. The unranked Bruins defeated No. 1 Nebraska 20-17 in Los Angeles in 1972. Fifth-ranked UCLA then upset No. 2 Nebraska 41-28 at the Rose Bowl in 1988. In the most recent meeting in Los Angeles, eighth-ranked Nebraska held on for a 14-13 victory over the unranked Bruins.
UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora
Jim Mora is in his first season as UCLA’s head coach, and he owns a 1-0 record after the Bruins’ 49-24 win at Rice last Thursday. A former NFL head coach, Mora is leading his first collegiate program. Previously, Mora’s only experience in the college game was as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1984. Mora coached 25 seasons in the NFL ranks from 1985 to 2009 before spending the 2010 and 2011 seasons as an analyst and contributor for the NFL Network and FOX.
In his 25 seasons in the NFL, Mora coached at five stops, including two stints as a head coach. He worked with the San Diego Chargers’ defense from 1985 to 1991 and served as the New Orleans’ Saints secondary coach from 1992 to 1996. Mora held the same title for the San Francisco 49ers in 1997 and 1998, before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003.
Mora’s first head coaching job came with the Atlanta Falcons from 2004 to 2006, when he guided the Falcons to an 11-5 record and an NFC South title in his first season. For his efforts, Mora was named NFC Coach of the Year after the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game. Mora finished with a 26-22 record in Atlanta, before becoming the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, Mora took over for Mike Holmgren and led the Seahawks to a 5-11 record. Overall, Mora owned a 31-33 record in four seasons as an NFL head coach.
*- Nebraska is 847-349-40 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, 26 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.
Nebraska Adds to Season-Opening Win Streak
Nebraska’s 49-20 victory over Southern Miss on Saturday marked the 27th straight year Nebraska has won its season opener. The Huskers’ streak leads the nation, bettering Florida’s 23 straight wins. NU’s last loss in a season opener was a 17-13 setback against Florida State at Memorial Stadium in 1985.
*- NU has won each of the 27 games by at least nine points, and has scored at least 40 points in 20 of the 27 games, including each of the last seven seasons. NU has outscored the opposition 234-64 in five openers under Bo Pelini.
*-The Cornhuskers have limited the opponent to 14 points or less 18 times in the winning streak.
*- Nebraska is 92-26-5 all-time in season openers.
Huskers Continue Streak in National Polls
Nebraska opened the season ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the Associated Press Poll. The Huskers have been ranked in every AP poll since late in the 2009 season, a streak of 36 straight weeks in the Associated Press Poll, (this week’s poll is released Tuesday).
*-Nebraska’s streak of appearing in 36 consecutive polls is the longest in the Big Ten and the fifth-longest streak in the nation.
Nebraska Faces Challenging 2012 Schedule
Nebraska once again faces one of the nation’s more challenging schedules in 2012, including 10 teams that participated in a bowl game in 2011. The Huskers’ 10 bowl opponents from last season lead the country and are matched only by Big Ten schools Michigan and Penn State.
The 2012 schedule is highlighted by BCS bowl participants Wisconsin (Rose) and Michigan (Sugar), which will both visit Lincoln. The non-conference schedule features three 2011 bowl teams, which will all have new head coaches in 2012. The Big Ten schedule opens at home against Wisconsin on Sept. 29 in a prime-time game, and the home schedule also includes Michigan, Penn State and MInnesota. Overall, NU’s seven-game home schedule includes five teams that won at least nine games last season.
On the road, Nebraska faces four 2011 bowl teams, including Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa. Six of Nebraska’s 11 scheduled opponents won at least nine games in 2011.
Michigan will be making only its second trip to Lincoln and its first ever to Memorial Stadium. The only previous meeting between the two schools in Lincoln occurred in 1911 before the construction of Memorial Stadium (1923).
*- Nebraska will open Big Ten play against Leaders Division opponent Wisconsin for the second straight year. The Badgers’ visit to Lincoln will mark the first trip by UW to Memorial Stadium since 1973.
*- Penn State will make its seventh visit to Memorial Stadium, but its first as a Big Ten opponent. PSU last came to Lincoln in 2003.
*- The Huskers’ visit to Columbus on Oct. 6, will mark the first matchup between the two schools at Ohio Stadium since Nebraska played there in 1955 and 1956.
*- The Huskers travel to Northwestern for the first time since before World War II (1931).
*- Nebraska and Iowa will meet in the second Heroes Game on Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
Huskers Have Posted Four Straight Nine-Win Seasons
Nebraska finished 9-4 in 2011 to secure its fourth straight nine-win season under Head Coach Bo Pelini. The current streak of four straight nine-win seasons puts Nebraska in an elite class nationally.
*- The four straight years of 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 is one of eight schools with nine wins or more each season from 2008 to 2011, joining TCU, Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Alabama and West Virginia.
*- Nebraska has 46 nine-win seasons in school history, including 39 since 1969.
Husker Players Fill National Award Watch Lists
Several Huskers earned preseason recognition entering the 2012 season. Highlighting the list of honorees are seniors Rex Burkhead and Brett Maher, who both earned preseason All-America honors from Athlon. Burkhead was a second-team running back selection, while Maher was a second-team kicker. Burkhead also earned second-team preseason All-America honors from Sports Illustrated.
Burkhead earned recognition as one of 50 players on the Walter Camp Award watch list and one of 65 players on the Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award watch lists. The Walter Camp and Maxwell awards are presented annually to the nation’s player of the year, while the Doak Walker Award honors the nation’s top running back.
Nebraska Hoping to Make Two Rose Bowl Visits in 2012
Nebraska’s trip to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA will mark NU’s first trip to the stadium since a loss to Miami in the 2002 Rose Bowl for the national championship. Previously, Nebraska defeated the Bruins in Pasadena in both 1984 and 1993, while suffering a setback against the Bruins in 1988.
Nebraska hopes to make a return trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 2013 as the Big Ten champion. In addition to its matchup against Miami in the 2002 Rose Bowl, the Huskers also played in the 1941 Rose Bowl game, losing to Stanford.
Nebraska Looks to Continue Success Against Pac-12 Foes
Nebraska is meeting a Pac-12 opponent in the regular season for the third straight year, after a home-and-home series with Washington in 2010 and 2011. The game will mark NU’s fifth contest against Pac-12 foes since the 2009 Holiday Bowl. Nebraska defeated Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl, and won both matchups with Washington in the regular season, but dropped the 2010 Holiday Bowl game against the Huskies.
Members of the Pac-12 Conference have been some of Nebraska’s most common non-conference opponents. The trip to Pasadena on Saturday will mark Nebraska’s 23rd game against a Pac-12 opponent at game time (does not include Colorado) since 1990. Nebraska owns a 15-7 mark in those games.
*- Nebraska is 89-39-5 all-time against current members of the Pac-12 Conference, including a 49-18-2 record against long-time fellow conference member Colorado.
*- Since 1990, Nebraska has faced every Pac-12 school except Stanford and Oregon.
*- The UCLA game will mark NU’s 39th meeting with a Pac-12 opponent at game time since 1970. The Huskers have been in the top 20 in each of those 39 matchups, including 28 times in the top 10 and 16 times in the top five.
*- UCLA will make a return trip to Lincoln on Sept. 14, 2013.
Huskers Look for Third Straight Win in Road Opener
Nebraska will make its road debut at UCLA on Saturday. The Huskers have won each of their past two road openers, posting a 56-21 win at Washington in 2010, and a 38-14 win at Wyoming last season. Overall, Nebraska is 2-2 in road openers under Head Coach Bo Pelini, dropping two close losses against ranked teams in his first two seasons. NU lost 37-31 in overtime at No. 7 Texas Tech in 2008, and 16-15 at No. 13 Virginia Tech in 2009.
The Sept. 8 road opener marks Nebraska’s earliest road game of the season since a Sept. 8, 2007 victory at Wake Forest. Nebraska has played at least two home games before heading on the road each of the past four years.
California Huskers Return to Golden State
Several Huskers will return to their homestate for Saturday’s matchup at UCLA. The Huskers have eight players from the state of California, the third-most on the NU roster behind Nebraska and Texas. Californians on the NU roster include freshman linebacker Thomas Brown (Gardena), junior receiver Quincy Enunwa (Moreno Valley), senior defensive end Eric Martin (Moreno Valley), junior quarterback Taylor Martinez (Corona), senior defensive end Cameron Meredith (Huntington Beach), sophomore cornerback Josh MItchell (Corona), senior safety Daimion Stafford (Norco) and freshman offensive lineman Corey Whitaker (Murrieta).