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Today marks Nebraska football's annual Fan Day and for everyone out there not taking a kid or a grandkid or a nephew, niece or family friend to Memorial Stadium as a front to meet Husker coaches and players, don't worry, be happy. Our Media Relations staff has helped the N-Sider pull 28 facts together so we can all count down the last 28 days before Nebraska's season home-opener against Southern Miss, an 11-game winner in '11.
So here, in no particular order, are 28 historic facts straight out of Nebraska football's bible - the 2012 Nebraska Football Media Guide. That 208-page publication is available now online. It's also on sale at Huskers Authentic for those of us who prefer holding such valuable information in our own hands, so we can savor every little morsel fit to print. Take time to digest all 28 facts as you count down to kickoff and enjoy this historical pre-season journey:
1) Nebraska's vaunted home sellout streak enters its 50th year this season. The streak began on Nov. 3, 1962 - a 16-7 Homecoming loss to Missouri in front of 36,501 fans.
2) Nebraska ranks fourth all-time with 846 victories. The Huskers are one of only seven schools (following Penn State's vacated victories), including three Big Ten programs, in the 800 all-time win club.
3) Nebraska has won 412 games since 1970, the highest total in the nation. The Huskers have won 26 more games than second-place Oklahoma. Only four schools in the nation have won 370 games since 1970, and three of those schools are members of the Big Ten Conference.
4) Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini owns four more victories than any of the other 18 coaches hired prior to the 2008 season.
5) Nebraska is one of only eight schools nationally to win nine games in each of the past four seasons.
6) Among current BCS Conference schools, Pelini is only the sixth first-time head coach in NCAA history to win at least nine games in each of his first four seasons. Three of the six coaches to accomplish that feat coached at Nebraska (Pelini, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich).
7) When combining statistics from the past three seasons, Nebraska's Blackshirt defense ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense, sixth in scoring defense, seventh in passing defense and ninth in total defense.
8) Rex Burkhead ran for more yards last season (1,357) than any Husker I-back since Ahman Green in 1997.
9) A second straight 1,000-yard rushing season would move I-back Rex Burkhead into third place on Nebraska's career rushing chart. He needs 1,227 yards rushing this season to surpass Ahman Green for second place on the Huskers' all-time rushing chart.
10) Third-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez needs only 161 rushing yards and 280 passing yards to become the 25th player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards and throw for 4,000 yards in a career.
11) Junior Taylor Martinez needs 161 yards rushing to become the fourth Nebraska quarterback to rush for 2,000 career yards. A third straight 800-yard rushing season would vault Martinez to second place on Nebraska's career quarterback rushing chart.
12) Taylor Martinez enters this season in sixth place on Nebraska's career passing chart. The junior needs only 280 yards passing to become the fifth Husker to throw for 4,000 yards in a career. Martinez needs only 1,406 passing yards this season to move into second place on Nebraska's all-time passing chart. After throwing for 2,089 yards as a sophomore in 2011, Martinez would need 2,131 yards passing to pass Zac Taylor (5,850 yards) as Nebraska's all-time passing leader.
13) Taylor Martinez set Nebraska's total offense records for a freshman and sophomore in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Martinez enters his junior season ranked third in school history with 5,559 yards of career total offense. He needs only 219 yards of total offense to move past Zac Taylor for second on NU's all-time chart and 2,357 yards to pass Heisman Trophy Winner Eric Crouch as Nebraska's all-time career total offense leader. Martinez has averaged 2,780 yards of total offense over his first two seasons.
14) At least three Huskers have been selected in each of the last 43 NFL Drafts. Nebraska has averaged nearly six NFL Draft picks per year over the last 50 years.
15) Nebraska's 345 all-time NFL Draft picks rank fifth among all college football programs.
16) Nebraska ranks fourth in NCAA history with 48 all-time bowl appearances, including 29 appearances in a BCS Bowl (Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar).
17) The football team won the athletic department's 2011 Nebraska Life Skills Team Competition as the most active men's team in the community.
18) John Papuchis is the fourth-youngest defensive coordinator in the country. He's also the nation's youngest solo defensive coordinator.
19) Nebraska has four football graduate assistant coaches this year in Joe Ganz and Vince Marrow (offense) and T.J. Hollowell and Jake Mandelko (defense). Previously, NCAA schools were only permitted to have two football GAs per season, but the NCAA increased that total to four GAs per season beginning on Aug. 1, 2012.
20) The football staff welcomes three new full-time members this season in Athletic Trainer Jeremy Busch, Sports Nutritionist Scott Trausch and Assistant Equipment Manager Tyler Recker.
21) The 2012 Nebraska football roster features 146 players from a total of 23 different states.
22) Nebraska returns 89 percent of its scoring from last season and 96 percent of its total offense, including 100 percent of its 2011 passing yards and 93 percent of its 2011 rushing yards.
23) Nebraska returns 100 percent of its production in every special team category from last season except kickoff return yards, where the Huskers return 99.6 percent of their return yards from 2011.
24) The Huskers will face 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.
25) Nebraska football has been a family affair for the Cottons. Barney Cotton, the Huskers' Associate Head Coach who tutors the offensive line, played for the Huskers in the 1970s. His three sons, Ben (senior tight end), Jake (sophomore offensive lineman) and Sam (freshman tight end) are all on Nebraska's roster this fall. The Cotton brothers are believed to be the only group of three brothers on one FBS roster in 2012.
26) Nebraska has won 26 consecutive season openers, the longest active streak in the nation.
27) The Huskers had three players earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last season, including two (Rex Burkhead and Sean Fisher) who return this fall. The three selections in 2011 gave Nebraska 102 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, making the Husker football team the first individual athletic team in the nation to reach the 100-honoree milestone. As an institution, Nebraska owns a nation-leading 299 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all sports.
28) Eight Huskers are on pace to earn their degrees by the time the season kicks off on Sept. 1. As many as 20 Huskers could have their degrees before the season ends.
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