Nebraska closes out the regular season with its traditional Friday after Thanksgiving matchup with Colorado at Memorial Stadium. The game will be the final Big 12 regular-season contest for both schools as Nebraska is set for a move to the Big Ten Conference and Colorado to the Pac-12 in 2011. Game time for Senior Day at Memorial Stadium is set for 2:36 p.m. with the game televised nationally on ABC.
The Huskers enter the game with a 9-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Big 12 Conference after a 9-6 loss at Texas A&M last Saturday. Nebraska enters the matchup with Colorado in need of a victory in order to secure a spot in the Dec. 4 Big 12 Championship Game. Nebraska enters the final weekend of the regular season tied with Missouri for the North Division lead, but the Huskers hold the tie-breaker with their head-to-head win against the Tigers.
The loss to Texas A&M dropped NU to 16th in the AP poll, 15th according to the coaches and 15th in the BCS standings.
Colorado is playing its best football of the season over the past two weeks. The Buffs improved to 5-6 overall with their 44-36 win over Kansas State in Boulder on Saturday. CU knocked off Iowa State the previous week and can become bowl-eligible with a win over Nebraska.
Nebraska owns a 48-18-2 all-time edge in the series between the two schools. The Huskers have won four of the past five meetings against the Buffs. The series has featured a number of tight games, with eight of the past 14 games decided by 10 or fewer points.
Nebraska is 836-343-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories w Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997). w The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships. w Nebraska's 46 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally. w Since 1970, Nebraska has 402 wins, 25 more than any other school. w Nebraska's 98 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation. w The Huskers have had 107 All-Americans in school history.
Noting Game 11...Texas A&M 9, Nebraska 6
*-The loss snapped Nebraska's nine-game win streak in the month of November. The Huskers' previous loss in the month came on Nov. 1, 2008 at Oklahoma. The loss also snapped Nebraska's eight-game road winning streak overall and in Big 12 play. The eight-game road winning streak in league play tied for Nebraska's longest during the Big 12 era (also 1996 and 1997).
*-Junior linebacker Lavonte David finished with 14 tackles, an 11-yard sack and four tackles for loss. It was his seventh double-figure tackle game of the season. David moved his season tackle total to 120. David moved into a tied for ninth-place on the Nebraska single-season tackle chart with Lee Kunz (1978). David leads Nebraska with 14 TFL, and also ranks second on the team with 6.0 sacks, and eight pass breakups.
*-Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick had seven tackles and 1.0 sacks, splitting a six-yard sack with Pierre Allen in the first half and a six-yarder with Cameron Meredith in the second half. Crick moved his team-high total to 7.5 sacks and his career total to 17 sacks, tied with Barry Turner for eighth on the NU career list.
*-Senior defensive end Pierre Allen shared a second-quarter sack with Jared Crick to push his career sacks total to 13. Allen finished the game with seven tackles, two TFLs, and a PBU.
*-Nebraska held Texas A&M to just nine points. The Aggies entered the game averaging 34.9 points per game and had scored at least 33 points in each of their last four games.
*-Nebraska limited Texas A&M to 172 passing yards. The Aggies entered the game ranked eighth nationally in passing offense at 308.1 yards per game.
*-Nebraska senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. rushed nine times for 52 yards. Helu Jr. moved his season total to 1,043 yards. Helu Jr. rushed for 1,149 yards last season and is the first Husker to record back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993. Helu Jr. also pushed his career rushing total to 3,202, moving him past Jones (3,153) into fourth place on the NU career rushing list.
*-Freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for 17 yards despite missing most of the first half with an injury. Martinez pushed his season rushing total to 974 yards, leaving him 26 yards from becoming the third freshman quarterback in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards. He is within 119 yards of Missouri's Brad Smith who holds the NCAA frosh quarterback rushing record with 1,093 yards. Martinez remained second on the NU single-season freshman rushing list.
*-Martinez posted 124 yards of total offense and moved from 10th to sixth on the single-season total offense list. Martinez now has a freshman record 2,409 yards of total offense in 2010.
*-Senior receiver Niles Paul caught became the sixth Cornhusker to record 100 career receptions on his first catch. Paul now has 103 career receptions, four catches behind Marlon Lucky who sits in fifth place on the list at 107 catches. Paul also passed 1,500 career receiving yards, and with his 53 yards he has 1,532 career receiving yards.
*-Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead rushed 13 times for 74 yards, and became the 58th Cornhusker with 1,000 career rushing yards. Burkhead now has 1,067 career rushing yards.
*-Nebraska kicked a 48-yard field goal on its first drive, marking the seventh time in 11 games this season Nebraska has scored on its opening possession.
*-Nebraska rushed for 142 yards, marking just the second time NU has rushed for less than 200 yards (also vs. Texas).
*-Nebraska committed 16 penalties for 145 yards, school records in both categories. The old records were 14 penalties (twice) and 141 yards (vs. Penn State, Sept. 27, 1980).
*-Texas A&M had a record crowd of 90,079 at Kyle Field--it is the fifth-largest crowd ever to see a Nebraska game.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his third season as Nebraska's head coach and owns a 29-10 record with the Huskers. Pelini helped Nebraska to at least a share of the Big 12 North title in each of his first two seasons, becoming the first coach in the history of the Big 12 to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first two seasons. He is one win away from a third straight North division crown.
Pelini took charge of the Huskers after a highly successful five-year run as a collegiate defensive coordinator, including orchestrating NU's defensive efforts in 2003. Pelini picked up his first college head coaching victory as NU's interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
Following his one season at Nebraska, Pelini served as the co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Sooners to the Big 12 title and BCS title game. He then followed with three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU. With the Tigers, Pelini led three consecutive defenses to No. 3 national rankings in total defense. He culminated his time in Baton Rouge by helping the Tigers to the 2007 national championship.
In addition to his five seasons at the collegiate level, Pelini coached in the NFL for nine seasons, serving three years each with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Pelini was a team captain and four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990.
Pelini Stacks up Well with Peers
In guiding Nebraska to a 29-10 record, (28-10 from 2008-2010), Pelini put himself in some impressive company.
*-Pelini is the fourth Nebraska head coach to win nine games in each of his first three seasons with the Cornhuskers. The others to reach that win plateau were Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich. A win against Colorado would allow him to join Solich as the only NU coaches with two 10-win seasons in their first three years.
*-Pelini, Solich and Texas' Mack Brown are the only coaches in Big 12 history (1996) to win nine or more games in each of their first three seasons.
*-Pelini's nine victories in 2008 tied for the most among 18 coaches in their first season at their respective school. Among first-time head coaches, Pelini's victory total was the best in the nation. Pelini's 19 victories in his first two seasons were second among that group, and he has moved to the top of the 2008 hiring class with his 28 wins, two better than Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and Navy's Ken Niumatalolo.
*-Pelini was just the eighth BCS Conference (since 1998) first-time head coach to post nine or more victories in his first season. He was just the second first-year head coach in that span to win nine games after inheriting a team with a losing record the previous year.
Pelini Continues Defensive Accomplishments at Nebraska
Pelini has led an amazing defensive turnaround at Nebraska. The 2008 Nebraska defense was one of the nation's most improved units. Nebraska finish second in the Big 12 in total defense, a year after the Huskers were 100th or worse in nearly every defensive category. In 2009, Nebraska was dominant on defense and its improvement was just as impressive. The Huskers led the nation in total defense and had the nation's best scoring defensive improvement (18.1 ppg).
With Pelini's previous track record, the success of his Nebraska defenses is no surprise.
*-Pelini led the 2003 Blackshirts to impressive numbers. NU had a school-record 47 takeaways, including a Big 12-record 32 interceptions, and finished second nationally in scoring defense, first in pass efficiency defense and 11th in total defense.
*-Pelini guided LSU defenses to No. 3 national finishes in total defense each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge.
*-In 105 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 35 times and to 20 points or less 69 times.
*-Pelini-led defenses have 211 total takeaways, including two top-three national rankings.
Staff Intact for Third Straight Season
Nebraska was long known for coaching staff continuity under Hall of Fame Coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Third-year Head Coach Bo Pelini appears to embrace that same philosophy. NU is in its third straight season with its staff intact in 2010, as all nine full-time assistants are in at least their third season on the Husker sideline.
Nebraska is one of only nine schools nationally to have the same full-time coaching staff for at least the past three years, including only Baylor and Texas in the Big 12. Prior to last season, Nebraska had not had its full coaching staff remain the same from one season to the next since 2001 to 2002 when Frank Solich's staff was unchanged.
Like Nebraska, Colorado is playing its final conference game as a member of the Big 12. While the Huskers are heading to the Big Ten Conference this summer, the Buffaloes will head west and become a member of the Pac-12 Conference. CU is also looking to become bowl eligible with a win today.
Colorado is 5-6 this season and 2-5 in Big 12 play. The Buffs lost back-to-back home games to Baylor and Texas Tech in October by a combined total of nine points. The Buffaloes also lost by seven at Kansas on Nov. 6, after leading by 28 points in the fourth quarter. Since that game, CU has won its last two games, thanks to an offense that has scored 78 points the past two weeks and is averaging 41.0 points per game in three contests this month. Defensively, the Buffaloes allow an average of nearly 30 points per game.
Colorado has struggled on the road, as the Buffs have lost 16 straight road games and 12 in a row in league play. Both marks are the worst streaks in school history, as CU's last conference road victory came in a 31-26 win at Texas Tech in 2007.
Nebraska and Colorado are meeting for the 69th time and for the final time as members of the same conference. The Huskers lead the all-time series, 48-18-2, including a 25-8-0 advantage in Lincoln.
Nebraska has won two straight in the series, marking only the second time the Huskers have won back-to-back games against the Buffaloes since NU won nine in a row from 1992 to 2000. Colorado's last win in Lincoln came in 2004, while Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini is 2-0 in his career against the Buffaloes.
The series has featured several memorable moments, including Alex Henery's school-record 57-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining that provided the winning margin in the last meeting between the teams at Memorial Stadium. In 2007, the teams combined for 116 points as Colorado posted a 65-51 victory in Bill Callahan's last game as Nebraska's head coach. Bo Pelini was named head coach less than a month later.
The Huskers' 400th all-time victory came against Colorado in 1965, the 200th consecutive sellout was against Colorado in 1994, the 1998 game was the first time in modern history that Nebraska won a game without scoring an offensive touchdown and the first walk-off win in NU history came in 2000 on a Josh Brown field goal as time expired.
Colorado Interim Head Coach Brian Cabral
Brian Cabral is in his third game as Colorado's interim coach, after Dan Hawkins was fired on Nov. 9. Hawkins was in his fifth season in Boulder and had a 19-39 record with the Buffaloes. Colorado was 3-6 overall and 0-5 in Big 12 play when Hawkins was relieved of his duties.
Cabral took over prior to the Iowa State game and Colorado promptly came out and picked up its first conference victory. The Buffaloes scored 24 straight points agains the Cyclones and posted an impressive 34-14 victory. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Buffaloes and an eight-game losing streak in conference play dating back to last season.
A Colorado graduate, Cabral is in his 22nd consecutive season on the CU coaching staff, coaching the linebackers every season. He has been a full-time assistant for 21 years, the most in Colorado history. He was promoted to associate head coach on Feb. 7, 2008, and was named interim head coach on Nov. 9, 2010. This is Cabral's second stint as Colorado's interim head coach, as he was also promoted to that role in 2004 when head coach Gary Barnett was on paid administrative leave for a three-month period during the offseason.
Cabral spent two seasons at Purdue from 1987 to 1988.
Suh to Have Jersey Retired at Halftime
Ndamukong Suh returns to Memorial Stadium Friday to see his No. 93 jersey officially retired. A defensive tackle, Suh completed his playing career for Nebraska last fall.
A native of Portland, Ore., Suh was widely regarded as the best player in college football last season. He became the first defender ever to be named the Associated Press College Player of the Year, while he also took home the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award, the Bill Willis Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Suh was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
In his senior season in 2009, Suh led Nebraska with 85 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss and 12.0 sacks. In his career, Suh totaled 215 tackles, 57 TFLs and 24.0 sacks from his interior line position. He ranks second in Husker history in tackles-for-loss, fourth in sacks and 24th in tackles.
After graduating from Nebraska last December, Suh was the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft and is a leading contender for NFL Defensive Rookie-of-the-Year honors this season for the Detroit Lions. Suh has also pledged $2.6 million to Nebraska, the largest contribution ever by a former Husker.
Suh will become the 17th Nebraska player to have his jersey retired.
Huskers in Need of Victory for Sixth Championship Game Appearance
Nebraska enters Friday's game with Colorado looking to lock up its second consecutive trip to the Big 12 Conference Championship Game. The Huskers have made five previous appearances in the game, earning conference titles in 1997 and 1999, while also being the North Division representative in 1996, 2006 and 2009.
*-Nebraska and Missouri are tied at 5-2 in Big 12 play, but Nebraska holds the tie-breaker because of its 31-17 win over the Tigers on Oct. 30.
*-The winner of Saturday night's Oklahoma at Oklahoma State game has the inside track to earn the South Division spot. Oklahoma State clinches the spot with a victory in Stillwater. An Oklahoma victory could force a three-way tie with OU, OSU and Texas A&M.
Huskers, CU Set for Final Big 12 Regular-Season Game
Nebraska and Colorado have played the regular-season finale in each of the 15 seasons of the existence of the Big 12 Conference. This season's meeting takes on a little added significance as the two schools will both be playing their final Big 12 Conference regular-season contests. Nebraska is set to join the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2011, and the Buffs will move on to the Pac-12 Conference next season.
*-Nebraska and Colorado have met every year as conference opponents since 1948, shortly after Colorado joined six other schools to form the Big Seven Conference. The league became the Big Eight in 1960, and expanded to the Big 12 in 1996.
Nebraska, Buffs Continue Post-Turkey Day Tradition
Nebraska and Colorado have met the day after Thanksgiving each year since the start of Big 12 Conference play in 1996. In the 14 meetings since the series moved to a Friday date, Nebraska holds a 10-4 advantage, including a 5-2 edge in Lincoln. The series has produced a number of heart-stopping finishes since moving to its current date.
*-In the 14 meetings on Thanksgiving Friday, nine of the games have been decided by nine points or less, with Nebraska owning an 8-1 record in those contests.
*-For Nebraska, Friday's game marks the 21st straight season it has played on the day after Thanksgiving. NU met Oklahoma the final six seasons of Big Eight play (1990-95) on the day after Thanksgiving, posting a 5-1 record in those games.
*-This year's game marks the second straight year Nebraska has played on the Friday after Thanksgiving without a bye week. Before last season, Nebraska had not done that since playing at Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Friday in 1973, six days after playing at Kansas State.
*-Nebraska's post-Thanksgiving game has been nationally televised by ABC each of the past 20 years (1991-2010).
Huskers Secure Third Straight Nine-Win Season
Nebraska has secured its third straight nine-win season under third-year head coach Bo Pelini.
*-The three 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 was one of only 22 schools to win nine games in both 2008 and 2009. Nebraska is one of only nine schools in that group to have secured a third straight nine-win season, joining TCU, Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Utah.
Nebraska has 45 nine-win seasons in school history.
Nebraska Looking for 10-Win Regular Season
Nebraska will attempt to pick up its 10th win of the 2010 season on Friday against Colorado. A win would mark NU's first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2000 and 2001. However, reaching double digits in victories in the regular season is even more rare.
*-Nebraska last posted 10 wins in the regular season in the 2001 campaign when the Huskers won their first 11 games and finished the regular season at 11-1.
*-A victory would give Nebraska its 25th all-time 10-win season in school history, including 23 since 1970.
Senior Class to Play Final Game at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska will honor 25 players appearing in their final game at Memorial Stadium before Friday's game. The group includes 23 seniors and two other players ending their active playing career-Ryan Hill and Faron Klingelhoefer.
*-Fifth-year seniors in the program have been a part of 42 victories, including three nine-win seasons, and possibly three North Division titles.
*-As a group, Nebraska's senior class has made 417 career starts, with 11 players making at least 25 career starts heading into Friday's game.
*-Place-kicker Alex Henery is poised to become Nebraska's all-time leading scorer, possibly on Senior Day. He has already set numerous Nebraska career kicking records.
*-I-back Roy Helu Jr. is in the top five on Nebraska's career rushing list, while receiver Niles Paul is in the top five in career receiving yardage and nearing the top five in receptions. He also ranks in the top five in career all-purpose yards.
*-Among the 23 seniors, six have already earned their degrees, while another nine are expected to graduate next month, including Helu Jr. and cornerback Prince Amukamara who will graduate in just 3 1/2 years.
Nebraska Churning out Impressive Rushing Numbers
Nebraska finds itself back among the Big 12 and national leaders in rushing offense. Nebraska is averaging 269.5 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in rushing. Nebraska finished seventh in the nation in rushing in 2003, but has not finished higher than 23rd in that category since. If the Huskers were to maintain their current rushing average it would mark their best rushing output since averaging 314.7 yards on the ground in 2001.
The Huskers opened the season with 289 rushing yards against Western Kentucky and has since topped that total four times. NU picked up 360 rushing yards against Idaho, and 383 yards at Washington. NU saved its most powerful running attack for Big 12 play, racking up 451 rushing yards at Kansas State-its most rushing yards in 109 games. The Huskers churned out 328 rushing yards against Missouri in Lincoln.
*-Nebraska has topped 200 rushing yards in nine of 11 games. The Huskers are 9-0 when rushing for 200 yards and 0-2 when they have failed to reach that plateau.
*-Before its back-to-back 300-yard rushing games in games 2 and 3, NU had not topped 300 rushing yards in consecutive games since late in the 2002 season. NU had five straight 200-yard rushing games to start the season and six overall including the Holiday Bowl, marking the longest streak for the Huskers since also posting six straight 200-yard rushing games during the 2002 season. NU has topped 200 rushing yards in nine of 10 games this season.
*-Nebraska's 451 rushing yards at Kansas State were its most since posting 641 rushing yards at Baylor in 2001. It also marked just the Huskers' second 400-yard rushing game in the past seven seasons (413 vs. Nevada, 2007).
*-In thrashing Washington and Kansas State away from Lincoln, Nebraska rushed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back road games for the first time since 2001 when NU topped 300 rushing yards in back-to-back games at Missouri and Baylor. NU also topped 200 rushing yards in road wins at Oklahoma State (217) and Iowa State (235).
*-Nebraska has produced five of the top-10 team rushing efforts since 2004 this season, including the first, third and fifth-best rushing efforts in that stretch.
*-Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season, the first NU player to do that since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993.
*-Quarterback Taylor Martinez has 974 yards, and with another 26 rushing yards, he and Helu Jr. will become just the fourth Nebraska duo to each have 1,000 rushing yards in a season joining Calvin Jones and Derek Brown in 1992, Ahman Green and Scott Frost in 1997, and Dahrran Diedrick and Eric Crouch in 2001.
*-Nebraska had three players crack the century mark in rushing yards at Washington, as Taylor Martinez, Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead all surpassed 100 yards. The game marked the fifth time in school history Nebraska has had three players reach 100 rushing yards in the same game, and the first time it has happened since four Husker runners topped 100 yards at Baylor in 2001.
*-Martinez and Helu Jr. also teamed up to produce double 100-yard rushing games against Idaho and Kansas State. The Idaho game marked the first time since 2006 (Iowa State) NU had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. Nebraska has now had two players rush for 100 yards in the same game 68 times in school history.
*-NU narrowly missed another double 100-yard effort with Burkhead rushing for 129 yards at Iowa State, and Helu Jr. totaling 99 yards.
*-Nebraska has 11 100-yard rushing games in 2010 after having just five each of the past two years and six in 2007. The 11 100-yard games are the highest by a Husker squad since the 2001 team posted 16 100-yard rushing outings in 13 games.
*-Helu Jr. set a Nebraska school-record with 307 rushing yards in Nebraska's win over Missouri. His rushing yardage the second-most posted in Football Bowl Subdivision in 2010.
*-Nebraska is averaging a 6.04 yards-per-carry, the third-best average in the country.
*-Nebraska has rushed for 2,965 yards in 11 games. In 14 games in 2009, NU rushed for 2,059 yards.