Huskers Conclude Non-Conference Play with Bengals
GAME 4: IDAHO STATE at NEBRASKA
SEPT. 22, 2012 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. | 2:30 p.m. (CT)
TV - BTN
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 117, XM 196
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 2-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-22; AP-25
Last Game: def. Arkansas State, 42-13
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 41-17/5th year
vs. Idaho State: First Meeting
Record: 1-1, 0-0 Big Sky
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: def. Black Hills State, 38-5
Coach: Mike Kramer
ISU/Career Record: 3-10/2nd Year | 80-85/14th Year
vs. NU: First Meeting
Nebraska continues its three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon when the Huskers take on Idaho State at Memorial Stadium. The contest will be televised on BTN with kickoff set for shortly after 2:30 p.m. (CDT).
The Huskers improved to 2-1 on the season with an impressive 42-13 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday in Lincoln. The Husker offense was explosive again, rolling up 527 yards of total offense, including 347 yards on the ground. It marked the third straight game NU has posted better than 250 rushing yards. The Huskers also were stout on defense, holding Arkansas State to just 286 total yards after the Red Wolves came to Lincoln averaging better than 570 yards per game.
With the victory, Nebraska re-entered the Associated Press rankings at No. 25, and improved to No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Idaho State, a member of the Big Sky Conference and Football Championship Subdivision, comes into the contest with a 1-1 record. The Bengals opened the year with a loss at Air Force, before responding with a victory against Black Hills State on Sept. 8. Idaho State was idle last week. The Bengals have a productive offense, averaging 541.0 yards per game, including 443.5 yards passing through two games, the second-best passing average in the FCS ranks.
A victory on Saturday would give Nebraska a 3-1 record in non-conference play and mark the 31st consecutive year the Huskers have posted a winning non-conference record, dating back to a 2-2 mark in 1981.
Saturday's game will be the first between Nebraska and Idaho State, and also the first against a current member of the Big Sky Conference. The matchup with Idaho State will mark the third consecutive season the Huskers have faced an FCS opponent, defeating South Dakota State in 2010 and Chattanooga in 2011.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 41-17 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.
Idaho State: Mike Kramer (Idaho, ‘77) is in his second season as the head coach of the Bengals and owns a 3-10 record at Idaho State. Kramer has an 80-85 overall record in his 14th season as a collegiate head coach. Kramer spent six seasons as the head coach at Eastern Washington from 1994 to 1999, and was the head coach at Montana State from 2000 to 2006. Kramer has been named Big Sky Coach of the Year three times.
Scouting Idaho State:
Idaho State is playing its first game in two weeks today, as the Bengals move up a division to play their second Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent of the season. ISU dropped a 49-21 decision at Air Force in its season opener, before defeating Black Hills State, 38-5, on Sept. 8.
Offensively, the Bengals feature the second-best passing attack in the FCS, led by senior quarterback Kevin Yost. Idaho State has thrown for nearly 900 yards through two games this season, averaging 443.5 passing yards per game. Yost has completed 74 percent of his passes for 803 yards and four touchdowns, while throwing only one interception. Ten Bengals have caught at least two passes this season. Derek Graves leads the team with 30 catches and 269 yards, as he is averaging 15 catches and 134.5 receiving yards per game. Cam Richmond is averaging 10 catches and 108.5 yards per game.
On the ground, ISU is averaging only 97.5 rushing yards per game and just 3.3 yards per rush. The Bengals average 29.5 points per game, and they have scored 38 of their 59 points (64 percent) in the second half.
ISU is averaging 541 yards of total offense per game and 6.0 yards per play.
Defensively, Idaho State is allowing an average of 27.0 points per game, although the Bengal defense has not allowed a touchdown in more than four quarters. ISU is allowing 292.5 rushing yards per game, a number inflated by Air Force's 484 rushing yards in the season opener. The Falcons finished with 626 yards of total offense.
The Bengals have not recorded a sack this season, while totaling only seven tackles-for-loss. ISU has also forced only one turnover this season, a fumble against Black Hills State.
Nebraska and Idaho State meet for the first time this afternoon. The Huskers will face a team from Idaho for the second time in three seasons, as Nebraska defeated Idaho, 38-17 in 2010. NU will also face an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for the third straight year. The Huskers defeated South Dakota State 17-3 in 2010, before topping Chattanooga, 40-7 last season.
Although the Huskers have never faced Idaho State, Athletic Director and Nebraska Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne lost to the Bengals in 1957 during his collegiate playing career at Hastings College.
Idaho State Head Coach Mike Kramer
Mike Kramer is in his second season as Idaho State's head coach and his 14th season as a collegiate head coach. Kramer has led the Bengals to a 3-10 record through his first 13 games. ISU went 2-9 last season, and the Bengals lost their season opener at Air Force this season before beating Black Hills State two weeks ago.
In his first season on the Idaho State sideline in 2011, Kramer laid the foundation for what he expects from his program. Although the Bengals only won two games, ISU set several offensive school records and one Big Sky Conference record. Idaho State also placed a record 17 football players on the Big Sky all-academic team.
Before arriving at ISU, Kramer had previous coaching experience in the Big Sky, leading the programs at Eastern Washington and Montana State. He is one of only five coaches in Big Sky history to be named the conference's coach of the year three times, twice while he was at Montana State and once at Eastern Washington. Kramer coached Montana State from 2000 until 2006, posting a 35-26 record. At Eastern Washington, Kramer produced a 37-32 record from 1994 to 1999.
In between head coaching jobs, Kramer spent the 2010 season as the assistant football operations coordinator at Washington State.
*- Nebraska is 847-340-40 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, 25 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 Set to Take on FCS Foe
The matchup with Idaho State will mark the third straight season Nebraska has faced a Football Championship Subdivison foe. The Huskers defeated South Dakota State, 17-3, in 2010, and defeating Chattanooga in the 2011 season opener by a score of 40-7.
Overall, Nebraska has taken on eight FCS foes (at game time) since 1992, defeating each of the opponents by an average score of 44.5-9.5. The matchup with Idaho State is the Huskers' first-ever meeting with a current member of the Big Sky Conference. South Dakota State is on the Huskers' 2013 schedule.
Huskers Look to Secure Winning Non-Conference Season
A victory on Saturday against Idaho State would give Nebraska a 3-1 record in non-conference play. The victory would give Nebraska 31 straight winning non-conference seasons dating back to a 2-2 record outside of Big Eight play in 1981. Since that season, Nebraska has lost zero (17 times) or one (14 times) non-conference game. Nebraska is 16-3 in non-conference play under Head Coach Bo Pelini.
Nebraska has been particularly strong in non-conference play at Memorial Stadium, losing just three non-league home games since 1991.
Huskers Enjoying Success on First Down
A big part of Nebraska's early-season success offensively has been the Huskers' efficiency on first down. Through three games, NU has posted an average gain of 7.9 yards on first down. The Huskers have run 105 first-down plays this season and totaled 826 yards, producing 52 percent of their total yards on first down.
Nebraska totaled 359 yards on 38 first-down snaps in the season opener against Southern Miss, averaging 9.4 yards on first down. Against UCLA, the Huskers gained 194 yards on 33 first-down snaps, an average of 5.9 yards per play, and in a 42-13 win over Arkansas State the Huskers rolled up 273 yards on 34 first-down attempts, for an average of 8.0 yards per play.
NU's ability to succeed on first down has been an indicator of offensive success. In its first six quarters, Nebraska racked up 73 points, while averaging 8.7 yards on its first down attempts. In the second half at UCLA, NU struggled on first down, averaging just 1.3 yards per play, before rebounding in the win over Arkansas State.
Click on the "Game Notes" link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend's game.