Huskers Look to Contain ISU Rushing Attack
Nebraska remains at home this weekend for a Big 12 North matchup with Iowa State. Kickoff for the clash with the Cyclones is set for 11:40 a.m. CDT at Memorial Stadium, with Fox Sports Net supplying the television coverage of Nebraska’s 302nd consecutive sellout.
The Huskers are coming off a 31-10 home setback against Texas Tech that dropped the Huskers to 4-2 overall on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 Conference play. Nebraska must rebound quickly against a vastly improved Iowa State squad that will come to Lincoln with a 4-3 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the Big 12.
Iowa State is coming off a 24-10 victory over Baylor on Saturday night in Ames. Under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones have been very competitive with their two Big 12 losses coming by a total of six points. ISU’s strength has been its running game, which leads the Big 12 and ranks 14th nationally at 213.4 yards per game.
The game is another key matchup for positioning in a wide-open Big 12 North Division. Kansas State currently holds the division lead at 2-1, but the winner of Saturday’s game will put itself into a strong spot in the race.
The game will mark the 104th all-time meeting between the schools, with Nebraska holding a commanding 85-16-2 edge. The Huskers own a 49-6 edge in games played in Lincoln, including 15 straight victories at Memorial Stadium dating back to 1977. Nebraska has won four straight overall in the series, including a 35-7 victory in Ames last season.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 14-6 record in his second season with the Huskers. Pelini guided Nebraska to nine wins in his first season as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich as the only Nebraska coaches to win nine games in their first season leading the Cornhuskers. Prior to taking over as the Huskers’ head coach, Pelini served as defensive coordinator at NU, Oklahoma and LSU. Previously, he had stints as an NFL assistant with San Francisco, New England and Green Bay.
Iowa State: Paul Rhoads (Missouri Western, ‘89) is in his first season as ISU’s head coach and owns a 4-3 record with the Cyclones. A native Iowan, Rhoads has served as an assistant coach at Pacific, Iowa State, Pitt and Auburn.
Nebraska is 821-339-40 all-time, one of just seven schools with 800 all-time victories w Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).
· The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships.
· Nebraska’s 45 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally.
· Since 1970, Nebraska has 387 wins, 27 more than any other school.
· Nebraska’s 98 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
· The Huskers have had 106 All-Americans in school history.
The Iowa State Series
Series Notes: This season’s matchup will be the 104th in series history, the second-longest for Nebraska behind only the NU-Kansas series (115 games) entering 2009...Nebraska’s 35-7 win at Iowa State last season started a streak of six victories in the next seven games for the Huskers...NU’s 2006 win snapped ISU’s two-game streak in Ames...NU has scored at least 40 points in seven of the past 14 meetings overall...NU has had win streaks in the series of 15, 14, 11 and 11 games; unbeaten streaks of 15 and 8 games...the 1974 game was the last game ever played at Iowa State’s old Clyde Williams Field, and the 1969 game was the last game on grass at NU’s Memorial Stadium...in 1976, ISU won the first game played at the new Cyclone Stadium...1992’s 19-10 NU loss marked the only time a Tom Osborne-coached NU team lost a game to a team that finished below .500...NU’s 77 points in 1997 is its most ever against a league opponent and tied the record for most points at Memorial Stadium.
Cyclone Running Game to Test Nebraska Defense
Iowa State will enter Lincoln with the Big 12’s top rushing offense, but will run into a stout Nebraska defense, including a run defense that has elevated its game in recent weeks. Iowa State averages 213.9 rushing yards per game and has averaged 222.0 rushing yards in three Big 12 games. The Cyclones also features the league’s top individual rusher in Alexander Robinson who averages 105.3 yards per game.
· Nebraska’s two Big 12 foes have averaged just 58.0 rushing yards, and the Huskers have held their last four foes to 102 or fewer rushing yards.
· For the season, NU is allowing 96.5 rushing yards per game to rank third in the Big 12 and 16th nationally. The Huskers’ strong play against the run began at Virginia Tech. The NU run defense held the Hokies to just 86 rushing yards, after VT entered the game 13th nationally in rushing at 254.0 yards per game.
· NU has limited six of its last eight opponents to 102 or fewer rushing yards, including each of the past four.
· Texas Tech managed just 25 rushing yards and the Nebraska defense had five sacks and 13 tackles for loss against the Red Raiders.
· During Nebraska’s past 10 games its run defense has played a key role in the success. The Huskers have allowed an average of just 80.3 rushing yards in those contests.
Points Hard to Come By Against Nebraska Defense
Nebraska has allowed 71 points in six games, and the 11.8 points per game average ranks second in the Big 12 and sixth in the nation. Since 1990, Nebraska has allowed fewer than 71 points in the first six games just three times.
· The Nebraska defense has surrendered seven touchdowns this season (one opponent defensive TD), including just two passing touchdowns. The Blackshirts did not allow a touchdown until the second quarter of the second game, as the Huskers held their opponents out of the end zone for the first five quarters of the year, the longest season-opening streak since 1994. The 2009 Blackshirts became just the third NU team in the past 40 seasons to not allow a touchdown in the season opener.
· Nebraska held its first five opponents under 20 points for the first time since a streak of five games to open the 2003 season. Head Coach Bo Pelini was Nebraska’s defensive coordinator that season.
· The Huskers’ 55-0 shutout of Louisiana-Lafayette marked Nebraska’s first whitewashing of an opponent since a 56-0 win over Troy on Sept. 23, 2006.
Huskers Putting Together Strong Defensive Stretch
After surrendering 358 yards of total offense to Florida Atlantic in the season opener, the Husker defense has held its past five opponents to fewer than 280 total yards. The five-game streak of holding opposing offenses under 300 total yards is the longest at Nebraska since a season-opening five-game streak in 1999.
· The last time a Husker squad allowed fewer than 300 total yards in more than five straight games came in 1996, when NU held its final eight regular-season opponents under 300 yards of total offense.
· Included in the current streak is a pair of games against Big 12 foes. The Huskers have held back-to-back conference opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense for the first time since Bo Pelini was the defensive coordinator in 2003. The last time a Blackshirt unit held three straight conference opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense came during that eight-game streak in 1996.