Game 2: Nebraska vs. Idaho
Sept. 11, 2010 | Memorial Stadium
Lincoln, Neb | 11:38 a.m.
Television: FSN PPV
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Series Record: first meeting
Capacity: 81,091 (306th consecutive sellout)
Special Events: 9-11 Salute, Recognition of 2010 Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
Last Game: def. W. Kentucky, 49-10
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 21-8/3rd year
vs. Idaho: first meeting
Rankings: not ranked
Last Game: def. North Dakota, 45-0
Coach: Robb Akey
Career/Idaho Record: 12-26
vs. NU: first meeting
A pair of teams coming off impressive season-opening victories will meet on Saturday in Lincoln as the Cornhuskers play host to the Idaho Vandals. Game time for the first meeting between the two schools is set for 11:38 a.m. with Fox Sports Net televising the game on a pay-per-view basis.
The Huskers opened the season with a 49-10 thumping of Western Kentucky, extending their season-opening win streak to a nation-leading 25 straight years. Nebraska showed good things on both sides of the ball. The Huskers gained 289 yards on the ground and 536 total yards, NU's best output in both of those departments since late in the 2008 season. The win should keep the Huskers in the top 10 when the national polls are released on Tuesday morning.
Idaho opened the year with a 45-0 victory over North Dakota last Thursday evening at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. The Vandals dominated from start to finish and posted their first shutout since 1997, and the school's first since moving up to Division I. The Idaho offense is led by North Platte native Nathan Enderle, who is in his fourth season as the starting quarterback and has more than 7,000 career passing yards. Enderle threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening victory.
This week marks the second straight first-time opponent for the Huskers. This is also Nebraska's first-ever opponent from the state of Idaho. Nebraska is meeting a Western Athletic Conference opponent for the third time under Bo Pelini, as the Huskers defeated both San Jose State and New Mexico State in 2008.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 21-8 record in his third season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first two seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich in accomplishing that feat. Pelini is the first coach in Big 12 history to guide his team to at least a share of division titles in each of his first two seasons.
Idaho: Robb Akey (Weber State, 1998) is in his fourth season as Idaho head coach and owns a 12-26 record with the Vandals. Akey guided Idaho to its second bowl victory with a 43-42 win over Bowling Green in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl.
Nebraska is 828-341-40 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 394 wins, 26 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 1...Nebraska 49, Western Kentucky 10
*-Nebraska's 49-10 victory marked Nebraska's 25th straight win in a season opener, a nation-leading streak. Nebraska has won each of the games by at least 10 points.
*-First-time starters for Nebraska included: linebackers Lavonte David and Alonzo Whaley, defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler, defensive end Cameron Meredith on defense; quarterback Taylor Martinez, left tackle Jeremiah Sirles, and center Mike Caputo on offense.
*-Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez became the first redshirt or true freshman to start a season opener for Nebraska. Several freshmen had previously made starts at quarterback, most recently Cody Green last season, however a freshman had not been the starter in game one.
*-Martinez finished with 127 rushing yards and three touchdowns on seven carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run on his first career carry. Martinez was the first Nebraska quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards since Jammal Lord had 109 yards against Texas A&M in 2003. The last time a Husker quarterback rushed for more yards than Martinez's 127 yards was Lord's 234 yards against Texas in 2002. The last time an NU quarterback had more rushing yards in a season opener was Tommie Frazier's 130 yards against West Virginia in the 1994 Kickoff Classic.
*-Prior to Martinez, the last Nebraska freshman quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards was in 1998 when redshirt freshman Eric Crouch rushed for 108 yards at Kansas State. Martinez's 127 yards are the most by any Nebraska freshman since David Horne had 128 yards at Texas A&M in 2002.
*-The three rushing touchdowns by Martinez marked the second straight season an NU player has rushed for three touchdowns in the season opener, as Roy Helu Jr. scored three rushing touchdowns against Florida Atlantic last season.
*-Martinez also completed 9-of-15 passes for 136 yards. Martinez connected on his first five passes before his first incompletion late in the second quarter.
*-Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead rushed for 57 yards on five carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Burkhead also caught two passes for 47 yards in the contest to average nearly 15 yards per touch.
*-Nebraska's 289 rushing yards topped last year's season high of 259 vs. Florida Atlantic in the season opener. The Huskers' rushing total was its best since rushing for 340 yards at Kansas State in 2008.
*-Nebraska's 536 total yards were the most by the Huskers since gaining 610 yards at Kansas State in 2008.
*-Senior receiver Niles Paul caught five passes for 92 yards. With his five receptions, Paul pushed his career total to 69 and moved up five spots to 12th on the Nebraska career receptions chart. Paul is just three catches from the top 10. He also moved his career receiving yardage total to 1,108, good for 12th on that list, and is just 49 yards from the career top 10.
*-Paul accounted for 158 all-purpose yards with 58 punt return yards and eight rushing yards in addition to his 92 receiving yards.
*-Junior receiver Brandon Kinnie caught a career-best six passes for a career-best 59 yards. Kinnie finished the 2009 season with 15 receptions.
*-Nebraska allowed a fourth-quarter touchdown, ending a streak of nine straight quarters without allowing a touchdown (second quarter of Texas game). The touchdown also ended a streak of 13 straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown at Memorial Stadium (second quarter touchdown pass by Iowa State). Nebraska did not allow a touchdown at home in games against Kansas State and Oklahoma to end the 2009 season.
*-Three true freshmen saw action--wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, defensive back Ciante Evans and offensive guard Andrew Rodriguez.
Scouting the Idaho Vandals
Idaho returns 17 starters from a 2009 squad that went 8-5, posted the program's first winning season since 1999 and captured the second bowl victory in school history. The Vandals continued that momentum last Thursday, opening the 2010 season with a 45-0 home shutout of North Dakota, marking the program's first shutout since 1997.
The shutout was a positive start for an Idaho defense that ranked 116th nationally in 2009 by allowing an average of 36.0 points per game. The Vandals also ranked 116th nationally in pass efficiency defense, but allowed only 122 passing yards to North Dakota, while intercepting two passes.
The Vandal offense is expected to be the strength of the team again in 2010 and it did not disappoint last week, totaling 547 yards while averaging 7.4 yards per play. The offense is led by senior quarterback Nathan Enderle, a native of North Platte, Neb. Enderle completed 24-of-37 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns against North Dakota after throwing for 2,906 yards in 2009 and posting the fifth-best passing efficiency total of any quarterback in the nation.
In addition to boasting the 12th-best passing offense in 2009, Idaho also ranked 45th by averaging 164.7 rushing yards per game and ninth nationally with an average output of 451.4 total yards per game. Idaho features possibly one of the nation's largest starting offensive lines with an average height of nearly 6-4 and an average weight of nearly 325 pounds, but the unit did allow four sacks last week.
Idaho was also heavily penalized in its season opener, getting flagged 12 times for 110 yards.
Nebraska and Idaho are meeting for the first time today, and the Huskers are facing a team from the state of Idaho for the first time in school history. The meeting with the Vandals will be Nebraska's fifth game against a Western Athletic Conference opponent since 2006. In the four meetings during that span, Nebraska posted a 4-0 record and outscored its opponents 174-39.
The Huskers have won 20 consecutive meetings against WAC opponents and own a 21-1 all-time record against the league. In Lincoln, Nebraska is 16-1 against the conference with the lone loss coming in a 6-0 loss to Hawaii in 1955. In the 17 games against WAC schools inside Memorial Stadium, Nebraska has won by an average margin of 46-11.
Idaho Head Coach Robb Akey
Robb Akey is in his fourth season at Idaho and as a head coach. After winning only three games in his first two seasons, Akey led the Vandals to an 8-5 record in 2009, marking Idaho's first winning season since 1999. Akey led Idaho to the second-best turnaround in the nation last season, as the Vandals won six more games in 2009 than they did in 2008.
The 2009 season marked one of the best seasons in school history. A 43-42 victory over Bowling Green gave Idaho only its second bowl win ever, while the Vandals' fourth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference marked its best finish since joining the league in 2005.
In addition to bringing a winning record back to Idaho, Akey has given the Vandals stability at the head coaching position. Before he took the reins of the program in 2007, Idaho had been through three coaches the previous four seasons.
Before taking his first head coaching job at Idaho, Akey spent the previous four seasons as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Washington State. All told he spent nine years with the Cougars after stints at Northern Arizona and Weber State, his alma mater.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his third season as Nebraska's head coach and owns a 21-8 record with the Huskers. Pelini has 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.
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 19-8 record in his first two seasons, Pelini has put himself in some impressive company.
- Pelini is the fourth Nebraska head coach to win nine games in each of his first two seasons with the Cornhuskers. The others to reach that win plateau were Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.
- 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 are second among the hiring class of 2008.
- 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. In his first season, Pelini helped Nebraska finish second in the Big 12 in total defense, a year after the Huskers were 100th or worse in nearly every defensive category. Last fall, 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 95 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 33 times and to 20 points or less 62 times.
- Pelini-led defenses have 194 total takeaways, including two top-three national rankings.
Staff returns 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 enter 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.
Pelini's staff had extensive ties to Nebraska and the Big 12 prior to the 2008 season. Every member of the Husker coaching staff had prior experience in the Big 12 before joining forces for the Huskers.
Nebraska Adds to Season-Opening Win Streak
Nebraska extended its season-opening win streak to 25 straight games with its 49-10 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. The Huskers' streak leads the nation, bettering Florida's 21 straight wins. NU's last loss in a season opener was a 17-13 setback against Florida State at Memorial Stadium in 1985.
- Nebraska has won each of the 25 games by at least 10 points, and has scored at least 40 points in 18 of the 25 games, including each of the last five seasons.
- The Cornhuskers have limited the opponent to 14 points or less 17 times in the winning streak.
- Nebraska has won its three openers under Pelini by at least 23 points, with an average margin of victory of 36.0 points.
- Nebraska is 90-26-5 all-time in season openers.
Another State First
Western Kentucky was Nebraska's first-ever opponent from the state of Kentucky. This week's meeting with Idaho will mark the Huskers' first-ever opponent from the state of Idaho. After playing Western Kentucky and Idaho, Nebraska will have faced opponents from 41 of 50 states during its 121-year football history.
Cornhuskers Go For Win No. 500 in Lincoln
Nebraska will be going for its 500th all-time home win this Saturday against Idaho. The Huskers enter the game with a 499-137-20 record all-time home record, with 374 of those victories coming at Memorial Stadium.
A 500th home victory would put Nebraska in elite company, as only three other schools have recorded 500 home victories in college football history. The Huskers would join Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee in the club.
Martinez Debut Ranks Among Best by Husker Quarterbacks
Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez had a memorable starting debut against Western Kentucky in leading the Huskers to a 49-10 victory. Martinez became the first redshirt or true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for Nebraska, and his performance showed why he earned the nod in a tight three-quarterback battle for the starting job.
Martinez accounted for 263 total offensive yards, rushing for 127 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries, while completing 9-of-15 passes for 136 yards.
- Martinez's 127 rushing yards are among the top 20 rushing efforts in school history by a quarterback, and ranked as the fourth-highest total by a quarterback in a season opener. Tommie Frazier's 130-yard effort against West Virginia in 1994 marked the last time an NU quarterback had more rushing yards in an opener.
- The rushing output was the first 100-yard rushing day by a Nebraska quarterback since Jammal Lord had 109 yards against Texas A&M in 2003. The last time a Husker quarterback ran for more yards than Martinez on Saturday was Lord's 234-yard effort against Texas on Nov. 2, 2002--a span of 94 games.
- The rushing total is the most ever by a Husker freshman quarterback, and he is the first NU freshman QB to top 100 yards since redshirt freshman Eric Crouch rushed for 108 yards at Kansas State in 1998. Martinez's 127 yards are the most by any Nebraska freshman since David Horne had 128 yards at Texas A&M in 2002.
- The three rushing touchdowns by Martinez were the most by a freshman in a season opener, and marked the second straight season an NU player has rushed for three touchdowns in the season opener. Roy Helu Jr. scored three rushing touchdowns against Florida Atlantic last season.
Husker Freshmen Quarterbacks to Rush for 100 Yards
Rk. Player Yards Opponent, Year
1. Taylor Martinez 127 vs. Western Kentucky, 2010
2. Eric Crouch 108 vs. Texas, 1998
3. Eric Crouch 108 at Kansas, 1988
Top 10 Freshman Rushing Totals in NU History
Rk. Player Yards Opponent, Year
1. Calvin Jones 294 at Kansas, 1991
2. Ahman Green 176 vs. Washington State, 1995
3. Ahman Green 176 vs. Iowa State, 1995
4. DeAngelo Evans 168 vs. Kansas State, 1996
5. Monte Anthony 157 at Colorado, 1974
6. Lawrence Phillips 137 at UCLA, 1993
7. DeAngelo Evans 130 vs. Texas, 1996
8. David Horne 128 at Texas A&M, 2002
9. Taylor Martinez 127 vs. Western Kentucky, 2010
Damon Benning 127 vs. Texas Tech, 1993
Points at a Premium vs. Huskers
The 2010 Husker defense has lofty goals, and has a tough act to follow after an impressive 2009 effort. The 2009 NU defense finished first nationally in scoring defense at 10.4 points per game. Nebraska held seven foes to single digits and eight teams to 10 or fewer points, with both totals leading the nation. Nebraska posted two shutouts for the first time since 2003.
- Nebraska's 10.4 points per game allowed last season were the fewest since the 1984 Nebraska defense also led the nation by allowing just 9.5 points per game. NU had not allowed fewer than 15 points per game since 2003.
- NU allowed just 25 trips into the red zone by its opponents, the second-fewest red-zone chances in the nation. Only 11 of those drives ended in touchdowns and Nebraska's 64 percent rank in red zone defense was the nation's best. Nebraska allowed two red-zone drives in the opener against Western Kentucky.
- The Huskers had a streak of 11 straight quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown in 2009 and allowed only 10 offensive touchdowns in eight Big 12 games.
- Nebraska allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Western Kentucky, ending a streak of nine straight quarters without allowing a touchdown. It also ended a streak of 13 straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown at Memorial Stadium.
- Nebraska held 12 of 14 opponents to less than 20 points last season. To put that accomplishment in perspective, NU held just six opponents to less than 20 points in 2007 and 2008 combined.
- In holding Western Kentucky to 10 points in the opener, the Blackshirts limited the opposition to 20 or fewer points for the ninth straight game. The Huskers' streak of nine straight games holding the opposition to 20 points or less is the nation's best and only nine teams have held at least three straight opponents to 20 or fewer points.
Stay Out of Our End Zone
The 2009 defense made the end zone foreign territory for most opponents and the 2010 Blackshirts will look to be just as stingy. NU allowed just a single touchdown in the final quarter of its 49-10 win over Western Kentucky.
- Nebraska allowed only 16 touchdowns in 2009, the fewest of any team in FBS history with a 14-game schedule.
- The 16 touchdowns Nebraska allowed in 2009 tied for the fifth-lowest total among all FBS teams over the last decade (2000 to 2009). To account for an unbalanced schedule, the Huskers' average of 1.14 touchdowns allowed per game ranked third.
- Nebraska allowed only 14 offensive touchdowns last season, the third-fewest among all FBS teams over the last decade (2000 to 2009). The Huskers' average of 1.00 touchdowns per game last season tied for the best mark in the country so far this decade.
- Six times last season NU did not allow an offensive touchdown. The other five Big 12 North teams combined for a total of five games without allowing an offensive touchdown.
- Over the last 16 games, Nebraska has allowed only 18 offensive touchdowns. Of those 18 touchdowns, four came after Nebraska turnovers and five totaled less than 45 yards.