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Mike Caputo and the Huskers open Big 12 play Thursday night at Kansas State.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 10/03/2010
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Huskers Head to Kansas State in Big 12 Opener

Huskers
Record: 4-0
Rankings:
Coaches-6; AP-7
Last Game:
def. So. Dakota St., 17-3
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record:
24-8/3rd year
vs. KSU: 2-0

Game 5:  Nebraska vs. Kansas State
Oct. 7, 2010 | Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Manhattan, Kan. | 6:45 p.m.

Game Information
Television: ESPN-HD
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Series Record: Nebraska leads, 77-15-2
Capacity: 50,000
Surface: Fieldturf 

Wildcats
Record: 4-0
Rankings:
Coaches-RV; AP-RV
Last Game:
def. Central Florida, 17-13
Coach: Bill Snyder
Career/KSU Record:
146-71-1/19th season
vs. NU: 5-13

The Matchup
Nebraska opens its final season of Big 12 Conference competition with a tough test at undefeated Kansas State on Thursday, Oct. 7, in Manhattan. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff from KSU's Bill Snyder Family Stadium set for 6:45 p.m. (CDT). It marks the second straight year Nebraska has opened conference play with a Thursday night game on the road. NU defeated Missouri in Columbia in 2009 on its way to a Big 12 North crown.

Both teams come into the contest with perfect 4-0 records, Nebraska's first perfect mark through four games since 2005. Nebraska completed an unbeaten non-conference season with a 17-3 victory over South Dakota State in Lincoln on Sept. 25. The perfect record places NU at No. 6 in the coaches poll and seventh in the AP poll heading into Thursday's game. A victory at Kansas State would give the Huskers their first 5-0 start to a season since the 2003 campaign. 

Kansas State will be looking to take the inside track to the North Division with a victory. The Wildcats already own a division victory with a 27-20 win over Iowa State on Sept. 18 in Kansas City. K-State also owns home victories over UCLA, Missouri State and Central Florida. KSU is led by one of the nation's top running backs in senior Daniel Thomas, who ranks fourth in the country in rushing at 157.0 yards per game.

The Series
Nebraska owns a commanding 77-15-2 all-time record in the series between the schools, including a 34-7-2 edge in Manhattan. K-State won five of seven meetings in the series between 1998 and 2004, but Nebraska has won the past five meetings, including 2006 and 2008 victories in Manhattan. NU has won each of the last four matchups by at least two touchdowns.

The Coaches
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 24-8 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.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder (William Jewell, '63) is in his second stint as KSU's head coach and his 19th overall season on the Wildcats' sideline. Snyder owns a 146-74-1 overall record, including a 5-13 mark against Nebraska. Snyder has guided K-State to one Big 12 title and three conference championship game appearances.

Nebraska Football
Nebraska is 831-341-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories *-Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997). *-The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships. *-Nebraska's 46 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally. *-Since 1970, Nebraska has 397 wins, 25 more than any other school. *-Nebraska's 98 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation. *-The Huskers have had 107 All-Americans in school history.

Noting Game 4...Nebraska 17, South Dakota State 3
*-Nebraska improved to 4-0 with the victory, marking the first time it has started 4-0 since 2005. The win also gave NU its first unbeaten non-conference season since 2005.

*-Nebraska allowed just three points vs. South Dakota State. In the past two seasons, Nebraska has allowed 10 or fewer points in 10 games. In 10 home games over the past two seasons, Nebraska has held eight of 10 opponents to 10 points or less, including two of three in 2010.

*-Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David had 19 tackles, including 11 in the first half, marking David's second double-figure tackle game of the season (13 vs. Western Kentucky). David's 19 tackles were the most by a Husker since Barrett Ruud had 19 tackles at Kansas State in 2004, and tied for the seventh most in school history.

*-Nebraska junior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard picked off a fourth-quarter pass, marking his third straight game with an interception. P.J. Smith also added a fourth-quarter interception, his third of the season. Nebraska has 10 interceptions in four games this season and has picked off at least one pass in eight straight games dating back to last season.

*-Senior place-kicker Alex Henery scored five points on two PAT conversions and a 30-yard field goal. Henery increased his career scoring total to 317 points, moving him into third place on the Nebraska career scoring list. In the game, Henery broke a tie with Mike Rozier at 312 points and passed Josh Brown who scored 315 career points. Henery has made 84 straight PATs and 10 straight field goals.

*-Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed 75 yards to increase his season rushing total to 496 yards, the most ever by a Nebraska freshman quarterback, bettering Eric Crouch's 459 yards in 1998.

*-Nebraska senior receiver Mike McNeill had a career-long 64-yard reception in the second quarter, bettering a 53-yard reception against Colorado two seasons ago. He pushed his career receptions total to 65. McNeill, who played tight end each of his first three seasons, tied the position record of 65 catches by Matt Herian from 2002 to 2006.

*-Sophomore tight end Kyler Reed had a 33-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. The catch was the longest of Reed's career and marked his first career touchdown reception.

*-Nebraska senior safety Rickey Thenarse finished with 10 tackles, establishing a career high. His previous best was eight tackles in two previous games.

*-Nebraska did not allow an SDSU player to account for 300 yards of total offense, marking the 21st straight game NU has not allowed an opposing player to reach 300 yards of total offense.

*-NU allowed just 95 passing yards, the third time in four games the Husker defense has allowed 120 or fewer passing yards. Opponents have completed just 16-of-48 passes in the past two games.

*-Nebraska rushed for 205 yards, marking its fourth straight game to open the season with at least 200 rushing yards. The four straight games with more than 200 rushing yards marked the first time NU has topped 200 rushing yards in four straight games since the final two games of the 2003 season and the first two games of the 2004 campaign.

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his third season as Nebraska's head coach and owns a 24-8 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 24-8 record in his first three seasons, Pelini 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 98 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 34 times and to 20 points or less 64 times.

*- Pelini-led defenses have 204 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.

Scouting Kansas State
Kansas State returns 15 starters from the 2009 team that went 6-6 (4-4) in Bill Snyder's first season back as head coach. The Wildcats were in contention for the Big 12 North championship until Nebraska downed Kansas State in Lincoln on Nov. 21. Snyder's squad is off to its best start since 2003 with a 4-0 record that includes wins over UCLA and conference foe Iowa State.

First-team All-Big 12 running back Daniel Thomas leads the Wildcat offense with 157 rushing yards per game, the fourth-best average in the NCAA. The senior led the league in rushing yards (1,265), attempts (247) and yards per game (5.1) in 2009 after transferring from Northwest Mississippi Community College. He has scored six times this season and reached the century rushing mark in three games, including a 234-yard effort against UCLA.

Thomas takes the handoffs from senior quarterback Carson Coffman, who won the starting position during fall camp. Coffman has a 5-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio through four games and has completed 61 percent (46-of-76) of his passes for 639 yards. Sophomore Brodrick Smith has 14 receptions for 191 yards with three touchdowns. As a unit, Kansas State is averaging 378 yards of offense per game and has the second-best Big 12 rushing total (216.0).

Junior linebacker Alex Hrebec ranks third in the Big 12 with 39 total tackles. Up front, sophomore defensive end Brandon Harold has six tackles for loss, the fourth-highest total in the league, to go along with a pair of sacks. Senior defensive back Terrance Sweeney leads the turnover department with two interceptions and also has eight pass deflections to lead K-State to the seventh-highest pass efficiency defense in the nation (95.5).  The Wildcats have given up 349 yards of offense per game to rank eighth in the Big 12 in total defense. Sophomore place-kicker Josh Cherry is a perfect 3-of-3 on field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards. Thompson has returned all 11 punts with an average of 6.1 yards per return.

Series History
The Huskers have not lost to Kansas State since 2004...Nebraska's 29-game win streak vs. KSU was snapped in 1998, as was the Huskers' streak of 17 consecutive wins in Manhattan (39 years)...the 1992 game in Tokyo was the first time either school had played outside of the United States...Nebraska's 17-6 victory in 1994 marked the first time Nebraska started a walk-on (Matt Turman) at quarterback since 1984...Nebraska's win in 1976 was its 500th all-time and the win in 2006 was its 800th all-time...The Huskers handed the Wildcats their only loss in 1916 (6-1-1), 1922 (5-1-2) and 1999 (11-1-0)...NU had won 17 straight in Lincoln until a 38-9 loss in 2003...the Huskers claimed the 2009 Big 12 North title with a 17-3 win in Lincoln last November.

Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder
Bill Snyder (William Jewell, 1963) was named head coach at Kansas State on Nov. 24, 2008 after stepping down as the program's leader at the end of the 2005 season. Snyder led one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history during his first tenure in Manhattan, compiling a 136-68-1 record from 1989 to 2005. The Wildcats won the 2003 Big 12 Championship under Snyder and qualified for 11 straight bowl games from 1993 to 2003, despite a winless season in 1988 prior to his arrival. Snyder is 146-74-1 all-time at Kansas Sate. He spent nine years (1979-1988) as Iowa's offensive coordinator before heading to Manhattan.

Huskers Bid for Success in Big 12 Conference Opener
Nebraska kicks off Big 12 Conference play with its matchup against Kansas State in Manhattan. The Huskers have a history of success in league openers, winning 33 of their 35 conference-opening games since 1975. The only blemishes on that record are a 2002 loss to Iowa State in Ames, and a setback against Missouri in Lincoln in 2008. Last season, NU opened with a win at Missouri, 27-12, also on a Thursday night.

  • Since Big 12 Conference play began in 1996, Nebraska and Kansas State have met in the league opener twice, with the Huskers winning in Manhattan in 1996 and in Lincoln in 1997. The last three NU-KSU games have been played in November.
  • Nebraska is 93-19-2 all-time in conference openers, including a 12-2 record since the start of Big 12 Conference action in 1996.
  • Nebraska is 8-6 in Big 12 road openers since the formation of the Big 12 Conference. Before last season, Nebraska had lost its prior two league road openers, a 2007 loss at Missouri and an overtime setback at Texas Tech in 2008.

Huskers on ESPN
Nebraska is 5-0 in Thursday night ESPN games since first appearing in the series in 1993. All five of Nebraska's victories have been on the road, including last year's 27-12 win at Missouri. NU also won at Oklahoma State (1992, 1995), at Texas Tech (1993) and at Southern Miss (2003). Overall, Nebraska is 29-8-1 on the network, including a 3-0 mark in 2009. In addition to defeating Missouri in an ESPN Thursday game last year, Nebraska also knocked off K-State in Lincoln and defeated Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.

Huskers Go for Six Straight vs. KSU
Nebraska holds a dominant 77-15-2 edge in the all-time series against Kansas State. However, the Wildcats recently had a run of success, winning five of seven meetings between 1998 and 2004. Nebraska has returned to its winning ways against the 'Cats by posting victories in each of the past five meetings.

  • A win on Thursday night would be NU's sixth straight over the Wildcats, marking the Huskers' longest current win streak against a Big 12 North foe and second-longest against any Big 12 opponent (Baylor).
  • A sixth straight win would be the fifth time in the series Nebraska has won six or more consecutive games against Kansas State, including nine straight from 1911 to 1924, five straight from 1936 to 1940, 10 straight from 1943 to 1952, eight straight from 1960 to 1967 and 29 straight from 1969 to 1997.

Road Warriors
Nebraska heads to Kansas State as the winner of five straight road games. The Huskers' current road success is the longest road winning streak at Nebraska since the Huskers won their final two road games in 1999 and the first three on the road in 2000.

Each of the five wins in Nebraska's current road win streak have been by at least eight points. A sixth straight road victory would be NU's longest streak since winning 10 straight road games from 1996 to 1998.

The Huskers' last road loss was a 16-15 setback at Virginia Tech last season. Nebraska has also won its last five Big 12 road games, a streak that began when Nebraska won in Manhattan in 2008.

  • Nebraska is 6-2 on the road in Big 12 play under Bo Pelini.
  • The five-game conference road win streak is NU's longest since winning its first eight road games when the Big 12 Conference was formed in 1996 and 1997. Nebraska won 19 straight league road games from 1992 to 1997 (Big Eight and Big 12). The 4-0 record in Big 12 road games in 2009 was the first for Nebraska since 1997.
  • Nebraska was one of just 13 teams nationally to own a perfect conference road record in 2009.

Nebraska Churning out Impressive Rushing Numbers
Nebraska finds itself back among the Big 12 and national leaders in rushing offense. Through four games, NU is averaging 309.3 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 and fourth nationally in rushing.

The Huskers opened the season with 289 rushing yards against Western Kentucky, before backing that up with 360 yards on the ground against Idaho and pounding Washington for 383 rushing yards. Nebraska posted its fourth straight 200-yard rushing day with 205 yards against South Dakota State.

  • 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's four straight 200-yard rushing games marks the longest streak for the Huskers since posting four straight 200-yard rushing games in the final two games of 2003 and first two of 2004.
  • NU's 383 rushing yards at Washington were its most since 413 rushing yards in the 2007 opener against Nevada.
  • The three rushing efforts in the first three games of the 2010 season are all among NU's top eight rushing totals since the start of 2004, including two of the top three.
  • Both Taylor Martinez and Roy Helu Jr. topped the century mark against Idaho, marking the first time since 2006 (Iowa State) NU had a pair of 100-yard rushers. It was the 66th time in school history NU had two players rush for 100 yards.
  • Nebraska went one better at Washington as Martinez, Helu Jr. and sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead all topped the century mark. 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. Nebraska already has had six 100-yard rushing games this season after having just five each of the past two years and six in 2007.

Huskers Showing Explosive Ability in all Phases
Nebraska has posted four decisive victories in 2010, and in the process has shown the ability to light up the scoreboard from anywhere on the field.

Quarterback Taylor Martinez has been the headliner in an offense that has flashed tremendous big-play ability and finds itself averaging 7.66 yards per play, the fourth-best yards per play average in the nation. That is just one of several impressive numbers posted by Nebraska in the first four games.

  • Nebraska has reached the end zone 22 times in four games. The average length of those 22 touchdown plays has been 29.0 yards, with 10 of those plays covering at least 31 yards.
  • Including a pair of interception return touchdowns, Nebraska had four scoring plays of 40 yards or more against Idaho, with each of those long scores coming in the second quarter. The four 40+-yard scores marked the first time Nebraska had four touchdowns of at least 40 yards since Nov. 2, 1996 at Oklahoma when NU also had four.
  • Nebraska showed its lightning-quick scoring ability in a similar way at Washington. The Huskers opened the game with a two-play scoring drive, then scored three times in a span of less than seven minutes to open the second half, with each of those third-quarter scores covering at least 31 yards.
  • Through four games, Nebraska has 25 offensive plays from scrimmage of at least 20 yards. Last season, Nebraska posted 53 scrimmage plays of 20 yards or more in 14 games.
  • The Husker offense has found the end zone in five-or-fewer plays on 11 of its 19 touchdown drives,  including a pair of one-play scoring drives, two more two-play scoring drives and a trio of three-play touchdown drives. Nine of the 19 drives have taken less than 2:00 off the clock, including five touchdown drives using 1:00 or less.
  • Nebraska's average touchdown drive this season lasts 4.9 plays and covers 62.8 yards in 2:23. The Huskers are averaging 11.1 yards per play during their touchdown drives and a whopping 20.4 yards per play in the 10 touchdown drives of five-or-fewer plays.
  • The Huskers' longest touchdown drive of the season came on their final scoring drive at Washington, when it took 5:57 and 11 plays to cover 80 yards. NU had a 5:09 scoring drive against South Dakota State, while every other scoring drive this season has taken less than four minutes.

Nebraska Starting Games Strong
Led by a quick-strike offense, Nebraska has been accustomed to fast starts this season. The Huskers scored just 3:47 into their season opener against Western Kentucky. A week later against Idaho, Nebraska scored on its opening drive again, with a field goal 7:20 into the game. Then at Washington, Nebraska drove 48 yards in only two plays to take a 7-0 lead just 2:11 into the game. Nebraska did not score until the second quarter against South Dakota State, but put two touchdowns on the board in a span of just 3:45.

  • The Huskers have scored on their opening possession in five of their last six games. During the streak, the Huskers have scored three touchdowns (Arizona in 2009 and Western Kentucky and Washington in 2010) and two field goals (Texas in 2009 and Idaho in 2010).
  • The Huskers have been especially fast starters on the road, scoring in the first four minutes of the game in five of their last six contests away from Lincoln, including neutral-site games.
  • Nebraska has outscored its opponents 31-7 in the first quarter in 2010. Overall, Nebraska has either led or been tied after the first quarter of play in 12 straight games (10 leads, two ties).
  • The quick scores have afforded Nebraska the luxury of playing with a lead. In fact, the 2010 Huskers have yet to trail, and have only found themselves in scorless ties. Through four games, Nebraska has been tied at 0-0 for a total of 28:37, and led its opposition for a total of 211:23. When including last year's Holiday Bowl, Nebraska has had a lead for more than 270 of a possible 300 minutes, and has not trailed in those five games.
  • Forcing turnovers has also been a key part of the quick starts. In eight of the past 11 games, NU has forced a first-half turnover. These turnovers have resulted in seven touchdowns and two field goals.

Martinez Making Name for Himself on National Level
Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez has quickly emerged as a leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year with his impressive start to the 2010 season. Just four games into his career, Martinez has already made a prominent mark in the Nebraska record book and shown the poise and game-breaking ability that made him the choice in a tight three-quarterback battle for the starting job.

Martinez has already accounted for the top three rushing games in school history by a freshman quarterback and three of the top 11 rushing efforts by any NU frosh. He has also accounted for at least 215 yards of total offense each week, while completing 34-of-57 passes.

Here are a few of the highlights Martinez has put together in guiding an explosive Nebraska offense:

  • Martinez has rushed for 496 yards on 53 carries, an average of 9.4 yards per carry.  Martinez has eight rushes of at least 20 yards, including touchdown runs of 67, 46, 43, 20 and 80 yards. The 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half at Washington was the longest ever by a Nebraska freshman and the second-longest in school history by a Husker quarterback, trailing only Eric Crouch's school-record 95-yard TD run at Missouri in 2001. Against Idaho and Washington, Martinez posted the two longest runs by an NU quarterback in the past nine seasons.
  • Martinez averages 124.0 rushing yards per game to rank 11th in the nation and third in the Big 12. He is second among quarterbacks, trailing only Michigan's Dennard Robinson (181.0 ypg). Martinez is second among freshmen nationally in rushing, trailing San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman (133.0 ypg).
  • Martinez's 9.3 yards per rush is second among players in the top 100 nationally in rushing, trailing only Pittsburgh's Ray Graham (9.46 ypc).
  • Martinez had 127 rushing yards in the opener, the most ever by a Nebraska freshman quarterback. He topped that total with 157 yards on 14 carries against Idaho, before a 137-yard effort at Washington. The 157 rushing yards tie for the 10th-most ever by a Nebraska quarterback and tie for the fifth-most ever by a Nebraska freshman.
  • Martinez's 127 rushing yards against Western Kentucky were the most by an NU quarterback in an opener since Tommie Frazier's 130-yard effort against West Virginia in 1994.
  • The three straight 100-yard rushing games marks the first time a Nebraska quarterback has topped the century mark in three straight games since Eric Crouch in 2001. His 127 rushing yards in the opener marked 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's opening three games was Lord's 234-yard effort against Texas on Nov. 2, 2002--a span of 94 games.
  • Martinez was the first NU freshman QB to top 100 yards on the ground since redshirt freshman Eric Crouch rushed for 108 yards at Kansas State in 1998. Martinez's 157 yards against Idaho are the most by any Nebraska freshman since DeAngelo Evans rushed for 168 yards at Kansas State in 1996.
  • Martinez has rushed for eight touchdowns, including three each against Western Kentucky and Washington. Martinez ranks fourth nationally in scoring averaging 12.0 points per game. His eight rushing touchdowns are the fourth-most ever by a Nebraska freshman.
  • Martinez's three rushing TDs vs. WKU were the most ever by an NU freshman in a season opener. It 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.
  • Martinez is the first player to have two games with three rushing touchdowns in a season since Eric Crouch also had two games with at least three touchdowns in his Heisman winning season in 2001. Martinez's effort at Washington also marked the first time a Nebraska player has scored three touchdowns on the road since freshman I-back David Horne had four rushing touchdowns at Texas A&M in 2002.
  • The 67-yard touchdown run against Idaho in week two was, at the time, the longest run by a Nebraska quarterback since Eric Crouch had a 70-yard run at Colorado in 2001. It was also the longest run by any NU player since Cory Ross had an 86-yard touchdown run against Missouri in 2004.
  • Martinez's 496 rushing yards already rank seventh on the Nebraska freshman season rushing chart, and tops among quarterbacks. Eric Crouch held the previous Nebraska freshman QB record with 459 yards in 1998.

Husker Freshmen Quarterbacks to Rush for 100 Yards

Rk.

Player

Yards

Opponent, Year

1.

Taylor Martinez

157

vs. Idaho, 2010

2.

Taylor Martinez

137

at Washington, 2010

3.

Taylor Martinez

127

vs. Western Kentucky, 2010

4.

Eric Crouch

108

vs. Texas, 1998

5.

Eric Crouch

108

at Kansas, 1998

Top 10 Freshman Single-Game 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

 

Taylor Martinez

157

vs. Idaho, 2010

7.

Lawrence Phillips

137

at UCLA, 1993

 

Taylor Martinez

137

at Washington, 2010

9.

DeAngelo Evans

130

vs. Texas, 1996

10.

David Horne

128

at Texas A&M, 2002

11.

Taylor Martinez

127

vs. Western Kentucky, 2010

 

Damon Benning

127

vs. Texas Tech, 1993

No Free Passes
"This is the best pass defense in America."
--Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian after Nebraska held the Huskies to just four completions and 71 passing yards

Nebraska led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2009 and returned eight defensive backs with starting experience this fall, making the Husker secondary one of the most highly regarded in the nation. Through four games, NU is again atop the pass efficiency defense chart, and the Huskers have caused major problems for opposing passers, including highly rated prospects Nathan Enderle of Idaho and Jake Locker of Washington.

  • Nebraska opponents are completing 44.95 percent of their pass attempts, including a 4-of-20 effort by Washington's Jake Locker. The 44.95 percent completion rate is second nationally. Opponents have thrown for three touchdown passes in four games. Last season, NU opponents completed 47.8 percent of their passes (No. 4 in nation), and NU allowed just seven passing TDs (second-fewest nationally).
  • Nebraska has 10 interceptions this season, including nine in the past three weeks. The 10 picks are tied for fifth nationally. Nebraska has intercepted a nation-leading 9.17 percent of opposing passes. Last season Nebraska tied for seventh in the nation with 20 interceptions.
  • Ten of NU's 14 opponents in 2009 completed 50 percent or less of their pass attempts, and five opponents had less than 150 yards passing. NU's 2010 opponents are averaging 126.3 passing yards per game, including Western Kentucky with just 120 yards, Washington with only 71 and South Dakota State at 95 yards.
  • Nebraska allowed an average of 178.9 yards per game through the air in 2009, NU's best pass defense since allowing 177.8 yards per game in 2003. 
  • The Huskers' five-interception effort against Idaho was the second time in the past two seasons NU has picked off five passes (also Oklahoma, 2009). With two picks against South Dakota State, Nebraska has intercepted at least two passes in seven of its past 11 games. NU has had at least one INT in eight straight games.
  • Nebraska returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Idaho, tying a school record that had been accomplished five other times. Both of the pick-six scores came in the second quarter marking the first time NU has ever returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the same quarter. Nebraska added an interception return for a touchdown at Washington. It is the first time Nebraska has had three INT returns for a touchdown in a season since 2005. The school record for interceptions for touchdowns is five in both 1971 and 1995.
  • Nebraska has posted 198 return yards on its 10 interceptions, an average of 19.8 yards per return. The school record for most interception return yards in a season is 523 in 1970 on 30 interceptions.

Recent Nebraska Pass Defense Efforts against Top Quarterbacks

Quarterback, School

Date

Att.-Comp.

Pct.

INT

Yards

TD

Lg

Passer Rating

Jake Locker, Washington

9-18-2010

4-20

20.0

2

71

1

45

46.32

Nathan Enderle, Idaho

9-11-2010

16-31

51.6

5

141

1

29

68.21

Nick Foles, Arizona

12-30-2009

6-20

30.0

1

28

0

13

31.76

Colt McCoy, Texas

12-5-2009

20-36

55.6

3

184

1

25

81.82

Landry Jones, Oklahoma

11-7-2009

26-58

44.8

5

245

0

33

63.07

Prince Leads a Royal Nebraska Secondary
In the season's first four games it has been hard to single out one player as the standout in the Nebraska. All six players who see the most extensive action have produced big plays and played a key role in the shutdown ability of the Cornhusker secondary.

Senior cornerback Prince Amukamara was the most recognizable name coming into the season after earning his share of honors last fall and putting his name on many preseason All-America teams. A first-tem All-Big 12 pick in 2009, Amukamara is regarded as the cornerstone of a deep and veteran Nebraska secondary.

In the season's first four games, Amukamara has shown why he earned the preseason hype, but ironically he is the only player among NU's top seven defensive backs who has not picked off a pass in 2010. Despite not picking off a pass, his lockdown ability has been a key part of Nebraska defenders recording 10 picks in four games.

Amukamara has made 14 tackles, while posting four pass breakups. He had a pair of breakups in the win over Idaho, marking his fifth game in the past two seasons with multiple pass breakups. His first PBU against the Vandals deflected into the air and was intercepted by P.J. Smith--the first of five NU picks in the game. The 6-1, 205-pounder has 18 career pass breakups and is poised to make a move into the career top 10 on that list.

Band of Blackshirt Thieves
Amukamara is the highest profile member of the Nebraska secondary, but opposing quarterbacks have found that the football is never safe with the Huskers' ball-hawking secondary crew.

  • Fellow cornerback Alfonzo Dennard gives Nebraska two of the nation's top cover corners. Dennard has three interceptions this season, including a 31-yard touchdown return for a score against Washington. He is tied for sixth nationally in interceptions, and also has 12 tackles and three pass breakups.
  • Senior safety DeJon Gomes has been a turnover machine during his Nebraska career. Gomes has had a hand in nine turnovers in the past 14 games, including five interceptions and four fumbles caused. Gomes had a fumble caused in the opener against Western Kentucky, then picked off an Idaho pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Gomes also ranks second on the team with 30 tackles.
  • Senior Eric Hagg is Nebraska's nickel back. Hagg recorded his second career interception on Washington's first pass attempt of the game, setting up the Huskers' opening score. He also had two breakups in the game and his three PBU this season are third on the team. Hagg earned Big 12 Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors for his effort.
  • Senior safety Rickey Thenarse has returned in style from a season-ending knee injury in 2009. Thenarse had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown against Idaho. He also ranks third on the team with 25 tackles and forced a fumble against Washington. He had a career-high 10 tackles against South Dakota State.
  • Sophomore safety P.J. Smith regularly enters the game when Nebraska moves to six defensive backs. Smith is tied for the team lead and ranks in the top 10 nationally with three interceptions.

Points at a Premium vs. Huskers
The 2010 Husker defense has lofty goals, and also 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. This season, Nebraska has allowed 51 points in four games (12.8 ppg), and ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense.

  • 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 10 red-zone drives in 2010.
  • 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 13 of 14 opponents to 20 or fewer points last season. To put that accomplishment in perspective, NU held just six opponents to less than 20 points in 2007 and 2008 combined.
  • By holding Western Kentucky to 10 points and Idaho to 17, the Blackshirts ran their streak to 10 games of allowing the opposition 20 or fewer points. That streak ended at Washington, but just barely as the Huskies' managed 21 points, despite gaining less than 300 yards. Only five Nebraska opponents have scored as many as 17 points since the start of the 2009 season.
  • Nebraska allowed just three points against SDSU. In the past two seasons, Nebraska has allowed 10 or fewer points in 10 games. In 10 home games over the past two seasons, Nebraska has held eight of 10 opponents to 10 points or less, including two of three in 2010.

Blackshirts Boast Amazing Improvements over Past Two Seasons
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and a strong defensive staff have led one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college football in recent years. Nebraska was one of the nation's most improved defenses in 2008, finishing second in the Big 12 in total defense just one season after ranking last in the Big 12 and 112th nationally in total defense. As impressive as the progress was in 2008, the Blackshirts made even larger strides as a unit in 2009.

  • Two seasons after ranking 116th nationally in scoring defense (37.9 ppg), NU led the nation in that category at 10.4 points per game. NU allowed 28.5 points per game in 2008 and its 18.1 ppg improvement last fall easily led the nation. Nebraska's 79-spot move from 80th nationally in total defense in 2008 to first in 2009 was also the nation's best. This season Nebraska is allowing 12.8 ppg.
  • In two seasons, Nebraska's sack total has increased from 13 to 35 to 44 in 2009. Through four games this season, NU has nine sacks, including a seven-sack effort against Idaho.
  • Against the run, NU cut its per-game average nearly in half in 2008, then shaved another 23 yards per game off its average allowed in 2009. The Huskers are allowing 138.8 rushing ypg in 2010.
  • Nebraska improved 48 places (55th to 7th) in total defense in 2009, improving from 349.9 yards per game to 272.0 yards per game and the 77.9-yard improvement was the sixth-best in the nation. The Huskers are allowing 265.0 yards per game this season and have yet to allow 300 yards to an opponent.
  • Nebraska led the nation in pass efficiency defense and finished 18th in passing yards allowed per game, an improvement of 71 places--the fourth-best in the nation. This season, Nebraska is again leading the nation in pass efficiency defense and is third in passing yards allowed.

Crick Looking for Another Award-Winning Season
Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick emerged as a standout performer last fall and is poised for big things in 2010. The 6-6, 285-pound Crick was named the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team preseason All-America choice by numerous outlets.

Crick has opened 2010 in impressive fashion, helping the Nebraska defense set the tone in four comfortable victories. Crick has 20 tackles through four games, good for fourth on the team. He broke out against Idaho with 2.5 sacks for 30 yards and four tackles for losses, totaling 32 yards. Crick ranks second on the team in sacks and his five tackles for loss leads the team. His four quarterback hurries is also tied for the team lead.

Crick has pushed his career sack total to 12, just two shy of the Nebraska career top 10.

In 2009, Crick pushed Ndamukong Suh for team statistical leads in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss all season. Crick finished with 73 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries. Crick had one of the most prolific defensive days in school history with a record-setting performance at Baylor.

  • Crick had a school-record five sacks for 24 yards in the game. His five sacks were the most in a single game by any player in the nation in 2009, just ahead of Suh's 4.5 sacks against Texas.
  • Crick had seven tackles for loss, tying the NU school record also held by Jim Skow (1985 vs. Missouri) and Suh (2009 vs. Texas). The seven TFLs by Crick and Suh were three more than any other Big 12 player in 2009.
  • Crick earned Big 12 and national defensive player-of-the-week honors for his performance, before going on to first-team All-Big 12 honors. Crick's 5.2 tackles per game ranked second only to Suh among Big 12 defensive interior linemen.

Backs Making Most of Touches
Nebraska quarterbacks and I-backs made the most of their offensive touches during non-conference play. The explosive Nebraska offense has had just 58, 59, 65 and 65 snaps, respectively, in the first four games, but plenty of players have taken advantage of their opportunities to post impressive numbers.

Nebraska churned out 289 rushing yards on just 33 attempts against Western Kentucky, an average of 8.8 yards per tote, its best since the 2004 opener against Western Illinois when NU averaged 9.3 yards per rush. Nebraska didn't miss a beat against Idaho, again averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with 360 yards on 41 rushing attempts. At Washington, Nebraska totaled 383 yards on 54 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per carry.

  • Martinez averaged 18.1 yards on seven rushing attempts vs. WKU, including touchdown runs of 46, 19 and 15 yards. He averaged 11.2 yards per pop on 14 attempts against Idaho, including runs of 67, 34, 25 and 20 yards. He added 137 yards on 19 carries at Washington and another 75 yards against South Dakota State. He is second in the nation at 9.36 yards per carry.
  • Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead has 47 touches this season, and has accumulated 401 yards, an average of 8.5 yards per touch. He is averaging 7.4 yards on his 41 rushing attempts and 16.2 yards on six pass receptions. Seven of his touches have covered at least 20 yards.
  • Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. has also made the most of 43 rushing attempts, rolling up 305 yards. Helu Jr. is averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Helu had a 58-yard touchdown run against Idaho, then ripped off a career-long run of 65 yards for a touchdown at Washington.

Helu Jr. Climbing Nebraska Rushing Charts
Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr. emerged as one of the Big 12's top backs in 2008, and battled through injuries to surpass 1,000 rushing yards last year as a junior. Helu's effort in 2009 earned him second-team All-Big 12 honors and the 6-0, 220-pounder could be poised for big things in 2010. Helu is part of an impressive stable of Nebraska running backs that also includes sophomores Rex Burkhead and Dontrayevous Robinson.

Helu posted four 100-yard rushing games last season, and has topped 100 yards against both Idaho and Washington, giving him nine career 100-yard games. He scored at least one touchdown three of four games, and his 21 career rushing touchdowns make him one of 24 Nebraska players with at least 20 career rushing touchdowns.

Helu's best games seemed to come against top competition, as he surpassed the century mark against both Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in 2009, including a career-high 169 yards against the Hokies. Helu's 81.9 yards per game in 2009 ranked fourth in the Big 12, and his 1,147 rushing yards were the 16th-most in NU history.

  • Helu has 2,464 career rushing yards, and moved into the top 20 on the Nebraska career rushing list against Idaho, passing All-Americans Bobby Reynolds and Jeff Kinney, along with Doug DuBose. Helu Jr. is now 14th on the career rushing list and just 235 yards from the career top 10. If he were to post a second 1,000-yard rushing season in 2010, he would finish fourth on the NU career list. Helu is also bidding to be the first Husker to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993.
  • Helu has shined against top competition and in road environments. Helu has three 100-yard rushing games in NU's last seven contests against ranked opponents and has averaged 6.2 yards per carry. In nine road games since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, Helu has rushed for 921 yards on 143 carries, 6.4 yards per tote.
  • Helu had a Big 12-best 12 runs of 20+ yards in 2009, and 22 rushes of at least 20 yards over his past 21 games.
  • Helu had three of the nine 150-yard rushing games by Big 12 players in 2009, and four of the top 13 rushing efforts in the league last season.

Seniors Paul and McNeill Headline Receiving Corps
Nebraska returned a pair of senior receiving targets who have made an impact in the passing game over the past three seasons.

Wide receiver Niles Paul led NU's receiving corps in 2009, catching 40 passes for 796 yards and four touchdowns. Paul's receiving yardage total was the fifth-best total in school history and his 19.9 yards per catch led the Big 12 Conference. His per-catch average also ranked third in school history among players with at least 20 receptions and top among players with 40 catches in a season.

  • Paul tied the NU school record in 2009 with four 100-yard receiving games, including three in Big 12 play and against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. His 154 yards on four catches at Kansas represented the sixth-best receiving day in NU history, while his 143 yards vs. Iowa State ranked ninth.
  • Paul earned Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP honors by accounting for 237 all-purpose yards, including 123 receiving yards. He had a career-long 74-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to cap the scoring in a 33-0 rout.
  • Paul had 11 catches of at least 20 yards, with nine of those covering 35 yards or more. His 38.5 yards per catch at Kansas was the second-best single-game effort in the Big 12 in 2009.
  • Paul ranked second in the Big 12 in both kickoff return and punt return average in 2009, and his 121.2 all-purpose yards per game ranked ninth in the Big 12.
  • Paul became the first Husker since Dana Brinson (1986) to lead Nebraska in receiving, kickoff return yards, punt return yards and all-purpose yards. The only other Huskers in history to lead the Huskers in all four categories in the same season are: Johnny Rodgers (1970, 1971, 1972), Pat Fischer (1958) and Dick Hutton (1946). The only other Husker in history to lead NU in four offense/special teams yardage categories in the same season was Frank Solich (1964 - all-purpose, KOR, PR, rushing).

Paul's start to 2010 has shown that he could be poised for big numbers as a senior. Paul accounted for 158 all-purpose yards against Western Kentucky, including five receptions for 92 yards and a 33-yard TD grab. He had two catches of at least 20 yards against the Hilltoppers, then led NU with four catches against Idaho. Paul has had at least four catches in five of his past nine games dating back to last season.

Paul moved into the top 10 on the Nebraska career receptions list against Idaho, and at 74 career catches, he is poised to become just the sixth player in school history with 100 career catches. Paul's 1,160 career receiving yards are 10th in NU history, and he is less than 500 yards from moving to fourth.

The 6-4, 235-pound McNeill has been a fixture in a deep group of NU tight ends the past two seasons. McNeill was second on the team with 28 catches for 259 yards last season. He also tied with Paul for the team lead with four touchdown catches. McNeill has shifted to receiver where he teams with Paul and junior Brandon Kinnie to give Nebraska one of the Big 12's biggest and most physical receiving corps.

  • In 2008, McNeill set a season position record with 32 receptions, while his six touchdown receptions were just one shy of the position record.
  • McNeill has 65 career catches to rank in a tie for 16th on the Nebraska career list. McNeill's receptions total matches the ebraska career tight ends reception record of 65 by Matt Herian from 2002 to 2006. McNeill is 169 yards from becoming the 19th Husker and fourth NU tight end to reach 1,000 career receiving yards. He snared his 11th career touchdown with a 24-yard grab at Washington, then had a career-long 64-yard reception against South Dakota State.

Kinnie also has made huge strides in the offseason, and opened the year with a career-high six receptions and 59 yards against Western Kentucky, before adding three catches against Idaho. He excelled against Washington with five receptions for a career-high 105 yards. He totaled 180 all-purpose yards, adding 75 yards on kickoff returns. Kinnie leads the team with 17 receptions for 205 yards.

Behind Paul, McNeill and Kinnie, Nebraska is averaging 15.1 yards per completion this season.

Henery Kicking Way Into Nebraska Record Book
Alex Henery is poised to continue his assault on the NU record book this season, while challenging Big 12 and NCAA records. The senior from Omaha also emerged as one of the conference's top punters last season. Henery was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award last season and should be a leading contender for the award in 2010.

Henery connected on a school-record 24-of-28 field goals in 2009, including three games with at least four field goals. He hit 5-of-5 field goals at Virginia Tech, the second-highest field goal total in school history, trailing only Dale Klein's school-record seven field goals in 1985. He also supplied all the scoring by hitting 4-of-4 field goals in a 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game, and finished the year with a perfect 4-of-4 effort against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.

  • Henery has six career games with four or more field goals, an accomplishment that has already tied an NCAA record. He has 11 multiple-FG games in his career.
  • Henery's 24 field goals in 2009 shattered the school record, and he has made 52 field goals in 59 career attempts, making him the most accurate kicker in school history. His 52 field goals are just five field goals from the school record, held by 11-year NFL veteran Kris Brown. He has a current streak of 10 straight made field goals.
  • Henery was the second-most accurate returning field goal kicker in the nation. He is also the most accurate kicker in NU history on extra points, hitting 161-of-162 in his career, a 99.4 percent accuracy rate. He has made 84 straight PATs, including perfect PAT seasons as a freshman and junior.
  • Among Henery's seven career missed field goals, just two have come from less than 50 yards. In fact, Henery had a streak of 25 straight made field goals from inside 50 yards. Henery has also made 13 career field goals from 44 yards or longer.
  • Henery became the fifth Nebraska player with at least 300 career points against Idaho. He currently has 317 points to rank third in school history. Henery needs 72 points to set a new career scoring record.
  • Henery has scored 110 points each of the past two seasons, eighth on the single-season list. His two 110-point seasons trail only Kris Brown (116 in 1997) for season scoring by a kicker. A third 100-point season this fall would move Henery to the top of Nebraska's career scoring list. Henery is fourth nationally in scoring among active players.
  • Henery averaged 41.4 yards in his first season as Nebraska's starting punter, making him one of only three players nationally to rank in the top 50 in both field goals and punting average. Henery led the Big 12 with 30 punts downed inside the 20, including an impressive eight inside the three-yard line. He is averaging 43.8 yards on 16 punts this season, with seven of those downed inside the 20.

Lofty Rankings
Nebraska finished the 2009 season with its highest post-season ranking (No. 14 in both polls) since the 2001 season. The Huskers also started the 2010 season in its best poll position in several seasons.

  • The Huskers were No. 8 in the preseason Associated Press Poll and were ranked ninth in the first USA Today Coaches Poll. The rankings represent NU's highest starting position since opening at No. 4 in the AP poll in 2001.
  • Nebraska's No. 8 preseason ranking was the first time in the top 10 at any point since being ranked 10th by the AP in October of 2003 following a 5-0 start to the season.
  • Nebraska is ranked seventh in the Oct. 3 AP poll and xxx in the coaches poll. Nebraska has been No. 6 in the AP poll three times this season, with sixth also its highest spot in the coaches poll. The No. 6 AP ranking marks NU's highest since entering the 2002 Rose Bowl against Miami ranked fourth in the nation.
  • Nebraska received one first-place vote in the Sept. 19 USA Today Coaches Poll, the first time since 2001 that NU has received a first-place vote in either poll.

Huskers Carrying Late-Season Momentum into 2010
Nebraska entered 2010 with a surge of momentum after playing outstanding football late in the 2009 season. 

  • Nebraska won six of its final seven games last fall, as it also did to finish the 2008 campaign. The 6-1 second-half records the past two seasons are the school's best seven-game finishes since 1999. Nebraska is one of only 12 teams in the FBS to open 2010 having won at least six of its final seven games last season.
  • Nebraska's win over South Dakota State gave the Huskers their 10th win in its past 11 games dating back to last season. Nebraska's 10-1 mark is its best stretch at any point since winning 13 straight games, including its final two games of 2000 and first 11 of 2001. Only Boise State and Alabama are perfect in the past 11 games.

The Huskers are looking to improve their first-half record over the past two seasons. NU opened with a 3-0 record in 2008, but dropped three straight before its strong finish. Last fall, NU was 4-3 at the midway point of the season before its late-season surge. Pelini-coached Nebraska teams are 14-6 in games played before Halloween and 10-2 in games on or after Nov. 1, with the only losses against teams ranked in the top four nationally. The Huskers have dropped two games in each of the past two Octobers.

Nebraska hoping to Continue Fourth-Quarter Excellence
Nebraska has been among the nation's best fourth-quarter teams each of the past two seasons. In 2008, NU ranked second nationally in fourth-quarter points scored (155) and fourth-quarter point differential (+103).

The 2009 season was no different as NU outscored the opposition 96-32, with the 32 points allowed tying Alabama for the lowest in the nation. The 64-point differential in the fourth quarter was the fourth-best nationally.

  • The fourth-quarter highlight in 2009 was at No. 24 Missouri. NU trailed 12-0 entering the fourth quarter, before scoring 27 unanswered points. The rally from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit tied a school record, and the 27 points were the most by NU in any quarter since the 2004 season opener, and the most in the fourth quarter since 2001.
  • NU allowed nine Big 12 opponents just 23 fourth-quarter points and held eight foes without a fourth-quarter point.
  • Nebraska outscored its opponents 154-55 in the second half in 2009. The 55 second-half points were the fewest allowed by any team in the nation. Only two opponents scored more than seven points in the second half in 2009 (Baylor-10, Colorado-13), and NU allowed only five offensive TDs in the second half.
  • Under Bo Pelini, Nebraska is 23-2 when leading at any point in the fourth quarter. The lone losses were one-point setbacks against Virginia Tech and Texas in 2009.

This season, Nebraska has allowed 14 fourth-quarter points, while scoring 24 of its own.

Huskers Look to Build on Success Against Ranked Teams
Nebraska closed the 2009 season with a 33-0 victory over No. 22 Arizona in the Holiday Bowl--its third win of the year against a ranked opponent. The Huskers were 3-2 against ranked teams last season, defeating No. 24 Missouri, 27-12, and 20th-ranked Oklahoma, 10-3. Nebraska also suffered a pair of one-point setbacks, losing at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 16-15, and to No. 3 Texas, 13-12, in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Nebraska's three victories over ranked teams in 2009 were its most since posting four wins over ranked foes during a 12-1 campaign in 1999. Three upcoming Nebraska opponents-Texas, Oklahoma State and Missouri-are ranked in at least one of the major national polls this week.

Injury Bug Hits Huskers During Fall Camp
Nebraska endured more than its share of injuries during fall camp, with two returning starters sidelined for the entire season and two others out indefinitely.

  • Senior offensive lineman Mike Smith suffered a leg injury during the first week of fall camp that will sideline the Las Vegas native for the season. Smith was Nebraska's starting left tackle each of the past two seasons, collecting 26 career starts. Smith was set to play a key role on the line this fall, with the ability to possibly serve as a key backup at tackle, guard or even center.
  • Sophomore linebacker Sean Fisher also suffered a season-ending leg injury during fall camp. Fisher started six games as a redshirt freshman last fall, and was expected to be among the Huskers' top linebackers in 2010.
  • Sophomore linebacker Will Compton joined Fisher on the sidelines when he suffered a foot injury in practice on Sept. 2, just two days before the opener. Compton is out indefinitely.
  • Senior tight end Dreu Young underwent back surgery in late August and is out for an extended period of time. Young also battled back issues during his junior campaign.
  • Junior reserve cornerback Anthony Blue suffered his second knee injury in the past 2 1/2 years during fall camp and will be sidelined for the year. Blue was expected to be among Nebraska's top reserves at corner, and was also one of the Huskers' top special teams perfomers last season.

NCAA Record Sellout Streak
One of the most remarkable streaks in collegiate sports reached another milestone on Sept. 26, 2009, against Louisiana-Lafayette when Nebraska celebrated the 300th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium. A stadium record crowd of 86,304 fans were on hand for the historic event, and the streak is now at 307 games and is expected to reach 311 by season's end. The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney's first year in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3). Notre Dame is second in all-time consecutive sellouts with 216, 91 fewer than Nebraska.

NU Owns Dominant Advantage at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska has rewarded the loyalty of its fans with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years.

  • Nebraska has won at least six home games in 19 of the past 23 seasons. Nebraska is 132-18 at home in the last 22 seasons (since 1989).
  • During Nebraska's run of success at home in the past 25 years, NU has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games, and overall has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons.
  • The Huskers are 501-137-20 (.776, 658 games, 121 years) in Lincoln, and 376-114-13 (.759, 503 games, 88 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). Nebraska has had 41 straight winning home seasons.

Nebraska currently carries a five-game home winning streak.

Nebraska Cracks Top 10 in Average Home Attendance
Nebraska ranked 10th nationally and second among Big 12 schools in average attendance in 2009. Nebraska averaged a school-record 85,888 fans for seven home games, including a school-record 86,304 fans against Louisiana-Lafayette. Five Big 12 teams ranked in the top 30 nationally in attendance, led by fourth-ranked Texas (101,175 fans per game).

Nebraska Set for Move to Big Ten in 2011
June 11, 2010 was a historic day for the University of Nebraska, as NU was admitted to the Big Ten Conference as the 12th member of the nation's oldest conference. The Cornhuskers will begin play in the Big Ten in 2011-12.

The Huskers have a long history of meeting Big Ten opponents on the gridiron, compiling an 81-68-10 all-time record against the league's other 11 members. Nebraska most recently met a Big Ten opponent in a 32-28 victory over Michigan in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. NU's last regular-season matchup with a Big Ten opponent was a home-and-home series in 2002 and 2003 with Penn State. The schools split the two games, each winning at home.

The Big Ten Conference announced its divisional alignment on Sept. 1. The Huskers will compete in a football division with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The other division is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Nebraska's first Big Ten game will be at Wisconsin on Oct. 1, 2011, with its first Big Ten home game against Ohio State on Oct. 8, 2011.

Huskers Compete in Final Season in Big 12 Conference
With Nebraska's move to the Big Ten on the horizon, 2010 will mark Nebraska's final season of action in the Big 12, beginning with Thursday's trip to Manhattan. The conference has been NU's home since 1996 and the Huskers have had their share of football success in the league. Nebraska has played in the Big 12 Championship Game five times, including the 2009 title game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Nebraska has captured Big 12 titles in 1997 and 1999.

  • Nebraska's five Big 12 Championship Game appearances are tied for second among all Big 12 schools along with Texas, trailing only Oklahoma's seven Big 12 Championship Game appearances.
  • Nebraska has squared off against three conference foes more than 100 times, including 116 meetings with Kansas, 104 with Iowa State and 103 with Missouri.
  • Nebraska and Kansas will meet for the 105th consecutive season in 2010, which is currently the nation's longest uninterrupted streak. Overall, the 116 meetings are the third most of any series in the country.
  • Nebraska will play its final Big 12 Conference game against Colorado on Friday, Nov. 26. The 2010 season will mark the 15th straight year the Big 12 North schools have met on the day after Thanksgiving and the 21st straight year Nebraska has played on that date, meeting Oklahoma six consecutive years from 1990 to 1995.

Seeing Double
The 2010 Nebraska roster includes three sets of twins and five total sets of brothers. Courtney and Steven Osborne of Garland, Texas, signed with the Huskers in 2008 and enter their third season in the program-Courtney as a safety and Steven at wide receiver. Colin and Conor McDermott walked on to Nebraska from Omaha Creighton Prep high school and will both be sophomore defensive ends this fall. Jake and Spencer Long also hail from Omaha (Elkhorn High School) and are in their second season in the program. Jake lines up at tight end, while Spencer is an offensive lineman.

In addition to the three sets of twins, Nebraska also has another set of brothers on the roster-Ben and Jake Cotton. The Cottons are the sons of Nebraska associate head coach Barney Cotton, and senior defensive back Adam Watson is the son of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. In addition, walk-on freshman offensive lineman Mark Pelini is the nephew of Bo and Carl Pelini.

Nebraska Football-A Family Affair
The Cotton family is one of just several father-son combinations who have played for Nebraska represented on the 2010 Cornhusker roster. Barney lettered at Nebraska in 1976-78, while Ben is a sophomore tight end and Jake is a freshman defensive lineman.

Other current Nebraska players whose fathers also played at NU include DB Joey Felici (Tony, 1980-82), LB Sean Fisher (Todd, 1983), DE Andy Gdowski (Tom, 1980-82), WR KC Hyland (John, 1970-72), DB Brent Moravec (Mark, 1980-82), DE Jay Martin (Bob, 1973-75), C Cole Pensick (Dan, 1977-79), LB Colby Starkebaum (John, 1972-74) and DT Baker Steinkuhler (Dean, 1981-83).

NFL Has Large Influence on Nebraska Roster
Several players also have family connections with the National Football League. Barney Cotton logged four seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Cardinals from 1979 to 1982. Other players whose fathers played in the NFL include CB Anthony Blue (Anthony, Sr., Seattle, 1987), QB Zac Lee (Bob, Minnesota, Atlanta, L.A. Rams, 1969-80), Jay Martin (Bob, N.Y. Jets, San Francisco, 1976-79), Baker Steinkuhler (Dean, Houston, 1984-91), DB Anthony West (Robert, Kansas City, San Francisco, 1972-74) and IB Lester Ward (Lester, Sr., Dallas).

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL CONTINUES TO WIN IN THE CLASSROOM
Nebraska football has long been one of the nation's most successful programs on the field. Success in the classroom is also a cornerstone of the Nebraska football program.

NU AMONG LEADERS IN ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 SELECTIONS
Nebraska had 22 players named to the 2009 academic All-Big 12 team, including 15 first-team selections, and seven second-team honorees. Nebraska's 22 honorees were the second-highest total in the Big 12 Conference.

The group was highlighted by defensive back Austin Cassidy and linebacker Sean Fisher, who were each nominated with a 4.0 grade-point average. Fisher has a perfect cumulative grade-point average, while Cassidy earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in the two previous semesters. Fisher and Cassidy were two of just three student-athletes in the Big 12 Conference nominated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

NATION-LEADING TOTAL OF COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
Seniors Todd Peterson and Tyler Wortman were selected as second-team ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2008. The selection of Peterson and Wortman gave NU a nation-leading total of 98 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in football. Nebraska  also leads the nation in academic All-Americans with 277 academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports entering the 2010-11 academic year.

SENIOR CLASS IN STRONG ACADEMIC STANDING
Nebraska's 23-player senior class includes six players who will play the 2010 season as graduate students. Among those, defensive end Tyrone Fahie graduated in December of 2009 in just 3 ½ years, while offensive lineman D.J. Jones, quarterback Zac Lee and defensive back Anthony West picked up their degrees in May. Tight end Mike McNeill and offensive lineman Mike Smith joined the group in summer commencement exercises.

  • Another nine seniors are expected to complete their degree work in the fall, giving the Huskers 15 graduates in time for the bowl game. All but one member of the senior class are expected to complete their degrees by the end of the 2011 spring semester.
  • Among Bo Pelini's first three senior classes, 52 of 57 players are on track to earn their degree by next August.

NEBRASKA LEADS BIG 12 IN EXHAUSTED ELIGIBILITY GRADUATION RATES

Nebraska athletic teams continue to pace the Big 12 Conference in the classroom, leading the Big 12 in the exhausted eligibility graduation rate for the seventh consecutive year with an impressive 94 percent rate.

Nebraska continues to set the pace in the Big 12 in terms of Exhausted Eligibility graduation rates. The exhausted eligibility rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes in 10 incoming freshman classes who complete their eligibility at the university. Nebraska's exhausted eligibility rate has improved 22 percentage points since the inception of the rate in 1991-92.

 

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