Nebraska takes to the road for the final time in 2010, traveling to College Station, Texas to take on the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Game time for the matchup of nationally ranked teams is set for 7 p.m. CT, with television coverage provided on ABC. Both teams enter the game with four-game winning streaks, longest in the conference.
Nebraska enters the contest with a 9-1 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Big 12 action, following a 20-3 victory over Kansas last Saturday in Lincoln. The victory put Nebraska within one win of earning its second straight trip to the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas next month. Nebraska remained firmly inside the top 10 in this week's polls, checking in at No. 9 in the coaches and AP polls, ninth and eighth in the BCS standings.
Texas A&M comes into the game as one of the nation's hottest teams. The Aggies have won four straight contests to improve to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in Big 12 Conference play. Last week A&M rallied from a 30-14 deficit to post a 42-30 win at Baylor to extend its winning streak to four games and remain in contention for the South Division crown. Texas A&M is ranked 18th in the AP poll and 19th according to the coaches in this week's polls, and the Aggies' three losses this season have come against teams that are a combined 25-5 on the year.
Nebraska holds a 10-3 edge in the all-time series between the two schools, including a 2-1 edge at Kyle Field. Nebraska has a 5-2 advantage in games between the two schools as members of the Big 12 Conference.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 29-9 record in his third season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first three seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich in accomplishing that feat. Pelini has joined Frank Solich and Mack Brown as the only coaches in Big 12 history (since 1996) to win nine games in each of their first three seasons.
Texas A&M: Mike Sherman (Central Connecticut State, '77) is in his third season as the Aggies' head coach. Sherman has a 17-18 record with Texas A&M and guided the Aggies to a bowl appearance last fall. He was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers for six seasons from 2000 to 2006, posting a 57-39 record.
Nebraska is 836-342-40 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 402 wins, 26 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 10...Nebraska 20, Kansas 3
-Nebraska improved to 9-1, its best start since opening 11-0 in 2001. The victory ensured Nebraska its third straight nine-win season, the first time NU has recorded nine wins or more in three straight years since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight years of nine wins from 1969 to 2001. This is the 45th nine-win season in school history.
-Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini improved to 29-9 overall and produced a third straight nine-win season. He joins Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich as the only coaches in NU history to win nine games in each of their first three seasons. Pelini is only the third coach in Big 12 history (since 1996) to win nine games in each of their first three seasons, joining Solich and Texas' Mack Brown.
-Nebraska's victory was its ninth straight win in the month of November, dating back to a Nov. 1, 2008 loss at Oklahoma. It also marks Nebraska's ninth straight home victory in November since a 2004 loss to Colorado.
-Nebraska improved to 5-1 in the Big 12 Conference marking its third straight year with at least five conference victories. Previously, NU had not had as many as three straight years with five or more Big 12 wins since reaching that mark in six straight seasons from 1996 to 2001.
-Nebraska senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. rushed 18 times for 85 yards and a 20-yard TD run in the second quarter. In four career games against Kansas, Helu Jr. totaled 412 rushing yards on 71 carries with six touchdowns.
-Senior receiver Niles Paul caught seven passes for 79 yards. Paul increased his career receptions total to 99, moving him past Matt Davison (93 receptions) into sixth place on the career receptions list. Paul pushed his career receiving yardage total to 1,479 yards to move into fifth place on the NU career list. He passed Maurice Purify (1,444) and Davison (1,456) in the game.
-Junior receiver Brandon Kinnie tied his career high with six receptions (also earlier this season vs. Western Kentucky), marking his third game with five or more receptions.
-Junior linebacker Lavonte David finished with 10 tackles, including two sacks for eight yards. With his 10 tackles, David pushed his season total to 106, the first Nebraska player to top 100 tackles since Barrett Ruud had 143 tackles in 2004. David is 13 tackles from cracking the top 10 on the Nebraska single-season tackle list. It was also his sixth double-figure tackle effort of the season.
-Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick had two sacks for 12 yards giving him a team-high 6.5 sacks this season. He has 16 career sacks, tying him for 10th on the NU career sack list. He totaled a season-high nine tackles, bettering his eight tackles against Missouri.
-The Nebraska defense finished with six sacks for 28 yards, and has totaled 14 sacks in the past three games.
-Kansas finished with 87 total yards, including just 15 passing yards. The 87 total yards were an opponent season low, the fewest by a Bo Pelini-coached NU team and the fewest surrendered by Nebraska since Baylor had just 84 yards on Oct. 21, 2000.
-KU passed for just 15 yards, the fewest passing yards by an NU opponent since Nicholls State had zero passing yards at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9, 2006.
-Kansas managed just five first downs, the fewest by an opponent since the Jayhawks had four in a 35-0 NU win in Lawrence in 1997.
-Freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for 71 yards to improve his season rushing total to 957 yards. He moved past Calvin Jones (900 yards) into second place among Nebraska freshmen. He also moved from eighth to fifth on the Nebraska season rushing list for quarterbacks, passing Eric Crouch (889 in 1999), Gerry Gdowski (925 in 1989) and Jammal Lord (948 in 2003) on the list.
-Senior Alex Henery scored eight points on two extra points and a two field goals. He increased his career scoring total to 373, moving him past Eric Crouch (368 points) into second place on the Nebraska career scoring list. He is within 15 points of Kris Brown's school-record of 388 points. Henery extended his PAT made streak to 107. He also improved to 14-of-15 on field goals this season and 63-of-71 in his career. Henery averaged 43.2 yards on six punts and had five of his punts downed inside the Jayhawk 20.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his third season as Nebraska's head coach and owns a 29-9 record with the Huskers. Pelini helped Nebraska to at least a share of the Big 12 North title in each of his first two seasons, becoming the first coach in the history of the Big 12 to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first two seasons. He is one win away from a third straight North division crown.
Pelini took charge of the Huskers after a highly successful five-year run as a collegiate defensive coordinator, including orchestrating NU's defensive efforts in 2003. Pelini picked up his first college head coaching victory as NU's interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
Following his one season at Nebraska, Pelini served as the co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Sooners to the Big 12 title and BCS title game. He then followed with three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU. With the Tigers, Pelini led three consecutive defenses to No. 3 national rankings in total defense. He culminated his time in Baton Rouge by helping the Tigers to the 2007 national championship.
In addition to his five seasons at the collegiate level, Pelini coached in the NFL for nine seasons, serving three years each with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Pelini was a team captain and four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990.
Pelini Stacks up Well with Peers
In guiding Nebraska to a 29-9 record, (28-9 from 2008-2010), Pelini put himself in some impressive company.
-Pelini is the fourth Nebraska head coach to win nine games in each of his first three seasons with the Cornhuskers. The others to reach that win plateau were Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich. A win at Texas A&M would allow him to join Solich as the only NU coaches with two 10-win seasons in their first three years.
-Pelini, Solich and Texas' Mack Brown are the only coaches in Big 12 history (1996) to win nine or more games in each of their first three seasons.
-Pelini's nine victories in 2008 tied for the most among 18 coaches in their first season at their respective school. Among first-time head coaches, Pelini's victory total was the best in the nation. Pelini's 19 victories in his first two seasons were second among that group, and he has moved to the top of the 2008 hiring class with his 28 wins, three better than Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and Navy's Ken Niumatalolo.
-Pelini was just the eighth BCS Conference (since 1998) first-time head coach to post nine or more victories in his first season. He was just the second first-year head coach in that span to win nine games after inheriting a team with a losing record the previous year.
Pelini Continues Defensive Accomplishments at Nebraska
Pelini has led an amazing defensive turnaround at Nebraska. The 2008 Nebraska defense was one of the nation's most improved units. Nebraska finish second in the Big 12 in total defense, a year after the Huskers were 100th or worse in nearly every defensive category. In 2009, Nebraska was dominant on defense and its improvement was just as impressive. The Huskers led the nation in total defense and had the nation's best scoring defensive improvement (18.1 ppg).
With Pelini's previous track record, the success of his Nebraska defenses is no surprise.
-Pelini led the 2003 Blackshirts to impressive numbers. NU had a school-record 47 takeaways, including a Big 12-record 32 interceptions, and finished second nationally in scoring defense, first in pass efficiency defense and 11th in total defense.
- Pelini guided LSU defenses to No. 3 national finishes in total defense each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge.
-In 104 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 35 times and to 20 points or less 68 times.
- Pelini-led defenses have 211 total takeaways, including two top-three national rankings.
Staff Intact for Third Straight Season
Nebraska was long known for coaching staff continuity under Hall of Fame Coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Third-year Head Coach Bo Pelini appears to embrace that same philosophy. NU is in its third straight season with its staff intact in 2010, as all nine full-time assistants are in at least their third season on the Husker sideline.
Nebraska is one of only nine schools nationally to have the same full-time coaching staff for at least the past three years, including only Baylor and Texas in the Big 12. Prior to last season, Nebraska had not had its full coaching staff remain the same from one season to the next since 2001 to 2002 when Frank Solich's staff was unchanged.
Scouting Texas A&M
After suffering a three-game losing skid earlier in the season, Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2 Big 12) has rebounded to win four straight and has a chance to win the Big 12 South title. To do so, the Aggies must win their final two games (vs. Nebraska, at Texas) and need Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) to lose twice, as the Cowboys edged Texas A&M, 38-35, in Stillwater on Sept. 30.
The Aggies have averaged 41 points per game during their current four-game winning streak that included a 33-19 upset of No. 9 Oklahoma at Kyle Field on Nov. 6. Texas A&M switched its starting quarterback from Big 12 preseason offensive player of the year Jerrod Johnson to then-wide receiver Ryan Tannehill on Oct. 30. In three starts, Tannehill has completed 68 percent (82-of-120) of his passes, while totaling 954 yards through the air with seven touchdowns. Tannehill threw for a school-record 449 passing yards in his first start, a 45-27 win over Texas Tech. The Big Spring, Texas, native leads the Big 12 Conference in pass efficiency (157.5), slightly ahead of Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (157.3).
Tannehill has a big target downfield in wide receiver Jeff Fuller, who has 11 touchdowns in 2010. The junior ranks third in the Big 12 with 92.30 receiving yards per game and sixth in receptions with 6.10 per contest along with teammate Ryan Swope. Junior running back Cyrus Gray leads the Aggies on the ground with 67.3 yards per game and 10 touchdowns. Gray had 137 rushing yards and four touchdowns in last Saturday's 42-30 comeback win at Baylor.
Defensively, senior Von Miller and freshman Damontre Moore each have 5.5 sacks. Miller also leads the team with 9.5 tackles for loss from his "joker" position, a hybrid outside linebacker. Linebacker Michael Hodges is the team tackle leader with 84 total stops. The senior also has 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. As a unit, Texas A&M has given up 362.5 yards per game, third in the Big 12 Conference.
Nebraska leads the all-time series against Texas A&M, 10-3. The Aggies won the most recent contest, a 36-14 victory at Memorial Stadium in 2007. In the last meeting at Kyle Field, current Texas A&M coaching staff member Zac Taylor threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Maurice Purify with 21 seconds remaining to give Nebraska a 28-27 victory and Big 12 North title. Nebraska has won nine of the last 11 games in the series. The Huskers are 2-1 all-time in College Station, including a comeback win in 2002 (38-31). Nebraska's loss at Kyle Field in 1998 ended the second-ranked Huskers' 19-game winning streak.
Texas A&M Head Coach Mike Sherman
Mike Sherman (Central Connecticut State, '77) is in his third season as Texas A&M's head coach and owns a 17-18 record in College Station. A former Aggie assistant (1995-96), Sherman spent six seasons (2000-05) as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers and won three division titles (2002, 2003, 2004). He was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans in 2006 and 2007.
Sherman's coaching staff includes former Nebraska assistants Randy Jordan (running backs), Dave Kennedy (strength and conditioning), Tim Cassidy (associate athletic director) and Joey Boese (assistant strength). Former Husker quarterback Zac Taylor (2005-06), the 2006 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, is on Sherman's staff as Offensive Quality Control.
Strength vs. Strength
Saturday's game will feature a pair of outstanding statistical matchups, featuring the offensive strengths vs. defensive strengths.
-The Nebraska offense ranks first in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in rushing, averaging 282.3 yards per game. The Huskers have rushed for at least 200 yards in nine of 10 games this season. Texas A&M is strong against the run, leading the Big 12 and ranking 13th nationally at 112.2 yards per game. The Aggies have limited six of 10 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.
-Texas A&M ranks eighth nationally in passing offense at 308.1 yards per game, and has topped 300 yards in five of 10 games. The Nebraska defense ranks first in the Big 12 and second nationally in passing yards allowed at 140.2 yards per game, having held six opponents to less than 135 yards passing. The Huskers lead the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Huskers Secure Third Straight Nine-Win Season
Nebraska's win over Kansas improved the Huskers to 9-1, their best start since opening the 2001 season with an 11-0 record. The victory also gave Nebraska nine wins for the third consecutive season under third-year head coach Bo Pelini.
-The three straight years of nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.
-Nebraska was one of only 22 schools to win nine games in both 2008 and 2009. Nebraska is one of only six schools in that group to have secured a third straight nine-win season, joining TCU, Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma State and Ohio State.
Nebraska has 45 nine-win seasons in school history.
Nebraska Looking for 10-Win Regular Season
Nebraska will attempt to pick up its 10th win of the 2010 season on Saturday night at Texas A&M. A win would mark NU's first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2000 and 2001. However, reaching double digits in victories in the regular season is even more rare.
-Nebraska last posted 10 wins in the regular season in the 2001 campaign when the Huskers won their first 11 games and finished the regular season at 11-1.
-A victory would give Nebraska its 25th all-time 10-win season in school history, including 23 since 1970.
Nebraska Putting Together Another Strong Second-Half Run
A trademark of Bo Pelini's first two Nebraska teams has been steady improvement throughout the season. The 2010 Huskers have continued that trend with a 4-0 record in the second half of the regular season and November victories against Iowa State and Kansas.
-Nebraska has won six of its final seven games in both 2008 and 2009. The 6-1 second-half records the past two seasons are the school's best seven-game finishes since 1999. Nebraska was one of only 12 teams in the FBS to win at least six of its final seven games last season.
-The Huskers went 5-1 in the first half of the regular season, and 4-0 since the midway point, defeating ranked foes Oklahoma State and Missouri prior to wins over Iowa State and Kansas.
-Nebraska's 3-1 record in October marked the first time since 2003 that NU had just one loss in October.
-Nebraska has won nine straight games in November, since a loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 1, 2008.
Pelini-coached Nebraska teams are 17-7 in games played before Halloween, including 7-5 in October, and 12-2 in games on or after Nov. 1, with the only losses against teams ranked in the top four nationally.
Nebraska has found its four trips away from Lincoln in 2010 to its liking. Nebraska's 31-30 overtime thriller at Iowa State marked the Huskers' eighth straight road victory. Each of the first seven wins in Nebraska's current road win streak were by at least eight points. The winning streak is Nebraska's longest on the road since winning 10 straight road games from 1996 to 1998, a streak that ended with a 28-21 loss at Texas A&M. The Huskers' last road loss was a 16-15 setback at Virginia Tech last season.
Nebraska has also won its last eight Big 12 road games, NU's longest streak since winning its first eight league road games when the Big 12 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. A win at Texas A&M would give NU two straight perfect conference road records for the first time in 13 years.
-Nebraska is 9-2 on the road in Big 12 play under Bo Pelini, with both losses against top-10 teams.
NU Keeping the Opposing Scoreboard Operator Busy
Nebraska scored at least 48 points in each of its first three road games this season, before scoring 31 in an overtime victory at Iowa State. Nebraska's road scoring effort is among the best in school history and has left the Huskers with a perfect 4-0 mark away from Lincoln.
-Nebraska has scored 186 points in four 2010 road games, after scoring 121 points in five road games a year ago. The 186 points fell just shy of the most points NU has ever scored in four conscutive road games (199 in 1995).
-The Huskers are averaging 46.5 points per game on the road. The school record is 49.8 points per game in 1995.
-Nebraska has scored 40 points on the road three times in 2010. In the eight previous years, the Huskers scored 40 points in only two road games.
-The Huskers scored 45 points in three consecutive road games for the first time in school history.
Top Nebraska Season Scoring Efforts on the Road
1) 49.8 ppg in 1995
2) 42.2 ppg in 1983
3) 42.0 ppg in 1978
4) 41.8 ppg in 1989
5) 40.3 ppg in 1982
6) 40.2 ppg in 1971
46.5 ppg in 2010 (4 games)
NU Looks for Third Victory over a Ranked Opponent at Texas A&M
Nebraska defeated seventh-ranked Missouri, 31-17, on Oct. 30 in Lincoln, a week after it went on the road and defeated an unbeaten and 17th-ranked Oklahoma State team, 51-41. Nebraska will face its third ranked foe of the season Saturday when the Huskers take on 18th-ranked Texas A&M in College Station.
-The wins over Oklahoma State and Missouri marked the first time Nebraska has defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games since defeating No. 25 Missouri (34-20) and No. 24 Texas A&M (28-27) in 2006. Prior to this season, the last time Nebraska defeated a pair of teams ranked 20th or higher in consecutive games came at the end of the 1999 season when NU knocked off No. 12 Texas in the Big 12 title game and sixth-ranked Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl.
-The win over No. 7 Missouri was the highest ranked team NU had defeated since a win over No. 2 Oklahoma in 2001 in Lincoln. It also marked the first time NU had defeated a top-10 team since that 2001 game against OU, ending a streak of 12 straight losses against top-10 teams.
-The win at 17th-ranked Oklahoma State represented the highest ranked team NU had defeated on the road since a 27-14 win at No. 2 Washington in September of 1997.
-Nebraska is 5-2 against ranked teams since the start of the 2009 season. The Huskers were 3-2 against ranked teams in 2009, and are 2-0 this season. The Huskers' three wins against ranked teams last year marked their most wins over ranked teams since four wins over ranked foes during a 12-1 campaign in 1999.
-Nebraska's win at Oklahoma State was its third win over a ranked team away from home in the past two seasons, including the win at Missouri last year and a victory over No. 22 Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
-Before the 2009 and 2010 seasons, NU last posted multiple wins over ranked teams in back-to-back seasons in 2000 and 2001. Nebraska won at least two games against ranked teams in 11 straight seasons from 1991 to 2001.
-In six Big 12 games, NU has defeated three teams that entered the contest unbeaten (KSU, OSU, MU). Before its wins over Oklahoma State and Missouri, NU last defeated a pair of unbeatens that late in the season in 1995 when NU knocked off 6-0 Kansas State on Oct. 21 and 12-0 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to close the year.
Fast Starts a Key for Huskers
Led by its quick-strike offense, Nebraska has been accustomed to fast starts this season, scoring less than nine minutes into the game in six contests. In its only loss to Texas, NU got off to a slow start with a 10-0 deficit less than seven minutes into the game, and the Huskers could not recover.
-The Huskers have scored on their opening possession in eight of their last 12 games, dating back to last season. During the streak, the Huskers have scored six touchdowns (Arizona in 2009 and WKU, UW, KSU, OSU and MU in 2010) and two field goals (Texas in 2009 and Idaho in 2010). On opening possessions this season, NU has scored 38 points, while the opposition has scored just three points on its opening possession.
-The Huskers have been especially fast starters on the road, scoring in the first four minutes of the game six times in the past nine games away from Lincoln. Nebraska also scored less than nine minutes into the game at Kansas State on its first possession.
-Nebraska's 10-0 deficit after the first quarter against Texas ended a streak of 13 straight games in which NU had led or been tied after the first quarter. Nebraska has outscored the opposition 83-30 in the first quarter in 2010. Nebraska opened a 24-0 first-quarter lead against Missouri, including a touchdown on its first offensive play. The Huskers' 24 first-quarter points were their most in the opening quarter since scoring 38 against Baylor in 2000.
-The quick scores have afforded Nebraska the luxury of playing with a lead. Nebraska did not trail in its first five games and has had a deficit in just three games this season. Aside from trailing the final 55 minutes against Texas, NU has had a deficit for only 11:34 this season (5:04 at OSU, 6:30 at ISU).
-Forcing turnovers has also been a key part of the quick starts. In 12 of the past 17 games, NU has forced a first-half turnover. These turnovers have resulted in eight touchdowns and two field goals.
Nebraska Churning out Impressive Rushing Numbers
Nebraska finds itself back among the Big 12 and national leaders in rushing offense. Nebraska is averaging 282.3 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in rushing. Nebraska finished seventh in the nation in rushing in 2003, but has not finished higher than 23rd in that category since.
The Huskers opened the season with 289 rushing yards against Western Kentucky and has since topped that total four times. NU picked up 360 rushing yards against Idaho, and 383 yards at Washington. NU saved its most powerful running attack for Big 12 play, racking up 451 rushing yards at Kansas State-its most rushing yards in 109 games. The Huskers churned out 328 rushing yards against Missouri in Lincoln.
-Before its back-to-back 300-yard rushing games in games 2 and 3, NU had not topped 300 rushing yards in consecutive games since late in the 2002 season. NU had five straight 200-yard rushing games to start the season and six overall including the Holiday Bowl, marking the longest streak for the Huskers since also posting six straight 200-yard rushing games during the 2002 season. NU has topped 200 rushing yards in nine of 10 games this season.
-Nebraska's 451 rushing yards at Kansas State were its most since posting 641 rushing yards at Baylor in 2001. It also marked just the Huskers' second 400-yard rushing game in the past seven seasons (413 vs. Nevada, 2007).
-In thrashing Washington and Kansas State away from Lincoln, Nebraska rushed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back road games for the first time since 2001 when NU topped 300 rushing yards in back-to-back games at Missouri and Baylor. NU also topped 200 rushing yards in road wins at Oklahoma State (217) and Iowa State (235).
-Nebraska has produced five of the top-10 team rushing efforts since 2004 this season, including the first, third and fifth-best rushing efforts in that stretch.
-Nebraska had three players crack the century mark in rushing yards at Washington, as Taylor Martinez, Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead all surpassed 100 yards. The game marked the fifth time in school history Nebraska has had three players reach 100 rushing yards in the same game, and the first time it has happened since four Husker runners topped 100 yards at Baylor in 2001.
-Martinez and Helu Jr. also teamed up to produce double 100-yard rushing games against Idaho and Kansas State. The Idaho game marked the first time since 2006 (Iowa State) NU had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. Nebraska has now had two players rush for 100 yards in the same game 68 times in school history.
-NU narrowly missed another double 100-yard effort with Burkhead rushing for 129 yards at Iowa State, and Helu Jr. totaling 99 yards.
-Nebraska has 11 100-yard rushing games in 2010 after having just five each of the past two years and six in 2007. The 11 100-yard games are the highest by a Husker squad since the 2001 team posted 16 100-yard rushing outings in 13 games.
-Helu Jr. set a Nebraska school-record with 307 rushing yards in Nebraska's win over Missouri. His rushing yardage is 21 yards more than any other player in the Football Bowl Subdivision has posted in 2010.
-Nebraska is averaging a 6.22 yards-per-carry, the third-best average in the country.
-Nebraska has rushed for 2,823 yards in 10 games. In 14 games in 2009, NU rushed for 2,059 yards.
Huskers Showing Explosive Ability in all Phases
Nebraska has shown the ability to light up the scoreboard from anywhere on the field in 2010.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez has been the headliner in an offense that has flashed tremendous big-play ability and finds itself averaging 6.84 yards per play, the ninth-best total in the nation. That is just one of several impressive numbers posted by Nebraska in 2010.
-Nebraska has reached the end zone 45 times. The average length of those 45 touchdown plays has been 34.8 yards, with 23 of those plays covering at least 31 yards.
-Through 10 games, Nebraska has 54 offensive plays from scrimmage of at least 20 yards (29 rush, 25 pass). 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 19 of 38 touchdown drives, including five one-play scoring drives, four two-play scoring drives and four three-play touchdown drives. Sixteen of the 38 drives have taken less than 2:00, including 11 touchdown drives using 1:00 or less, most recently three against Missouri.
-Nebraska has six return TDs this season, including four INT returns, a kickoff return and a punt return. On its five one-play scoring drives and its six return touchdowns, the average length of NU's scores is 62.5 yards.
-Nebraska has 29 TD runs that total 911 yards (31.4 yds per TD), 10 TD passes that total 313 yds (31.3 yds per TD) and 39 TDs from scrimmage for a total of 1,224 yds (31.4 per TD).
-NU's total of 911 yards on 29 TD runs is more yards than five FBS teams have in total rushing yards in 2010.
-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 accomplished the feat for a second time vs. Mizzou, including three runs of at least 53 yards by Roy Helu Jr.
-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.
-Nebraska's offensive display at Kansas State was also remarkable. The Huskers had five touchdowns cover at least 35 yards, including scores of 80, 79 and 68 yards. The 79-yard pass play from Taylor Martinez to Kyler Reed was NU's longest pass play in eight seasons. NU set a school record at KSU by averaging 11.3 yards per play.
-Against Oklahoma State, Nebraska had scoring passes of 45 and 41 yards, and a 100-yard kickoff return.
-Nebraska's average touchdown drive this season lasts 5.6 plays and covers 67.3 yards in 2:17.
-Thirty-two of the 39 TD drives have consumed less than four minutes. The Huskers' longest touchdown drive of the season came on their final scoring drive at Oklahoma State, when they took 6:23 and 12 plays to cover 81 yards. That drive iced the OSU game, and against Missouri, NU killed the final 8:40 on the clock on a non-scoring drive. NU's two regulation TD drives at Iowa State took 12 and 11 plays, respectively.
Martinez Making Name for Himself on National Level
Nebraska redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez is a leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year, and all-conference accolades. Just 10 games into his career, Martinez has already made a prominent mark in the NU record book and shown the game-breaking ability that made him the choice in a tight three-quarterback battle for the starting job.
Martinez has accounted for the top five rushing games in school history by a freshman quarterback and four of the top 12 rushing efforts by any NU frosh. He has also accounted for at least 215 yards of total offense seven times, while completing 86-of-146 passes and throwing for nine touchdowns.
Martinez's signature performances this season came at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. Martinez set an NU quarterback record with 241 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries against the Wildcats. He also set a then-Husker freshman total offense record with 369 yards.
That record lasted less than three weeks, as Martinez accumulated 435 yards of total offense at No. 17 Oklahoma State, including an NU freshman record 323 passing yards, and another 112 rushing yards. In the 51-41 win, he also threw for a freshman-record five touchdowns, the second-most ever by a Nebraska quarterback.
Those explosive efforts are the biggest highlights of Martinez's highlight-filled 2010 campaign:
-Martinez has rushed for 957 yards on 123 carries, an average of 7.8 yards per carry. Martinez has 14 rushes of at least 20 yards, including touchdown runs of 67, 46, 43, 20, 80, 35, 80 and 41 yards. The 80-yard touchdown runs against Washington and Kansas State are 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. Martinez owns the three longest runs by an NU quarterback in the past nine seasons.
-Martinez averages 95.7 rushing yards per game to rank 28th in the nation and sixth in the Big 12. He is third among quarterbacks, trailing only Michigan's Denard Robinson and Auburn's Cam Newton. Martinez is third among freshmen nationally in rushing. Martinez's game average took a significant hit at Iowa State when he played one play in an emergency role and did not have a carry.
-Martinez's 7.78 yards per rush is second among players in the top 100 nationally in rushing.
-Martinez had 127 rushing yards in the opener, the most ever by a Nebraska freshman quarterback, but he has topped that three times since. He had 157 yards on 14 carries against Idaho, 137 yards at Washington, and an NU quarterback record 241 yards at Kansas State. The 241 rushing yards were the second-most ever by an NU freshman, while his 157 yards vs. Idaho were the sixth-most ever for a Husker frosh. The five 100+ outings this season are the top five rushing totals by an NU quarterback in the past eight seasons. His five 100-yard rushing games ties Ahman Green for the Nebraska freshman record, and marks the most for a quarterback since Eric Crouch in 2001.
-In three road games when he has played at quarterback, Martinez has rushed 53 times for 490 yards and seven touchdowns. He averages 9.2 yards per rush away from home and has scored seven touchdowns in 53 carries-one TD every 7.6 carries.
-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 to open the year marked the first time a Nebraska quarterback topped the century mark in three straight games since Eric Crouch in 2001. Prior to this season, no NU quarterback had topped the century mark on the ground since Jammal Lord in 2003.
-Martinez has 12 rushing touchdowns, with three each against Western Kentucky and Washington, and four against Kansas State. His 12 rushing TDs are the fourth-most ever by a Nebraska freshman, just two shy of the record.
-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.
-Martinez is the first player to have three games with three or more rushing touchdowns in a season since Eric Crouch had four games with at least three touchdowns in 2000. Martinez's effort at KSU also marked the most rushing TDs by a Husker since true freshman I-back David Horne had four rushing touchdowns at Texas A&M in 2002.
-Martinez's two 80-yard rushes are the longest by any Nebraska player since Cory Ross had an 86-yard touchdown run against Missouri in 2004.
-Martinez's 957 rushing yards rank second on the Nebraska freshman season rushing chart, and tops among quarterbacks. He is 129 yards from Ahman Green's Nebraska freshman record. Eric Crouch held the previous NU freshman QB record with 459 yards in 1998.
-Martinez is 43 yards from the second 1,000-yard rushing season by a Nebraska freshman and the fourth 1,000-yard season by a NU quarterback. It would also mark only the third 1,000-yard rushing season in NCAA history by a freshman quarterback. He is 136 yards from the NCAA record for rushing yards by a freshman quarterback (1,093, Brad Smith, Missouri, 2002).
Martinez Shows Ability to Beat you With His Arm
Most of the attention Martinez received through the first six games this season centered on his running ability. That changed at Oklahoma State, when the freshman had easily his most prolific passing day.
In a road victory over the No. 17 Cowboys, Martinez completed 23-of-35 passes for 323 yards and five touchdowns. Coupled with his 112 rushing yards, Martinez had one of the most dynamic games in school history for a quarterback.
-The 435 yards of total offense were an NU freshman record and the third-highest single-game total offense outing in school history.
-His 323 passing yards shattered the previous freshman passing record of 193 yards by Eric Crouch in the 1998 Holiday Bowl. The five touchdowns also broke the frosh TD pass record of three shared by Crouch and Tommie Frazier. The five touchdowns tied for the second-most in school history by any player.
-With 323 passing yards and 112 rushing yards, Martinez became the first Nebraska player to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. Martinez was also the first to pass for 200 and rush for 100 yards in a game.
His performance at Oklahoma State earned Martinez the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards.
Backs Making Most of Touches
Nebraska quarterbacks and I-backs made the most of their offensive touches this season. The explosive NU offense has averaged just 64.0 plays per game, but plenty of players have taken advantage of their opportunities to post impressive numbers.
Nebraska averaged 8.8 yards per tote in the opener against Western Kentucky, 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. Those impressive totals were nothing compared to NU's 10.74 yards per rush against Kansas State, just shy of the school record of 10.82 yards per carry set in 1983.
-Martinez has averaged more than 10 yards per rush three times, including 18.1 yards on seven rushes vs. WKU, 11.2 yards per attempt on 14 carries against Idaho, and 16.1 yards on 15 carries at Kansas State. He ranks second in the nation at 7.8 yards per carry.
-Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead has 121 touches this season, and has accumulated 756 yards, an average of 6.2 yards per touch. He is averaging 5.8 yards on his 93 rushing attempts and 12.1 yards on nine pass receptions. Eight of his touches have covered at least 20 yards.
-Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. has also made the most of 142 rushing attempts, rolling up 991 yards. Helu Jr. is averaging 7.0 yards per carry to rank eighth nationally. Helu has six touchdown runs of at least 53 yards this season and has 10 rushes of 50 yards or more in his career. His 73-yard touchdown run against Missouri was a career long, bettering his 68-yarder at Kansas State earlier in October.
Helu Jr. Has Record-Setting Day to Continue Climb up NU Rushing Chart
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 is again producing impressive results in 2010.
Helu Jr. had a record-setting effort in Nebraska's 31-17 victory over Missouri in Lincoln. Helu took the Huskers' first snap from scrimmage and raced 66 yards for a touchdown. That long score was a sign of things to come, as Helu added a career-long 73-yard TD run later in the first quarter and a 53-yarder in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, he showed the ability to be a workhorse and helped NU run the final 8:40 off the clock. In doing so, Helu Jr. set a Nebraska single-game record with 307 rushing yards on 28 carries. The mark topped the previous Nebraska school-record of 294 rushing yards by Calvin Jones in 1991. Helu Jr.'s rushing total is 21 yards more than any other player in the FBS ranks this season.
Helu Jr.'s effort marked just the third time in the past five seasons a player in the Football Bowl Subdivision has had three touchdown runs of at least 50 yards in a game. Helu also set a Nebraska record for single-game all-purpose yards with 321 against the Tigers.
Helu has posted four 100-yard rushing games in 2010. In addition to his record effort against Mizzou, he has topped the century mark against Idaho, Washington and Kansas State, giving him 11 career 100-yard games. He is just the 15th player in NU history with at least 10 100-yard rushing games. He narrowly missed his fifth 100-yard game of the year with 99 rushing yards at Iowa State. Helu has 10 rushing touchdowns this season, including a career-high tying three against Missouri. His 27 career rushing touchdowns make him one of 17 Nebraska players with at least 25 career rushing touchdowns.
The Missouri game was the biggest piece of evidence that Helu's best games seem to come against top competition. He surpassed the century mark against both Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in 2009, including a then-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. In 2010, he is averaging 99.1 yards per game to rank fourth in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally.
-Helu has 3,150 career rushing yards, and has moved up from 11th to fifth on the NU career rushing effort over the past three weeks. In the Missouri game alone, Helu passed Derek Brown, Cory Ross, Dahrran Diedrick, Lawrence Phillips and I.M. Hipp on the career chart. At Iowa State he moved in front of Ken Clark. Helu Jr. and is now just three yards from Calvin Jones who sits in fourth place, and 286 yards behind third-place Eric Crouch (3,434).
-Helu has 991 rushing yards this season, and is 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 four 100-yard rushing games in NU's last nine contests against ranked opponents. In 12 road games since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, Helu has rushed for 1,172 yards on 185 carries, 6.3 yards per tote.
-Helu had a Big 12-best 12 runs of 20+ yards in 2009, and 27 rushes of at least 20 yards over his past 26 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.
Blackshirts Completely Dominant Against Jayhawks
The Nebraska defense has been one of the nation's best units the past two seasons, and has had numerous impressive outings. Statistically, no defensive effort was better than the Blackshirts' outing in a 20-3 victory against Kansas. In fact, the Nebraska defense put up numbers that had not been seen in a decade.
-The Huskers allowed only 87 total yards in the contest. The offensive output by Kansas was the lowest by a Nebraska opponent since Baylor had 84 yards of total offense in Lincoln on Oct. 21, 2000, also the last time NU limited an opponent to fewer than 100 yards. The KU game marked the fifth time since 1990 Nebraska held an opponent below the century mark in total offense.
-Kansas passed for just 15 yards in the game, the lowest since Nicholls State did not complete a pass against Nebraska on Sept. 9, 2006. The 15 passing yards marked just the eighth time since 1990 an NU opponent has had fewer than 50 passing yards.
-The Jayhawks tallied just five first downs, the fewest by an opponent since Kansas had only four first downs in a 35-0 loss to the Huskers in Lawrence in 1997.
Points Don't Come Easy
Oklahoma State was the first NU opponent to top 21 points in 15 games, and Nebraska has been remarkably stingy on the scoreboard the past two seasons. The 2009 defense led the nation in scoring defense at 10.4 points per game, and held seven foes to single digits and eight teams to 10 or fewer points. Both of those totals led the nation. Nebraska posted two shutouts for the first time since 2003. This season, NU ranks 17th in scoring defense at 17.5 points per game.
-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 has allowed 26 red-zone drives in 2010, with 23 resulting in scores (15 TD, 8 FG).
-The Huskers allowed only 10 offensive touchdowns in eight Big 12 games in 2009.
-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. This season, seven of 10 teams have scored 20 or fewer points.
-Only nine Nebraska opponents have scored as many as 17 points since the start of the 2009 season (24 games). In the past two seasons, Nebraska has allowed 10 or fewer points in 11 games.
Blackshirts in the Backfield
Nebraska's defense has spent a good share of time in the opposing backfield the past three games. The Huskers set a season high in tackles-for-loss at Missouri and Iowa State with nine TFL in each game. NU added seven tackles for loss against Kansas.
-The 25 tackles-for-loss over the past two games is a major improvement for a Blackshirt unit that had totaled 22 TFLs through the first seven games and only 12 in the five games leading up to the Missouri contest.
-NU also recorded 14 sacks the past three weeks after totaling only 12 sacks in the first seven games combined.
Blackshirts Tough at Home
Although Nebraska saw its nation-leading streak of 14 consecutive games holding the opponent to 21-or-fewer points snapped on Oct. 23 in Stillwater, the Husker defense has been especially stout at home. Since the start of the 2009 season, Nebraska has allowed only 128 points in 13 homes games, an average of only 9.8 points per game.
In their last 13 home games, the Huskers have allowed only 12 touchdowns. The Blackshirts have held nine opponents to 10 points or less during that stretch, including six to a field goal or fewer, including South Dakota State and Kansas this season. Only two teams have scored more than 17 points at Memorial Stadium the past two seasons, and Nebraska lost both of those contests. Texas Tech posted a 31-10 win in Lincoln last season, while Texas handed Nebraska its only loss of 2010, 20-13, in October.
The Blackshirts have allowed 300 total yards only three times in 13 home games the past two seasons, giving up an average of only 268.7 yards per game. The defense has also forced 26 turnovers in its last 13 games at home.
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 10 games, NU again tops the nation in passing efficiency defense (91.55 rating) and is second in passing yards allowed per game (140.2 ypg). The Huskers have caused major problems for opposing passers, including highly rated prospects Nathan Enderle of Idaho, Jake Locker of Washington and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri. Nebraska will face a strong test this week, taking on Texas A&M's No. 8 passing attack (308.1 ypg).
-Nebraska opponents are completing 48.18 percent of their pass attempts, the best in the nation. That includes a 4-of-20 effort by Washington's Jake Locker, and a 4-of-16 showing by Texas' Garrett Gilbert and a 3-of-13 effort by Kansas. Opponents have thrown for 10 touchdown passes. 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 16 interceptions this season to tie for sixth in the country. NU had a streak of nine straight games with at least one pick end against Texas. Nebraska has intercepted 5.84 percent of opposing passes, fourth in the nation. 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 140.2 passing yards per game, including six with 135 yards or less. Washington threw for just 71 yards, South Dakota State had 95 yards, Texas had 62 yards and Kansas had just 15 passing yards. Oklahoma State threw for a season-high 283 yards, but that total was 78 yards fewer than the Cowboys' season average heading into the game.
-The 15 passing yards allowed against Kansas were the fewest by NU since allowing zero completions against Nicholls State in 2006. It was just the eighth time since 1990 NU has held an opponent to 50 or fewer passing yards. Kansas did not complete a pass after the first quarter (0-of-9), and had only one completion longer than two 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. If NU were to maintain its 140.2 yard per game pass defense average it would rank as the Huskers' best since allowing 131.0 yards per game in 1990.
-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). Nebraska has intercepted at least two passes in eight of its past 16 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 has added interception returns for touchdowns at Washington and at Iowa State. This season is the first time Nebraska has had four INT returns for a touchdown in a season since 1996, and the four picks for touchdowns matches the combined total of 2008 and 2009. The school record for interceptions for touchdowns is five set in both 1971 and 1995.
Prince Leads a Royal Nebraska Secondary
In 2010 it has been hard to single out one player as the standout in the Nebraska secondary. Every player who has seen extensive action has produced big plays and played key roles 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-team All-Big 12 pick in 2009, Amukamara is regarded as the cornerstone of a deep and veteran Nebraska secondary.
Amukamara has shown why he earned the preseason hype, but ironically he is the only player among NU's top eight 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 16 picks, including four for scores.
The dominant coverage skills exhibited by Amukamara have been recognized in recent weeks. He is one of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. He is also one of eight semifinalists for the Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Year and one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award. He is also a strong contender for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Amukamara has made 38 tackles, including a season-high seven at Iowa State. Prince has also posted a team-high 11 pass breakups, including a career-high tying three PBU against Missouri. He had two breakups each against Idaho and Kansas State, and has seven games 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 25 career pass breakups, which places him seventh on the Husker career list.
-Amukamara's impact cannot be measured only by interceptions, tackles and PBU. Through 10 games opponents have targeted Amukamara just 40 times, and completed only 11 passes against the lock-down corner.
-His 11 pass breakups are tied for first in the nation.
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 four interceptions this season, including a 31-yard touchdown return for a score against Washington. He is tied for 17th nationally in interceptions, and also has 19 tackles and six pass breakups. He is tied for 15th nationally in passes defended at 1.11 per game. He missed most of the Missouri game and all of the Iowa State game with an injury.
-Senior safety/dime back DeJon Gomes has been a turnover machine during his NU career. Gomes has intercepted six passes in 20 career games, and has also caused five fumbles. In 2010, Gomes has caused fumbles against Western Kentucky and Kansas State. He also picked off an Idaho pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and added his second pick against Missouri. Gomes ranks second on the team with 78 tackles, including a career-high 12 stops at Kansas State and double-figure tackle totals against Texas and Oklahoma State. He has four tackles for loss.
-Senior Eric Hagg is Nebraska's nickel back and has been arguably Nebraska's biggest play-maker on defense in 2010. Hagg has a team-leading four interceptions this season, to rank fourth in the Big 12 and tied for 23rd nationally in interceptions. Hagg picked off Washington's first pass attempt of the game, that set up the Huskers' opening score. He also had two breakups against the Huskies and earned Big 12 Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors for his effort at Washington. Hagg showed his play-making ability against Texas with a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown, the longest punt return in school history on his first career return. Hagg had a season-high eight tackles and an interception at Oklahoma State and seven solo stops and two TFL vs. Missouri. Against Iowa State, Hagg had his fourth pick of the season, and ironically he does not officially receive credit for his most important interception of the year. In overtime, ISU scored to cut NU's lead to 31-30, then faked its PAT attempt, which Hagg alertly intercepted to secure a win. Hagg was chosen as a second-team mid-season All-American by SI.com.
-Sophomore safety P.J. Smith has three interceptions to tie for 46th nationally. He also has 37 tackles, including a career-high 11 stops against Texas.
-Three new faces excelled in the NU secondary against Missouri. Junior Austin Cassidy and sophomore Courtney Osborne were Nebraska's starting safeties, and performed well with six tackles each. True freshman corner Ciante Evans was called upon when Dennard went out with an injury, and responded with four tackles and two breakups. Cassidy was even better against Iowa State, with a career-high 12 tackles and a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown. He also caused a fumble.
Blackshirts Boast Amazing Improvements over Past Three 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 and are continuing to be among the nation's best in 2010.
-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 17.5 ppg.
-In two seasons, Nebraska's sack total has increased from 13 to 35 to 44 in 2009. Through 10 games this season, NU has 26 sacks, including a seven-sack effort against Idaho and six each against Missouri and Kansas.
-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.
-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 292.9 yards per game this season to rank sixth in the nation, and have held six foes to less than 300 yards.
-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 first in pass efficiency defense and second in passing yards allowed at just 140.2 yards per game.
Crick Looking for Another Award-Winning Season
Junior defensive tackle Jared Crick emerged as a standout performer last fall and is the anchor of Nebraska's defensive line 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 recently received first-team mid-season All-America honors from Rivals.com, and second-team All-America honors from two other outlets. In late October, Crick was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, before the award's list was trimmed to four finalists. Crick remains a contender for numerous postseason honors and is playing his best football of 2010.
Crick has 52 tackles, including a season-high nine tackles against Kansas. He is third on the team in tackles and first among linemen. Crick leads all Big 12 defensive linemen in tackles per game at 5.2 per contest.
Crick also leads the Blackshirts with 6.5 sacks, including four in the past four games. Crick ranks second in the Big 12 in sacks. He had two sacks against Kansas for 12 yards last Saturday. His 11 tackles for loss (63 yards) lead the team and his eight quarterback hurries are tied for second on the team.
His two sacks against Kansas pushed Crick's career sack total to 16, tying him for 10th on the Nebraska career list. The top statistical game of Crick's 2010 season came against Idaho, when Crick had 2.5 sacks for 30 yards and four tackles for losses, totaling 32 yards. He had a season-high eight tackles and two TFL in the win over Missouri.
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. His 5.2 tackles per game ranked second only to Suh among Big 12 defensive linemen.
David Posting Impressive Tackle Totals
Nebraska junior linebacker Lavonte David arrived on the Nebraska campus just a few short months ago. But he has proven to be a quick learner and has moved into a leading role on the Nebraska defense. David has a team-high 106 tackles, and his 10.6 tackles ranks second in the Big 12 and 11th nationally. He is within 13 tackles of the Nebraska single-season top 10 in tackles. His 100-tackle season is the first by a Blackshirt defender since Barrett Ruud recorded 143 tackles in 2004. David is also second on the team in sacks (5-39), tackles for loss (10-45) and pass breakups (8), while ranking fourth in hurries (6).
The play of the 6-1, 210-pound David has drawn national attention. He was named a first-team midseason All-American by Rivals.com and SI.com, and he is the leading contender for Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
-David had a team season-high 19 tackles in the Huskers' victory over South Dakota State. David's tackle total ties for the most in the Big 12 this season, and is the highest for a Nebraska player since Barrett Ruud totaled 19 tackles at Kansas State in 2004. Ruud, a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is Nebraska's all-time leading tackler.
-The 19 tackles vs. SDSU were not only the best by a Husker in six seasons, but the total also ranked in a tie for the seventh-most tackles in school history.
-David backed that up with 16 tackles at Kansas State, giving him the top two single-game tackle totals for the Huskers in the past six seasons. His effort at Kansas State also earned David Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors. His 35 tackles in back-to-back games are the best for a Husker since Ruud had 36 tackles in back-to-back games against Kansas State and Missouri in 2004.
-David has six games with double-figure tackle totals this season, most recently 10 vs. Kansas.
Henery Making a Run at NCAA Records
Nebraska place-kicker Alex Henery has been one of the nation's best for the past four seasons. However, a closer examination of Henery's amazing kicking numbers reveals that he is one of the best place-kickers in NCAA history.
-Henery has made 88.7 percent of his career field goal attempts (63-of-71). The NCAA record is 87.8 percent by Florida's Bobby Raymond. (min. 45 attempts)
-Henery has made 75.9 percent of his career field goals from 40 yards or longer (22-of-29). The NCAA career record is 72.1 percent by Georgia's Billy Bennet.
-Henery has made 97.6 percent of his career field goals from inside 40 yards (41-of-42). The NCAA career record is 97.0 percent by Florida's Bobby Raymond.
-Henery is tied for the NCAA record with six career games with at least four field goals.
-Henery has combined to make 247 of his 256 career kicks (PATs and field goals), a 96.5 percent accuracy rate. The NCAA FBS career record is 94.9 percent set by Missouri's Jeff Wolfert.
Nebraska Records Falling by the Wayside
While Henery has begun to make a push on a few NCAA records, he has already made a significant mark in the Husker record book and figures to make his name even more prominent in the stretch run of his career. In addition to his place-kicking prowess, the senior from Omaha has also emerged as one of the nation's top punters the past two seasons.
Henery was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in late October, marking his second straight year as a semifinalist. He was also named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List, making Henery the only player in the nation who was both a semifinalist for the Groza Award, and a candidate for the Ray Guy Award.
Henery connected on field goals of 42 and 24 yards against Kansas, and is now 13-of-14 on the season. He made his first 10 attempts in 2010, giving him a school-record 18 straight made field goals before he had a 51-yarder blocked against Missouri. The 18 straight field goals made broke Kris Brown's school record of 17 straight. Henery has also increased his career field goal total to 63, six better than Brown's previous school record of 57.
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 15 multiple-FG games in his career, including four in Big 12 Conference play in 2010.
-Henery's 24 field goals in 2009 shattered the school record, and his 63 career made field goals have come on 71 attempts, making him the most accurate kicker in school history.
-Among kickers with at least 50 career attempts, Henery is the most accurate active field goal kicker in the nation. He is also the most accurate kicker in NU history on extra points, hitting 184-of-185 in his career, a 99.5 percent accuracy rate. He has made 107 straight PATs, including perfect PAT seasons as a freshman and junior. He is 45-of-45 in 2010.
-Among Henery's eight career missed field goals, just two have come from inside 50 yards. In fact, Henery had a streak of 25 straight made field goals from inside 50 yards. Henery has also made 16 career field goals from 44 yards or longer. His 52-yard field goal at Oklahoma State tied for the longest ever by a Nebraska player in a road game.
-Henery became the fifth Nebraska player with at least 300 career points against Idaho. He currently has 373 points to rank second in school history. He passed Eric Crouch (368) against Kansas, and needs 16 points to move past Kris Brown (388) and set a new career scoring record. Henery is second nationally in scoring among active players.
- Henery scored 110 points in both 2008 and 2009, eighth on the single-season scoring list. His two 110-point seasons trail only Kris Brown (116 in 1997) for season scoring by a kicker. He has 84 points in 10 games in 2010.
-Henery averaged 41.4 yards in his first season as Nebraska's starting punter in 2009, 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.
-This season, Henery's punting has been strong and consistent. He is averaging 44.4 yards per punt to rank fourth in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally. He has had 18 kicks downed inside the 20, including five against Kansas. Henery has had 14 punts travel at least 50 yards, including a season-long 69-yarder at Iowa State. Henery has averaged at least 47.0 yards per punt five times this season.
Paul Again Setting the Tone for Receivers and Return Game
Wide receiver Niles Paul has been a key figure in Nebraska's receiving corps and return game for each of the past three seasons. A year ago, Paul caught 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 tops among players with 40 catches in a season.
This season, Paul has shown similar all-around skills and leads Nebraska with 35 catches for 463 yards, most recently with seven catches for 79 yards against Kansas. With 35 catches, Paul is just seven receptions from moving into the top 10 on the Husker single-season receptions chart.
Paul had the most complete game of his career in Nebraska's 51-41 victory at Oklahoma State. Paul accounted for a career-high 274 all-purpose yards in the game, the sixth-best all-purpose game in school history. Included in his effort at Oklahoma State was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, marking the longest for Nebraska in 61 years and tying the second-longest in NU history. Paul also caught a career-high nine passes, tying for the eighth-most catches for a Husker player. His 131 receiving yards marked the fifth 100-yard receiving game of his career and his first in 2010.
-Paul opened the year with 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. He tied his previous career high with six catches against Texas, and has had at least four catches in eight of 15 games dating back to last season.
-Paul has moved into the top 10 on the Nebraska career receptions chart, and at 99 career catches, he is poised to become just the sixth player in school history with 100 career catches. Paul has 1,479 career receiving yards and against Kansas moved past Maurice Purify and Matt Davison into fifth on the career receiving yardage list.
In 2009, Paul had an impressive list of accomplishments.
-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. This season, Paul ranks second in the conference in punt return average and fourth in kickoff return yards.
-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 is in position to accomplish that rare feat again in 2010.
McNeill and Kinnie Also Provide Dangerous Receiving Targets
Senior Mike McNeill has been a fixture in the Nebraska passing game for the past three seasons. He was a prolific pass catching tight end, before the 6-4, 235-pound McNeill moved to wide receiver last spring. He teams with Paul and junior Brandon Kinnie to give Nebraska one of the biggest and most physical receiving corps in the Big 12.
McNeill set a tight end record with 32 catches as a sophomore in 2008, and 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 averages 17.7 yards per catch on his 12 receptions this season.
-In addition to a tight end position record 32 catches in 2008, McNeill's six touchdown receptions were just one shy of the position record.
-McNeill has 73 career catches to rank 11th on the Nebraska career list. McNeill's receptions total represents a Nebraska career tight ends reception record, bettering the 65 by Matt Herian from 2002 to 2006. McNeill is 62 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.
-McNeill had his best game of 2010 at Oklahoma State, posting a career-high five catches for 61 yards.
Kinnie also made huge strides in the offseason, and that has carried into outstanding play in 2010. Kinnie ranks second on the team with 31 catches for 383 yards and three touchdowns.
-Kinnie posted his first three career touchdown receptions at Oklahoma State, incuding a 45-yard catch and run to open the scoring in the first quarter. Kinnie's three TD catches tied a school record, accomplished nine previous times in NU history. Kinnie opened the year with a career-high six receptions and 59 yards against Western Kentucky. 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. Against Kansas, Kinnie matched his career-high with six catches for 67 yards.
Sophomore tight end Kyler Reed has supplied a big-play threat in recent weeks. Reed has 10 catches for 277 yards this season, an impressive 27.7-yard per catch average. Reed has four touchdown receptions, with each of those covering at least 33 yards. Behind its big-play receiving corps, Nebraska is averaging 14.41 yards per completion this season, a mark that ranks eighth in the country.
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.
-NU was ranked fifth in the Oct. 10 AP poll and fourth in the coaches poll, Nebraska's highest rankings since entering the 2002 Rose Bowl against Miami ranked fourth in the nation. The Huskers moved back into the top 10 in both polls following the win over Missouri on Oct. 30. NU is ninth this week in both the AP and coaches polls.
-Nebraska has received first-place votes in the coaches poll two separate weeks this season, the first time since 2001 that NU has received a first-place vote in either poll.
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.
-Under Bo Pelini, Nebraska is 28-2 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 42 fourth-quarter points, while scoring 54 of its own.
Injury Bug Hits Huskers During Fall Camp
Nebraska endured more than its share of injuries during fall camp, with four returning starters sidelined for all of part of the season.
-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 has since returned, seeing action in the past four games.
-Senior tight end Dreu Young underwent back surgery in late August and has not returned to the practice field. 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 performers last season.
Aside from those injuries, Nebraska made it through the first half of its schedule relatively healthy, but that changed in recent weeks. Against Missouri, quarterback Taylor Martinez injured an ankle and missed the second half of that contest and the Iowa State game before returning against Kansas. Adding to Nebraska's quarterback issue is the sore hand of backup quarterback Zac Lee. Alfonzo Dennard, one of the nation's top cornerbacks, suffered a concussion against Missouri in the first quarter and missed the remainder of that game and NU's game at Iowa State.
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 at 310 games. 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 220, 90 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 134-19 at home in the last 22 seasons (since 1989). A win in its final home game against Colorado would give NU a 6-1 home mark in 2010.
-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 503-138-20 (.776, 661 games, 121 years) in Lincoln, and 378-115-13 (.759, 506 games, 88 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). Nebraska has had 42 straight winning home seasons, including 2010.
-Nebraska posted its 500th all-time home win against Idaho on Sept. 11. The 500th home victory put Nebraska in elite company. Only three other schools in college football history (Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee) have reached the 500-win plateau at home.
Memorial Stadium Expansion for 2013 Approved
The Nebraska Board of Regents approved an expansion plan for the east side of Memorial Stadium, which will increase Memorial Stadium's attendance to more than 90,000. NU plans to expand Memorial Stadium by adding approximately 5,000 new seats, which will include between 2,000 and 2,250 new club seats, approximately 400 to 500 seats within approximately 30 new indoor/outdoor suites, and approximately 2,500 to 2,800 new general seats, including additional seating for disabled patrons. Each new seating area would include dedicated restrooms and concessions areas. A new grand lobby, expanded concourse, and additional first-aid areas would also be added. No current East Stadium seats will be removed and no season ticket holders will be required to relocate their seats as part of this project.
The proposed height of the new addition to be constructed above and around the current east balcony will be similar to the West Stadium, completed in 1999. Within the six proposed levels of the new East Stadium building, approximately 40,000 square feet of interior shell space will also be created. Athletics will retain approximately 20,000 of the undeveloped space for future growth, and as part of a unique partnership between athletics and UNL Research, will allocate approximately 20,000 square feet for future office and laboratory space for research at UNL.
The total projected cost of the project is $55.5 million. The proposal calls for $40.5 million to come from private donations and the remaining $15 million from bond revenues. Approximately $7 million in new revenue is expected to be generated annually from the new seating. These additional revenues will be used to pay off the bonds.
Construction could begin in November of 2011 and be complete by the fall of 2013.
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 marks Nebraska's final season of action in the Big 12. 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. The Huskers must win one of their final two games to clinch a sixth appearance in the conference championship game.
-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 117 meetings with Kansas, 105 with Iowa State and 104 with Missouri.
-Nebraska and Kansas met for the 105th consecutive season in 2010, currently the nation's longest uninterrupted streak. Overall, the 117 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.
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 Anthony Blue (Anthony, Sr., Seattle, 1987), 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), Anthony West (Robert, Kansas City, San Francisco, 1972-74) and Lester Ward (Lester, Sr., Dallas).
1970 Championship Team Reunited
More than 50 members of the first Nebraska national championship team were together again in Lincoln on Oct. 15-16 for the 40th anniversary of the championship. The group had a private dinner on Friday evening and were honored on the field at halftime of the Nebraska-Texas game.
The 1970 team won the first of Nebraska's five national championships. Led by Coach Bob Devaney, the Huskers finished 11-0-1, and captured the Associated Press title.
Despite an undefeated record, Nebraska needed to win its bowl game and have both Texas and Ohio State lose to jump from third to first in the Associated Press poll. The Huskers took care of business with a 17-12 win over LSU in the Orange Bowl and both the Longhorns and Buckeyes lost their bowl games, allowing Nebraska to move to the No. 1 spot and claim its first-ever national title.
The Huskers shared the crown that season with Texas, who was the No. 1 team in the United Press International (UPI) poll. That final poll was voted on before the bowl season, when the undefeated Longhorns fell to No. 6 Notre Dame, 24-11, in the Cotton Bowl.
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.
CASSIDY NAMED TO ESPN ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT 7 TEAM
Nebraska junior safety Austin Cassidy was named to the ESPN Academic All-District 7 team last week. Cassidy carries a 3.88 cumulative grade-point average in psychology, and was named to the all-district team for the second straight year. Cassidy's selection to the academic all-district team places him on the ESPN Academic All-America ballot. The academic All-America team will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
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.
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.
SENIOR CLASS IN STRONG ACADEMIC STANDING
Nebraska's 23-player senior class includes six players playing 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 Posts Impressive EXHAUSTED ELIGIBILITY GRADUATION RATES
Nebraska athletic teams continue to graduate student-athletes at an impressive rate. Nebraska led the Big 12 in exhausted eligibility graduation rates for seven straight years before the NCAA chose not to calculate the rate in 2010. Nebraska however has increased its exhausted eligibility grad rate to an impressive 95 percent.
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 23 percentage points since the inception of the rate in 1991-92.