Game 4: Nebraska vs. Wyoming
Sept. 24, 2011 | War Memorial Stadium
Laramie, Wyo. | 6:30 p.m.
Radio: Husker Sports Network (radio affiliates)
Series Record: NU Leads, 5-0
In Laramie: First Meeting
Last Meeting: Nebraska 42-32 in Lincoln, 1994
Rankings: Coaches-9; AP-9
Last Game: def. Washington, 51-38
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 33-12/4th year
vs. Wyo: first meeting
Rankings: Not ranked
Last Game: def. Bowling Green, 28-27
Coach: Dave Christensen
Career/UW Record: 13-15/3rd year
vs. NU: first meeting
Nebraska heads on the road for the first time in 2011, when it travels to Laramie, Wyo., Saturday evening to take on the Wyoming Cowboys. The game will be televised nationally on Versus with kickoff at Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium set for 5:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. CT).
The Huskers enter the game with a 3-0 record following a 51-38 victory over Washington in Lincoln. The Nebraska offense topped 40 points for the third straight game and rolled up more than 300 yards on the ground to key the victory. The Huskers’ 3-0 start leaves them ranked ninth in both the AP and Coaches polls this week.
The Nebraska-Wyoming game is one of only seven matchups in the nation this week between a pair of unbeaten teams. This year’s meeting is the first in a three-game series that will bring the Cowboys to Lincoln in 2013 and 2016.
The matchup between Nebraska and Wyoming will be the sixth all-time between the schools, with the Huskers holding a 5-0 edge in the series. Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the teams in Laramie, with the five previous NU wins all in Lincoln. Most recently, Nebraska defeated Wyoming, 42-32, in 1994. The 10-point margin was the second-closest game in NU’s 13-0 national championship season.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 33-12 record in his fourth 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 guided Nebraska to a conference championship game the past two seasons and to at least a share of the Big 12 divisional crown his first three seasons as head coach.
Washington: Dave Christensen (Western Michigan, '85) owns a 13-15 record in his third season as Wyoming’s head coach. Christensen guided the Cowboys to a 7-6 record and a victory in the New Mexico Bowl in 2009. Christensen previously served as offensive coordinator at Missouri for eight seasons before taking the Wyoming job.
Nebraska is 840-345-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories w Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997). * The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships. *Nebraska’s 47 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally. *Since 1970, Nebraska has 406 wins, 25 more than any other school. *Nebraska’s 99 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation. *The Huskers have had 107
All-Americans in school history.
Noting Game 3...Nebraska 51, Washington 38
*-Nebraska's scored 51 points, marking the third straight game to open the season with at least 40 points. The last time Nebraska had at least 40 points in the first three games was the 1995 season when NU topped 40 points against
Oklahoma State (64), Michigan State (50) and Arizona State (77). The first three games marks the first time Nebraska has scored 40 or more points in three straight games at any point in the season since games 10-12 of the 2008 season, when NU topped 40 points against Kansas, Kansas State and Colorado.
*-Nebraska scored 50 or more points in both games of the regular-season series with Washington in 2010 and 2011, joining the 56 points the Huskers scored in Seattle last season. It marked the first time NU had scored 50 or more against the same opponent in consecutive seasons since accomplishing the feat against Kansas in 2000 and 2001.
*-Nebraska scored a touchdown on its opening drive, marking the first time it scored a touchdown on the opening possession since last season against Missouri (nine games), when Roy Helu Jr. scored on a 66-yard touchdown run on Nebraska’s first play from scrimmage. Prior to Saturday, Nebraska had not scored a point on the first drive since kicking a field goal on its opening possession at Texas A&M last season.
*-Nebraska started three offensive linemen that originally joined the program as walk-ons–center Mike Caputo, and guards Spencer Long and Seung Hoon Choi. The game marked the first time since the first two games of 1988 Nebraska has started three walk-ons on the offensive line. In games against Texas A&M and Utah State to open 1988, NU started Jeff Anderson at center, John Nelson at guard and Bob Sledge at tackle.
*-Junior I-back Rex Burkhead produced his fifth career 100-yard rushing game with 120 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 22 carries. Burkhead scored his touchdowns on back-to-back one-yard plunges just nine seconds apart early in the third quarter. Burkhead moved up five spots to 33rd on NU’s career rushing list with 1,547 career yards.
*-Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez completed 10-of-21 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdown passes marked just the second time in Martinez’s career he has thrown for more than one touchdown in a game. Martinez had five touchdown passes at Oklahoma State last season.
*-With his 155 passing yards, Martinez became the 18th Nebraska quarterback with more than 2,000 career passing yards. Martinez now has 2,119 career passing yards to rank 17th on the Husker career chart. Martinez also rushed for 83 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown, as he accounted for 238 total yards on 38 attempts.
*-Freshman running back Aaron Green caught a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, on his first career reception. Green added 36 rushing yards on five carries, including a six-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
*-Senior fullback Tyler Legate had a 36-yard run in the third quarter, the longest rush by a NU fullback since Steve Kriewald had a 48-yard run at Oklahoma in 2004. Legate also caught his third career touchdown pass.
*-Nebraska rushed for 309 yards, improving to 13-0 in the past two seasons when rushing for at least 200 yards. NU is 20-2 under Bo Pelini when rushing for at least 200 yards. Nebraska had 92 first-half rushing yards, before churning out 217 rushing yards in the second half. The Huskers’ 313 rushing yards were their most since rushing for 328 in a win over Missouri in 2010. Nebraska rushed for 383 yards at Washington last year.
*-Freshman running back/returner Ameer Abdullah had three kickoff returns for 129 yards, including a 66-yard return to set up a second-quarter touchdown. Abdullah is now averaging 42.5 yards on eight returns.
*-Nebraska had six plays from scrimmage of at least 38 yards in the game, including three runs by Martinez (57, 38, 46) and passes by Martinez of 43 yards to Turner, 42 yards to Bell and 53 yards to Reed.
*-Nebraska senior defensive tackle Jared Crick had a one-yard sack in the second quarter, giving him 20 career sacks. Crick is the ninth player in school history with 20 career sacks and he has moved within 9.5 sacks of Trev Alberts’ NU career record of 29.5. Crick finished the day with six tackles, including two solos.
*-Nebraska senior linebacker Lavonte David had a first-quarter interception, marking his first career interception. David also had eight tackles in the game. Daimion Stafford led the Blackshirts with nine tackles, including six solo
Wyoming is a perfect 3-0 this season, defeating Weber State and Texas State at home, before going on the road to defeat Bowling Green last Saturday. The Cowboys are off to their best start in 15 seasons, thanks in part to their ability to win close games. Wyoming opened the year with a three-point win over Weber State, when the Cowboys completed the game-winning touchdown pass with 22 seconds remaining. After a 35-point win over Texas State, Wyoming again won in the waning seconds last weekend, blocking Bowling Green’s game-tying extra point attempt with three seconds on the clock in a 28-27 victory.
Wyoming is averaging 36.0 points per game, while allowing 23.0 points. The Cowboys feature a balanced offense, averaging 226.7 rushing yards per game and 265.7 passing yards. Quarterback Brett Smith is completing 61.8 percent of his passes and has thrown five touchdowns, while running back Ghaali Muhammad is averaging 66.0 rushing yards per game and 7.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, Wyoming is limiting opponents to 127.0 rushing yards per game and just 3.2 yards per carry. The Cowboys allow an average of 287.7 passing yards per game and have allowed six passing touchdowns. Wyoming has been a strong starter in each half, outscoring its opponents 63- 24 in the first and third quarters combined, including 35-7 in the third quarter.
Nebraska is a perfect 5-0 alltime against Wyoming, with all five previous meetings coming at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. This year’s meeting marks the fifth straight meeting between the programs when the Huskers have been ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll, dating back to 1968. NU has been ranked first or second in the three most recent meetings, including No. 1 in a 56-20 win in 1983 and No. 2 in a 42-7 win in 1984 and a 42-32 win in 1994. The Huskers’ 10-point win in the most recent meeting in 1994 marked the second closest game in series history, trailing only 14th-ranked Nebraska’s 13-10 win in 1968. Overall, Nebraska has won by an average of nearly 27 points per game in series history.
The Huskers’ trip to Wyoming marks the first time Nebraska has played a road game at a non-BCS conference school since a 38-14 win at Southern Miss in 2003.
Wyoming Head Coach Dave Christensen
Dave Christensen is in his third season at Wyoming and owns a 13-15 career record. He has led the Cowboys to a 3-0 start, the program’s best start since 1996. Christensen guided Wyoming to a 7-5 record and a victory over Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl in 2008, becoming the first Cowboy coach to win a bowl game in his first year.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Wyoming, Christensen spent the previous eight seasons as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Missouri. During that time, Christensen helped the Tigers to a 4-4 record against Nebraska.
In 2003, Christensen’s offense put up 41 points against then-Nebraska defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, as the Tigers won 41-24. Overall, Christensen’s Missouri offenses topped 40 points four times against the Huskers while averaging 26.8 points per game. Against Pelini’s defenses, Christensen’s offense scored 41 points in 2003 and 52 points in a 52-17 win in 2008, Pelini’s first season as Nebraska’s head coach.
In addition to his eight seasons at Missouri, Christensen spent nine years at Toledo, including the final four seasons as offensive coordinator. Christensen also made coaching stops at Idaho State (1990-91), Eastern Washington (1986-87) and Western Washington (1983). He also spent the 1984 and 1985 seasons as an assistant coach in the Washington high school ranks.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his fourth season as Nebraska’s head coach and owns a 33-12 record with the Huskers. Pelini helped Nebraska to at least a share of the Big 12 North title in each of his first three seasons, becoming the first coach in the history of that league to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first three years. Nebraska’s 3-0 start in 2011 is the third in four years under Pelini.
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.