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Huskers Host Spartans for Saturday Showdown
The Huskers host Michigan State at 11 a.m. on Saturday
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
10/24/2011
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GAME 8: NEBRASKA VS. MICHIGAN STATE
OCT. 29, 2011 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. |11 A.M.

HUSKERS
Record: 6-1, 2-1
Rankings: Coaches-13; AP-13
Last Game:  def. Minnesota, 41-14
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 36-13/4th year 
vs. MSU: 1-0

SPARTANS
Record: 6-1, 3-0
Rankings: Coaches-10; AP-9
Last Game:  def. Wisconsin, 37-31
Coach: Mark Dantonio
Career/MSU Record: 39-20/5th year/57-36/8th year
vs. NU: first meeting

The Matchup
Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium for the first of two consecutive home games, as the Huskers take on Michigan State Saturday in a key Legends Division matchup. Michigan  State enters the game atop the division at 3-0 in Big Ten play, one game ahead of Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan. The game is set for an 11:01 a.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium, with ESPN providing the national television coverage.

Nebraska improved to 6-1 and 2-1 in Big Ten play with a 41-14 win at Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. The Husker offense continued to be impressive, rolling up 346 rushing yards and 515 yards of total offense in the victory. Nebraska continues to rank among the nation's top rushing teams averaging better than 260 yards per game. Nebraska stands 13th in both the USA Today Coaches and AP polls and 14th in the BCS rankings heading into this week's game.

Michigan State pulled out a dramatic 37-31 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin Saturday in East Lansing to improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play. The win came on the heels of earlier October wins over Ohio State and Michigan. The Spartans are ranked ninth in the AP poll and 10th according to the coaches. MSU features one of the nation's top defenses, ranking in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense, total defense, pass defense and scoring defense.

Nebraska carries a seven-game home winning streak into Saturday's game and NU has also won eight straight games at Memorial Stadium against Big Ten teams, dating back to a 1981 loss to Penn State, an independent at that time.

The Series
Nebraska owns a 5-0 advantage in the all-time series with Michigan State, including a 3-0 edge in Lincoln. Nebraska won two games in 1914 and 1920, and then swept a home-and-home in 1995 and 1996. The most recent NU win was a 17-3 victory in the 2003 Alamo Bowl when Bo Pelini served as interim head coach for the Huskers.

The Coaches
Nebraska:
Bo Pelini (Ohio State, '90) owns a 36-13 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.

Michigan State: Mark Dantonio (South Carolina, '79) owns a 39-20 record in his fifth season as the head coach at Michigan State and a 57-36 record in eight seasons overall as a college head coach. Dantonio guided MSU to a school-record 11 wins in 2010. Before his time at MSU, Dantonio was the head coach at Cincinnati for three seasons.

Nebraska Football
*-Nebraska is 843-346-40 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 47 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally.

*-Since 1970, Nebraska has 409 wins, 26 more than any other school.

*-Nebraska's 99 football Academic All-Americans leads the nation.

*-The Huskers have had 107 All-Americans in school history.

Scouting Michigan State
Michigan State enters Saturday's matchup atop the Big Ten Legends Division standings with a 6-1 overall record and a 3-0 mark in conference play. The Spartans are ranked ninth in the Associated Press poll and are looking to take another major step toward earning the Legends Division berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan State has opened its conference season with wins at Ohio State and at home against then-No. 11 Michigan and then-No. 4 Wisconsin.

The Spartans boast one of the nation's top defenses, as they rank second in total defense, second in pass and pass efficiency defense, seventh in scoring defense and eighth in total defense. Michigan State has held four of its first seven opponents to seven points or less, while only two teams have scored 15 points against the stingy Spartan defense.

MSU has been strong against the run and the pass. The Spartans allow only 88.9 rushing yards per game and just 134.0 passing yards per contest. They also feature an agressive defense that ranks sixth nationally in sacks and 20th in tackles for loss.

Offensively, Michigan State relies on senior quarterback Kirk Cousins to direct an efficient passing attack. The Spartans rank 43rd nationally in passing yards per game and are 77th nationally in rushing. Cousins has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes this season for 1,607 yards. He has also thrown for 11 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

Series History
Nebraska and Michigan State are meeting for the sixth time and for only the second time inside Memorial Stadium. The Huskers have won each of the first five meetings, including a 3-0 record in Lincoln and a 1-0 mark at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska has won each of the first five meetings by at least two touchdowns, winning by an average score of 36-7. The most recent meeting came in the 2003 Alamo Bowl, when interim Head Coach Bo Pelini led No. 22 Nebraska to a 17-3 victory after serving as the Huskers' defensive coordinator during the regular season.

Since 1962, Nebraska is 17-1 against Big Ten teams at Memorial Stadium, with the Huskers' lone loss coming to Penn State in 1981, when the Nittany Lions weren't yet a Big Ten member. Overall, Nebraska has won eight straight home games against Big Ten opponents. Saturday's meeting marks the first time in six games the Spartans have been ranked entering a game with the Huskers.

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Mark Dantonio is in his fifth season at Michigan State and his eighth season overall as a head coach. Dantonio has guided the Spartans to a 39-20 record during his tenure, including an 11-2 record last season. Michigan State set a school record with its 11-win campaign in 2010, while the Spartans finished 14th in the national rankings and Dantonio was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Dantonio has led Michigan State to a winning record in each of his first four seasons, after the Spartans had posted a losing record in each of the three seasons before his arrival. He has a total of 31 years of collegiate coaching experience. Before taking over at Michigan State, Dantonio coached Cincinnati for three seasons, compiling an 18-17 record from 2004 to 2006.

As an assistant coach, Dantonio made stops at Ohio State (2001-03), Michigan State (1995-2000), Kansas (1991-94), Youngstown State (1986-90) and Akron (1985). Although he has never faced Nebraska as a head coach, Dantonio is 0-6 against the Huskers. He was on the Michigan State staff when the Spartans lost to Nebraska in 1995 (50-10) and 1996 (55-14). Dantonio also went 0-4 against the Huskers in his four seasons on the Kansas sidelines, including a 21-20 loss in Lawrence in 1993, when the Jayhawks scored with 52 seconds remaining, but failed to convert a two-point try.

 Noting Game 7...Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14
*-Nebraska's 41-14 victory was the Huskers' 15th straight against Minnesota, dating back to 1963. Nebraska improved to 6-1 for the second straight season and the third time since 2004. The win gave Nebraska six wins or more for the 48th time in the past 50 seasons and made Nebraska eligible for its 41st bowl appearance in the past 43 seasons. Nebraska won for the 10th time in its past 12 road games, dating back to the 2009 season.

*-Nebraska scored the first 34 points before Minnesota scored with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter. Nebraska scored 145 consecutive points against Minnesota spanning four games before the Gophers' score. Minnesota's previous score against Nebraska came eight seconds into the fourth quarter of a 1984 game in Lincoln.

*-Nebraska's 34-0 halftime lead tied for the largest halftime lead under Head Coach Bo Pelini. Nebraska also led 34-0 at halftime of a 55-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in Lincoln in 2009.

*-Nebraska's 34 unanswered points to start the game came after the Huskers scored the final 28 points two weeks ago against Ohio State, giving Nebraska 62 consecutive points over two games.

*-Nebraska finished with a season-high 346 rushing yards on 56 carries, bettering the previous season high of 333 yards at Wyoming. The rushing total was Nebraska's most since rushing for 451 yards at Kansas State last season and marked its highest road total since running for 383 yards at Washington last year. It also marked NU's third 300-yard rushing day of the season and the ninth under Bo Pelini.

*-The game marked the sixth time in seven games this season that the Husker offense has rushed for 200 or more yards. NU is 6-0 this season when rushing for 200 yards and is 16-0 the past two seasons when crossing the 200-yard plateau on the ground. Overall, Nebraska is 23-2 under Coach Bo Pelini when rushing for 200-plus. 

*-Nebraska posted a season-high 515 yards of total offense, bettering its 490 yards at Wyoming. It was Nebraska's top total offensive output since gaining 540 yards at Oklahoma State last season.

*-Junior I-back Rex Burkhead rushed 23 times for a 117 yards and a touchdown. In the process, Burkhead became the 26th Husker player to eclipse 2,000 career yards. Burkhead has 2,049 career rushing yards, including 752 yards and 10 rushing TDs this season. Burkhead posted his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, all coming in the past five games. Burkhead now owns eight career 100-yard rushing games.

*-Taylor Martinez completed 13-of-22 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, including an 8-of-10 passing effort in the first half. Martinez pushed his career passing total to 2,807 yards, moving him within eight yards of 10th place on the NU career passing list (Steve Taylor, 2,815 yards). 

*-Senior fullback Tyler Legate caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to give NU a 10-0 lead. The TD catch was the fourth of Legate's career on seven total receptions. He has two touchdown catches in three receptions this year (Washington).

*-Nebraska freshman receiver Kenny Bell had an 82-yard touchdown run in the second quarter on his first career rushing attempt. The 82-yard run was the longest rush by a Husker since Cory Ross had an 86-yard touchdown run against Missouri on Oct. 30, 2004. The 82-yard TD run was also the longest TD run by a freshman in school history.

*-Brandon Kinnie had a career-long 61-yard reception in the second quarter to set up a Nebraska field goal. The 61-yard reception bettered his previous career long of 55 yards at Washington in 2010.

*-Senior safety Austin Cassidy had an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter to give NU a 27-0 lead. The touchdown was the second of Cassidy's career along with an interception return for a touchdown at Iowa State last season. The defensive TD was Nebraska's first of the season, and Cassidy has Nebraska's last two defensive touchdowns. The fumble return for a touchdown was Nebraska's first since Daniel Bullocks had a fumble return for a touchdown against Wake Forest in 2005.

*-Senior linebacker Lavonte David recorded six tackles, including an eight-yard tackle for loss. The six tackles pushed David's career tackle total to 216, moving him within four tackles of the top 20 on the NU career tackles list. He is also four tackles from posting the best career tackle total among two-year players in school history (Demorrio Williams, 220).

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his fourth season as Nebraska's head coach and owns a 36-13 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.

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 36-13 record, Pelini has 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. Pelini has joined Solich as the only NU coaches with two 10-win seasons in their first three years.

*- Pelini, Solich and Texas' Mack Brown were 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 schools. 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 35 wins.

*-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. Only Pelini and Bill Stewart (former West Virginia coach) from the group won nine games each of the past three seasons.

Pelini Continues Defensive Accomplishments at Nebraska

At Nebraska, Pelini has continued his history of building championship defenses. Nebraska finished second in the Big 12 in total defense in 2008, a year after NU was 100th or worse in nearly every defensive category. In 2009, the Huskers led the nation in scoring defense and had the nation's best scoring defensive improvement (18.1 ppg). Last season Nebraska again ranked among the nation's best in several defensive categories.

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 115 games as a collegiate coach, Pelini's defenses have posted 10 shutouts, held the opposition to seven points or less 36 times and to 20 points or less 75 times.

*-Pelini-led defenses have 225 total takeaways, including two top-three national rankings.

Four Assistants in First Season on Husker Staff
After having the same coaching staff for each of his first three seasons at Nebraska, Bo Pelini welcomed four new assistants in 2011. Rich Fisher (receivers), John Garrison (assistant offensive line/tight ends), Ross Els (linebackers) and Corey Raymond (secondary) are all in their first seasons as full-time members of the Husker coaching staff.                      

In addition to the new faces, Pelini shuffled some duties among returning coaches. Tim Beck takes over the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Ron Brown shifts to tutoring the Nebraska running backs.

Nebraska in Inaugural Season in Big Ten Conference
Nebraska officially became the 12th member of the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2011. The Huskers began their first season of Big Ten Conference earlier this month and are 2-1 in conference action. 

Nebraska has won football championships in four conferences during its 121 years of intercollegiate football, and also competed as an independent for several years. Overall, Nebraska has won 43 conference championships.

The major conferences for the Nebraska football program since the first season of play in 1890 include:

1890-1891: Independent

1892-1897: Western Inter-State Foot Ball Association

1898-1906, 1918-1920: Independent

1907-1917, 1921-1927: Missouri Valley Conference (12 conference titles)

1928-1947: Big Six Conference (9 conference titles)

1948-1959: Big Seven Conference

1960-1995: Big Eight Conference (20 conference titles)

1996-2010: Big 12 Conference (2 conference titles)

2011-: Big Ten Conference

Nebraska holds a 33-6 record against Big Ten opponents since 1970. The Huskers have won eight straight games in Lincoln against conference foes dating back to a 1981 loss to Penn State, an independent at that time.

*-Among Big Ten Conference opponents, Nebraska has faced Minnesota the most, taking on the Gophers 51 times. Minnesota holds a 29-21-2 edge in the all-time series, but Nebraska has won the past 15 meetings dating back to 1963, including last Saturday's 41-14 win in Minneapolis.

*-Nebraska and Iowa have met 41 times in football, with the Huskers owning a 26-12-3 advantage. The two teams have met just six times since 1946, with NU winning five of those six meetings. Nebraska and Iowa will complete the regular season against each other through at least 2014, and will battle on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2011 and 2012. Nebraska has played on the day after Thanksgiving every year since 1990, facing either Oklahoma or Colorado.

*-Aside from Minnesota and Iowa, Nebraska had faced the remaining six Big Ten foes on the 2011 schedule a total of 35 times entering the season, led by 13 meetings with Penn State.

Legends and Leaders
The Big Ten Conference is divided into two divisions for football competition-Legends and Leaders. Winners of the respective divisions will meet on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.

Nebraska is in the Legends Division along with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. Nebraska will face each member of the Legends Division on an annual basis. The Leaders Division consists of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Huskers will face Penn State every year in a protected cross-over game, while the other five opponents will rotate onto Nebraska's schedule.

In 2011 and 2012, Nebraska will face Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Leaders Division. Nebraska will take on Illinois and Purdue in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and does not face Indiana in the regular season in its first four years of Big Ten schedules.

The 2011 Schedule
Nebraska is facing arguably one of the nation's most difficult schedules in 2011 and one of the most demanding slates in school history. The 2011 schedule featured nine games against teams that participated in a bowl game in 2010. Included in that group are BCS bowl teams Ohio State (Sugar) and Wisconsin (Rose). Other teams that appeared in a bowl game include Fresno State (Humanitarian), Washington (Holiday), Michigan State (Capital One), Northwestern (Ticket City), Penn State (Outback), Michigan (Gator) and Iowa (Insight).

Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State shared the Big Ten title in 2010, and each of those three schools won 11 regular-season games.

Nebraska's home schedule is arguably the most attractive in school history. In addition to the new flavor of Big Ten foes, six of the seven opponents coming to Memorial Stadium competed in a bowl game last fall.

Huskers Look to Continue Home Success against B1G
Nebraska carries a modest seven-game home winning streak into Saturday's meeting with Michigan State. The Huskers also own an impressive winning streak against opponents from the new conference at Memorial Stadium.

*-Nebraska has won its past eight games in Lincoln against current members of the Big Ten, dating back to a 30-24 loss to No. 3 Penn State in 1981. The Nittany Lions were an independent at that time.

*-When counting only games against members of the Big Ten at game time, Nebraska has won 18 straight games at Memorial Stadium against conference foes, dating back to a 26-14 loss to Minnesota in 1960.

*-Overall, Nebraska is 47-17-4 against Big Ten teams in Lincoln.

Pelini Looking For Second Win Against Michigan State
Nebraska fourth-year head coach Bo Pelini has captured 35 wins since taking the reins of the NU program full-time before the 2008 season. However, his first victory as Husker head coach came nearly four years before he became the full-time head coach of the Huskers. Pelini guided NU to a 17-3 victory over Michigan State in the 2003 Alamo Bowl, while serving as Nebraska's interim head coach.

The victory capped a 10-3 Nebraska season and officially gave Pelini the first of his 36 overall victories entering Saturday's matchup with the Spartans. In Pelini's role as interim head coach, he guided a tenacious Nebraska defense that held the Spartans to just 174 yards of total offense, including only 18 rushing yards, while recording five sacks.

Offensively, Nebraska rushed for 229 yards, led by Cory Ross' 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Huskers at Home vs. Ranked Teams
Nebraska's matchup with ninth-ranked Michigan State marks Nebraska's second game against a ranked opponent this season, but its first at Memorial Stadium. Saturday's game wil mark the fourth ranked opponent Nebraska has faced at home under Bo Pelini, with the Huskers posting a 2-1 record. Overall, Nebraska has a 7-6 record against ranked opponents in Lincoln since 2000.

Last Five Nebraska Home Games vs. Ranked Opponents

Date

Opponent

NU Rank (AP)

Opp. Rank (AP)

Result

Oct. 30, 2010

Missouri

14

7

W, 31-17

Nov. 7, 2009

Oklahoma

NR

20

W, 10-3

Oct. 4, 2008

Missouri

NR

4

L, 52-17

Sept. 15, 2007

USC

14

1

L, 49-31

Nov. 4, 2006

Missouri

NR

25

W, 34-20

Nebraska Looks for Another Strong Second-Half Record
Nebraska finished the first half of its regular season at 5-1 for the second consecutive year. In each of Bo Pelini's first three seasons as head coach, Nebraska has equaled or bettered its first-half record during the second six games of the regular season. Overall, Nebraska is 17-7 in the first half of the regular season under Pelini, and 16-3 after the midway point during Pelini's first three seasons, including last Saturday's 41-14 win at Minnesota.

Regular Season Records Under Pelini

Year

First Half

Second Half

Final Regular-Season Record

2008

3-3

5-1

8-4

2009

4-2

5-1

9-3

2010

5-1

5-1

10-2

2011

5-1

1-0

--

Totals

17-7

16-3

 

*-The 5-1 records in the second half of each of the past three regular seasons were the best for Nebraska since a 5-1 mark after the midway point of the 2001 season. Nebraska last posted a perfect second half of the regular season in 1997 when NU was a perfect 13-0 and won the national championship.

*-Nebraska is 8-1 at Memorial Stadium in the second half of the season over the past three-plus years and 8-2 in road games.

*-The Huskers own a 3-2 record against ranked opponents after the midway point of the regular season in Pelini's three seasons as head coach. Michigan State will come to Lincoln ranked 10th nationally by the coaches and ninth in the AP poll.

*-The Nebraska defense has held 13 of 19 opponents to 20 points or less in the second half of the past three regular seasons, including six foes that have been held to single digits on the scoreboard.

*-On offense, Nebraska has scored at least 30 points in 11 of 19 games after the midway point of the regular season under Pelini.

Husker Players Fill National Award Watch Lists
Nebraska features several players who ranked among the nation's top returning talent in 2011. Senior linebacker Lavonte David, senior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and senior defensive tackle Jared Crick were all selected as preseason All-Americans by at least one media outlet. Including each member of that trio, a total of eight Huskers have combined for 23 selections to preseason watch lists for a major national award. Nebraska also boasted the returning production of several players who rank among the nation's best.

*-David set a school record with 152 tackles in his first year as a Husker in 2010, and has 64 tackles in 2011. David's career average of 10.3 tackles per game ranks fourth nationally.

*-Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for 965 yards last season, the second-highest total by a Husker freshman, regardless of position. Martinez's 2010 rushing total ranked second nationally among returning quarterbacks, trailing only Michigan's Denard Robinson. Martinez is fourth nationally in rushing among QBs in 2011.

*-Martinez and junior I-back Rex Burkhead combined to rush for 1,916 yards last season. That total ranked Martinez and Burkhead as the third-highest returning quarterback-running back rushing tandem in the country. After combining for 137 yards per game last season, the duo has combined for at least 200 rushing yards in five of the first seven games and is averaging 198.3 rushing yards per game through seven contests.

Huskers Featuring One of Nation's Top Rushing Attacks
Nebraska led the Big 12 and ranked ninth nationally in rushing offense in 2010, averaging 247.6 yards per game. Nebraska's national rushing ranking was its highest since 2003 (7th) and the 247.6 yards per game were its best since averaging 268.7 yards on the ground in 2002. Nebraska did not finish higher than 23rd nationally in rushing between 2004 and 2009. The Huskers are again one of the nation's top running teams in 2011, averaging 261.0 yards per game. Nebraska ranks first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in that category.  

The Huskers have topped 200 yards on the ground in six of the first seven games, including a season-high 346 yards agasint Minnesota. Nebraska also topped 300 yards rushing with 309 yards against Washington and 333 rushing yards at Wyoming. Nebraska was limited to 159 rushing yards at Wisconsin, the only time in 2011 it has not reached 200 yards on the ground. NU is now 16-0 the past two seasons when rushing for 200 yards or more and 23-2 under Bo Pelini when hitting the 200-yard plateau. The performance at Minnesota marked the ninth 300-yard rushing game under Pelini, with Nebraska winning each of those games.

The rushing numbers Nebraska has produced since the start of the 2010 season bring back memories of past Nebraska running attacks.

*-Nebraska's back-to-back 300-yard rushing games against Washington and Wyoming marked the second time NU has accomplished that in the past two seasons (also games 2 and 3 in 2010). Prior to that, NU had not topped 300 rushing yards in consecutive games since late in 2002. Nebraska opened 2011 with four straight 200-yard rushing games, after beginning last year with five straight 200-yard rushing games.

*-Nebraska's 346 rushing yards at Minnesota were its sixth-most rushing yards since the start of 2004. Nebraska has posted seven of its top 12 rushing games in the past eight seasons since the start of the 2010 campaign (21 games).

*-Last season, Nebraska posted 300 rushing yards in consecutive road games (Washington, Kansas State) for the first time since 2001. 

*-Nebraska has produced seven 100-yard rushing games this season (Burkhead, 4; Martinez, 3).  A year ago, Nebraska had 12 100-yard rushing games, after having just 16 combined 100-yard rushing games the previous three seasons (2007-09). The 12 100-yard games in 2010 were the most by NU since the 2001 team had 16 100-yard rushing outings in 13 games.

*-Nebraska has rushed for 1,827 yards through seven games. In 2010, Nebraska rushed for 3,466 yards in 14 games, over 1,400 yards more than in 14 games in 2009. The 2010 season marked the first time NU rushed for 2,500 yards in a season since 2003.

Running Game Dominant After Halftime
Nebraska has relied on its running game throughout the 2011 season, and it has been at its best on the ground after halftime. Nebraska topped 200 second-half rushing yards against both Washington and Wyoming, and fell just short of the 200-yard rushing plateau in the second half of its record-setting comeback against Ohio State (195 yards).

For the season, Nebraska is averaging 261.0 rushing yards per game, including 113.1 yards in the first half and 147.9 yards after halftime. The Huskers average 5.5 yards per rush on the season, including 5.5 yards in both the first and second half.

Husker Running Game by Half

Opponent

First Half (Att-Yds.)

Second Half (Att-Yds.)

Total Rushing

Chattanooga

23-150

20-79

43-229

Fresno State

18-127

17-92

35-219

Washington

18-92

37-217

55-309

at Wyoming

14-113

35-220

49-333

at Wisconsin

22-60

21-99

43-159

Ohio State

19-37

32-195

51-232

at Minnesota

30-213

26-133

56-346

Totals

144-792

188-1,035

332-1,827

 

113.1 ypg/5.5 ypc

147.9 ypg/5.5 ypc

261.0 ypg/5.5 ypc

 

Burkhead and Martinez Give NU One of Nation's Top Rushing Tandems
Entering the season, I-back Rex Burkhead and quarterback Taylor Martinez figured to provide NU with one of the nation's top running tandems, and the duo has lived up to those expectations.                     

Burkhead has rushed 130 times for 752 yards and 10 touchdowns, while averaging 5.8 yards per tote. He has topped 100 rushing yards four times in the past five games (Washington, Wyoming, Ohio State, Minnesota), while narrowly missing the mark against Wisconsin. Burkhead had a career-high 170 yards at Wyoming. Martinez has rushed 110 times for 636 yards and nine touchdowns, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Martinez had 100-yard rushing games in the season's first two games, and added his third 100-yard rushing outing against Ohio State.

Burkhead ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 17th nationally in rushing yards per game (107.4 ypg), while Martinez is sixth in the Big Ten and 41st nationally (90.9 ypg).        

The potent rushing duo has combined for seven 100-yard rushing days, including the 69th double 100-yard rushing game in school history against Ohio State. It marked the second time in their career (at Washington, 2010) that Martinez and Burkhead had topped the century mark in the same game. The milestone also came against one of the nation's traditionally tough run defenses. The 100-yard rushing games by Burkhead and Martinez marked only the eighth and ninth 100-yard rushing games against the Buckeyes since the start of the 2007 season, and the first time in that time period OSU has allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game.

Both Martinez and Burkhead topped 900 yards last season-Martinez with 965 yards and Burkhead with 951. Nebraska and Wisconsin were the only teams nationally with a pair of returning 900-yard rushers from last season. Not only was a pair of returning 900-yard rushers a rare feat in college football this season, it is also nearly unheard of in the history of Nebraska football. The 2011 season marked only the third time in Husker history that Nebraska returned two 900-yard rushers from the previous season. The only other seasons where NU returned that production were in 1982 (Roger Craig and Mike Rozier) and 1992 (Derek Brown and Calvin Jones).

Burkhead and Martinez also ranked third among the nation's top returning running back-quarterback rushing tandems (behind Michigan's Vincent Smith and Denard Robinson and Oregon's LaMichael James and Darron Thomas).

FBS Teams Returning Multiple 900-Yard Rushers from 2010

1. Wisconsin (James White - 1,052; Montee Ball - 996)

2. Nebraska (Taylor Martinez (QB) - 965; Rex Burkhead - 951)

FBS Top Returning Quarterback-Running Back Rushing Combination

1. Michigan, 2,303 yards (Denard Robinson - 1,702; Vincent Smith - 601)

2. Oregon, 2,217 yards (Darron Thomas - 486; LaMichael James - 1,731)

3. Nebraska, 1,916 yards (Taylor Martinez - 965;  Rex Burkhead - 951)

Husker Teams with Two Returning 900-Yard Rushers from Previous Season
» 2011 (Taylor Martinez & Rex Burkhead)

» 1992 (Derek Brown & Calvin Jones)

» 1982 (Roger Craig & Mike Rozier)

Martinez Producing Another Dual-Threat Season
Nebraska sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez has been a prolific play-maker for the Nebraska offense since taking the reins of the offense at the start of the 2010 season. Martinez has produced a strong first half of the 2011 season, much like his redshirt freshman campaign.

Martinez rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns against Chattanooga, then had 166 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State. His third 100-yard rushing game came against Ohio State when he had 17 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown. Martinez is averaging 90.9 rushing yards per game to rank sixth in the Big Ten.

*-Martinez is third in the Big Ten and 34th nationally in total offense at 258.9 yards per game. Martinez threw for 219 yards against Fresno State, the second-highest passing total of his career. In that game, he also posted his second career 200-passing, 100-yard rushing day, the only two such games in NU history.

*-Martinez continues to show his big-play ability. He has six rushes of at least 20 yards in 2011, including four of at least 40 yards. He also has 19 passes covering at least 20 yards, including six plays of more than 40 yards.

*-Martinez rushed for three touchdowns against Chattanooga to mark the fourth time in his career he has rushed for at least three touchdowns, including season openers the past two years. Overall, he has six career multi-rushing TD games.

*-Martinez had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to start the year, and has eight 100-yard rushing games in 20 career games. Martinez's eight career 100-yard rushing games is tied for second with Jammal Lord among Nebraska quarterbacks, trailing only Eric Crouch (18).

In eight September games as Nebraska's starter, Martinez has guided the Huskers to an 8-0 record, with the offense averaging 41.3 points per game. As a September passer, Martinez has completed 77-of-142 passes for 1,179 yards and six touchdowns, but his ground game has provided his biggest September statistics.

Martinez averages 113.9 rushing yards per game in September and has topped 100 rushing yards in five of eight games. He averages an impressive 7.9 yards per carry in September, including 14 rushes of 20 yards or more. Martinez also has 15 of his 19 career rushing touchdowns in September, including runs of 43 (twice), 46 (twice), 47, 67 and 80 yards. Martinez has three games in September with three rushing touchdowns.

Martinez reached a pair of milestones against Ohio State.

*-With his 191 passing yards, Martinez became just the 12th Husker with 2,500 passing yards. He ranks 11th in NU history with 2,807 passing yards and is just eight yards from cracking the top 10.

*-Martinez also cracked the 4,000-yard total offense mark against Ohio State, doing so in his 19th career game. In reaching 4,000 career total offense yards in his 19th career game, Martinez tied for the quickest player to reach that mark in NU history. Quarterbacks Zac Taylor and Joe Ganz also reached 4,000 career total offense yards in their 19th game at Nebraska. Martinez stands at 4,408 career total offense yards, leaving him 226 yards outside the career top 10 list.

Burkhead a Workhorse in Rushing Attack
Junior I-back Rex Burkhead has been the focal point of the rushing attack in recent weeks, topping 100 yards three times and posting 96 rushing yards at Wisconsin. Burkhead has 22 carries for 120 yards against Washington, then ran for a career-high 170 yards on just 15 carries at Wyoming. He added a career-high 26 carries for 119 yards in Nebraska's 34-27 win over Ohio State, and posted his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season at Minnesota with 117 yards on 23 carrries.

Burkhead has eight career 100-yard rushing games and has scored 10 rushing touchdowns this year, including three games with two rushing touchdowns (Fresno State, Washington, Wyoming). He also had a pair of touchdowns against Ohio State, scoring one by rush and one on a reception.

Burkhead has also accurately earned a reputation as a tough, durable and powerful back.

*- On 130 carries in 2011, Burkhead has just 17 rushing yards lost and averages 5.8 yards per carry.

*- The Nebraska ground game has been at its best in the second half this season, in large part due to Burkhead. NU averages 147.9 yards rushing in the second half. Burkhead saw only limited second-half action in the opener against Chattanooga, but in the past six games, he has averged 71.3 yards rushing in the second half.

*-The victory over Ohio State was the highlight of Burkhead's second-half play in 2011. After rushing for 10 yards on 11 carries before halftime, Burkhead had 15 carries for 109 yards in the second half, including 12 carries for 96 yards in the fourth quarter alone. Burkhead also had a 30-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception, giving him 139 all-purpose yards in the second half. 

Burkhead has also had a key role in clock-killing clinching drives against both Fresno State, Washington and Ohio State. He has 37 fourth-quarter carries and has averaged 6.84 yards per carry in the fourth quarter.

In addition to his second-half excellence, Burkhead has been at his best in the red zone. Of his 26 carries in the red zone, Burkhead has gained a first down or a touchdown on 12 rushes. Overall, Burkhead has scored a touchdown or gained a first down on 37 percent of his carries (48-of-130).

Burkhead continues to move up the Nebraska rushing chart. Against Minnesota he became the 26th player in Nebraska history to surpass 2,000 career rushing yards. He now has 2,049 career rushing yards to rank 26th on the NU list. He is just 156 yards from the top 20 on the Nebraska career rushing list.

Nebraska Continuing to Light the Scoreboard in 2011
Nebraska is averaging 37.6 points per game to rank second in the Big Ten Conference and 20th nationally. The Huskers scored 40 points or more in each of the first three games, and have topped 30 points in six of seven games.

*-The 2011 season marked the first time Nebraska opened the season with three straight games of 40-plus points since the 1995 season. Nebraska opened the year with four straight games of at least 40 points en route to a 12-0 record and second straight national championship.

*- This season marked only the fourth time in school history Nebraska scored 40 points or more in each of the first three games, also in 1995, 1989 and 1983. The 1983 team opened the year with five straight 40-plus point games, the 1995 had four and the 1989 team with three.

*-Nebraska had not topped 40 points in three straight games at any point in the season since 2008.

*-This year marks the first time since 2008 Nebraska had 30 or more points in each of its first four games. Prior to 2008, NU had not accomplished that scoring feat since 1995.

*-This season marks the second time under Bo Pelini (2008) that Nebraska has topped 30 points in six of the first seven games. Prior to 2008, NU had not reached at least 30 points in six of the first seven games since 2000.

*-Nebraska did not reach the end zone in the second half at Wisconsin, but prior to that, the Huskers had scored a touchdown in 14 consecutive quarters. NU has scored at least one TD in 22 of 28 quarters this season.

NU Offense Continues to Show Home-Run Ability
Nebraska's 2010 offense featured a big-play element led by Taylor Martinez, and 2011 appears to be no different. NU is averaging 6.2 yards per play, including 34 offensive plays of at least 20 yards and 13 of more than 40 yards.

*-Martinez has four rushes of more than 40 yards, including a long of 57 yards against Fresno State and touchdowns of 43, 46 and 47 yards. He also had a 37-yard run against Fresno State. Martinez is averaging 5.8 yards per rush and 6.94 yards per play this season.

*-NU had three pass plays of more than 40 yards against Fresno State and added a 50-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage against Washington. Martinez averaged 21.9 yards on 10 completions against Fresno State and 15.5 yards on 10 completed passes against Washington. He is averaging 14.2 yards per completion through seven games. Five Husker receivers are each averaging more than 14.5 yards per catch in 2011.

Young Huskers Adding Explosive Element to NU Offense
The Nebraska offense is filled with youth this fall, as 11 players in the offensive two-deep depth chart saw their first action in the opener against Chattanooga. That young talent and ability has been evident in the first half of the 2011 season.

*-Every yard and point in the Fresno State contest was accounted by a player that was a junior or younger, highlighted by explosive plays by Nebraska freshmen and sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez. For the season, Nebraska has had just 12 points scored by a senior (TD receptions by Tyler Legate vs. Washington and at Minnesota).

*-A trio of freshmen delivered at the skill positions against Fresno State. I-back/returner Ameer Abdullah  and receivers Jamal Turner and Kenny Bell combined for 336 all-purpose yards on 12 touches, a 28.0-yard average.

*-Abdullah had 231 all-purpose yards on eight touches, including a school-record 211 kickoff return yards on five returns. Abdullah had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, tying for the second-longest return in school history. The 211 return yards were eighth in Big Ten history. Abdullah added three returns for 129 yards, including a 66-yarder against Washington and had 187 yards on kickoff returns at Wisconsin. His average of 31.9 yards per return ranks fourth nationally.

*-Abdullah and fellow true freshmen backs Aaron Green and Braylon Heard combined for 11 rushes for 74 yards against Washington and 15 rushes for 88 yards at Wyoming. Green also had a 25-yard touchdown reception against Washington. The trio combined for 92 rushing yards at Minnesota, including a touchdown run by Green.

*-Turner and Bell are Nebraska's top two receivers with 15 and 13 catches, respectively. The duo has combined for three receptions of better than 40 yards, while Bell also had an 82-yard TD run at Minnesota. Turner leads the team with 15 receptions for 243 yards, an average of 16.2 yards per catch. Of his 15 receptions, 13 have resulted in first downs, and he had a season-high five catches for 84 yards at Wisconsin. Bell averages 14.5 yards on his 13 catches in 2011, including a season-high four catches at Minnesota.

*-Bell's 82-yard reverse run for a touchdown at Minnesota came on his first career carry. His 82-yard run was the longest by a Husker since Cory Ross had an 86-yard touchdown run against Missouri on Oct. 30, 2004. The TD run was also the longest in school history by a Nebraska freshman.

Deep Offensive Line an Impressive Mix of Youth and Veterans
Nebraska has a long tradition of annually putting one of the nation's top offensive lines on the field. The Huskers traditionally have also had an offensive line consisting primarily of upperclassmen. Last year, the Huskers started three seniors and a junior on the line for the majority of the season. That trend changed early in 2011, with a youth movement up front. In the first two games in 2011, Nebraska started a true freshman, redshirt freshman, and a pair of sophomores up front, along with a pair of seniors. The past three games, NU has started three seniors and two sophomores in the offensive line.

Highlighting the youth movement is true freshman Tyler Moore, who started at right tackle each of the first four weeks, marking a historic milestone in Nebraska history.

*-Moore, who enrolled in January, was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in Nebraska history, and just the fourth freshman offensive lineman to earn a start in Nebraska's season opener, joining redshirt freshmen Jeremiah Sirles (2010 vs. Western Kentucky), Marcel Jones (2008 vs. Western Michigan) and Richie Incognito (2002 vs. Arizona State).

*-Moore is also just the fourth true freshman offensive lineman to start a game at Nebraska and the first since 2007. Previous true freshman starters on the offensive line include: Jaivorio Burkes (2 starts in 2007), Jacob Hickman (1 start in 2006) and Matt Slauson (3 starts in 2005).

*-Moore is only the 10th true freshman offensive lineman to appear in a game for the Huskers since freshmen regained eligibility in 1973, and just the sixth to appear in a season opener.

True Freshmen Offensive Linemen to Play at Nebraska (10)
Tyler Moore (2011), Andrew Rodriguez (2010), Jaivorio Burkes (2007), Jacob Hickman (2006), Matt Slauson (2005), Greg Austin (2003), Toniu Fonoti (1999), John Garrison (1999), Will Shields (1989), Jake Young (1986)

True Freshmen Offensive Linemen to Play in Season Opener (6)
Tyler Moore (2011), Andrew Rodriguez (2010), Tonui Fonoti (1999), John Garrison (1999), Will Shields (1989), Jake Young (1986)

True Freshmen Offensive Linemen to Start a Game (4)
Tyler Moore (4 games in 2011), Jaivorio Burkes (2 games in 2007), Jacob Hickman (1 game in 2006),

Matt Slauson (3 games in 2005)

Freshmen Offensive Linemen to Start Season Opener (4)
Tyler Moore (2011), Jeremiah Sirles (RFr., 2010), Marcel Jones (RFr., 2008), Richie Incognito (RFr., 2002)

*-The three underclassmen in the starting offensive line were a rarity. The Chattanooga game marked the first time NU started three underclassmen on the offensive line in any game since 2008, and the first time ever in a season opener.

Against Washington and Wyoming, Nebraska had another rarity on the line. Junior walk-on Seung Hoon Choi started the two games at left guard, joining right guard Spencer Long and center Mike Caputo as original walk-on players who started on the line. The Washington game marked the first time since the first two games of 1988 that Nebraska had started three walk-ons on the offensive line.

Nebraska has employed a rotation with as many as eight offensive linemen in recent weeks. The line has provided the push for Nebraska to rank seventh nationally in rushing offense at 261.0 yards per game.

David Building on Record-Setting 2010 Season
Linebacker Lavonte David arrived on the Nebraska campus just a few months before the 2010 season, but by the end of the year he had put his name in the Nebraska record book and in the minds of college football fans around the country. In 2011, the 6-1, 225-pound David is playing at an equally high level and is a strong candidate for national honors, including one of the leading contenders for the Butkus Award.

David set a Nebraska season record with 152 tackles in 2010, and his 10.9 tackles per game ranked 11th nationally and topped the Big 12. His tackle total surpassed the previous school record of 149 tackles by Barrett Ruud in 2003. David was also the first Blackshirt defender to record 100 tackles since Ruud in 2004.

David is again pacing the Nebraska defense in 2011. He opened the year with a team-high nine tackles against Chattanooga, then backed that up with 15 tackles against Fresno State for his ninth career double-figure tackle game, including four with at least 15 tackles.

David had his first career interception against Washington to stop a Husky first-quarter scoring threat in the Nebraska red zone. He tied his career high with two sacks and three tackles for loss at Wisconsin. David was a standout against Ohio State with a team-high 13 tackles, and a forced and recovered fumble in the third quarter that triggered Nebraska's school-record rally.

Through seven games his 64 tackles lead the team and his 9.1 tackles per game are tied for fourth in the Big Ten. He also leads the team with seven tackles for loss, has a pair of sacks and is tied for the team lead in interceptions, fumble recoveries and fumbles caused.

*- David has two double-figure tackle games this season (15 vs. Fresno State, 13 vs. Ohio State) and has reached double figures in tackles in 10 of 21 games played at Nebraska. He has four games in his career with at least 15 tackles.

*- David has led Nebraska in tackles in four of seven games this season, and in 11 of 21 games the past two years.

*-David has pushed his career tackle total to 216, joining 30 other Cornhuskers who have recorded at least 200 career tackles. Despite having the benefit of only two seasons in a Nebraska uniform, David is in position to rank among the top 10 career tackles in school history. He needs 32 tackles to crack the top 10, and just four to reach the top 20 on the career list. Demorrio Williams' 220 career tackles are the most by a Nebraska defender who played just two seasons as a Husker (2002-03), while David's 216 tackles are second in that group.

David was dominant in his first season at Nebraska in 2010. In addition to leading the team in tackles, David was second on the team in tackles for loss (15-60), sacks (6-50) and pass breakups (10), while ranking fourth in hurries (7). David was named the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year by every outlet that selected that honor. He was also a first-team All-Big 12 selection, while the Kansas City Star named him its conference defensive player of the year. David also received national accolades, including first-team All-America honors by Rivals.com and CBSSports.com, while the AP and SI.com named him to the second team.

*-David had a career-high 19 tackles in the Huskers' victory over South Dakota State in 2010. His tackle total vs. SDSU was tied for the most in the Big 12, and was the highest for a Nebraska player since Ruud totaled 19 tackles at Kansas State in 2004. The tackle total tied for the seventh-most in a single game in Nebraska history.

*-David had 35 tackles in back-to-back games against South Dakota State and Kansas State, the best for a Husker since Ruud had 36 tackles in consecutive games against Kansas State and Missouri in 2004. David made 17 tackles against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, giving him the top three tackle efforts of the past six seasons.

Husker Defense Look to Get Back to Stingy Ways
Nebraska was among the nation's top scoring defenses in both 2009 and 2010. The 2009 defense led the nation 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. In 2010, Nebraska again ranked in the top 10 nationally, holding opponents to 17.4 points per game to rank ninth.

Nebraska has struggled in this department in 2011, averaging 25.3 points per game allowed, but the Huskers combined numbers from 2009 to 2011 still rank among the nation's best. Including seven games in 2011, Nebraska has allowed an average of 16.2 points per game in 35 games since the start of the 2009 season. That is the sixth-best scoring defense mark in the nation in that span.

*-Nebraska's 10.4 points per game allowed in 2009 were the fewest since the 1984 defense led the nation by allowing just 9.5 points per game. NU had not allowed fewer than 15 points per game since 2003.

*- Before the last two seasons, Nebraska had not ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense in consecutive seasons since 1995 and 1996.

*- Nebraska held 13 of 14 opponents to 20 or fewer points in 2009. To put that accomplishment in perspective, NU held just six opponents to fewer than 20 points in 2007 and 2008 combined. Nebraska held 10 of 14 teams to 20 or fewer points in 2010, and only one opponent scored more than 24 points in regulation play.

*-Only 16 Nebraska opponents have scored as many as 17 points since the start of the 2009 season (35 games). In that stretch, Nebraska has allowed 10 or fewer points in 13 games.

Maher Leading Impressive Nebraska Special Teams Unit
When you must replace the most accurate place-kicker in NCAA history there is obviously going to be some concern. However, junior place-kicker/punter Brett Maher has quickly put most of those concerns to rest with a near-perfect effort in the first half of the season. Maher replaced Alex Henery, Nebraska's starting place-kicker from 2007 to 2010, and starting punter the past two seasons. Henery is now with the Philadelphia Eagles.

A native of Kearney, Neb., Maher was a perfect 4-of-4 on field goals in the opener, including a 50-yarder into a strong wind on his first career attempt. He added field goals of 48, 34 and 21 yards later in the game and his four field goals tied for the third-most in school history and also tied the record for most field goals in a season opener. Maher added a 3-of-3 field-goal performance in the win over Washington.

He narrowly missed a 50-yarder at Wyoming, and also missed a 50-yarder at Wisconsin, but came back with a pair of field goals, including a 50-yarder against Ohio State. He added a 2-of-3 performance at Minnesota. Maher is now 13-of-16 on the season with all three misses from 50 yards or beyond.  Maher is also perfect on 31 extra-point tries. Maher is tied for fourth nationally in field goals per game at 1.86 per contest and his 10.0 points per game places him 12th nationally.

Maher has been even more impressive in the punting department. He showed his strong leg in the opener, averaging 52.0 yards on his four punts, including downing two inside the Chattanooga 20-yard line. The 52.0-yard per punt average was the best by a Nebraska punter since the 2005 season. Against Fresno State, Maher averaged 50.8 yards on five punts, and again downed a pair of punts inside the 20.

Maher was the first Nebraska punter to average 50.0 yards per punt in consecutive games since Sam Koch accomplished the feat in the final two games of the 2005 season. Maher added a third 50.0-yard average, booming three punts for a 53.0-yard average at Wyoming. Maher's punting average of 45.5 yards per boot is second in the Big Ten and is 12th nationally. He has downed 10 punts inside the opponent 20 and has 10 50-plus-yard punts.

Maher was rewarded for his effort against Chattanooga by being named co-Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. He captured the honor for a second time with his solid all-around effort against Ohio State.

The Huskers have captured the Big Ten special teams honor three times overall. Freshman Ameer Abdullah received the weekly honor for his explosive return effort against Fresno State. Abdullah had five kickoff returns for a school-record 211 yards against the Bulldogs, including a 100-yard return for a touchdown. His 187 kickoff return yards at Wisconsin were the second-highest total in school history. Overall, Abdullah has seven kickoff returns of at least 35 yards this season.

Nebraska ranks fourth in the nation in kickoff returns at 27.9 yards per return, and Abdullah is fourth individually at 31.9 yards per attempt. The Huskers also rank 30th nationally in punt returns and 27th in net punting.

Avoiding Yellow and Turnovers
Throughout the offseason, the coaching staff preached the importance of having fewer penalties and turnovers in 2011. Last season, NU set school records for most penalties and penalty yards and also led the nation in fumbles. Nebraska has been much improved in the penalty area in 2011 and has had mixed results in the turnover department.

*-Nebraska had just three penalties against both Chattanooga and Fresno State to open the season, but was whistled for a season-high nine penalties at Wisconsin. Nebraska ranks 43rd nationally in fewest penalties per game at 5.4 per contest, and has been penalized a total of 338 yards in seven games.

In 2010, Nebraska had at least six penalties in 13 of 14 games and tallied at least 45 yards in penalties in all but one game. NU's season low last season was three penalties for 15 yards against Oklahoma, and Nebraska had a season-high of 16 penalties for 145 yards at Texas A&M. In 2011, Nebraska has had five or fewer penalties four times this season, and also has four games with less than 50 penalty yards.

*-Nebraska has committed 10 turnovers in the first seven games, and is even in turnover margin on the year. Nebraska did not have a turnover at Minnesota, marking NU's first turnover-free game since last year's 45-17 win over Colorado.

Huskers Rally for Historic Comeback Against Ohio State
Nebraska overcame a 21-point deficit on Oct. 8 to defeat Ohio State, 34-27, at Memorial Stadium. The comeback was a record-setting night for the Huskers. Nebraska trailed 27-6 before a Taylor Martinez touchdown run with 7:23 left in the third quarter began the rally.

*-The 21-point deficit was the largest Nebraska has overcome in 122 years of intercollegiate football. Nebraska's previous largest comeback was 17 points on two occasions. Nebraska trailed at Texas A&M, 31-14, midway through the third quarter in 2002, but rallied for a 38-31 win. Nebraska also trailed at Kansas, 17-0, in the first quarter in 1991, before rolling to a 59-23 rout.

*-The win over Ohio State marked just the 14th time in school history Nebraska had rallied for victory after trailing by 14 points or more. Among that group, the Ohio State win was just the fourth time in school history NU had trailed by at least two touchdowns after halftime.

*-Nebraska's rally from 21 points down ties the second-largest comeback in the FBS ranks this season. Houston rallied from a 27-point deficit for a 35-34 win over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 17. Iowa also came back from 21 points down to post a 31-27 win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 17.

*-The victory marked the first time Nebraska has trailed after three quarters (27-20) and rallied for a victory since trailing 12-0 at Missouri in 2009, but going on to a 27-12 win. NU's most recent comeback after three quarters in Lincoln was in 2008, when NU trailed Colorado 31-27 after three quarters before winning 40-31.

Crick Sidelined for Remainder of Season
Nebraska senior defensive tackle Jared Crick will be lost for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle that he suffered against Ohio State. The injury deprived the Nebraska defense of its most experienced and decorated defensive player. Crick was a second-team All-American in 2010, and was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2009 and 2010. The 6-6, 285-pound Crick was considered a candidate for the Outland, Lombardi and Nagurski awards entering the 2011 season.

*-Crick played in five games this season, missing the Wyoming game with an injury. Crick registered 22 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack this season. He also had a pass breakup and a blocked kick. Before missing the game at Wyoming, Crick had made 31 consecutive starts and he finishes his career with 33 career starts.

*-Crick finished his career with 20 career sacks, including 9.5 in both 2009 and 2010. His 20 sacks rank eighth in school history and as of last week he was third among active players in career sacks.

*- Crick's 35 career tackles for loss are three shy of the top 10 on the career chart. He had 17 tackles for loss totaling 91 yards in 2010.

*- He had 70 tackles in 2010 to rank third on the team and first among linemen. He led all Big 12 defensive linemen in 2010 with 5.0 tackles per game. Crick finished with 167 career tackles, ninth among NU interior linemen.

*- In 2009, Crick had 73 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries. His 5.2 tackles per game were second behind Ndamukong Suh among Big 12 defensive linemen.

*- Crick had one of the most prolific defensive days in school history with a record-setting performance at Baylor in 2009. 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.

Four Walk-ons Placed on Scholarship
Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini announced during fall camp that four Huskers had been placed on scholarship after originally joining the team as walk-ons. The group included senior I-back Austin Jones, senior fullback Tyler Legate, senior defensive back Lance Thorell and junior long snapper P.J. Mangieri.

Pelini has made the walk-on program a huge priority since taking over the Nebraska program. In his first four recruiting classes, Nebraska has welcomed more than 80 walk-on players into the Nebraska program. In his first four seasons, Pelini has placed 14 players on scholarship prior to the start of the season.

A senior from Aurora, Colo., Jones has played in 15 games as a reserve I-back in his career and compiled 114 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 career carries.

Legate joined the Nebraska program in 2008 after one season at South Dakota. Legate has played in 34 games, including 15 starts at fullback. He has seven career receptions, including four touchdown grabs. Legate was Nebraska's 2009 walk-on MVP and was a first-team academic All-Big 12 pick in 2010.

A native of Loomis, Neb., Thorell has been a fixture in the Nebraska secondary for the past three seasons. Thorell has played in 46 games, including seven career starts, and has often being used in a nickel or dime role. Thorell is a three-time academic All-Big 12 pick and a three-year member of the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.

Mangieri joined the Nebraska program as a walk-on from Peoria, Ill., in 2009 and has started every game the past three seasons as Nebraska's long snapper. His work helped former NU place-kicker Alex Henery shatter numerous school records the past two seasons.

Nebraska Seeks Third Straight 10-Win Season
Nebraska has posted 10 wins in each of the past two seasons, giving the Huskers back-to-back double-digit victory seasons for the first time since 2000 (10-2) and 2001 (11-2). A third straight season with 10 or more victories in 2011 would mark the first time the Huskers have accomplished that since a three-year span from 1999 to 2001.

Nebraska is one of just nine schools in the nation with back-to-back 10 win seasons, including Wisconsin and Ohio State of the Big Ten, Alabama (SEC), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oregon and Utah (Pac-12) and TCU and Boise State (Mountain West).

*- 2010 marked the first time Nebraska posted 10 wins in  the regular season since the 2001 team won 11 regular-season games.

*- Bo Pelini joined Frank Solich as the only NU coaches to post two 10-win seasons in their first three years.

*- The 2010 season was Nebraska's 25th all-time 10-win season in school history, including 23 since 1970.

Huskers in Elite Group with Three Straight Nine-Win Seasons
Nebraska secured its third straight nine-win season under third-year head coach Bo Pelini in 2010.

*-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 is one 10 schools to with nine wins or more in each of the past three seasons, joining TCU, Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Utah and West Virginia. Nebraska has 45 nine-win seasons in school history.

NCAA Record Sellout Streak Continues
One of the most remarkable streaks in collegiate sports continues into the 2011 season. Nebraska has sold out every game at Memorial Stadium since November of 1962, and the streak stands at 316 games (including Michigan State game). The streak is likely to reach 318 by season's end. Nebraska celebrated the 300th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 26, 2009 against Louisiana-Lafayette, with a stadium record crowd of 86,304. Notre Dame is second in all-time consecutive sellouts with 224, 92 fewer than Nebraska.

Memorial Stadium Provides Huskers with Huge Home-Field Edge
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 20 of the past 25 seasons. Nebraska is 139-19 at home in the last 23 seasons (since 1989). Nebraska finished 6-1 at home in 2010, its best record at Memorial Stadium since also going 6-1 in 2006. The Huskers are 4-0 at home this season.

*-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. Nebraska has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons.

*-The Huskers are 508-138-20 (.778, 666 games, 122 years) in Lincoln, and 383-115-13 (.762, 511 games, 89 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). Nebraska has had 43 straight winning home seasons, including the 2011 season.

*-Nebraska posted its 500th all-time home win against Idaho on Sept. 11, 2010. The 500th home victory put Nebraska in elite company. Only three other schools in college football history (Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee) reached the 500-win plateau at home before Nebraska.

Memorial Stadium Expansion in Progress
Fans arriving at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium this fall will see construction on the East side of the stadium. When complete for the 2013 season, the addition will push Nebraska's average attendance beyond 90,000. While adding more than 5,000 seats, including a combination of club seats, suites and general public seating, the addition will preserve the rich tradition and orginial architecture of Memorial Stadium. The East Stadium addition will also include dedicated restrooms and concessions areas. A new grand lobby, expanded concourse, and additional first-aid areas will 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 addition will also include dedicated areas on the ground floor for research, both for Athletics and UNL Research. Construction will resume in full force following the football season and will be completed in time for the 2013 season.

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