No. 22/22 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) vs.
Iowa State (3-2, 0-1)
Saturday, Oct. 7 - 7 p.m. Central
Jack Trice Stadium (50,000) - Ames, Iowa
Surface: Natural Grass
Series: NU leads 82-16-2
Last Meeting: NU won, 27-20 (2ot), last season in Lincoln
Television: ABC Regional Saturday Night Football
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network (51 stations)
Sirius Satellite Radio: Channel 155
Lincoln - A week after surviving an overtime scare at home against Kansas, Nebraska will travel to Iowa State to continue a three-game stretch against Big 12 North opponents. Kickoff for the matchup between Nebraska and the Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium will be shortly after 7 p.m. with ABC providing the telecast to a regional audience.
Nebraska jumped to a quick 17-0 lead against Kansas, and had a two-touchdown edge at halftime, but needed overtime to defeat the Jayhawks. The win improved Nebraska to 4-1 overall and was the Huskers’ 19th straight over Kansas in Lincoln. It also marked the Huskers’ 31st win in their last 32 conference openers, and the 29th straight win by Nebraska in a league home opener. After the victory, Nebraska slipped one spot in both national polls, and is ranked 22nd this week by the Associated Press and in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Iowa State enters Saturday’s game with a 3-2 overall record and a 0-1 mark in Big 12 action. The Cyclones are also coming off a dramatic victory, as ISU rallied twice to defeat Northern Iowa, 28-27, Saturday night in Ames. Iowa State had opened its Big 12 season a week earlier, losing on the road against defending national champion Texas. The win over Northern Iowa was the third dramatic victory for Iowa State at home this fall, after having defeated Toledo in triple overtime and UNLV in a game that was decided in the waning seconds.
The Huskers will be looking for their first win in Ames since 2000. Nebraska dropped a 36-14 setback in 2002, and was defeated 34-27 in Ames two seasons ago. The Huskers also hope to open conference play 2-0 for the first time since 2001 and win their league road opener for the second straight season. Following its trip to Ames, Nebraska stays on the road with an Oct. 14 date at Kansas State.
Huskers Survive Overtime Scare from Kansas to Capture Big 12 Opener
Nebraska sprinted to a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but had to rally to defeat a determined Kansas team, 39-32 in overtime on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. The game was the Big 12 opener for both schools.
Senior quarterback Zac Taylor threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns, including three scoring passes of 75 or more yards to lead the Huskers to victory. Two of Taylor’s scoring strikes went to former junior college teammate Frantz Hardy, who hauled in a 78-yard scoring strike in the first half and a 75-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. Taylor also hit Terrence Nunn with a 75-yard TD pass on the game’s second play.
Despite the huge passing totals and long scoring receptions, it was a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore I-back Cody Glenn on the third play of overtime that proved to be the game winner for the Huskers, who improved to 4-1 overall. Glenn’s winning run was set up by a 21-yard connection from Taylor to Nate Swift on Nebraska’s second overtime play, that put the Huskers at the half-yard line.
Glenn’s touchdown, which improved Nebraska to 5-0 all-time in overtime games with touchdowns on every overtime possession, set up a dramatic defensive stand by the Blackshirts, who surrendered a first down before closing the door on the Jayhawks. The victory stretched Nebraska’s home winning streak against KU to 19 games, dating back to 1968.
Nebraska struck quickly to open the game with the Taylor to Nunn connection. The lead grew to 14-0 less than five minutes into the game after Andrew Shanle’s second interception set up Nebraska at the KU 6, and Taylor hit Todd Peterson one play later. A field goal padded the lead to 17-0, before Kansas awoke. KU drove 95 yards in seven plays to cut the lead to 17-7 early in the second quarter.
After KU drove deep into Nebraska territory, the Blackshirts forced their third turnover of the night, recoving a fumble on the NU 2. The Huskers needed just three plays to go 98 yards, as Taylor hit Hardy for a 78-yard scoring strike down the right sideline. A Kansas field goal trimmed the halftime lead to 24-10.
KU continued to apply pressure in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 24-16 in the opening minutes of the second half after a NU turnover deep in its own territory. KU trimmed the Husker advantage to five at 24-19 on a 35-yard field goal with 5:47 left in the third quarter, then took its first lead of the night on Adam Barmann’s one-yard touchdown pass to Derek Fine. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Jayhawks with a 25-24 lead.
Taylor and Hardy then rescued the Huskers with a 75-yard hookup on 3rd-and-18, followed by a two-point conversion pass to Swift to give the Huskers a seven-point lead at 32-25 with 4:13 left in the game. But Barmann marched the Jayhawks again, this time hitting Brian Murph on a 26-yard scoring pass with 46 seconds left. Webb’s PAT was good to send the game to overtime.
Hardy ended the game with a career-high 159 yards, the fourth-highest total in school history. Nebraska finished the night with 511 yards of total offense, while KU finished with 574 yards on 94 plays. The two teams combined for 800 passing yards, the most ever in a Nebraska game. The 94 plays by the Jayhawks were the most ever by a NU opponent.
Noting Game Five...Nebraska 39, Kansas 32 (OT)
Nebraska recorded its 31st win in its last 32 conference openers, and its 29th straight win in a conference home opener.
Nebraska improved to 5-0 in overtime games since the overtime format was adopted in 1996. NU has scored a touchdown on all six of its overtime possessions in school history. The win over Kansas marked the second consecutive year that NU's Big 12 opener has gone to overtime (2005, def. Iowa State, 27-20, 2OT).
Nebraska defeated Kansas for the 19th straight time in Lincoln, dating back to a Kansas win in 1968. Nebraska has won 37 of the last 38 meetings with the Jayhawks.
Quarterback Zac Taylor had the three longest pass plays of his Nebraska career, a 75-yard first-quarter TD pass to Terrence Nunn, a 78-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Frantz Hardy and a 75-yard scoring pass to Hardy in the fourth quarter.
Taylor has 11 passes of 20 yards or longer in the past two weeks, including four of the longest five pass plays of his career. Taylor’s average of 26.33 yards per completion against Kansas was a school record, breaking the previous mark of 26.31 set by Joe Dailey against Baylor on Oct. 16, 2004 (342 yards, 13 completions).
Taylor’ 395 passing yards were a season high, surpassing a 287-yard passing effort against Louisiana Tech. The ouput was the second-highest in school history, trailing only Taylor’s school-record 431 yards vs. Iowa State last season. He now owns the three highest single-game passing totals in school history, as his 392 yards against Colorado now ranks third in school history
Taylor’s four touchdown passes matched his career high, set against Nicholls State on Sept. 9. Taylor has thrown for least three touchdowns in three of Nebraska’s five contests, and four of six since last season.
Junior wide receiver Frantz Hardy had three catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on touchdown passes of 78 and 75 yards. Hardy’s performance ranks fourth in single-game yardage in school history and is the most receiving yards by a Husker since Matt Davison totaled a school-record 167 yards at Texas A&M on Oct. 10, 1998. Hardy is the first Husker in school history to have two games of at least 150 yards receiving, as he had 152 receiving yards against Maine on Sept. 3, 2005.
Senior safety Andrew Shanle intercepted two passes in the first quarter. Shanle’s two interceptions marked the first time a Husker has had two interceptions in a game since Josh Bullocks had two interceptions against Oklahoma State in 2003. Shanle had picked off his first career pass last week against Troy.
Wide receiver Terrence Nunn caught three passes, including a career-long 75-yard reception on the game’s second play. Nunn moved into fourth place on the Nebraska career receptions chart with 76. He passed Guy Ingles (74, 1968-70) and is eight receptions from third place on the list.
Nunn has now had at least one reception in 18 straight games, the third-longest streak in Nebraska history, trailing Johnny Rodgers (37) and Matt Davison (20).
Nebraska had seven plays of 20 yards or more, a week after rolling up 10 plays of 20 yards or more.
In last year’s loss at Kansas, Nebraska had 138 yards of total offense. The Huskers had racked up 205 yards of offense after the first quarter this season.
Junior wideout Maurice Purify caught three passes for 91 yards, marking career highs in both categories.
Nebraska scored 39 points and has now scored at least 24 points in eight straight home games dating back to last season. NU is averaging 50.0 points in four home games. Nebraska scored 17 points in the first quarter, giving Nebraska 10 straight quarters at home with at least 14 points.
Kansas’ 574 yards of total offense ranked sixth all-time against a Nebraska defense, while the 94 plays KU ran were the most ever by a Husker opponent, topping the 92 plays that Oklahoma ran against Nebraska in 1948. KU’s 405 passing yards also rank sixth all-time against a Husker opponent.
NU Defeats Kansas; Looking for Quick Start in Big 12 North Race
Nebraska continued its tradition of opening conference play on a positive note, with a 39-32 overtime victory over Kansas in Lincoln. The Huskers have won 31 of their past 32 conference openers since 1975, with the only blemish a 2002 loss at Iowa State. The win also marked the second straight year Nebraska has won in overtime in the Big 12 opener, after defeating Iowa State 27-20 in 2005.
The win was also Nebraska’s 29th straight victory in home conference openers. Nebraska is now 91-18-2 all-time in conference openers, including a 41-6-1 mark in Lincoln. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, Nebraska is 10-1 in league openers.
While the Huskers have opened league action on the right foot, Nebraska has not made a successful second step since 2001. On Saturday night in Ames, Nebraska will be looking for its first 2-0 Big 12 start since 2001, when Nebraska opened conference play 7-0 before losing at Colorado. The Huskers have started Big 12 action 1-1 in each of the past four seasons.
A year ago, Nebraska broke a three-game losing streak in conference road openers, winning 23-14 at Baylor. Nebraska is 6-4 in league road openers since the inception of the Big 12, including a 1-1 mark at Iowa State.
Huskers Continue Overtime Mastery in Win over Kansas
Nebraska used overtime to win its Big 12 Conference opener for the second straight year defeating Kansas, 39-32, on Saturday night in Lincoln. The victory improved Nebraska to 5-0 all-time in overtime contests, and continued remarkable success for the Huskers in extra sessions.
Nebraska and Michigan are the only teams with at least five overtime victories to have perfect records in extra play. Michigan is also 5-0.
In addition to wins over Iowa State and Kansas the past two seasons, Nebraska also defeated Missouri (1997), Colorado (1999) and Notre Dame (2000) on the road in overtime.
Nebraska has scored touchdowns on all six of its overtime possessions, while allowing just one touchdown in overtime play (ISU last season in first overtime).
2006 Husker Offense Showing Balance and Explosiveness
Nebraska has featured excellent balance and firepower on offense through the early portion of its 2006 schedule. Through five games, the Huskers have posted four of the top six total offense efforts in Bill Callahan’s three seasons as head coach, including a season-high 597 yards against Troy, the most by Nebraska in five seasons. Nebraska has also topped 500 yards against Louisiana Tech (584) and Kansas (511), while just missing the mark against Nicholls State (498).
Through five games, Nebraska stacks up well nationally on offense. The Huskers rank third nationally in scoring offense (42.0 ppg), fifth in total offense (480.2 ypg), 17th in rushing offense (202.6 ypg) and 17th in passing offense (277.6 ypg). Nebraska is one of just four teams in the nation to rank in the top 25 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense, joining Big 12 North foe Missouri, Louisville and Oregon.
The Huskers’ 2006 offense has shown the explosiveness and efficiency Head Coach Bill Callahan is seeking in Nebraska’s version of the West Coast Offense.
The 597 yards of total offense against Troy were the most by Nebraska in Callahan’s three seasons as head coach, and the most since a 688-yard effort at Baylor in 2001. Nebraska has had four of its top five offensive outputs under Callahan in 2006.
Against Louisiana Tech, Nebraska topped 250 yards in both rushing and passing for the first time in a decade (Kansas, 1996). It took Nebraska exactly three weeks to accomplish the feat again, as the Huskers rushed for 316 yards and passed for 281 yards against Troy.
The Huskers have produced three of their top six rushing efforts under Callahan in the season’s first four games, with 316 yards against Troy, 261 yards against Nicholls State and 252 vs. Louisiana Tech. Before the 316-yard outburst against Troy, Nebraska last topped 300 yards on the ground against Western Illinois in 2004.
Nebraska’s back-to-back 250-yard rushing efforts to open the season marked the first time NU had topped 250 yards on the ground in consecutive games since 2004 (Western Illinois and Southern Miss).
The Huskers showed the ability to rely on the pass when needed. Nebraska threw for 395 yards, the second-most in school history, in a 39-32 overtime win over Kansas.
With an impressive running attack, Nebraska has shown the ability to control the clock. NU has held the ball more than 33:44 in three games this season, and has 347 offensive plays to 316 for its opponents. Last year Nebraska averaged 29:56 of possession time per game.
The Huskers are an impressive 33-of-65 (51 percent) on third-down conversions, including 11-of-16 against Louisiana Tech and 7-for-11 vs. Troy. The figure ranks 12th nationally.
Nebraska racked up 30 first downs in each of its first two games, the first time the Huskers had back-to-back games with 30 first downs since the 2001 season (Texas Tech, Baylor). On the year, Nebraska has 53 first downs by rush, 55 by pass and three by penalty.
Nebraska has spread the wealth on offense. Fourteen different players have scored touchdowns, with seven different players scoring TDs in each of the first two games.
In wins over Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State, Nebraska topped 49 points in consecutive games for the first time since 2000, when Nebraska topped 49 points in three straight games at mid-season (Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor).
The Husker offense left an impression on Troy Head Coach Larry Blakeney following the 56-0 NU win...
"That is the best football team we have faced in a long time. I don’t know what they call that offense, if it is West Coast or East Coast or South Coast or Canadian or whatever, but it was very well-designed and gave us more than we could handle. Their style of play and their physical approach and their ability with Zac Taylor to throw the football down the field really gave us more than we could handle."
Memorial Stadium Firepower
Nebraska ranks third nationally in scoring offense at 42.0 points per game, thanks primarily to an impressive offensive output in four home victories. Nebraska has been remarkably consistent and explosive on offense in its four games in Lincoln.
Nebraska scored 14 points in each quarter against Nicholls State and Troy, and had a streak of 10 straight quarters at home with 14 or more points, including the final quarter against Louisiana Tech and the first quarter against Kansas. NU has scored at least one touchdown in 15 of 16 quarters at home this season.
Nebraska scored at least 49 points in three straight home games to open the season. The last time Nebraska scored 49 or more points in three straight home games was in 1996, when NU defeated Baylor (49-0), Kansas (63-7) and Missouri (51-7). This marks only the third time in school history Nebraska has scored 49 or more points in each of its first three home games (1996, 1974).
Dating back to last season, Nebraska has scored at least 24 points in eight straight home games.
Quarterback Taylor is Poised Leader of Nebraska Offense
Senior quarterback Zac Taylor is the man at the helm of Nebraska’s offense. The 6-2, 210-pound Taylor had a record-setting 2005 campaign, and has established himself early this season as an All-Big 12 candidate. Through five games, Taylor has shown why he is on track to re-write nearly all of Nebraska’s passing records. Among his notable accomplishments are....
Taylor has completed 63.9 percent of his passes (78-of-122), up from 55.1 percent in 2005. Taylor has 12 touchdowns and two interceptions, and his pass efficiency rating of 180.35 ranks fourth in the country. His pass efficiency rating against Nicholls State (213.77) was the eighth-best in school history.
Taylor has twice thrown for a career-high four touchdown passes (Nicholls State, Kansas), bettering the three touchdown passes in his previous two games (Louisiana Tech, Michigan). In Nebraska’s last eight games (7-1) dating back to last season, Taylor has thrown for 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
In week one, Taylor had a streak of 11 straight completions, including eight straight completions for 98 yards in engineering a two-minute drive before halftime. Against Nicholls State, Taylor’s first pass attempt fell incomplete, but he completed his next 12 pass attempts before an incompletion. The 12 straight completions were three off the Nebraska school record. He opened the Troy game by completing 12 of his first 13 attempts.
Taylor had a streak of 83 straight passes without an interception end in the second quarter against Troy.
Taylor’s 395-yard passing effort against Kansas was the second-highest total in Nebraska history, trailing only his 431 yards last season against Iowa State. Taylor owns the top three single-game passing efforts in NU history. He has 10 career games with 200 or more passing yards (four in 2006), including eight of the past 11 games.
Against Kansas, Taylor had the three longest passes of his NU career–a 78-yard strike to Frantz Hardy and a pair of 75-yard touchdown passes, one each to Hardy and Terrence Nunn. In the past two weeks, Taylor has four of the five longest passes of his Nebraska career and has completed 11 passes of 20 yards or more.
Taylor has completed passes to 11 different receivers, and thrown TD passes to eight different Huskers.
Taylor has continued his ascension up the Nebraska career passing chart. He now has 3,920 career passing yards to rank fourth on the NU career list. He is 1,115 yards from the school career passing record of 5,035 yards set by Dave Humm from 1972 to 1974.
A year after throwing 19 touchdown passes (one off the school record), Taylor appears poised to challenge for the season record in 2006 with 12 TD passes through five games. Taylor has 31 career touchdown passes, 12 away from the school record of 43 touchdown passes by Tommie Frazier from 1992 to 1995. Taylor’s streak of at least one touchdown pass in 11 straight games ended in a 28-10 loss at USC.
Last season, Taylor shattered several game and season passing records in his first year after transferring from Butler County Community College in Kansas. Among the top accomplishments for Taylor in 2005 were:
Taylor's 2,653 passing yards established a NU single-season record, shattering the previous single-season NU record of 2,074 yards by Humm in 1972. Taylor's passing total marked just the fifth time in school history a quarterback had passed for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
Taylor posted the two highest passing outputs in NU history with 431 yards vs. Iowa State and 392 yards at Colorado. All five individual 300-yard passing days in NU history have come with Bill Callahan as head coach, including three by Taylor.
Taylor threw for two or more touchdown passes in eight of the season’s final nine games, including a season-high three TD passes against Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.
Taylor set numerous other school records, including most pass attempts (55) and completions (36) in a game vs. Iowa State, and most pass attempts (430) and completions (237) in a season.
Husker I-Backs Having Productive "Committee" Meetings
Entering the 2006 season both Head Coach Bill Callahan and running backs coach Randy Jordan regularly indicated Nebraska would utilize the talents of all four of its I-backs and operate with use of a "committee." The early season results have been outstanding as four Husker I-backs have combined for 188 carries for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns.
All four backs have gotten into the act, with each of them having at least 27 carries, and three different backs have led NU in rushing this season. Each of the four scored a touchdown in the first two games. Together the group has keyed a resurgent Nebraska rushing attack.
Nebraska opened the year with 252 yards on the ground against Louisiana Tech, then churned out 261 rushing yards in a 56-7 rout of Nicholls State. The Huskers erupted for their top rushing output of the year with 316 yards and six rushing touchdowns in a 56-0 win over Troy. Nebraska is averaging 202.6 yards per game on the ground to rank 17th in the nation.
The three rushing efforts are all among the top six in Bill Callahan’s three seasons. In 2005, Nebraska averaged less than 100 yards on the ground, and its top rushing effort was 182 yards at Baylor. Additionally, Nebraska has produced 15 rushing touchdowns in 2006. A year ago, Nebraska rushed for 10 touchdowns in 12 games.
Sophomore Marlon Lucky, a native of North Hollywood, Calif., has started the first five games and paced the NU rushing attack. Lucky produced his first career 100-yard rushing game against Nicholls State with 18 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, then had a career-best 156 yards on just 10 carries against Troy. Lucky had three touchdown runs of at least 34 yards against the Trojans, and earned Big 12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors. The 15.6 yards per-carry average was the best for a Husker with at least 10 carries in a game since Damon Benning registered 173 yards on 10 carries against Pacific in 1995. Lucky leads the team with 405 yards rushing and also has eight catches for 81 yards out of the backfield.
Junior Kenny Wilson joined the Huskers as a highly touted junior college prospect. Through five games, Wilson has a team-high 66 carries for 311 yards. He scored his first career touchdown on a 14-yard run against Nicholls State, and had his first career 100-yard game with 106 yards on 19 carries against Troy.
Sophomore Cody Glenn is Nebraska’s power back. The 6-0, 230-pound Glenn rushed 13 times for a team-high 88 yards against Louisiana Tech, then added 47 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries against Nicholls State. He missed the Troy game with an injury, but returned with seven carries for 33 yards against Kansas, including the game-winning one-yard touchdown run in overtime.
Junior Brandon Jackson had a standout freshman year in 2004 when he rushed for 390 yards, but was slowed by injury last season. This fall he has carried 27 times for 154 yards, including a spectacular 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Louisiana Tech. He is also Nebraska’s top receiving threat out of the backfield with seven receptions for 61 yards.
Both Lucky (156) and Wilson (106) topped the century mark against Troy, marking the first time Nebraska has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since 2004 against Western Illinois, the first game of Bill Callahan’s tenure at Nebraska.
Wide Receiver Tandem Looking for Another Big Season
Quarterback Zac Taylor’s two favorite targets from the 2005 season–receivers Terrence Nunn and Nate Swift–are back in 2006 and are again key elements in the Husker offense.
A year ago, the duo combined for 88 receptions, 1,136 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. In the process, both Nunn and Swift finished in the top five on Nebraska's single-season receptions list. This season Nunn leads Nebraska with 17 receptions for 307 yards, while Swift has eight catches for 150 yards.
Both players are quickly moving up the career pass receptions list. Nunn now ranks fourth in school history with 76 career receptions, eight behind No. 3 Jeff Kinney. Swift has 53 career receptions, just two outside of the top 20 on the Nebraska career chart.
Nunn has produced his two biggest yardage outputs the past two weeks with 102 yards on four catches against Troy and 98 yards on three catches, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown, against Kansas. Those receiving outputs pushed Nunn’s career receiving yardage total to 1,020 yards, making him the 13th Husker to eclipse 1,000 career receiving yards.
In 2005, Swift and Nunn were the most productive single-season pass catching duo in Nebraska history.
Swift did not catch a pass in the first three games of 2005, but exploded at the start of conference play. He had five receptions against Iowa State, then had consecutive nine-reception efforts against Missouri and Oklahoma. He finished the year with 45 receptions for 641 yards and seven touchdowns, all Husker freshman records. His 45 catches were the most by a player in 33 seasons and the third-most ever by a Husker. Swift had caught at least two passes in 10 straight games before being held without catches by Nicholls State and USC.
Nunn caught at least one pass in all 12 games of his sophomore season in 2005, including nine games with three or more receptions. Entering the Iowa State game he has caught at least one pass in 18 straight games, the third-longest streak in Nebraska history.
Like Swift, Nunn also caught seven touchdown passes from Taylor in 2005, including a pair of TD receptions in the Alamo Bowl. Overall, Nunn had 43 catches to tie for fourth on the NU single-season receptions list with former teammate Cory Ross.
The 2005 season marked the first time in school history Nebraska had three players with 40 or more catches in a single season.
Nunn and Swift are not the only Husker wideouts with impressive outings this season. Against Kansas, junior Maurice Purify set career bests with four receptions for 91 yards. Junior Frantz Hardy had a career night with three receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Hardy had touchdown receptions of 78 and 75 yards and became the first player in school history with two career games with more than 150 receiving yards.
Return of Herian Gives Passing Game Another Dimension
Senior tight end Matt Herian has made a strong return to the field in 2006. The 6-5, 245-pound Herian missed all of the 2005 season while recovering from a broken leg he suffered against Missouri in the eighth game of 2004. Herian’s return has helped give quarterback Zac Taylor another impressive target in the Husker passing game.
Herian has hauled in eight passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. In the process, Herian has resumed his assault on the Nebraska tight end record book. Against Louisiana Tech, Herian moved past Tracey Wistrom into first on the tight end career receiving yardage list. Herian enters the Iowa State game with 1,228 career receiving yards.
He had four receptions against Nicholls State, and his 36-yard catch at USC moved his career total to 61 catches, tying Jerry List for the most receptions by a Nebraska tight end. Herian’s receptions total is tied for 13th-best among all Huskers, and just five catches from the top 10. Herian has also continued to show his big-play ability. The senior has two receptions of 25 yards or more this season and 15 catches of that length in his career.
Herian was not the only tight end to make headlines in the opener against Louisiana Tech. After a first-quarter touchdown catch by Herian, three of Herian’s tight end teammates got into the act in the second half as juniors J.B. Phillips and Josh Mueller, and sophomore Hunter Teafatiller all reached the end zone.
The tight end outburst was quite notable...
The four touchdowns against Louisiana Tech tied a Nebraska single-game record for touchdowns by a tight end (also 4 at Missouri in 1987).
The game marked the first time in school history four different tight ends caught touchdown passes.
Nebraska tight ends did not have a TD catch in 2005. The previous touchdown catch by a Husker tight end was by Herian in the second game of the 2004 season against Southern Miss.
The four tight ends combined for eight receptions for 108 yards and four touchdowns in the opener and have 19 catches for 223 yards and six touchdowns in 2006.
Senior Bookends Carriker, Moore Hope to Lead Blackshirt "Sack Attack" to Encore
Nebraska led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss in 2005, registering 50 sacks and 140 tackles for loss. That effort helped the Huskers finish in the top 30 nationally in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.
The Huskers entered the 2006 season with hopes of again making a push for the school single-season sack record of 53, set in1999. The Huskers returned players who accounted for 34.5 of the 50 sacks in 2005, led by dominant senior defensive ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore, who set the tone for 2006 by each recording first-quarter sacks against Louisiana Tech.
The 6-6, 295-pound Carriker, a pre-season All-American and Lombardi candidate, snuffed out the Bulldogs’ first drive of the game with a seven-yard sack on third down. The sack gave Carriker 14.5 career sacks, just outside of the Nebraska top 10 list. Carriker earned All-Big 12 honors in 2005 when he led the team with 9.5 sacks from his base end position.
Through five games, Carriker is among the leaders of a balanced Nebraska defense with 22 total tackles, including a team-high seven tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries. Carriker now has 32 career tackles for loss, just two outside of the top 10 on the school career list.
A native of Elkhorn, Neb., Moore lines up opposite Carriker at the open end spot. The 6-4, 280-pound Moore made a two-yard tackle for loss on Lousiana Tech’s first play of the opener, then added a 10-yard sack later in the first quarter to thwart another Bulldog drive. He added his second sack of the season against Troy. Moore has 13 total tackles and is tied for third on the the team with four TFL for 22 yards in losses. He also made a key sack on a Kansas two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter of NU’s 39-32 overtime win.
In addition to Carriker and Moore, Nebraska’s top sack threats also include junior middle linebacker Corey McKeon who had seven sacks in 2005, and fellow end Barry Turner who had a Nebraska freshman record six sacks on his way to frosh All-America honors in 2005. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh leads Nebraska in sacks this season with 2.5 for 23 yards in losses, all coming against USC and Troy.
The 2006 Blackshirts are hoping to make a push for the best two-year sack total in school history. The most sacks Nebraska has recorded over the course of back-to-back seasons is 93 sacks in the 1984 (44) and 1985 (49) campaigns.
Veteran Linebacking Corps Tackling Opponents
In addition to a strong front four anchored by Moore and Carriker, Nebraska has a talented and veteran group of linebackers, giving the Blackshirts one of the nation’s best front seven units.
The Huskers featured returning starters at all three linebacker spots for 2006–senior Sam linebacker Stewart Bradley, junior Mike linebacker Corey McKeon and junior Will linebacker Bo Ruud. The trio had 99, 98 and 97 career tackles, respectively, entering 2006, and have started a combined 52 games in their career.
The three players are continuing to rack up impressive tackle numbers in 2006, ranking as three of the Huskers’ top four tacklers through five games.
Bradley posted his second career double-figure tackle game with a team-high 10 stops at USC. Bradley also forced a fumble in the game after recovering two fumbles the previous week against Nicholls State. The 6-4, 250-pound Bradley is second on the team with 29 tackles.
McKeon burst onto the scene last year with a team-leading 98 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss, the second-most in Nebraska history. After opening with a pair of four-tackle efforts, McKeon has had nine tackles each against USC and Kansas and leads the team with 30 tackles.
Ruud had a season-high nine tackles at USC and is fourth on the team with 24 tackles. Ruud finished 2005 as Nebraska’s second-leading tackler behind McKeon. Ruud picked off a pass in the season opener for the second straight year, returning his pick against Louisiana Tech 14 yards.
Juniors Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh each have one career start and give Nebraska five linebackers with significant game experience.
Huskers Closing in on Win No. 800 in 117th Season of Storied Program
Nebraska is in its 117th season of college football in 2006, and is the fourth-winningest program in terms of victories. The Huskers own a 798-322-40 all-time record in 1,160 games (.705) in 117 years of football.
This season, Nebraska hopes to become just the fourth program in college football history to record 800 all-time victories. Texas picked up its 800th win in last season’s Rose Bowl, joining Michigan and Notre Dame in the exclusive club. The Huskers and Longhorns will meet on Oct. 21 in Lincoln in Nebraska’s eighth game of the season. The other two members of the 800-club, Michigan and Notre Dame, squared off earlier this season.
Since the first season of Nebraska football in 1890, Husker teams have won 11 or more games 12 times, including seven times since 1993.
Nebraska has won 12 or more games seven times, including three seasons with 13 wins (1971, 1994, 1997).
Nebraska (702), Michigan (705), Alabama (728) and Notre Dame (736) were the only programs to win 700 games in the 1900s.
Nebraska–College Football’s Winningest Program Since 1970
The bulk of Nebraska’s football success has come since 1962 when Bob Devaney arrived from Wyoming and resurrected the Husker program. Devaney capped his career with consecutive national titles in 1970 and 1971, starting an unbelievable run of 10-plus victory seasons, and conference and national championships.
In the past 37 seasons (including 2006), beginning with 1970, Nebraska has posted a remarkable 363 victories, an average of 10 wins per season. The Huskers’ overall record in that time period is 364-81-5 for an .814 winning percentage in 450 games.
In that time span, Nebraska has easily established itself as the nation’s winningest program, posting 28 more victories than second-place Michigan, followed by Ohio State (327), Oklahoma (325), and Penn State (322).
Nebraska has won 10 games or more 24 times since 1962, including 21 times since 1970.
The Huskers have finished the regular season undefeated and untied seven times since 1965, and played in 13 national title games (for one of the two teams) and won the national title five times since 1970.
Nebraska was the first team in college football history to win 100 or more games in consecutive decades, ranking first in the 1980s (103-20, .837) and second in the 1990s (108-16-1, .868). Nebraska narrowly missed 100 victories in the 1970s with 98 wins, and posted a nation-leading 309 wins from 1970 to 1999.
Callahan's Huskers Continue to Perform in Classroom
Nebraska has continued its tradition of excellence in the classroom under Head Coach Bill Callahan. In 2005, Kurt Mann and Dane Todd were the latest Huskers to earn CoSIDA first-team academic All-America honors.
Mann, a two-year starter at center, carried a 3.97 grade-point average in mechanized systems management before graduating in May. A native of Lincoln, Todd graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in biological sciences.
Mann and Todd were two of just nine juniors on the first-team academic All-America list, and Nebraska was one of only three schools with a pair of first-team selections. Both players are strong candidates to repeat as first-team academic All-America selections this fall. Nebraska has previously had two pairs of players earn back-to-back first-team academic All-America honors. In 1983 and 1984 defensive end Scott Strasburger and defensive lineman Rob Stuckey picked up consecutive All-America honors, while nose tackle Terry Connealy and offensive tackle Rob Zatechka earned the same recognition in 1993 and 1994.
Overall, Nebraska has had 12 players earn two first-team academic All-America selections, most recently defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in 1999 and 2000. The selection of Mann and Todd gave the Husker football program 85 all-time academic All-Americans, a nation-leading total. The Husker athletic program as a whole also leads the nation with 233 academic All-America selections across all teams and all sports.
Four Husker Seniors Playing 2006 Season as Graduate Students
Kurt Mann and Dane Todd are among a group of four Husker seniors who are playing the 2006 season as graduate students. Senior safety Andrew Shanle and senior cornerback Isaiah Fluellen also picked up their degrees during UNL’s spring commencement ceremonies, completing their undergraduate work in four years.
The four players will have a lot of company by the time bowl season rolls around. Among Nebraska’s 20-member senior class, 12 players are scheduled to earn their degrees by the conclusion of the fall semester.
Nebraska Leads Big 12 Conference in 2006 Graduation Success Rate Report
Nebraska topped the Big 12 and ranked among the national leaders in the Graduation Success Rate for football as released by the NCAA in late September. Nebraska’s 88 percent GSR was tops in the Big 12 Conference and well ahead of the national average of 65 percent. Among teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll the week of Sept. 24, Nebraska’s GSR score was second only to Notre Dame, and the Huskers were one of just three programs with a GSR of better than 80 percent.
The Graduation Success Rate is an NCAA measurement that improves the federally mandated graduation rates by including transfer data in the calculation. This year’s GSR scores were figured based on four classes of scholarship student-athletes who entered college from the fall of 1996 to the fall of 1999, and allowed for a six-year window in which to earn their degree. The GSR scores include student-athletes who transferred to Nebraska, but do not count student-athletes who transferred to another school and were academically eligible at the time of their transfer.
Huskers Pace Big 12 Conference in Academic Awards
Nebraska had a Big-12 leading 22 players named to the first-team academic All-Big 12 team last fall. Fifteen Huskers were named to the first team, while another seven players earned second-team honors.
During the fall 2005 semester, Nebraska placed 31 players on the Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Academic Honor Roll, including six student-athletes who had perfect 4.0 grade-point averages for the semester. During the spring, 38 Huskers were named to the honor roll, with six players recording 4.0 GPAs for the spring semester. The honor roll recognizes all student-athletes who earned a 3.0 grade-point average or better in the previous semester.
Nebraska Honored by AFCA for Football Graduation Rate
The Husker football program was one of 29 schools from across the nation honored this spring by the American Football Coaches Association with the 2006 Academic Achievement Award.
The 29 schools that were honored achieved a graduation rate of 70 percent or better for the 2000-01 incoming freshman class. This year marked the sixth straight year Nebraska has received the honor and the 10th time since 1994 Nebraska has been recognized. Nebraska’s athletic program also leads the Big 12 in exhausted eligibility graduation rate for all sports at 93 percent.
2006 Schedule to Provide Nebraska with Stern Test
Nebraska is facing a challenging schedule in 2006. In the non-conference the Huskers faced their first ranked opponent of the season, squaring off against No. 4 USC on the road. The Trojans are one of seven Husker opponents that won seven or more games last season and one of six 2005 bowl teams on Nebraska’s schedule.
Nebraska faces the challenge of taking on both of last year’s national championship game participants with last week’s game at USC and an Oct. 21 game in Lincoln against defending national champion Texas. The Huskers are the only team in the country to face both of last year’s title game participants in the regular season.
In addition to both of last year’s Rose Bowl teams, Nebraska also faces Kansas (Fort Worth), Iowa State (Houston), Missouri (Independence) and Colorado (Champs Sports). Additionally, both Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State posted winning seasons in 2005.
Huskers Enjoying New Home in 2006
The Nebraska football program moved into its new home in the summer of 2006. After being housed in the South Stadium for more than three decades, the Huskers moved into the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex before the start of training camp in early August. Among the features in the new facility are...
The Charles and Romona Myers Performance Center...Located on the first floor of the Osborne Complex, the Myers Performance Center includes a state-of-the art athletic medicine facility, a spacious and sparkling new strength complex and a new locker room and equipment room for the Huskers.
New football offices...The Nebraska football offices are housed on the second floor of the Osborne Complex and provide the Husker staff and players with the needed tools to prepare at a championship level.
The change in location led to a significant change in Nebraska’s pre-game routine. The Huskers’ famous "Tunnel Walk" now concludes with the team entering the field from the Northwest Corner of Tom Osborne Field. After a path of red FieldTurf leads the Huskers to the field, Nebraska enters after large bronze gates are opened. The gates feature images of six of the greatest Huskers from the 1890s to the 1960s, and are guarded each week by two military members.
The football program benefitted in numerous ways from the project, and Nebraska fans also have several new features available.
New HuskerVision screens... Memorial Stadium features three new HuskerVision screens for the 2006 season. High above the North end of Memorial Stadium is a massive 33 x 117-foot screen. In addition to video, the large HuskerVision screen will feature a scoreboard, statistics and ticker. Two new HuskerVision screens were also placed on the Southeast and Southwest towers allowing fans in the north end of the stadium great viewing angles of the HuskerVision screens.
More Husker fans...6,500 seats were added in the North Stadium, in addtion to 13 new sky suites on the seventh floor of the Osborne Athletic Complex and new and improved handicapped seating. Nebraska received more than 15,000 requests for the 6,500 seats in less than three weeks. Nebraska set a Memorial Stadium record with 85,181 fans for the Louisiana Tech game.
Improved fan amenities...All ticket holders at Memorial Stadium will benefit from a new large concourse in the North Stadium. The concourse now connects the East, West and North stadiums. New gates were also added on the North end, aiding in entering and exiting Memorial Stadium.
Bigger Memorial Stadium Continues to Be Packed
Nebraska’s Sept. 30 win over Kansas marked the 279th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, an ongoing NCAA record. The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney’s first year at Nebraska in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3).
Nebraska’s 279 consecutive sellouts easily outdistance Notre Dame, which ranks second nationally with 186 consecutive sellouts. Nebraska has had remarkable success during the sellout streak, posting a 246-33 record during the 279 sellouts. The mark includes a 39-21 record against ranked teams. Nebraska is 5-0 in the five milestone sellouts during that period (50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th sellouts), including a 24-7 win over No. 2 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994 (No. 200) and a 44-13 victory over Utah State on Sept. 7, 2002 (No. 250).
Although sellouts have become commonplace in Lincoln, there are a few more folks dressed in red packing Memorial Stadium this season. Capacity at Memorial Stadium is 81,067, with the addition of 6,500 new seats in the North Stadium. The Louisiana Tech game featured a stadium record crowd of 85,181, the sixth-largest crowd to see Nebraska play. (see left margin)
Nebraska had played before 10 crowds of more than 82,000 fans in school history entering the 2006 season, but are likely to have nine games this season with crowds in excess of 82,000. The crowd of 92,000 at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Sept. 16 was the second-largest crowd Nebraska has played in front of in the regular season.
Nebraska Owns Dominant Edge at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska has rewarded the loyality of its fans with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years. Nebraska finished 5-2 at home in 2005, and has won at least six home games in 17 of the past 19 seasons. Nebraska is 114-10 at home in the last 18 seasons (since 1989), including a pair of losses against teams that went on to win the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991.
Since 1986, only seven different schools have left Memorial Stadium with a victory. During Nebraska’s run of success at home in the past 25 years, Nebraska has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games. Nebraska had a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998, a 26-game home streak from 1998 to 2002 and a 21-game win streak in the early 1980s.
Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (245 games), and has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. The Huskers are 481-129-20 (.779, 630 games, 117 years) in Lincoln, 356-106-13 (.763, 475 games, 84 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923).
Huskers Make Successful Return to Bowl Season in 2005
Nebraska returned to the postseason in 2005, and made the most of its 43rd all-time bowl appearance with a 32-28 victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. The Alamo Bowl was Nebraska’s 36th bowl appearance in the past 37 seasons, and came after the Huskers’ streak of 35 straight bowl appearances ended in 2004.
Nebraska’s 43 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally, trailing Alabama, Texas, Tennessee and USC. The Huskers pushed their all-time bowl record over the .500 mark at 22-21 following the win over Michigan. Nebraska has won eight of its past 11 bowl games dating back to the 1994 season.
Nebraska entered the 2006 campaign with the goal of reaching the Big 12 Conference Championship Game on Dec. 2 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game has been held in Kansas City on three previous occasions, but Nebraska has not been involved in those three games.
This fall Nebraska will be looking for its first appearance in the league title game since 1999. The Huskers played in three of the first four Big 12 title games, winning the title in 1997 and 1999, with both of those games played in San Antonio.
Nebraska is one of three teams to capture two or more Big 12 titles in the first decade of the conference, joining Oklahoma with three and Texas with two. Kansas State, Texas A&M and Colorado each captured one Big 12 crown in the first 10 years of Big 12 action. Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado have each made four Big 12 title game appearances, while Nebraska and Kansas State have played in the the contest three times each.
Nebraska has won 43 football conference championships overall, including eight under Coach Bob Devaney and 13 under Coach Tom Osborne. Oklahoma has won 35 conference championships to rank second behind NU among conference schools.
Huskers Well-Represented in National Football League
Nebraska has a long-standing tradition of placing large numbers of players in the NFL. As of the start of NFL training camps, the Huskers had 41 players listed on rosters. When final rosters were determined, Nebraska had 31 players on active rosters and one player on a practice squad. Nebraska’s 31 players on active rosters led the Big 12 Conference, one more than Texas and two more than Oklahoma.
Included in the group of players on NFL rosters are four players who were selected in the 2006 NFL Draft–safety Daniel Bullocks (2nd round, Detroit), punter Sam Koch (6th, Baltimore), defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith (6th, New England) and defensive lineman Titus Adams (7th, N.Y. Jets), who is on the practice squad. In addition, running back Cory Ross, a non-drafted free agent is on the Ravens’ opening day roster.
Koch’s roster spot gives Nebraska two punters and two place-kickers in the NFL, with the combined four kickers the most of any school in the country. Nebraska’s most experienced NFL veteran is Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro offensive guard Will Shields, who is in his 14th NFL campaign in 2006. A full listing of Nebraska’s players in the NFL is included in the left margin.
Misc. 2006 Notes...
Nebraska extended the nation’s longest winning streak in season openers with its 49-10 victory. The Huskers have now been on the winning end in each of their last 21 season openers, dating back to a 17-13 loss to Florida State in 1985. Louisiana Tech was the second team (also Utah State) to twice be a victim in Nebraska’s season-opening win streak. Nebraska also defeated the Bulldogs in the 1998 opener. The Huskers’ 21-game win streak in season openers is four better than the 17 straight season-opening wins by both Kansas State and Florida.
Nicholls State did not complete a pass in the Sept. 9 game against Nebraska, marking the 10th time in school history Nebraska has held an opponent without a pass completion, and the first time since 1992 against Oklahoma State.
The loss at USC marked the first time under Bill Callahan that Nebraska has lost when scoring first in a game. NU is 11-1 in such games under Callahan.
The 28 points scored by USC were the fewest by the Trojans since also scoring 28 points against Oregon State in November of 2004 (19 games). It also ended a streak of 15 straight games with 30 or more points and a streak of 10 straight home games with 38 or more points.
Nebraska’a shutout was its first since a 28-0 shutout of Iowa State in 2003. NU had two shutouts that season, also blanking Troy 30-0. The 56-0 victory was NU’s most lopsided win since a 59-0 win over Baylor in 2000.
Nebraska’s 406 yards of total offense in the first half against Troy was the most in a half under Coach Bill Callahan, and NU’s most in the first half of a game since rolling up 416 yards in the first half of a 59-0 2000 win over Baylor.
Nebraska limited Troy to 140 yards of offense, the fewest by a Nebraska opponent since allowing just 84 yards against Baylor in 2000.