NU Looks for All-Time Win No. 800
Nebraska will attempt to continue its early momentum in conference play this Saturday when the Huskers travel to Manhattan, Kan., for a matchup with North Division rival Kansas State. The game will complete a stretch of three straight games against North Division foes to open conference action. Kickoff for the game between Nebraska and the Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is set for 6 p.m., with the game televised by FSN on a pay-per-view basis.
Nebraska continues to set the pace in the Big 12 North, following a 28-14 victory at Iowa State last Saturday. The win improved the Huskers to 5-1 overall, and gave NU wins in its first two conference games for the first time since 2001. Nebraska enters this weekend’s matchup tied with Missouri atop the North Division, after the Tigers picked up a road win at Texas Tech.
The Huskers set the tone early at Iowa State, marching to a score on the first drive of the game, and using a punishing running game and strong defensive effort to control the tempo. The win was NU’s first at Iowa State since 2000 and helped Nebraska climb one spot to No. 21 in this week’s AP poll and two places to 20th in the coaches poll.
Kansas State enters Saturday’s game with a 4-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in Big 12 action. The Wildcats have some momentum of their own after a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon in Manhattan. KSU scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:03 to erase a 10-point deficit and even its Big 12 mark. The Wildcats had opened league play with a loss at Baylor Sept. 30.
The Huskers will be searching for their first win in Manhattan since 1996. Kansas State has been victorious in Nebraska’s past four ventures into Manhattan, including a 45-21 KSU victory in 2004. Nebraska’s 27-25 win in Lincoln last year began a stretch in which Nebraska has won eight of its past nine games overall.
A victory would also give Nebraska its 800th all-time win, joining Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas in that elite club.
Huskers Use Running Game, Strong Defense to Secure Road Win
Cody Glenn and Brandon Jackson each rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns to carry the No. 22 Nebraska football team to its first road win of the season in a 28-14 victory over Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday night. Along with another impressive performance by Nebraska’s ground game, the Blackshirt defense flexed its muscles to frustrate Iowa State’s potent attack.
The Huskers produced 251 rushing yards, including career highs of 148 yards and two scores from Glenn and 116 yards and another score from Jackson, who gave NU its second double-100-yard rushing performance in the last three games. The Huskers have now had four different 100-yard running backs in the past three weeks and five total 100-yard rushing performances on the season.
Quarterback Zac Taylor completed 17-of-21 passes for 131 yards and a key touchdown pass to Maurice Purify to close the first half. Taylor completed passes to nine different Husker receivers, as he became just the fourth quarterback in NU history to cross the 4,000-yard career passing mark.
While NU’s offense rolled up 382 yards and dominated the time of possession by holding the ball for nearly 37 minutes, the Blackshirts surrendered just one touchdown in the first 59:54, before giving up an insignificant touchdown with six seconds left in the game.
The Blackshirts limited ISU to just 53 rushing yards, with linebacker Bo Ruud pacing the defense with a team-high nine tackles, while defensive tackle Barry Cryer wreaked havoc up front with four tackles, including a nine-yard sack and a pass deflection. In the secondary, Cortney Grixby nabbed his first career interception.
The Huskers established the run and the pass early to take control of the game on the opening drive. Taylor led Nebraska on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by Glenn. The sophomore carried the load for the Huskers on the drive, rushing three times for 46 yards, including a 36-yard rumble to set up his fifth touchdown run of the season.
Iowa State tied the game in the opening minute of the second stanza on a one-yard touchdown run to cap an 11-play, 43-yard drive. The Huskers answered to regain the lead on Jackson’s one-yard touchdown with 8:07 remaining in the first half. NU did much of its damage on the ground again during the drive, as Jackson carried five times for 34 yards including a 21-yard run. Overall, the Huskers stayed on the ground for 45 yards on the drive, while Taylor completed 2-of-3 passes.
The Blackshirts forced a three-and-out on ISU’s final drive of the first half to give Taylor and the Huskers the ball back at their own 40 with 1:15 to play. Taylor engineered a seven-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify with three seconds left in the half. On the drive, Taylor completed 5-of-7 passes for all 60 yards through the air, including three receptions for 28 yards from Marlon Lucky.
Nebraska played ball control in the second half, while watching its defense continue to stymie the Cyclones. The Huskers then put the game out of reach with a nine-play, 78-yard march in the fourth quarter that chewed up 5:13 on the clock. Glenn did most of the damage for the Huskers on the drive, carrying seven times for 75 yards, including runs of 28 and 21 yards against a weary ISU defense. The Cyclones closed the scoring on Todd Blythe’s 13-yard catch from Meyer with six seconds left in the game to make the final margin.
Noting Game Six...Nebraska 28, Iowa State 14
Nebraska improved to 2-0 in Big 12 Conference play, marking the first time the Huskers have started 2-0 in Big 12 play since 2001. The victory was NU’s first in Ames since 2000 and the Huskers’ second straight win in a Big 12 road opener (2005 at Baylor). Nebraska is 7-4 in Big 12 road openers since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.
The win was the Huskers' 799th all-time win, leaving the Huskers one victory shy of becoming the fourth program in Division I to collect 800 all-time victories.
Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor completed 17-of-21 passes for 131 yards, pushing his career passing total to 4,051, becoming the fourth player to pass for 4,000 yards in Nebraska history.
Taylor completed 5-of-7 passes for 60 yards in the final 1:12 of the first half, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify with three seconds left, giving Nebraska a 21-7 lead at intermission.
Junior I-back Brandon Jackson rushed 22 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. The 116 yards was a career high for Jackson, bettering the 89 yards he gained against Baylor as a freshman. His 22 carries also set a career high, bettering his 18 carries against Baylor in 2004. Jackson has scored three touchdowns against the Cyclones in his career, as he scored two touchdowns two seasons ago against the Cyclones in Ames.
Sophomore I-back Cody Glenn rushed 19 times for 148 yards -- career highs in rushing yards and attempts -- along with two touchdowns. The mark bettered his previous career best of 88 yards against Louisiana Tech earlier this season.
Jackson and Glenn became the third and fourth Husker I-backs, respectively, to surpass the 100-yard rushing mark in a game this season, joining Marlon Lucky and Kenny Wilson. Nebraska now has had a total of five individual 100-yard rushing games, including two by Lucky (Nicholls State, Troy), and one each by Wilson (Troy), Jackson (Iowa State) and Glenn (Iowa State).
The 100-yard rushing games marked the first time a Husker has rushed for 100 yards in a Big 12 game since Cory Ross rushed 30 times for 130 yards at Oklahoma in 2004. It was the first time since the 2003 contest at Missouri that the Huskers have had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same conference game.
Glenn had a career-long 36-yard run on Nebraska’s first drive of the game. His previous career-long run was 18 yards earlier this season against Louisiana Tech.
Senior tight end Matt Herian caught two passes, giving him 63 career receptions. With his first reception against Iowa State Herian broke a tie with Jerry List (1968-70) and became Nebraska’s career receptions leader among tight ends.
Nebraska scored a touchdown on its first drive of the game for the third straight game and the fourth time in the past five games with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the game. It also marked the second straight week Nebraska has marched 80 yards for a touchdown on its opening drive.
Junior wide receiver Maurice Purify caught two passes for 35 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown with three seconds left in the first half. Purify now has 11 receptions this season, with his first 10 receptions going for a first down. Purify is averaging 23.6 yards per reception.
The Nebraska offense held the ball for a season-long 36:55, marking the fourth time in six games Nebraska has held the ball for at least 33:44.
Junior cornerback Cortney Grixby picked off a third-quarter Bret Meyer pass, marking Grixby’s first career interception.
Nebraska limited Iowa State to 53 rushing yards, marking the third opponent Nebraska has held to less than 100 yards this season. The total marked the fifth time in the last 10 conference games dating to the start of the 2005 Big 12 season that NU has held an opponent to less than 60 yards rushing. Last season in Lincoln, Nebraska held the Cyclones to a total of 57 rushing yards.
Huskers Hope to Find Success in Manhattan
Nebraska will be looking to end a four-game losing streak against the Wildcats in Manhattan this weekend. The Huskers’ last victory over K-State at Snyder Family Stadium was a 39-3 victory in Nebraska’s 1996 Big 12 opener. Since that Husker win, the Wildcats have scored at least 29 points in defeating Nebraska four straight times in Manhattan.
The current four-game losing streak at Kansas State is one of just eight losing streaks of four games or more on an opponent’s home field for the Huskers. Most recently, Nebraska lost four straight at Oklahoma from 1973 to 1979. Nebraska’s longest road losing streak at one site was a 10-game losing skid at Minnesota from 1932 to 1948, followed by eight straight losses at Missouri between 1939 and 1953.
Kansas State has used the success in Manhattan to win five of the past eight meetings overall with Nebraska, including a victory in Lincoln in 2003.
Nebraska, K-State Games Have History of Unconventional Scoring
A year ago, Nebraska defeated Kansas State 27-25 in Lincoln on a Jordan Congdon game-winning field goal. In pulling out the victory, Nebraska overcame a pair of safeties by the Kansas State defense. The two Wildcat safeties continued a trend of non-offensive scores in the Husker-Wildcat series.
The past nine meetings (1997 to 2005), and 10 of the past 11 matchups, between the two schools have each featured at least one non-offensive score.
In that time period Nebraska has scored points via a fumble return (2004, 1999, 1998), safety (2003, 1999, 1997), interception return for touchdown (2001, 1997, 1995), punt return for touchdown (2001, 1995) and a blocked punt for touchdown (2000).
Kansas State has scored by safety (2005), blocked punt (2002, 1995) and fumble return (1998).
The non-offensive scores have resulted in 60 points for Nebraska and 22 for Kansas State.
Nebraska does not have an unconventional score yet this season.
NU Opens Big 12 With a Pair of Wins; Looking for Big 12 North Trifecta at Kansas State
Nebraska picked up a 28-14 victory at Iowa State on Saturday, giving the Huskers a 2-0 start to Big 12 play, a first for NU since 2001. The Huskers will look to defeat a third straight Big 12 North foe this Saturday at Kansas State. A win would give Nebraska five straight victories in Big 12 action dating back to last year, all against North Division opponents. The Huskers last won five straight games against divisional foes when NU won its last North division game in 2000, and its first four in 2001.
The Huskers’ league-opening win over Kansas continued a tradition of opening conference play on a positive note. 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 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. Nebraska’s win at Iowa State was the Huskers’ second straight win in a Big 12 road opener, following a victory at Baylor last season. Nebraska is 7-4 in league road openers since the inception of the Big 12, including a 2-1 mark at Iowa State.
2006 Husker Offense Showing Balance, Explosiveness and Flexibility
Nebraska has featured excellent balance and firepower on offense through the first half of its 2006 schedule. Through six 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).
In the latest NCAA rankings, Nebraska stacks up well nationally on offense. The Huskers rank fourth nationally in scoring offense (39.7 ppg), seventh in total offense (463.8 ypg), eighth in rushing offense (210.7 ypg) and 23rd in passing offense (253.2 ypg). Nebraska is one of just three teams in the nation to rank in the top 25 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense, joining 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 four of their top seven rushing efforts under Callahan this season, with 316 yards against Troy, 261 yards against Nicholls State, 252 vs. Louisiana Tech and 251 yards at Iowa State. 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 four games this season, including 36:55 in the 28-14 win at Iowa State. The Huskers are averaging 32:51 of possession time, compared to 29:56 in 2005. Nebraska has 413 offensive plays to 379 for its opponents.
The Huskers are an impressive 38-of-77 (49 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 64 first downs by rush, 60 by pass and four 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 fourth nationally in scoring offense at 39.7 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 in the first half of the season as one of the leading contenders for the All-Big 12 quarterback spot. Through six 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 66.4 percent of his passes (95-of-143), up from 55.1 percent in 2005. Taylor has 13 touchdowns and two interceptions, and his pass efficiency rating of 175.76 ranks second 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 nine games (8-1) dating back to last season, Taylor has thrown for 20 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
Against Louisiana Tech, 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 has responded with a streak of 55 straight passes without a pick heading into the K-State game.
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 12 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 three weeks, Taylor has four of the five longest passes of his Nebraska career and has completed 12 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 4,051 career passing yards to rank fourth on the NU career list. He is 984 yards from the school career passing record of 5,035 yards set by Dave Humm from 1972 to 1974.
Taylor has 332 career pass completions, just 21 shy of Humm’s NU record of 353.
A year after throwing 19 touchdown passes (one off the school record), Taylor appears poised to challenge for the season record in 2006 with 13 TD passes through six games. Taylor has 32 career touchdown passes, 11 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 has 1,398 passing yards this season and is just 56 yards from cracking the top 10 on the season passing list for the second time.
Taylor posted what were at the time 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-Back "Committee" Spreading the Wealth
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 229 carries for 1,302 yards and 17 touchdowns.
All four backs have gotten into the act, with each of them having between 49 and 66 carries, and each of the backs has topped 100 yards in the past three games. 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, then controlled the football with a 251-yard rushing effort at Iowa State last weekend, NU’s highest road rushing total in three seasons. Nebraska is averaging 210.7 yards per game on the ground to rank eighth in the nation.
The four 250-yard-plus rushing efforts are all among the top seven 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 18 rushing touchdowns in 2006. A year ago, Nebraska rushed for 10 touchdowns in 12 games.
Sophomore Marlon Lucky, a native of North Hollywood, Calif., started the first five games and has a team-high 405 yards. 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 has scored five touchdowns and also has 11 catches for 109 yards out of the backfield.
Sophomore Cody Glenn is Nebraska’s power back, but showed his complete ability against Iowa State. The 6-0, 230-pound Glenn set career highs with 19 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns against the Cyclones, including the three longest runs of his career. Glenn’s previous career rushing high was a team-high 88 yards in the opener against Louisiana Tech. Glenn missed the Troy game with an injury, but returned to action against Kansas and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Glenn has a team-leading six rushing touchdowns.
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 49 times for 270 yards, including a breakout effort against Iowa State, when he set career highs with 22 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown. Jackson’s 22 carries are the most in a game by a Husker this season. He is also a receiving threat out of the backfield with eight receptions for 61 yards.
Junior Kenny Wilson joined the Huskers as a highly touted junior college prospect. Through six 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.
In Nebraska’s win at Iowa State, Glenn and Jackson produced Nebraska’s second double 100-yard effort in three weeks. The 100-yard rushing efforts marked the first time a Nebraska running back had topped the century mark in a Big 12 game since Cory Ross at Oklahoma in 2004. It was the first time since the 2003 contest at Missouri that Nebraska had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same conference game.
Previously, 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.
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 19 receptions for 318 yards, while Swift has nine catches for 154 yards.
Both players are quickly moving up the career pass receptions list. Nunn now ranks fourth in school history with 78 career receptions, six behind No. 3 Jeff Kinney. Swift has 55 career receptions, just one outside of the top 20 on the Nebraska career chart.
Nunn has produced his two biggest yardage outputs in recent weeks with 102 yards on four catches against Troy and 98 yards on three catches, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown, against Kansas. Behind those receiving outputs Nunn now has 1,031 career receiving 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 Kansas State game he has caught at least one pass in 19 straight games, the fourth-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.
Purify is averaging 23.6 yards on his 11 receptions this season, including touchdown grabs of 42 (Nicholls State) and 27 yards (Iowa State). Purify has picked up a first down on 10 of his 11 receptions in 2006.
Return of Herian Gives Passing Game Another Dimension
Senior tight end Matt Herian has made a healthy 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 Kansas State game with 1,234 career receiving yards.
He had four receptions against Nicholls State, and his two catches at Iowa State moved his career total to 63 catches, the most by a Nebraska tight end, surpassing Jerry List’s 61 catches from 1968 to 1970. Herian’s receptions total is tied for 12th-best among all Huskers, and just three 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 23 catches for 243 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 strong push up front. 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 six 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 Louisiana 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 18 total tackles and is tied for third on the the team with five TFL for 25 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 55 games in their career.
The three players are continuing to rack up impressive tackle numbers in 2006, ranking as Nebraska’s top three tacklers midway through the season.
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 34 tackles, including three tackles for loss and he also has two fumble recoveries.
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 had nine tackles each against USC and Kansas and leads the team with 36 tackles, while forcing and recovering a fumble.
Ruud had a season-high nine tackles at USC and at Iowa State and is third on the team with 33 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.
All three Nebraska linebackers are within 20 tackles of the top 50 on the Nebraska career tackles list.
Juniors Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh each have one career start and give Nebraska five linebackers with significant game experience.
Huskers Take Aim at Win No. 800 at Kansas State
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 799-322-40 all-time record in 1,161 games (.705) in 117 years of football.
This week at Kansas State, 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. 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 365 victories, an average of 10 wins per season. The Huskers’ overall record in that time period is 365-81-5 for an .815 winning percentage in 451 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 (328), Oklahoma (325), and Penn State (323).
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 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 the 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.
A victory on Saturday at Kansas State would make Nebraska eligible for its 44th all-time bowl appearance.
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.
Nebraska recorded its 31st win in its last 32 conference openers, and its 29th straight win in a conference home opener.
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.
Kansas’ 94 plays 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.