NU, OU Renew Rivalry in Big 12 Championship Game
No. 8/10 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-1)
Saturday, Dec. 2 - 7:13 p.m. Central
Arrowhead Stadium (79,451) - Kansas City, Mo.
Surface: Natural Grass
Series: OU leads, 42-37-3
Last Meeting: Oklahoma won, 31-24, 2005 in Lincoln
Television: ABC National
Radio: Husker Sports Network (51 stations)
Sirius Satellite Radio: Channel 144
Lincoln - Nebraska returns to the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time since 1999 this weekend as the Huskers travel to Kansas City for Saturday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium. The opponent will be a familiar foe as long-time rival Oklahoma will represent the South Division and the schools will meet for the first time in the 11 years of the Big 12 Championship Game. Game time on Saturday night in Kansas City is set for 7:13 p.m., and the matchup will be televised nationally by ABC Sports.
After playing in three of the first four Big 12 Championship Games from 1996 to 1999, and winning league crowns in 1997 and 1999, Nebraska has been absent from the past six title games. Oklahoma meanwhile has been a fixture in the game in recent years. The Sooners did not play in the first four Big 12 title games, but has been the South representative in five of the past seven seasons, winning Big 12 titles in 2000, 2002 and 2004.
Both teams enter the matchup with good momentum. The Huskers completed their regular-season with a 9-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark in league play, thanks to a three-game winning streak to end the regular season. Nebraska capped a perfect 5-0 run through the North Division with a 37-14 victory over Colorado last Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma dropped to 3-2 after an Oct. 7 loss to Texas in Dallas, but the Sooners have responded with seven straight wins, the sixth-longest win streak in the nation. The Sooners earned the South Division title with a 27-21 victory at in-state rival Oklahoma State last Saturday afternoon.
Saturday night’s game will mark the 24th time the "Battle of the Big Reds" will pit a pair of nationally ranked teams. The Huskers enter the contest ranked 19th by the Associated Press and 18th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Oklahoma is listed eighth in this week’s AP poll and is ranked 10th by the coaches.
The winner of Saturday night’s matchup will earn the Big 12 Conference’s automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series and a trip to the Jan. 1 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Huskers Cap North Division Title Run with Win over Buffs
Nebraska capped a perfect run through the Big 12 North Division with a 37-14 victory over Colorado in Lincoln on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Nebraska used a series of effective trick plays and dominated the game’s final 25 minutes to pull away from a 14-14 tie early in the third quarter, and pick up the first win by the home team in the Nebraska-CU series since 2001.
Nebraska scored on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. However, Colorado quickly responded and showed it would put up a fight in the game. Nebraska used its first trickery to take a touchdown lead at halftime.
The Huskers faced a fourth and seven on the CU 29 late in the second quarter when NU lined up in an unconventional formation and reserve quarterback Joe Ganz hit defensive end Barry Turner in the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown. Nebraska appeared poised to take a two TD lead on the first drive of the second half, but a fumble in the red zone stopped NU’s scoring threat.
Colorado quickly responded and scored on a 45-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 11:51 left in the third quarter. The rest of the game was all Nebraska thanks in part to Nebraska continuing to reach deep into its playbook.
Quarterback Zac Taylor connected with wideout Maurice Purify on a pair of key third-down conversions to put NU deep into Colorado territory. Then Taylor was interfered with on a halfback pass, giving Nebraska new set of downs inside the 20. Two plays later Brandon Jackson surged across the goal line from the 2, giving Nebraska a 21-14 edge.
The Huskers held Colorado on its next possession, then drove into Colorado territory before facing a fourth down. Place-kicker Jordan Congdon lofted a punt to the CU 1, where Turner made a great play to down the ball. One play later defensive stalwarts Adam Carriker and Corey McKeon teamed up for a safety and a 23-14 NU lead. Following the free kick, NU kept its drive alive courtesy of a fake punt. Taylor capped the drive with an 18-yard scoring strike to Jackson for a 30-14 NU lead. The Huskers added a late touchcown for the final advantage, and their largest victory over the Buffs in Lincoln since 1992.
Nebraska raced up 468 yards of total offense, while holding Colorado to 297 yards. Jackson totaled 190 all-purpose yards on a school-record 41 attempts, while Taylor threw for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Carriker dominated on the defensive side with three tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks.
Noting Game 12...Nebraska 37, Colorado 14
The victory gave Nebraska its 35th nine-win season in the last 38 years and the first since 2003.
The win was Nebraska’s seventh straight against Big 12 North Division opponents, including wins over Kansas State and Colorado to end last season. Nebraska’s 5-0 record in the North Division this season is the Huskers’ first perfect divisional record since 1999.
The win ended a streak of four straight road victories by the visiting team in the Nebraska-Colorado series. Nebraska’s 23-point margin of victory was its largest over Colorado in Lincoln since a 24-7 victory in 1994.
Nebraska finished 6-1 at home in 2006, marking NU’s first six-win home season since 2003 and the 22nd time in 25 years Nebraska has lost one or no home games.
The crowd of 85,800 was a Memorial Stadium record, bettering the crowd of 85,197 against Missouri on Nov. 4. NU averaged a school-record 85,044 fans per game at home in 2006, breaking the previous mark of 77,878 set in 2000.
Nebraska senior quarterback Zac Taylor’s two touchdowns passes gave him 24 this season, extending his own school record, and 43 in his career, tying the school record also held by Tommie Frazier (1992 to 1995).
Taylor has 2,789 passing yards this season, establishing a Nebraska season passing yards record, bettering his 2,653 yards a year ago.
Junior wide receiver Terrence Nunn caught four passes, including a 15-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Nunn’s four receptions give him 96 career receptions and moved him past Matt Davison (93) into second place on the Nebraska career receptions list. Nunn has 37 receptions in 2006, moving him into the top 10 on the single-season chart. Nunn is one of only two players with two of the top 10 single-season reception effort in school history, joining Johnny Rodgers who owns the top two season reception totals in school history.
I-back Brandon Jackson rushed a career-high 34 times for 142 yards, pushing his season rushing total to 881 and becoming just the second player to rush for 100 or more yards against Colorado this season. Jackson finished Big 12 play averaging 94.4 yards rushing per game in conference games only.
Jackson caught a career-high six passes for 42 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown reception from Taylor, marking Jackson’s second TD reception of the season (49-yarder vs. Texas). His 41 all-purpose attempts set a Nebraska record, bettering 40 attempts by Lawrence Phillips at Iowa State on Nov. 12, 1994.
The touchdown pass from Ganz to Turner marked the fourth time in six games Nebraska has scored a touchdown on a trick play, and the third straight home game the Huskers scored in an unconventional manner.
Senior defensive end Adam Carriker had two sacks for 18 yards in losses, giving him a team-leading six sacks this season. Carriker has five sacks in the past four games and has 19.5 career sacks, sixth on the NU career list. Carriker had three tackles for loss in the game and has 40 career TFL, fifth on the Nebraska charts. Carriker’s third TFL resulted in a safety.
The tackle for loss by Carriker and Corey McKeon for a safety marked the Huskers’ first safety since a McKeon sack at Kansas last season.
Freshman safety Major Culbert partially blocked a Colorado punt in the first quarter, setting up the Huskers’ opening scoring drive. Culbert’s blocked punt was Nebraska’s fourth blocked kick of the season. NU blocked field goal against Texas A&M and blocked extra points against Texas and Oklahoma State. Nebraska had seven blocked kicks last season.
Nebraska converted four of five Red Zone trips into touchdowns against Colorado. The Huskers turned the ball over on a third-quarter Red Zone trip, marking the only time in 24 trips into the Red Zone in conference games that Nebraska did not score. NU is 41-of-46 in all games in the Red Zone.
Nebraska scored first for the 11th time in 12 games this season on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
Nebraska continued to perform well on third downs. The Huskers converted 8-of-15 third down conversions, including 4-of-6 attempts in the first half. NU was also a perfect 3-of-3 on fourth down.
The third-quarter touchdown run by Brandon Jackson marked Nebraska’s first points in the third quarter since the Kansas State game.
Huskers Set for Fourth Trip to Big 12 Title Game; First in Seven Seasons
Nebraska returns to the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time since winning the 1999 Big 12 crown. The Huskers appeared in Big 12 title games in 1996, 1997 and 1999, but have not returned until this year. Nebraska’s four appearances in the Big 12 title game ties Colorado for the most in the North Division. Oklahoma is making its league-leading fifth appearance in the title game, all in the past seven years.
Nebraska and Oklahoma are two of three teams to capture two or more Big 12 titles in the first 10 years of the league. Oklahoma has three league crowns, while Nebraska and Texas have each captured two Big 12 titles. Kansas State, Texas A&M and Colorado each captured one Big 12 crown in the first 10 years of Big 12 action.
Huskers, OU Set for First Meeting for Big 12 Crown
When the Big 12 was formed, Nebraska and Oklahoma no longer matched up each season. It was assumed the two teams would be regular foes in the Big 12 Championship Game, but surprisingly it has taken 11 years for that matchup to become a reality.
Nebraska and Oklahoma nearly met for the Big 12 title in both 2000 and 2001.
In 2000, Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 31-14 in Norman in October en route to a perfect regular season. Nebraska was poised for a rematch in Kansas City, before losing 29-28 at Kansas State, sending the Wildcats to Arrowhead Stadium. Oklahoma defeated Kansas State and went on to capture the national title.
In 2001, Nebraska defeated Oklahoma, 20-10, in Lincoln and both teams went into Thanksgiving weekend set for a rematch in Dallas. However, Nebraska lost at Colorado, while Oklahoma State upset the Sooners in Norman, resulting in a Colorado-Texas Big 12 Championship Game.
While this is the first meeting between the two schools for the Big 12 title, it is not the first postseason meeting between Nebraska and Oklahoma. In 1978, Nebraska upset No. 1 Oklahoma in the regular season, but lost to Missouri the following week, resulting in a Husker-Sooner rematch in the Orange Bowl (OU, 31-24).
Nebraska-OU Has History of Playing for Conference Titles
While Saturday night’s game will mark the first Big 12 Championship Game between Nebraska and Oklahoma, the teams are used to playing with high stakes on the line. Nebraska faced Oklahoma in the final conference regular-season game in 42 of 46 seasons between 1950 and the end of the Big Eight in 1995, often with a league title on the line.
Between 1962 and 1995, either Nebraska or Oklahoma captured at least a share of the Big Eight title in every season except 1989 and 1990. The winner of the game represented the Big Eight in the Orange Bowl in 17 of the final 19 seasons of the league.
Since the formation of the Big 12, the teams have met six times, with each team winning three games. Before last season’s Oklahoma victory in Lincoln, one or both of the teams had been ranked in the top five at the time of the matchup. In both 2000 and 2001, both teams entered the game undefeated and ranked in the top three in the Associated Press poll. The winner of each of those games advanced to the BCS National Championship Game.
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 Looking for Third Big 12 Crown
Nebraska is 2-1 in its previous three trips to the Big 12 Championship Game (1996, 1997 and 1999). A Nebraska victory would tie the Huskers with Oklahoma for the most Big 12 crowns since the inception of the league. Here’s a brief look at Nebraska’s previous three trips to the conference title game.
1996–Texas 37, #3 Nebraska 27 (St. Louis)–Texas pulled one of the biggest upsets in Big 12 title game history with a 37-27 win over the third-ranked Huskers. The loss prevented Nebraska from the opportunity to capture a third straight national championship and was one of just two Husker losses from 1994 to 1997.Nebraska took a 27-23 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Texas scored two touchdowns in the final nine minutes to pull the upset. Texas quarterback James Brown passed for 353 yards in the game to key the Longhorbn victory. Nebraska ran 30 more offensive plays in the game and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes, but could not overcome UT’s explosiveness.
1997–#2 Nebraska 54, #14 Texas A&M 15 (San Antonio)–Nebraska continued its run to a third national title in four seasons by dominating Texas A&M from start to finish in a 54-15 victory at the Alamodome. Nebraska broke in front 23-0 early in the second quarter and led 37-3 at the half. The Huskers rolled up 335 rushing yards and 536 yards of total offense, while limiting the Aggies to 277 yards of offense, including just 13 rushing yards. I-back Ahman Green rushed 34 times for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
1999–#3 Nebraska 22, #12 Texas 6 (San Antonio)–Nebraska became the first school with two Big 12 crowns, using a dominant defensive performance to defeat Texas, 22-6, in San Antonio. The game was the first rematch in the Big 12 title game, and avenged Nebraska’s only defeat of the 1999 campaign. The Huskers broke to a 10-0 lead after one quarter, led 15-0 at the half and shut out the Longhorns until UT scored on a defensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Nebraska held Texas to just 178 yards of total offense, including nine yards rushing. Nebraska had seven sacks for 44 yards in losses in the game. I-back Correll Buckhalter rushed 20 times for 136 yards, while quarterback Eric Crouch scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.
North Division Sweep Keys NU Trip to Kansas City
The Huskers’ North Division crown is largely due to their play within the division. Dating back to last season, Nebraska has won seven straight games against Big 12 North opponents, its longest divisional winning streak in six years. The Huskers won nine straight from 1998 to 2000, capturing its final North game in 1998, all five games against divisional foes in 1999 and the first three in 2000.
In each of the three previous seasons Nebraska has represented the North in the Big 12 title game (1996, 1997, 1999), the Huskers have posted a 5-0 record in divisional games, a mark Nebraska matched with its 37-14 win over Colorado. Nebraska is the first North Division team to complete divisional play undefeated since 2003.
2006 Husker Offense Showing Balance, Explosiveness and Flexibility
Nebraska has featured excellent balance and firepower on offense in 2006. 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 ninth nationally in scoring offense (33.9 ppg), ninth in total offense (434.0 ypg), 18th in rushing offense (183.2 ypg) and 18th in passing offense (250.8 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.
Nebraska's 434.0 average in total offense is its best in five seasons and is 113.7 yards better than its total offensive output in 2005.
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). Nebraska has topped 200 yards on the ground five times in 2006, after posting a season-high of 182 yards last season, a mark Nebraska has topped eight times in 2006.
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 eight games this season, including 34:51 or better in October road games at Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The Huskers are averaging 33:01 of possession time, a figure that ranks fifth nationally. Last season Nebraska averaged 29:56 of possession time per game. Nebraska has run 66 more offensive plays than its opponents this season.
The Huskers are converting 48.2 percent (82-of-170) of their third-down conversions, including 11-of-16 against Louisiana Tech, 11-of-17 against Missouri and 7-for-11 vs. Troy. The rate ranks 11th 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 113 first downs by rush, 125 by pass and 13 by penalty.
Nebraska has spread the wealth on offense. Seventeen 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."
Quick Start Huskers Jumping on Opponents Early
Nebraska has had great success early in games, outscoring the opposition 110-24 in the first quarter, allowing only touchdowns by USC, Texas A&M and Colorado and a field goal by Texas.
A large part of that first quarter success has come during Nebraska’s first drive of the game. The Huskers have scored on their first drive of the game seven times in 12 games, including four straight games from Troy to Kansas State. Nebraska also scored touchdowns on its opening drives against Nicholls State and Colorado, and kicked a field goal on its initial drive at Oklahoma State.
In games against Troy, Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State, Nebraska lost the coin toss each week and the opposition deferred, giving the football to the Huskers. Nebraska responded by driving for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead in each of the four games.
Nebraska had ball-control drives to open the game against Troy (10 plays, 73 yards, 5:47), Iowa State (10 plays, 80 yards, 5:27) and Kansas State (9 plays, 80 yards, 3:54), while striking quickly against Kansas (2 plays, 80 yards, :50).
The Texas game is the only time this season Nebraska did not score first, but the Huskers did put a touchdown on the board on their second drive of the game. Nebraska kicked a field goal on its second drive of the day at Missouri, and scored a touchdown on its second drive at Texas A&M.
Nebraska Looks to Continue Red Zone Efficiency
Nebraska is among the Big 12 and nation’s best offenses at converting Red Zone opportunities into touchdowns. The Huskers have converted 41-of-46 red zone trips into scores, including 38 touchdowns, 20 by rush and 18 by pass.
The Huskers’ Red Zone success is even more impressive in Big 12 Conference play. Nebraska was perfect in its first seven league games in the Red Zone, before a third-quarter fumble against Colorado ending the string at 20 straight conversions. Nebraska converted three later Red Zone trips into touchdowns and finished Big 12 Conference play 23-of-24 in the Red Zone, including 20 touchdowns.
Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in Red Zone success at 93.3 percent (42-of-45). The Sooners are also 23-of-24 in the Red Zone in Big 12 games.
Quarterback Taylor Leading Husker Offense, Continuing to Re-Write NU Passing Records
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 as a contender for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honors. Taylor continued his assault on the Nebraska passing record book against Colorado.
Taylor threw for two touchdown passes against the Buffs, giving him 24 this season. His 24 TD passes surpassed the previous season touchdown passes record of 20 by Vince Ferragamo in 1976. Taylor has thrown 16 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in Big 12 games.
The 24 touchdown passes this season give Taylor 43 in his Nebraska career, tied with Tommie Frazier for the NU record. Taylor has at least one TD pass in each of Nebraska’s last nine games, and two in each of the Huskers’ past five games.
Taylor became Nebraska’s career passing yardage leader against Texas A&M. With 267 yards against the Aggies, Taylor moved his career total to 5,193 yards, bettering the previous NU career record of 5,035 yards by Dave Humm from 1972 to 1974. Taylor’s career total now stands at 5,442 yards.
Taylor pushed his season passing total to 2,789 yards with his 249 yards against Colorado, bettering his own season record of 2,653 passing yards last season.
Taylor’s latest record assault is continuing an impressive 2006 season and two-year Nebraska career.
Taylor has completed 62.2 percent of his passes in 2006 (196-of-315), up from 55.1 percent in 2005. Taylor has 24 touchdowns and four interceptions, and his pass efficiency rating of 159.20 ranks ninth 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 15 games dating back to last season, Taylor has thrown for 31 touchdowns against just six 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 13 passes.
Taylor had a streak of 104 straight passes without an interception end at Texas A&M, his third streak of the season of 80 or more passes without a pick. He had a streak of 83 straight passes without an interception end in the second quarter against Troy, and a streak of 84 consecutive without a pick end vs. Texas.
Taylor’s 395-yard passing effort against Kansas was the second-highest total in Nebraska history, trailing only his 431 yards against Iowa State in 2005. Taylor owns the top three single-game passing efforts in NU history. He has 15 career games with 200 or more passing yards (nine in 2006), including 13 of the past 17 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 nine games, Taylor has six of the eight longest passes of his Nebraska career and has completed 33 passes of 20 yards or more, including five of 60 yards or more.
Taylor has completed passes to 13 different receivers, and thrown TD passes to 10 different Huskers.
Taylor has 433 career pass completions, a Husker record, eclipsing the 353 by Humm.
Taylor has totaled 2,746 yards of total offense in 12 games in 2006, just 28 yards shy of the NU single season record of 2,774 set by Jammal Lord in 14 games in 2002. Taylor has 5,358 yards of total offense in his two-year career, just 118 yards short of second place on the Husker career charts.
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 an 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. He has added the sixth 2,000-yard season in 2006.
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.
Taylor One of Nation’s Best at Protecting the Football
Taylor ranks ninth nationally in passing efficiency. The lofty rating is due in large part to Taylor’s ability to protect the football, having thrown just four interceptions in 315 pass attempts this season. Taylor has streaks of 104, 84, and 83 passes without an interception in 2006.
Taylor is one of three quarterbacks nationally with at least 300 pass attempts and four or fewer interceptions, joining Houston’s Kevin Kolb and Syracuse’s Perry Patterson.
QBs with 300+Pass Attempts, 4 or Fewer INT
Quarterback, School - Attempts - INT
Kevin Kolb, Houston - 362 - 3
Zac Taylor, Nebraska - 315 - 4
Perry Patterson, Syracuse - 300 - 4
Jackson is Chairman of Nebraska Running Back "Committee"
Nebraska junior I-back Brandon Jackson has broken out of Nebraska’s I-back pack and in the process emerged as a candidate for All-Big 12 honors. Jackson finished the regular season ranked second in the league in rushing at 73.4 yards per game. In Big 12 games only, Jackson is third with an average of 94.4 yards per game.
Jackson’s impressive league stats include the Kansas game when he had just four carries for 28 yards. Since moving into the starting lineup against Iowa State, Jackson is averaging 103.9 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry, while scoring seven touchdowns, including five by rush and two receiving scores.
Jackson capped the regular season with a career-high 34 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown in the win over Colorado. He also caught a career-high six passes for 42 yards and his 41 all-purpose attempts (190 yards) set a Nebraska single-game record.
Against Missouri, Jackson carried the ball 32 times for 111 yards and a touchdown and added 61 receiving yards for 172 all-purpose yards. In conference games, Jackson ranks third in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 136.4 yards per game.
A week prior to his effort in the 34-20 win over Missouri, Jackson had a strong performance at Oklahoma State, running 21 times for a career-high 182 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had four carries of 20 yards or more in the contest, and also caught three passes out of the backfield.
Jackson finished the month of October with 66 carries for 430 yards, an average of 6.5 yards per carry. He posted his first two 100-yard rushing games with 116 yards on 22 carries at Iowa State and the 182 yards at Oklahoma State. Jackson also rushed for 92 yards at Kansas State and had 162 all-purpose yards against Texas, including a 49-yard touchdown reception.
The 182 yards by Jackson at Oklahoma State were the most by a Husker since Cory Ross ran for 194 yards against Missouri in 2004, a span of 24 games.
Jackson pushed his career rushing total past 1,000 yards at Oklahoma State, becoming the 55th Husker to eclipse 1,000 career rushing yards. He currently has 1,323 career yards, 39th on NU’s career chart.
Jackson has totaled a team-high 881 on 168 carries with seven rushing touchdowns. Jackson needs 119 yards in Nebraska’s final two games to record the 28th, 1,000-yard rushing season in school history. Jackson also has 26 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield.
Jackson had a standout freshman year in 2004 when he rushed for 390 yards, but was slowed by injury last season, and carried the football just 18 times.
Husker I-Back "Committee" Continuing to Distribute the Football
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." Although Brandon Jackson has received the majority of the carries in recent weeks, all of the backs continue to produce in the Husker offense.
The results have been outstanding as four Husker I-backs have combined for 429 carries for 2,228 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. All four backs have gotten into the act, with each of them having between 71 and 168 carries, and each of the backs has topped 100 yards in a game, and has at least four rushing touchdowns. 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, NU’s highest road rushing total in three seasons. Nebraska is averaging 183.2 yards per game on the ground to rank 18th in the nation and fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
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.Nebraska has produced eight rushing efforts of more than 182 yards in 2006. Additionally, Nebraska has 26 rushing touchdowns in 2006. A year ago, Nebraska rushed for 10 touchdowns.
In addition to Jackson, three other backs have played a large role in Nebraska’s ground game.
Sophomore Marlon Lucky, a native of North Hollywood, Calif., started the first five games and has 640 rushing yards on 116 carries. 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 added his fourth TD run of longer than 34 yards with a 40-yard scamper at Kansas State, and has six rushing touchdowns. Lucky also has 24 catches for 272 yards out of the backfield, and had at least one catch in the first 11 games, including a career-high four against Missouri and Texas A&M. He had 46 yards receiving against Missouri and a career-high 56 against Texas A&M, including a career-long 42-yard reception. Lucky had 136 all-purpose yards in the win over the Aggies, and has 1,025 all-purpose yards this season.
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 leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns, the most by a Husker since 2003, and the most by a Nebraska running back since Dahrran Diedrick had 16 in 2001. Glenn has two touchdowns each against Nicholls State, Iowa State and Texas A&M and scored the game-winning TD in overtime against Kansas. He has 71 carries for 340 yards.
Junior Kenny Wilson joined the Huskers as a highly touted junior college prospect. Wilson has 74 carries for 337 yards and four touchdowns. He 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.
Purify Emerging as a Game-Changing Receiver
Junior Maurice Purify arrived at Nebraska with all the physical tools to be a go-to-receiver for the Huskers. The 6-4, 210-pounder has become just that during conference play, ranking among the Big 12’s most dangerous receiving options.
Purify has established himself as a candidate for all-league honors with a strong performance during conference play. The Eureka, Calif., native has 30 receptions for a team-high 584 yards (19.5 ypr) this season, and leads the team with seven touchdown receptions. Purify has stepped up his play since the start of Big 12 action, totaling 25 catches for 450 yards, including a career-high six catches at Oklahoma State and four-reception efforts against Kansas and Kansas State.
Purify registered his most memorable catch of the season at Texas A&M, snaring a nine-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining to give the Huskers a 28-27 victory. The touchdown catch was his sixth in Big 12 Conference play. He has caught at least one touchdown pass in four of the past five games.
After a TD catch against Nicholls State, Purify had a 27-yard touchdown reception with three seconds left in the first half at Iowa State, giving NU a 21-7 edge. He added his second TD in conference play on a career-long 63-yard TD catch against Texas, then added TD catches of 22 and 5 yards in Nebraska’s loss at Oklahoma State. He nabbed his sixth touchdown of the season on a leaping seven-yard grab in the second quarter against Missouri, before his catch at A&M.
Purify has 13 receptions of 20 yards or longer, including four touchdown grabs. Purify has picked up a first down or touchdown on 26 of his 30 receptions in 2006.
Also a basketball standout at San Francisco City College, Purify showed his all-around skills against Missouri. In the first quarter, Purify lofted a perfect 28-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Nunn in the back of the end zone on a reverse pass, giving NU a 10-0 lead.
In Big 12 games only, Purify’s six touchdown receptions are fifth in the conference.
Purify’s seven touchdown receptions are tied for fifth on the NU single-season charts.
Veteran Receiving Tandem Posting Another Strong Season
In addition to Purify, quarterback Zac Taylor’s favorite wideout targets are Terrence Nunn and Nate Swift–a pair of receivers who made a mark in the Nebraska record book in 2005.
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 37 receptions for 552 yards and three touchdowns, while Swift has 18 catches for 312 yards.
Both players are quickly moving up the career pass receptions list. Nunn had four catches against Colorado to push his career total to 96 receptions, second on the all-time NU list, three ahead of Matt Davison. Swift, only a sophomore, moved into the top 20 on the list recently and his 63 career catches are tied for 13th on the career list.
Nunn’s top two yardage outputs were 102 yards on four catches against Troy and 98 yards on three catches, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown, against Kansas. He has added touchdowns against Missouri and Colorado, and has 1,265 career receiving yards, good for third on the NU charts.
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 Big 12 Championship game he has caught at least one pass in 25 straight games, the second-longest streak in Nebraska history. The last time Nunn did not have a reception was during his freshman season at Oklahoma.
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.
Effective Tight End Corps 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 2005 while recovering from a broken leg he suffered in the eighth game of 2004.
Herian has caught 12 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Against Louisiana Tech, Herian moved past Tracey Wistrom into first on the tight end career receiving yardage list. Herian enters the Oklahoma game with 1,243 career receiving yards, good for fourth on NU’s all-time yardage chart.
He had four receptions against Nicholls State, and his two catches at Iowa State moved him past Jerry List’s 61 catches from 1968 to 1970. Herian’s receptions total of 65 is tied for 11th-best among all Huskers, and just one catch from the top 10. Herian is the leader of a group of four tight ends who have made their presence felt in 2006. Following Herian’s first-quarter touchdown catch in the opener against Louisiana Tech, three of his 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 33 catches for 315 yards and nine touchdowns in 2006. At Kansas State, Teafatiller (17 yards) and Mueller (3 yards) each had a touchdown grab, giving each of NU’s four tight ends two touchdown catches this season. Teafatiller added his third touchdown of the season against Missouri, a 17-yarder in the second quarter. Teafatiller has scored a touchdown on three of his four career receptions.
Senior Bookends Carriker, Moore Leading 2006 Blackshirt Defense
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 leaders of Nebraska’s sack attack are 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.
Carriker has played his best football of the season in recent weeks, beginning with a strong performance at Oklahoma State. Carriker has five sacks in the past four games and leads Nebraska with six sacks this season and 15 tackles for loss.
Carriker dominated the first half at Oklahoma State. He finished the game with six tackles, three tackles for loss (16 yards), a pair of sacks for 10 yards, a pass breakup, a blocked extra point and a quarterback hurry.
Carriker added a sack on the game’s final play against Texas A&M to secure the Nebraska victory, then added two more sacks (18 yards) against Colorado. The recent surge in sacks gives Carriker 19.5 sacks, sixth on the NU career list. A year ago, Carriker earned All-Big 12 honors in 2005 when he led the team with 9.5 sacks from his base end position.
Carriker is among the leaders of a balanced Nebraska defense with 48 total tackles, the most among Husker defensive linemen. His 15 tackles for loss lead the team and his career tackles for loss total of 40 ranks fifth in school history. Carriker leads the 2006 Huskers with 12 quarterback hurries and had his first career interception against Missouri.
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, and added sacks against Kansas State (13 yards) and Texas (four yards). He also made a key sack on a Kansas two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter of NU’s 39-32 overtime win. Moore has 36 total tackles, four sacks for 33 yards in losses, and 14 tackles for loss, totaling 56 yards. He had three tackles for loss in NU’s win over Missouri.
In addition to Moore and Carriker, Nebraska has other sack threats. Senior senior nose tackle Ola Dagunduro has 3.5 sacks to rank third on the team along with redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who also 3.5 sacks for 37 yards. Dagunduro, Suh and senior defensive tackle Barry Cryer are tied for third on the team with eight tackles for loss.
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 Big 12’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 72 games in their career.
The three players are continuing to rack up impressive tackle numbers in 2006, ranking as three of Nebraska’s top five tacklers.
Bradley posted his third career double-figure tackle game with a team-high 10 stops at Kansas State, matching his total at USC four weeks earlier. Bradley has forced a pair of fumbles (USC, Texas) and has a team-leading three fumble recoveries (2 vs. Nicholls State, Oklahoma State). The 6-4, 250-pound Bradley leads the team with 67 tackles, including five tackles for loss.
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 is fifth on the team with 55 tackles, while also forcing and recovering a fumble. McKeon has been slowed by an ankle injury in recent weeks and missed the Missouri game, but returned to the starting lineup against Texas A&M.
Ruud had a season-high nine tackles at USC and Iowa State and added eight stops against Texas. He ranks fourth on the team with 60 tackles, including seven tackles for loss and sacks against Missouri and Texas.
Ruud had one of the best games of his career against Missouri, leading the team with seven tackles, including a 13-yard sack. He also intercepted his second pass of the season (third career) and forced and recovered a fumble. He has now forced a team-high three fumbles this season. Ruud’s performance against Missouri earned him Big 12 Player-of-the-Week honors for the second time in his career (2005 vs. Maine).
Bradley broke into the top 50 on Nebraska’s career tackles list at Oklahoma State, and Ruud made the list against Missouri, and McKeon cracked the chart against Colorado.
Juniors Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh give Nebraska five linebackers with significant game experience. Octavien missed four straight games before returning against Texas, and he responded with a career-high 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss. Brandenburgh has 38 tackles this season, and started in place of the injured McKeon against Missouri.
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. Earlier this month, Todd was named Academic All-District VII and is in position to be become the 13th Husker to earn two first-team academic All-America selections, most recently defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in 1999 and 2000. Last year’s 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.
Huskers Lead Big 12 in First-Team Academic All-Conference Selections
A conference-leading 15 Nebraska football players were named first-team Academic All-Big 12, the league office announced last week. Overall, 22 Huskers received either first- or second-team recognition by the Big 12.
Leading the way for Nebraska was senior fullback Dane Todd, who was one of two players honored for having a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average. Todd is a strong candidate to be named an Academic All-American for the second consecutive year later this month.
Todd is one of five Huskers who were named first-team Academic All-Big 12 for the third time in their careers. Also named to the first team for the third time were senior center Kurt Mann, senior free safety Brandon Rigoni, senior free safety Andrew Shanle and junior tight end J.B. Phillips. Making their second career appearance on the academic squad were junior linebacker Lance Brandenburgh and sophomore wide receiver Todd Peterson.
Todd Leads Four Huskers Receiving Academic All-District Honors
Todd was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII first team on Thursday, Nov. 9, placing him on the ballot for Academic All-America honors. Voting for Academic All-America will occur at the end of November with the team announced in early December.
Three other Huskers were named to the second-team Academic All-District VII team. Thosse players included junior tight end J.B. Phillips (3.73 GPA, marketing), who was selected to the second-team all-district team for the second straight year, sophomore offensive guard Andy Christensen (3.56 GPA, construction management) and senior safety Brandon Rigoni (3.79 GPA, psychology).
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 18-member senior class, 12 players are scheduled to earn their degrees by the conclusion of the fall semester. In addition, junior tight end J.B. Phillips will complete his degree work in December, picking up his degree in 3 1/2 years.
Nebraska Continues to Lead Big 12 in Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate
The University of Nebraska is the Big 12 leader in exhausted eligibility graduation rates for the fourth consecutive year. Nebraska boasts an impressive 94 percent rate, a percentage point higher than last year’s mark of 93 percent. The exhausted eligibility rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes in 10 incoming freshman classes who complete their eligibility at the University. Nebraska’s exhausted eligibility rate has increased from 87 to 94 percent in the past six years and has improved 22 percentage points since the inception of the rate in 1991-92.
The current exhausted eligibility rate includes members of incoming classes from 1990-91 through 1999-2000. During that time, 424 of 453 Nebraska scholarship student-athletes who completed their eligibility earned their undergraduate degree.
Nebraska’s 94 percent rate is three points higher than Baylor, which was second in the conference at 91 percent. The national average for exhausted eligibility is 85 percent for Division I schools.
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 the Newest Member of 800-Win Club
Nebraska joined Michigan (860), Notre Dame (821) and Texas (809) in the 800-win club with its Oct. 14 victory at Kansas State. The Oct. 21 matchup between Nebraska and Texas marked just the third-ever meeting in college football between teams with 800 wins at game time. Michigan and Notre Dame’s meetings in 2005 and 2006 both featured programs with more than 800 victories.
Nebraska is in its 117th season of college football in 2006, and is the fourth-winningest program in terms of victories. The Huskers own an 803-324-40 all-time record in 1,167 games (.705) in 117 years of football.
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 369 victories, an average of 10 wins per season. The Huskers’ overall record in that time period is 369-83-5 for an .813 winning percentage in 457 games.
In that time span, Nebraska has easily established itself as the nation’s winningest program, posting 27 more victories than second-place Michigan, followed by Ohio State (334), Oklahoma (332), and Penn State (327).
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.
Huskers 2006 Schedule Includes 2005 Title Game Participants
Nebraska has faced a challenging schedule in 2006, with Oklahoma the ninth bowl-eligible team the Huskers will face. In the non-conference the Huskers faced their first ranked opponent of the season, squaring off against No. 4 USC on the road. On Oct. 21, Nebraska faced off with fifth-ranked Texas at Memorial Stadium, the first top-five foe to visit Memorial Stadium since No. 2 Oklahoma in 2001. This season marked the first time Nebraska has faced a pair of top-five teams in the same season since 2001, when NU played the second-ranked Sooners and No. 1 Miami in the Rose Bowl.
Nebraska is the the only team in the nation that faced both of last year’s national championship game participants. The Trojans and Longhorns are two of seven 2006 Husker opponents that won seven or more games last season and one of six 2005 bowl teams on Nebraska’s schedule.
Among Nebraska 2006 opponents USC, Troy, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma are bowl eligible.
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 85,800 fans for the Colorado 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 game against Colorado was the 282nd consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, an ongoing NCAA record. The sellout streak dates back to a Nov. 3, 1962, game against Missouri in Bob Devaney’s first season as Nebraska head coach.
Nebraska’s 282 consecutive sellouts easily outdistance Notre Dame, which ranks second nationally with 191 consecutive sellouts. Nebraska has had remarkable success during the sellout streak, posting a 248-34 record during the 282 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 Colorado game featured a stadium record crowd of 85,800, the fifth-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 has played in front of nine crowds of 82,000 or more in 2006. 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 6-1 at home in 2006, and has won at least six home games in 18 of the past 20 seasons. Nebraska is 116-11 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 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 (248 games), and has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. The Huskers are 483-130-20 (.779, 633 games, 117 years) in Lincoln, 358-107-13 (.763, 478 games, 84 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923).
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, 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 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.
- Cody Glenn (148) and Brandon Jackson (116) each topped 100 yards rushing in the game. 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.
- Nebraska’s 3-0 Big 12 start was its first since 2001.The victory ended a four-game Nebraska losing streak against Kansas State in Manhattan, since an NU win in 1996.
Nebraska’s back-to-back road victories at Iowa State and Kansas State marked the first time Nebraska has won Big 12 road games in consecutive weeks since 2000 wins at ISU and Texas Tech.
Nebraska's victory marked the 800th win in the history of the program. The Huskers become the fourth program to win 800 games, joining Michigan (855), Notre Dame (816) and Texas (806).
- The loss ended a streak of four straight Nebraska victories at Memorial Stadium against top-five opponents. The previous top-five team to win at Memorial Stadium was fourth-ranked Washington in 1991. The Huskies went on to win the national championship that season.
NU scored 20 points against Texas, ending a streak of eight straight home games with at least 24 points.
The crowd of 85,187 was a Memorial Stadium record, eclipsing the 85,181 fans for the Sept. 2 season opener against Louisiana Tech.
- The loss marked the first time Nebraska has lost when leading at halftime in Bill Callahan’s three seasons as head coach.
Brandon Jackson’s 182 yards on the ground were the most by a Husker since Cory Ross posted 194 yards against Missouri on Oct. 30, 2004.
- The victory marked Nebraska’s 15th straight win over Missouri in Lincoln, dating back to a 35-31 loss to the Tigers in 1978. During the 15-game win streak, Nebraska has won 12 of the games by double digits.
Nebraska’s win marked its 37th win in its last 38 Homecoming contests, with the only setback a 34-31 loss to Texas Tech in 2005.
Nebraska’s 27 points in the first half were its most points in a half in a Big 12 game since scoring 31 in the first half against Baylor in 2004. Nebraska scored 24 points in the first half at Missouri last season, but was scoreless in the second half.
- The win gave the Huskers three Big 12 road victories, their most since also recording three in 2001.
Sophomore running back Cody Glenn rushed for two touchdowns, giving him a team-high eight rushing touchdowns this season. Glenn’s eight rushing touchdowns are the most in a season by a Husker since quarterback Jammal Lord ran for 10 touchdowns in 2003. Glenn’s eight touchdowns mark the most by a Nebraska I-back since Dahrran Diedrick ran for 16 touchdowns in 2001.