Huskers, Wildcats Set for Big 12 North Battle
Nebraska returns to the road this Saturday, when the Huskers travel south to Manhattan, Kan., to take on Big 12 North Division rival Kansas State. The game between the Huskers and Wildcats is set for a 1:10 p.m. kickoff at a sold-out KSU Stadium. There is no television coverage of Saturday afternoon’s game.
The Huskers will enter the Kansas State contest with a 4-2 record and a 2-1 mark in Big 12 Conference action. Nebraska is coming off a strong victory over Baylor on Saturday in Lincoln. The Huskers used a school-record passing day to defeat the Bears 59-27. The win put Nebraska into a tie for first place in the North Division with Missouri. The two schools are one game in front of Kansas and Colorado who are tied for third place in the division at 1-2.
The defending Big 12 Conference champion Wildcats have gotten off to a slow start in league action this season. Kansas State lost 31-21 to No. 2 Oklahoma last weekend in Manhattan, dropping the Wildcats to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 games. The Wildcats opened the season ranked 12th nationally in the Associated Press poll, but dropped from the rankings after a loss to Fresno State in the second game of the season.
Nebraska will be looking for a victory to prevent history from being made in the 89-game series between the schools. The Wildcats have won the past two meetings between the two teams, including a 38-9 victory last fall in Lincoln, but have never posted three consecutive victories over Nebraska. Kansas State has also won the past three meetings between the two teams in Manhattan since a 39-3 Husker victory in 1996.
Nebraska Rebounds with Big Victory over Baylor
Nebraska bounced back from a loss at Texas Tech with a 59-27 victory over Baylor on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey produced a record-breaking performance to lead Nebraska to a 59-27 win over Baylor. Dailey completed 13-of-20 passes for an NU record 342 yards, surpassing the previous record of 297 yards set by David Humm in 1973.
Dailey also tied a Nebraska record with five touchdown passes while directing the Huskers’ most efficient offensive attack of the season. Dailey distributed the ball to seven receivers, including sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Fluellen, who caught two passes for 72 yards and two scores.
Freshman running back Brandon Jackson joined Dailey with a career-best performance. Jackson rushed 18 times for 89 yards and two scores, and also made an impact on special teams, returning five kicks for 158 yards, including a 59-yard return, NU’s longest of the season. Junior running back Cory Ross finished with 51 yards and a score on the ground, and also caught two passes for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Nebraska led 45-27 before Dailey’s record-breaking drive. Dailey completed a 13-yard pass to Terrence Nunn, then hit tight end Matt Herian with a 43-yard strike to shatter the record, before delivering a 31-yard touchdown pass to Grant Mulkey for a 52-27 lead with 9:10 remaining. Nebraska closed the scoring on a seven-yard touchdown run by Ross after Daniel Bullocks intercepted his team-leading fourth interception of the season.
The Huskers led 10-3 midway through the second quarter after scoring on senior fullback Steve Kriewald’s first career touchdown reception and a 21-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis. NU dominated the second quarter, scoring on its last three possessions of the half with big plays through the air. Dailey hit Ross on a screen pass deep in NU territory, and Ross sprinted down the sideline untouched for a career-long 74-yard scoring reception with 5:56 remaining in the half. The touchdown was the longest reception by an NU running back since 1978.
With NU leading 17-3, Dailey connected with Fluellen for back-to-back scores. First, Dailey hit the speedster with a 27-yard scoring strike, then, following a forced fumble and recovery by NU defensive end Jay Moore, Dailey and Fluellen hooked up for a 45-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the first half.
Baylor fought back by scoring on its first four possessions of the second half, including three touchdowns in the third quarter. Nebraska answered after Baylor cut the lead to 31-17, when Jackson powered past the Baylor defense for a two-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. Baylor came right back to cut the lead to 38-24, but the Bears couldn’t stop Nebraska. Jackson returned the BU kickoff a career-high 59 yards to the 24. After a one-yard gain by Ross, Jackson carried on four straight plays, including a one-yard TD run that gave Nebraska a 45-24 advantage.
Recapping Game Six...Nebraska 59, Baylor 27
Nebraska has won eight of nine games in the all-time series and owns a 6-1 record against Baylor in Lincoln.
Baylor’s touchdown with 11:36 remaining in the third quarter marked Baylor’s first touchdown at Memorial Stadium in 16 quarters. The Bears were shut out in their three previous trips to Lincoln and had not reached the end zone since the third quarter of a 31-10 Nebraska win in 1977.
Joe Dailey completed 13-of-20 passes for a school-record 342 yards and five touchdowns. He completed 7-of-11 first-half passes for 192 yards and four touchdowns, marking the second time this season Dailey threw four touchdown passes before halftime (also against Western Illinois). Dailey has now thrown for 14 touchdowns this season, six shy of the NU school record
Dailey’s 342 passing yards bettered the previous NU record of 297 yards by Dave Humm vs. Wisconsin on Sept. 29, 1973. Humm completed 25-of-36 passes in the game.
The five touchdown passes by Dailey tied the school record, also by Steve Taylor in 1987 vs. UCLA and Eric Crouch vs. Iowa in 2000.
Junior I-back Cory Ross caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from Dailey in the second quarter. The 74-yard catch was the longest by a Husker back since Craig Johnson had a 78-yard TD catch at Kansas on Nov. 4, 1978, the longest reception ever by a Nebraska back.
In addition to 77 receiving yards, Ross rushed for 51 yards and had two punt returns for 145 all-purpose yards. Ross had 196 all-purpose yards earlier this season against Southern Miss.
The 74-yard touchdown pass from Dailey to Ross tied the longest pass play of Dailey’s career, matching his 74-yard touchdown pass to Mark LeFlore last week at Texas Tech.
Dailey completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Steve Kriewald in the first quarter to give Nebraska a 7-3 lead. Kriewald’s touchdown reception was the first touchdown catch by a Nebraska fullback since Lance Lewis caught a 15-yard touchdown pass at Iowa State in 1992. The 18-yard catch was also a career-long for Kriewald.
Wide receiver Isaiah Fluellen caught touchdown passes on consecutive plays at the end of the second quarter, the first a 27-yarder while the second was a 45-yard TD from Dailey with five seconds remaining in the half. The two touchdown catches were the first two receptions of the season for Fluellen. It also marked the second consecutive year Fluellen has converted his first reception of the season into a touchdown. Last fall, Fluellen caught a 43-yard pass for a touchdown at Southern Miss on his first career reception.
Freshman Brandon Jackson had a 59-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, the longest by Nebraska this season. Jackson had established a team season-long earlier in the game with a 40-yard first-quarter kickoff return. Jackson finished the game with five kickoff returns for 158 yards, the most since Josh Davis established a school record with seven returns for 186 yards at Kansas State in 2002.
Jackson rushed 18 times for 89 yards, a career high for the freshman. Jackson had 79 yards in the season opener against Western Illinois. His two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the first of his Nebraska career. Jackson tallied 247 all-purpose yards against Baylor, the 10th-highest total in school history.
Dailey completed passes to seven receivers, including four receivers with at least 60 yards.
Junior strong safety Daniel Bullocks picked off a fourth-quarter pass, his team-leading fourth interception of the season. Bullocks has returned his four interceptions for a total of 178 yards, an average of 44.5 yards per return. Each of his four interception returns have covered at least 38 yards.
The NU defense had two takeaways, while the offense did not commit a turnover for the first time in 2004.
Defensive end Jay Moore recorded his team-leading third sack of the season. Moore also caused and recovered a fumble on the sack, and Nebraska converted with a touchdown one play later to give the Huskers a 31-3 halftime edge.
Baylor rushed for 100 yards against Nebraska, marking the second time this season a Husker opponent has reached the 100-yard plateau on the ground, joining the 105 yards by Kansas two weeks ago.
The time of possession at halftime was a even at 15:00 for each team.
Nebraska’s 59 points was its most since scoring 66 points in the 2000 Alamo Bowl against Northwestern. The 59 points also ties Nebraska’s most in the nine-game series with Baylor, matching Nebraska’s total in a 59-0 win in Lincoln in 2000. Baylor’s 27 points were its most in nine games against Nebraska.
Scouting the Kansas State Wildcats
When Nebraska travels to Manhattan, Kan., to take on the Kansas State Wildcats this Saturday, the Huskers will face a team looking to get back on track. Coming off a league-title run in 2003, the Wildcats have struggled in the early portion of the Big 12 slate, as KSU owns a 2-4 overall record including an 0-3 mark in conference play.
K-State has averaged 156.8 yards per game on the ground behind all-conference running back Darren Sproles. One of the top backs in the country, Sproles has averaged 119.7 rushing yards per game (718 total yards) but has pushed the ball across the goal line only three times. Sproles has nearly 100 more carries than the next closest rusher, quarterback Dylan Meier, but Meier has a team-best five rushing touchdowns.
Meier has been effective as he is completing 60.0 percent of his pass attempts (87-of-165) while tossing eight scoring passes against just three interceptions. Yamon Figurs leads the receiving corps with 21 catches for 336 yards (16.0 ypc) and two touchdowns. Meier has moved the ball around well as four Wildcats have two touchdowns while six players have at least 10 receptions.
On defense, K-State has given up 325 total offense yards per game, including 146.2 rushing yards per game. Linebacker Marvin Simmons leads the Wildcats with 37 tackles, while defensive end Scott Emonds paces KSU with four tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks. Emonds also has two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick this season.
Sproles leads the special teams as the Wildcats’ top return man on the punt (5.7 ypr) and kickoff (26.6 ypr) return units. As a team, the Wildcats are averaging just 4.0 yards per punt return this season. Place-kicker Joe Rheem has hit 9-of-10 field-goal attempts this year, including 6-of-7 from at least 30 yards.
Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder
Coach Bill Snyder (William Jewel, 1963) is in his 16th season guiding the Wildcats and owns a 129-59-1 career record. He has led KSU to 11 straight bowl appearances. Last season the Wildcats earned their first berth in a Bowl Championship Series game (Fiesta Bowl) by winning the Big 12 Conference title.
Over the past six seasons, Snyder has helped Kansas State earn at least a share of the Big 12 North title three times. Since the formation of the Big 12, K-State has finished lower than second in the North only twice. Snyder entered the 2004 season tied for second among active coaches in winning percentage since 1993, and was tied for total number of wins since 1997. He has earned a national coach-of-the-year award from different venues on three occasions with the Wildcats.
Snyder began his coaching career in the prep ranks in 1962 and moved to the college level as a graduate assistant at Southern California in 1966. He spent seven more years as a high school coach before joining the staff at Austin (Texas) College as offensive coordinator in 1974. Snyder spent two seasons in Austin and two more at North Texas before a 10-year stint as offensive coordinator at Iowa from 1979 to 1988.
Nebraska-Kansas State Series...NU leads, 72-14-2
The Huskers and Wildcats are meeting for the 89th time in the series that began in 1911. The Huskers went undefeated in the first 14 games against KSU (13-0-1) and currently hold a commanding 72-14-2 series lead, although the Wildcats have won four of the last six matchups. The Huskers have dropped three straight in Manhattan, with NU’s last victory coming in 1996 (39-3).
Nebraska dominated the Wildcats in the 1970s, 1980s and most of the 1990s, as it picked up a 29-game win streak between 1969 and 1998. The Huskers earned a 56-26 victory in 1998 in the highest-scoring game of the series before K-State came back the following season to snap NU’s win streak with 40-30 victory at home.
Huskers, Kansas State Have History of Big 12 North Success
Saturday’s matchup will feature the two most successful programs in the Big 12’s North Division since the start of the conference in 1996. The winner of the Nebraska-Kansas State contest has represented the North Division in the Big 12 title game in six of the first eight conference championship games. Nebraska and Kansas State have also won a combined three Big 12 crowns, including NU titles in 1997 and 1999, in addition to the Wildcats’ league championship last season.
Nebraska and Kansas State own the top two cumulative conference records since the Big 12 was formed in 1996. Nebraska is 51-16 in Big 12 regular-season games, including 2-1 this season, while Kansas State and Texas are tied for the second-best conference record at 49-18.
The Huskers and Wildcats are the only two Big 12 schools to appear in a bowl game each of the eight seasons since the Big 12 was formed.
Running Game Traditionally Key in Nebraska-Wildcat Matchup
Both Nebraska and Kansas State employ offensive attacks based on a good run-pass balance. In recent years, a strong running attack has played a key part in leading to victory in the series between the two schools. This season, Nebraska enters the game ranked fifth in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in rushing offense at 193.5 yards per game. Kansas State is seventh in the Big 12 and 58th nationally, averaging 156.8 yards per game on the ground.
Kansas State has out-gained Nebraska in the rushing department in each of the last two seasons, both Wildcat wins. Before those two games, Nebraska had out-rushed the Wildcats in the previous 33 meetings between the schools. The team that has held the edge in the rushing department has won 33 of the last 35 meetings between the two teams.
Nebraska has topped 200 yards on the ground 30 times in the past 35 years against Kansas State, while limiting the Wildcats to less than 100 yards 24 times in the same span.
Blackshirts Among Nation’s Best Against the Run
The 2004 Nebraska Blackshirts will face a tough rushing test in the form of Kansas State senior running back Darren Sproles, who ranks 11th nationally in rushing at nearly 120 yards per game. Nebraska has shown the ability to be among the nation’s best defenses, specifically against the run. The Huskers are allowing 66.8 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Big 12 Conference and second nationally in rushing defense.
Nebraska trails national run defense leader Florida State by 8.8 yards per game, while the Huskers have an 8.4-yard per game edge over Oklahoma among Big 12 leaders. Overall, the Husker defense has succeeded in its goal of making opposing offenses one-dimensional.
Nebraska did not allow a rushing touchdown in the first four games of 2004 before Texas Tech ran for a touchdown in the second quarter of game five, ending a streak of 25 straight quarters without allowing a rushing touchdown.
The Huskers are allowing just 2.24 yards per rush, second in the country.
Kansas rushed for 105 yards against Nebraska, the most against Nebraska this season. Baylor rushed for exactly 100 yards vs. NU to become just the second opponent in the past eight games to reach 100 yards rushing.
Nebraska has allowed just two runs of longer than 20 yards this season.
The Huskers held Western Illinois to minus-three yards rushing, marking the 19th time in school history the Huskers held an opponent to negative rushing yards.
Part of Nebraska’s rush defense excellence has been the negative yardage piled up as a result of sacks. The Huskers have recorded 15 sacks this season, including a team-high three by sophomore defensive end Jay Moore, and 2.5 by junior defensive end Wali Muhammad. The Huskers have 45 total tackles for loss, led by senior linebacker Barrett Ruud who has seven tackles for loss.
2004 Blackshirts Exhibit Same Ball-Hawking Ability
Nebraska’s Blackshirt defense has a reputation of traditionally being one of the nation’s most dominant defenses. The current group of Blackshirts are no different and have shown a special knack for taking the ball away from the opposition. Last season, the Husker defense had 47 takeaways, the second-best total in the country.
The 47 takeaways last season tied the Nebraska school record, also set in 1972, while Nebraska’s 32 interceptions set a school record. Last season continued a long trend of Nebraska being among the nation’s best in the turnover department. Over the past 30 years, Nebraska has had a positive turnover margin in 27 of those seasons and was even in another season.
The Blackshirts have again shown the ability to take the ball away from opponents in 2004, with 14 takeaways in six games. That performance has helped offset Nebraska’s offensive turnover problems.
Nebraska forced five Western Illinois turnovers in the opener, including four interceptions. The Blackshirts’ five takeaways marked the second straight year Nebraska had forced five turnovers in the season opener.
The Huskers had four takeaways at Pittsburgh, all before halftime and converted those miscues into 17 points. The Husker defense has now caused five or more turnovers four times in the past 19 games after not having a five-takeaway game in the previous 43 games. In 19 games since the start of the 2003 season, Nebraska has forced at least three turnovers 12 times.
Nebraska’s 11 interceptions are tied for fourth nationally, and the Huskers rank fourth in the conference in pass efficiency defense.
In addition to causing turnovers, the Blackshirt defense responded very well to Nebraska’s own turnovers in the first four games. The Husker offense committed 16 turnovers in the first four games, while the kickoff return unit mishandled two kicks against Western Illinois for a total of 18 "sudden changes". Off those opportunities, the opposition scored just 28 points, with six of those points coming on an interception return for a touchdown by Southern Miss. Texas Tech converted seven Nebraska turnovers into 35 points.
All-America Candidate Ruud is New Nebraska Tackle King
Nebraska senior Mike linebacker Barrett Ruud has enjoyed a memorable career in the Husker program and the early part of his senior season has been no different. The 6-2, 240-pound Lincoln native had a record-setting 2003 campaign when he racked up 149 tackles, the most ever in a season by a Husker defender. Ruud had 78 unassisted tackles among his total, the second most in a season in Nebraska history, trailing only 2003 teammate Demorrio Williams who racked up 83 unassisted tackles.
Ruud reached another milestone two weeks ago at Texas Tech. The senior made 12 tackles against the Red Raiders, pushing his career tackle total to 347, surpassing the previous Nebraska record of 342 tackles by Jerry Murtaugh from 1968 to 1970. Ruud tied his season-high with 15 tackles last week against Baylor, and leads the 2004 Huskers with 73 tackles. His career total now stands at 362.
The senior is coming off an outstanding effort on Saturday against Baylor. Ruud’s 15 tackles tied his season high. He also had a 15-tackle effort, including 10 solo stops in NU’s 14-8 victory over Kansas on Oct. 2. Ruud has recorded double-figure tackle totals in five of six games this season and 17 times in his career, including 12 of the past 14 games.
In addition to leading the 2004 Huskers in total tackles, Ruud’s seven tackles for loss are tops on the team. Ruud has 39 career tackles for loss to rank in a tie for fourth on the Husker list.
During his record-setting 2003 season, Ruud raced past his father, Tom, on the NU career tackles list. Tom Ruud finished his Husker career (1972-74) with 202 career tackles, including a team-leading 104 tackles in 1974.
The father-son Ruud combination owns several Husker defensive milestones.
Tom and Barrett Ruud are the only father-son combination to both lead Nebraska in tackles in a single season. Barrett accomplished the feat last season, while Tom’s 104 tackles in 1974 were a team-high.
The Ruud's are the only family combination to both rank in the top 25 on Nebraska's career tackles list.
Barrett and Tom Ruud have a combined 564 tackles.
During fall camp, Barrett Ruud was elected as one of four team captains for the 2004 season, allowing the Butkus Award candidate to join his father in the fraternity of Husker captains. The Ruuds are the first father-son duo to serve as captains during their respective Husker careers.
The family connections continue beyond the father-son relationship for the Ruud family. In addition to Tom and Barrett Ruud, several other family members have made their mark at Nebraska. Barrett's great-grandfather, Clarence Swanson, was an all-conference selection during his Nebraska career (1918-21), while two of Barrett's uncles, Bob Martin (1973-75) and John Ruud (1978-79) also played for Nebraska. Both Swanson and Martin also served as Husker team captains. This fall, the Ruud family connection grows, as Barrett's younger brother, Bo, is a redshirt freshman Sam linebacker.
Secondary to None
The Nebraska defensive backfield returned three starters for the 2004 season–free safety Josh Bullocks, strong safety Daniel Bullocks and cornerback Fabian Washington. Also back is fifth-year senior Lornell McPherson who had played in 38 games and made nine starts entering his senior season.
The secondary earned significant recognition for its talents. The Sporting News listed the unit as the top defensive backfield in the nation, while Lindy's ranked the unit second and Athlon Sports tabbed the NU secondary sixth. Josh Bullocks earned first-team All-America honors last season when he intercepted a school-record 10 passes. This summer, Bullocks was named to nearly every first-team All-America list and is a leading contender for the Thorpe Award. Washington was a third-team All-Big 12 pick last season and is listed as the No. 1 corner in the conference and No. 6 cornerback in the country by The Sporting News heading into the 2004 season.
As a group the Bullocks' brothers, McPherson and Washington have played in 137 career games at Nebraska with a combined 83 starts. They have also combined to intercept 35 passes, led by Josh Bullocks' 12 picks, and break up 66 passes, including 33 by Washington. McPherson is the only senior among the group, while the others are in their junior seasons.
The Blackshirts have a history of outstanding defensive backs, but never before has a Nebraska defense featured a secondary with a chance to make such a significant dent in the school record book.
Josh Bullocks is tied for second on the Nebraska career interception list with 12 picks, including one in 2004 (at Pittsburgh). Bullocks is tied with Bret Clark for second place, just two interceptions behind career leader Dana Stephenson. Washington picked off his third pass of the season against Kansas, giving him 11 career interceptions, good for a tie for fourth on the Husker career list. McPherson and Daniel Bullocks have the top 10 in their sights with six career picks each. Daniel Bullocks leads the 2004 Huskers with four interceptions and ranks fifth nationally in interceptions per game at 0.67 per contest.
The 1969 Husker team featured a threesome that completed their careers with 33 interceptions (Stephenson, 14; Bill Kosch, 10; Jim Anderson, 9), while Kosch, Anderson and Joe Blahak were all members of the 1970 and 1971 national championship teams and completed their careers with a combined 29 interceptions. Josh Bullocks, Washington and McPherson or Daniel Bullocks need five more combined interceptions to become the top trio of teammates in career interceptions.
The 23 combined interceptions of Josh Bullocks and Fabian Washington are the most since Stephenson and Kosch were teammates on the 1969 team and finished their careers with a combined 24 picks.
The Husker secondary has also exhibited its depth early in the season. McPherson missed the Pittsburgh and Kansas games with an injury, while Washington sat out the second half at Pittsburgh with an injury. True freshman Cortney Grixby started two games in McPherson’s place, while fifth-year senior Kellen Huston has been a key player throughout the season. Both have responded well. Grixby had seven tackles and two pass breakups in his two starts, while Huston has 10 tackles, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and seven pass breakups in wins over Kansas and Pittsburgh. Huston’s five breakups at Pittsburgh tied for the third-most in school history.
NU Passing Record Falls after 31 Years
One of college football more amazing statistical records came to an end in Nebraska’s victory over Baylor. For the first time in school history, the Huskers passed for more than 300 yards. Sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey completed 13-of-20 passes for a school-record 342 yards and five touchdowns.
The Nebraska single-game passing record stood for 387 games.
Dailey moved past 300 yards early in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard strike to tight end Matt Herian. He surpassed the previous Nebraska passing record of 297 yards by Dave Humm against Wisconsin on Sept. 29, 1973.
In his record-setting day, Dailey completed passes to seven receivers, including four players who had more than 60 yards receiving.
Dailey averaged 17.1 yards per attempt and 26.3 yards per completion in the record-setting effort.
Dailey’s 65 percent completion rate, plus five touchdowns without an interception resulted in a 291.14 pass efficiency rating, the third-best single-game rating in Nebraska school history.
Sophomore Dailey Leading NU’s West Coast Attack
Sophomore Joe Dailey has been the man under the microscope as Nebraska’s starting quarterback. Dailey rebounded from a difficult performance in Nebraska’s loss at Texas Tech with a record-setting day in the Huskers’ 59-27 victory over Baylor. The Jersey City, N.J. native threw for a Nebraska record 342 yards in the victory, including five touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Dailey opened the year by topping 200 yards passing in each of the first two games. He scorched the Western Illinois defense for 218 passing yards and four TDs in a 56-17 victory. A week later against Southern Miss, Dailey passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while attempting a school-record tying 42 passes.
Through six games, Dailey has completed 52.9 percent of his passes for 1,274 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The 6-0, 205-pound Dailey has recorded several passing accomplishments in 2004, including...
Dailey’s 342 passing yards against Baylor marked the first 300-yard passing day in school history and shattered the old NU single-game passing record by 45 yards (297, Dave Humm vs. Wisconsin, 1973). Dailey also tied the school record with five touchdown passes against the Bears, including four before halftime.
Dailey’s 218 passing yards against Western Illinois marked the first time a Husker had passed for more than 200 yards since Eric Crouch threw for 204 yards at Texas on Oct. 23, 1999. Dailey threw for 213 yards in the first half, the most by a Husker player before halftime since Scott Frost threw for 220 yards against Kansas in 1996.
Dailey has twice thrown for six touchdowns in a two-game stretch, the most in any two games since Eric Crouch connected for seven TD passes in 2000 in consecutive games vs. Iowa (5) and Missouri (2).
Dailey is the first Husker since World War II to throw six touchdown passes in the first two games of a season.
Dailey added two rushing scores against WIU, giving him six total touchdowns in the game. His six total offense TDs tied a Nebraska school record, joining quarterback Gerry Gdowski who accounted for six touchdowns in a 1989 win over Iowa State (4 rush, 2 pass), and I-back Calvin Jones who rushed for six touchdowns at Kansas in 1991.
The 218 passing yards against Western Illinois were the most ever by a Husker in a season opener, bettering the 168 by Jerry Tagge against Wake Forest in 1970 and Bobby Newcombe against Louisiana Tech in 1998. Dailey’s 420 passing yards in the first two games of the season are the most since at least 1946, and the most passing yards by a Husker in any two-game period since Brook Berringer threw for 460 yards in consecutive games against Kansas (267) and at Iowa State (193) in November of 1994. The last time a Husker had passed for 200 yards in two straight games prior to Dailey was Vince Ferragamo against TCU (218) and Miami (264) in 1976.
The 342-yard passing day by Dailey pushed his season passing total to 1,274 yards. Dailey is just 166 yards from cracking the top 10 on NU’s single-season passing list. Dailey surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark in six games, and his 1,274 yards passing through six games is the most ever by a Husker quarterback in the first six games of the season, surpassing Dave Humm’s 1,227 yards in the first six games of 1972. Humm threw for 271 yards in game seven in 1973, for a seven-game total of 1,498 yards passing en route to a season record 2,074 yards.
Dailey’s 291.14 pass efficiency rating vs. Baylor was the third-best in school history and the best in 15 years.
West Coast Offense Makes Exciting Debut in Heartland
Nebraska’s West Coast Offense made a strong debut in the season opener against Western Illinois. The Huskers took just 1:53 to reach the end zone on the first drive of the game in the season opener against Western Illinois, mixing the run and the pass. By the end of the first quarter against WIU the stat sheet exhibited the precision, potency and versatility of Nebraska’s West Coast Offense: 13 first downs - 13 rushing attempts for 110 yards - 13 passing attempts for 105 yards - 215 total offensive yards, the most by Nebraska in an opening quarter since the Huskers piled up 224 yards in the opening quarter of a 41-31 victory over Texas Tech in 2001 (NU led 21-13 after first quarter)
The offensive execution continued in the second quarter, as NU rolled up 398 yards before half. The Huskers finished the game with 581 total yards, their most since posting 595 total yards in a victory over McNeese State in 2002. The Huskers’ 56-point output was the most by Nebraska in 41 games, dating back to a 66-17 victory over Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl. Nebraska surpassed its point total with 59 points in the win over Baylor.
The offense has had its ups and downs since the success in the opener. Through six games, NU ranks 33rd nationally in total offense at 407.8 yards per game. The move to the West Coast Offense has not signaled the end of power football in Lincoln. Nebraska is 24th nationally in rushing at 193.5 yards per game.
The "200-200" Club
Nebraska topped 200 yards in both rushing and passing in each of the first two games this fall. Entering the season, Nebraska had not had a game in which it has recorded both 200 yards rushing and passing since Sept. 5, 1998, when the Huskers accomplished the feat against UAB. The consecutive "200-200" games marked the first time the Huskers posted back-to-back games with 200-plus totals in both rushing and passing since the 1993 season. In 1993, Nebraska opened with victories against North Texas and Texas Tech and topped 300 yards in both games on the ground, while producing 215 and 217-yard passing efforts, respectively.
Tight End Herian Perfect Fit in West Coast Offense
Junior tight end Matt Herian made a strong impression during his first two seasons, becoming known as a big-play threat while earning first-team All-Big 12 honors. The 6-5, 240-pound Herian hauled in seven touchdown catches in his first two seasons and figured to be one of the main beneficiaries of Nebraska’s new offensive attack.
Western Illinois defensive coordinator Vince Okruch witnessed a pair of Herian touchdowns in the past two seasons as Colorado’s coordinator. Herian’s ability scared Okruch entering the season-opening matchup with Nebraska.
"I think he’s the best tight end in the country. It doesn’t always look like he’s running that fast, but then he’ll just run past people. He can run as fast as any safety in the country."
Herian did nothing to change Okruch’s opinion in a 56-17 Nebraska victory. The junior caught seven passes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including six catches by halftime. Herian did not let up in game two against Southern Miss, tying the Nebraska single-game record for receptions by a tight end with eight catches for 71 yards and a third touchdown. The Mackey Award candidate has posted an award-winning 2004 season to date, including...
Herian’s seven and eight-catch efforts to open the season rank as two of the five best receiving days by a tight end in school history. Herian’s eight receptions tied Dennis Morrison’s eight receptions at Colorado on Oct. 22, 1966, and his seven-catch effort is tied for third on the single-game tight end list.
Herian's 15 receptions in the first two games were the most in a two-game stretch by any Husker since Johnny Rodgers caught 15 passes in consecutive games at Kansas State (10) and at Oklahoma (5) in 1971. Jeff Kinney caught 17 passes out of the backfield in a two-game stretch against Missouri (8) and Kansas (9) in 1969.
Herian has 23 catches in six games, after pulling down 22 receptions in 13 games during his sophomore season. Herian is eight receptions from the Nebraska season tight end receptions record of 31, held by Johnny Mitchell in 1991.
Herian’s 10 career touchdown receptions are just four shy of the Nebraska career record for TD catches by a tight end, held by Todd Millikan (1985-88). The Nebraska season record for TD catches by a tight end is seven, while the record for touchdown catches by any player is 11 by Johnny Rodgers in 1971.
Herian and wide receiver Willie Amos each had two touchdown receptions vs. Western Illinois, marking the first time a pair of Husker receivers caught two touchdowns apiece in the same game since Tracey Wistrom (3) and Matt Davison (2) accomplished the feat against Iowa in 2000.
Herian, a native of Pierce, Neb., is closing in on the Nebraska career record for receiving yardage by a tight end. Herian’s 302 receiving yards this season have pushed his career receiving yardage total to 1,087 yards. Herian is the 12th Husker with 1,000 career receiving yards and just the third tight end. He passed Junior Miller (1,045) in career receiving yards against Baylor and is just 63 yards shy of career tight end leader Tracey Wistrom (1,150). Herian's 52 career receptions are the fifth-most ever by a Husker tight end, and just nine shy of the career tight end record of 61 catches, set by Jerry List from 1970 to 1972. Additionally, Herian is tied for 23rd on the overall receptions list, just 14 catches shy of moving into the top 10.
Ross Leading Productive Nebraska I-Back Committee
Junior I-back Cory Ross is the featured back in Nebraska’s offensive attack, but he has plenty of capable help at the position as evidenced by the Huskers’ ground production early in the 2004 season.
The Huskers rank 24th nationally in rushing offense at 193.5 yards per game. Nebraska churned out 363 rushing yards against Western Illinois, its most since rushing for 383 yards in a 38-31 win at Texas A&M in 2002.
While running backs coach Randy Jordan has employed a committee-like rotation, Ross has been the chairman of the I-back committee. Ross is averaging 95.7 yards rushing per game, highlighted by a career-high 169 yards on 27 carries against Southern Miss.
Ross had a career-long 52-yard run on his first carry of the second half against Southern Miss. On that carry, he pushed his career rushing total to 1,001 yards and became the 54th Husker to pass 1,000 career rushing yards. Ross enters the Kansas State game with 1,333 career rushing yards, 37th in school history.
With three 100-yard games in 2004, Ross has now rushed for 100 or more yards in six of his last 10 games and totaled 1,010 rushing yards in that stretch.
Ross’ 95.7 yards per game ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 28th nationally, while his 128.5 all-purpose yards per game is seventh in the conference.
Ross ranks third for the Huskers with 13 receptions for 168 yards. He has a pair of touchdown receptions, including a 74-yard score against Baylor, the longest reception by a Husker back since 1978.
Other committee members have also had plenty of input on Nebraska’s offense. Redshirt freshman Tierre Green and true freshman Brandon Jackson got off to outstanding starts in the season opener against Western Illinois and have played key roles throughout the year. Junior David Horne gives Nebraska four excellent options at the I-back spot, and gives Nebraska a pair of 1,000-yard career rushers, as he has 1,113 career rushing yards.
Green rushed for 112 yards on seven carries (16.0 ypc) against Western Illinois, including two touchdowns. His rushing total is the most rushing yards by a Husker in a varsity debut since Tony Davis ran for 147 yards in the 1973 season opener against UCLA. Green has totaled 242 yards on 32 carries (7.1 ypc).
The double 100-yard performance by Ross and Green against WIU marked the 70th time in school history that NU has had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game.
Jackson combined with Green to carry the bulk of Nebraska’s second-half rushing load vs. Western Illinois. Jackson carried 13 times for 79 yards. His 79 yards were the most by an NU true freshman since David Horne rushed for 122 yards against Kansas in 2002, and the most by a Husker true freshman in a season opener since at least 1973.
Jackson had a breakout game in Nebraska’s victory over Baylor. The native of Horn Lake, Miss., rushed 18 times for 89 yards and his first two career touchdowns. Jackson also sparked Nebraska’s kickoff return game with five returns for 158 yards, including returns of 59 and 40 yards, Nebraska’s two longest returns of the season. Jackson tallied 247 all-purpose yards in the game, the 10th-best total in school history and second-best by a Nebraska freshman.
The I-back committee has combined for 1,076 yards on 205 carries, an average of 5.25 yards per attempt.
2004 Husker Schedule Full of Challenges
Nebraska is in the midst of a daunting 2004 schedule, as it looks for its NCAA-record 36th consecutive bowl trip. Overall, the Huskers will face seven teams that participated in bowl games in 2003, including five Big 12 foes that appeared in the postseason a year ago. Western Illinois opened a solid non-conference schedule that included a Division I-AA quarterfinalist from 2003, and a pair of 2003 bowl teams.
The Huskers completed a three-game contract with Southern Miss when the Golden Eagles traveled to Lincoln and NU’s trip to Pittsburgh was the first in a two-game series. The Panthers, who played in the Continental Tire Bowl in 2003, are scheduled to travel to Lincoln on Sept. 17, 2005.
Nebraska opened Big 12 Conference home action against Kansas (Tangerine Bowl) and Baylor. Nebraska’s remaining home schedule includes games against Missouri (Oct. 30, Independence Bowl) and Colorado (Nov. 26). The Huskers face a difficult league road slate. The Huskers have traveled to Texas Tech (Houston Bowl), head to defending league champion Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl) this Saturday, and have remaining road games at Iowa State (Nov. 6) and 2003 South Division champ Oklahoma (Nov. 13, Sugar Bowl). Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma rotated onto the Huskers' schedule this fall, while Nebraska will not face Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State this season.
Seven of Nebraska's 2004 opponents won eight or more games last season, including Western Illinois, Southern Miss, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Scanning the Polls
Nebraska was unranked entering the season for the second consecutive year. The Huskers received enough points in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll to rank 26th and were 27th in points in the Associated Press listing. This season marked just the second time since 1969 that Nebraska has opened the season unranked in the Associated Press Poll (also 2003).
Oklahoma (Nov. 13) is the only team on Nebraska’s remaining 2004 schedule that is currently nationally ranked as the Sooners check in at No. 2 in both polls. Four other Big 12 teams are ranked in at least one poll this week. Texas is No. 8 in the AP poll and ninth in the coaches listing, Texas A&M is ranked 17th by AP and 20th by the coaches, while Oklahoma State is 22nd and 21st, respectively. Texas Tech is ranked 24th in the coaches poll this week. Big 12 North co-leader Missouri is receiving votes in both polls.
Huskers Continue Nation’s Best Win Streak in Season Openers
Nebraska continued a long run of dominance in season openers with a 56-17 win over Western Illinois. The Huskers have been victorious in their last 19 season openers since a 17-13 setback against Florida State in 1985 at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska’s 19-game win streak in season openers tops the nation, followed by Kansas State and Florida with 15 each.
Nebraska has won each of those 19 games by at least 10 points, and owns an 84-26-5 all-time record in season openers. Since 1973, the Huskers are 27-4-1 in season openers, including 22-2 at Memorial Stadium, with losses to only Florida State in 1985 and Washington State in 1977. In all-time home openers, Nebraska is 93-17-5, including 65-14-3 at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers are 29-2 in their last 31 home openers.
Construction at Memorial Stadium to Continue Throughout 2004
Nebraska is in the midst of a major building and stadium improvement project on the north end of Memorial Stadium. The $50 million project includes an addition of more than 6,000 seats to Memorial Stadium, which will raise Nebraska’s average crowd to 80,000 fans per game.
The project also includes the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex, which will include a new locker room for the Husker football program. The building will include new football offices, a new strength complex, new training room, water therapy pools and administrative offices. The improvement project also features a new indoor workout facility, giving the Huskers two full-sized indoor practice areas adjacent to two outdoor grass fields. The project will not be completed until the 2006 season, leading to a few changes for Husker fans and opponents this fall.
The demolition of the north fieldhouse has forced the relocation of opposing teams to East Stadium. Husker opponents will locker in the south end of the East Stadium. The opponent will travel under East Stadium and enter and exit the field from the northeast corner. Nebraska will continue to enter the playing field from the southwest corner for the next two seasons, before moving to the North Stadium for the 2006 season.
Husker fans have also seen minor changes in their game-day routine. Gate 14 on the northeast corner of the stadium has been combined with Gate 15. Fans previously using that entrance now use Gate 15.
Husker Personnel, Injury Update
Several Husker newcomers have made their mark in 2004. Six Husker first-timers made their debut in the season opener and eight true freshmen have played through the halfway point of the season.
True freshman wide receiver Terrence Nunn was the first Husker rookie to make noise in 2004. Nunn was in the starting lineup in the opener, and became the first Husker offensive player to start the first game of his true freshman season since World War II. Other Husker offensive newcomers who saw action against Western Illinois included true freshman quarterback Ryan Goodman, true freshman I-back Brandon Jackson and junior college transfers Shamus McKoy (WR) and Cornealius Thomas (OT). Defensively, true freshman Cortney Grixby made his Husker debut at cornerback against Western Illinois and started the Pittsburgh and Kansas games at right corner in place of the injured Lornell McPherson.
Four true freshman have made their debuts since the season opener. Three frosh made their debuts on special teams in game two, including receiver Santino Panico who is serving as NU’s punt returner, and linebackers Michael Keenan and Lance Brandenburgh who play on Husker coverage units. Quarterback Beau Davis played the majority of the second half in Nebraska’s loss at Texas Tech.
Nebraska has made it through the first half of the 2004 season in relatively good physical condition. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Adams, a transfer from Grossmont (Calif.) College, had his spleen removed on Friday, Aug. 27 but returned to practice on a limited basis the week before the Pittsburgh contest. His playing status for the remainder of the year is still undetermined. McPherson missed two games before returning against Texas Tech, while defensive end Adam Carriker missed just one game (Pittsburgh), but has been slowed by an ankle injury.
1994 National Championship Team to Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary
Last season, Nebraska invited all living football letterwinners back for a grand celebration to open the season with the Husker Nation Celebration. More than 800 former players took part in the weekend of festivities, capped by a march onto the Memorial Stadium field before NU's 17-7 victory over Oklahoma State.
The Nebraska football program will have a reunion of a smaller scale this fall when the 1994 national championship team gathers together the weekend of Oct. 29-30. The Huskers will host Big 12 North rival Missouri at Memorial Stadium on Saturday to culminate the weekend of activities.
The 1994 Huskers overcame injuries and adversity to give Head Coach Tom Osborne his first of three national championships. The Huskers used three starting quarterbacks in their 13-0 championship season that was capped by a 24-17 victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl. Coach Osborne and former defensive coordinator Charlie McBride have both committed to attend the weekend's festivities.
NCAA Record 266 Consecutive Sellouts
Nebraska boasts an incredible NCAA-record 266 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium. The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney's first year in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3). Notre Dame is second in all-time consecutive sellouts with 177, 89 fewer than Nebraska.
The Huskers are 236-30 during the 266 sellouts. The mark includes a 38-20 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).
The fan support at Memorial Stadium has led to a dominant home field advantage for the Huskers in Lincoln. Nebraska is a remarkable 147-14 at Memorial Stadium since 1981, with eight of those losses coming against teams that finished the season ranked in the top eight of the Associated Press Poll. Nebraska will play host to six home games in 2004, which should bring the sellout streak to 268 games by season's end.
Memorial Stadium Magic
Nebraska’s record home sellout streak is testament to the Huskers playing in front of the nation’s best college football fans. On the field, Nebraska has rewarded the loyalty of the Husker Nation with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years. Nebraska had a nation-leading 26-game home winning streak end with a loss to Texas in November, 2002. The loss ended the third-longest home winning streak in school history and Nebraska’s third home win streak of 20 games or more since 1980, including a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998.
The Huskers finished 6-1 at home in 2003, and Nebraska is 104-7 at home the last 16 years, including a pair of losses to teams that went on to win shares of the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991. The Huskers are 471-126-20 (.780, 617 games, 115 years) in Lincoln, 346-103-13 (.763, 462 games, 82 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923). The 2002 season marked the first time Nebraska has lost two home games (Texas, Colorado) in a season since 1980.
Since 1986 (19 seasons), NU is 115-9 in Lincoln, with losses to Colorado (twice), Washington, Oklahoma (twice), Texas (twice), Kansas State and Southern Miss. Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (232 games). NU has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. Husker faithful set a new attendance record in Memorial Stadium in 2002 against Texas with 78,268 fans.
Huskers Own An Unprecedented Winning Tradition
Nebraska, the nation's third-winningest program all time (fourth by percentage), boasts a 785-313-40 record in 1,138 games (.707) in 115 years of football. In the last 36 years, NU is tops, posting a record of 351-72-5 for an .826 winning percentage (428 games), an average of nearly 10 wins per year.
NU has won 10-or-more games 24 times since 1962, has gone undefeated and untied through the regular season seven times, played in 13 national title games (for at least one of the teams) and won the championship five times. Since the first Nebraska season in 1890, Husker teams have won 11 or more games 12 times, including seven of the last 11 years. NU has won 12 or more games seven times, and 13 games three times (1971, 1994 and 1997).
Nebraska (702), Michigan (705), Alabama (728) and Notre Dame (736) were the only four programs to win 700 games in the 1900s. NU became the first Division I team to win 100 or more games in consecutive decades, ranking first in the 1980s (103-20-0, .837) and second in the 1990s (108-16-1, .890) and posted a nation’s best 309-56-5 record in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Nebraska Tops Elite Programs in Consistency
Nebraska ranks third among Division I-A schools in all-time football victories with 785 wins. The Huskers have the nation’s best record since 1962, posting a 419-90-5 record in the last 43 seasons. In that period, Nebraska has easily been the most consistent program in the nation. That is evident when comparing the Huskers’ record to the other nine programs among the top 10 in all-time victories.
The Huskers have had just three seasons since 1962 with eight or fewer victories. Eight of the other nine schools in the top 10 have had at least 15 seasons with eight or fewer wins in that span. Nebraska’s last losing season occurred in 1961. Michigan has not had a losing record since 1967, but the other eight schools on the all-time top 10 wins list have all had losing seasons since 1988, including six programs with losing campaigns in the past seven seasons.
NU To Bid for NCAA-Record 36th Consecutive Bowl Appearance in 2004 Campaign
Nebraska’s visit to the 2003 Mastercard Alamo Bowl marked the Huskers’ 35th consecutive bowl game, the nation's longest current streak and an all-time NCAA record. Michigan’s streak of consecutive bowl appearances reached 29 last year, the second-longest streak in NCAA history. Nebraska's 42 overall bowl appearances is tied for fourth best with USC, trailing Alabama's 51, Tennessee’s 44 and Texas’ 43.
Nebraska played the first of its 42 bowls in the Rose Bowl, when No. 7 Nebraska lost to No. 2 Stanford, 21-13, following the 1940 season. NU's 35 consecutive bowls began with a 45-6 win over Georgia in the 1969 Sun Bowl. The Huskers are 21-21 all-time in bowl games.
NU Owns 42 Consecutive Winning Regular Seasons
The Huskers own a remarkable 42 consecutive winning regular seasons and have posted 41 winning seasons in the last 42 years. Nebraska saw its streak of 40 consecutive winning seasons end with a 7-7 mark in 2002. Nebraska’s streak of 40 consecutive winning seasons fell two years short of Notre Dame’s NCAA-record run of 42 straight winning campaigns from 1889 to 1932.
Nebraska’s 42 straight non-losing seasons is tied for second all-time in NCAA Division I-A, with Notre Dame's 42 (1889-1932), trailing only Penn State’s 49 (1939-87). Since Nebraska’s 42-year .500-or-better streak began, the Huskers have averaged nearly 10 wins per season with a 419-90-5 record (.820).
Huskers a Regular in National Polls
Nebraska is currently unranked, but historically is a regular visitor to the national polls. Including the Oct. 17 AP poll, Nebraska has been ranked in 538 of 561 AP polls since 1969 (all but one week in 1977, two weeks in 1981, the final 11 weeks of 2002; the 2003 preseason poll; and the first eight polls of 2004). Additionally, Nebraska has been ranked in the AP top 10 for at least one week in each of the last 34 seasons and 40 of the last 41 years.
The Huskers saw an AP Poll record streak of 348 consecutive weeks in the poll end after a 2002 loss at Iowa State. Nebraska appeared in every weekly poll from Oct. 17, 1981, to Sept. 22, 2002.
Huskers Continue Nebraska Tradition of Award-Winning Excellence in Classroom
The Husker football program has a tradition of winning that can be matched by few in college football. Off the field, Nebraska has established a tradition of academic excellence that is matched by no one.
Huskers Continue to Lead Nation in Academic Honors
Nebraska continues to lead the nation in CoSIDA Academic All-Americans for all sports and all teams with 217; in first-team winners for all sports with 109; and also leads the nation in football academic honor winners with 59 first-team certificates and 81 football all-teams certificates. The 217 overall honorees is 61 better than second-place Notre Dame, while the 59 football honorees is 21 more than second-place Notre Dame's 38.
The Husker football program also leads the nation with nine NCAA Today's Top Eight Award winners, 31 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners, including Judd Davies in 2004, and 20 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, most recently Chris Kelsay in 2002.
Kriewald, Cooper Playing 2004 Season as Graduate Students
Two members of Nebraska's 20-player senior class will compete in their senior seasons as graduate students. Fullback Steve Kriewald picked up his degree in construction management in May. Linebacker Ira Cooper graduated with his degree in sociology at the close of summer school in August. In addition to Kriewald and Cooper, nine Huskers are on track to finish their undergraduate work in December. Another eight are scheduled to graduate in May of 2005, putting 19 of 20 Husker seniors on track to earn their degrees by next spring.
4.0 GPAs not Uncommon to Husker Football Team
Three Husker players carry a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average into the fall semester. Senior linebacker Chad Sievers (business administration) has completed his first eight semesters of college without a blemish on his report card. In addition to Sievers, sophomore offensive lineman Kurt Mann and sophomore fullback Dane Todd have each completed four semesters of college with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.
During the spring 2004 semester, a total of seven players had 4.0 grade-point averages. Joining the three players listed above were quarterback Garth Glissman, defensive lineman Nathan Krug, safety Brandon Rigoni and safety Blake Tiedtke. A total of nine players had perfect 4.0 semesters in the fall of 2003.
Huskers Top Big 12 in Graduation Rates
Nebraska has led the Big 12 in graduation rates four times since the conference was formed eight years ago. In addition, Nebraska’s Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate increased for the fifth consecutive year and is currently a Big 12-leading 91 percent. The Exhausted Eligibility Rate surveys the graduation of scholarship student-athletes who entered the University of Nebraska from 1988 through 1997 and exhausted their athletic eligibility at Nebraska.
Nebraska’s football averages are higher than the national average and are higher than the general student population at UNL as well. Nebraska’s one-class average for football students entering school in 1997 is 72 percent, which is ahead of UNL's 59 percent for all students. Nebraska was one of 30 schools honored by the American Football Coaches Association, when the school received the 2004 Academic Achievement Award in late June. Nebraska was recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of its football student-athletes from the freshman class of 1998-99, as its graduation rate was 77 percent.
Two members of this year’s senior class (Steve Kriewald, Ira Cooper) have already earned their degrees with nine more set to pick up their diplomas in December.
Nebraska Unveils Hall of Distinction
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department unveiled the Hall of Distinction on Thursday, Sept. 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Hall of Distinction, which is located in the Hewit Center in West Memorial Stadium, honors every Husker letterwinner who has graduated and those who have earned national academic honors.
Nebraska men’s sports date back to 1890 and its women’s sports began nearly 30 years ago. During that span, 4,625 letterwinners have earned their degrees. Nebraska currently carries a 91 percent graduation rate for student-athletes who complete their eligibility at Nebraska.
The graduation display, which honors every student-athlete who lettered and earned their undergraduate degree, is in the same hallway as the academic All-American portraits, and a display honoring Nebraska’s nation-leading 14 NCAA Today’s Top Eight Award winners. Since the award began, Nebraska leads the nation in academic All-Americans with 217 first-, second-, and third-team honorees from all sports and also leads the nation in with 109 first-team academic All-Americans.
NU Athletic Director Steve Pederson said the display was the brainchild of Associate Athletic Director for Academic Programs and Student Services Dennis Leblanc. Approximately two years of research went into tracking the letterwinners to verify names, graduation dates and degrees.