Huskers, Buffs Set for Post-Thanksgiving Battle
Nebraska completes its regular season in a traditional post-Thanksgiving matchup with Colorado on Friday, Nov. 26 in front of the 268th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers and Buffs each remain alive in the jumbled Big 12 North Division race heading into the final two weekends of league action. The game will be televised to a national audience on ABC Sports, beginning at 11 a.m. (CST).
The Huskers enter the game with a 5-5 overall record and a 3-4 mark in conference play. In addition to its Big 12 North hopes, Nebraska will be playing for the opportunity to keep its string of consecutive bowl appearances intact. The Huskers have made a post-season trip in each of the past 35 seasons and have finished with a winning regular season record each year since 1962.
Colorado comes to Lincoln with an identical 3-4 Big 12 Conference record. The Buffs are 6-4 overall and have already qualified for a bowl game. Colorado opened the year with three consecutive wins, before losing four of five contests to open conference play, but has climbed back into the North Division race with victories at Kansas and against Kansas State last week in Boulder. Like Nebraska, CU can still represent the North Division in the Big 12 title game, but needs outside help.
Nebraska will honor 21 seniors who will be playing their final home game against Colorado. In addition, the Husker program will retire the uniform No. 64 of College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Brown, who starred in the Husker program from 1961 to 1963.
Nebraska-Colorado Series...NU leads, 44-16-2
The Huskers and Buffaloes meet for the 57th consecutive season and 63rd time overall when they clash in Memorial Stadium the day after Thanksgiving. The series dates back to a 23-10 NU victory in Boulder in 1898. The teams met five more times until 1907 before renewing the series every year since 1948.
Nebraska has dominated the series, especially in Lincoln where it owns a 23-7 series advantage. The Huskers are 19-7 in Memorial Stadium against the Buffs, including winning five of the last six matchups at home. CU pulled out a 28-12 victory the last time the teams met in Lincoln in 2002. The Buffaloes were ranked 13th nationally heading into that game while the Huskers were unranked entering the contest for the first time since 1981.
Scouting the Colorado Buffaloes
The Huskers end the regular season this weekend at home against a surging Colorado squad. The Buffaloes have won their past two games to get back into contention for the Big 12 North title and a chance at a spot in the league title game.
CU enters the post-Thanksgiving matchup against the Huskers with a 6-4 record overall after becoming bowl-eligible with a 38-31 victory over Kansas State last weekend. Colorado is 3-4 in league play, including wins over North Division foes Kansas State, Kansas and current division leader Iowa State.
The Buffaloes’ resurgence has come behind an offense that is gaining 346 yards per game, including 219 yards per game through the air. Quarterback Joel Klatt has gained 1,756 passing yards this season but has tossed just eight touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Klatt’s favorite target has been Evan Judge, who has pulled in a team-high 28 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Joe Klopfenstein leads CU with four touchdown receptions. On the ground, tailback Bobby Purify has rushed for 880 yards and a team-best eight touchdowns, but the Buffaloes are only gaining 127.1 rushing yards per game.
The Colorado defense has given up yardage to the tune of 424.8 total offense yards per game, but kept the Buffs in contention by holding opponents to just 24.2 points per game. Opponents have averaged 176.1 yards rushing and 248.7 yards passing against Colorado this season. Linebacker Brian Iwuh leads the charge with 78 tackles and eight tackles for loss, while Lorenzo Sims paces the squad with three interceptions and nine pass breakups.
Field position has also been important in CU’s late-season run, as the Buffaloes lead the nation in net punting at 42.5 yards per punt. Punter John Torp has averaged 47.2 yards on 52 kicks, including 17 of at least 50 yards.
Colorado Coach Gary Barnett
Coach Gary Barnett is in his 15th season as a head coach and sixth season guiding the Buffaloes. He owns an 75-77-1 career record, including a 40-32 record at Colorado.
Barnett has taken the Buffs to at least seven wins three times in his first five years, including a 10-3 mark in 2001. It was the second 10-win season Barnett has guided, including a 10-2 record in 1995 and Rose Bowl Berth while coaching Northwestern. His teams have had at least a share of the conference title three times in the past nine years, including one title in the Big 12 and two in the Big Ten.
Barnett came to Boulder after seven successful seasons at Northwestern. He also was head coach at Fort Lewis in 1982 and 1983, earning a combined 8-11-1 record.
Before taking over at Northwestern, Barnett spent eight years as an assistant coach at Colorado, serving the last seven as quarterbacks and fullbacks coach. In 1991, Barnett was also the Buffs’ offensive coordinator.
Huskers Fall on Road Against Second-Ranked Sooners
Junior I-back Cory Ross rushed for 130 yards to lead Nebraska, but Oklahoma’s efficient offense and strong defense proved to be too much as the No. 2 Sooners handed the Huskers a 30-3 loss at OU’s Memorial Stadium. The loss dropped NU to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play, while OU improved to 10-0 and 7-0 in conference action.
Ross pounded through one of the nation’s top defenses 30 times for his sixth 100-yard effort this season. Ross became the 27th Husker in history to top the 1,000-yard mark on the season with the effort. The Huskers finished with 201 rushing yards but were outgained 511-274 in total offense as OU quarterback Jason White re-wrote the Oklahoma record book. The 2003 Heisman Trophy winner completed a school-record 18 consecutive passes before finishing 29-of-35 for 383 yards and three touchdowns.
After picking up a field goal on the first drive of the game, Oklahoma was not able to get untracked until White hit his stride in the second period. The Sooners made it 9-0 on Willie Roberts’ 13-yard touchdown reception with 10:55 remaining in the half, capping a 70-yard, 11-play drive that included three third-down conversions.
Oklahoma converted an interception on Nebraska’s next possession into a quick score and a 16-0 Sooner lead. The Sooners extended their lead to 23-0 just before halftime when White hit Brandon Jones for a four-yard touchdown pass, capping a long OU scoring drive. White completed his 14th straight pass to Mark Bradley in the third quarter and the senior tip-toed the sideline 24 yards for a touchdown to give Oklahoma a 30-0 lead in the third quarter.
Nebraska drove deep into Sooner territory midway through the fourth quarter, but stalled on downs. The Huskers then put their only points on the board in the game’s final seconds. Fullback Steve Kriewald rambled 48 yards to the OU 24, then ran three yards before Joe Dailey spiked the ball with one second remaining. Sophomore place-kicker David Dyches connected on a 39-yard field goal on the final play of the game to account for the final margin. The Husker defense was led by senior linebacker Barrett Ruud who had a team-high 14 tackles, while Josh Bullocks tied his career-high with nine tackles and a pass breakup.
Recapping Game 10...Oklahoma 30, Nebraska 3
I-back Cory Ross rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries against the Sooners. Ross’ 130 yards pushed his season rushing total to 1,067 yards, giving him the 27th 1,000-yard season in Nebraska history. Ross became the first Nebraska I-back to top 1,000 rushing yards since Dahrran Diedrick rushed for 1,299 yards in 2001.
Ross’ rushing effort was his sixth 100-yard game of the season and the ninth of his Nebraska career, all in the past 14 games. Ross has averged 150.0 yards in the past three games, including 194 yards vs. Missouri, 126 yards at Iowa State and 130 at Oklahoma.
The 130 rushing yards by Ross was the most against Oklahoma in 2004, and Ross is the only opposing rusher to top 100 yards against the Sooner defense.
Junior punter Sam Koch had three of his six punts downed inside the Sooner 20-yard line, giving him 12 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line in the past three games.
Senior linebacker Barrett Ruud made 14 tackles against the Sooners, pushing his career tackle total to 423. Ruud’s 423 tackles are tied for third in Big 12 history with Texas A&M’s Dat Nguyen, and just eight tackles from second place on the conference’s career chart.
Ruud increased his season tackle total to 134 stops, good for third place on the Huskers’ single-season list. Ruud now holds two of the top three spots on Nebraska’s single-season tackle list, including his school-record 149 tackles last season. With eight more tackles in 2004, Ruud will hold the top two spots on the single-season tackle charts.
Ruud added a pair of tackles for loss against the Sooners, pushing his season total to 17 tackles for loss which is tied for ninth on the Nebraska season list. He now has 49 career tackles for loss, second on the Husker career list.
Nebraska junior free safety Josh Bullocks set a season high and tied his career-high with nine tackles against the Sooners, including eight solo stops. Bullocks also made nine tackles against Ole Miss in the 2002 Independence Bowl and his previous season high was eight tackles against Baylor.
Strong safety Daniel Bullocks tied his season-high with eight tackles, matching his total of the previous week at Iowa State.
Sophomore place-kicker David Dyches connected on a 39-yard field goal on the game’s final play and improved to 2-of-2 on the season. Dyches’ field goal prevented Nebraska from being shut out for the first time since 1996.
The Nebraska defense limited Oklahoma to 98 rushing yards, marking the ninth time in 10 games the Huskers have limited the opposition to 105 yards or less on the ground. Oklahoma freshman running back Adrian Peterson was held to 58 yards in limited playing time, the first time in 2004 he has had less than 100 yards rushing.
The 383 yards passing by Oklahoma’s Jason White is the sixth-most ever against the Husker defense.
The crowd of 84,916 fans was the fifth-largest ever to watch Nebraska play and the third-largest in a regular-season game.
21 Seniors to Play Final Game at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska will salute a class of 21 seniors before kickoff of the Colorado game. The class includes 17 fifth-year seniors, three seniors who are in their fourth year in the program and one junior-college transfer. Senior captain Barrett Ruud has become Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler, while senior offensive lineman Mike Erickson has seen the most extensive action on offense, starting every game the past three seasons. Overall, Nebraska’s fifth-year seniors have been a part of 43 victories and four bowl trips while in the Husker program.
Hall of Famer Bob Brown to Have Number Retired
Former Husker and NFL great Bob "Boomer" Brown will have his Nebraska jersey No. 64 permanently retired at halftime of the Huskers’ matchup with Colorado. The University of Nebraska has retired the jerseys of 15 other former Huskers, but previously, only Tom Novak has had his number retired. Novak’s jersey was voted into retirement by the N-Club in 1949. Nebraska’s other 14 retired jerseys are those who have won major college football awards. The N-Club Advisory Club, formed in 2004, voted unanimously that Brown’s jersey should be permanently retired.
Brown is one of just 10 players among all Big 12 Conference universities to be inducted into both the college and pro football halls of fame, being so honored in 1993 and 2004, respectively. The list of other honorees attests to the difficulty of reaching that athletic pinnacle, not once but twice.
The other nine players in the conference who have been inducted into both halls of fame includes one other Nebraska player–Guy Chamberlin, an end for NU in 1913-14-15. Oklahoma (Tommy McDonald, back, 1954-56 and Lee Roy Selmon, defensive line, 1972-75) and Texas (Earl Campbell, running back, 1974-77 and Bobby Layne, quarterback, 1944-47) have also each had two honorees, while four Big 12 schools have had one each, including Baylor (linebacker Mike Singletary, 1977-80); Kansas (Gale Sayers, halfback, 1962-64); Missouri (Kellen Winslow, tight end, 1976-78) and Oklahoma State (Barry Sanders, halfback, 1986-88).
Huskers, Colorado Continue Post-Thanksgiving Tradition
Nebraska will play on the Friday after Thanksgiving for the 15th straight year. The Huskers have met Colorado for post-Turkey Day festivities each of the last nine years (since the formation of the Big 12). Before 1996, Nebraska and Oklahoma met for six consecutive years on the day after Thanksgiving.
Since 1990, Nebraska has a 12-3 mark on post-Thanksgiving Friday, losing only to Oklahoma in 1990 and Colorado in 2001 and 2002. The Huskers are 6-1 in that same stretch in Lincoln on the Friday after Thanksgiving, with the only loss a 28-13 setback to CU in 2002. Before 1990, Nebraska and Oklahoma also met on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1973, 1976, 1977 and 1982 and squared off on Thanksgiving Day five times between 1965 and 1972.
NU Needs Victory to Keep Bowl and Winning Regular-Season Streaks Intact
Nebraska enters the Colorado game with a 5-5 overall mark and needs a victory to keep two nation-leading streaks intact. The Huskers hold an NCAA record, having been to a bowl game each of the past 35 seasons, beginning with the 1969 Sun Bowl.
Nebraska’s 35 straight bowl appearances is an NCAA record. Michigan has been to 29 consecutive bowl games and has qualified for a 30th straight appearance in 2004. Overall, Nebraska has been to 42 bowl games, tied for the fourth-most all-time with USC.
The Huskers have 42 consecutive winning regular seasons and needs to defeat Colorado for a 43rd consecutive winning regular season. Nebraska posted a 7-7 record in 2002, but owns a streak of 42 straight non-losing seasons. The 42 straight non-losing seasons is tied for second all-time in NCAA Division I-A, tying Notre Dame’s run of 42 straight seasons from 1889 to 1932 and trailing only Penn State’s 49 straight seasons of .500 or better from 1939 to 1987.
Huskers Remain Alive in Tight North Division Race
Nebraska is one of four teams still in the hunt for the North Division’s berth in the Dec. 4 Big 12 Championship Game in Kansas City. Entering the games of Saturday, Nov. 20, only Iowa State controls its own destiny in the North Division race. The Cyclones can clinch the North by winning their final two games (at Kansas State, vs. Missouri). There are two scenarios for Nebraska to win the North Division, including...
Nebraska defeats Colorado and Iowa State loses both of its final two games. In this scenario, Nebraska would either win the North Division outright at 4-4 or tie with Missouri, and Nebraska would win the tiebreaker with the Tigers.
Nebraska defeats Colorado, while Iowa State beats Kansas State and Missouri defeats Kansas and Iowa State. This scenario would result in a three-way tie at 4-4 between Nebraska, Iowa State and Missouri. The Huskers would win the tiebreaker based on the third step in the Big 12’s three-team tiebreaker.
Please see page five of the Big 12 football guide for full tiebreaker procedures and see the Big 12 release for all possible North Division scenarios.
Huskers Hope to Make Buffs One-Dimensional Behind Strong Run Defense
The Husker Blackshirt defense has succeeded throughout the 2004 season in making opponent’s one-dimensional by shutting down the running game. The Huskers have held nine of their 10 opponents to 105 yards or less on the ground, most recently limiting a high-powered Oklahoma offense to just 98 yards rushing, including a season-low 58 yards by Sooner freshman running back Adrian Peterson.
Only Kansas State has picked up more than 105 yards rushing against the Husker defense. The Huskers rank first in the Big 12 Conference and fifth nationally in rushing defense, allowing 94.6 yards per game, and have had good success against the run, including...
Nebraska allows just 2.77 yards per rush, the seventh-best mark in the country.
Nebraska had a streak of 25 straight quarters without allowing a rushing touchdown end against Texas Tech. Only four opponents have rushed for a touchdown against Nebraska.
Nebraska has allowed just seven runs of longer than 20 yards in 10 games.
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 24 sacks, including a team-high four by senior defensive end Benard Thomas. Sophomore defensive end Jay Moore, junior defensive end Wali Muhammad, senior linebacker Barrett Ruud and sophomore defensive end Adam Carriker have each chipped in three sacks. The Huskers have 80 total tackles for loss, led by Ruud’s 17 tackles for loss.
A "Ruud" Awakening
Nebraska senior Mike linebacker Barrett Ruud continues to make a strong case for All-America consideration. The Lincoln native is one of 21 seniors who will play their final game at Memorial Stadium against Colorado, capping a memorable career in the Husker program. Ruud has topped double figures in tackles nine times in 2004, highlighted by a 17-tackle performance against Missouri on Oct. 30. His effort against the Tigers included four tackles for loss, and earned him Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors for the first time in 2004 and the second time in his career.
The 6-2, 240-pound Ruud came into his senior year after a record-setting 2003 campaign when he racked up 149 tackles, the most ever in a season by a Husker defender. Ruud’s 2003 tackle record is in serious jeopardy because of his dominant play this fall. Ruud has a team-leading 134 tackles in 2004, the third-most in school history, including 80 solo stops, just three shy of the Husker season record for solo tackles.
Ruud has been the dominant presence on a Nebraska defense that ranks fifth nationally against the run. His list of Nebraska milestones and records is nearly too long to detail, but includes...
Ruud became Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler on Oct. 9 at Texas Tech. He made 12 tackles in that game to push his career total to 347 stops, surpassing the previous Nebraska record of 342 tackles by Jerry Murtaugh from 1968 to 1970.
Ruud continues to add to the Nebraska tackle standard. After making 14 tackles against Oklahoma, Ruud has 423 career tackles, including a school-record 212 solo stops.
Ruud is among a group of seven players in Big 12 history (1996 to present) to record 400 career tackles. He is within eight tackles (431) of becoming the No. 2 tackler in conference history.
At Kansas State, Ruud had a career-high 19 tackles, including a school-record 16 solo stops. Ruud has posted four 15-plus tackle games in Big 12 play, and has nine double-figure tackle efforts in 10 games this season.
Ruud has 21 double-figure tackle games in his career, including 16 of the past 18 games.
Ruud has led Nebraska in tackles nine times this season and 17 times since the start of the 2003 campaign.
In Nebraska’s past four games, Ruud has 10 tackles for loss. His four stops behind the line against Missouri tied a single-game Nebraska record for linebackers.
Ruud’s 17 tackles for loss this season lead the team and rank in a tie for ninth on the NU single-season list. His 49 career tackles for loss are second in school history, trailing only 1997 Lombardi winner Grant Wistrom. Against Missouri, he passed 1993 Butkus winner Trev Alberts (45) and 1985 All-American Jim Skow (44) on NU’s career tackles for loss list.
Ruud became just the fourth player in school history to record more than one season with 100-plus tackles when he cracked the century mark against Missouri. He is one of only three players with two single-season tackle efforts in the Nebraska top 10, joining Lee Kunz and Clete Pillen.
Ruud leads the Big 12 in tackles per game and is among the top 10 nationally in that category.
Tackling Part of Ruud Family Tradition
During his record-setting 2003 season, Barrett 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 NU in tackles in a single season. Barrett accomplished the feat last season and will do so in 2004, 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 625 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.
The Nebraska defensive backfield is one of the nation’s most experienced units. The Huskers returned three starters for the 2004 season–free safety Josh Bullocks, strong safety Daniel Bullocks and cornerback Fabian Washington. Fifth-year senior Lornell McPherson had played in 38 games and made nine starts entering his senior season.
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, while Washington was a third-team All-Big 12 pick last season and the No. 6 cornerback in the nation by The Sporting News heading into the 2004 season.
As a group the Bullocks’ brothers, McPherson and Washington have played in 153 career games at Nebraska with a combined 99 starts. They have also combined to intercept 37 passes, led by Josh Bullocks’ 13 picks, and break up 82 passes, including 38 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 picked off his second pass of the season against Missouri, pushing his career total to 13 interceptions. Bullocks is second on the Nebraska career interceptions list, just one behind career leader Dana Stephenson. Washington has three interceptions in 2004, giving him 11 in his career, good for a tie for fourth on the Husker career list. Daniel Bullocks has the top 10 in his sights with seven career picks, including a team-high five in 2004. He ranks seventh nationally in interceptions per game at 0.50 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 Daniel Bullocks need three more combined interceptions to become the top trio of teammates in career interceptions, and have the rest of 2004 and all of the 2005 season to accomplish the feat.
The 24 combined interceptions of Josh Bullocks and Fabian Washington ties the most by two teammates in school history, matching the 24 combined picks of Stephenson and Kosch who were teammates on the 1969 team.
The Husker secondary has also exhibited its depth in 2004. 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 Grixby and Huston responded well. Grixby had seven tackles and two pass breakups in his two starts, while Huston had 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. Reserve free safety Andrew Shanle was called on for major duty against Kansas State with Josh Bullocks slowed with an injury. Shanle had seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery against the Wildcats, and blocked a punt and recovered a fumble in Nebraska’s 24-3 win over Missouri.
Excellent Balancing Act
Nebraska’s version of the West Coast Offense has exhibited excellent balance. The Huskers are averaging 362.2 yards per game overall, including 187.2 yards rushing and 175.0 passing.
Through 10 games, Nebraska has rushed 389 times and thrown 267 passes, roughly a 59-41 run-pass ratio. The Huskers have generated 51.7 percent of their total offense on the ground and 48.3 percent through the air. If Nebraska continues at its current run-pass ratio, it would mark the Huskers’ most balanced offense since 1973.
Ross is Heart and Soul of Husker Offense
Junior I-back Cory Ross is the featured back in Nebraska’s offensive attack, and has proven capable of carrying the load for a productive Husker ground attack.Nebraska ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 28th nationally in rushing offense at 187.2 yards per game.
Powered by a 130-yard effort by the 5-6, 195-pound Ross, Nebraska churned out 201 yards against an Oklahoma defense that entered the game ranked first in the Big 12 against the run. His 130 yards rushing against Oklahoma pushed Ross to 1,067 rushing yards in 2004, good for the 27th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history. He is the first Husker I-back to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier since 2001.
Behind Ross the Huskers have topped 200 yards on the ground four times in 2004, including 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 Nebraska has employed a committee-like rotation at I-back for much of the season, Ross has been the chairman of the I-back committee. His play has been especially impressive in the past month after he suffered a painful turf toe injury against Baylor. Entering the season finale with Colorado, the Denver native has averaged 150.0 yards in the past three games, including 194 yards vs. Missouri, 126 at Iowa State and 130 at Oklahoma.
The inspired play by Ross in recent weeks has earned the respect and praise of his own coaches as well as members of the media.
"I don’t know what to say. He’s shown me throughout the season the willpower to fight through pain and injuries. We always talk about how the wolf is only as strong as the pack, and the pack is only as strong as the wolf. Right now, he is definitely the strong one of the pack and he leads by example."–NU RB Coach Randy Jordan
"The spirit was embodied in Ross, the portrait of pride. Nebraska can corral 100 five-star recruits and they’ll be hard-pressed to match the huge heart beating inside this mighty mite."
–Omaha World Herald’s Tom Shatel (Nov. 14, 2004), following Ross’ 130-yard effort against Oklahoma
Ross is averaging 106.7 yards rushing per game to rank fifth in the Big 12 and 17th nationally. His efforts were highlighted by a career-high 194 yards in the Huskers’ 24-3 victory over Missouri. Ross capped the big day with a career-long 86-yard run late in the fourth quarter, the eighth-longest run in school history and the longest by a Nebraska I-back since 1992. Ross’ 194 rushing yards were the most by a Nebraska I-back since Dan Alexander rushed for 240 yards against Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
At Oklahoma, he became the first back to top the century mark against the Sooners, rushing 30 times for 130 yards. He has rushed for more than 100 yards six times in 2004 and nine times in his past 14 games. In addition to his performances in the last three games, Ross also topped 100 yards against Western Illinois (125), Southern Miss (169) and Kansas (107).
Ross topped the 1,000-yard career rushing mark against Southern Miss and continues to climb the NU career rushing list. After his 130 yards at Oklahoma, Ross has 1,826 rushing yards, good for 26th in Nebraska history.
In producing nine 100-yard games in the past 14 games since late in the 2004 season, Ross has piled up 1,503 yards (107.4 ypg).
Ross ranks third for the Huskers with 19 receptions for 260 yards. He has a pair of touchdown receptions, including a 74-yard score against Baylor, the longest reception by a Husker back since 1978.
Productive I-Back Committee Assisting Ross
Other members of the Nebraska I-back committee have 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 1,118 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 257 yards on 40 carries (6.4 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 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. Jackson added his third kickoff return of 40-plus yards against Missouri (40 yards).
In addition to his effort at Baylor, Jackson led Nebraska in rushing at Kansas State, rushing 11 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. He has rushed for 370 yards this season, the 10th-most by a Nebraska freshman.
Nebraska had one of its I-backs rush for two touchdowns in four straight games (Baylor to Iowa State).
The I-back committee has combined for 1,703 yards on 331 carries, an average of 5.15 yards per attempt.
NU Passing Record Falls after 31 Years
One of college football’s 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 quarterback Joe Dailey has set several passing records during the 2004 season. The Jersey City, N.J. native threw for a Nebraska record 342 yards in the victory over Baylor, including five touchdown passes and no interceptions. Dailey has topped 200 yards passing three other times this season,and has completed 48.6 percent of his passes for 1,719 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Among Dailey’s passing milestones in 2004 are...
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 in five seasons. 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 is the first Husker since World War II to throw six touchdown passes in the first two games of a season.
Dailey’s six total touchdowns against Western Illinois 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, and his 420 passing yards in the first two games were the most since at least 1946. 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.
Dailey has 1,719 yards passing this season, fourth on the Nebraska-single season list. Dailey surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark in six games.
Dailey has tied the Nebraska record for pass attempts in a game (42) twice in 2004.
Loss of Tight End Herian Impacts Husker Offense
Junior tight end Matt Herian has been one of Nebraska’s key offensive threats each of the past three seasons. The 6-5, 240-pound Herian hauled in seven touchdown catches in his first two seasons, including touchdowns of 80 yards (2002) and 58 yards (2003) against Colorado. Herian earned All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore, and this season he was one of the main beneficiaries of Nebraska’s new offensive attack, catching a team-leading 24 passes before sufferering a fractured left leg against Missouri.
The junior caught seven passes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the opener against Western Illinois, and tied the Nebraska single-game record for receptions by a tight end with eight catches for 71 yards and a touchdown a week later against Southern Miss. Before his injury, Herian put together a strong 2004 season, 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.
Herian, a native of Pierce, Neb., ranks second in school history for receiving yards among tight ends. Herian’s 312 receiving yards this season pushed his career receiving yardage total to 1,097 yards. He 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 will enter his senior year just 53 yards shy of career tight end leader Tracey Wistrom (1,150). Herian’s 53 career receptions are tied for the fourth-most by a Husker tight end, and just eight shy of the career tight end record of 61 catches, set by Jerry List from 1970 to 1972. Additionally, Herian is tied for 19th on the overall receptions list, just eight catches shy of moving into the top 10.
Koch Adding to Husker Walk-On Punting Success
Junior punter Sam Koch had one of the toughest tasks of any Husker entering the 2004 season. A walk-on from Seward, Neb., Koch replaced three-year starter and 2003 All-American Kyle Larson as Nebraska’s starting punter. Larson closed his Nebraska career in outstanding fashion, averaging a school-record 45.1 yards per punt in 2004.
Koch has performed well this season, most notably the past three weeks. Koch ranks fifth in the Big 12 averaging 41.0 yards per punt. Against Missouri, Koch averaged 39.5 yards on 10 punts on an extremely windy day. He pinned the Tigers inside their own 20 five times and also had a career-long 65-yard punt. Against Iowa State, Koch averaged 44.5 yards on six punts and pinned ISU inside its 20-yard line four times. He placed three punts inside the Oklahoma 20 last week, giving him 12 placements inside the 20 in the past three games and 24 this season.
The situation Koch faced was not new to the recent Husker punters. Nebraska has had four straight walk-on punters since 1995, and each of them has performed admirably. Jesse Kosch was Nebraska’s starting punter for three straight seasons from 1995 to 1997 and finished his career with a 41.92-yard average to rank third on Nebraska’s career punting chart. Kosch was followed by Bill Lafleur, who started one season and ranked fifth nationally in punting in 1998 at 44.94 yards per boot. Lafleur was followed by Dan Hadenfeldt, who handled the chores in 1999 and 2000 and holds Nebraska’s career punting average record at 44.54 yards on 104 career punts. Larson was not fazed by the task of replacing Hadenfeldt, as he finished his career averaging 43.67 yards on 195 career punts.
1994 National Championship Team Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Nebraska celebrated the 10th anniversary of its run to the 1994 national championshipin conjunction with the 24-3 win over Missouri on Oct. 30. More than 90 members of the 1994 team that went 13-0 and defeated Miami in the Orange Bowl were on hand for festivities that included a Friday night reception and a Tunnel Walk reunion on Saturday before kickoff.
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 championship run. Coach Osborne was joined by former assistant coaches Charlie McBride, Milt Tenopir and Dan Young as coaching staff members on hand for the weekend. Captains of the 1994 team were offensive linemen Zach Wiegert and Rob Zatechka, linebacker Ed Stewart and defensive tackle Terry Connealy.
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 Continues
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, which has led to a few changes for Husker fans and opponents this fall and throughout the 2005 season.
The demolition of the north fieldhouse has forced the relocation of opposing teams to East Stadium. Husker opponents now locker in the south end of the East Stadium. The opponent travels under East Stadium and enters and exits 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
Nebraska took a significant hit on the injury front against Missouri when All-Big 12 tight end Matt Herian went down with a fractured left leg. Herian was injured while blocking on a second-quarter rushing play. Senior Dusty Keiser has seen significant action all season at tight end and moved into the top position at tight end. Redshirt freshman J.B. Phillips had seen more action in recent weeks and his role expanded in Herian’s absence.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Adams, a transfer from Grossmont (Calif.) College, has not played this season. Adams had his spleen removed on Friday, Aug. 27, returned to practice on a limited basis the week before the Pittsburgh contest and is at full speed, but is redshirting.
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 10 games.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.
Three other true freshmen have made their debuts since the season opener. Two frosh made their debuts on special teams in game two, including receiver Santino Panico who is serving as NU’s punt returner and linebacker Lance Brandenburgh who has played on Husker coverage units. Quarterback Beau Davis played the majority of the second half in Nebraska’s loss at Texas Tech.
NCAA-Record 268 Consecutive Sellouts
Nebraska boasts an incredible NCAA-record 268 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 179, 89 fewer than Nebraska.
The Huskers are 237-30 during the 267 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 148-14 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.
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 105-7 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 472-126-20 (.780, 618 games, 115 years) in Lincoln, 347-103-13 (.763, 463 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 116-9 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 (233 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 786-316-40 record in 1,142 games (.706) in 115 years of football. In the last 36 years, NU is tops, posting a record of 352-75-5 for an .821 winning percentage (432 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.
NU One Win from Qualifying for NCAA-Record 36th Consecutive Bowl Appearance
Nebraska needs one more victory to reach six wins and qualify the Huskers for an NCAA-record 36th consecutive bowl trip. 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 needs one more victory to reach a 43rd consecutive winning regular season. 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 420-93-5 record (.816).
All-Americans Call Nebraska Home
Free safety Josh Bullocks and punter Kyle Larson are the latest players to add their names to Nebraska’s prestigious list of All-Americans, receiving honors in 2003. Larson was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, while Bullocks was tabbed by The Sporting News.
Larson and Bullocks’ All-America selections added to Nebraska’s long list of All-Americans, beginning with tackle Vic Halligan in 1914. The Huskers have had at least one All-American in all but two (1991, 1998) of the past 34 years. Overall, Nebraska has seen 92 different players earn first-team All-America honors from at least one recognized source with 14 winning double honors for a total of 106 first-team awards. Nebraska had its most All-Americans in one season when six Huskers earned first-team honors in the 1971 national championship campaign. The offensive line is Nebraska’s most honored position, with 26 players earning 31 first-team All-America certificates.
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, five Huskers are on track to finish their undergraduate work in December. Another 12 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.
Six Huskers Named to Academic All-District VII Squad
Six members of the Nebraska football team have been named to the Academic All-District VII Football Team—University Division as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Four of those honorees were named to the first team and now advance to the ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Nebraska had two first-team selections on offense and two on the defensive side of the football, and three of the Huskers’ first-team honorees maintain a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average. The Huskers’ selections were led by senior linebacker Chad Sievers who maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in business management and is on track to graduate in December. This marks the second consecutive year Sievers has been a first-team academic All-District VII selection.
Senior defensive back Kellen Huston is also on track to earn his undergraduate degree in December. The native of Ankeny, Iowa, carries a 3.90 cumulative grade-point average in exercise science and plans to attend medical school following graduation.
On the offensive side of the ball, a pair of Nebraska sophomores were honored. Fullback Dane Todd, a Lincoln native, carries a 4.0 grade-point average in biological sciences, while fellow sophomore Kurt Mann, a native of Grand Island, Neb., also has a perfect grade-point average while majoring in mechanized systems management.
Two Husker seniors earned second-team academic All-District VII honors. Linebacker Barrett Ruud, Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler, was named to the team with a 3.36 cumulative grade-point average in management. Ruud is scheduled to graduate next May, completing his undergraduate work in four years. Place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis was also a second-team selection with a 3.687 grade-point average in natural science. DeAngelis will earn his degree next May.
Huskers Top Big 12 in Graduation Rates
For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Nebraska Athletic Department leads the Big 12 Conference in the Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate. Nebraska’s rate increased by another percentage point to 91 percent, posting an improved rate for the fifth straight year. The Exhausted Eligibility Rate surveys the graduation of scholarship student-athletes who entered the University of Nebraska from 1988-89 through 1997-98 and exhausted their athletic eligibility at the University of Nebraska.
Nebraska’s Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate is eight percentage points higher than the national average (83 percent). NU’s four-class rate for football student-athletes entering in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 ranks second in the Big 12, at 63 percent, 10 percentage points higher than the national average and nine points higher than the UNL average of 54 percent. Nebraska is the only Big 12 University that has ranked among the top three in the conference since the Big 12 was formed in 1996.
Nebraska’s one-class average, for football student-athletes entering school in 1997, is 72 percent, 17 percentage points higher than the national average and 13 points higher than the UNL average of 59 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.