Taylor Martinez has thrown three TDs in each of the first three games 2013
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Homestand Continues with Visit from Jackrabbits

By NU Athletic Communications

LINCOLN, NEB. | 2:30 p.m. (CT)


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Record: 2-1, 0-0

Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to UCLA, 41-21
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 51-21/6th year 
vs. SDSU: 1-0

Record: 3-0, 0-0
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: def. SE Louisiana, 34-26
Coach: John Stiegelmeier
Career/SDSU Record: 105-75/17th Year
vs. NU: 0-1

The Matchup
Nebraska will complete the non-conference portion of its 2013 schedule on Saturday afternoon when the Huskers play host to South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network, and also available on BTN2Go with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT.

The Huskers will come into the contest with a 2-1 record following a 41-21 loss to UCLA on Saturday in Lincoln. Nebraska failed to hold an 18-point lead, as the Bruins rallied for the victory. The loss snapped Nebraska’s 10-game home winning streak and a 14-game home win streak against non-conference opponents. NU also dropped out of the national polls following the setback against UCLA.

South Dakota State is one of the top teams in the Football Championship Subdivision and comes to Lincoln with a 3-0 record following a 34-26 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday in Brookings, S.D. The Jackrabbits rallied from a 19-7 third-quarter deficit in last Saturday’s win, and are ranked sixth in the FCS polls. SDSU reached the second round of the NCAA playoffs a year ago.

A win on Saturday would give Nebraska a 3-1 record in non-conference play and mark the 32nd consecutive season Nebraska has posted a winning record in non-conference play.

The Series
Nebraska and South Dakota State will meet for the third time in school history, but for the second time in the past four years. Nebraska has won each of the first two meetings, both at Memorial Stadium. NU defeated SDSU in 1963 in Lincoln, before defeating the Jackrabbits, 17-3, at Memorial Stadium in 2010.

The Coaches
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 51-21 record (.708) in his sixth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first five seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne in accomplishing that feat at Nebraska. With Nebraska’s win over Wyoming in the season opener, Pelini became the fifth coach in NU history to win 50 games on the NU sideline, joining Dana Bible, Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.

SDSU: John Stiegelmeier (South Dakota State, ‘79) is in his 17th season as the head coach at his alma mater. Stiegelmeier has guided the Jackrabbits to a 105-75 record during his time at the school, including two FCS playoff appearances. Stiegelmeier has guided SDSU to winning seasons in seven of nine seasons at the FCS level and 12 of 16 seasons overall.

Nebraska Football
Nebraska is 858-354-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories 
- Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).
- The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships.
- NU’s 49 all-time bowl appearances rank third nationally.
- Since 1970, NU has 424 wins, 25 more than any other school.
- Nebraska’s 106 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
- The Huskers have 110 All-Americans in school history.

Scouting the South Dakota State Jackrabbits
South Dakota State is ranked sixth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) coaches’ poll this week following a 3-0 start to its season. The Jackrabbits opened their season with a 55-14 win over Butler before hanging on for a 35-28 win at North Dakota in week two. Last Saturday, SDSU came from behind to defeat Southeastern Louisiana, 34-26.

South Dakota State features a strong offense, led by a potent rushing attack. The Jacks are averaging 41.3 points, 214.7 rushing yards and 234.0 passing yards per game. Zach Zenner has carried the ball 70 times for 540 yards and eight touchdowns. His 540 rushing yards and 180.0 rushing yards per game averages lead all FBS and FCS players nationally. Quarterback Austin Sumner has been efficient under center, completing 59 percent of his passes for 670 yards. He has added five touchdown passes without an interception, as SDSU has only one turnover this season.

Defensively, South Dakota State is allowing 412.0 yards and 22.7 points per game. The Jackrabbits have been stingy against the run, allowing an average of only 100.3 rushing yards per game and just 3.5 yards per carry. Opponents have had some success through the air against the SDSU defense, completing better than 63 percent of their passes while averaging 311.7 passing yards per game. But the Jackrabbits’ secondary has picked off nine passes and allowed only three passing touchdowns.

Series History
Nebraska is 2-0 all-time against South Dakota State, with both wins coming inside Memorial Stadium. The Huskers defeated the Jackrabbits 58-7 on Sept. 21, 1963, and NU earned a 17-3 victory on Sept. 25, 2010. Nebraska is playing an opponent from the FCS ranks for the fourth straight season.

In the 2010 meeting, Nebraska managed just 345 yards of total offense and was held to a pair of second-quarter touchdowns and a fourth-quarter field goal. Taylor Martinez completed 6-of-14 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Martinez also carried the ball 13 times for 75 yards. Jeremiah Sirles and Brent Qvale are the only other current Huskers who played in the 2010 matchup against SDSU, with Sirles earning the start at left tackle.

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his sixth season as Nebraska’s head coach and owns a 51-21 record with the Huskers. Pelini added a Big Ten Legends Division title in 2012 to three straight Big 12 North Division crowns from 2008 to 2010, when Pelini was the the first coach in the history of the Big 12 to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first three years.

He has guided Nebraska to at least nine wins each of his first five seasons in Lincoln, and three 10-win seasons. With the win over Wyoming in the opener, Pelini reached 50 career wins at Nebraska, making him just the fifth Husker coach to reach that milestone, joining Tom Osborne, Bob Devaney, Frank Solich and Dana X. Bible.

Pelini took charge of the Huskers after a highly successful five-year run as a collegiate defensive coordinator, including orchestrating NU’s defensive efforts in 2003. Pelini picked up his first college head coaching victory as NU’s interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.

Following his one season at Nebraska, Pelini served as the co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Sooners to the Big 12 title and BCS title game. He then followed with three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU. With the Tigers, Pelini led three consecutive defenses to No. 3 national rankings in total defense. He culminated his time in Baton Rouge by helping the Tigers to the 2007 national championship.

In addition to his five seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level, Pelini coached in the NFL for nine seasons, serving three years each with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Pelini was a team captain and four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990.

SDSU Head Coach John Steigelmeier
John Stiegelmeier is in his 17th season at South Dakota State, where he owns a 105-75 record. Stiegelmeier’s SDSU teams have posted a winning record in 12 of his 16 full seasons, including seven winning seasons in the school’s nine years competing at the FCS level. In 2012, the Jackrabbits tied the school record with nine wins, while advancing to the FCS playoffs for the second time in four years. SDSU ended the 2012 campaign with a No. 14 final ranking, after hosting - and winning - the first playoff game in school history.

The second-longest serving head coach in South Dakota State history, Stiegelmeier is in his 26th year as a full-time coach on the Jackrabbit staff. Prior to taking over the head coaching role in 1997, Stiegelmeier served as SDSU’s defensive coordinator from 1991 to 1996 and as an assistant coach from 1988 to 1990. He also coached at Northern State University from 1984 to 1987 and served as a graduate assistant at both Northern Iowa and Wisconsin. Stiegelmeier was also the head coach at Eau Claire (Wis.) North High School from 1981 to 1984.

Nebraska Set to Take on FCS Foe
The matchup with South Dakota State will mark the fourth straight season Nebraska has faced a Football Championship Subdivison foe. The Huskers defeated the Jackrabbits, 17-3, in 2010, beat Chattanooga, 40-7, in 2011, and defeated Idaho State, 73-7 last season.

Overall, Nebraska has taken on nine FCS foes (at game time) since 1992, defeating each of the opponents by an average score of 47.7-9.2. McNeese State is on Nebraska’s 2014 schedule. The 17-3 win over South Dakota State is the closest margin in any of the Nebraska nine matchups against an FCS foe. 

Husker-SDSU Matchup to Feature 77 Native Nebraskans
In addition to 65 native Nebraskans on the Husker roster, an additional 12 Nebraskans will suit up on Saturday for South Dakota State, putting a total of 77 Nebraskans on the field in the game. Four Nebraska high schools will be represented with players on both rosters, including Omaha Burke, Elkhorn, Gretna and Papillion-LaVista. True freshman linebacker Nathan Gerry of Sioux Falls is the only South Dakota native on the Nebraska roster.

2013 Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Class to Be Honored
The 2013 Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Class will be recognized before the start of Saturday’s game after an induction ceremony and dinner on Friday evening. Four former Husker greats, including a trio of defensive backs, lead the 2013 class of inductees into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. 

All-American cornerback Keyuo Craver and All-Big Eight safeties Reggie Cooper and Russell Gary anchor an award-winning group of Blackshirts being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The trio of ball-hawking defenders is joined by All-Big Eight offensive lineman John Havekost, who helped his 1978 Husker team lead the nation in total offense.

Craver ranks second in school history with 41 career pass breakups, along with seven interceptions and lettered four years from 1998 to 2001. Cooper finished his career with 195 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss, while Gary recorded 112 tackles over his final two seasons. Havekost started his final two seasons, helping NU average better than 300 rushing yards in both 1978 and 1979.

Nebraska Wesleyan All-America wide receiver Tim Beebe will join the Huskers in this year’s class of Hall of Famers. Beebe earned All-America honors at NWU in 1987. The Hall will also recognize Ernie and Jan Thayer of Grand Island with its Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award. Tom and Mary Hansen of Papillion will be honored with the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award.

Saturday Will Mark Uplifting Athletes Awareness Day
The Nebraska football team continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to raising awareness about pediatric brain cancer, and that effort will be recognized at Saturday’s game. Nebraska Football Uplifiting Athletes is a recognized student organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of 18 chapters nationally that are committed to raising awareness and funds for rare diseases. The rare disease of choice the Nebraska football team has selected for its focus is pediatric brain cancer in large part to the mentoring relationship formed between former Husker great Rex Burkhead and Jack Hoffman in 2011.

Since the inception of the Burkhead/Hoffman relationship, the football team has impacted countless families directly touched by pediatric brain cancer along with being instrumental in raising funds for further research. The Huskers have helped create national awareness through their efforts and have captured the attention of many for their genuine efforts to use the platform of athletics to make a positive difference for those affected by pediatric brain cancer.

This past summer, all members of the Husker football team volunteered with the Lincoln Track Club to present the first Nebraska Football Uplifting Athletes Road Race, which featured nearly 700 competitors and raised almost $15,000. In attendance on Saturday will be numerous families impacted by pediatric brain cancer, some of which will be on the field for a special pre-game ceremony.

Nebraska Looks to Extend Winning Non-Conference Streak
A victory on Saturday over South Dakota State would give Nebraska a 3-1 non-conference record in 2013. A 3-1 mark would ensure Nebraska a winning non-conference record for the 32nd consecutive season, dating back to a 2-2 non-conference mark in 1981, when NU lost to Iowa and Penn State, while posting victories over Florida State and Auburn.

NU Shoots for Sixth Straight Year With Nine or More Wins
Nebraska posted a 10-4 record in 2012, giving the Huskers nine or more victories in each of Bo Pelini’s first five seasons as head coach. The streak of five straight nine-win seasons puts Nebraska in an elite class nationally. 

- Nebraska is one of four schools that has won at least nine games each of the past five seasons. The others in that group include Alabama, Boise State and Oregon.

- Pelini has guided Nebraska to 10-win seasons in three of the last four years.

- The five straight years of at least nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.

- Nebraska has 47 nine-win seasons in school history, including 39 since 1969.

Click on the "Game Notes" link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend's game.


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