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Anyone walking the hall outside the Nebraska
football locker room this week will see a rarity – a group award to
represent the Nebraska Defensive Player of the Game following the
Huskers’ 23-9 win over the Michigan Wolverines last Saturday night.
There simply was no room for 11 individual photos in one tiny space for
the defensive MVP honor, so coaches did the only thing that made sense.
They asked the Capital Planning group to place an engraved Blackshirt
logo on the Michigan game plaque, flanked by Offensive Player of the
Game award winner Ameer Abdullah and Special Teams Player of the Game honoree Wil Richards.
Under the Blackshirt logo is this description: Defensive Player of the Game: Entire Defense
What a meaningful tribute to 11 newly anointed Blackshirts. Eight are seniors:
Will Compton, 6-2, 235, linebacker, Bonne Terre, Mo. (North County)
Sean Fisher, 6-6, 230, linebacker, Omaha, Neb. (Millard North)
Eric Martin, 6-2, 250, linebacker, Moreno Valley, Calif. (Rancho Verde)
Cameron Meredith, 6-4, 250, defensive end, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Mater Dei)
P.J. Smith, 6-2, 210, safety, River Ridge, La. (John Curtis)
Daimion Stafford, 6-1, 205, safety, Norco, Calif. (Norco/Chaffey College)
Baker Steinkuhler, 6-6, 290, defensive tackle, Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest)
Alonzo Whaley, 6-1, 230, linebacker, Madisonville, Texas
Three new Blackshirts are juniors:
Jason Ankrah, 6-4, 265, defensive end, Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard)
Ciante Evans, 5-11, 185, cornerback, Arlington, Texas (Juan Seguin)
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, 6-3, 215, cornerback, Miami (Central HS/Fort Scott CC) ,
Compton intuitively knows and understands
what a Blackshirt is all about – what it means to wear one and what it
represents when you do.
Compton Favored a One-Week Postponement
When he saw a Blackshirt hanging on his
locker last week after Nebraska’s win over Northwestern, Compton did not
want to pull it over his head. Even though he leads a chant that breaks
the last huddle and ends every practice with “1-2-3, Shirts!”, Compton
wasn’t ready to declare himself or anyone else Blackshirt worthy until
and unless they beat Michigan. Whaley, Stafford and Meredith seconded
that emotion almost simultaneously, and suddenly, there was an empty but
metaphorical carrot staring at the Blackshirts every time they opened
their lockers last week.
You know the rest of the story. The Huskers
held the No. 20-ranked Wolverines to 188 total yards and three field
goals and now all 11 Huskers have no problem wearing the newest adidas
version of the black pullover jersey that has symbolized Nebraska
defensive excellence since 1964.
Abdullah, Richards Win Individual Awards
After extensive evaluation of film, Nebraska
coaches named Abdullah, a sophomore I-back, the Offensive Player of the
Game after he netted 101 yards on 24 carries. Abdullah gave the Huskers
their 23-9 lead less five minutes into the fourth quarter with a 12-yard
touchdown run, plus he caught a four-yard pass that produced a first
down. Richards, a 5-9, 195-pound junior safety from Lee’s Summit, Mo.,
West, was named Nebraska’s Special Teams Player of the Game for the
second time this season.
Nebraska coaches also recognized three Scout Team players Tuesday. Sam Burtch,
a 6-3, 190-pound redshirt freshman wide receiver from Murdock, Neb.
(Elmwood-Murdock), was named the Huskers’ Scout Team Offensive Player of
the Week. Jeff Uher, a 6-1, 280-pound defensive tackle from Omaha Creighton Prep, received NU’s Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week, and Michael Rose, a 5-11, 230-pound freshman from Kansas City Rockhurst, was named Nebraska’s Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Week.
Blackshirts Make Major Statistical Improvements
The Blackshirts’ performance against Michigan
resulted in dramatic advancements in NCAA defensive statistics. The
Huskers moved from 46th to 26th in total defense and from 74th to 55th in scoring defense.
At Monday’s press conference, Nebraska Head
Coach Bo Pelini had no bones about his top defenders getting Blackshirts
that represent the skull and bones. “My message to the team is you get
what you earn in this world,” Pelini said. “They are not going to give
you anything. You have to earn it, and you have to be ready to go take
it. It’s as simple as that.
“It’s not going to just happen by mistake,
and it’s not going to happen by magic,” Pelini added. “You have to put
the work in and match the work ethic and the process with what you want
the result to be.”
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