Huskers Return Home for Matchup with Troy
No. 23/24 Nebraska (2-1) vs.
Saturday, Sept. 23 - 6:10 p.m. Central
Memorial Stadium (81,067) - Lincoln, Neb.
Series: NU leads 3-0
Last Meeting: NU won, 30-0, in Lincoln in 2003
Television: FSN Pay-Per-View (Available on cable systems statewide in Nebraska and nationally on satellite)
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network (51 stations)
Sirius Satellite Radio: Channel 1110
Special Events: Special Olympics Day
Lincoln - Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium this Saturday to take on a familiar non-conference opponent, as Troy visits Lincoln for the fourth time in six years. Game time at a sold-out Memorial Stadium will be 6:10 p.m., with the game being televised on a pay-per-view basis by Big 12 Special Order Sports, FSN’s pay-per-view division. The telecast is available on cable systems throughout the state of Nebraska and on participating satellite systems nationwide. For more information on the pay-per-view telecast, visit Huskers.com.
The Huskers enter the game coming off a 28-10 loss to fourth-ranked USC on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Nebraska battled the Trojans throughout the contest, but USC made key plays en route to its 28th straight home victory. The loss dropped Nebraska to 2-1 on the young season, and the Huskers slid four spots to 23rd in this week’s AP poll and five spots to No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Troy comes to Lincoln with a 1-2 record and a two-game losing streak. However, the Trojans have drawn national attention for strong road performances the past two weeks. Troy led Florida State in the fourth quarter in Tallahassee on Sept. 9 before the Seminoles rallied for a 24-17 victory. Last Saturday, the Trojans were tied at Georgia Tech in the third quarter, before the Yellow Jackets pulled out a 35-20 win.
Nebraska and Troy have become regular opponents this decade. The Trojans also visited Memorial Stadium in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The Huskers have been victorious in all three matchups, most recently blanking the Trojans, 30-0, in 2003.
Highly Ranked Trojans Hand Nebraska First Defeat of 2006
Fourth-ranked USC used a precise and workmanlike offensive effort to defeat Nebraska 28-10 on Saturday night in a matchup of two of college football’s most tradition-rich programs. The Trojans’ victory came before a national television audience and a sellout crowd of 92,000 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, including approximately 25,000 Nebraska fans.
The Trojans’ win extended their regular-season winning streak to 34 games and their home winning streak to 28 games. However, USC could not breathe easy until late in the game as Nebraska fought to the end.
Nebraska trailed just 21-10 after senior quarterback Zac Taylor went untouched into the end zone on a naked bootleg on fourth-and-goal inside the USC 1 with 12:44 to play. But the Trojans closed the door on Nebraska’s upset hopes with a 14-play, 81-yard drive that consumed more than six minutes of the clock on the ensuing drive to produce the final result.
The Huskers showed early on that they planned to be in the game until the end by opening the scoring with a 38-yard Jordan Congdon field goal with 3:23 left in the first quarter. The spark for Nebraska’s early 3-0 lead actually began one drive earlier, when punter Dan Titchener completed a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Todd Peterson on a fake punt to convert on fourth down and put the Huskers in Trojan territory for the first time.That drive stalled, but Titchener made another big play with his 31-yard punt that was downed by the Huskers at the USC 5.
The Blackshirts forced USC into a three-and-out and on the punt, Terrence Nunn reeled off a 31-yard return that put the Huskers at the USC 23 to start the drive. The Trojans stiffened, before Congdon notched his first field goal of the season.
USC took the lead on the final play of the first quarter when John David Booty connected with Dwayne Jarrett for a 12-yard touchdown. The score remained 7-3 until the closing minutes of the first half, as a pair of long drives consumed nearly the entire second quarter. USC extended its lead on a Booty to Steve Smith three-yard touchdown pass with 2:52 left in the half to cap the drive.
The Trojans took a firm grip on the game early in the second half, capitalizing on a fumbled exchange between Taylor and Marlon Lucky. USC recovered and took over at the Husker 31. Four plays later Booty connected with Jarrett on a five-yard touchdown for a 21-3 lead with 12:05 left in the third quarter.
Nebraska refused to quit, keeping the Trojans’ high-powered offense at bay, before the Huskers produced their only touchdown drive of the night early in the fourth quarter. The Huskers’ impressive drive featured a 21-yard connection from Taylor to Terrence Nunn, and a 36-yard hookup with tight end Matt Herian that put NU inside the Trojan 5, setting up Taylor’s second career rushing touchdown.
Booty led USC on its final scoring drive of the night after the Huskers’ touchdown drive, culminating with Chauncey Washington’s seven-yard run with 6:32 remaining in the game. For the game, Booty completed 25-of-36 passes for 257 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jarrett led the Trojan receivers with 11 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Taylor completed 8-of-16 passes for 115 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. I-back Brandon Jackson led the Nebraska receiving unit with four catches for 36 yards. On the ground, Nebraska was led by Kenny Wilson’s 46 yards on 19 totes. The Huskers managed 211 yards in total offense against USC, while the Trojans had 399 total yards.
Noting Game Three...USC 28, Nebraska 10
The attendance at Saturday’s game was 92,000, tying for the third-largest crowd ever to see Nebraska play, and the second-largest in a regular-season game, trailing only 110,753 at Penn State in 2002. Among the crowd were an estimated 25,000 Husker fans.
The 28-10 loss ended Nebraska’s five-game overall win streak and was Nebraska’s first loss in its past eight non-conference games since a 2004 loss to Southern Mississippi.
Nebraska’s loss was just its third in its past 11 games against Pac-10 opponents. Nebraska’s other recent losses to Pac-10 foes came at Arizona State in 1996 (19-0) and against Arizona in the 1998 Holiday Bowl (23-20). Nebraska dropped to 2-5-1 all-time in games played in the Los Angeles area, and is 0-1-1 against USC at the Coliseum.
The loss to USC marked the first time in the Bill Callahan era that Nebraska has lost when scoring first. Nebraska was previously 10-0 in such games under Callahan.
The 28 points scored by USC was the fewest by the Trojans since also scoring 28 points against Oregon State in November of 2004 (19 games). It also ended a streak of 15 straight games with 30 or more points and a streak of 10 straight home games with 38 or more points.
Nebraska senior quarterback Zac Taylor completed 8-of-16 passes for 115 yards, and pushed his career passing total to 3,257 yards, good sixth place on the Nebraska career passing list. Against USC,Taylor passed Vince Ferragamo who had 3,224 yards in 1975-76.
Senior tight end Matt Herian caught a season-long 36-yard reception from Zac Taylor to end the third quarter. Herian’s reception was his 15th career reception of 25 yards or more and his second in 2006.
Herian’s catch was the 61st of his career, tying him for the Nebraska career record for receptions by a tight end. Herian is tied with Jerry List for the tight end receptions record. Herian pushed his career receiving yardage total to 1,228, first among NU tight ends and third on the Nebraska career receiving yardage list for all players. Against USC, he passed Irving Fryar who had 1,196 career receiving yards in his NU career.
Junior I-back Brandon Jackson caught a team-high four passes for 36 yards, including a career-long 22-yard catch. Jackson entered the game with four career receptions for 30 yards.
Sophomore place-kicker Jordan Congdon connected on a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter to open the scoring. Congdon is 1-of-2 on field goals this season, and is now 20-of-25 in his career.
Junior receiver Terrence Nunn had two receptions for 32 yards, and has now caught at least one pass in 16 straight games dating back to his freshman season. He also moved up to seventh on the NU career receptions list with 69 career receptions, and trails former Husker Cory Ross who had 71 to place sixth all-time.
Linebacker Stewart Bradley led Nebraska with 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss. Bradley’s 10-tackle effort was a season-best for a Nebraska player and his second career double-figure tackle effort. Bradley had a career-high 12 tackles against Kansas in 2004.
Huskers Closing in on Win No. 800 in 117th Season of Storied Program
Nebraska is in its 117th season of college football in 2006, and is the fourth-winningest program in terms of victories. The Huskers own a 796-322-40 all-time record in 1,158 games (.705) in 117 years of football.
This season, Nebraska hopes to become just the fourth program in college football history to record 800 all-time victories. Texas picked up its 800th win in last season’s Rose Bowl, joining Michigan and Notre Dame in the exclusive club. The Huskers and Longhorns will meet on Oct. 21 in Lincoln in Nebraska’s eighth game of the season. The other two members of the 800-club, Michigan and Notre Dame, squared off last Saturday.
NU’s matchup with USC featured two of the nation’s top 10 teams in terms of all-time wins, as USC ranks 10th with 734 victories.
Since the first season of Nebraska football in 1890, Husker teams have won 11 or more games 12 times, including seven times since 1993.
Nebraska has won 12 or more games seven times, including three seasons with 13 wins (1971, 1994, 1997).
Nebraska (702), Michigan (705), Alabama (728) and Notre Dame (736) were the only programs to win 700 games in the 1900s.
Nebraska–College Football’s Winningest Program Since 1970
The bulk of Nebraska’s football success has come since 1962 when Bob Devaney arrived from Wyoming and resurrected the Husker program. Devaney capped his career with consecutive national titles in 1970 and 1971, starting an unbelievable run of 10-plus victory seasons, and conference and national championships.
In the past 37 seasons (including 2006), beginning with 1970, Nebraska has posted a remarkable 362 victories, an average of 10 wins per season. The Huskers’ overall record in that time period is 362-81-5 for an .814 winning percentage in 448 games.
In that time span, Nebraska has easily established itself as the nation’s winningest program, posting 29 more victories than second-place Michigan, followed by Oklahoma (324), Ohio State (324) and Penn State (320).
Nebraska has won 10 games or more 24 times since 1962, including 21 times since 1970.
The Huskers have finished the regular season undefeated and untied seven times since 1965, and played in 13 national title games (for one of the two teams) and won the national title five times since 1970.
Nebraska was the first team in college football history to win 100 or more games in consecutive decades, ranking first in the 1980s (103-20, .837) and second in the 1990s (108-16-1, .868). Nebraska narrowly missed 100 victories in the 1970s with 98 wins, and posted a nation-leading 309 wins from 1970 to 1999.
2006 Husker Offense Showing Balance and Explosiveness
Nebraska has featured excellent balance on offense through its first three games of 2006. The Huskers opened the year with blowout wins over Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State that featured two of Nebraska’s most impressive offensive efforts in recent years.
The Huskers rolled up 584 yards of total offense, including 252 rushing yards and 332 yards through the air in a 49-10 victory over Louisiana Tech in week one. In defeating Nicholls State 56-7, Nebraska was again extremely effective on offense, piling up 498 total yards–261 on the ground and 237 through the air.
Nebraska was slowed by an impressive USC defense, gaining 211 yards, 68 on the ground with 143 via the pass. Nebraska still ranks high in several offensive statistical categories, including ninth nationally in scoring offense (38.3 ppg) and 17th in total offense (431.0 ypg).
The Huskers’ 2006 offense has shown the explosiveness and efficiency Head Coach Bill Callahan is seeking in Nebraska’s version of the West Coast Offense.
The 584 yards of total offense against Louisiana Tech were the most by Nebraska in Callahan’s three seasons as head coach, and the most since a 595-yard effort against McNeese State in 2002. The 498 yards against Nicholls State are fourth-best under Callahan.
Nebraska topped 49 points in consecutive games for the first time since 2000, when Nebraska topped 49 points in three straight games at mid-season (Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor).
Against Louisiana Tech, Nebraska topped 250 yards in both rushing and passing for the first time in a decade (Kansas, 1996).
The Huskers produced their third and fifth-best rushing efforts in three seasons under Callahan in the season’s first two games. Nebraska last topped 250 yards rushing in consecutive games against Western Illinois and Southern Miss to open the 2004 season.
Nebraska racked up 30 first downs in each of its first two games, the first time the Huskers had back-to-back games with 30 first downs since the 2001 season (Texas Tech, Baylor). On the year, Nebraska has 36 first downs by rush, 33 by pass and one by penalty.
Nebraska has shown the ability to control the clock with a power rushing attack, which has allowed Nebraska to control the clock for 54.1 percent of the first three games (32:28 to 27:32). Nebraska has run 213 offensive plays to 171 for its opponents.
The Huskers are an impressive 23-of-42 (55 percent) on third-down conversions, including 11-of-16 in the opener against Louisiana Tech.
Nebraska has spread the wealth on offense. Twelve different players have scored touchdowns, with seven different players scoring TDs in each of the first two games.
Quarterback Taylor is Poised Leader of Nebraska Offense
Senior quarterback Zac Taylor is the man at the helm of Nebraska’s offense. The 6-2, 210-pound Taylor backed up a record-setting 2005 campaign with impressive performances during spring and fall camp and that work has led to a strong opening to 2006.
Through three games, Taylor has shown why he is on track to re-write nearly all of Nebraska’s passing records and contend for postseason honors in 2006. Among his notable accomplishments are....
Taylor has completed 68.1 percent of his passes (49-of-72) through three games with seven touchdowns and one interception. Taylor’s pass efficiency rating through three games is 167.83, which ranks 13th best in the country. His pass efficiency rating against Nicholls State (213.77) was the eighth-best in school history.
Taylor’s four touchdown passes against Nicholls State were a career high, bettering the three touchdown passes in his previous two games (Louisiana Tech, Michigan). In Nebraska’s five-game winning streak that ended at USC, Taylor threw for 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
The Husker passing game has been very efficient under Taylor’s direction. In week one, Taylor had a streak of 11 straight completions, including eight straight completions for 98 yards in engineering a two-minute drive before halftime. Against Nicholls State, Taylor’s first pass attempt fell incomplete, but he completed his next 12 pass attempts before an incompletion late in the second quarter. The 12 straight completions were three off the Nebraska school record.
The 287 passing yards against Louisiana Tech marked the third-highest total of his Nebraska career. He added 202 yards against Nicholls State for his eighth career game with 200 or more passing yards, including six of the past eight games.
Taylor has completed passes to 11 different receivers this season, and thrown touchdown passes to six different Huskers.
Taylor has continued his ascension up the Nebraska career passing chart. He now has 3,257 career passing yards and ranks sixth on the NU career list. If Taylor were to duplicate his 2005 passing yardage total, he would break the school career passing record of 5,035 yards set by Dave Humm from 1972 to 1974.
A year after throwing 19 touchdown passes (one off the school record), Taylor appears poised to challenge for the season record in 2006 with seven TD passes through three games. Taylor has 26 career touchdown passes, 17 away from the school record of 43 touchdown passes by Tommie Frazier from 1992 to 1995. Taylor’s streak of at least one touchdown games in 11 straight games ended in a 28-10 loss at USC.
Last season, Taylor shattered several Nebraska game and season passing records in his first season after transferring from Butler County Community College in Kansas. Among the top accomplishments for the 6-2, 210-pound Taylor in 2005 were:
Taylor's 2,653 passing yards established a Nebraska single-season record, shattering the previous single-season NU record of 2,074 yards by Dave Humm in 1972. Taylor's passing total marked just the fifth time in school history a quarterback had passed for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
Taylor posted the top two single-game passing totals in school history with 431 yards against Iowa State and 392 yards at Colorado. All four individual 300-yard passing days in Nebraska history have come in Bill Callahan's two seasons as head coach.
Taylor threw for two or more touchdown passes in eight of the season’s final nine games, including a season-high three TD passes against Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.
Taylor set numerous other school records, including most pass attempts (55) and completions (36) in a game vs. Iowa State, and most pass attempts (430) and completions (237) in a season.
Husker I-Backs Having Productive "Committee" Meetings
Entering the 2006 season both Head Coach Bill Callahan and running backs coach Randy Jordan regularly indicated Nebraska would utilize the talents of all four of its I-backs and operate with use of a "committee." The first three games have proven that it was a solid plan, as four Husker I-backs have combined for 120 carries for 582 yards and seven touchdowns.
All four backs have gotten into the act, with each of them having between 19 and 46 touches through three games, and three different backs have led NU in rushing this season. Each of the four scored a touchdown in the first two games. Together the group has keyed a resurgent Nebraska rushing attack.
Nebraska opened the year with 252 yards on the ground against Louisiana Tech, then churned out 261 rushing yards in a 56-7 rout of Nicholls State. Nebraska was held to 68 rushing yards at USC, but at times showed the ability to move the ball on the ground against one of the nation’s best defenses. Through three games, Nebraska is averaging 193.7 yards per game on the ground to rank 24th in the nation.
The rushing efforts against Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State are both among the top five in Bill Callahan’s three seasons, and the most since late in the 2004 season. In 2005, Nebraska averaged less than 100 yards on the ground, and its top rushing effort was 182 yards at Baylor.
Sophomore Marlon Lucky, a native of North Hollywood, Calif., has started the first three games and paced the NU rushing attack. Lucky produced his first career 100-yard rushing game against Nicholls State with 18 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, and has a team-high 209 rushing yards. Lucky also has five catches for 67 yards out of the backfield.
Junior Kenny Wilson joined the Huskers as a highly touted junior college prospect. Through three games, Wilson has a team-high 43 carries for 172 yards. He scored his first career touchdown on a 14-yard run against Nicholls State.
Sophomore Cody Glenn is Nebraska’s power back. The 6-0, 230-pound Glenn rushed 13 times for a team-high 88 yards against Louisiana Tech, then added 47 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries against Nicholls State.
Junior Brandon Jackson had a standout freshman year in 2004 when he rushed for 390 yards, but was slowed by injury last season. This fall he has carried 12 times for 66 yards, including a spectacular 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Louisiana Tech. He is also Nebraska’s top receiving threat out of the backfield with seven receptions for 61 yards, all in the past two games.
Return of Herian Gives Passing Game Another Dimension
Senior tight end Matt Herian has made a strong return to the field in 2006. The 6-5, 245-pound Herian missed all of the 2005 season while recovering from a broken leg he suffered against Missouri in the eighth game of 2004. Herian’s return has helped give quarterback Zac Taylor another impressive target in the Husker passing game.
Through three games, Herian has hauled in eight passes for a team-high 135 yards and two touchdowns. In the process, Herian has resumed his assault on the Nebraska tight end record book. Against Louisiana Tech, Herian moved past Tracey Wistrom into first on the tight end career receiving yardage list. Herian enters the Troy game with 1,228 career receiving yards.
He had four receptions against Nicholls State, and his 36-yard catch at USC moved his career total to 61 catches, tying Jerry List for the most receptions by a Nebraska tight end. Herian’s receptions total is tied for 13th-best among all Huskers, and just five catches from the top 10. Herian has also continued to show his big-play ability. The senior has two receptions fo 25 yards or more this season and 15 catches of that length in his career.
Herian was not the only tight end to make headlines in the opener against Louisiana Tech. After a first-quarter touchdown catch by Herian, three of Herian’s tight end teammates got into the act in the second half as juniors J.B. Phillips and Josh Mueller, and sophomore Hunter Teafatiller all reached the end zone.
The tight end outburst was quite notable...
The four touchdowns against Louisiana Tech tied a Nebraska single-game record for touchdowns by a tight end (also 4 at Missouri in 1987).
The game marked the first time in school history four different tight ends caught touchdown passes.
Nebraska tight ends did not have a TD catch in 2005. The previous touchdown catch by a Husker tight end was by Herian in the second game of the 2004 season against Southern Miss.
The four tight ends combined for eight receptions for 108 yards and four touchdowns in the opener and have 16 catches for 199 yards and five touchdowns in 2006.
Wide Receiver Tandem Looking for Another Big Season
Quarterback Zac Taylor’s two favorite targets from the 2005 season–receivers Terrence Nunn and Nate Swift–are back in 2006 and will again be key elements in the Husker offense.
A year ago, the duo combined for 88 receptions, 1,136 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. In the process, both Nunn and Swift finished in the top five on Nebraska's single-season receptions list. Through three games this season, Nunn leads Nebraska with 10 receptions (107 yards), while Swift has been quieter with three receptions for 46 yards.
Both players are quickly moving up the career pass receptions list. Nunn now ranks seventh with 69 career receptions, just three catches from the top five and 24 from second place on the list.
In 2005, Swift and Nunn were the most productive single-season pass catching duo in Nebraska history.
Swift did not catch a pass in the first three games of 2005, but exploded at the start of conference play. He had five receptions against Iowa State, then had consecutive nine-reception efforts against Missouri and Oklahoma. He finished the year with 45 receptions for 641 yards and seven touchdowns, all Husker freshman records. His 45 catches were the most by a player in 33 seasons and the third-most ever by a Husker. Swift had caught at least two passes in 10 straight games before being held without catches by Nicholls State and USC.
Nunn caught at least one pass in all 12 games of his sophomore season in 2005, including nine games with three or more receptions. Entering the Troy game he has caught at least one pass in 16 straight games.
Like Swift, Nunn also caught seven touchdown passes from Taylor in 2005, including a pair of TD receptions in the Alamo Bowl. Overall, Nunn had 43 catches to tie for fourth on the NU single-season receptions list with former teammate Cory Ross.
The 2005 season marked the first time in school history Nebraska had three players with 40 or more catches in a single season.
Senior Bookends Carriker, Moore Hope to Lead Blackshirt "Sack Attack" to Encore
Nebraska led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss in 2005, registering 50 sacks and 140 tackles for loss. That effort helped the Huskers finish in the top 30 nationally in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.
The Huskers entered the 2006 season with hopes of again making a push for the school single-season sack record of 53, set in1999. The Huskers returned players who accounted for 34.5 of the 50 sacks in 2005, led by dominant senior defensive ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore, who set the tone for 2006 by each recording first-quarter sacks against Louisiana Tech.
The 6-6, 295-pound Carriker, a pre-season All-American and Lombardi candidate, snuffed out the Bulldogs’ first drive of the game with a seven-yard sack on third down. The sack gave Carriker 14.5 career sacks, just outside of the Nebraska top 10 list. Carriker earned All-Big 12 honors in 2005 when he led the team with 9.5 sacks from his base end position.
Through three games, Carriker is among the leaders of a balanced Nebraska defense with 11 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack.
A native of Elkhorn, Neb., Moore lines up opposite Carriker at the open end spot. The 6-4, 280-pound Moore made a two-yard tackle for loss on Lousiana Tech’s first play of the opener, then added a 10-yard sack later in the first quarter to thwart another Bulldog drive. Moore has seven tackles through two games and is tied with Carriker for the team lead in tackles for loss with three for a team-best 16 yards.
In addition to Carriker and Moore, Nebraska’s top sack threats also include junior middle linebacker Corey McKeon who had seven sacks in 2005, and fellow end Barry Turner who had a Nebraska freshman record six sacks on his way to frosh All-America honors in 2005.
The 2006 Blackshirts are poised to put together the best two-year sack total in school history. The most sacks Nebraska has recorded over the course of back-to-back seasons is 93 sacks in the 1984 (44) and 1985 (49) campaigns.
Veteran Linebacking Corps Tackling Opponents
In addition to a strong front four anchored by Moore and Carriker, Nebraska has a talented and veteran group of linebackers, giving the Blackshirts one of the nation’s best front seven units.
The Huskers featured returning starters at all three linebacker spots for 2006–senior Sam linebacker Stewart Bradley, junior Mike linebacker Corey McKeon and junior Will linebacker Bo Ruud. The trio had 99, 98 and 97 career tackles, respectively, entering 2006, and have started a combined 46 games in their career.
The three players are continuing to rack up impressive tackle numbers in 2006, ranking as the Huskers’ top three tacklers through three games.
Bradley posted his second career double-figure tackle game with a team-high 10 stops at USC. Bradley also forced a fumble in the game after recovering two fumbles the previous week against Nicholls State. The 6-4, 250-pound Bradley is tied for the team lead with 17 tackles.
McKeon burst onto the scene last year with a team-leading 98 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss, the second-most in Nebraska history. After opening with a pair of four-tackle efforts, McKeon had nine tackles against USC and is tied with Bradley for the team lead through three games.
Ruud also had nine tackles at USC and is tied for third on the team with 14 total tackles. Ruud finished 2005 as Nebraska’s second leading tackler behind McKeon. Ruud picked off a pass in the season opener for the second straight year, returning his pick against Louisiana Tech 14 yards.
Juniors Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh each have one career start and give Nebraska five linebackers with significant game experience.
Callahan's Huskers Continue to Perform in Classroom
Nebraska has continued its tradition of excellence in the classroom under Head Coach Bill Callahan. In 2005, Kurt Mann and Dane Todd were the latest Huskers to earn CoSIDA first-team academic All-America honors.
Mann, a two-year starter at center, carried a 3.97 grade-point average in mechanized systems management before graduating in May. A native of Lincoln, Todd graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in biological sciences.
Mann and Todd were two of just nine juniors on the first-team academic All-America list, and Nebraska was one of only three schools with a pair of first-team selections. Both players are strong candidates to repeat as first-team academic All-America selections this fall. Nebraska has previously had two pairs of players earn back-to-back first-team academic All-America honors. In 1983 and 1984 defensive end Scott Strasburger and defensive lineman Rob Stuckey picked up consecutive All-America honors, while nose tackle Terry Connealy and offensive tackle Rob Zatechka earned the same recognition in 1993 and 1994.
Overall, Nebraska has had 12 players earn two first-team academic All-America selections, most recently defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in 1999 and 2000. The selection of Mann and Todd gave the Husker football program 85 all-time academic All-Americans, a nation-leading total. The Husker athletic program as a whole also leads the nation with 233 academic All-America selections across all teams and all sports.
Four Huskers Enter Season as Graduate Students
Kurt Mann and Dane Todd are among a group of four Husker seniors who are playing the 2006 season as graduate students. Senior safety Andrew Shanle and senior cornerback Isaiah Fluellen also picked up their degrees during UNL’s spring commencement ceremonies, completing their undergraduate work in four years.
The four players will have a lot of company by the time bowl season rolls around. Among Nebraska’s 20-member senior class, 12 players are scheduled to earn their degrees by the conclusion of the fall semester.
Huskers Pace Big 12 Conference in Academic Awards
Nebraska had a Big-12 leading 22 players named to the first-team academic All-Big 12 team last fall. Fifteen Huskers were named to the first team, while another seven players earned second-team honors.
During the fall 2005 semester, Nebraska placed 31 players on the Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Academic Honor Roll, including six student-athletes who had perfect 4.0 grade-point averages for the semester. During the spring, 38 Huskers were named to the honor roll, with six players recording 4.0 GPAs for the spring semester. The honor roll recognizes all student-athletes who earned a 3.0 grade-point average or better in the previous semester.
Nebraska Honored by AFCA for Football Graduation Rate
The Husker football program was one of 29 schools from across the nation honored this spring by the American Football Coaches Association with the 2006 Academic Achievement Award.
The 29 schools that were honored achieved a graduation rate of 70 percent or better for the 2000-01 incoming freshman class. This year marked the sixth straight year Nebraska has received the honor and the 10th time since 1994 Nebraska has been recognized. Nebraska’s athletic program also leads the Big 12 in exhausted eligibility graduation rate for all sports at 93 percent.
2006 Schedule to Provide Nebraska with Stern Test
Nebraska is facing a challenging schedule in 2006. Last week the Huskers faced their first ranked opponent of the season, squaring off against No. 4 USC on the road. The Trojans are one of seven Husker opponents that won seven or more games last season and one of six 2005 bowl teams on Nebraska’s schedule.
Nebraska faces the challenge of taking on both of last year’s national championship game participants with last week’s game at USC and an Oct. 21 game in Lincoln against defending national champion Texas. The Huskers are the only team in the country to face both of last year’s title game participants in the regular season.
In addition to both of last year’s Rose Bowl teams, Nebraska also faces Kansas (Fort Worth), Iowa State (Houston), Missouri (Independence) and Colorado (Champs Sports). Additionally, both Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State posted winning seasons in 2005.
Huskers Enjoying New Home in 2006
The Nebraska football program moved into its new home in the summer of 2006. After being housed in the South Stadium for more than three decades, the Huskers moved into the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex before the start of training camp in early August. Among the features in the new facility are...
The Charles and Romona Myers Performance Center...Located on the first floor of the Osborne Complex, the Myers Performance Center includes a state-of-the art athletic medicine facility, a spacious and sparkling new strength complex and a new locker room and equipment room for the Huskers.
New football offices...The Nebraska football offices are housed on the second floor of the Osborne Complex and provide the Husker staff and players with the needed tools to prepare at a championship level.
The change in location led to a significant change in Nebraska’s pre-game routine. The Huskers’ famous "Tunnel Walk" now concludes with the team entering the field from the Northwest Corner of Tom Osborne Field. After a path of red FieldTurf leads the Huskers to the field, Nebraska enters after large bronze gates are opened. The gates feature images of six of the greatest Huskers from the 1890s to the 1960s, and are guarded each week by two military members.
The football program benefitted in numerous ways from the project, and Nebraska fans also have several new features available.
New HuskerVision screens... Memorial Stadium features three new HuskerVision screens for the 2006 season. High above the North end of Memorial Stadium is a massive 33 x 117-foot screen. In addition to video, the large HuskerVision screen will feature a scoreboard, statistics and ticker. Two new HuskerVision screens were also placed on the Southeast and Southwest towers allowing fans in the north end of the stadium great viewing angles of the HuskerVision screens.
More Husker fans...6,500 seats were added in the North Stadium, in addtion to 13 new sky suites on the seventh floor of the Osborne Athletic Complex and new and improved handicapped seating. Nebraska received more than 15,000 requests for the 6,500 seats in less than three weeks. Nebraska set a Memorial Stadium record with 85,181 fans for the Louisiana Tech game.
Improved fan amenities...All ticket holders at Memorial Stadium will benefit from a new large concourse in the North Stadium. The concourse now connects the East, West and North stadiums. New gates were also added on the North end, aiding in entering and exiting Memorial Stadium.
Bigger Memorial Stadium Continues to Be Packed
Nebraska’s Sept. 9 win over Nicholls State marked the 277th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, an ongoing NCAA record. The sellout streak dates back to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney’s first year at Nebraska in 1962 (vs. Missouri on Nov. 3).
Nebraska’s 277 consecutive sellouts easily outdistance Notre Dame, which ranks second nationally with 185 consecutive sellouts. Nebraska has had remarkable success during the sellout streak, posting a 244-33 record during the 277 sellouts. The mark includes a 39-21 record against ranked teams. Nebraska is 5-0 in the five milestone sellouts during that period (50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th sellouts), including a 24-7 win over No. 2 Colorado on Oct. 29, 1994 (No. 200) and a 44-13 victory over Utah State on Sept. 7, 2002 (No. 250).
Although sellouts have become commonplace in Lincoln, there are a few more folks dressed in red packing Memorial Stadium this season. Capacity at Memorial Stadium is 81,067, with the addition of 6,500 new seats in the North Stadium. The Louisiana Tech game featured a stadium record crowd of 85,181, the sixth-largest crowd to see Nebraska play. (see left margin)
Nebraska had played before 10 crowds of more than 82,000 fans in school history entering the 2006 season, but are likely to have nine games this season with crowds in excess of 82,000. The crowd of 92,000 at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Sept. 16 was the second-largest crowd Nebraska has played in front of in the regular season.
Nebraska Owns Dominant Edge at Memorial Stadium
Nebraska has rewarded the loyality of its fans with incredible success at Memorial Stadium through the years. Nebraska finished 5-2 at home in 2005, and has won at least six home games in 17 of the past 19 seasons. Nebraska is 112-10 at home in the last 18 seasons (since 1989), including a pair of losses against teams that went on to win the national championship–Colorado in 1990 and Washington in 1991.
Since 1986, only seven different schools have left Memorial Stadium with a victory. During Nebraska’s run of success at home in the past 25 years, Nebraska has had three home winning streaks of 20 or more games. Nebraska had a school-record 47-game home winning streak from 1991 to 1998, a 26-game home streak from 1998 to 2002 and a 21-game win streak in the early 1980s.
Nebraska has not been shut out at home since a 12-0 loss to Kansas State in 1968 (243 games), and has posted 40 unbeaten and untied home seasons. The Huskers are 479-129-20 (.779, 628 games, 117 years) in Lincoln, 354-106-13 (.762, 473 games, 84 years) in Memorial Stadium (since 1923).
Huskers Make Successful Return to Bowl Season in 2005
Nebraska returned to the postseason in 2005, and made the most of its 43rd all-time bowl appearance with a 32-28 victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. The Alamo Bowl was Nebraska’s 36th bowl appearance in the past 37 seasons, and came after the Huskers’ streak of 35 straight bowl appearances ended in 2004.
Nebraska’s 43 all-time bowl appearances rank fifth nationally, trailing Alabama, Texas, Tennessee and USC. The Huskers pushed their all-time bowl record over the .500 mark at 22-21 following the win over Michigan. Nebraska has won eight of its past 11 bowl games dating back to the 1994 season.
Huskers Among Leaders in AP National Titles
Notre Dame leads the nation by winning eight Associated Press national titles since 1936, with Oklahoma (7), Alabama (6), Miami (5), USC (5), Nebraska (4) and Minnesota (4) next in line. While the Huskers were awarded the national title by the coaches in 1997, NU finished second to Michigan in the AP poll.
In 1970, Nebraska was awarded the AP national title, but not the coaches (Texas was first, Ohio State second and NU third) as the final poll was released before the bowl games were played. In the coaches poll (since 1950), Nebraska is tied for fourth with Miami and Texas with four titles, behind Alabama and Oklahoma with six apiece, and USC with five.
Nebraska entered the 2006 campaign with the goal of reaching the Big 12 Conference Championship Game on Dec. 2 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game has been held in Kansas City on three previous occasions, but Nebraska has not been involved in those three games.
This fall Nebraska will be looking for its first appearance in the league title game since 1999. The Huskers played in three of the first four Big 12 title games, winning the title in 1997 and 1999, with both of those games played in San Antonio.
Nebraska is one of three teams to capture two or more Big 12 titles in the first decade of the conference, joining Oklahoma with three and Texas with two. Kansas State, Texas A&M and Colorado each captured one Big 12 crown in the first 10 years of Big 12 action. Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado have each made four Big 12 title game appearances, while Nebraska and Kansas State have played in the the contest three times each.
Nebraska has won 43 football conference championships overall, including eight under Coach Bob Devaney and 13 under Coach Tom Osborne. Oklahoma has won 35 conference championships to rank second behind NU among conference schools.
Huskers Well-Represented in National Football League
Nebraska has a long-standing tradition of placing large numbers of players in the NFL. As of the start of NFL training camps, the Huskers had 41 players listed on rosters. When final rosters were determined, Nebraska had 31 players on active rosters and one player on a practice squad. Nebraska’s 31 players on active rosters led the Big 12 Conference, one more than Texas and two more than Oklahoma.
Included in the group of players on NFL rosters are four players who were selected in the 2006 NFL Draft–safety Daniel Bullocks (2nd round, Detroit), punter Sam Koch (6th, Baltimore), defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith (6th, New England) and defensive lineman Titus Adams (7th, N.Y. Jets), who is on the practice squad. In addition, running back Cory Ross, a non-drafted free agent is on the Ravens’ opening day roster.
Koch’s roster spot gives Nebraska two punters and two place-kickers in the NFL, with the combined four kickers the most of any school in the country. Nebraska’s most experienced NFL veteran is Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro offensive guard Will Shields, who is in his 14th NFL campaign in 2006. A full listing of Nebraska’s players in the NFL is included in the left margin.