September 17, 2014

Huskers ready to renew an old rivarly (AUDIO)

The Huskers are 24th in this week’s AP poll, and they host an old rival of sorts in Miami this Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be the renewal of one of college football’s most significant non-conference rivalries where the two schools are 5-5 in the all-time series. The two programs have combined for 10 national championships, including eight since 1983. Saturday’s game will mark Miami’s first trip to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln since 1976.

The 1983 Hurricanes clinched the program’s first national crown with a memorable 31-30 victory over Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl. Three of Miami’s five national titles, came with bowl victories over Nebraska. Nebraska’s 1994 national championship, the first of three in a four-year span under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne, came with a win over Miami in the Orange Bowl. Osborne’s 1994 Huskers will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their championship season with a reunion this weekend in Lincoln.

Listen as we take you down memory lane.

Huskers battle heat and hostile environment as Pelini pleased with better effort (AUDIO)

The Huskers laid an early knockout blow in their 55-19 win at Fresno State, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first three minutes and Bo Pelini talked about how that kind of took the life out of the stadium.  562 total yards including 127 of those in the first three minutes of the game. A 70 yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp and a 57 yard run by Ameer Abdullah.

Defensively, the Huskers saw a lot of passing, had to play a lot of dime coverage, which means six defensive backs which will help down the road. It was also the return of Randy Gregory, who had three tackles.  Just coming back from knee surgery, really saw his first significant playing time and it was so hot out there, Pelini said Gregory battled and played well.  The conditions and flow of the game made it tough for the entire team.

Fast start helps Nebraska sink Fresno State 55-19 to remain unbeaten

A week after needing a last second touchdown to defeat McNeese State, Nebraska buried their opponent early to move to 3-0 on the season.

Head coach Bo Pelini was pleased that his team jumped out to an early lead against Fresno State and never looked back en route to a dominating 55-19 win over the Bulldogs.

“Starting out well helps,” Pelini said. “The crowd was pretty into the game and it kind of took the wind out of their sails a bit.”

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong led a balanced Huskers offense by throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns as Nebraska was never threatened by the Bulldogs. Armstrong connected with Jordan Westerkamp for a 70-yard touchdown strike less than two minutes into the game and added touchdown tosses to tight ends Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton to help the Huskers overwhelm the Bulldogs in their first road game of the 2014 season. Running back Ameer Abdullah topped the 100-yard mark for the 19th time in his illustrious Nebraska career with 19 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown to lead a balanced offense that returned to form after a bumpy ride against FCS-level McNeese State last week in Lincoln.

It didn’t take long for Nebraska to jump on Fresno State and put the game out of reach. On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Armstrong his Westerkamp down the middle of the field and the redshirt sophomore raced 70 yards untouched for the game’s first score at the 13:14 mark of the first quarter. On Nebraska’s next offensive series, Abdullah raced 57 yards for a touchdown and the Huskers found themselves quickly ahead 14-0. True freshman wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El also got into the end zone with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown as the Huskers pulled away from a weary Fresno State squad that’s been blown out in all three of its contests this season.

Despite the win, Pelini says there’s a bit to improve for his 3-0 squad.

“We need to keep getting better,” Pelini said. “What happened to us last week, happens a lot. We won the football game. We’re 3-0. Our next goal is to be 4-0.”

Westerkamp led Nebraska with two catches for 85 yards and the touchdown barely two minutes into the game, while Kenny Bell returned from a groin injury to catch five passes for 84 yards. A week after the inability to shake upstart McNeese State, Nebraska buried the Bulldogs with big plays in the running, passing, and punt return games. The Blackshirts didn’t force any turnovers, but harassed Bulldogs’ quarterback Brian Burrell and limited Fresno State’s running game, which was held to just 105 yards on the night. The Huskers rolled up 562 yards of total offense and were never threatened after the first quarter, dispatching Fresno State with relative ease.

Pierson-El’s punt return for a touchdown was Nebraska’s first since Abdullah’s 81-yard punt return touchdown against Idaho State in 2012. The true freshman was excited to get a chance to shine and he certainly did on Saturday night, who returned five punts for a total of 150 yards.

“I was real happy. Coach Pelini told me: ‘we can get one this week.’ That’s what he kept telling me,” Pierson-El noted.

I just wanted to attack and go full speed and make the right decisions and everything. I was excited I could get that.”

Nebraska’s dominating win moves the Big Red to 3-0 on the season, with only a non-conference game against Miami standing between them and a 4-0 start to the season for the first time since 2011. The loss drops Fresno State to 0-3 on the season, after giving up 52 points to Southern California, 59 points to Utah, and now 55 points to Nebraska on Saturday night. Miami comes to Lincoln next week on the heels of a 41-20 win over Arkansas State. The Huskers also find themselves in a strange position just three games into the season–Nebraska joins Penn State as the only Big Ten teams that remain undefeated, after six conference mates suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday–Rutgers, Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, and Illinois.

Nebraska back on track, routs Fresno State 55-19

A week after needing a last second touchdown to defeat McNeese State, Nebraska buried their opponent early to move to 3-0 on the season.

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong led a balanced Huskers offense by throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns as Nebraska routed Fresno State   on Saturday night. Armstrong connected with Jordan Westerkamp for a 70-yard touchdown strike less than two minutes into the game and added touchdown tosses to tight ends Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton to help the Huskers overwhelm the Bulldogs in their first road game of the 2014 season. Running back Ameer Abdullah topped the 100-yard mark for the 19th time in his illustrious Nebraska career with 19 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown to lead a balanced offense that returned to form after a bumpy ride against FCS-level McNeese State last week in Lincoln.

It didn’t take long for Nebraska to jump on Fresno State and put the game out of reach. On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Armstrong his Westerkamp down the middle of the field and the redshirt sophomore raced 70 yards untouched for the game’s first score at the 13:14 mark of the first quarter. On Nebraska’s next offensive series, Abdullah raced 57 yards for a touchdown and the Huskers found themselves quickly ahead 14-0. True freshman wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El also got into the end zone with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown as the Huskers pulled away from a weary Fresno State squad that’s been blown out in all three of its contests this season.

Westerkamp led Nebraska with two catches for 85 yards and the touchdown barely two minutes into the game, while Kenny Bell returned from a groin injury to catch five passes for 84 yards. A week after the inability to shake upstart McNeese State, Nebraska buried the Bulldogs with big plays in the running, passing, and punt return games. The Blackshirts didn’t force any turnovers, but harassed Bulldogs’ quarterback Brian Burrell and limited Fresno State’s running game, which was held to just 105 yards on the night. The Huskers rolled up 562 yards of total offense and were never threatened after the first quarter, dispatching Fresno State with relative ease.

More to come…

Huskers will try to snap Bulldogs long home winning streak

With Fresno State sporting a 13-game home winning streak, currently the second-longest in the nation behind Northern Illinois’ 27-game streak, this might be the most anticipated home game since 2008 when the 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers rolled into Bulldog Stadium to face No. 21 Fresno State in its home opener. That was the last time the Bulldogs sold out a home opener.

It will be a full house tonight at 9:30 Central when both teams kick off.

Over this 13-game home winning streak, the `Dogs have played great in all phases and outscored opponents by an average margin of 23 points while racking up 561.7 total yards per game.

The keys to the game for Fresno State are playing fast and taking care of the ball on offense, creating turnovers and tackling on defense and in special teams finding a way to make a play whether it be on a return, in coverage or in the kicking game.

The first and only time the Bulldogs played the Huskers back in 2011, it was a play in special teams that launched Nebraska to the victory. Fresno State had just pulled within two points on fourth-quarter touchdown catch by Harper, but Ameer Abdullah returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and the then 10th-ranked Huskers went on to win 42-29.

The Huskers head to Fresno with a 2-0 record after escaping with a 31-24 victory over McNeese State last Saturday in Lincoln. Senior I-back Ameer Abdullah supplied the winning margin on a highlight-reel 58-yard catch and run for a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining. The win marked Nebraska’s 10th straight victory in games decided by seven or fewer points dating back to September of 2012.

Nebraska has started 2-0 for the sixth time in Bo Pelini’s seven seasons as head coach, and will be looking for its first 3-0 start to a season since 2011. Nebraska will also be looking for a win in its road opener for the second straight year.