April 23, 2014

Two more night games planned for the Husker football schedule

Two more Nebraska football games have been slated for nighttime starts. The Big Ten Network will air the Huskers September 27th home game against Illinois for 8pm, then October 18th at Northwestern at 6:30. That will make five consecutive night games for Nebraska in 2014.

Already set for kicks after sunset are a 9:30 p.m. CT start at Fresno State on Sept. 13. A 7 p.m. kick at home against Miami on Sept. 20; and a 7 p.m. CT at Michigan State on Oct. 4.

Two Husker football games set for prime time coverage

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The Big Ten Conference and ESPN/ABC announced Tuesday that Nebraska’s 2014 games against Miami and Michigan State will be televised in prime time on the ESPN networks.

Nebraska will play host to Miami on Sept. 20, at Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT. Two weeks later on Oct. 4 the Huskers will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the defending Big Ten champions, also a 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. local in East Lansing). Both games will be televised on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 with a determination on the network to be made at a later date.

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Cross leads the offense to victory in Red-White scrimmage

I-back Imani Cross rushed for 100 yards and two scores, while Nebraska’s four quarterbacks combined for 356 yards and three touchdowns, as the Red team won the annual Red/White Spring Game with a 55-46 victory Saturday afternoon in front of 61,771 fans at Memorial Stadium.

Cross, who played only the first half, needed just six carries to reach the 100-yard mark, scoring on runs of 20 and 39 yards. While All-America I-back Ameer Abdullah saw limited action, Jordan Nelson and Terrell Newby rushed for 54 and 51 yards, respectively.

Johnny Stanton and Ryker Fyfe continued their battle for the No. 2 spot behind Tommy Armstrong, as the duo combined to go 17-of-24 for 224 yards and three scores. Stanton completed 8-of-12 passes for 135 yards, including scoring strikes to Kevin Gladney (48 yards) and Jamal Turner (25 yards), while Fyfe completed 9-of-12 passes for 89 yards, including a five-yard pass to Taariq Allen.

The Blackshirts had six sacks and three interceptions, as redshirt freshman Erik Evans had a game-high nine tackles, including two for losses, while defensive end Jack Gangwash added eight stops, including a sack.

The Huskers begin their 125th season of football on Saturday, Aug. 30, as Nebraska hosts Florida Atlantic in the season opener at Memorial Stadium.

Pelini pleased with the team’s progress. A different format for the spring game is set (AUDIO)

Head Coach Bo Pelini said he thought the last two days were “really good practices.” Pelini added that he thought the team was where they should be. He said he plans to be more “dialed back” in terms of how much football the team will show.

The format for Saturday’s Red-White Spring Game is offense vs. defense. Pelini said there will be a points system used that will be sent out to the media and possibly put on the scoreboard for the game.

In addition, Pelini said I-back Ameer Abdullah and defensive end Randy Gregory are not likely to see extended playing time.

The Spring Game starts on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

AUDIO Pelini’s comments on the Spring Game and playing inside Memorial Stadium

Blackshirts growing into their roles as spring practice rolls on (AUDIO)

The Nebraska football practiced in full pads for two hours and Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis is feeling confident in the Blackshirts’ growth this spring.

“With the amount of young guys we played a year ago, the long-term hope that we’ve always had has been that we wouldn’t miss too many beats from the end of the season to now,” Papuchis said. “We’re probably even a little bit ahead knowledge-wise from where we’ve been the last couple years, as a defense.”

According to Papuchis, a bright spot for the Huskers this offseason has been the improvement of the defensive line, both in scheme comprehension and physical development. On Monday he commented on what he has seen from his young athletes this spring.

AUDIO John Papuchis

Another young Blackshirt who has impressed Papuchis this spring is Nathan Gerry. Gerry played in every game as a freshman, taking most of his reps at linebacker, before the coaches decided to move him to safety. The sophomore has seen his reps increase this spring, following an injury to senior safety Corey Cooper. According to Papuchis, Gerry has taken advantage of the opportunity.

AUDIO More from Papuchis

One difference that Papuchis has seen across the board in his defense this spring is a growing confidence and belief in each individual’s role. He addressed how that confidence has been built and what it means in terms of the defense’s ability to play fast and loose.

“True confidence is only built when you have a great understanding of your role and responsibility,” Papuchis said. “It was hard to have that swagger a year ago because guys were just learning. Now that they feel confident and comfortable with what they do, and with all of the hard work they’ve put in this offseason, they’ve earned the right to go out there, have some fun and just play. We’re going to play much better when we’re loose, flying around and jumping around. That’s the way I want us to play, and that’s the way they want to play, but you have to earn the right to get there.”

The Nebraska football team will continue its spring practice schedule on Wednesday, as the Huskers prepare for their annual spring game on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. (Central)

Story courtesy of NU Athletics