October 30, 2014

Abdullah hauls in more awards and Pelini talks intensity (AUDIO)

Bo Pelini looking for intensity for a full 60 minutes.

Bo Pelini looking for intensity for a full 60 minutes.

In addition to being named Big Ten offensive player of the week, NU’s Ameer Abdullah was also named the Athlon Sports National Player of the Week, the College Football Performance Awards National All-Purpose Performer of the Week and he was named to the Paul Hornung Award Week Nine Honor Roll.  He has 4,226 career rushing yards and he’s less than 560 yards from passing Mike Rozier’s school record and his 6,604 all purpose yards ranks second in Big Ten history only behind Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne.

On my Big Red Report yesterday, which you can hear on most of our Nebraska Radio Network Stations, I said it has to be tough to be mentally sharp in a game in the fourth quarter when you’re up by more than three scores, but for football players and coaches, Bo Pelini wants to see perfection the whole and that’s what he wasn’t too pleased with after the Rutgers win.

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This will be Purdue’s first trip ever to Lincoln and third time playing the Huskers. The series is tied at 1-1.  Purdue has scored 30 points in three straight games, first time they’ve done that since 2009.

Illinois’ upset win over Minnesota tightens up Big Ten West race (AUDIO)

It was quiet week in the Big Ten with several schools on their bye week, but an interesting one nonetheless as it pertains to the division race in the West. The Huskers got a lot of help from Illinois with their upset 28-24 win at Minnesota. The Illini defense scored a late touchdown and had a defensive stand. The loss drops the Gophers to 3-1 in conference play and now in a tying with the Huskers. Wisconsin scored an easy 52-7 win over Maryland. The Badgers Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon rushed for 122 and three touchdowns.

The game next week against Purdue is at 2:15. Then, what a way to finish out the season, with three games against West rivals who are all breathing down the back of the Huskers. Two weeks after the Purdue game, NU travels to face Gordon and the Badgers who are 2-1 in conference play, then at home against Minnesota, Gophers and Huskers tied for first right now and then the season ends the day after Thanksgiving with Iowa hoping to be in the mix as well…they’re at 2-1 in Big Ten play.

So when you look at the schedule you see why Bo Pelini is pushing for perfection. A long way to go to clinching that Big Ten championship berth.

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Huskers and Rutgers ready to meet for first time since 1920

Another national leading sellout when NU hosts Rutgers (photo/Huskers.com)

Another national leading sellout when NU hosts Rutgers (photo/Huskers.com)

It will be the 337th consecutive sellout for the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights visit today for an early 11 a.m. kick.

This game ends a string of five straight evening/night games for the Huskers and Bo Pelini has stressed to his players to come out ready to go right away.  Here are some of the key matchups and players to watch.

Ameer Abdullah vs. Rutgers’ defense.

Abdullah is the third-leading rusher in the nation and Rutgers had trouble against Ohio State when it came to wrapping up tackles. Linebacker Quentin Gause is the Knights’ best run-stopper.

Husker wideouts vs. Knights’ secondary.

Nebraska has two wide receivers (Kenny Bell and Jordan Westerkamp) with 27 catches for more than 500 yards and multiple touchdowns, and entrenched starting cornerback Gareef Glashen will need help from Nadir Barnwell, who is there next best.  He may be picked on.  Rutgers DBs also need to worry about quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s running ability.

Blackshirts vs. Rutgers’ tight end Tyler Kroft.  

Can Rutgers use Kroft as their go-to guy in third down situations.  The Preseason All-American candidate has just 10 catches for 109 yards and no touchdowns in seven games.  The Huskers have troubles at times covering the tight end, perhaps the Knights use him more in key situations.

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Who: Rutgers (5-2) at Nebraska (6-1).

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

When: 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN2.

Series: Nebraska leads 1-0.

Huskers may really need to have Randy Gregory make an IMPACT this week (AUDIO)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

If there was ever a week for Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory to make an impact, Rutgers would be the team to do it against. As defensive coordinator John Papuchis likes to point out the Scarlet Knights don’t mind going toe to toe with you in an old-fashioned grind it out type of game.

Gregory is one of 20 defensive players around the country named a quarterfinalists for the 2014 Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, presented to the nation’s most impactful defensive player. Gregory has 28 total tackles, including six tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Gregory also has an interception, a fumble caused, two pass breakups and a team-high nine quarterback hurries.

Gregory is one of two defenders from the Big Ten on the list, joining Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Gregory and Calhoun are among six defensive ends on the Lott quarterfinalists list.

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Players consider it an honor to wear the Blackshirts. So much, that one player doesn’t feel he’s ready to wear it yet (AUDIO)

Nebraska_Cornhuskers_Blackshirts16 Husker defenders were awarded the coveted Blackshirt jersey.

Upfront defensive ends Randy Gregory and Greg McMullen both were selected as ends in the Blackshirt group. Defensive tackles were sophomore Maliek Collins, and juniors Kevin Williams and Vincent Valentine. Four linebackers with seniors Zaire Anderson, Trevor Roach, junior David Santos and sophomore Josh Banderas being the recipients and a total of seven defensive backs were selected.  Corners Josh Mitchell, Daniel Davie and Jonathan Rose, ewcomers Byerson Cockrell and Joshua Kalu and two safeties, senior Corey Cooper and sophomore Nate Gerry.

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