February 1, 2015

Tim Beck headed to Ohio State

Tim Beck

Tim Beck

Former Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck will join Ohio State’s coaching staff following the  College Football Playoff National Championship.  Beck will replace former Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who will become Houston’s head coach.

Beck moved up the ranks at Nebraska as the running backs coach, quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator since 2008.

Beck has also coached at Kansas State and Kansas.

Will Shields a finalist for Pro Football’s Hall of Fame

Will Shields is in the college football hall of fame.  He's looking for a call from Canton, Ohio (photo/NU Athletics)

Will Shields is in the college football hall of fame. He’s looking for a call from Canton, Ohio (photo/NU Athletics)

Former Nebraska lineman Will Shields who played in 224 straight games for the Kansas City Chiefs from his rookie season in ’93 to his final season in ’06 is one of 15 finalists for Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.  The longtime Chiefs lineman was named first-team All-Pro three times, during which he blocked for an NFL-best scoring offense featuring running back Priest Holmes in 2002 and 2003.

Shields played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team from 1989 through 1992. Shields was a consensus first-team All-American and Outland Trophy winner during his final year at Nebraska. He is one of eight Cornhuskers players to win the Outland Trophy. He is one of only sixteen Cornhuskers to have his jersey retired by the team.

Petteway’s 20 points help Nebraska smother Rutgers 65-49

Returns to the lineup for Nebraska’s Moses Abraham and Leslee Smith helped the Huskers against Rutgers. But it was the play of its defense and Terran Petteway that powered the Huskers to their first Big Ten victory of the season on Thursday night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Petteway finished with 20 points while Nebraska forced 19 Rutgers turnovers as the Huskers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 65-49 win over the Scarlet Knights. One of the poorer shooting teams in the Big Ten, Rutgers started the game making 7-of-12 from the floor, but faded for the rest of the contest to finish at 34.7% for the game. A big reason why was Nebraska’s defense, which forced nine turnovers in the first half and ten in the second while converting those turnovers into 17 points.

Walter Pitchford (35) and Terran Petteway (5) go up for a rebound in the first half of Nebraska's 65-49 win over Rutgers on Thursday night  PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Walter Pitchford (35) and Terran Petteway (5) go up for a rebound in the first half of Nebraska’s 65-49 win over Rutgers on Thursday night

Miles was happy with how his team played as they snapped a two-game losing streak and gained their first win in conference play for the season.

“”It is nice not to start 0-4, but they just keep coming at you,” Miles said of the upcoming schedule. “We have Illinois, then at Wisconsin and Minnesota, who I think is a really a good team.”

“We are going to have a huge week next week. I am excited to get this team going and get better and better.”

Petteway felt like Nebraska’s offense, which struggled at key points against Indiana and Iowa to open conference play, moved and worked much better against Rutgers, largely due to the return of Abraham and Smith.

“It felt like our offense was flowing a little better tonight. Guys were stepping up, coming in and making threes,” Petteway said.

“Benny made two threes and others came in and gave us good buckets. Once that is happening, our offense started flowing way better.”

It was a balanced night offensively for Nebraska (9-6, 1-2) as Petteway added six rebounds and five assists in addition to 11 points from Shavon Shields and nine points apiece from Walter Pitchford and Benny Parker. Parker was 3-of-3 from the field with two three-pointers coming during a key 10-4 run for the Huskers to open the second half after they led 26-23 at halftime. Trailing by nine, Rutgers cut the lead to 38-33 after a jumper by Greg Lewis, but Parker converted on a lay up which was originally called a charging foul on the junior guard. The officials changed the call to a blocking foul on Junior Etou, which resulted in Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan getting a technical foul and Nebraska reeling off the next nine points to enjoy a 47-33 lead with 11:02 remaining in the contest.

Jordan felt like his team had an early advantage, but couldn’t sustain their momentum at the end of the first half and into the second half.

“We turned the ball over which hurts your defense. They get out and get some breaks, we had charges–it took away our offensive flow,” Jordan said. “We did not get into our movement offensively. We were stagnant.”

Center Moses Abraham scores two of his five points during Nebraska's 65-49 win over Rutgers on Thursday night PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Center Moses Abraham scores two of his five points during Nebraska’s 65-49 win over Rutgers on Thursday night

Abraham and Smith didn’t fill up the box score, but each played 13 minutes off the bench to give Nebraska’s starters a much-needed breather. Only Shields and Petteway topped 30 minutes of game action, with Shields playing 34, Petteway 31, and Pitchford with 30. Abraham made 2-of-3 from the field to finish with five points and three rebounds and Smith added two rebounds and two assists.

For Smith, it was good just to get back into the lineup.

“There was a little bit of rust. It felt pretty good. There was a lot of excitement in the air,” Smith said of his return to game action. “I feel normal though. I feel like I never left.”

Bishop Daniels led Rutgers (9-7, 1-2) with 12 points and Kadeem Jack added 11 in the first ever Big Ten road game for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has struggled offensively through three conference games, scoring 47 points in a loss to Northwestern and 50 in a win over Penn State previously. The win by Nebraska gives the Huskers their best start in Big Ten play through the first three games at 1-2 after starting the previous three seasons at 0-4 or 0-5 to begin the conference portion of their season.

Next up for the Huskers is an Illini team that upset 11th-ranked Maryland on Wednesday night despite the absence of leading scorer Rayvonte Rice. Rice has a broken hand and will be out for at least two more weeks. Miles says it was important to get Abraham and Smith some minutes before Sunday’s game.

“I think just having Moses and Leslee coming in helped so much. I didn’t think they were great by any means, but at least to come in and get their feet wet before we play a pretty tough Illinois team,” Miles said.

The Huskers will practice on Friday and Saturday before hosting Illinois on Sunday night. Tip off in Lincoln set for 7:30 p.m. as Nebraska looks to even its mark in conference play. Rutgers hosts Wisconsin on Sunday night before road games at Minnesota and Maryland next week.

Riley continues to round out his coaching staff

Danny Langsdorf (photo/New York Giants)

Danny Langsdorf, NU’s new offensive coordinator (photo/New York Giants)

Nebraska Head Football Coach Mike Riley added four assistant football including offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, running backs coach Reggie Davis, defensive line coach Hank Hughes, and secondary coach Charlton Warren, who will return for his second season. Warren helped put together a defense that was pretty solid against the pass. Langsdorf was quarterbacks coach for Eli Manning of the New York this season, but prior to that he was Riley’s offensive coordinator for nine seasons at Oregon State. Reggie Davis worked the last four seasons under Jim Harbaugh at San Francisco. Hank Hughes is a 36 year coaching veteran.

Langsdorf’s Oregon State offenses were regularly among the most productive in the Pac-12 Conference, and nine of OSU’s top 13 single-season yardage outputs came under Langsdorf’s coaching. Langsdorf also worked with Riley at Oregon State in 1997 and 1998, before stints in the professional ranks with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and the New Orleans Saints.

Warren will be in his second season at Nebraska as the secondary coach in 2015. His 2014 secondary helped the Huskers rank among the nation’s top defense against the pass. Nebraska ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense, and held nine of 13 opponents to less than 50 percent passing and ranked second nationally in opponent pass completion percentage.

Davis spent the 2014 season as San Francisco’s offensive line coach, following three seasons working as the tight ends coach.

Hank Hughes comes to Nebraska after spending the 2014 season as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati under Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. A 36-year veteran of the coaching profession, Hughes has served as a defensive line coach for 27 of those seasons.  Hughes’ one season at Cincinnati followed a 13-year tenure on the defensive coaching staff at the University of Connecticut. With the Huskies, Hughes served as the defensive line coach for all 13 seasons and was the defensive coordinator for four years, while he also served as assistant head coach from 2005 to 2010.

Hoosiers hold off Huskers 70-65 to begin Big Ten play

Even after Nebraska had turned a 16-point first half deficit into a four-point lead in the second half, Indiana didn’t panic. They started hitting shots, and the Huskers had no answer for Robert Johnson and the Hoosiers.

Johnson hit three three-pointers on the night and finished with a team-high 14 points for Indiana in the Hoosiers’ 70-65 win over Nebraska on Wednesday afternoon at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Although it was Indiana’s offense that stoked them to a 16-point lead in the first half, their defense stymied Nebraska over a key six-minute stretch in the second half, holding the Huskers to just three points while the Hoosiers took the lead for good and held on down the stretch.

“I think we played at their pace too much (in the first half),” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “Anytime you’re going to miss against Indiana right at the rim, they are going to make you pay.”

“They really got us in transition. They really hurt us and were able to build the lead.”

Nebraska's Shavon Shields drives to the basket for two of his 20 points in Nebraska's 70-65 loss to Indiana on Wednesday PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Nebraska’s Shavon Shields drives to the basket for two of his 20 points in Nebraska’s 70-65 loss to Indiana on Wednesday

Indiana held a 67-54 lead with just under five minutes to play, but Nebraska wasn’t finished as Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields led the comeback. Petteway’s lay up capped an 8-0 run and two free throws from David Rivers trimmed the Indiana lead to 67-64, but the Hoosiers hit three free throws in the final moments and didn’t allow another Nebraska field goal. Petteway led Nebraska with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Shields added 20 points and seven rebounds but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Huskers from dropping their Big Ten opener for a fourth straight season and falling to 8-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.

“We are excited to come in here and get a win–it is a very tough place to play, a great environment, very good team,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “Our key is to just keep getting better in every way we can.”

“We made strides in the last couple of weeks, but more importantly than that, it is very important to make strides from game to game. We closed the game well.”

Nebraska came out of the gate strong, leading 7-2 before the Hoosiers stormed back and took the lead in the first half for good behind their three-point shooting. Johnson hit two threes, while James Blackmon Jr. added another and the Hoosiers took a 36-22 lead with 3:53 left before halftime. The Huskers responded and closed the half on a 10-4 spurt before starting the second half on an 11-2 run to take a 43-42 lead at the 16:24 mark after a jumper by Shields. Walter Pitchford then hit a three-pointer to give the Huskers a 46-42 advantage, but Indiana responded with a 14-3 run of their own to open up a seven point lead they would not relinquish.

“They kept changing their defense on us, but we just could not make any shots,” Nebraska guard Terran Petteway said. “We just were not hitting shots.”

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles instructs his team during the Huskers' 70-65 loss to Indiana PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles instructs his team during the Huskers’ 70-65 loss to Indiana

Despite the efforts of Shields and Petteway, Nebraska had little other sources of offense and could not win the battle on the glass, getting outrebounded by the Hoosiers 44-31. Hanner Mosquera-Perea dominated inside, scoring 12 points and adding 10 rebounds as Indiana (11-3, 1-0) scored 38 of their 70 points for the game in the paint. Nebraska (8-5, 0-1) got 11 points and five rebounds from Walter Pitchford, but only received 11 points from its players not named Shields, Petteway, or Pitchford.

Crean was happy with how the Hoosiers were able to dominate inside, despite not having a huge front line to go up against the depleted Nebraska front court.

“We don’t have that big of team ourselves. It is very important that we score points in the paint, and when we do play through the paint we are effective,” Crean said.

Miles thought Nebraska had a chance once they opened the second half to overcome the eight-point deficit and briefly take a four-point lead on two separate occasions.

“I thought we were playing good basketball. We weren’t allowing them transition. We were guarding the ball better. We were locked in more defensively,” Miles said.

“I feel like we gave them a good run. It’s hard not to feel like you beat yourself.”

Terran Petteway scores on a reverse lay up in the second half for two of his game-high 23 points during Indiana's 70-65 win over Nebraska PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Terran Petteway scores on a reverse lay up in the second half for two of his game-high 23 points during Indiana’s 70-65 win over Nebraska

The Huskers did commit a season-low eight turnovers, but shot just 39 percent from the floor in the game and could not win their Big Ten opener for the first time in school history. The last time the Huskers won a conference opener was a 63-62 win over Iowa State in their final season in the Big XII during the 2010-11 season.

Nebraska continues Big Ten play at Iowa on Monday night, with tip-off set for 8 p.m.  The Huskers then return home to host Rutgers on Thursday night at 8 p.m. as they look to win at home for just the second time in their last five games at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Indiana is at Michigan State on Monday night for a 6 p.m. tip-off.