September 16, 2014

Will Randy Gregory play? If so, how much? (AUDIO)

Bo Pelini says Randy Gregory will be back on the defensive line for the Huskers this Saturday night at Fresno State. Gregory doesn’t sound so sure of that. He tells us he’s 100%, but is he afraid to go out there and push it?

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This is the second of three meetings between the Huskers and Fresno State. Eight Bulldogs played for them and three started in the game at Memorial Stadium in 2011, including strong safety Derron Smith, a preseason All-American and the 2013 and 2014 Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Fresno State will need to rely heavily on their defense and their goal will be keeping NU off the board in the first quarter. Through two games this season, Fresno State has been outscored 24-0 and 17-0.

Huskers will get Gregory back for Fresno State and Cotton calls his play “bone headed” (AUDIO)

Good news on the injury front.

The Huskers will have their biggest defensive threat back on the field. Bo Pelini said Randy Gregory, who has played just in the opening series of the Florida Atlantic game will play at Fresno State. Pelini said Gregory looked great running on Sunday. The injury situation is a little muddy at wide receiver, where Kenny Bell, Sam Burtch and Brandon Reilly are listed as “day-to-day.” Bell left with a groin injury in the first quarter.

Senior offensive lineman Jake Cotton called his two penalties bone head plays.

Cotton was called for tripping in the third quarter, wiping out a Tommy Armstrong touchdown. NU had to settle for a field goal on the drive. Cotton was flagged in the fourth quarter as an ineligible man downfield, erasing a 41-yard pass from Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp. Cotton said he thought Armstrong took off running and went off the crowd’s reaction. As one of the team captains, he said he has to lead better by example.

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Penn State eligible for Big Ten football championships again

The Big Ten Conference, through its Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COPC), has agreed today to restore Penn State’s eligibility for the Big Ten Football Championship Game. The agreement follows the announcement today, by the NCAA, to further modify sanctions set forth in the Consent Decree entered into with Penn State on July 23, 2012, including the elimination of Penn State’s postseason football ban, effective immediately, and the restoration of its full complement of football scholarships beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. As a result of the announcement, based strongly on recommendations by Independent Athletics Integrity Monitor Senator George Mitchell, Penn State will be eligible to compete in both the Big Ten Football Championship Game and a bowl game, beginning with the current season.

The $60 million fine, vacation of wins from 1998-2011, Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA), and five-year probation initially imposed by the NCAA will remain in effect, as will the official censure, five-year probation and monetary fine equal to Penn State’s Big Ten bowl revenue share during the probationary period initially imposed by the Big Ten COPC.

The NCAA’s decision to modify the Consent Decree was based on recommendations by Senator Mitchell, who has been serving since August 2012 as the independent Athletics Integrity Monitor responsible for overseeing Penn State’s implementation of the reforms set forth in the AIA. The AIA was entered into on August 29, 2012, by the NCAA, the Big Ten and Penn State as one of the requirements of the Consent Decree.

As a party to the AIA, the Big Ten COPC met with Senator Mitchell on Monday, September 8, and received his report on Penn State’s progress. Senator Mitchell’s briefing included a recommendation that the NCAA reduce the postseason ban effective immediately and restore full scholarship availability beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. Mitchell’s recommendation was based on the significant progress Penn State has continually made in its compliance and reform efforts over the last two years and focused exclusively on NCAA penalties that directly impacted student-athletes.

“Following our briefing with Senator Mitchell, the COPC reached consensus agreement to support his latest recommendation and also agreed to restore the school’s eligibility for the Big Ten Football Championship Game, which ran concurrently with the NCAA postseason bowl ban” said COPC Chair and Iowa President Sally Mason. “We support the NCAA announcement acting on that recommendation, thank Senator Mitchell for his dedicated service and appreciate Penn State’s ongoing commitment to improvement.”

NU punter picks up Big Ten special team honors

Nebraska punter Sam Foltz was honored for his performance against McNeese State on Saturday, as he was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. It is the first time the Grand Island native has received the Big Ten honor, and marks the second straight week a Husker has received a Big Ten weekly award.

Foltz averaged a career-best 51.2 yards on six punts in Nebraska’s 31-24 win over McNeese State on Saturday. Four of his six punts were placed inside the 20-yard line, helping the Huskers win the field position battle by more than 16 yards per possession. His four punts inside the 20 were the second-highest number of his career. In addition, five of his six punts went at least 50 yards, including a 61-yarder in the fourth quarter, while Nebraska had a net punting average of 48.0 yards on his six kicks.

His 61-yard punt in the fourth quarter was the third-longest punt of his Husker career, while all of his five second-half punts went for at least 50 yards. In addition, Foltz was also named the National Punter of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards

 

Abullah named to Hornung honor roll

Husker I-back Ameer Abdullah was one of four players around the nation named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll exemplifying their versatility on the field.

Abdullah earned the honored as he totaled 184 all-purpose yards in a 31-24 win over McNeese State. His 58-yard touchdown reception with 20 seconds left, which was the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Saturday, provided the winning margin for the Huskers. It was one of three receptions for the Husker I-back, as he finished with a career-high 96 receiving yards on three catches. His 96 receiving yards were the most by a Husker I-back since 2007. In addition, he also had 54 yards and a scoring run on 17 carries and had a 34-yard kickoff return.

Abdullah is now 247 yards shy of Nebraska’s all-purpose yards record of 5,686 held by 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers.

The Huskers return to action Saturday night as they travel to Fresno State. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. (CT) on the CBS College Sports Network.