New NU AD Moos looks to “honor past” and “create a future” as Nebraska’s new athletic director

By Brent Martin and Tommy Rezac

Bill Moos, selected as Nebraska’s next athletic director, takes questions from the media on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Moos, the A.D. at Washington State, will take over fully at Nebraska on Oct. 23.

Bill Moos started as an athletic director at the Division I level in 1990.

In his 25 years of experience, he’s always carried with him one motto.

“Honor the past, live the present, create the future,” Moos told reporters at Memorial Stadium on Sunday afternoon during his introductory press conference.

Moos has been Washington State’s athletic director since 2010. He begins as Nebraska’s A.D. on Oct. 23.

In his time with Cougar athletics, he secured a 10-year, $35 million marketing rights agreement with IMG College and led a $130 million addition and remodel of WSU’s Martin Stadium.

He was also dean of Pac-12 athletic directors, where he helped secure the conference’s 12-year, $3 billion TV contract with FOX and ESPN.

He previously worked as Oregon’s athletic director from 1995-2007, where he oversaw 13 Pac-10 championships in six different sports and rose annual fundraising by roughly $21.5 million.

He started as Montana’s A.D. from 1990-95.

He took time off in 2007 to start up a cattle ranch with his wife, Kendra, near Valleyford, WA. They moved to Pullman in 2010 when Bill was asked to lead Washington State’s athletic program.

He just couldn’t stay away from the profession.

“I missed the competition,” Moos said. “Any of us who actually played the game, especially in the collegiate level, your pilot light never goes out and it’s begging for fuel and getting that adrenaline up. On game day, there’s no greater thrill.”

“I tried that retirement stuff, and Kendra, after two years said, ‘You need a job.’ Yeah, better get back at it. We did, and we plan to be in this for a long, long time still.”

Green emphasized how important finding the right fit for the position was Sunday, noting it was “so apparent” that Moos was Nebraska’s man.

Moos grew up in rural east Washington on a wheat and cattle ranch, listening to Nebraska vs. Oklahoma on the radio every season as a young boy. He believes that background could make him a solid fit culturally.

“I’m a rural boy,” Moos said. “I feel like eastern Washington is so much like the state of Nebraska. Good, wholesome people with a great work ethic. Down to Earth, love athletics, and really love football.”

Green said it’s like Kendra and Bill Moos are like “Nebraskans who have lived somewhere else for all of their life.”

“And now it’s like they’re coming home.”

From a competitive standpoint, Moos is determined to once again make Nebraska “the hunted” in all sports, but especially football.

“We need to get back into that position where everybody’s putting Nebraska (on the schedule) and circling it,” Moos said, “and that’s going to be one tough game, whether (the opponent) is going to Lincoln, or whether they’re coming to our place.”

“We need to compete in all of our sports. I’m a fierce competitor. We should be in a position in every sport to compete for championships, and certainly that’s going to be our goal, and that will be a big part of the blue print that I referred to.”

Moos has made a blue print at every previous school he’s been to that illustrates where he and his staff envision the goals of the athletic department, and how those goals will be carried out.

“Everybody internally will have ownership in that,” Moos said.

That includes, for the time being, Nebraska head football coach Mike Riley, whose job status remains shaky after Nebraska’s 56-14 meltdown against Ohio State in Lincoln on Saturday night.

One thing is for certain: if Riley is let go, it won’t be until the end of the 2017 season.

“I don’t think anything is really accomplished, and I never have, of dismissing a coach during the season,” Moos said to media following his press conference. “Because of distractions, a lack of focus. It can be done soon afterwards, but you better have a plan in place as to where you’re going.”

Moos and Riley, only meeting briefly Sunday, are not strangers to one another. They were in the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) at the same time for a combined 12 years.

The two haven’t talked much, Moos said, since Riley took the job in Lincoln in December 2014, but the familiarity with one another should make for productive and fair discussions.

“I did respect (Riley) and the job he did (at Oregon State),” Moos said. “I was surprised when he left to come to (Nebraska), but I thought that he should do very, very well. As we speak right now, he’s my football coach, and I’m going to support him.”

Riley released a brief statement on Moos’ hire Sunday afternoon. He was not available for comment at Memorial Stadium.

Another meeting Moos is looking forward to in the coming days is one with former head football coach Tom Osborne, who was one of 20 people on a search committee made up of current former student-athletes and coaches that helped with the three-week-long search.

Osborne, 2001 Heisman winner Eric Crouch, Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook, Nebraska softball coach Rhonda Revelle and former Nebraska wrestling star and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs were among those involved in the search committee, according to Green.

Senior middle blocker Briana Holman from the Nebraska volleyball team was one of the current student-athletes involved in the committee.

Nebraska hired highly-regarded, New Jersey-based search firm Turnkey Sports and Entertainment to lead the A.D. search.

Green called Moos in a written statement “a program-builder who forges enduring relationships with coaches, student-athletes, staff, supporters and fans.”

“I was pleased that (Moos) was interested,” NU President Hank Bounds said Sunday. “I just can’t express how excited I am that Bill Moos is our athletic director. He is really good.”

Moos, 66, agreed to a five-year contract with a base annual salary of $1 million. The contract includes annual incentives up to $500,000.

Moos and his wife Kendra have three daughters, Christa, Brittany and Kaiti; and two sons, Bo and Benjamin.

Moos succeeds Shawn Eichorst, who was fired Sept. 21.

Badgers run free, put away Huskers in second half

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (13) congratulates Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook at the conclusion of the Badgers’ 38-17 win over the Huskers on Saturday night in Lincoln.

By Tommy Rezac

LINCOLN – Watching a Wisconsin running back pound a Nebraska defense for over 200 yards has become a familiar sight to Husker fans in recent years, and they had to witness it again Saturday night.

True freshman running back Jonathan Taylor and the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) ran for 353 yards, putting away the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) 38-17 on Saturday night in front of 89,860 fans at Memorial Stadium.

Taylor accounted for 71 percent of Wisconsin’s production on the ground, piling up a season-high 249 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. He averaged ten yards per carry.

“(Wisconsin) is persistent, and they’re powerful,” Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said in his post game press conference. “A big, powerful back (Taylor) is good. We knew all of those things.”

Nebraska had a major setback on its opening drive. The Huskers got inside the red zone within the first two minutes of the game on their opening drive, but a screen pass from quarterback Tanner Lee to running back Devine Ozigbo bounced off of Ozigbo’s helmet and fell into the hands of Badgers’ sophomore linebacker Chris Orr, who took the ball 78 yards the other way to give Wisconsin an early 7-0 lead.

“It was a pretty strange looking play,” Riley said. “Devine just didn’t get his head turned around quickly enough and (Lee) felt the ball looked okay. I don’t know that yet in a practice or a game that we’ve incompleted that ball, let alone throw a pick six on it off of a top of a head, it’s a pretty ridiculous play really.”

The Huskers fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter before Lee found junior receiver Stanley Morgan, Jr. for an 80-yard touchdown to put Nebraska on the board with 1:20 to go until halftime.

Morgan finished with four catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

The Badgers, though, would strike right back on the first play of their ensuing possession when Taylor ran around the right side to go 75 yards to the house. It was Taylor’s longest running touchdown of the season.

Nebraska used the final 1:04 of the first half to drive 60 yards on 11 plays and get a 32-yard field goal from senior kicker Drew Brown, cutting Wisconsin’s halftime lead to 17-10.

Brown missed a 33-yard attempt early in the second quarter.

“Those things against a team like that, that’s pretty methodical and eventually they’re being as physical as they are, we just gave them too many opportunities and not really taking advantage of ours to put some points on the board,” Riley said.

Nebraska had eleven drives as an offense Saturday, seven of which made it into Wisconsin territory. Only two of those seven drives ended in points.

“We were moving the ball pretty well, but it just wasn’t the amount of points we wanted, which is really frustrating,” Oizgbo said, who finished Saturday’s game with 112 rushing yards. “We have to figure out a way to have these long extensive drives but with a finish with points and preferably touchdowns.”

The Huskers got a huge burst of momentum early in the third quarter when junior safety Aaron Williams intercepted Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, and took the ball 14 yards the other way for a pick six, tying the game at 17-17 with 10:43 left in the third quarter.

After Hornibrook’s pick six, the Badgers drove 93 yards in 10 plays on the ensuing possession. Hornibrook finished the drive by finding sophomore receiver Quintez Cephus for a five-yard score, giving the Badgers a 24-17 lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter.

Wisconsin ran 34 plays after the Hornibrook interception. 32 of them were run plays. The Badgers held the ball for 8:22 of the third quarter and a staggering 13:16 of the fourth.

“They controlled a good part of the fourth quarter and before that even,” Riley said. “I think we had moved the ball decently at halftime and had pretty good totals but not much to show for it.”

Nebraska had 313 yards of offense in the first half, but only 68 in the second.

“I think it’s just about finishing,” Lee said. “We have to finish drives with points. (Wisconsin) kept us from doing that today. ”

The Huskers had a nine-play, 39-yard drive to end the third quarter, but were unable to convert on a 3rd and 6 and punted the ball back to the Badgers to begin the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin started the ensuing possession on its own 20, and drove 80 yards on ten rushing plays. Taylor scored his second touchdown of the night on a two-yard run up the middle with 9:08 to go in the game, putting the Badgers ahead 31-17.

On the second play of Nebraska’s ensuing drive, Morgan fumbled the ball on what would have been a 15-yard gain, but Wisconsin junior linebacker Ryan Connelly dove on the football at the Nebraska 40-yard line.

Wisconsin then took 6:15 off the clock with ten running plays, ending with a one-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore back Bradrick Shaw.

Shaw finished Saturday’s game with 12 carries for 43 yards.

Nebraska will next take on No. 10 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) in Lincoln on Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised on Fox Sports One.

Nebraska survives Arkansas State 43-36

By Tommy Rezac

It came down to the final play, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0) survived the Arkansas State RedWolves (0-1) on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, hanging on for a 43-36 win in front of 90, 171 fans.

Junior quarterback Tanner Lee impressed in his Husker debut, completing 19-of-32 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns.

“Oh man, it was a lot of fun,” Lee said on his first college game since Nov. 21, 2015. “The most fun I’ve had in awhile. Extremely happy we got the win, but we still have a lot to build on, a lot to work on.”

Sophomore running back Tre Bryant was a star in Nebraska’s backfield, toting the rock 31 times for 192 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

RedWolves quarterback Justice Hansen, a junior and former enrollee at Oklahoma, was outstanding on Saturday, completing a whopping 46-of-68 throws for 415 yards and three touchdowns. Arkansas State amassed 497 yards of total offense, while the Huskers totaled 463.

“I’m glad we won the game,” Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said afterward. “I’ll give a lot of credit to Arkansas State, how they played. We talked about that all week long, that this was going to be a darn good football team and they were going to give us fits controlling and moving the football, and they did.”

Junior receiver Stanley Morgan was the top target for Lee on Saturday, catching five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Redshirt freshman J.D. Spielman scored his first career touchdown as a Husker in the first quarter on a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Nebraska hadn’t scored a touchdown on a kickoff return since Kenny Bell at Penn State in 2013.

Spielman’s return immediately followed Arkansas State’s Blaise Taylor’s 63-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving Arkansas State an early 10-7 lead.

“It felt really good,” Spielman said about his return. “After I saw their punt returner take it to the end zone, I remember looking over to their sideline and seeing them all jump around. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to shut that down,’ and I got the opportunity to shut that down. It changed the momentum back towards Nebraska.”

Nebraska goes on the road to face the Oregon Ducks (1-0) on Saturday at 3 p.m. central. The Ducks beat Utah State in dominating fashion 77-21 on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR.

Nebraska beat Oregon in Lincoln last season 35-32.

Husker football tickets available

The  Nebraska Athletic ticket office has a limited number of tickets  for each of the Huskers’ first three home football games.  Tickets are available for matchups against Florida Atlantic (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.), Arkansas State (Sept. 12, 1 p.m.) and Louisiana-Lafayette (Sept. 26, 6 p.m.). The tickets are located in the visiting team sections and cost $55 each.  Call 1-800-8BIGRED.