Lincoln – Behind 12 points and 10 rebounds from Isaiah Roby and a solid defensive effort, Nebraska cruised to a 75-40 win over Wayne State Thursday evening at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Roby, who nearly had a double-double in the first half with eight points and eight boards, led a balanced attack that saw James Palmer Jr. reach double figures with 10 points. In addition, four other players had at least eight points while all 12 players who saw action Thursday broke into the scoring column.
The Huskers, who are ranked 25th in the USA Today preseason coaches poll, limited Wayne State to just 23.5 percent shooting, including 5-of-22 from 3-point range and enjoyed a 56-35 advantage on the glass
Wayne State was within 14-9 midway through the first half before Glynn Watson Jr. sparked a 7-0 spurt with a 3-pointer to give NU a 21-9 cushion after a basket from Amir Harris. The Wildcats pulled to within 30-19 after a basket from Nate Thayer, but Nebraska closed the half on a 9-2 run to build an 18-point halftime cushion.
In the second half, the Huskers quickly pushed the lead to 22 after baskets from Palmer and Roby before the Wildcats trimmed the lead back to 19, the last time at 45-26 after a Kendall Jacks basket. NU took over, using a 9-1 run capped by consecutive baskets from Watson, the last of which doubled up the Husker lead at 54-27 with 13:05 left.
Trevin Joseph led Wayne State with eight points, as no other Wildcat had more than five points.
The Huskers open the season next Tuesday evening against Mississippi Valley State in the Lincoln Regional of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and a limited number of tickets are available by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8BIGRED.
After producing the nation’s best turnaround in 2017-18, Coach Amy Williams and the Nebraska women’s basketball team will take aim at earning a repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19.
Williams, who enters her third season guiding the Huskers, led Nebraska to a 21-11 overall record that marked a 14-game improvement in the win column over Nebraska’s 2016-17 campaign. The Huskers added a top-four finish in the Big Ten regular-season standings with an 11-5 record and a trip to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals before advancing to the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
"I watched last year’s team work extremely hard all postseason, summer and preseason," Williams said. "Their commitment was really made mostly in strength and conditioning. They pushed themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of and because of that, it built confidence. It was truly a snowball effect. Their confidence in themselves and each other turned into chemistry and commitment. Nobody really cared about their own egos. They were a selfless team that put each other first."
Nebraska’s unselfish, team-first approach became infectious throughout the season and the conference took notice by naming Williams the 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Now, Williams and the Huskers are faced with a new set of challenges in 2018-19.
The Big Red must replace graduated senior guards Jasmine Cincore, Janay Morton and Emily Wood, while facing a significantly stronger schedule that includes NCAA Women’s Final Four qualifier Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, NCAA Tournament teams Miami and Creighton on the road, and Washington State (Pac-12) and Arkansas (SEC) in early season road games.
"We have put together a very challenging non-conference schedule, playing against four NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including a pair of conference champions," Williams said. "This should prepare us for the new 18-game Big Ten schedule we will face."
Nebraska’s home schedule starts with NCAA qualifier and Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake and includes former Big 12 rival Kansas, along with Big Ten battles against 2018 NCAA qualifiers Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota and Iowa, as well as traditional powers Rutgers, Purdue and Michigan State and 2018 WNIT champion Indiana.
“We definitely have the potential to be a better basketball team than we were last season, but maybe not have the record to show for it,” Williams said. “Our road non-conference schedule is extremely difficult, and I think the Big Ten will be better from top to bottom. It is good that we have some experienced players who know what to expect.”
The cupboard is far from bare for the Big Red, as the Huskers return their top five scorers from 2017-18. However, Nebraska's 11-player roster is filled with five newcomers who will need to make the transition into significant contributors immediately to help the Huskers grow.
"Some of the biggest challenges we will face come from the fact that 45 percent of our roster is new," Williams said. "Our upperclassmen are doing a good job of educating our team on how to work cohesively and commit to playing for each other. Strong leadership and our ability to embrace and enhance our culture will be determining factors for this team's success. We have been talking a lot about finding small ways to keep raising the bar for our program."
Hannah Whitish earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore last season, while averaging team bests of 12.6 points and 4.7 assists per game. The 5-9 junior guard from Barneveld, Wis., added 4.0 rebounds per game and led the Huskers with 41 steals, while also connecting on a team-high 73 threes.
"Hannah made substantial strides from her freshman to sophomore season, and we are looking for her to make a similar leap as a junior," Williams said. "She has shown the confidence to make big plays for our team, and she has goals to improve in all aspects of her game."
Maddie Simon, a 6-2 senior from Lincoln Pius X, ranked second in scoring (10.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg) in her first full season at forward as a junior. She will be key in providing leadership on and off the court.
"Maddie has naturally stepped into a leadership role for our program," Williams said. "She is extremely motivated to be a consistent presence for us and make this her best season as a Husker."
Taylor Kissinger, a 6-1 guard/forward from Minden, finished third on the team in scoring as a freshman with 10.0 points per game, while ranking second with 50 threes despite missing seven games with an injury.
"After a strong freshman season, Taylor's focus for the offseason was to attack her strength and conditioning to improve her agility, mobility and durability," Williams said. "We are extremely happy with the growth she has made both in the weight room and on the basketball court."
Kate Cain did more than just score, the 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., smashed Nebraska season (100) and game (11) block records to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team. The Big Ten All-Freshman selection averaged 9.9 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds.
"Kate has made visible strides this offseason and is playing with much more confidence," Williams said. "We are so excited to watch as Kate continues to tap into her abilities. We believe she can be a real weapon at both ends of the court in our program."
Junior Nicea Eliely, a 6-1 wing from Colorado Springs, Colo., ranked among NU’s top five in scoring (8.2 ppg), rebounding (4.0 rpg) and steals (37) despite an early season foot injury.
"Nicea has made obvious gains with her strength and conditioning and we think that will pay big dividends for her at both ends of the court," Williams said. "We will need Nicea to set the tone for us defensively with a physical and disciplined approach this year."
Junior Grace Mitchell rounds out a group of six returning Huskers. The 6-2 forward from Wellington, Kan., has appeared in 58 games with two starts for the Huskers over the past two seasons. She also provides an outstanding work ethic both on and off the court.
"Grace remains one of our most explosive athletes and has been showing a lot of confidence this offseason," Williams said. "She could be a valuable part in establishing ourselves as a better defensive and rebounding team."
Nebraska's group of five newcomers includes four freshmen that made up one of the top-20 recruiting classes in the nation, according to ESPN. That foursome added graduate transfer Kristian Hudson.
"This group of newcomers has the talent and work ethic to make an impact for our team immediately, and we will rely on them early," Williams said. "The quicker we can collectively help them transition to playing at this level and in our system, the better for our team's chances of success."
Hudson, a 5-5 senior point guard from Birmingham, Ala., could help the Husker attack be more effective at both ends of the court after scoring 1,076 points and dishing out 383 assists in her three seasons at Florida International. Hudson averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a junior.
“We are excited to add Kristian to our Husker family," Williams said. "Her experience coupled with her enthusiasm to help us raise the bar for our program make her the perfect fit.”
Ashtyn Veerbeek, a 6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa, was a top-70 national recruit. The Iowa Class 2A Player of the Year at Western Christian High School averaged 25.8 points and 14.4 rebounds as a senior.
“She is a strong, yet agile athlete who is an extremely talented basketball player," Williams said. "She is a fierce competitor who simply knows how to win. She understands what it means to work hard, and we are looking forward to the growth she will make at Nebraska.”
A 5-9 guard from Minnesota, Sam Haiby was ranked among the top 125 players nationally at Moorhead High School. She scored more than 2,000 career points and averaged 25.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists as a senior.
“Sam has a great feel for the game. Her athleticism and explosiveness allow her to make plays for herself and others,” Williams said. “She has incredible potential on the defensive side of the basketball, as she has deceptive length and quickness. Her experience with her high school and summer programs have prepared her to play at the next level.”
Another Minnesota prep star, Kayla Mershon could provide key contributions inside at both ends of the court for Nebraska. The 6-3 forward was ranked among the top 135 players nationally. She is strong, runs well and is an outstanding worker with a high basketball IQ.
“Kayla Mershon has great length and a strong all-around skill-set, and we are excited about her versatility,” Williams said. “Kayla has shown some unique natural gifts, but she is also a tremendous worker and has a great attitude. She has played for a state championship high school team, and an extremely competitive summer team, and she is eager to compete at the highest level. We can’t wait to see all she will accomplish here in a Husker uniform.”
Indiana All-State selection Leigha Brown rounds out the Husker freshman class. The 6-1 wing out of DeKalb High School could provide the Huskers with explosiveness after averaging 28.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists as a senior, including a massive 53-point performance.
“We are so excited for all that Leigha will bring to our program. She is a versatile guard with good size and has the ability to score at all three levels,” Williams said. “She understands how to work and fits the culture we are establishing at Nebraska. Each time Leigha steps on the court, she plays like she has something to prove, and we will welcome that sense of urgency into our program.”
That sense of urgency will need to permeate the Husker program, as Nebraska opens its regular season against Drake (Nov. 7). The Bulldogs return five starters from a team that has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. After a second home game against USC Upstate (Nov. 11), the Huskers embark on a five-game road trip that includes Washington State (Nov. 16), NCAA Tournament qualifier Miami (Nov. 23), WNIT qualifier Radford (Nov. 25), NCAA Final Four participant Louisville (Nov. 29) and in-state rival Creighton (Dec. 2), which advanced to the NCAA second round in 2018.
The Big Red return home for a three-game stand against traditional rival Kansas (Dec. 5), before facing San Jose State (Dec. 8) and closing the stand against Denver (Dec. 15).
The Huskers close non-conference play at Arkansas (Dec. 18), before opening their 18-game Big Ten schedule against Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena (Dec. 28). Nebraska then faces back-to-back road tests at defending Big Ten champion Ohio State (Dec. 31) and NCAA qualifier Iowa (Jan. 3), before taking on Maryland at Pinnacle Bank Arena (Jan. 8).
Each of Nebraska's first four league foes played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, while Michigan, Ohio State and Maryland all advanced to the second round. The game against the Terrapins begins a five-game stretch where the Huskers play four at Pinnacle Bank Arena, including Rutgers (Jan. 13), Minnesota (Jan. 20) and Northwestern (Jan. 24).
NU will step away from Lincoln to travel to Illinois (Jan. 17). Nebraska closes January with road games at Wisconsin (Jan. 27) and Purdue (Jan. 31), before returning to Lincoln to battle 2018 WNIT champion Indiana (Feb. 3).
The Huskers then complete three key Big Ten double plays at Michigan (Feb. 7), at home against Purdue (Feb. 10), and on the road at Maryland (Feb. 14), before battling Michigan State (Feb. 17) for the only time in 2019 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska wraps another double play at Northwestern (Feb. 21), before concluding the season series with Iowa on Senior Night at Pinnacle Bank Arena (Feb. 25).
The Huskers close the regular season at Penn State (March 2), before the Big Ten Tournament returns to Indianapolis (March 6-10). The 2019 NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be held on Monday, March 18, before the Big Dance begins for 64 teams on March 22.
The Nebraska basketball team gets its final dress rehearsal for the 2018-19 season on Thursday evening, as the Huskers host Wayne State for an exhibition game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:01 p.m., and a limited number of tickets are available beginning at $7 by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8-BIGRED.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Ben McLaughlin on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. Thursday's exhibition game will be streamed online on BTN Plus with Zach Penrice and Scott Ayers on the call. The game is available on BTN2Go and online and on Flohoops.com. A subscription is required for both BTN Plus and Flohoops.
The Huskers enter the 2018-19 season on the heels of one of the best seasons in school history. Nebraska went 22-11 and tied for fourth in the Big Ten Conference before falling to Mississippi State in the opening round of the NIT. The Huskers return three starters and their top four scorers from a season ago, as NU welcomes back nine letterwinners.
The Huskers are led by All-America candidate James Palmer Jr., who led the Huskers at 17.2 points per game as a junior. The 6-foot-6 guard was fifth in the Big Ten in scoring and also chipped in 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Earlier this month, he was named to the Jerry West Award watch list for the top shooting guard in the country. He is joined by fellow seniors Isaac Copeland and Glynn Watson Jr. in the Huskers' starting lineup. Copeland, who garnered honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors, was second on the squad in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and blocked shots (1.0 bpg) as a junior. Watson, a three-year starter, averaged 10.5 points and paced the Big Red in assists (3.2 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).
Wayne State returns three starters from a team that went 14-17 a year ago. Senior guard Kendall Jacks is WSU's top returnee and paced the team in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and assists (2.2 apg) in 2017-18.
The Huskers open the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when NU plays host to Mississippi Valley State in the regional round of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. A limited number of tickets for the opener are available on Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8-BIGRED.
2 - Nebraska features two returning 1,000-point scorers in seniors Isaac Copeland Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr.
15 -Consecutive wins by Nebraska in exhibition games dating back to 2007.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
10 - Number of times since WWII that Nebraska has returned a first-team all-conference performer. James Palmer Jr. became NU's first returning All-Big Ten player since Terran Petteway in 2014-15.
160 - Number of starts at Nebraska from its 2018-19 roster, including a team-high 77 by Glynn Watson Jr. In all, the eligible players at Nebraska have started 214 Division I games, as Isaac Copeland (49 starts at Georgetown) and James Palmer (five starts at Miami) both cracked the starting lineups at their previous schools before coming to Nebraska.
HUSKERS EXHIBITION HISTORYHUSKERS EXHIBITION HISTORY
Nebraska is 57-6 all-time in exhibition games dating back to the 1966-67 season and has won its last 15 exhibition games since a 54-50 loss to SIU-Edwardsville in 2006.
- The Huskers are 7-0 in exhibition games under Tim Miles including wins over Mississippi State in a charity exhibition and Northwood in 2017-18.
- Thursday's game against Wayne State is the fourth time in seven years NU has played against an in-state program. The others were Midland (2012), UNK (2013) and Chadron State (2017).
- Under Miles, Nebraska has outscored its six exhibition opponents by nearly 32 points per game (84.4-54.6).
- Nebraska is 14-0 against in-state teams in exhibition games dating back to the 2001-02 season, including one previous matchup with Wayne State (74-51 in 2007).
SCOUTING WAYNE STATE
Jeff Kaminsky is in his third season at the helm of the Wayne State program. He has improved the school's win total in each of his first two seasons, going 14-17 in 2017-18. The Wildcats led the Northern Sun in turnovers created (13.5), and was fifth in the conference in turnover margin (+2.5 per game). Prior to taking over at Wayne State, Kaminsky was the head coach at Valley City State University in North Dakota for 11 years, posting a 183-144 record that included five 20-win seasons in his last nine years at the school. His 2015-16 team recorded a 22-11 record and advanced to the second round of the NAIA Division II National Tournament.
- The Wildcats return three starters, highlighted by senior guard Kendall Jacks. Last year, he earned honorable-mention All-Northern Sun accolades by pacing Wayne State with 13.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 2.2 apg. Jacks reached double figures in 25 of 31 games and had eight 20-point games last season.
- Senior guard Trevin Joseph was second on the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg, despite making just five starts. Joseph led Wayne State with 48 3-pointers and shot 47 percent from the field. Vance Janssen is the third Wildcat returnee, as he played in all 31 games, including 30 starts. He was third on the squad in scoring at 9.4 ppg and also averaged a team-high 1.5 steals per contest.
- Wayne State's roster features five in-state kids, including Lincoln East product Jordan Janssen. In addition, freshman Nate Theyer was a teammate of Husker freshman Brady Heiman at Platteview High School, helping the school to three straight Class B state tournament appearances.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ENTERING 2018-191) The Huskers enter the 2018-19 season welcoming back three starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 22-11 and finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 13-5 mark. The group includes All-Big Ten performers James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland and three-year starter Glynn Watson Jr., all of whom averaged double figures in 2017-18. NU also returns junior forward Isaiah Roby, who started 13 of NU’s final 14 games and led NU in both rebounding (6.3 rpg) and blocked shots (2.0 bpg). Nebraska returns 73.4 percent of its scoring, 61.4 percent of its rebounding, 71.5 percent of its assists and 67.2 percent of its blocked shots from last year. Last year, NU averaged 72.3 points per game, its highest average since the 1996-97 season (72.9 ppg).
2) Nebraska finished seventh nationally and second in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game with 5.5 per outing. It is the highest total since the 1996-97 team blocked a school-record 6.12 shots per game. Nebraska totaled 183 blocked shots last season, which is third on NU’s single-season list.Nebraska returns a pair of players who averaged at least one block per game last year in Isaiah Roby (2.0 bpg) and Isaac Copeland (1.0 bpg). Roby’s 63 blocked shots were the most by a Husker since 2001, while Copeland had 33 blocked shots after recording just 39 in two-plus seasons at Georgetown.
3) Nebraska returns three double-figure scorers (James Palmer Jr., 17.2, Isaac Copeland Jr., 12.9 and Glynn Watson Jr. 10.5) for the first time since the 1992-93 season (Eric Piatkowski, 14.3; Derrick Chandler, 12.3; Jamar Johnson, 11.2). In 1992-93, the Huskers won 20 games and finished tied for second in the Big Eight Conference. In all, Nebraska returns its top four scorers for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
4) For just the second time this decade, Nebraska returns a 1,000-point scorer to the lineup, as Glynn Watson Jr. enters his senior year with 1,041 career points. It is the 10th time in program history that the Huskers had a returning 1,000-point scorer. Watson is also ninth on NU’s career steals list with 137 and needs 74 assists to crack the Huskers’ career top-10 list in that category. Watson was third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game in 2017-18 while pacing the Huskers in both assists (3.2 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).
5) Isaiah Roby is one of only two returning power conference players to total 50 blocks and 50 assists last season, joining Missouri’s Jontay Porter. Roby’s 63 blocked shots ranked 10th on NU’s single-season list and was the most by a Husker since the 2000-01 season. Roby also joined a rare group of Husker big men who accomplished the feat.
HUSKERS RECEIVE FIRST RANKING SINCE 2014
For the first time since 2014, the Nebraska men’s basketball team is nationally ranked, as the Huskers are ranked No. 25 in the preseason USA TODAY Sports coaches poll released Oct. 25.The Huskers return three starters, including All-Big Ten selections James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr, and their top four scorers from a team that went 22-11 and reached the NIT last season. In 2014-15, the Huskers were ranked in the first two coaches polls and were ranked 21st on Nov. 17, 2014.Nebraska is one of four Big Ten teams in the preseason coaches poll, joining Michigan State (10), Michigan (18) and Purdue (22). In addition, the Huskers’ ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent is also ranked as Clemson enters the poll at No. 23. The Huskers were receiving votes in the AP poll released earlier this month.
PALMER RECEIVES PRESEASON HONORSNebraska guard James Palmer Jr. has been lauded as one of the top returning players in college basketball. The 6-foot-6 guard comes off a junior season where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in leading the Huskers to a 22-11 record and an NIT berth. Palmer reached double figures in 31 of 33 games in his first season at Nebraska, including eight 20-point efforts. Palmer’s junior year was highlighted by a career-high 34-point effort at Ohio State. He is one of only five returning power conference players who averaged 17.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.0 apg last season.
Palmer's Preseason Plaudits
- Preseason All-Big Ten
- Jerry West Award Watch List
- No. 13 returning player in college basketball by NCAA.com's Andy Katz
- No. 43 player in college basketball by CBSSports.com
- No. 35 player in college basketball by Athlon
Lincoln – University of Nebraska Coach Tim Miles announced Tuesday afternoon that sophomore forward Dedoch Chan (pronounced DEE Doe-ch)has decided to transfer and continue his college career at another institution following the fall semester.
Chan, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward from Rochester, Minn., joined the program in late August after spending his freshman year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He did not play in the Huskers’ closed scrimmage at Iowa State on Oct. 21.
Despite Chan’s departure, the Huskers returned three of its top four frontcourt players in Isaac Copeland Jr., who earned All-Big Ten honors in 2017-18, junior Isaiah Roby and senior Tanner Borchardt. NU also added freshman Brady Heiman in the offseason.
The Huskers take the court for the first time this season on Thursday night, as they play host to Wayne State. Tipoff from Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m., and will be carried on the Husker Sports Radio Network and available online on BTN+.
NEBRASKA at OHIO STATE
NOV. 3, 2018 | OHIO STADIUM
COLUMBUS, OHIO | 11 A.M. (CT)
TV - FOX (Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Bruce Feldman)
RADIO - Husker Sports Network (Greg Sharpe, Matt Davison, Ben McLaughlin)
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 108, XM 196
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com, TuneIn.com
APP AUDIO - Official Huskers App, TuneIn App
Record: 2-6, 1-4 Big Ten
Last Game: def. Bethune-Cookman, 45-9
Coach: Scott Frost
Career/NU Record: 21-13 (3rd Year)/2-6 (1st Year)
vs. Ohio State: 0-0
Record: 7-1, 4-1 Big Ten
Last Game: lost to Purdue, 49-20
Rankings: AP-8, Coaches-8
Coach: Urban Meyer
Career/OSU Record: 181-32 (17th Year)/77-9 (7th Year)
vs. Nebraska: 3-0
Nebraska returns to Big Ten action on Saturday with a difficult road test at eighth-ranked and defending Big Ten champion Ohio State. The matchup between two of college football's top all-time programs will kick off shortly after Noon ET (11 a.m. CT) in Columbus. The game will be televised on FOX and can be heard on the IMG Husker Sports Network.
Nebraska enters the game at 2-6 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play, following a 45-9 non-conference victory over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday in Lincoln. Nebraska used a fast start to pick up its second straight victory at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers opened a 28-3 edge after the first quarter, scoring on their first three offensive possessions, and led 38-3 at halftime. .
Ohio State comes into the game with a 7-1 overall record, including a 4-1 mark in Big Ten Conference play, and did not play last weekend. Ohio State rose to No. 8 in both national polls this week. OSU was ranked among the top five in the nation each week before a loss at Purdue on Oct. 20. Ohio State features one of the nation's most explosive offensive attacks, averaging 555.5 yards and 43.0 points per game, with both figures leading the Big Ten.
Saturday's game at Ohio State will mark the Huskers' third Big Ten road game of the season against a ranked opponent.
This Week's Numbers
1800 - Nebraska and Ohio State have combined for 1,800 all-time victories entering Saturday's matchup. Ohio State is second all-time with 905 victories, while Nebraska's 895 wins ranks fifth in college football history.
50 - Nebraska sophomore receiver JD Spielman is just the third player in school history with a pair of 50-catch seasons, including 53 receptions in 2018. Senior Stanley Morgan Jr. could join the group with six receptions on Saturday against Ohio State.
1 - Devine Ozigbo has carried the ball 67 times in the past five games for a total of 620 yards. Ozigbo has been stopped for a loss on just one of the 67 carries in those five games. Ozigbo is averaging 124.0 yards per game and 9.3 yards per carry while starting the past five games.
Nebraska-Ohio State Series
• Nebraska and Ohio State are meeting for the third straight year and will meet each season through the 2021 campaign.• Nebraska and Ohio State are meeting for the third straight year and will meet each season through the 2021 campaign.
• The schools have met four times since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. After the Huskers won the first meeting in 2011, Ohio State has captured the past three games.
• With Ohio State ranked No. 8 in this week's AP poll, the Buckeyes have been ranked no lower than 12th for the five NU-OSU matchups in Columbus.
Huskers to Face Anouther Ranked Opponent on the Road
The game at Ohio State will be Nebraska's third 2018 road game against a ranked opponent. The Huskers lost at then-No. 19 Michigan on Sept. 22 in their Big Ten opener, and at then-No. 16 Wisconsin on Oct. 6.
Ohio State enters Saturday's matchup ranked eighth by the Associated Press and is also No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.Nebraska has a potential fourth road game against a ranked opponent to conclude the regular season at Iowa.
• Nebraska will be looking for its first win over a ranked opponent since a win over No. 22 Oregon in Lincoln in 2016. It would also be the highest ranked team Nebraska has defeated since a 39-38 win over No. 6 Michigan State in 2015.
• The Huskers' last road win over a ranked opponent was a 17-14 win at No. 12 Penn State in 2011.
• Head Coach Scott Frost led UCF to three consecutive wins against ranked teams to complete the 2017 season, capping the perfect campaign with a win over No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Frost was 3-1 overall against ranked opponents at UCF.
Husker-Buckeye Matchup Pits Two Top Programs
Saturday's matchup features two of the historically great programs in college football.
• In looking at the most wins in college football over the past 30, 40, 50 or 60 years, Nebraska and Ohio State each rank in the top four in all of those categories.
• The schools have combined to win 11 national championships and 82 conference crowns, including five national championships and 46 conference titles by Nebraska.
Offense Hopes to Sustian Strong Momentum
Head Coach Scott Frost and his staff oversaw one of the nation's most potent offenses at UCF in 2017. In the past five games, Frost's Nebraska offense has posted numbers among the nation's best units.
Nebraska opened the year with 565 yards of total offense against Colorado, and has since posted three more games with better than 500 yards. NU had a season-high 659 yards against Minnesota, after posting 582 yards against Purdue and 518 yards at No. 16 Wisconsin.
The Huskers gained 364 yards of offense before halftime against Bethune-Cookman before finishing with 468 yards.
• Nebraska averages 471.3 yards of total offense to rank third in the Big Ten and 18th nationally.
• Nebraska's 659 yards of offense against Minnesota was its highest since gaining 787 yards against FAU in the 2014 season opener.
• The total offense output against Minnesota was Nebraska's largest in a Big Ten Conference game (since 2011). It was NU's highest total offense in a conference game since having 710 yards against Kansas State in 2007.
• Nebraska has four 500-yard offensive games this season. NU has not had five 500-yard total offense games in a season since 2000.
• Nebraska has gained better than 450 yards in each of the past five games. The last time NU had five straight games with more than 450 yards was a five-game stretch in the middle of the 2001 season.
• The consecutive 500-yard games against Purdue and Wisconsin marked the first time NU had back-to-back 500-yard outputs in Big Ten games. It was the first time NU had consecutive 500-yard games in conference play since the final two Big 12 games in 2007. • The 565 yards against Colorado in the opener marked the first 500-yard total offense game for the Huskers since posting 556 yards at Northwestern in 2016. Nebraska has since topped 500 yards three more times.
• The total offense output against Colorado was the best at the time by Nebraska in 35 games, dating back to a 610-yard effort against Southern Miss in 2015.
Frost and Staff Guiding Another Offensive Revival
After helping turn Central Florida into the nation’s most improved offense in 2017, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and his five offensive assistants - all of whom were on Frost’s UCF staff last season - are producing an encore performance this season in Lincoln.
• Nebraska is averaging 86.3 more total yards this season than it did last year, helping the Huskers climb 69 spots in the national rankings from 87th in 2017 to 18th this season.
• NU is averaging 113.1 more rushing yards in 2018 than it did in 2017, helping the Huskers climb 90 spots in the national rankings from 119th in 2017 to 29th this season.
• Nebraska’s offensive turnaround is led largely by underclassmen, who have produced 80.2 percent of the Huskers’ total offensive yards. In fact, NU’s freshmen and sophomores have combined to average 336.1 yards of total offense per game.
• In its second season at UCF in 2017, the staff helped the Knights increase their offense by 179.7 yards per game from the 2016 season, as the Knights climbed from 113th nationally in total offense in 2016 to fifth in 2017.
Huskers Passing Game Stressing Opposing Defenses
Nebraska has featured a high-powered passing attack over the past five games. The Huskers threw for 323 yards againt Purdue, had a season-high 407 passing yards at Wisconsin, before also topping 250 yards at Northwestern and against Minnesota.
• Nebraska's consecutive 300-yard passing games were its first since doing so against Minnesota and Penn State in 2017.
• Quarterback Adrian Martinez threw for at least 250 yards in four straight games from Purdue through Minnesota. That was the first time an NU quarterback has done that since Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for better than 250 yards in the first four games of 2015. Martinez's streak ended against Bethune-Cookman, when he threw for 213 yards in the first half, and did not play after halftime.
• The Huskers are averaging 250.6 passing yards per game to rank fifth in the Big Ten.
NU Looks to Find Success in the Running Game
Nebraska has shown the ability to run the ball throughout the season, highlighted by its effort against Minnesota on Oct. 20. Nebraska rushed for a season-high 383 yards, with a trio of Huskers surpassing the century mark.
• The 383 rushing yards by Nebraska were its most since pounding out 458 yards vs. Illinois in 2014. Nebraska gained 274 yards in the first half alone against Minnesota.
• Devine Ozigbo (152), Adrian Martinez (125) and Maurice Washington (109) each surpassed 100 rushing yards in the game. It marked the fifth time in school history Nebraska has had three or more players rush for 100 yards in the same game. It was the first time NU accomplished that feat since a 2010 victory at Washington.
• Nebraska is averaging 220.6 yards per game to rank fifth in the Big Ten. NU has rushed for at least 180 yards six times in eighth games.
• Nebraska has a total of 1,765 rushing yards in eight games in 2018. Last year Nebraska rushed for 1,290 yards in 12 games.
• Nebraska set the tone in the rushing game in the opener, rushing for 329 yards against Colorado. NU had 243 rushing yards in the first half against the Buffs, bettering the Huskers' season high of 2017 (225 yards).
• The effort against Colorado marked NU's first 300-yard rushing game since rushing for 310 yards at Northwestern on Sept. 24, 2016.
• Prior to the three 100-yard rushers against Minnesota, Nebraska had a pair of 100-yard rushers against Colorado. That marked the first time Nebraska had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game since a 2014 win over Illinois.
• Nebraska has a total of eight 100-yard rushing games this season, including four by Devine Ozigbo and two by Adrian Martinez.
• Ozigbo has topped 150 yards in three of the past four Big Ten games. His career-high 170 rushing yards against Purdue were the most by a Husker in a Big Ten game since Ameer Abdullah had 225 rushing yards against Rutgers in 2014. Ozigbo also topped the century mark against Bethune-Cookman with 110 yards on 11 carries before halftime.
Record Setting Duo Continues to Shine
In 2017, Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman combined for 1,816 receiving yards, the highest two-player total in Husker history.
Morgan set an NU record with 986 receiving yards in 2017. Spielman added 830 receiving yards, a total that ranked seventh in school history and was the most ever by a Husker freshman.
The duo is once again helping provide an explosive offense for Nebraska in 2018, and is on track to produce bigger numbers this fall.
• In eight games in 2018, the duo has combined for 97 receptions for 1,324 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those totals put them ahead of their combined pace in the 2017 season.
• Spielman and Morgan are one of eight pass-catching duos in the nation to each have more than 600 receiving yards in 2018.
Morgan Aimes to Be Nebraska's All-Time Leaving Receiver
After setting a school record with 986 receiving yards in 2017, Stanley Morgan Jr. is challenging to become Nebraska’s all-time leading receiver this fall.
Morgan has 163 career receptions, which ranks fourth on NU’s all-time list. He needs 18 receptions to tie Kenny Bell (181) atop the Husker chart, and just five catches to move into second place. Morgan has 2,381 career receiving yards to rank fifth on NU’s all-time list. Morgan needs 308 yards to tie Bell (2,689) for the most receiving yards in program history.
The New Orleans native put himself in position to challenge Nebraska’s all-time records thanks to a breakout junior season, when he earned All-Big Ten accolades.
• Morgan had his best game of 2018 against Minnesota. He caught a career-high 10 passes for a season-high 163 yards and two touchdowns. The 163 yards tied for the sixth-best single-game effort in school history.
• Morgan helped seal the victory with two second-half touchdowns of 35 and 67 yards against Minnesota. In the game, Morgan became the fourth Husker player to top 150 career receptions.
• Morgan added two touchdowns as part of a seven-catch effort against Bethune-Cookman. His two touchdowns gave him 20 career receiving scores, good for fourth on the NU charts.
• Morgan has a streak of 34 consecutive games with a reception, the third-longest streak in Husker history. He has had at least three catches in 19 of the past 20 games.
• Morgan set Nebraska records with 986 receiving yards and five 100-yard receiving games in 2017, while ranking third in school history in touchdown receptions (10) and fifth in catches (61).
• He led the Big Ten and ranked 14th nationally in receiving yards per game (89.6) in 2017.
• Morgan led all Big Ten wide receivers and ranked 16th nationally in touchdown catches with his 10 touchdown grabs. He led the Big Ten with five 100-yard receiving games in 2017.
• Morgan posted 185 receiving yards at No. 13 Penn State, the third-highest total in school history.
LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 9 Nebraska volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (29-27, 19-25, 25-27, 22-25) match to No. 6 Illinois on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 8,343 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Playing at home for the first time in 17 days, the Huskers won a thrilling opening set before heading into the intermission tied 1-1. Illinois made key plays down the stretch in both sets three and four to earn its first win over the Huskers since 2014. Nebraska dropped to 16-6 overall and 7-5 in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini improved to 20-3 overall and 9-3 in the Big Ten.
The Huskers set a four-set school record for digs in the rally scoring era with 99. Three players recorded at least 20 digs with Kenzie Maloney leading the way with 24. Nicklin Hames had a career-high 23 to go with 45 assists, and Lexi Sun had a career-high 20 digs to go with 15 kills. Megan Miller added a career-high 14 digs.
Mikaela Foecke paced the Huskers with 17 kills and added 14 digs. Lauren Stivrins had nine kills and five blocks, and Jazz Sweet had five kills and three blocks. Callie Schwarzenbach led the Big Red in blocks with seven to go with four kills.
Illinois out-hit the Big Red, .187 to .099. Jacqueline Quade had 23 kills and 13 digs, and Ali Bastianelli had 10 kills. Jordyn Poulter had 49 assists and 18 digs.
The Huskers had an edge in aces with eight to Illinois' five. Hames had four aces, a career high. Sun had two. But Illinois had 61 kills compared to the Huskers' 50, and the Big Red committed six more attacking errors.
Nebraska celebrated the "Weekend of Champions" at intermission, recognizing the 1998 and 2008 Big 12 champion and NCAA semifinalist teams.
Set 1: Hames opened the match with an ace, and the Huskers claimed a 5-3 lead after an ace by Maloney. Stivrins smashed an overpass to increase the lead to 7-4, but the Illini came back and tied the set at 7-7. A block by Hames and Stivrins sparked a 5-1 Husker run that put them up 12-8. Stivrins and Sun had kills, and Sun combined with Schwarzenbach for a block during that stretch. Illinois wouldn't go away though, scoring three straight to tie the score at 14-14. After a string of sideouts, Nebraska got a kill by Schwarzenbach and an Illinois hitting error to go up 21-19. But a Husker hitting error and a kill by Quade had the set knotted once again, this time at 21-21. Illinois then went ahead 22-21 after a block by Bastianelli and Poulter, but Foecke and Schwarzenbach came right back with a block of their own, and the Huskers won a long rally after an Illini hitting error to go up 23-22. Stivrins won a joust at the net to earn set point for the Huskers, but Illinois got a kill from Quade and an ace from Poulter to tie the score at 24-24. Stivrins terminated three times and Schwarzenbach also had a kill to give NU four more set point chances before a block by Schwarzenbach and Sweet finally ended it at 29-27.
Set 2: The Huskers got out to a 4-1 lead, but Illinois tied the set by 5-5. A kill by Sun and a pair of Illinois hitting errors gave NU an 8-6 lead, but Illinois bounced back with back-to-back blocks to key a 5-0 run that put the Illini in front, 11-8. Illinois built the lead to five, 17-12, after an ace serve capped a 3-0 spurt, and Illinois eventually increased its lead to seven at 21-14. Hames served back-to-back aces and Sun connected on a kill to pull the Big Red within 21-18 after a 4-0 run, but Illinois held off the Husker comeback attempt and evened the match with a 25-19 win.
Set 3: Nebraska fell behind 4-1 before Sun brought the Huskers back to a 4-4 tie with back-to-back aces after a kill by Sweet. Illinois ran off a 4-0 spurt to take a 9-6 lead, but after a timeout the Huskers rallied back to take a 12-10 lead with a 5-0 run, keyed by two kills and an ace from Foecke and two kills by Sun. Later, two more kills by Sun put the Big Red up 14-11 to make it a 7-1 run. The Huskers led 17-14 when Illinois charged back with a 7-1 run to go ahead 21-18. Stivrins and Sun swung the Huskers back within one, 22-21, and another kill by Sun leveled the set at 23-23 before Hames served her fourth ace of the match to grab set point for the Huskers at 24-23. But Illinois fought off two Husker set points and went on to win the set, 27-25, scoring the final two points on kills by Quade.
Set 4: The Huskers bounced back from the disappointing end to set three by taking an 8-3 lead in set four with Schwarzenbach combining on back-to-back blocks. But Illinois roared back and took a 14-11 lead after a 7-0 run. Back-to-back kills by Stivrins closed the gap to 17-16, and NU tied the set at 18-18 after a kill by Foecke and a block by Sun and Stivrins. The Illini went back ahead 22-19 after a couple of Husker hitting errors and a kill by Prince. Sun got sideout for the Huskers and Illinois hit wide before a block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach tied the score at 22-22. The Huskers committed a service error to give Illinois a 23-22 lead, and two Illini blocks gave them the 25-22 win.
Up Next: Nebraska hosts No. 4 Penn State next Friday at 7 p.m. The Huskers will turn around and play Rutgers on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 15-of-22 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns, JD Spielman returned a punt for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Nebraska built an early lead en route to a 45-9 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
A Memorial Stadium crowd of 88,735 saw Nebraska (2-6, 1-4 Big Ten) improve to 12-0 all-time against FCS foes in a make-up game for the season opener against Akron that was cancelled because of severe weather.
Martinez, a true freshman from Fresno, California, increased his season total to 1,656 passing yards, setting a Nebraska freshman record. The previous record was 1,632 yards by Taylor Martinez in 2010.
Nebraska built a 28-3 lead after one quarter and led 38-3 at halftime, its biggest halftime lead since 2012.
“We needed that to happen,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said of the fast start. “We needed to go out and get the game secured early. I’ve said it a bunch, 12 weeks in a row is a long time, 13 weeks of practice in a row of practice is a long time without any break. It isn’t just the physical, it’s the grind of it. It takes a toll on you emotionally, especially with what these guys have been through this season.”
With Nebraska already ahead 7-0, Spielman returned his punt for a touchdown, the longest punt return by a Husker since De’Mornay Pierson-El returned one 80 yards against Iowa in 2014.
“We blocked everybody on that play,” Frost said. “Our special teams did get better; I think they have been improving. Confused special teams plays probably cost us a couple games this year, and it was good to see us finally get one on special teams. You score on defense or special teams, you’re going to win most games. We haven’t had one yet, so it was good to see us break the ice.”
Senior receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. then caught first-quarter touchdowns of 3 and 27 yards to give Nebraska a comfortable lead. He caught seven passes for 82 yards, all in the first half. It marked the second straight game Morgan has had two touchdown catches, and gives him 20 career touchdown receptions.
Transfer quarterback Noah Vedral, a native of Wahoo, saw his first action of the season beginning in the second half. He had a 20-yard rush for a touchdown and completed two passes for 29 yards.
“It was good seeing him get in the end zone,” Frost said. “I know growing up here, when I was little, that was all I could think about was scoring as a Husker, and it's been kind of a weird path for him to get there, but it was great to see him dive into the end zone at Memorial Stadium.”
Senior running back Devine Ozigbo rushed 11 times for 110 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to begin the game. Ozigbo did not play in the second half. It marked the fourth time in the past five games Ozigbo has topped 100 yards, and his seventh career 100-yard rushing game.
Punter Isaac Armstrong had a 73-yard punt in the third quarter, tying for the seventh-longest punt in school history. It is the longest punt by a Husker since Alex Henery had a 76-yard punt at Virginia Tech in 2009.
Safety Deontai Williams had two takeaways, recovering a fumble in the second quarter and picking off a BCU pass in the third quarter. Nebraska forced three turnovers, a season high. Senior linebacker Luke Gifford had a sack to increase his season total to 5.5, a team high.
Defensive lineman Peyton Newell had an interception in the second quarter, the first of his career. It was the first interception by a Nebraska defensive lineman since defensive end Randy Gregory, Jason Ankrah and Avery Moss each had an interception in 2013.
Since beginning the season 0-6, the Huskers have won two straight games as they prepare for a Big Ten Conference road game at Ohio State on Saturday.
“Hopefully the last two (wins) means we're going to be more of a confident team,” Frost said. “We've got to go on the road to a tough place to play a very good team. We know what we're in for, we're going to get their best shot.”
Arcadia-Loup City 28, Elm Creek 18
Bloomfield 38, Meridian 14
Burwell 63, Palmer 26
Clearwater-Orchard 54, Brady 20
Creighton 82, Southern 28
Dundy County-Stratton 30, Cambridge 29
EMF (Exeter-Milligan/Friend) 60, East Butler 24
Falls City Sacred Heart 42, Wynot 0
Fullerton 40, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 34 (OT)
Garden County 50, Medicine Valley 8
Guardian Angels Central Catholic 48, Thayer Central 14
Hartington-Newcastle 62, Clarkson/Leigh 34
Hemingford 60, Arapahoe 14
Howells-Dodge 52, Cross County 12
Humphrey St. Francis 54, Wausa 12
Johnson-Brock 82, Pender 3
Kenesaw 62, Twin Loup 18
Lawrence-Nelson 38, Wauneta-Palisade 8
Lutheran High Northeast 68, Elmwood-Murdock 24
Mullen 47, Paxton 18
Nebraska Christian 76, Ainsworth 40
North Central 60, Neligh-Oakdale 26
Osceola-High Plains 34, BDS 22
Osmond 40, Diller-Odell 30
Overton 42, Giltner 34
Randolph 30, Plainview 20
Riverside 40, Central Valley 0
Sandhills/Thedford 48, Bertrand 26
South Loup (Callaway/Arnold) 38, Ansley-Litchfield 0
Sutherland 40, Amherst 34
Wisner-Pilger 42, Lourdes Central Catholic 6
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The ninth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team topped Ohio State, 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-12, 25-9), on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 1,185 at St. John Arena.
The Huskers (16-5, 7-4 Big Ten) snapped their three-match skid behind a career-high 16 kills from Lauren Stivrins. The sophomore middle blocker hit .789 on the night with just one error on 19 swings. Four Huskers finished with double-digit kills. Mikaela Foecke had 12 kills, Jazz Sweet had 11 and Lexi Sun had 10. Foecke hit .345 and Sweet hit .391, as the Huskers hit .407, their second-highest mark of the season. Nebraska's 10 attack errors were its fewest in Big Ten play this season.
Nebraska's defense was just as strong, holding Ohio State (12-11, 3-8 Big Ten) to .083 hitting. The Huskers had 10 blocks, led by six from Foecke and five from Callie Schwarzenbach, who also had six kills. NU was blocked only five times and had a 59-43 edge in digs. Kenzie Maloney had 14 digs, while Nicklin Hames had 13 digs to go with 44 assists. Foecke and Sun had 11 and 10 digs, respectively, to finish with double-doubles.
The Big Red finished with seven aces, four of which came from Maloney. Megan Miller had two.
Vanja Bukilic had 11 kills for the Buckeyes. Bia Franklin added 10.
Set 1: Three kills by Sweet and a pair of blocks by Foecke and Stivrins gave the Huskers an early 7-3 lead. Stivrins pounded three kills to help the Huskers double up the Buckeyes at 12-6. A fifth kill by Stivrins and a Buckeye hitting error made it 20-13 Huskers. Foecke, Stivrins and Sun strung together kills at the end to help NU take set one, 25-15. Stivrins had seven kills, and the Huskers hit .481.
Set 2: Ohio State took a 10-6 lead after a 7-1 run. The Huskers trailed 12-7, but Schwarzenbach combined on a pair of blocks and Sun had a kill and a block to pull NU within 13-12. Ohio State clung to its lead until Sun put a kill to the corner to tie the set at 19-19. Sun and Schwarzenbach then stuffed a Buckeye attack for a 20-19 Husker lead. After an OSU timeout, the Buckeyes scored a 3-1 run to go up 22-21 and led 23-22 before Stivrins tied the score with her 11th kill. But Ohio State grabbed set point with a Witte kill and won 25-23 after a Husker hitting error.
Set 3: The Huskers grabbed a 9-3 lead with Maloney serving three aces as part of a 6-0 run. Foecke tallied back-to-back kills, and Miller served an ace to make it 12-4 Big Red. The Huskers maintained at least a seven-point lead the rest of the way and went up 21-11 on kills by Sweet, Stivrins and Foecke. Stivrins surpassed her career high in kills with two more as the Huskers closed out a 25-12 win. NU hit .480 in the set and held the Buckeyes to .061.
Set 4: Nebraska got off to a strong set, taking a 7-1 lead with kills by Schwarzenbach and Sweet and two blocks by Foecke and Schwarzenbach. The Huskers dominated set four, finishing the match with a 25-9 win. The Huskers hit .600 with 12 kills and no errors on 20 swings. Ohio State hit -.037.
Up Next: Nebraska hosts No. 6 Illinois at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Lincoln – The Nebraska football team practiced in full pads and helmets for just under two hours inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields on Wednesday, to prepare for Saturday’s game against Bethune-Cookman.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters spoke to the media after practice, discussing how the team has balanced getting rest during what was supposed to be a bye week, while also preparing for Bethune-Cookman.
“We’ve tried to balance an off week,” Walters said. “It’s supposed to be a bye week, so we’re making sure we get rest and keep the guys fresh, as well as preparing for Bethune-Cookman, as well as trying to get some recruiting in. We try to balance it all. I think the players have done a great job of responding. It’s been a great week of getting everything accomplished that we want to accomplish. [The energy has] been great.”
Walters also reflected on the Minnesota game last weekend, specifically the success of the wide receivers, including senior Stanley Morgan Jr., who had 10 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’m proud of him,” Walters said. “He hadn’t had the year he wanted, that we would like him to have, but he’s never hung his head. He’s never strayed from the process and it’s good to see his hard work, his dedication and his commitment be rewarded. Every game here on out, I expect a big game from him.”
Additionally, Walters discussed how he was impressed with the blocking he saw from the wide receivers.
“No block, no rock. Those guys have gotten better,” Walters said. “[Junior wide receiver] Mike Williams - one of the proudest moments I had was when he came down and blocked a safety for [senior running back] Devine [Ozigbo’s] second long run. He blocked him and stayed on him. I’m really proud of those guys. Those long runs are a result of those guys on the perimeter doing their jobs. To me blocking is all about being selfless, being a team guy and a team player. Whenever you have an opportunity to help another teammate, our guys relish that opportunity and cherish it and want to be the block that springs a great run. As an offense, I think we’re playing together. We enjoy playing with one another and whatever we can do to help our teammates out, we’re doing. It’s been great.”
Walters also raved about freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez and his performance against the Golden Gophers. Martinez was 25-of-29 for 276 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of poise,” Walters said. “[He went a] whole game with four incompletions. I know one was a drop, one could have been a pass interference call, so he played almost a perfect game. As a true freshman, that’s special. It always helps when the offensive lineman are doing their job, protecting him, opening up running lanes. Any time you can run for over 300 yards, it’s going to help a quarterback. We’re getting open on the perimeter, so all of those factors contribute to Adrian having the success he’s having.”
Finally, Walters talked about the improvements of the offensive line.
“They’re playing together, playing as one, coming off the ball, setting a new line of scrimmage and really finishing,” Walters said. “Those guys knew who to block but it was about finishing that guy off and not letting him make a play downfield. Those guys have done a great job. We’re rotating guys in so they’re fresh, but I think the biggest thing was playing together and finishing the blocks up front.”
The Huskers will host the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game will be televised on BTN.