LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team capped an unbeaten weekend with a 3-1 win over Santa Clara to win the Ameritas Players Challenge title in front of a crowd of 8,047 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskers (4-1) dominated set one, 25-13, before slipping in set two and falling 21-25. But the Big Red recovered emphatically to win the final two sets, 25-9 and 25-15. Jazz Sweet led all players with 14 kills on .345 hitting with four blocks, and Mikaela Foecke had 10 kills, 10 digs and three ace serves to earn tournament MVP honors.
Capri Davis came off the bench to chip in eight kills on .375 hitting with three blocks, while Callie Schwarzenbach had a career-high nine blocks to lead the defensive effort. Lauren Stivrins added seven kills and three blocks along with two more aces. Stivrins and libero Kenzie Maloney, who had nine digs, were also named to the all-tournament team.
Freshman setter Nicklin Hames produced her third double-double in five matches with 37 assists and 13 digs. She also had five kills and served three aces.
The Huskers out-hit Santa Clara (4-3) .291 to .059 and had a 12-7 edge in blocks and 10-2 advantage in aces. The Huskers also posted 10 more digs (47 to 37).
Michelle Shaffer led the Broncos with eight kills.
Set 1: Sweet had three kills early on to help the Huskers to a 5-3 lead. The Huskers strung together four straight kills, three from Foecke, as part of an 8-0 run on Stivrins' serve that made it 16-6 Huskers. NU went up 22-10 after a 4-0 spurt and finished off the 25-13 win, out-hitting the Broncos .519 to .074.
Set 2: The Huskers cruised to a 6-1 lead to begin the second frame, as Sweet pounded two more kills. Santa Clara rallied to tie the set at 8-8 after a 5-0 run, but Schwarzenbach was in on two blocks and assisted a Hames kill to help restore a 13-10 Husker lead. NU led 15-11, but the Broncos answered with a 4-0 spurt to tie the set at 15-15. Santa Clara went ahead 21-16 as part of a 10-1 run that included three blocks and a service ace. Sweet sided out for the Huskers to make it 21-17, and Stivrins stuffed a Bronco attack to make it 21-18. After a Santa Clara timeout, Hayley Densberger served an ace to get the Big Red within two, but a net violation and SCU kill put the Broncos back ahead 23-19. The Broncos evened the match with the 25-21 win.
Set 3: Nebraska regrouped after the intermission and began set three on a 10-3 run. Sweet sparked the Huskers with three kills and a pair of blocks. Nebraska went on a 9-0 run to take a 24-7 lead with Foecke contributing a kill and an ace. Sweet finished off the set in NU's favor, 25-9, with her 13th kill. The Huskers rebounded to hit .435 in set three and held Santa Clara to -.103 hitting with just six kills.
Set 4: The Huskers carried their momentum into the fourth set, taking an 8-1 lead with three blocks by Schwarzenbach and a Hames ace serve. After Santa Clara pulled within 12-7, Stivrins and Foecke blasted kills, and Stivrins served an ace to spark a 7-2 spurt that NU in front 19-9 and in control for the rest of the match.
Up Next: Nebraska hits the road for the first time this season when it travels to play Creighton on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the CHI Health Center Omaha. The match will be televised on NET and streamed online for free at netnebraska.org.
2018 Ameritas Players Challenge All-Tournament Team
Mikaela Foecke, Nebraska (MVP)
Kenzie Maloney, Nebraska (Best Libero)
Lauren Stivrins, Nebraska
Michelle Shaffer, Santa Clara
Lilliana Light, Santa Clara
Lauren Park, Ohio
Caitlyn Della, Wake Forest
Thursday, August 30th
Bishop Neumann 61, Lincoln Lutheran 33
Creighton Preparatory School 59, Omaha Central 14
Falls City Sacred Heart 34, Lawrence-Nelson 12
Morrill 70, Leyton/Banner County 32
Omaha South 42, Omaha Bryan 28
Randolph 40, Plainview 8
Friday, August 31st
Adams Central 40, Milford 29
Ainsworth 38, Neligh-Oakdale 34
Alliance 17, Chadron 6
Amherst 28, Bertrand 22
Arapahoe 32, Elm Creek 26
Arcadia-Loup City 48, Shelton 6
Archbishop Bergan 39, Crofton 7
Ashland-Greenwood 25, Platteview 3
Auburn 45, Fort Calhoun 0
Aurora 60, Kearney Catholic 21
Axtell 63, Pleasanton 28
Battle Creek 51, Twin River 0
Bellevue West 81, Bellevue East 6
Beloit, Kan. 47, Fairbury 12
Bloomfield 44, St. Mary's 6
Broken Bow 27, Minden 14
Bruning-Davenport/Shickley 40, Elmwood-Murdock 0
Burwell 62, West Holt 14
Cedar Bluffs 40, Omaha Brownell-Talbot 36
Centennial 33, Malcolm 14
Central City 28, Columbus Scotus 20
Central Valley 70, Giltner 20
Chase County 13, North Platte St. Patrick's 9
Cody-Kilgore 44, Arthur County 38
Columbus 35, North Platte 15
Columbus Lakeview 31, Douglas County West 14
Crawford 42, Potter-Dix 18
Creighton 50, Clearwater/Orchard 44
Cross County 54, Palmer 12
David City 42, Syracuse 0
Diller-Odell 58, Blue Hill 8
Doniphan-Trumbull 21, Centura 7
Dorchester 48, St. Edward 26
Elkhorn 13, Norfolk 10
Elkhorn Mount Michael 33, Omaha Gross Catholic 21
Elkhorn South 17, Millard North 6
Exeter-Milligan/Friend 60, Palmyra 28
Falls City 21, Raymond Central 17
Freeman 25, Hastings St. Cecilia 0
Fremont 56, Omaha Benson 13
Garden County 48, Bayard 6
Gothenburg 21, Cozad 0
Grand Island 42, Lincoln High 27
Grand Island Central Catholic 45, Superior 7
Guardian Angels 32, Howells/Dodge 28
Hampton 43, Santee 6
Hartington-Newcastle 57, Niobrara/Verdigre 6
Harvard 52, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller 14
Hay Springs 69, Creek Valley 12
Hershey 14, Gibbon 13
Hitchcock County 58, Rawlins County, Kan. 20
Holdrege 20, Fillmore Central 0
Humphrey St. Francis 80, Wynot 36
Hyannis 53, McPherson County/Stapleton 20
Johnson County Central 48, Louisville 13
Johnson-Brock 70, Mead 12
Kearney 49, Lincoln North Star 7
Kenesaw 36, Overton 6
Lexington 49, Schuyler 0
Lincoln East 28, Lincoln Northeast 7
Lincoln Southwest 48, Lincoln Southeast 14
Lingle-Fort Laramie, Wyo. 58, Sioux County 48
Loomis 70, Franklin 16
Lutheran High Northeast 64, Winnebago 26
Madison 69, Omaha Nation 14
Maxwell 90, Wallace 20
Maywood-Hayes Center 70, Silver Lake 12
McCook 35, Grand Island Northwest 21
McCool Junction 49, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 6
Medicine Valley 56, Elwood 12
Meridian 50, Humboldt/Table Rock-Steinauer 18
Millard South 42, Lincoln Pius X 39
Mitchell 48, Southeast, Wyo. 14
Mullen 52, Anselmo-Merna 20
Nebraska Christian 54, Nebraska Lutheran 30
Nebraska City Lourdes 48, Tri County 25
Norfolk Catholic 31, Aquinas 7
Norris 30, Crete 13
North Bend Central 30, Logan View-Scribner-Snyder 7
Northern Valley, Kan. 50, Alma 48, OT
Oakland-Craig 38, Hartington Cedar Catholic 20
Omaha Burke 31, Millard West 14
Omaha Concordia 31, Lincoln Christian 6
Omaha North 48, Omaha Northwest 6
Omaha Skutt Catholic 33, Omaha Roncalli 13
Omaha Westside 38, Papillion-LaVista 7
Ord 41, Boone Central/Newman Grove 13
Osceola-High Plains 44, Fullerton 32
Papillion-LaVista South 14, Gretna 13
Parkview Christian 74, Omaha Christian Academy 30
Perkins County 50, Southwest 24
Pierce 51, Arlington 8
Plattsmouth 17, Beatrice 7
Ponca 30, Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur 20
Ralston 42, South Sioux City 6
Ravenna 46, Cambridge 40
Red Cloud 39, Lewiston 20
Riverside 52, Twin Loup 0
Scottsbluff 48, Hastings 14
Seward 46, Gering 0
Shelby/Rising City 48, Sandy Creek 0
Sidney 51, Gordon/Rushville 0
South Loup 26, Hemingford 0
Southern 63, Pawnee City 24
Spalding Academy 60, Heartland Lutheran 34
St. Paul 42, Southern Valley 12
Stanton 28, Tekamah-Herman 14
Sterling 77, Walthill 27
Stuart 36, Boyd County 8
Sutton 38, Wilber-Clatonia 0
Wahoo 54, Nebraska City 19
Wauneta-Palisade 30, Dundy County-Stratton 26
Wausa 47, CWC-Ewing 14
Waverly 45, Bennington 14
Wayne 34, O'Neill 14
Weeping Water 30, Heartland 28
West Point-Beemer 33, Boys Town 13
Wilcox-Hildreth 56, Deshler 20
Wisner-Pilger 42, East Butler 12
Wood River 16, Bridgeport 0
York 50, Blair 28
Yutan 41, Conestoga 0
POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS=
Ogallala 14, Valentine 0, suspd. 2nd quarter due to lightning
Eustis-Farnam 40, South Platte 31, suspd. at Half due to lightning
Sutherland 14, Paxton 6 suspd. at Half due to lightning
The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team continues non-conference action by hosting the Ameritas Players Challenge on Friday and Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers will play Ohio at Noon and Wake Forest at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. NU will finish the weekend against Santa Clara at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The other matches this weekend are: Santa Clara vs. Wake Forest (Friday, 10 a.m.), Ohio vs. Santa Clara (Friday, 5 p.m.) and Wake Forest vs. Ohio (Saturday, 11 a.m.).
All three Huskers matches will be streamed at BTN2GO.com with a BTN Plus subscription. Friday’s match against Ohio will be on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. Friday night’s match against Wake Forest and Saturday’s match against Santa Clara will be on 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided for all three matches at Huskers.com, on the official Huskers app and the TuneIn app. John Baylor is in his 25th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren (Cook) West, a former All-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.
About the Huskers
• Nebraska opened its season with a split of its two matches at the VERT Challenge last week. The Huskers fell to then-No. 7 Florida, 3-1 (20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 23-25), before bouncing back to sweep then-No. 18 Oregon (25-21, 25-21, 26-24).
• Mikaela Foecke was selected to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.71 kills per set and 3.00 digs per set. Foecke had 15 kills with no errors to lead the Huskers past the Ducks.
• The Huskers played four true freshmen throughout the tournament. Callie Schwarzenbach had 11 kills and five blocks, while setter Nicklin Hames averaged 10.00 assists and 4.00 digs per set with a team-high three ace serves.
• This will be the 13th Ameritas Players Challenge dating back to 2006. Nebraska is 32-1 all-time in the Ameritas Players Challenge.
• Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney were preseason All-Big Ten selections. Foecke is a two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and leads the Huskers in kills with 3.71 per set. Maloney was an NCAA All-Tournament Team selection and leads NU in digs with 4.29 per set.
• The Huskers won the 2017 NCAA title, their second national championship in three years. NU finished 32-4 overall and also won a second straight Big Ten title, sharing top honors with Penn State.
• This year’s NU squad is aiming to reach the final four for a fourth consecutive year, which would be a first in program history. NU also hasn’t won three straight conference titles since 2006-08 in the Big 12.
• John Cook, Nebraska: 19th year at Nebraska (532-70); 26th year overall (693-143)
• Deane Webb, Ohio: 5th year at Ohio (82-45); 18th year overall (317-212)
• Bill Ferguson, Wake Forest: 2nd year at Wake Forest (22-44); 11th year overall (172-146)
• Jon Wallace, Santa Clara: 20th year at Santa Clara (363-208)
• Nebraska will be playing Ohio and Wake Forest for the first time in school history.
• Nebraska is 6-0 all-time against Santa Clara. The last meeting was on Dec. 15, 2005, a 3-0 Husker win in the NCAA Semifinals in San Antonio.
• Ohio went 1-2 at the Sports Imports Classic in Columbus, Ohio last weekend. The Bobcats fell 3-1 to Texas A&M and 3-0 to Ohio State, but they rebounded to beat Albany, 3-1, in their final match.
• Setter Vera Giacomazzi was named to the all-tournament team. She paced the Ohio attack with 8.55 assists per set and had 49 assists in the four-set win over Albany.
• Middle blocker Tia Jimerson had 3.27 kills per set last weekend on .263 hitting.
Scouting Wake Forest
• Wake Forest went 0-3 at the Spartan-Demon Deacon Classic last weekend with losses to Maryland (3-0), Air Force (3-1) and UNC Greensboro (3-1).
• Middle blocker Caitlyn Della was named to the all-tournament team with 2.18 kills per set and a team-high nine blocks during the tournament. Caroline Kuhn had a team-high 2.55 kills per set.
Scouting Santa Clara
• Santa Clara enters the weekend at 2-2. The Broncos went 1-2 at the Idaho Volleyball Classic, losing to Idaho, 3-0, and Grand Canyon, 3-2. They were victorious against New Mexico by sweep. Santa Clara defeated Sacramento State Tuesday night, 3-0.
• Middle blocker Alexa Dreyer earned all-tournament honors last weekend after 2.45 kills per set and six ace serves. Freshman hitter Michelle Shaffer had 3.27 kills per set and four aces.
Foecke, Maloney Captain Young Husker Squad
• Seniors Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney are co-captaining the 2018 Husker squad. Foecke and Maloney are the lone players on the team who have been part of both the 2015 and 2017 NCAA Championship teams, and the duo will look to become the first in program history to appear in four straight final fours and win three national championships.
• Foecke, an outside hitter from West Point, Iowa, was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship in both 2015 and 2017 after leading the Huskers to their fourth and fifth NCAA titles all-time.
• Foecke became the fourth player in NCAA history to twice be named the MOP - as she also earned the honor in 2015 - and she was the first to earn the honor in non-consecutive years.
• Foecke was named an AVCA second-team All-American and was unanimously selected to the All-Big Ten team and was an AVCA All-North Region pick for the third straight year in 2017. She was named a unanimous preseason All-Big Ten team selection entering her senior season.
• Foecke averaged a team-high 3.53 kills per set on .290 hitting with 2.36 digs per set in 2017. She also had a team-high 39 aces.
• Foecke ranks 15th on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,196, which also ranks seventh in the rally-scoring era (2001 to present).
• Maloney, a libero from Louisville, Kentucky, was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 2017 and was a PrepVolleyball.com first-team All-American after serving a school-record 13 aces during the NCAA Tournament.
• In her first season as NU’s libero in 2017, Maloney played all 125 sets and averaged 3.62 digs per set and 0.95 aces per set with season totals of 452 digs and 37 aces, second-most on the team.
• Maloney was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team this year.
Stivrins, Sweet Set for Sophomore Seasons
• After earning All-Big Ten Freshman team honors in 2017, middle blocker Lauren Stivrins and opposite hitter Jazz Sweet will both aim to play even bigger roles in 2018.
• Stivrins finished the 2017 season with 2.07 kills per set on .309 hitting and 1.02 blocks per set while playing all 125 sets. She tallied nine kills on .316 hitting against Florida in the NCAA Championship match and had seven kills and a career-high nine blocks in the NCAA Semifinal vs. Penn State.
• Sweet also played in all 125 sets last season and had 2.22 kills per set on .273 hitting in her first year as a Husker. Sweet posted 12 kills on .375 hitting against Penn State in the NCAA Semifinal.
New Huskers Have Big Roles to Play
• Eight of the 15 Huskers on the roster are new to the team this season, and at least a few will have to play a major role for the Huskers early on. With starting setter Kelly Hunter, middle blocker Briana Holman and outside hitter Annika Albrecht all graduating last year, as well as defensive specialist Sydney Townsend, NU will rely on its newcomers to make an immediate impact.
• Three of the eight newcomers are setters who will look to replace Hunter, the two-time AVCA All-American and 2017 Big Ten Setter of the Year. Freshman Nicklin Hames was ranked the top setter recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, while junior transfer Mari Kurkova has experience playing on the highest international stage with the Czech Republic. Senior Brooke Smith, who began her career at Nebraska in 2015, rejoins the squad after playing one season at Kansas State.
• Nebraska also added sophomore outside hitter Lexi Sun to its attack in the offseason. The University of Texas transfer was a 2017 first-team All-Big 12 selection and received All-America honorable mention in her freshman season with the Longhorns. A native of Encinitas, California, Sun was the PrepVolleyball.com National Player of the Year, the Gatorade Player of the Year and the All-USA Volleyball Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Fe Christian.
Huskers Will Play School-Record 19 Home Matches
• Nebraska will play a school-record 19 regular-season home matches in 2018.
• Nine of the Huskers’ 10 non-conference matches will be played at the Devaney Center this season. The only road trip will be up the road to Omaha where NU will face Creighton on Thursday, Sept. 6. The teams took a year off from the series last season after playing each other from 2014-16.
• The 2018 season marks the first time the Huskers won’t play a non-conference match outside of Nebraska since 2007.
Huskers Aiming for 250th Consecutive Regular-Season Sellout
• Nebraska carries an NCAA women’s record 236 consecutive regular-season sellouts. Should the Huskers continue to sell out, their 250th straight sellout would be on Friday, Nov. 2 against Penn State.
Cook Closing in on 700 Career Wins
• Nebraska head coach John Cook has a 693-143 career record entering the week and will become the 10th active Division I head coach to reach 700 career wins with the Huskers’ eighth win of the season.
• A total of 26 Division I coaches all-time have reached the 700-win mark. Former Husker head coach Terry Pettit is currently tied for 27th on the all-time victories list with 694.
Huskers Ranked No. 5 in AVCA Coaches Poll
• Nebraska is ranked No. 5 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll this week.
• The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in 99 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 472 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 527 AVCA Coaches Polls since it was established in 1982. Nebraska and Stanford are the only two programs to be ranked in every poll all-time.
Cook Adds to Legacy; Joins AVCA Hall of Fame
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 19th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2018. He has led the Huskers to four national championships, eight final fours, 12 conference championships and 16 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 693 career wins and is one of the all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
• Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to a nation-leading .884 win percentage in that time (532-70).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 52 AVCA All-Americans and 19 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, both among the best in the nation. He is a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, earning the prestigious honor in 2000 and 2005, and a seven-time conference coach of the year, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017, his first and second Big Ten honors with the Huskers in their Big Ten era (2011-present).
• Cook was named the AVCA North Region Coach of the Year in 2016, his fifth career regional coaching honor and fourth while at Nebraska.
• Cook is one of only four active coaches - and one of six all-time - to be a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year and was honored in 2008 by USA Volleyball, receiving its All-Time Great Coach Award.
• Cook was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2017, joining former Husker volleyball coach Terry Pettit in the hall.
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
• Nebraska fans led the nation in attendance for a fifth straight season in 2017, averaging 8,202 fans per match, nearly 2,000 more than any other school.
• In 2016, the Huskers also led the nation with an average attendance of 8,210 fans per match, a new NCAA attendance record.
• In 2013, the Huskers led the nation in attendance (8,175) for the first time since 1992, ending Hawaii’s 21-year reign as the national leader.
• The Huskers repeated as attendance champions in 2014 with 8,083 fans per match, which included a school-record 8,585 fans at the Oct. 3 win against Penn State.
• Nebraska has ranked in the top three nationally in attendance every season since 1990 (27 straight seasons).
Cook’s Coaching Tree Continues to Grow
• Nebraska head coach John Cook’s assistant coaches have a great track record of moving on to become head coaches.
• Following the 2017 season, Husker assistant Tyler Hildebrand was named the Director of Coaching, Beach Volleyball for USA Volleyball in his home state of California.
• After the 2016 season, Nebraska assistants Chris Tamas and Dani Busboom Kelly both accepted high-level Division I head coaching jobs. Busboom Kelly became the head coach at Louisville, while Tamas accepted the head coaching job at Big Ten foe Illinois. Tamas led his Fighting Illini squad to the Sweet 16 in his first year, while Busboom Kelly made the NCAA Tournament with Louisville and was named the AVCA East Region Coach of the Year.
• Seven assistants under Cook have become head coaches following their time on Cook’s Nebraska staff: Craig Skinner (Kentucky), Lee Maes (Virginia), Lizzy Stemke (Georgia), Dan Conners (UC Davis), Dan Meske (Augustana, Associate Head Coach at Louisville), Busboom Kelly and Tamas.
• In the last eight years, five of Cook’s Husker assistants have become head coaches.
Sarah Pavan’s Jersey to be Retired on Sept. 9
• Nebraska will retire the jersey of one of the most decorated players in NCAA history, Sarah Pavan, on Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Huskers’ match against Iowa State. Pavan will also be inducted into the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame that weekend.
• The Kitchener, Ontario native is NU’s all-time leader in kills (2,008) and kills per match (4.56). She is one of five players in NCAA history to be named a four-time first-team AVCA All-American, and she helped lead the Huskers to the 2006 NCAA Championship. Pavan will be the ninth volleyball player in school history to have her jersey retired.
A matchup of two of college football’s winningest programs for four straight years and a return of Iowa as the opponent in the regular-season finale are among the highlights of Nebraska’s 2022-25 Big Ten football schedules. The conference office announced schedules for upcoming seasons on Wednesday afternoon.
Nebraska and Michigan will square off each season from 2022 to 2025, with the Wolverines visiting Memorial Stadium in 2023 and 2025, and Nebraska traveling to Ann Arbor in 2022 and 2024.
After concluding the 2020 and 2021 conference seasons with matchups with Minnesota, the Huskers and Iowa will conclude their regular season against each other on Black Friday each year from 2022 to 2025. The border rivals have met on Black Friday since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, and will do so in 2018 and 2019.
The future Big Ten schedules announced on Wednesday also feature Big Ten games as a season opener in both 2023 and 2025. In 2023, Nebraska will open the season at Minnesota on Sept. 2, while the 2025 campaign will kick off with an Aug. 30 game at Illinois.
Nebraska will play four Big Ten home games in both 2022 and 2024, with five conference games at Memorial Stadium in 2023 and 2025.
Nebraska 2022-25 Big Ten Schedules
|Sept. 24||at Rutgers|
|Oct. 8||at Northwestern|
|Oct. 15||at Michigan|
|Nov. 5||at Wisconsin|
|Nov. 25 (Fri.)||at Iowa|
|Sept. 2||at Minnesota|
|Oct. 7||at Illinois|
|Nov. 4||at Purdue|
|Nov. 18||at Michigan State|
|Nov. 24 (Fri.)||Iowa|
|Sept. 28||at Northwestern|
|Oct. 5||at Michigan|
|Oct. 12||Ohio State|
|Oct. 26||at Penn State|
|Nov. 16||at Wisconsin|
|Nov. 29 (Fri.)||at Iowa|
|Aug. 30||at Illinois|
|Oct. 25||at Indiana|
|Nov. 1||at Minnesota|
|Nov. 22||at Purdue|
|Nov. 28 (Fri.)||Iowa|
Note: Nebraska has a non-conference game scheduled at Cincinnati in 2025 (Sept. 13), with two non-conference games to be scheduled.
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team practiced for two hours on Wednesday outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields in shoulder pads and helmets.
After practice, Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media about the team’s momentum heading into the first game of the season on Saturday against Akron.
“I like our tempo,” Walters said. “I like our effort and our excitement. Guys are ready to play. I think we’re ready to go against somebody other than our defense. I think we’re tested. The defense has given us great looks. We’re excited to play in front of 90,000 at Memorial Stadium and show Husker Nation what we’re all about.”
Walters also talked about true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, who will get the start on Saturday against the Zips.
“Our motto is attack,” Walters said. “We’re going to play to win. Whatever gives us the best chance to be successful, whatever Adrian does the best, that’s what we’re going to do. Obviously, he can beat you with his legs, but he’s getting a lot better with his arm. You’ll see him make some plays with his arm on Saturday.”
According to Walters, the offense plans to attack each week and each opponent differently.
“We’re going to play fast,” Walters said. “We’re going to have new wrinkles every week. We’re going to game plan, watch what those guys do, watch what our opponents do, what their tendencies and what they do. We’re going to come up with plays that give us the best chance to win, and we’re going to put our playmakers in position to be successful. I think week in and week out, we’re going to have different wrinkles in the game plan that maybe the team hasn’t seen. We’re going to play fast. We’re going to be confident. It still comes down to execution. You can do all of this stuff on the side and different formation, but it comes down to guys executing. It comes down to me beating the man over top of me. That’s what we’re going to hang our head on.
When asked about Akron’s defense, Walters mentioned that they have a good defense with eight or nine returning starters.
“Basically their whole secondary returned from last year,” Walters said. “So, they’re going to play hard. They’re physical. They’re going to try and get eight or nine guys in the box, play man on the outside and force you to make plays. We’ve got to be ready to go. Just watching tape, they’re a good defensive unit. Linebackers, they’re all coming back. [Ulysees Gilbert III] is a good player. [Brian Bell] is a good player. So, we go to be ready to go.”
Nebraska and Akron will face off on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. FOX will provide national TV coverage.
Lincoln - Matchups against seven teams that made the NCAA or NIT highlight a daunting non-conference schedule for the Husker men’s basketball team in 2018-19.
The Huskers’ 11-game non-conference slate includes four NCAA Tournament teams (Seton Hall, Clemson, Creighton and Cal State Fullerton) as well as NIT qualifiers Oklahoma State and Southeastern Louisiana. NU will also face another postseason qualifier in the 2018 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker, as Elite Eight finisher Texas Tech and NIT qualifier USC are on the opposite side of the four-team bracket in Kansas City. Nebraska faces Missouri State in the opening round at the Sprint Center on Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. and will face either Texas Tech or USC the following evening.
For Nebraska Coach Tim Miles, the non-conference schedule will test a roster team that returns its top four scorers, including returning All-Big Ten picks James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr., as the program looks to build off a 22-11 record and NIT berth in 2017-18.
“I think this schedule will prepare us for the Big Ten,” Miles said. “It is a very challenging slate with teams from other major conferences and postseason teams all around. The extended Big Ten season of 20 games will also be good for us and great for our faithful fans. We are excited for it to begin.”
The reduced non-conference slate was necessitated by the Big Ten increasing to 20 conference games beginning this season.
The Huskers open the season with a pair of regional round games in the Hall of Fame Classic at Pinnacle Bank Arena. After an opening night matchup with Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Huskers will take on a Southeastern Louisiana team which won 22 games and shared the Southland Conference title in 2018 on Sunday, Nov. 11. The three-game homestand concludes on Wednesday, Nov. 14, as Seton Hall makes its first appearance at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Pirates went 22-12 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Kansas last March.
After the Hall of Fame Classic concludes in Kansas City, Nebraska returns home for a matchup with Western Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 24 before traveling to Clemson for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday, Nov. 26. The Tigers tied for third in the ACC en route to a 24-win season and berth in the Sweet 16. The game at Clemson wraps up the first portion of non-conference action, as the Huskers will play a pair of Big Ten games against Illinois on Dec 2 and at Minnesota on Dec. 5.
Following its two Big Ten games, NU will take on three straight postseason teams during the second half of non-conference play. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Huskers host Creighton in the annual in-state matchup. The Bluejays won 21 games and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2018. After a break for finals, Nebraska heads to Sioux Falls, S.D. for a neutral-site matchup with an Oklahoma State squad that won 21 games, including a sweep of Kansas, and reached the NIT quarterfinals.
The Huskers return home for their final two non-con matchups, hosting NCAA qualifier Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Dec. 22, before closing non-conference play with a game against Southwest Minnesota State on Dec. 29. Cal State Fullerton returns four starters from a team that went 20-12, including Kyle Allman Jr., who led the Big West in scoring last season at 19.5 points per game last season. Southwest Minnesota State is coached by Brad Bigler, who played point guard all four years that Tim Miles coached at the school. The Mustangs went 25-9 last year and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
A limited number of season tickets are available for as little as $108 by visiting Huskers.com/tickets or calling the NU Athletic Development and Ticketing Office during business hours at 800-8-BIGRED.
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Tuesday inside the Hawks Championship Center in full pads and helmets.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media after practice, elaborating on the defensive side of the depth chart and some of the starting spot battles.
“A lot of the evaluations have been made, but the final evaluation will be how they perform under the lights,” Chinander said. "Sometimes we keep the ‘ors’ on to keep people happy, sometimes it's to out scheme people. Most of these really are ‘ors’ that we should be able to figure out by the end of this week or early next week."
Chinander was also asked about the work ethic and growth of junior outside linebacker Tyrin Ferguson, who is projected to start on Saturday night against Akron.
“You always hear a lot about guys when you get here, but with him the slate was wiped clean and he's just put his nose to the grindstone and got to work," Chinander said. ”He's done a great job. He's a really good practice player and he tries to get the guys fired up. I love his attitude."
Graduate transfer safety Tre Neal has also been a great addition to the team this summer and Chinander talked about what he brings to the defense.
“Some guys, they want to be with the coaches and hear them," Chinander said. "When you have a player that really knows what's going on, he can sit in a room with other players without a lot of pressure and teach them what's going on. Then out on the field, he can help the other guys out and make the call, just because he knows what's going on in the system. He's done a great job and he fits our system. I think the other guys really respect him."
When asked about Saturday's opponent, Akron, Chinander talked about the long hours in the film room the staff has spent to prepare for opening night.
“You have a year's worth of film to look at,” Chinander said. "Whether they do the same things they've done or change it up, I don't know. They got a really good quarterback that's going to run around and throw it, a really good receiver who can take the top off [of the defense] and a running back who is pretty good too. When you're playing a spread team, for us, there's not a lot people can do that we haven't seen. I think we'll be able to adjust pretty well just from going against our offense everyday in practice."
Chinander then commented on the Blackshirts tradition.
“We do have a little bit of a plan with those," Chinander said. "We talked about it as a staff. There's two contributing factors right now, number one being the ‘ors’ and the ‘ands’ on the depth chart. Some of those battles aren't won yet and are still being fought. We didn't feel like handing out Blackshirts to one of those guys who is an ‘or’ or an ‘and’ would be fair until we get a live evaluation. The other thing is, the last time we took the field, and I say ‘we’ because I am a part of this, was not a very great performance for the Blackshirts. So, we don't feel like anyone deserves one yet until we see what they do at Memorial Stadium."
With just three days left until game day, Chinander mentioned that he will only feel completely ready right before opening kickoff.
"I think for me, the hay is really never in the barn," Chinander said. "The kids will say, ‘Coach are you ready?’ and I'll say, ‘No.’ About five minutes before kickoff, I'll be ready. That doesn't mean we'll be installing any more stuff. I want these guys to play fast. As a play caller, you never feel ready, you're always watching more tape. At night, you're watching more film, you're trying to make sure your call sheet is right. You want to know the call sheet without looking at it. Do I feel like the staff and team is ready? I would say yes. But I won't be ready until a few minutes before kickoff.
The Huskers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska kicks off its season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Akron at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m., with FOX providing national TV coverage.