Huskers Open November by Hosting Boilermakers
Nebraska Game Notes
GAME 9: NEBRASKA vs. PURDUE
NOV. 1, 2014 | MEMORIAL STADIUM
LINCOLN, NEB. | 2:30 p.m. (CT)
TV – ABC/ESPN2
RADIO – Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO – Sirius Channel 138, XM 196
INTERNET RADIO – Huskers.com
Record: 7-1, 3-1
Rankings: Coaches-16; AP-17
Last Game: def. Rutgers, 42-24
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career/NU Record: 65-25/7th year
vs. Purdue: 1-0
Record: 3-5, 1-3
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to Minnesota, 39-38
Coach: Darrell Hazell
Career/PU Record: 20-26, 4th year/4-16, 2nd year
vs. Nebraska: 0-1
Nebraska plays its second consecutive home game on Saturday when Purdue visits Memorial Stadium for the first time. The matchup between the Huskers and Boilermakers is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ABC.
The Huskers come into the contest with a 7-1 record, including 3-1 in Big Ten Conference action. The Huskers are tied for the lead with Minnesota in the Big Ten’s West Division at the halfway point in conference play.
Nebraska is coming off a 42-24 victory over Rutgers last Saturday in Lincoln to improve to 5-0 at home this season. Senior I-back Ameer Abdullah continued to build a record-setting season with 225 rushing yards and a school-record 341 all-purpose yards. The Huskers will enter Saturday’s game ranked 17th in the Associated Press Poll and No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday.
For the second straight week, Nebraska will welcome an opponent to Memorial Stadium for the first time. The Huskers have twice traveled to Purdue, including last year’s 44-7 victory, however this will mark the Boilermakers’ first trip to Lincoln.
Purdue will come to Lincoln with a 3-5 overall record and a 1-3 mark in Big Ten Conference play. The Boilermakers were idle last weekend after nearly pulling an upset at Minnesota on Oct. 18. Purdue led the Gophers by 11 points in the second half, before Minnesota rallied for a 39-38 victory. Purdue has fielded a potent offense in recent weeks, averaging 447 yards per game over the last three contests.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first meeting between the two teams at Memorial Stadium and just the third all-time in the series. The matchup is tied at one win apiece after the Huskers won 44-7 in West Lafayette last season. The schools will meet every year as members of the Big Ten’s West Division.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 65-25 record (.722) in his seventh season as head coach. He has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first six seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne in accomplishing that feat at Nebraska. His 63 wins trail only Osborne and Devaney on the NU wins list. Pelini joins Alabama’s Nick Saban as the only head coaches in the nation to win nine or more games each of the past six seasons.
Purdue: Darrell Hazell (Muskingum, ‘86) is in his second season as Purdue’s head coach and owns a 4-16 record with the Boilermakers. Hazell served as the head coach at Kent State in 2011 and 2012, guiding the Golden Flashes to a 16-10 record, including 11-2 in 2012. Hazell’s assistant coaching stops included Ohio State, Rutgers and West Virginia.
Nebraska is 872-358-40 all-time, one of just eight schools with 800 all-time victories
- Nebraska has won five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997).
- The Cornhuskers have won 43 conference championships.
- NU’s 50 all-time bowl appearances rank third nationally.
- Since 1970, NU has 438 wins, 26 more than any other school.
- Nebraska’s 107 football Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
- The Huskers have 110 All-Americans in school history.
Purdue enters Saturday’s game with a 3-5 overall record, including a 1-3 mark in Big Ten Conference play. The Boilermakers were off last week, giving them two weeks to prepare for the matchup with Nebraska.
Purdue is facing a ranked opponent for the third time this season. The Boilermakers have fared well in their two previous matchups against ranked teams, despite losing both games. Purdue led then-No. 11 Notre Dame late in the second quarter, but the Fighting Irish scored the game’s final 20 points in a 30-14 victory. A month later, the Boilermakers faced a top-10 Michigan State squad coming off a victory over Nebraska. Purdue put up 31 points against the Spartans and trailed by seven with the ball in the final three minutes before Michigan State sealed a 45-31 victory with an interception return for a touchdown.
Dual-threat quarterback Austin Appleby has been a big boost for a Boilermaker offense that ranks 99th nationally in total offense and 76th in scoring offense. Appleby has started Purdue’s last three games under center, and the Boilermakers are averaging 447 yards of total offense and 35.7 points per game during that stretch. In the first five games of the season, Purdue averaged just 312 yards of total offense and 23.8 points per game.
Appleby has averaged 205 passing yards and 45 rushing yards per game in his three starts, despite rushing for minus-20 yards against MSU.
Purdue’s running backs have benefitted from a dual-threat quarterback. With Appleby as the starting quarterback, Purdue has averaged nearly 260 rushing yards per game. Akeem Hunt leads the team with 640 yards and five touchdowns, and he has rushed for 376 yards in Appleby’s three starts. Raheem Mostert is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and in Appleby’s three starts, Mostert has carried the ball 10 times for 173 yards.
Defensively, Purdue is allowing 429 yards and 31.3 points per game, including 255.5 passing yards and 173.8 rushing yards per game. The Boilermakers have also allowed the 22nd-most first downs of any team in the country. Purdue allows opponents to convert 49.2 percent of the time on third down, a total that ranks 119th nationally.
The all-time series between Nebraska and Purdue is tied 1-1. The teams are meeting in Lincoln for the first time, as each of the previous two meetings were in West Lafayette. Purdue shut out the Huskers, 28-0, in the first meeting in 1958. In the first meeting as conference foes last season, Nebraska beat the Boilermakers, 44-7.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Bo Pelini is in his seventh season as Nebraska’s head coach and owns a 65-25 record with the Huskers. Pelini has won or shared four divisional titles in his first six seasons as head coach, including the 2012 Big Ten Legends Division crown. He guided NU to three straight Big 12 North Division crowns from 2008 to 2010, becoming the first coach in the history of the Big 12 to win at least a share of a division title in each of his first three years.
He has guided Nebraska to at least nine wins each of his six seasons, and three 10-win seasons. Pelini is third on the Nebraska career victories list, trailing only Tom Osborne and Bob Devaney.
Pelini took charge of the Huskers after a highly successful five-year run as a collegiate defensive coordinator, including orchestrating NU’s defensive efforts in 2003. Pelini picked up his first college head coaching victory as NU’s interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
Following his one season at Nebraska, Pelini served as the co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Sooners to the Big 12 title and BCS title game. He then followed with three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU. With the Tigers, Pelini led three consecutive defenses to No. 3 national rankings in total defense. He culminated his time in Baton Rouge by helping the Tigers to the 2007 national championship.
In addition to his five seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level, Pelini coached in the NFL for nine seasons, serving three years each with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Pelini was a team captain and four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990.
Purdue Head Coach Darrell Hazell
Darrell Hazell is in his second year of a rebuilding project at Purdue, where he has guided the Boilermakers to a 4-16 record, including a 1-11 mark in Big Ten play. Hazell earned his first Big Ten victory at Illinois on Sept. 27.
Prior to coming to Purdue, Hazell was the head coach at Kent State in 2011 and 2012. He compiled a 16-10 record with the Golden Flashes. In his final season at Kent State, Hazell was named the MAC Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Flashes to an 11-3 record. The 11 wins were a school record.
Before becoming a head coach, Hazell spent more than 20 years as a collegiate assistant at Ohio State (2004-10), Rutgers (2001-03), West Virginia (1999-2000), Army (1997-98), Pennsylvania (1992-94), Oberlin College (1986-87; 1989-91) and Eastern Illinois (1988).
Huskers Bidding for Seventh Straight Nine-Win Season
Nebraska posted a 9-4 record in 2013, capped by a victory over Georgia in the Gator Bowl. The nine-win season in 2013 was Nebraska’s sixth straight under Head Coach Bo Pelini’s leadership and put Nebraska in elite company.
» Nebraska is one of three schools that has won at least nine games each of the past six seasons, joining Alabama and Oregon.
» Pelini has guided Nebraska to 10-win seasons in three of his six seasons.
» The six straight years with at least nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.
» Nebraska has 48 nine-win seasons in school history, including 40 since 1969. The Huskers’ 27 all-time 10-win seasons are third-most in college football history.
Huskers Celebrating 125th Season of Football
The 2014 season marks the 125th year of intercollegiate football at Nebraska. Since the school’s first football season in 1890, Nebraska has earned its place as one of the traditional national powers in college football.
The Huskers have won five national championships, 43 conference championships and last year became just the third school to appear in 50 bowl games. Since 1962 alone, Nebraska has produced nine or more wins in 46 of 52 seasons.
Nebraska will be celebrating its 125th season throughout 2014.
Huskers Strive for Strong Second Half of 2014 Season
Nebraska completed the first half of the season with a 5-1 mark, and has started the second half of the season with victories over Northwestern and Rutgers to improve to 7-1 overall. The 7-1 start marks Nebraska’s first record of 7-1 through eight games since 2011, and the third in five seasons.
- The win over Rutgers improved Nebraska to 3-1 in conference play, marking the fifth straight season the Huskers have won three of their first four games in conference play.
- Nebraska is hopeful the wins over Northwestern and Rutgers will propel the Huskers to a similar second half of the season as in 2012. Nebraska posted a 6-0 record in the second half of the 2012 regular season. That surge started with a 29-28 road victory at Northwestern.
- The Huskers posted 5-1 records in the second half of the regular season in both 2009 and 2010 under Bo Pelini, and won their final four games of the season in 2008.
- Nebraska has had a good run of success in the month of November under Bo Pelini. In his first six seasons as head coach, Nebraska is 19-6 in the month of November. The Huskers have won 8 of their last 10 November games heading into Saturday’s matchup with Purdue.
- Nebraska posted perfect 4-0 November records in both 2009 and 2012 en route to appearances in the Big 12 and Big Ten Championship games, respectively.
NU Rushing Attack Once Again Among Nation’s Best
Nebraska boasts one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, averaging 293.4 yards per game to rank second in the Big Ten and sixth nationally. The Huskers have rushed for better than 300 yards three times this season, including two games of more than 400 yards.
The running game was held in check at Michigan State, as the Huskers rushed for 47 yards on 37 attempts. Nebraska got back on track at Northwestern with 234 rushing yards, and followed that up with 292 rushing yards in a 42-24 win over Rutgers. The Huskers’ exhibited a powerful running game in starting the season with a 5-0 record.
Nebraska pounded Illinois on the ground, rushing 70 times for 458 yards including a pair of 100-yard rushers. A week earlier, the Huskers dominated the Miami contest with a punishing ground game, rolling up 343 rushing yards on 54 attempts. The Huskers opened the season with an overpowering rushing effort against Florida Atlantic, rolling up 498 yards on the ground, and averaging 8.7 yards per carry. The rushing output was Nebraska’s best under Bo Pelini and the Huskers’ best since rushing for 641 yards at Baylor in 2001.
- Nebraska’s rushing output in the first eight games of the season is the Huskers’ best through eight games since 2001. The Huskers averaged 338.8 rushing yards per game through eight contests in 2001.
- Ameer Abdullah rushed for 208 yards on 22 carries against Illinois with three rushing touchdowns. Fellow I-back Imani Cross had a career-high 109 yards on 22 carries. The game marked the 77th time in school history Nebraska has had two or more 100-yard rushers, and the second time in 2014. Abdullah (232) and Terrell Newby (107) accomplished the feat against Florida Atlantic in the season opener. Nebraska was just shy of the mark against Miami with Abdullah rolling up 229 rushing yards, while quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. added 96 rushing yards.
- The 300+ rushing efforts against FAU, Miami and Illinois give Nebraska 18 games under Bo Pelini in which Nebraska has rushed for at least 300 yards. The Huskers are a perfect 18-0 in those games.
- Nebraska has reached at least 200 rushing yards in 23 games since the start of the 2012 season, including five times in 2013 and six of eight games in 2014. Nebraska is 11-0 since the start of the 2013 season when rushing for 200 or more yards.
- In 2013, Nebraska finished third in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in rushing, averaging 215.7 yards per game. The 2013 rushing success continued Nebraska’s recent surge on the ground. Nebraska has averaged better than 200 rushing yards per game for four straight seasons, and has ranked in the top 20 nationally each year from 2010 to 2013. NU led the Big Ten in rushing in 2012, and topped the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2010.
- NU’s 458 rushing yards against Illinois were its most in four years in Big Ten play, and its most against a conference foe since rushing for 641 yards at Baylor in 2001.
- Ameer Abdullah has surpassed 1,000 yards for the third straight season with 1,249 yards, giving Nebraska a 1,000-yard rusher for each of the past six seasons. That is the longest stretch for NU since the Huskers had at least one 1,000-yard rusher for seven straight seasons from 1979 to 1985.
Abdullah Reaching the End Zone At Record-Setting Pace
Abdullah ran for touchdowns of 53, 48 and 23 yards against Rutgers as part of a record-setting 341 all-purpose yards in a 42-24 victory. A week earlier, Abdullah produced a career-high four rushing touchdowns against Northwestern, marking the first time a Husker had scored four touchdowns in a game since 2010.
Abdullah has 17 rushing touchdowns this season, including five consecutive games with multiple rushing touchdowns. He has added two receiving touchdowns, giving him a nation-leading 19 total touchdowns on the year. Abdullah’s average of 14.3 points per game is tied for second nationally, trailing only Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.
The touchdown barrage has allowed Abdullah to surge up the NU career touchdown lists, while putting him in position to challenge some lofty marks on the single-season lists.
- Abdullah has scored 45 total touchdowns during his Nebraska career to rank in a tie for third with Ahman Green in school history. He is seven touchdowns shy of Mike Rozier’s second-place total. Abdullah has reached the end zone four different ways. He has 37 career rushing touchdowns, including 17 in 2014, six receiving touchdowns, as well as a punt return touchdown and a touchdown on a kickoff return.
- Abdullah’s 37 career rushing touchdowns are fifth in school history, trailing Calvin Jones by three touchdowns and Ahman Green by five touchdowns.
- Abdullah’s 19 total touchdowns this season are tied for fifth on the NU single-season list. He is just three touchdows from tying the No. 2 spot on the list and he is in position to challenge Mike Rozier’s school-record 29 touchdowns in 1983.
- Abdullah’s streak of five straight games with multiple rushing touchdowns ties a school record, matching Mike Rozier’s five-game streak in his Heisman winning season of 1983.
- Abdullah has racked up 114 points this season on his 19 touchdowns. The 114 points are tied for eighth on the NU single-season scoring list.
Memorial Stadium Home Sweet Home for Ameer
In Nebraska’s first five home games, Abdullah has rushed for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Abdullah has also amassed 1,291 all-purpose yards through five home games, an average of 258.2 all-purpose yards per game. Perhaps most impressively, Abdullah has scored 12 touchdowns at Memorial Stadium in 2014, while the Huskers’ five home opponents have combined for just 13 touchdowns.
In Nebraska’s past three home games against Power Five Conference opponents Miami, Illinois and Rutgers, Abdullah’s numbers have increased. He has rushed for more than 200 yards in each of those three games. In the three contests, Abdullah is averaging 220.7 rushing yards per game, 8.7 yards per carry and 288.7 all-purpose yards per game.
Abdullah has rushed for 200 yards in four of Nebraska’s five home games this season – including three straight – to tie the Nebraska season record with four 200-yard rushing games. He also produced a school-record 341 all-purpose yards against Rutgers last Saturday and 313-yard all-purpose yards against Miami on Sept. 20. Those efforts mark the only two 300-yard all-purpose games by an FBS player this season and are two of only a trio of 300-yard all-purpose games in the history of Nebraska football.
Last season, Abdullah joined 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier as the only Huskers to ever gain 1,000 yards rushing in a home season. Abdullah needs 52 rushing yards against Purdue to top 1,000 yards at home for the second straight year. Rozier owns the most rushing yards in a season at Memorial Stadium with 1,144 yards in 1983. Abdullah has two games to accumulate the 197 yards needed to pass Rozier’s record. Abdullah is averaging 189.6 rushing yards per home game this season.
Abdullah and Bell Linked in Record Books Once More
Seniors Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell have been linked throughout their Nebraska careers as leaders and playmakers for the Husker offense. Fittingly, the senior captains have twice hit signifcant milestones on the same day in 2014.
In the season opener against Florida Atlantic, the duo eclipsed milestone yardage marks.
- Abdullah cracked the 5,000-yard mark in career all-purpose yardage with a 241-yard effort. He has continued to pile up all-purpose yards throughout the season and now has 6,604 career all-purpose yards to pass 1972 Heisman winner Johnny Rodgers (5,586) and move to the top of the NU career chart.
- Abdullah’s 232 yards rushing against Florida Atlantic were a career high. The total also pushed him past 3,000 career rushing yards, joining seven other Huskers. Abdullah has now surpassed 4,000 career rushing yards, following his fifth 100-yard game of the season at Northwestern. Abdullah’s 4,226 career yards are second in school history and leave him 554 yards shy of Mike Rozier’s school record of 4,780 career rushing yards.
- Bell recorded his fourth career 100-yard receiving game with four catches for 116 yards vs. FAU, including a 63-yard reception to surpass 2,000 career receiving yards. He added his fifth 100-yard game with five catches for 105 yards against Illinois, including a 63-yard TD reception. Bell has increased his career total to 2,473 receiving yards, leaving him just yards behind Johnny Rodgers (2,479) and Nate Swift (2,476) to move to the top of the NU career receiving yardage list.
In a 42-24 win over Rutgers, Abdullah and Bell once again shared a day of re-writing the record book. Abdullah amassed a school-record 341 all-purpose yards, including 225 rushing yards. Bell had six receptions against the Scarlet Knights, increasing his career total to 167 catches, to move him past Nate Swift (166) to the top of the NU career receptions list.
Bell Moves to Top of Nebraska Career Receiving List
Receiver Kenny Bell has been a regular in the starting lineup the past four seasons and has produced record-setting statistical numbers.
With his six receptions against Rutgers, Bell increased his career receptions total to 167, surpassing Nate Swift’s previous record of 166 receptions between 2005 and 2008. Bell has a team-high 33 receptions on the season.
Bell is likely to move to the top of another career chart in this week’s game against Purdue. Bell has 2,473 career receiving yards, leaving him just six yards shy of Johnny Rodgers’ school record of 2,479 career receiving yards.
Bell has a pair of 100-yard receiving games this season and five in his career. The five 100-yard receiving games are the fourth-most in school history. Bell had 116 yards in the season opener against Florida Atlantic, and had five catches for 105 yards, including a 63-yard TD against Illinois.
In addition to his 100-yard receiving games, Bell had five catches for 84 yards against Fresno State, including a 37-yard catch. Against Miami, Bell helped set the tone for the Nebraska offense, hauling in a 40-yard TD reception in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7. He finished the night with four receptions for 70 yards. Bell added five catches for 89 yards at Northwestern.
- Bell has led Nebraska in receptions for each of the past three seasons, becoming the first player to do so since Matt Davison from 1998 to 2000. In 2014, Bell could become the first player in school history to lead the team in receptions for four straight seasons.
- Bell has topped 50 receptions each of the past two years and could become the first player in Nebraska history with three seasons of 50 or more receptions. With his 33 receptions this season, Bell is the first player in school history with four 30-catch seasons. He has also become the first Husker with four seasons with more than 400 receiving yards.
- Bell has 17 career TD catches to rank third in school history. Bell has a knack for the big play. Each of his last 15 touchdown receptions have covered at least 20 yards, including both of his TD receptions in 2014. Bell has seven receptions of 20 yards or more in 2014, and is averaging 17.3 yards per catch.
- Bell was also a strong threat in the kickoff return game in 2013. He averaged 26.5 yards per return, highlighted by a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Penn State. Bell ranked first in the Big Ten and 18th nationally in yards per kickoff return.
- Bell had a standout sophomore season with 863 receiving yards, the fourth-highest single-season total in NU history and the most by a Husker sophomore.
- Bell had a streak of 23 straight games with a catch end at Iowa in 2012, the third-longest streak in NU history. Since not having a catch in that game at Iowa, Bell has matched the streak, catching a pass in 23 straight games, including all eight games this season. Bell has at least one reception in 46 of the past 47 games.
- Bell reached the 1,000-yard career receiving mark in 20 games, the second-fewest games for a Husker to reach that mark in school history. Only Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers reached 1,000 career receiving yards in fewer games. Bell hit 2,000 career yards in his 41st career game.
The 6-1, 185-pound Bell earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades in 2013 after he was a second-team choice as a sophomore in 2012.
Huskers Winning on ‘Money Down’
Third down is often referred to as the Money Down. Through eight games, Nebraska is cashing in on third downs. The Huskers rank among the Big Ten and national leaders in both converting third downs, and third-down defense.
- Nebraska has converted 51-of-108 third-down attempts (47.2 percent) to rank third in the Big Ten and 19th nationally. Nebraska was 8-of-13 on third downs against Rutgers. A week earlier at Northwestern, the Huskers were 8-of-15 on third down at Northwestern, including 7-of-9 in the second half. On the Huskers’ go-ahead drive in the third quarter, Nebraska converted a 3rd-and-10, a 3rd-and-2 and a 3rd-and-13.
- On the defensive side, the Blackshirts are allowing opponents to convert only 35-of-123 third downs (28.5 percent). That figure ranks third in the Big Ten and sixth nationally. Nebraska also ranked sixth nationally in third-down defense in 2013.
Click on the “Game Notes” link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend’s game.