Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team worked out in full pads for two hours on Wednesday inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media after practice, crediting senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. for his hard work and perseverance this season. Morgan had just 15 catches and no touchdowns in his first three games, but through the last four games, he’s caught 32 passes, including six for touchdowns.
“[Stanley Morgan Jr. has] meant everything,” Walters said. “He’s kind of the standard of how we do things around here. He’s been excellent. He’s been awesome. [He] loves football. Every time he steps on the field, he’s passionate. He plays until the whistle. He sets the standard. We want all of the younger guys in that receiver room to watch him and to be like him. If you’re like him, you’re going to be successful, not only on the field but also off the field. Being a leader, setting the standards, setting the environment, the expectations, even when things were a little rocky and we weren’t playing as well, he never jumped shipped. He’s always had a positive attitude. I’m glad to see that his hard work and perseverance is paying off.”
“We’re going to call the game to win, but we know those guys have to get touches,” Walters said. “We know those guys have to make plays. If we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, those records will come because those guys are going to have to make plays. Our offense kind of goes through those three guys, but, we’re not going to get out of our normal play calling mode just to set records. It’ll come if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Walters discussed the excitement going into Saturday’s game and how they are ready to take on the challenge.
“We’re playing at a high level,” Walters said. “Their defense is playing at a high level. It’s probably the best defense we’ve played since No. 4 Michigan. So, it’ll be a challenge in front of us to really see where we are as an offense. The guys have embraced that. They have the number one run defense in the country. That’s going to be a challenge. Our offensive line, they’re taking that challenge. They’re excited. We can’t wait to go out there Saturday and see what happens.”
Walters also mentioned the status of wide receiver JD Spielman.
“He’s been limited,” Walters said. “He’s been day-to day. The good thing about JD [Spielman] is that he knows the offense in and out. So, he doesn’t need a whole lot of practice time to stay sharp. So, we’ll make sure he’s healthy and we’ll just see.”
Nebraska will continue preparations for Saturday’s game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium. The game will serve as Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. with television coverage provided by FOX.
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska volleyball program and Head Coach John Cook announced the signing of five student-athletes on Wednesday, the first day of the National Letter of Intent November signing period.
Three members of the Huskers’ signing class – outside hitter Madi Kubik, outside hitter Riley Zuhn and libero Kenzie Knuckles – are Under Armour First-Team All-Americans. Wisconsin and Stanford were the only other schools with three recruits on the first team.
Kubik, a 6-1 outside hitter from West Des Moines Valley High School in Iowa, is rated the No. 4 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com and won the gold medal at the 2018 NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship while recording nine kills and two blocks in the championship match against Dominican Republic.
Zuhn is a 6-5 hitter from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Zuhn was a MaxPreps All-American as a sophomore after leading her school to a state title, and she is the first-ever NORCO club player to compete on the U.S. Youth National Team. Zuhn is rated the No. 32 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com.
Knuckles, a 5-8 libero recruit out of Yorktown High School in Indiana, played outside hitter in high school and led Yorktown to a 34-0 record as a senior and a Class 4A state title. Knuckles is ranked the No. 37 overall prospect and the No. 3 libero, and she was one of only 10 seniors named to the MaxPreps 2018 Midseason Player of the Year Watch List in October.
Two in-state prospects are also members of the Husker class. Lincoln Pius X libero Emma Gabel and Johnson-Brock middle blocker Fallon Stutheit will join the Huskers next season. The 5-7 Gabel was a PrepVolleyball.com Club All-American in 2018 and led Pius X to the Class A state final this season. She was also an AAU National Championship All-Tournament selection after leading VCN to a fifth-place finish in 2017. Stutheit owns the Nebraska Class D1 record for kills in a season with 539 and won three straight Class D1 state championships at Johnson-Brock. The 6-1 middle blocker is a two-time Lincoln Journal Star Super-State and Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska first-team selection.
“We feel like we’ve put together a strong class that addresses what we will need to replace after this senior class of Mikaela Foecke, Kenzie Maloney and Brooke Smith graduates,” Cook said. “We have five highly talented, high-character individuals joining our program, and we’re excited to have two Nebraska girls joining our team next season. The returning players from this year’s team and this class will be our team for the next two years, so this is going to be a core group together, and we are going to expect this class to come in and challenge for important roles right away.”
Emma Gabel, 5-7, L, Lincoln, Neb. (Pius X) (VCNebraska)
• Attended Lincoln Pius X High School in Nebraska, helping the Thunderbolts reach the Class A state championship match as a senior in 2018
• Had 596 digs (5.7 per set), 24 service aces and 52 set assists as a senior
• Received Lincoln Journal Star Class A all-state honorable mention as a junior in 2017
• Played club volleyball for VCNebraska, which finished fifth in the AAU National Championships 16 Open Division in 2017
• Was named to the AAU National Championships All-Tournament Team in 2017 and was a PrepVolleyball.com Club All-American in 2018
• Also competed in track and field for the Thunderbolts
Coach Cook: “Emma will be a great addition to our back row. She is an elite passer and defender who reads the game well. We are excited to add another Nebraskan to our roster. Emma is someone we know will work hard and could have an immediate impact on our program. She comes from one of the best high school teams in the state and is a fierce competitor that will raise the level of our gym.”
Kenzie Knuckles, 5-8, L, Yorktown, Ind. (Yorktown)
• Played outside hitter at Yorktown High School in Indiana but will be a defensive specialist/libero for the Huskers
• Was named an Under Armour First-Team All-American in 2018
• Ranked the No. 37 overall prospect and the No. 3 libero by PrepVolleyball.com
• Was one of 10 seniors named to the MaxPreps 2018 Midseason Player of the Year Watch List
• Was an all-state performer each year of her high school career, leading Yorktown to a perfect 34-0 record as a senior with 4.2 kills per set and 3.9 digs per set
• Led Yorktown to the Indiana Class 4A state title in 2018, posting 14 kills and 10 digs in the state championship match
• Also won a Class 3A state title with Yorktown as a sophomore in 2016, recording 30 kills and 18 digs in the championship match
• Played beach volleyball instead of club volleyball in 2018 to improve her ball-handling and defensive skills
Coach Cook: “Kenzie is a phenomenal libero who plays for one of the best high school teams in the nation. She led her team to an undefeated season her senior year, and we are excited that she chose to be a Husker. We believe we’re getting one of the most talented players in the country in Kenzie and can’t wait to get her in a Nebraska jersey. She is a ball-control machine who has the potential to be on the court right away.”
Madi Kubik, 6-1, OH, West Des Moines, Iowa (Valley) (Iowa PowerPlex)
• Led Valley High school in West Des Moines, Iowa to a 41-4 record and the Class 5A state semifinals as a senior in 2018 with 5.16 kills per set on .382 hitting
• Competed on the U.S. Junior National Team, winning the gold medal at the 2018 NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship while recording nine kills and two blocks in the championship match against Dominican Republic
• Was named an Under Armour First-Team All-American in 2018
• Ranked the No. 4 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com
• Averaged 5.5 kills per set as a junior in 2017, leading the Tigers to the Iowa Class 5A state championship match
• Named to the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Elite team following her junior season
• Helped her club team, Iowa PowerPlex, finish 19th at the Open qualifiers in 2018
• Named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year and the Iowa Class 5A Player of the Year in 2017
Coach Cook: “Madi is undoubtedly one of the best players in the country. Her experience with Team USA will be a very valuable addition to our program. With an outside (Mikaela Foecke) graduating after this season, Madi will have a chance to compete for a starting spot right away. She is a complete volleyball player and can play all six rotations. She is an exceptional passer as well as a force at the net and could contribute to the program in more ways than one.”
Fallon Stutheit, 6-1, MB, Johnson, Neb. (Johnson-Brock) (Nebraska One)
• Led Johnson-Brock High School - coached by her mother, Tera - to three Nebraska Class D1 state titles in her high school career
• As a senior in 2018, recorded 475 kills (5.1 per set) with a .415 hitting percentage
• Averaged 5.9 kills per set on .433 hitting as a junior in 2017
• Posted 19 kills and 16 digs in the Class D1 state championship match as a junior
• Set a Nebraska Class D1 state record with 539 kills in a season as a sophomore in 2016
• Was a two-time Lincoln Journal Star Super-State and Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska first-team selection
• Played club volleyball for Nebraska One
• Also played basketball for the Eagles
Coach Cook: “One of the best middles in the state, Fallon comes to us from the small town of Johnson. She’s a bit undersized but can definitely hold her own at the net. She led her team to a state semifinal appearance at the state tournament playing all six rotations. Again, we love adding Nebraska kids to our roster and Fallon epitomizes a small-town Nebraska girl chasing her dreams of being a Husker.”
Riley Zuhn, 6-5, OH, Fort Collins, Colo. (Fossil Ridge) (NORCO)
• Attended Fossil Ridge High School in Colorado, helping the SaberCats reach the quarterfinals of the Colorado 5A state tournament
• Ranked the No. 32 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com and was named an Under Armour First-Team All-American in 2018
• Averaged 3.7 kills per set with a .421 hitting percentage as a senior
• Led Fossil Ridge to a Class 5A state title in 2016 as a sophomore with 3.5 kills per set on .381 hitting, earning MaxPreps Sophomore All-America honors
• Was a Colorado 5A all-state selection
• Played club volleyball for NORCO and became the first player from the NORCO program to compete on the U.S. Youth National Team
Coach Cook: “Riley has worked very hard to be a Husker. We admire her passion and drive to be great. She is a player that will without a doubt have a positive impact on the culture of our program with her hard work and dedication. She is a highly skilled attacker and blocker and plays for one of the best club teams in Colorado.”
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team worked out in full pads for just over two hours on Tuesday inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media following practice and he was asked what he has seen from a Michigan State offense that was held to six points last week against No. 8 Ohio State.
"Their injuries. They've lost some of their personnel,” Chinander said. “They're kind of finding out what's best for them with the people they have. I think they're going to find it out. Forecast says it's going to be cold and windy, so (they'll) probably get packed in and run the football and try to do what they're really good at and being physical and running the ball, so that's what we kind of expect right now."
Chinander also talked about the Spartans’ quarterback situation and how to prepare for seeing two quarterbacks on Saturday.
"With their two guys it's kind of what plays they run,” Chinander said. “I don't know if the skill set is completely different. I mean, they both do a good job running that offense. Their third guy is obviously a guy that we recruited at UCF that's more of a ‘wildcat’ guy. So I think you have a few things to prepare for but you kind of have to do some of it in the ‘good-on-good’ periods against our offense and some of it through the scout team work. I think there's a lot to prepare for not only that but a lot of different personnel groupings they present you with."
Chinander went on to comment on the seniors of the defense and if the game on Saturday will be a bittersweet one for him.
"Yeah I think it'll be bittersweet,” Chinander said. “Those guys have done a great job of helping transform the direction of the program, the culture of the program. Setting the stage for what's to come in the next few years. They understand that but it's going to be kind of bittersweet to have them go the last time without them experiencing what they've created. I hope they're back forever. I hope they feel like they can come back to any meeting, any practice, to any game and be a part of this team because they're always going to be a part of this team no matter where it goes.
“I think it's going to be really good in the future, and I hope they realize how big of a part of that they're going to have in that."
Chinander ended with expressing excitement to see his defense go up against another power offense like Michigan's.
"I think we went into that Michigan game and our guys kind of didn't know what we had yet,” Chinander said. “It was starting to build. I don't know if we were at the point where we thought were going to go win that football game. When the guys were at Ohio State, we were at the point where we were going to go win this football game, and I'm anxious to see how it'll carry over, just the attitude and the energy and where we start the game as opposed to where we started against Michigan. How we defend this thing right from the whistle, if we can shut it down a little bit and make them do some other things or if we're going to be in for a fist fight all game, but it's going to be exciting to watch."
Nebraska will continue preparations against to face off against Michigan State on senior day on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. with television coverage provided by FOX.
The Nebraska men's basketball team faces an early-season test on Wednesday, as the Huskers host Seton Hall in the Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup. Tipoff from a sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 6:30 p.m. Any returned tickets would be available at PBA beginning 90 minutes before tipoff.
ON THE LINE
- NU looks to help the Big Ten win the Gavitt Tipoff Games for the first time in the event's four-year existence. The two conferences have gone 4-4 in each of the last three seasons. NU is 0-2 in the Gavitt Games, but both games were on the road.
- A win for Nebraska would not only give NU a 3-0 record for the fourth time in seven seasons under Head Coach Tim Miles, but would also mark his 100th win at Nebraska. He would become the fifth Husker coach with 100 wins.
- A win would be Nebraska's 14th straight home victory dating back to last December, the longest win streak in the Big Ten. Nebraska is 40-9 in non-conference home games under Tim Miles.
- Although it is very early in the season Nebraska leads the nation in scoring defense (36.0 ppg), is second in field goal percentage defense (.226) and 3-point percentage defense (.125), 10th in turnovers forced (22 per game) and 12th in blocked shots (8.0 bpg).
- Nebraska has not allowed an opponent to shoot over 50 percent in 28 straight games dating back to last season, including 11 straight foes held to 50 percent shooting.
- Under Miles, the Huskers are 45-5 (.900) when holding opponents under 60 points.
- NU has limited both of its opponents to 0.47 points per possession, the lowest number in Tim Miles' seven years.
Nebraska senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, and setter Nicklin Hames was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced.
Foecke averaged 5.00 kills per set on .413 hitting in wins at Iowa and No. 15 Michigan last week. She sparked the Huskers to the 3-1 comeback win at Michigan with 22 kills, eight digs and five blocks while hitting .465. Against Iowa, Foecke had 13 kills and eight digs and became the eighth Husker all-time to surpass 1,500 career kills. Foecke earned her third Big Ten Player of the Week honor this season and the fourth of her career.
Hames led the Huskers to a .333 hitting percentage in the win at Iowa with 30 assists and 17 digs. She then posted 52 assists and 18 digs in the 3-1 win at No. 15 Michigan. Hames averaged 11.71 assists per set and 5.00 digs per set. She has a team-high 20 double-doubles this season, including in the last 12 matches. It marks the second time this season Hames has been named freshman of the week.
Nebraska running back Devine Ozigbo was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and quarterback Adrian Martinez was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference announced on Monday.
The weekly award is the first of Ozigbo’s career, while he became the first Husker to be named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week since Tommy Armstrong Jr. in 2016. Martinez was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second straight week and for the third time this season. Martinez is the eighth player in Big Ten history to take home three freshman-of-the-week awards, and he is the first quarterback to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times since Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett in 2014.
Ozigbo was recognized after he averaged 14.7 yards per carry in the Huskers’ 54-35 win over Illinois on Saturday. Ozigbo had 162 yards rushing on only 11 carries – his fourth Big Ten game with more than 150 rushing yards – and he scored a career-high three touchdowns. Ozigbo had touchdown runs of 60 and 66 yards for the two longest rushes of his career. He is just 42 yards shy of rushing for 1,000 yards this season. The Sachse, Texas, native leads the Big Ten and ranks eighth nationally with 12 rushing touchdowns this season, and he also ranks fifth nationally in yards per carry (7.5) and is 21st in rushing yards (958).
Martinez directed a Husker offense that totaled more than 600 yards of offense against the Illini while scoring 54 points, the most points Nebraska has ever scored in a Big Ten Conference game. The Fresno, Calif., native accounted for 345 yards of total offense against Illinois, as he tied the school record with his sixth 300-yard total offense game this season. Martinez completed 24-of-34 passes for 290 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns. He also ran for 55 yards and one touchdown, tying his career high with four total touchdowns. Martinez, who moved into the top 10 on Nebraska’s season passing yards and total offense lists on Saturday, ranks second nationally among FBS freshmen in total offensive yards per game (305.2) and is third among all freshmen in passing yards per game (245.8). Among all FBS players, Martinez ranks 14th nationally in total offense, 17th in completion percentage (66.9) and 21st in points responsible for per game (15.1).
Lincoln -- James Palmer Jr. had 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, as No. 25 (Coaches) Nebraska improved to 2-0 on the season with an 87-35 victory over Southeastern Louisiana Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers shot 56 percent and put six players in double figures against the Lions, who won 22 games en route to an NIT bid last season. Palmer also added four assists and four steals, as the Huskers first-half runs of 22-0 and 22-2 to build a 36-point halftime cushion.
Glynn Watson Jr. had 16 points and six rebounds, while Isaac Copeland (11), Isaiah Roby (10), Thomas Allen (10) and Brady Heiman (10) all reached double figures to help Nebraska win its 13th straight at home. The 13-game home win streak is the longest since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013.
Nebraska forced 25 turnovers and held Southeastern Louisiana (1-2) to 27 percent shooting, as the Huskers have allowed 36.5 ppg in its two wins.
The Huskers trailed 7-4 in the opening minutes before running off 22 straight points, as NU held the visitors scoreless for more than eight minutes in building a 26-7 lead. Palmer then had seven points in a 22-2 Husker spurt as Nebraska put the game out of reach in the opening half.
Marlain Veal led the Lions (1-2) with 10 points, while Moses Greenwood added eight in a losing effort.
The Huskers return to action Wednesday night, as they take on Seton Hall at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff for the Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup is set for 6:30 p.m.
Lincoln - Taylor Kissinger set a school record by connecting on all six of her three-point attempts on her way to a team-high 22 points, shooting Nebraska to an 87-64 win over USC Upstate on Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers, who evened their record at 1-1 on the young season, got 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting overall from Kissinger, while her only miss was put back by fellow sophomore Kate Cain, who finished with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Senior forward Maddie Simon gave the Huskers three players in double figures with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and a 4-for-4 effort at the free throw line.
As a team, Nebraska shot a solid 53.1 percent (34-64) from the field, including 11-of-24 from three-point range (.458). The Big Red was also 8-of-10 at the free throw line. The Huskers controlled the glass against the Spartans, 42-27.
Kissinger got going early for Nebraska by knocking down all three of her first-quarter three-point attempts to propel the Huskers to a 26-12 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes.
The Big Red maintained a 13-point lead after Kissinger's fourth three with 6:50 left in the second quarter, before USC Upstate rallied to cut the margin to eight points at 41-33 with 1:30 left in the half. USC Upstate's Brianna Lewis scored 10 of her 12 first-half points in the second quarter to keep the Spartans within striking distance before the Huskers took a 43-33 lead to halftime.
The Huskers shot 52 percent (16-30) from the field, including 5-of-12 threes (.417) and all six of their free throws in the first half. USC Upstate hit 43.8 percent (14-32) of its shots, including 4-of-12 threes (.333) and 1-of-2 free throws. Nebraska out-rebounded the Spartans 19-14, but lost the first-half turnover battle 8-7.
Kissinger and the Huskers pushed the lead to 19 points at 67-48 at the end of three quarters, as she connected on both of her three-point attempts in the period. She did not attempt a shot from long range in the fourth quarter to become the first Husker in history to hit all six of her three-point attempts in a game. The only other Husker in history to hit as many as five threes in a game without a miss was Jessica Periago at Indiana on Dec. 5, 2010.
Nebraska got its 11th three of the game on the second triple of the day from senior guard Kristian Hudson to end the scoring in the closing minute. The final 23-point margin was Nebraska's largest lead of the contest.
Hudson, who made her first start as a Husker in place of junior guard Hannah Whitish, finished with six points and three assists. Whitish played 16 minutes in the game but had her streak of 50 straight starts come to an end. She missed significant practice time the past three days while nursing a minor leg injury that occurred in the first half of Nebraska's season-opening loss to Drake on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Whitish did not score Sunday, but did dish out four assists.
Nebraska got a strong game from junior Nicea Eliely, who pitched in eight points and team highs with six rebounds and six assists, while freshman Leigha Brown contributed seven points and four boards off the bench. Junior Grace Mitchell added six points and six rebounds, while freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek also contributed six points. Freshman Sam Haiby managed four points and five assists, while freshman Kayla Mershon completed the scoring for the Big Red with two points.
USC Upstate junior Brianna Lewis led all scorers with 26 points, while adding six assists. She hit 10-of-21 shots from the field and all six of her free throws. DeNisha Swain added 11 points, while Natalia Panufnik gave the Spartans three players in double figures with 10 points.
As a team, Upstate hit 23-of-60 shots (.383), including 6-of-22 threes (.273) while connecting on 12-of-13 free throws. The Spartans also won the turnover battle by a narrow 15-14 margin.
Nebraska opens a five-game road trip on Friday by traveling to Washington State. Tip-off between the Huskers and Cougars in Pullman is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) with live audio coverage from Huskers.com and the Husker Sports Network and a live video stream provided by Washington State.
Lincoln - Nebraska showcased an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense on its way to an impressive 54-35 win over Illinois on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's 54 points marked the second straight Big Ten home game that the Huskers set their conference scoring record against another Big Ten team. On Oct 20, the Huskers scored 53 in a 25-point win over Minnesota.
In a game that featured more than 1,100 yards in offense, the Huskers amassed 606 total yards, including 316 on the ground and 290 through the air. The Blackshirts also did their part in helping the offense, nabbing two interceptions and forcing a fumble, while the Huskers also recovered a pair of muffed punts on special teams. Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez and the offense turned the five Illini mistakes into 24 points.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten, while notching their third consecutive home win at Memorial Stadium. In those three games, the Big Red are averaging 50.7 points per game. Illinois slipped to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
Nebraska's first-half offensive eruption was ignited by three Illinois turnovers, including a pair of muffed punts, that the Big Red converted into 17 points. The turnovers were the difference in Nebraska's 38-21 halftime lead.
The second muffed punt by the Illini came in the final minute of the half, just seconds after Illinois cut the Nebraska lead to 31-21 with former Husker AJ Bush's third touchdown run with 58 seconds left in the half. The Illinois defense then forced a three-and-out. Isaac Armstrong's low, line drive punt carried 43 yards but bounced off Illinois return man Jordan Holmes' chest and a mad scramble was on, resulting in a recovery by Nebraska special teams stalwart Jeramiah Stovall at the Illinois 7-yard-line with 20 seconds left. Three plays later, Martinez found tight end Jack Stoll in the middle of the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the Big Red up 17 points.
It was Martinez's third touchdown pass of the half, as he accounted for 196 total yards in the half, including 129 yards on 12-of-17 passing. He added 67 rushing yards and another score to become the Nebraska freshman season record holder for total yards, which was previously held by Taylor Martinez (2,596 in 2010).
Martinez finished the day with 345 yards of total offense, including 290 yards on 24-of-34 passing. He threw three touchdown passes and one interception.
Nebraska started fast, racing 75 yards in just three plays after winning the coin toss and electing to receive. Martinez opened with an eight-yard run, before rushing over the right end for a 30-yard burst. He capped the drive with a 37-yard scoring strike to Stanley Morgan Jr. to give the Huskers a quick 7-0 lead just 1:02 into the game. It marked the sixth consecutive game that Nebraska scored on its first drive after receiving the opening kickoff.
The Illini's high-powered rushing attack marched back on the Big Red, covering 76 yards on eight plays capped by Bush's 11-yard touchdown run to tie the score with 10:39 left in the first quarter.
Nebraska showed no signs of slowing down, racing 89 yards in seven plays capped by Martinez's nine-yard scoring run to put the Huskers back in front at 14-7 with 7:27 left in the quarter.
Bush struck again with an eight-yard touchdown run to cap a second consecutive eight-play, 76-yard drive to tie the score with 3:40 left in the opening period.
Martinez found Morgan again on the ensuing drive, hooking up with the senior receiver for the second time in the quarter to give Nebraska a 21-14 lead. Morgan finished the day with eight receptions for 131 yards. It was his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and seventh of his career. He finished the day at No. 2 on Nebraska's career receiving yardage list with 2,599.
In a first quarter filled with fireworks, the two offenses combined for 424 total yards, including 241 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 plays for Nebraska.
The second quarter took on a different tone with three huge mistakes by the Illini. The first came on Armstrong's first punt of the game for the Huskers, which carried 37 yards before being dropped by Illini return man Carlos Sandy. Long-snapper Chase Urbach sprinted down the field after his snap and jumped on the loose ball at the Illinois 45.
Martinez and the Huskers drove to the Illinois 10, but had to settle for Barret Pickering's 27-yard field goal to take a 24-14 lead.
Bush and the Illini tried to rally, driving 52 yards in 10 plays before Blackshirt safety Tre Neal stripped the ball while tackling Bush. The Huskers wasted little time converting the turnover to points, as Devine Ozigbo sprinted 66 yards to paydirt for the longest run of his career on the third play of the drive to give Nebraska a 31-14 lead with six minutes left in the half.
Neal finished the game with 10 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles, while Mohamed Barry led the Blackshirts with 11 total tackles on the day to push his season total to 93.
Ozigbo added a four-year touchdown run in the third quarter and a 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth to close the scoring for the Huskers. The senior running back finished the day with 162 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
Bush rallied the Fighting Illini for a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that resulted in his third touchdown run with 58 seconds left in the half to cut the Husker edge to 31-21, but Illinois would get no closer the rest of the way after muffing their second punt of the half less than a minute later. Bush closed with a game-high 187 rushing yards and 313 yards of total offense, while going 11-for-25 for 126 passing yards with two interceptions.
Nebraska finished the half with 356 total yards, including 227 rushing yards, while Illinois put up 292 yards with 209 on the ground.
After forcing three turnovers in the first half, the Blackshirts added a fourth turnover on the opening drive of the second half when Aaron Williams intercepted a Bush pass across the middle to stop the Illini. For Williams, it was his first interception of the season.
Nebraska's offense converted again, covering 82 yards in a season-long 17 plays over 7:53. The Huskers went 3-for-3 on fourth down on the drive, before Ozigbo scored on a four-yard run to give the Big Red a 45-21 lead with 4:07 left in the quarter. Before the drive, Nebraska was just 2-for-11 on fourth down this season.
In clearly Nebraska's best special teams effort of the season, the Huskers extended the lead to 47-21 early in the fourth quarter with its first blocked punt of the year off the hands of Marquel Dismuke, which rolled out the back of the end zone for a safety.
The Illini managed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns around Ozigbo's 60-yard scoring sprint to make the final margin. Nebraska senior defensive tackle Mick Stoltenberg put the exclamation point on the Husker win in the closing minute with his first career interception to give the Blackshirts their fifth turnover of the day. It marked the the most turnovers Nebraska has gained since getting six against Wyoming in 2016. It also marked the third straight game that the Big Red has gained at least three turnovers.
Nebraska will complete its home schedule next week when the Huskers play host to Michigan State on Senior Day at Memorial Stadium. Kick-off time and television information will be announced soon.
12:10 - NEB - Marquel Dismuke blocked punt for safety, NEB 47-21
7:44 - ILL - RaVon Bonner 2 run (McLaughlin kick), 3 plays, 39 yards, 1:22, 47-28
6:15 - NEB - Ozigbo 60 run (Pickering kick), 3 plays, 75 yards, 1:29, NEB 54-28
3:21 - ILL - Dre Brown 15 run (McLaughlin kick), 7 plays, 93 yards, 2:46, NEB 54-35
Scoring SummaryNebraska 54, Illinois 35
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Nebraska)
First Quarter (21-14)
13:58 - NEB - Stanley Morgan Jr. 37 pass from Adrian Martinez (Barret Pickering kick), 3 plays, 75 yards, 1:02, NEB 7-0
10:39 - ILL - AJ Bush 11 run (Chase McLaughlin kick), 8 plays, 76 yards, 3:14, 7-7
7:27 - NEB - Martinez 9 run (Pickering kick), 7 plays, 89 yards, 3:06, NEB 14-7
3:40 - ILL - Bush 8 run (McLaughlin kick), 8 plays, 76 yards, 3:43, 14-14
1:54 - NEB - Morgan 32 pass from Martinez (Pickering kick), 5 plays, 75 yards, 1:46, NEB 21-14
Second Quarter (38-21)
10:36 - NEB - Pickering 27 FG, 7 plays, 35 yards, 3:19, NEB 24-14
6:00 - NEB - Devine Ozigbo 66 run (Pickering kick), 3 plays, 77 yards, 1:13, NEB 31-14
0:58 - ILL - Bush 2 run (McLaughlin kick), 12 plays, 75 yards, 5:02, NEB 31-21
0:03 - NEB - Jack Stoll 12 pass from Martinez (Pickering kick), 3 plays, 7 yards, 0:17, NEB 38-21
Third Quarter (45-21)
4:12 - NEB - Ozigbo 4 run (Pickering kick), 17 plays, 82 yards, 7:48, NEB 45-21
Fourth Quarter (54-35)
12:10 - NEB - Marquel Dismuke blocked punt for safety, NEB 47-21
7:44 - ILL - RaVon Bonner 2 run (McLaughlin kick), 3 plays, 39 yards, 1:22, 47-28
6:15 - NEB - Ozigbo 60 run (Pickering kick), 3 plays, 75 yards, 1:29, NEB 54-28
3:21 - ILL - Dre Brown 15 run (McLaughlin kick), 7 plays, 93 yards, 2:46, NEB 54-35
The Nebraska men's basketball team continues its opening week schedule on Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers take on Southeastern Louisiana. Tipoff from a sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 3 p.m. Any game returned tickets would be available at PBA beginning 90 minutes before tipoff.
Sunday's game will be carried nationally on ESPNU with Jon Meterparel and Brooke Weisbrod on the call. The game is also available on the ESPN app on most mobile devices, including Apple TV.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and the TuneIn Radio app and on SiriusXM radio.
Sunday's game is the second Lincoln Regional round of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. The championship rounds will be at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Nov. 19-20 with NU, Texas Tech, Missouri State and USC comprising the four-team field.
Sunday's game is also the annual Toys for Tots game, as fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys along with cash donations for the Marines Toys for Tots program. Volunteers will be collecting donations at locations around Pinnacle Bank Arena to benefit area youth. In addition, Veterans, active, and retired military personnel will receive one standing room only ticket by showing their valid military ID at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office on Sunday.
The Huskers, who are ranked 25th in the USA Today coaches poll, had little trouble in their opener, routing Mississippi Valley State, 106-37, on Tuesday evening. Glynn Watson Jr. led four Huskers in double figures with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while James Palmer Jr. had 15 of his 17 points in the first half, as the Huskers built a 42-point halftime lead. NU emptied the bench as all 12 players who dressed played between six and 23 minutes. Nebraska's 69-point margin was the second largest in more than a century, while the 106 points marked the most by a Husker team since 2005.
Nebraska's defense forced 19 turnovers and harassed the Delta Devils into 19 percent shooting, including 1-of-15 from 3-point range. The 37 points allowed and 13 first-half points allowed were lows in the Tim Miles era.
Southeastern Louisiana comes into the weekend with a 0-1 record, as they will take on William Carey on Friday before coming to Lincoln. The Lions, who went 22-12 and reached the NIT for the first time in school history, lost to LSU in their opener on Tuesday. Freshman Parker Edwards led SELU with 25 points - all coming in a 10-minute span of the second half.
OPENING NUMBER18 - Nana Akenten had a career-high 18 points off the bench in just 13 minutes on Tuesday. Akenten played just 21 minutes as a freshman, totaling seven points. He had five of Nebraska's 15 3-pointers, NU's highest total since hitting 15 against Miami on Dec. 20, 2006.
SCOUTING SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
Under fifth-year Head Coach Jay Lander, the Lions head into a pair of weekend games, as they will host William Carey on Friday before traveling to Lincoln. Lander's teams have improved their win total each season, culminating with a 22-12 record in 2017-18 when Southeastern Louisiana won the Southland Conference regular-season title and earned a berth to the NIT. The 22 wins were the most by the school since the 2004-05 season, and Southeastern Louisiana was picked second in the Southland Conference preseason poll.
The 2018-19 squad opened the year with a 94-63 loss at No. 23 LSU on Tuesday night. In that game, the Lions shot just 29 percent in the first half as LSU took a 48-18 lead into the locker room. Freshman Parker Edwards was the bright spot, coming off the bench with 25 points, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range, in just 10 minutes. Moses Greenwood also finished in double figures with 12 points and seven boards, while LSU limited Marlain Veal to one point in 26 minutes. Veal, who was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection, is coming off a knee injury after averaging 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game last season. Greenwood started 13 games last season and averaged 10.2 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game while blocking a team-high 30 shots.
Series history: Nebraska won both previous meetings posting victories in 2010 and 2015. In the most recent matchup, NU posted a 92-65 win on Nov. 22, 2015. In that game, the Huskers scored the first 12 points as part of a game-opening 19-2 run. Glynn Watson Jr. led four Huskers in double figures with 14 points. The other meeting was a 77-59 Husker win on Jan. 5, 2010. The Huskers are 9-2 all-time against the current members of the Southland Conference.
LAST TIME OUT
Glynn Watson Jr. tallied 19 points to lead four Huskers in double figures, as the No. 25 (Coaches) Nebraska Cornhuskers blitzed Mississippi Valley State, 106-37, Tuesday evening in the opener for both teams.
Watson, who played just 19 minutes, was 7-of-10 from the field, including five 3-pointers, as Nebraska built a 24-5 lead in the first nine minutes
and cruised to the win.
Nana Akenten came off the bench with 18 points, while James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland added, 17 and 10 points, respectively. In all, 11 of the 12 players who dressed got into the scoring column, as no Husker played more than 22 minutes.
Nebraska limited MVSU to just 19 percent shooting on the evening, including 3-of-32 in the first half, and forced 19 turnovers that led to 32 Husker points.
WHAT IS BACK FOR THE BIG RED
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 - all but Senior Night - 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). It is only the third time in the last 15 seasons that Nebraska returns at least 70 percent of its scoring from the previous season.
- Nebraska's 3,432 returning points ranks 13th nationally entering the 2018-19 season. Among Big Ten programs, only Iowa, which has 4,246 returning points has more points returning than the Big Red.
- Entering the season, Nebraska's returnees have combined for 160 career starts for the Big Red and 214 games at the Division I level. Copeland (49 starts at Georgetown) and Palmer (five starts at Miami) both cracked the starting lineups at their previous schools before coming to Nebraska.
|Returning Power Conference Players w/50 Assists & Blocks|
|Huskers w/50 Assists & Blocks|
Isaac Copeland Jr. made a successful return to action following back surgery and put together a strong junior season. The 6-foot-9 forward was second on the team in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and blocked shots (1.0 bpg), setting personal bests in all three areas. In all, he reached double figures 23 times, including five 20-point performances. He turned in a solid effort in Tuesday's win with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and four rebounds in 23 minutes.A top-20 recruit coming out of high school, Copeland earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors by averaging 13.5 points on 51 percent shooting, including 43 percent from 3-point range, and was in double figures in eight of his final nine Big Ten contests. Copeland graduated from Nebraska in May and is working on his Masters Degree.
FILLING UP PINNACLE BANK ARENA
Pinnacle Bank Arena will be full once again in 2018-19, as the NU Athletic Ticket Office announced on September 25 that general public season tickets are sold out for the upcoming season. It is the fourth time in the past six seasons that the Huskers have sold out their entire season allotment of tickets at Pinnacle Bank Arena. In all, nearly 15,000 season tickets have been sold for the 2018-19 season, including the Red Zone student section.
Since moving into PBA in 2013-14, the Huskers have ranked in the top-15 in attendance nationally all five years, and are one of only nine schools in the country to average 15,000+ fans per contest in that span.
In addition, 300-level seats are available for NU's games against Western Illinois (Nov. 24), Cal State Fullerton (Dec. 22) and Minnesota (Feb. 13). Every other remaining home game this season is sold out.
Pinnacle Bank Arena Attendance Since 2013-14
|2013-14 (1st year of PBA)||15,419 (13th)|
The Huskers have been strong at protecting its home court at Pinnacle Bank Arena since it opened in 2013-14.
- NU enters Sunday's game with Southeastern Louisiana with a 12-game home winning streak, the longest among power conference schools and eighth-longest home win streak nationally.
- With Tuesday's win over Mississippi Valley State, Nebraska tied its longest winning streak since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena. NU won 12 straight between Jan. 20-Nov. 18, 2014.
- NU has posted a 60-24 (.714) record in Pinnacle Bank Arena since it opened in August of 2013, including a 16-1 mark in 2017-18. Against non-conference foes, NU is 32-7 in PBA (.821). Since the start of the 2006-07 season, NU is 95-12 against non-conference foes (.888).
- Nebraska went 16-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2017-18 with the only loss coming in a one-point setback against then-No. 13 Kansas on Dec. 16. NU's .941 home winning percentage is the best since the 1982-83 campaign, while the 16 home wins was one shy of the school record.
- Nebraska went a perfect 9-0 at home in Big Ten play and won its two Big Ten home games against ranked teams by an average of 15.0 points per game. NU's 9-0 mark - the only unbeaten mark in the Big Ten - marked the first time the Huskers went unbeaten in conference play at home since the 1965-66 season. All of the other eight seasons with a perfect conference home record were between 1908 and 1921.
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.
GATES JOINS HUSKER STAFF
The only new face on the Husker bench is a familiar one to Big Ten fans, as Armon Gates joined the Husker coaching staff this past May. Gates, a native of Chicago, returns to the Big Ten after recently serving as associate head coach at the University of Florida under Mike White. Gates has coached and developed all-conference performers at three schools during his coaching career.
For the past five seasons (2013-18), Gates was at Northwestern under Chris Collins, helping the Wildcats to a pair of 20-win seasons, including the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017. He also helped bring a top-30 recruiting class to Northwestern in 2014, while the 2018 class is listed as high as 24th nationally by 247Sports.
THORBJARNARSON REPRESENTS ICELAND AT EUROPEAN U-20 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Husker sophomore Thorir Thorbjarnarson spent part of the summer representing his native Iceland for the U-20 National Team. At the FIBA U-20 European Championships, he averaged 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game, ranking second on the team in scoring and first in assists. He closed tournament action with three straight double figure efforts and averaged 18.5 points on 67 percent shooting, including 55 percent from 3-point range, in Iceland’s final two contests. Thorbjarnarson was solid in NU's opener, tallying career highs in both points (nine) and rebounds (four) vs. MSVU.
|Tai Webster||New Zealand|
|Leslee Smith||British Virgin Islands|
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles is poised to become just the fourth Husker coach to win 100-or-more games at Nebraska in the coming weeks. Miles enters his seventh season needing only 10 wins to pass both Doc Sadler and Moe Iba for third place on NU’s career wins chart.
Nebraska’s biggest improvements came on the defensive end in 2017-18, going from 13th to 6th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense and from 14th to 2nd in 3-point percentage defense. NU ranked in the top-75 nationally in both field goal defense (74th) and 3-point percentage defense (32nd) last season.The defense has been stout in the early going of 2018-19, as Nebraska held Wayne State (exhibition) and Mississippi Valley State to a combined 21.3 percent shooting, including just 6-of-37 from 3-point range. NU allowed just 37 points in its opener, the sixth-lowest total allowed in school history.
|2016-17 Season||2017-18 Season|
|Category||Overall (Rk.)||B1G (Rk.)||Overall (Rk.)||B1G (Rk.)|
|PPG Allowed||73.0 (12)||76.4 (12)||68.6 (10)||66.5 (5)|
|FG Pct. Def.||.447 (13)||.459 (13)||.423 (6)||.411 (2)|
|3-Pt. Pct. Def.||.399 (14)||.425 (14)||.322 (2)||.279 (1)|
ALLEN MAKES IMPACT FOR LINCOLN KIDS
Sophomore guard Thomas Allen coordinated a back-to-school drive for the kids of Everett Elementary School in Lincoln. Allen spearheaded the efforts, using traditional and social media to get the word out on the event, which took place on Aug. 4. In all, more than five vans of materials were donated that day with other Husker teams and university staffers making contributions for the event.