Nebraska Cornhuskers football
|Nebraska Cornhuskers football|
|Athletic director||Shawn Eichorst|
|Head coach||Mike Riley|
|Other staff||Mark Banker
|Home stadium||Memorial Stadium, Lincoln|
|Past conferences||Big 12
|All-time record||874–361–40 (.701)|
|Postseason bowl record||25–26 (.490)|
|Claimed national titles||5 (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997)|
|Unclaimed national titles||9 (1915, 1921, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1999)|
|Division titles||10 (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)|
Johnny Rodgers (1972)
Mike Rozier (1983)
Eric Crouch (2001)
|Fight song||There is No Place Like Nebraska, Hail Varsity|
|Mascot||Herbie Husker, Lil' Red|
|Marching band||Cornhusker Marching Band (The Pride of All Nebraska)|
Oklahoma Sooners (dormant)
Missouri Tigers (dormant)
The Nebraska Cornhuskers represent the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in college football. The program has established itself as a traditional powerhouse, and has the fourth most all-time victories of any NCAA FBS team, and is one of only eleven football programs in NCAA Division I history to win 800 or more games. The Cornhuskers have the most wins, and the highest winning percentage of any college football program over the last 50 years. ESPN ranks two undefeated Nebraska squads (the 1971 team and the 1995 team) among the top three teams in college football history.
On June 11, 2010, Nebraska ended the university's affiliation with the Big 12 Conference and joined the Big Ten Conference beginning in the 2011 season. Nebraska claims 46 conference championships and five national championships: 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997. The titles in the 1990s marked the first time since Notre Dame in 1946-49 when a team won three national championships in four seasons. The 2011-2012 Alabama Crimson Tide, the 1994-1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the 1956-1957 Oklahoma Sooners have the only consensus back-to-back national titles by Division 1-A schools.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers also have five undefeated seasons when they were not the national champions; 1902, 1903, 1913, 1914, and 1915. Between 1912 and 1916, a 34-game unbeaten streak was recorded by then head coach Ewald O. Stiehm.
Famous former Huskers include Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch. Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and for the new millennium he was voted the team's "Player of the Century"; his Cornhusker jersey (No. 20) was retired. Rozier was likewise inducted into the hall in 2006. Other Husker players and coaches who are members of the College Football Hall of Fame include: Forrest Behm, Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Sam Francis, Tommie Frazier, Rich Glover, Wayne Meylan, Bobby Reynolds, Dave Rimington, George Sauer, Will Shields, Clarence Swanson, Ed Weir, Grant Wistrom, and coaches Gomer Jones, Pete Elliott, Francis Schmidt, Dana X. Bible, Bob Devaney, Biff Jones, Tom Osborne, Eddie "Robbie" Robinson, and Fielding H. Yost.
- 1 History
- 2 Logos and uniforms
- 3 Memorial Stadium
- 4 Traditions
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Coaches
- 7 Championships and postseason
- 8 Season Results
- 9 Honors and Awards
- 10 In the NFL
- 11 Series records
- 12 Future non-conference opponents
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The early years (1890–1917)
Nebraska's football team began its history as the "Old Gold Knights", and was also sometimes known as the "Nebraska Bugeaters," "Tree Planters", "The Rattlesnake Boys", "Antelopes" or "Hawkeyes" in their early years.
The football program started strong and experienced success from the very beginning, going twenty-eight years straight with only a single losing season. Until the 1-7-1 losing season in 1899 in coach A. Edwin Branch's only year at the helm, Nebraska had compiled a 40-18-3 (0.680) record.
George Flippin was the first African-American athlete at Nebraska and only the fifth black athlete at a predominantly white university. Because of Flippin's presence on the roster, Missouri refused to play a scheduled game with Nebraska at Omaha in 1892. The result was a 1-0 forfeit.
Nebraska's 4th coach, Frank Crawford (1893–94, 9-4-1, 0.679) was the first paid head football coach at Nebraska. Eddie "Robbie" Robinson (1896–1897, 11-4-1, 0.719) and Fielding H. Yost (1898, 8-3-0, 0.727), the sixth and seventh head coaches, were the earliest Nebraska coaches to eventually be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Walter C. Booth (1900–05, 46-8-1, 0.845) was the program's 9th leader, and had the second-best career record spanning more than a year during this era. His 1902 team went undefeated, untied and unscored upon. Booth's teams produced a 24-game winning streak and was still bested by Ewald O. Stiehm (1911–15, 35-2-3, 0.913), who won the conference title in all five of his seasons and had a school-record 34-game unbeaten streak. His winning percentage as Nebraska's 12th head coach remains an all-time program best. The Cornhuskers were considered to play in the Rose Bowl game after the 1915 season, but the university's athletic board voted to turn down any such invitation. Stiehm left NU after the 1915 season because the university turned down his demand that he be paid an annual salary of $4,250 to serve as football coach, basketball coach and athletic director.
A brief slump (1918–20)
When the United States became involved in World War I, many young men went off to war, depleting the ranks of football teams nationwide. In addition, travel was severely restricted, causing the cancellation of numerous scheduled football games. Further complicated by the effects of the 1918 flu pandemic, the 1918 college football season was severely impacted.
William G. Kline led Nebraska through the stunted 1918 season, managing a 2-3-1 (0.417) record. Henry Schulte (1919–20, 8-6-3, 0.559), with thirteen years as a coach at other schools before arriving at Nebraska, managed over the next two years to barely attain a winning record as the program recovered from the war and aftermath. Although Schulte stepped down as head football coach after 1920, he remained at Nebraska to coach other sports and as an assistant football coach through 1938.
Climb back to dominance (1921–41)
By the end of the post-war slump, Nebraska had been led by fifteen head coaches over thirty-one years, but a new period of relative stability followed as Nebraska once again experienced success in college football.
Fred Dawson (1921–24, 23-7-2, 0.750) arrived at Nebraska after stints at Columbia, Denver, and Virginia. During the entire three-year tenure of Knute Rockne's Four Horsemen, Notre Dame lost only two games; one each in 1922 and 1923, both to Nebraska in Lincoln before packed houses. In his four years he won three conference titles and compiled the best record from this era, though it was nearly matched by the two coaches to follow him.
First-time head coach Ernest E. Bearg (1925–28, 23-7-3, 0.742) pulled in a title in his final season before handing over the team to Dana X. Bible (1929–36, 50-15-7, 0.743). Bible had an established reputation after fifteen years of experience as head coach, bringing in five Southwest Conference titles for Texas A&M, and his success continued as he led Nebraska to six more conference titles in his eight seasons.
Biff Jones (1937–41, 28-14-4, 0.652) was not as successful as his predecessors, yet still was a winning coach who claimed two titles in his tenure and brought Nebraska to their first ever bowl game, a loss to Stanford in the 1941 Rose Bowl. The following year, as the nation began to more fully be drawn closer to involvement in World War II, the program set a new record low with five straight midseason losses. One week after the final game of the season, Japan carried out the attack on Pearl Harbor. The country was again at war. Many thousands of young men joined the armed forces and were soon shipped abroad, as Nebraska's fortunes once again headed into a downturn.
Slide into obscurity (1942–61)
Nebraska was led by three head coaches during the war years, with a scarcity of players available as so many of the country's young men were abroad and at war. By 1945, the year the war ended, the Cornhuskers recorded a losing 11-24-0 (0.314) record.
The situation did not improve after the war, as Bernie Masterson (1946–47, 5-13-0, 0.278) recorded the worst head coach career winning percentage ever compiled at Nebraska in his first and only head football coaching appointment. Previous head coach George Clark (1945 & 1948, 6-13-0, 0.316), a veteran of both world wars with an extensive coaching pedigree and who led Nebraska in the final war season of 1945, returned as Nebraska's coach for 1948 temporarily as a search was made for his successor, prior to his ascension to Athletic Director at Nebraska.
Clark hired Bill Glassford (1949–55, 50-40-4, 0.553), and Nebraska's performance improved somewhat over previous years, especially after the 6-2-1 1950 season, and Nebraska's second-ever bowl appearance, a 34-7 loss to Duke in the 1955 Orange Bowl.
Following Glassford, Pete Elliott, a star quarterback who led Michigan to the 1948 national championship, arrived at Nebraska for his first ever head coaching appointment. Although he would go on to achieve successes later in his career, he recorded a 4-6-0 (0.400) record in his one year at Nebraska. His replacement, Bill Jennings (1957–61, 15-34-1, 0.310) fared even worse at the helm, his final career record with the Cornhuskers being the lowest of all but three of Nebraska's coaches.
Prior to 1941, Nebraska had an all time .732 winning percentage, which was the seventh best winning percentage in college football at the time. (Behind, in order, Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, Harvard, Michigan and Minnesota.) Despite the Cornhusker's relative mediocrity since the early 2000s, Nebraska still has had the best winning percentage in Division I-A since Bob Devaney took over in 1962. From 1962 to 2013, Nebraska had a .786 winning percentage. Ohio State (.760 winning percentage from 1962-2013) is a distant second to Nebraska in winning percentage among FBS teams since Devaney revived the Cornhuskers. From 1941 to 1961, however, Nebraska had a winning percentage of .368. This winning percentage was the 126th best out of 133 Division I teams at the time, and was the second lowest of a team in any major conference. The only major conference team with a worse winning percentage than Nebraska from 1941-1961 was fellow Big 6/7/8 member Kansas State.
The Devaney and Osborne dynasties (1962–97)
Bob Devaney (1962–72, 101-20-2, 0.829) about an immediate turnaround in the fortunes of Nebraska football. He led Nebraska to a 9-2 record in his first season, including Nebraska's first ever bowl win against Miami in the 1962 Gotham Bowl. This was the first of what would eventually be 40 consecutive winning seasons, and Nebraska's NCAA-record ongoing sellout streak began in the seventh game of this season. After five straight bowl game seasons, Devaney's squad suffered two 6–4 years in a row in 1967 and 1968, prompting a change in philosophy suggested by offensive assistant Tom Osborne, who would also advance to Offensive Coordinator the following season. Over the next four seasons, Nebraska suffered just four losses, amassed an overall 42-4-2 (0.896) record, won the conference title in each year, and secured Nebraska's first and second national championships.
The first championship season, in 1970, came on the heels of a 17-12 victory against Louisiana State in the Orange Bowl. Nebraska went into the game ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, but both teams ahead of the Cornhuskers lost that day. There was no such suspense in 1971. Nebraska began the season ranked No. 2 by the Associated Press and moved up to No. 1 after a 34-7 victory in its opener against Oregon. The Cornhuskers remained atop the AP poll all season, as they defeated second-ranked Oklahoma in what was, and still is, called the "Game of the Century" on Thanksgiving Day in Norman, Okla., and wrapped up the title by defeating Bear Bryant's second-ranked Alabama 38-6 in the Orange Bowl game on New Year’s night.
Cornhusker All-Americans became commonplace during Devaney's tenure as coach. Among the 18 who received such recognition were Johnny Rodgers, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1972, and Rich Glover, who won the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award that same season.
Devaney stepped down after the 1972 season and took over the duties of Nebraska's Athletic Director. Osborne (1973–97, 255–49–3, 0.836) subsequently became Nebraska's longest-tenured coach and won more games than any other coach in the team's history. He also became the NCAA's fifth most winning Division 1-A coach in history over the course of his 25 years at the helm. Osborne never won fewer than nine games in any of his seasons, and secured thirteen conference titles.
After an undefeated regular season by the 1983 team, nicknamed "The Scoring Explosion," earned themselves into the 1984 Orange Bowl with a #1 ranking. Nebraska trailed Miami 17–0 after the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Nebraska coach Tom Osborne called for the fumblerooski, whereby Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill "fumbled" the snap from center by setting it on the turf and was picked up by All-American offensive guard Dean Steinkuhler, who ran the ball 19 yards for a touchdown. Nebraska famously went on to lose the game 31–30 (and with it, the national championship). Although this is widely regarded as the most famous occurrence of this play, it is actually not the first time that Nebraska ran it, having first tried it in a 17–14 loss to Oklahoma in 1979.
The 1994 team was Osborne's first national championship team but were even better the next season. ESPN.com has named the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers the greatest team of all time. They scored 638 points (53.2 per game) while only allowing 164 (14.5 per game)on their way to their second consecutive national championship by defeating favored Florida Gators, 62-24. The 1994 and 1995 Nebraska teams, which went a combined 25–0, remain the only undefeated and untied - as well as the only consensus - back-to-back national champions since Oklahoma in 1955 and 1956.
The Cornhuskers entered the Big 12 era as winners of the last five Big Eight titles under the old round-robin format (the Big Eight had added four schools from the Southwest Conference, necessitating the adoption of the divisional format as the Big 12) and reached the first Big 12 Championship Game in St. Louis. Had they not been upset by Texas, they would have played for yet another national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl game.
In 1997, a 27-14 victory at Washington certified the Cornhuskers as national championship contenders. A 45-38 overtime victory at Missouri kept their title hopes alive with the "Flea Kicker". Nebraska returned to the Big 12 championship in 1997 and defeated Texas A&M for its first title in the Big 12 and a 42-17 victory against No. 3 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl boosted them to the top of the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll making Osborne the only coach to retire as national champions.
Nebraska posted a 60–3–0 record between the 1993-97 seasons to end Osborne's tenure.
The Post-Osborne era (1998–2010)
Upon Osborne's retirement, the program was handed over to coaching assistant Frank Solich (1998–2003, 58-18, 0.766), who also had played for Nebraska from 1963-1965. In his six seasons, Solich won one Big 12 North Division title, an outright conference championship, and took the Cornhuskers to the 2001 National Championship Game. After a weak 7-7 season in 2002, Solich changed his approach, much as Devaney had done after 1968, and made changes to his assistant coaching staff. The turnaround appeared successful, as Solich's 2003 team went 9-3 in the regular season. However, second-year Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson fired Solich before the bowl game, justifying the move by stating he would not "let Nebraska gravitate into mediocrity", and would not "surrender the Big 12 to Oklahoma and Texas". Solich's defensive coordinator, Bo Pelini, hired in the 2002 staffing shakeup, was appointed interim coach and led the Cornhuskers to a 17-3 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State to close out the 2003 Nebraska season with a 10-3 record.
Although Pelini interviewed for the position as permanent replacement, ultimately former Oakland Raiders head coach Bill Callahan (2004–2007, 27-22, 0.551) was named as Solich's successor. Callahan's mandate to prevent Nebraska's decline was not immediately successful, as he installed the West Coast offense made popular in the National Football League. His 2004 first-year record of 5-6 was Nebraska's first losing season since 1961. The 8-4 2005 season showed improvement, and Nebraska's 9-5 record in 2006 accompanied a conference division title. However, in 2007, Nebraska dropped five games in a row for the first time since 1958, including a record-setting 76-39 loss to Kansas. Pederson was fired as athletic director in the middle of the five-game slide, and Tom Osborne returned from his political career to fill in as interim athletic director. Callahan subsequently put up just one more win, against Kansas State, before closing the season with a 65–51 loss to Colorado. In four years, Callahan had achieved the lowest winning percentage by a Nebraska head coach in 46 years, and Osborne fired him the following day.
Osborne selected Bo Pelini (2008–2014, 67-27, 0.713) to return to Nebraska as the 32nd head coach of the Cornhuskers. Pelini's first team tied for the division title with a 9-4 record, the best record among all twenty-eight first-season coaches in college football's FBS division. In 2009, Nebraska led the nation in scoring defense, finishing 10-4 with another division championship and a #14 overall ranking. Following the 2009 season, Pelini was given his second raise and contract extension. In 2010, Nebraska again finished 10-4 with another division championship and a #20 overall ranking.
Move to the Big Ten (2011–present)
Nebraska's first season in the Big Ten Conference was moderately successful, placing third in the Legends division and finishing the season with a 9-4 record. There was more success in 2012 as the Cornhuskers went undefeated at home for the first time since 2001 and won the Legends division. However, they lost the Big Ten Championship game to Wisconsin and the Capital One Bowl to #6 Georgia, ending the season with a 10-4 record. 2013 saw Nebraska tie for second place in the Legends division and wrap up a 9-4 season with a win over #23 Georgia in the Gator Bowl. In 2014, the Cornhuskers put up a regular season record of 9-3, tying for second place in the West division. Pelini was fired the day after the regular season ended. At the time he was fired, the university reportedly still owed Pelini $7.65 million according to the terms of his contract. Pelini exited the Nebraska football program with a 67–27 record (.713), winning at least 9 games each season, although the Cornhuskers never won a conference title under Pelini. Shortly thereafter, Nebraska hired Oregon State University coach Mike Riley as the team's new head coach. The Cornhuskers concluded the 2014 season under interim head coach Barney Cotton, losing to #24 USC in the Holiday Bowl and finishing with a 9-4 record, marking Nebraska's seventh consecutive four-loss season.
Logos and uniforms
Nebraska has worn traditional uniforms throughout its history. The first helmet was red, with a white stripe. This was later changed to a plain white helmet with a black number on the side. During 1967–1969, a red, offset "NU" was placed on each side of the helmet. From 1970, the "NU" was changed to the simple, familiar "N" that remains today, although it is thought a few "NU" helmets remained in use as late as 1972. There were not enough U stickers available before the 1970 season, which became the first national championship season. The single was considered a good luck charm so it remained.
The helmet design has remained essentially unchanged since 1970, with the exception of the face mask, as it was changed from grey to red prior to the 1982 Orange Bowl game against Clemson.
The jerseys have only been altered a few times, with the addition of shoulder stripes and numbers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Huskers wore full shoulder stripes reminiscent of those worn by the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts of the NFL. These were gradually phased out when mesh and tearaway jerseys became popular. For the 1974 Cotton Bowl Classic, the jersey has the script "Nebraska" embroidered onto the front. From 1980–83, Nebraska's jerseys featured just a simple block "N" on the sleeves. In 1984, two sleeve stripes and sleeve numbers were added back to the uniform, where they essentially remain today, although the stripes and numbers have decreased in size as jersey sleeves have shortened over the years.
Shoulder patches were added to the jerseys beginning in 1989, with a patch that commemorated the 100th season of Nebraska football. The following season, a patch with "Nebraska Football: A Winning Tradition" embroidered on it was added above the left breast of the jersey. In 1999 a new version of this patch debuted and it has remained there to date.
Names began appearing on the backs of the jerseys for bowl games beginning in the 1970s. Around 1980, the players' names began appearing on the road jerseys. The home jerseys remained nameless except for when worn during bowl games, with one exception. A brief tradition was established for the last home game of each season, where seniors (playing their final game in Memorial Stadium) were allowed to wear names on their jerseys; underclassmen, however, did not. This explains why footage of many Oklahoma-Nebraska games played in Lincoln during this era feature some Nebraska players with names on their jerseys and some without. From approximately 1988 onwards, names were permanently affixed to the home jersey, where they remain.
The team traditionally wears white pants at home and red on the road, although there have been exceptions. Nebraska donned red pants with red jerseys for the first (and until 2012, only) time in school history for its 1986 contest against Oklahoma. Nebraska led this game for 58½ minutes before losing a 20-17 heartbreaker due to some late OU heroics, and the combination was deemed to be unlucky.
Nebraska began periodically donning all-white, beginning with the 1991 Citrus Bowl game against Georgia Tech (a game in which they were blown out, 45-21). They next tried the combo during the 1992 season, wearing all-white for the first three road games of that year. They lost two of the three, including an embarrassing 19-10 decision to an unranked Iowa State squad. The combination was not tried again until the ill-fated 2002 uniform (see next paragraph) and was also worn during Bill Callahan's last game as head coach (another embarrassing loss, this time 65-51 to Colorado). As a result, Husker fans typically associate the all-white look with losing and tend to prefer the red road pants. In 2014, Nebraska donned all-white uniforms again when they played at Fresno State and defeated them 55-19. They wore them again at Northwestern, Wisconsin and USC in the Holiday Bowl. At Michigan State and Iowa games, they wore the traditional red pants.
From 1968–94, the pants had two stripes down each side. Originally they were thin stripes, but became thicker sometime in the mid-1970s. These were removed prior to the 1995 season, and the pants remained stripe-less until 2001. For the 2002 season, Nebraska experimented with side panels on the jersey and pants, and went to all white permanently on the road. The look was overwhelmingly disliked by most fans, presumably because the Huskers went 7-7, which was at the time their worst season in 40 years. In 2003, Nebraska returned to a look similar to the one they wore from 1995–2001. In 2004, the two pant stripes returned to the uniform, where they have remained since.
On September 26, 2009, for the first time in school history, the Cornhuskers wore "throwback" uniforms from 1962 in honor of Nebraska's 300th consecutive sell out. Adidas is the official shoe and uniform sponsor of Nebraska athletics.
For the 2010 season, the numbers on the outside of the shoulder were placed on the top of the shoulder pads, similar to the style of the late 1970s.
The Huskers wore alternate all red uniforms with black helmets against the Wisconsin Badgers on September 29, 2012. This marked the first Adidas Unrivaled Game, where 2 adidas programs don alternate uniforms against each other
Nebraska wore alternate uniforms against the UCLA Bruins in 2013. This uniform marks the introduction of adidas’ TECHFIT ShockWeb technology, designed to keep players fast, cool and mobile onfield. The TECHFIT black jersey features white stencil font numbers and a unique pattern throughout. The Cornhuskers’ helmet is matte white with a wide black stripe, stencil numbers and a face mask that fades from red to matte black. Nebraska’s famous straight red “N” featured on its helmets for decades remains unchanged. Nebraska’s black adidas TECHFIT baselayer has an N in the design. The pants are white with black stripes and the straight red “N” on the front left hip. They also wore adidas Team Speed Vertical socks and Crazyquick Mid cleats.
Keeping with the pattern of the last few seasons, Nebraska once again sported an alternate uniform for a game in the 2014 season. Against Illinois, Adidas outfitted Nebraska with the "Red Rising" TECHFIT alternate uniform. The all-red uniform featured black metallic stripes on the jersey and pants, ultra-light black and silver metallic numbers and a large Nebraska "N" on the chest of the compression base layer undershirt. The uniform also featured a helmet with a matte red finish with the lower back section of the rear of the helmet colored in black. The "N" on the side of the helmets was black in color as was the facemask. No center stripe adorned this helmet.
The home of the Huskers since 1923 and the location of a continuing NCAA-record consecutive sellout streak currently at 340, the "Sea of Red" provides one of the most exciting game-day experiences in all of college football.
The sellout streak dates back to November 3, 1962 during Bob Devaney's first season at Nebraska. The Huskers lost the first game in the current streak, a Homecoming game, to Missouri 16–7 with 36,501 in attendance. It reached number 300 with a win over Louisiana-Lafayette in front of a then school-record crowd of 86,304 on Sept. 26, 2009.
The stadium completed a major expansion to the east side in 2013, and now when full the stadium holds more people than the third-largest city in Nebraska, Bellevue. Official capacity is now listed at 87,000, but crowds are regularly in excess of 91,000.
Outside of the stadium are three statues. The Husker Legacy Statue, made in 1997, which depicts 6 Husker defensive players tackling a Kansas State player. It was modeled from a picture taken during the Nebraska vs. Kansas State game in 1995. It is made of bronze and weighs two tons. Fred Hoppe, the creator, says "the monument displays the sense of pride that Nebraskans have for their football team." In 2006, he also created a statue of Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne is located outside of the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex on the North side of Memorial Stadium. It is a life-sized bronze sculpture of the two standing side by side. On August 30, 2013, a life-sized bronze statue of Bob Devaney was unveiled at the main entrance of the newly remodeled east side of Memorial Stadium. The sculptor, Joe Putjenter, also sculpted the Tunnel Walk gates inside of the stadium. Nebraska played in front of the largest crowd in Memorial Stadium history on September 20, 2014 against Miami (FL) with an announced attendance of 91,585.
Prior to Memorial Stadium, the Huskers played their home games at Nebraska Field from 1909-1922. They defeated Notre Dame's four horsemen in the final game at the field.
Every home game since the 1940s after the Huskers score their first touchdown, thousands of helium balloons are released into the sky by the fans. In 2012, a global helium shortage was about to put this tradition on hiatus, but after reviewing the amount of helium there was, the University kept the tradition alive throughout the 2012 season.
The Husker defense is known by the nickname of the "Blackshirts." Depictions of the Blackshirts often include a skull and crossbones. This nickname originated in the early 1960s and continued as a reference to the black practice jerseys worn by first-string defensive players during practice. This tradition developed when Bob Devaney had Mike Corgan, one of his assistant coaches, find contrastive jerseys to offset the red jerseys worn by the offense in practice. Further credit is given to George Kelly, Devaney's defensive line coach until 1968, who frequently referred to the top defensive unit by the name; eventually the rest of the coaching staff caught on, while the first mention of the Blackshirts in print was not until 1969.
Husker Power Chant
Just before The Tunnel Walk where half of Memorial Stadium yells "Husker!" in unison while the other half answers "Power!" It is so loud, that it is rumored to be heard all the way in Omaha.
Since the 1994 season, Nebraska's home games have opened with the Tunnel Walk. Before the teams enter the field, the HuskerVision screens light up with a video, and "Sirius" (an instrumental by The Alan Parsons Project) blares from the speakers accompanied by cheers from the crowd, and the Huskers take the field.
Nebraska football has a formal walk-on program which attracts many students from throughout the state—often from rural areas—that the Cornhuskers did not offer athletic scholarships to. The program accepted its first walk-on player in the early 1960s, and Tom Osborne began an official walk-on program in 1973 after the NCAA reduced the number of scholarships the university could offer. The size of the program means that Nebraska's rosters are unusually large; it had 141 players on the team that won the national championship at the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, while opponent Florida had 94. About 40% of the players that traveled to away games under Osborne were walk-ons. He credited them with contributing to his teams' success, by providing manpower for additional scout teams to prepare against for future opponents. Unlike those at some other schools, Nebraska's walk-ons have the same access to training facilities and academic counseling as those with scholarships. While many walk-ons never play in a game during their athletic careers, six walk-ons have become All-American players and 29 have played in the NFL. Twelve have been named Academic All-Americans.
The Nebraska–Oklahoma game is one of the great college football rivalries. Overall, the two teams have met 86 times, dating back to 1912. The Sooners lead the series, 45-38-3.
The series began on November 23, 1912 in Lincoln, NE. The game resulted in a 13-9 Cornhusker victory. Nebraska dominated the series until the 1942 season, going 16-3-3. Thereafter, the Sooners ran off sixteen consecutive victories, the longest streak in the series. The Sooners won nearly all of these games by substantial margins; only the 1947 and 1950 matches were competitive. Then, in 1959, an unranked Nebraska squad upset #19 Oklahoma, 25-21. In addition to ending the Cornhuskers' drought against the Sooners, this victory snapped Oklahoma's remarkable 74-game win streak against conference opponents. Through the 1960s and early 1970s, the two teams traded wins and losses, with each team going 6-6. Then, from 1972-1977, Oklahoma went on a six-game win streak. In 1978, #4 Nebraska upset #1 Oklahoma, 24-21. Less than two months later, however, the #4 Sooners defeated the #6 Cornhuskers in a rematch in the 1979 Orange Bowl. Later that year, Oklahoma defeated Nebraska again in the 1979 regular season. In the 1980s, the series was evenly split, with each team going 5-5. In 1990, an unranked Oklahoma team shocked #10 Nebraska, 45-10. The rest of the decade, however, decidedly belonged to the Cornhuskers. Nebraska went on a seven-game win streak, outgaining Oklahoma by a combined score of 265-61. This includes the 1997 game which Nebraska won 67-7, the most lopsided score in the history of the rivalry. With the expansion of the Big 8 Conference in 1996, thereby establishing the Big 12, the 1995 game actually marked the end of the series as an annual contest. (The 1996-97 games were incidental to Big 12 scheduling.) As Big 8 opponents, Nebraska and Oklahoma had played annually for 68 years, dating back to the 1928 season. The Big 12 Conference's two-division structure, with Nebraska in the North Division and Oklahoma in the South, presented a new era. After the 1997 game, the two teams did not meet again until 2000. From 2000-2009, they met seven times, with the Sooners going 5-2. The two teams met for the last time as conference opponents in the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game, in which #9 Oklahoma defeated #13 Nebraska, 23-20.
Historically, the two teams regularly competed against each other for conference championships. Over the Big 8 Conference's 89-year history (1907-1995), Nebraska and Oklahoma combined to win 74 conference titles, 41 by the Cornhuskers and 33 by the Sooners. During the years of the Big 12 Conference Championship Game (1996-2010), the two teams combined for an additional nine conference titles, seven by Oklahoma and two by Nebraska. Of the Sooners' seven titles in this era, two were won against the Cornhuskers.
Not uncommonly, the Nebraska-Oklahoma game showcased the highest levels of college football. In eighteen of the matches, both teams held top ten rankings in the AP Poll; in nine of these games, both teams held top five rankings. Two of these games involved a #1 vs. #2 match (1971, 1987). Perhaps the marquee game of the entire rivalry is the 1971 game, in which #1 Nebraska squared off with #2 Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day in Norman, OK. The game aired on ABC, with an estimated 55 million viewers. Deemed the "Game of the Century," this game highlighted the skills of Nebraska's Heisman winner Johnny Rodgers and Oklahoma's All American Jack Mildren, among many other standout players. The game, evenly matched in practically every aspect, resulted in a 35-31 Cornhusker victory. In describing the game, Dave Kindred of The Courier-Journal wrote, "They can quit playing now, they have played the perfect game."
Over the years, the Nebraska-Oklahoma game has produced several upsets. On sixteen occasions, the lower-ranked team won the game. The 1959 game, described above, is considered Nebraska's greatest upset victory. On four occasions, the #1 ranked team was taken down; with the exception of the 1978 game, all of these games involved Oklahoma defeating #1 Nebraska (1984, 1987, 2000). Notably, the 1987 match echoed the 1971 game, pitting #1 Nebraska against #2 Oklahoma. Unlike the 1971 game, however, the Sooners knocked off the Cornhuskers, winning 17-7. Other high-stake upsets include the 1963 game, #10 Nebraska vs. # 6 Oklahoma; 1975, #7 Oklahoma vs. # 2 Nebraska; 1985, #5 Oklahoma vs. #2 Nebraska; and 2001, #3 Nebraska vs. #2 Oklahoma. The most recent upset occurred in 2009 when an unranked Nebraska team, carried by a Blackshirts defense, defeated #20 Oklahoma, 10-3.
With Nebraska's move to the Big Ten Conference in 2011, the rivalry lies dormant. The two teams are scheduled to play a home-and-home series in 2021 in Norman (the 50th anniversary of the 1971 game) and 2022 in Lincoln.
The Victory Bell has been awarded to the winner of the Missouri-Nebraska game since the 1927 season. Overall, the two teams have met 104 times, dating back to the 1892 season. The Cornhuskers lead the series, 65-36-3. Nebraska currently holds the Victory Bell, having defeated the Tigers in the 2010 game. With Nebraska's move to the Big Ten Conference in 2011, the series lies dormant. No rematch has been scheduled to date.
The Heroes Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Iowa-Nebraska game since the 2011 season. Known as the Heroes Game, the match takes place on Black Friday as the last game of the regular season. Overall, the two teams have met 45 times, dating back to the 1891 season. The Cornhuskers lead the series, 29-13-3. Nebraska currently holds the Heroes Trophy, having defeated the Hawkeyes in the 2014 game. The two teams will continue to meet annually as division opponents in the Big Ten West.
The Freedom Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Nebraska-Wisconsin game since the 2014 season. Overall, the two teams have met only nine times, dating back to the 1901 season. The Badgers lead the series, 5-4. Wisconsin currently holds the Freedom Trophy, having defeated the Cornhuskers in the 2014 game. The two teams will continue to meet annually as division opponents in the Big Ten West.
Other alleged rivalries
Colorado: Colorado–Nebraska football rivalry
Minnesota: Minnesota–Nebraska football rivalry
Miami (FL): Nebraska-Miami football rivalry'
Current coaching staff
in this position
|Years at Nebraska||Alma Mater|
|Mike Riley||Head Coach||2015||2015-||Alabama|
|Danny Langsdorf||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks||2015||2015-||Linfield College|
|Mark Banker||Defensive Coordinator||2015||2015-||Springfield College|
|Bruce Read||Special Teams Coordinator||2015||2015-||Portland State|
|Hank Hughes||Defensive Line||2015||2015-||Springfield College|
|Reggie Davis||Running Backs||2015||2015-||Washington|
|Keith Williams||Receivers||2015||2015-||San Diego State|
|Mike Cavanaugh||Offensive Line||2015||2015-||Southern Connecticut State|
|Trent Bray||Linebackers||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Brian Stewart||Defensive Backs||2015-||2015-||Northern Arizona|
|Max Onyegbule||Graduate Assistant - Defensive Line||2014||2014-||Kansas|
|Tavita Thompson||Graduate Assistant - Tight Ends||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Jon Clark||Graduate Assistant - Defense||2015||2015-||Arizona State|
|Beau Walker||Graduate Assistant - Offensive Assistant||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Mark Philipp||Strength & Conditioning||2015||2015-||Southern Illinois|
|Chris Brasfield||Director of High School Relations||2015||2015-||TCU|
|Andy Vaughn||Director of Football & Recruiting Operations||2015||2015-||North Greenville|
|Dan Van De Riet||Associate A.D. for Football Operations||2015||2015-||San Jose State|
|Ryan Gunderson||Director of Player Personnel||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Hilary O'Bryan||Assistant Director of Football Operations||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Todd McShane||Assistant Director of Player Personnel||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Kenny Wilhite||Associate Director of Player Personnel||2014||2014-||Nebraska|
|Greg Vaughn||Video Director||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Tate Guillotte||Video Assistant Coordinator||2014||2014-||LSU|
|Tim Rabas||Associate Strength Coach||2015||2015-||Wisconsin-Stevens Point|
|Willie Jones||Assistant Strength Coach||2009||2009-||South Dakota State|
|Jamie Belt||Assistant Strength Coach||2015||2015-||Wayne State|
|Andrew Ervin||Assistant Strength Coach||2015||2015-||DeSales|
|Nick Hallberg||Graduate Manager - Offensive Quality Control||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Hardie Buck||Graduate Manager - Special Teams Quality Control||2015||2015-||Alabama|
|Keaton Kristick||Graduate Manager - Defensive Quality Control||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Brooks Armstrong||Graduate Manager - Operations||2015||2015-||Oregon State|
|Shann Schillinger||Graduate Manager - Special Teams||2015||2015-||Montana|
Career Coaching Records (1893–2014)
|E.O. Stiehm (1911-1915)||5||40||35||2||3||.913|
|W.C. Booth (1900-1905)||6||55||46||8||1||.845|
|Tom Osborne (1973-1997)||25||307||255||49||3||.836|
|Bob Devaney (1962-1972)||11||123||101||20||2||.829|
|Frank Solich (1998-2003)||6||77||58||19||0||.753|
|Fred Dawson (1921-1924)||4||32||23||7||2||.750|
|Dana X. Bible (1929-1936)||8||72||50||15||7||.743|
|E.E. Bearg (1925-1928)||4||33||23||7||3||.742|
|W.C. Cole (1907-1910)||4||36||25||8||3||.736|
|E.J. Stewart (1916-1917)||2||15||11||4||0||.733|
|Fielding Yost (1898)||1||11||8||3||0||.727|
|E.N. Robinson (1896-1897)||2||16||11||4||1||.719|
|Bo Pelini (2008–2014)*||7||94||67||27||0||.713|
|Frank Crawford (1893-1894)||2||14||9||4||1||.679|
|Charles Thomas (1895)||1||9||6||3||0||.667|
|L. McC. "Biff" Jones (1937-1941)||5||46||28||14||4||.652|
|Amos Foster (1906)||1||10||6||4||0||.600|
|Henry F. Schulte (1919-1920)||2||17||8||6||3||.559|
|Bill Callahan (2004-2007)||4||49||27||22||0||.551|
|Bill Glassford (1949-1955)||7||69||31||35||3||.471|
|W.G. Kline (1918)||1||6||2||3||1||.471|
|Pete Elliott (1956)||1||10||4||6||0||.400|
|George Clark (1945, 1948)||2||19||6||13||0||.316|
|Bill Jennings (1957-1961)||5||50||15||34||1||.310|
|Glenn Presnell (1942)||1||10||3||7||0||.300|
|Bernie Masterson (1946-1947)||2||18||5||13||0||.278|
|Adolph Lewandowski (1943-1944)||2||16||4||12||0||.250|
|A.E. Branch (1899)||1||9||1||7||1||.167|
|Mike Riley (2015–present)||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Barney Cotton (2014)**||1||1||0||1||0||.000|
* - Interim Head Coach for 2003 Alamo Bowl
** - Interim Head Coach for 2014 Holiday Bowl
Championships and postseason
|1970¹||Bob Devaney||AP||11-0-1||Won Orange|
|1971||Bob Devaney||AP, Coaches||13-0||Won Orange|
|1994||Tom Osborne||AP, Coaches||13-0||Won Orange|
|1995||Tom Osborne||AP, Coaches||12-0||Won Fiesta|
|1997²||Tom Osborne||Coaches||13-0||Won Orange|
|Total national championships – 5|
* Texas retained a #1 ranking in the UPI Poll despite a 24-11 loss to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic;
prior to the 1974 season, the UPI Poll (coaches) released its final rankings before the bowl games.
Nebraska was #1 in the final AP Poll (writers) for the 1970 season, conducted after the bowl games.
Nebraska has also been awarded nine other national championships by various polling organizations:
- 1915, 1921, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1999
Nebraska has participated in 51 bowls, including an NCAA-record 35 consecutive bowls from 1969 to 2003.
* - Denotes National title
Honors and Awards
Individual award winners
College Football Hall of Fame
|Name||Position||Years at NU||Year Inducted|
|Dana X. Bible||Coach||1929-36||1951|
|Eddie “Robbie” Robinson||Coach||1896-97||1955|
|Wayne Meylan||Middle Guard||1965-67||1991|
|Bob (Boomer) Brown||Guard||1961-63||1993|
|Rich Glover||Middle Guard||1970-72||1995|
|Mike Rozier||Running Back||1981-83||2006|
|Grant Wistrom||Defensive End||1994-97||2009|
|Will Shields||Offensive Tackle||1989-92||2011|
Retired jersey numbers
|Nebraska Cornhuskers retired numbers|
|20||Johnny Rodgers 1||RB||1970–72|
- 1 Rodgers permitted his #20 jersey number to be worn by his son Terry, who played for Nebraska from 1986–1990. Marlon Lucky also wore this number before changing his number to #5. Michael Booker wore #20 for his entire career.
Retired player jerseys
Nebraska's group of 17 players with retired jerseys ranks among the best in the nation.
- #7 Eric Crouch (1998–2001)
- #15 Tommie Frazier (1992–1995)
- #30 Mike Rozier (1981–1983)
- #34 Trev Alberts (1990–1993)
- #50 Dave Rimington (1979–1982)
- #54 Dominic Raiola (1998–2000)
- #67 Aaron Taylor (1994–1997)
- #71 Dean Steinkuhler (1980–1983)
- #72 Zach Wiegert (1991–1993)
- #75 Larry Jacobson (1969–1971)
- #75 Will Shields (1989–1992)
- #79 Rich Glover (1970–1972)
- #93 Ndamukong Suh (2005–2009)
- #98 Grant Wistrom (1994–1997)
The Husker football program has a long tradition of All-Americans. Since 1914, Nebraska has produced 96 players who have collected a total of 110 First-Team All-American awards, including 14 double winners. Nebraska claims 47 Consensus All-Americans who have won a total of 56 Consensus All-American honors and 20 Unanimous All-Americans who have won 21 Unanimous awards.
Nebraska leads the nation in Academic All-America selections in football and across all sports. Through the 2013 football season, Nebraska boasts a nation-leading 69 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-Americans and a nation-leading 107 all-time First and Second Team selections. The list includes 15 Huskers that have been named first team Academic All-American twice in their careers. The Huskers also lead the nation with a total of 310 Academic All-Americans across all sports. Notre Dame is second with 58 football Academic All-Americans and 234 Academic All-Americans across all sports.
Nebraska also has four other players that have been selected as a First Team Academic All-American by entities other than CoSIDA. They are: Don Fricke (1960), Pat Clare (1960), Jim Osberg (1965) and Tony Jeter (1965).
Nebraska All-Century Football Team
All-century team members were selected via an online poll hosted at huskerwebcast.com during the 1999 football season.
Nebraska's All-Time Team
As selected by Athlon Sports in 2010.
In the NFL
|Huskers in the NFL|
|NFL Draft selections|
|First picks in draft:||2|
|In the Super Bowl:||54|
|In the Pro Bowl:||32|
|Hall of Famers:||3|
Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Willis Roy (Link) Lyman, Tackle (1964)
- Guy Chamberlin, End (1965)
- Bob (Boomer) Brown, Tackle (2004)
- Will Shields, Guard (2015)
- Mick Tingelhoff, Center (2015)
Currently in the NFL
There are 26 Huskers currently on NFL rosters.
- Prince Amukamara - Defensive Back, New York Giants
- Jason Ankrah - Defensive Tackle, Houston Texans
- Larry Asante - Safety, Oakland Raiders
- Zack Bowman - Cornerback, New York Giants
- Josh Brown - Placekicker, New York Giants
- Rex Burkhead - Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals
- Will Compton - Defensive End, Washington Redskins
- Jared Crick - Defensive End, Houston Texans
- Lavonte David - Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Alfonzo Dennard - Cornerback, New England Patriots
- Quincy Enunwa - Wide Receiver, New York Jets
- Roy Helu - Running Back, Washington Redskins
- Ricky Henry - Offensive Guard, Kansas City Chiefs
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste - Cornerback, New Orleans Saints
- Marcel Jones - Offensive Guard, New Orleans Saints
- Sam Koch - Punter, Baltimore Ravens
- Spencer Long - Offensive Guard, Washington Redskins
- Eric Martin - Linebacker, Cleveland Browns
- Niles Paul - Tight End, Washington Redskins
- Brent Qvale - Offensive Guard, New York Jets
- Dominic Raiola - Center, Detroit Lions
- Tom Rathman - Running backs coach, San Francisco 49ers
- Mohammed Seisay - Cornerback, Detroit Lions
- Jeremiah Sirles - Offensive Guard - San Diego Chargers
- Matt Slauson - Offensive Guard, Chicago Bears
- Daimion Stafford - Safety, Tennessee Titans
- Ndamukong Suh - Defensive Tackle, Miami Dolphins
- Zac Taylor - Quarterbacks Coach, Miami Dolphins
Updated December 27, 2014
Division I opponents
Future non-conference opponents
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nebraska Cornhuskers football.|
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