2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

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2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football
Logo of the Nebraska athletic teams 2004-
Big 12 North Division co-champion
Gator Bowl champion
Gator Bowl, W 26–21 vs. Clemson
ConferenceBig 12 Conference
DivisionNorth Division
2008 record9–4 (5–3 Big 12)
Head coachBo Pelini (1st season)
Offensive coordinatorShawn Watson (2nd season)
Offensive schemeSpread
Defensive coordinatorCarl Pelini (1st season)
Base defense4–3
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
(Capacity: 81,067)
Seasons
← 2007
2009 →
2008 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Northern Division
No. 19 Missouri xy   5 3         10 4  
Nebraska x   5 3         9 4  
Kansas   4 4         8 5  
Colorado   2 6         5 7  
Kansas State   2 6         5 7  
Iowa State   0 8         2 10  
Southern Division
No. 5 Oklahoma xy$   7 1         12 2  
No. 4 Texas x%   7 1         12 1  
No. 12 Texas Tech x   7 1         11 2  
No. 16 Oklahoma State   5 3         9 4  
Baylor   2 6         4 8  
Texas A&M   2 6         4 8  

Championship: Oklahoma 62, Missouri 21
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bo Pelini and played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Before the season[edit]

Pelini returned to Nebraska as Head Coach after a previous one-year stint as Defensive Coordinator for Nebraska in 2003.[1] At the conclusion of the 2003 season, Pelini was appointed as Interim Head Coach,[2] following the firing of Frank Solich, for Nebraska's appearance in the Alamo Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans, a contest in which Nebraska triumphed 17–3,[3] leaving Nebraska with a final AP Poll ranking of 19 and Coaches Poll ranking of 18. Despite this performance and significant fan support, Pelini was passed over as Solich's permanent replacement in favor of Bill Callahan. During Pelini's absence from Nebraska, he served as Co-Defensive Coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2004, and Defensive Coordinator for the LSU Tigers for 2005–2007[4] prior to his return to Nebraska following the dismissal of Callahan.

Schedule[edit]

DateTimeOpponentSiteTVResultAttendance
August 306:00 PMWestern Michigan*FSN PPVW 47–2484,485
September 611:30 AMSan José State*
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSN PPVW 35–1284,146
September 136:00 PMNew Mexico State*
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSN PPVW 38–784,821
September 277:00 PMVirginia Tech*
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
ABCL 30–3585,831
October 48:00 PMNo. 4 Missouridagger
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
ESPNL 17–5285,372
October 112:00 PMat No. 7 Texas TechFSNL 31–37 OT53,449
October 1811:30 AMat Iowa StateVersusW 35–748,794
October 2511:30 AMBaylor
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
VersusW 32–2085,104
November 17:00 PMat No. 4 OklahomaESPNL 28–6285,212
November 81:30 PMKansas
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSN PPVW 45–3585,486
November 152:35 PMat Kansas StateFSN PPVW 56–2848,444
November 282:30 PMColorado
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska (Rivalry)
ABCW 40–3185,319
January 112:00 PMvs. ClemsonCBSW 26–2167,282
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Central time

[5]

Roster and coaching staff[edit]

2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
OL 66 Cruz Barrett So
TE 83 Damon Bechtold Fr
WR 1 Chris Brooks Jr
WR 82 Wes Cammack Jr
OL 58 Mike Caputo RFr
IB 19 Quentin Castille So
OL 77 Seung Hoon Choi Fr
OL 62 Andy Christensen Sr
WR 6 Khiry Cooper Fr
TE 81 Ben Cotton Fr
QB 15 Beau Davis Sr
WR 46 Taylor Dixon Fr
QB 16 Jim Ebke So
QB 12 Joe Ganz (C) Sr
FB 41 Aaron Gillaspie So
WR 11 Curenski Gilleylen RFr
FB 30 Mike Hays RFr
IB 10 Roy Helu Jr. So
OL 74 Ricky Henry Jr
WR 8 Will Henry So
TE 47 Tyson Hetzer Jr
OL 67 Jacob Hickman Jr
TE 80 Ryan Hill RFr
WR 18 Menelik Holt Jr
OL 61 Mike Huff Sr
WR 85 KC Hyland Fr
OL 69 Cory Iske Fr
IB 28 Austin Jones RFr
OL 73 D.J. Jones So
OL 78 Marcel Jones RFr
FB 36 Thomas Lawson Sr
QB 3 Zac Lee So
FB 48 Tyler Legate RFr
WR 9 Ben Lester RFr
IB 5 Marlon Lucky Sr
WR 21 Tim Marlowe Fr
TE 88 Jay Martin RFr
OL 71 Mike Masin RFr
TE 44 Mike McNeill So
OL 54 Max McShane Fr
IB 32 Marcus Mendoza RFr
OL 63 Derek Meyer Sr
OL 76 Lydon Murtha Sr
IB 29 Collins Okafor Fr
WR 26 Steven Osborne Fr
WR 24 Niles Paul So
WR 17 Todd Peterson Sr
TE 25 Kyler Reed Fr
QB 18 Zach Ruiz Fr
OL 70 Matt Slauson Sr
OL 65 Mike Smith So
QB 7 Kody Spano Fr
WR 87 Nate Swift (C) Sr
TE 89 Hunter Teafatiller Sr
OL 79 Brandon Thompson Fr
FB 37 Kevin Thomsen RFr
OL 59 Brian Thorson Fr
RB 25 Jeremy Wallace Fr
IB 14 Lester Ward Fr
OL 68 Keith Williams So
QB 2 Patrick Witt RFr
TE 49 Dreu Young So
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DE 95 Pierre Allen So
CB 21 Prince Amukamara So
DE 70 Kenny Anderson Fr
S 4 Larry Asante Jr
DT 56 Shukree Barfield Sr
DB 39 Justin Blatchford Fr
CB 14 Anthony Blue So
LB Lance Brandenburgh Sr
LB 42 Joseph Camarata Fr
S 8 Austin Cassidy RFr
LB 51 Will Compton Fr
DE 31 Nick Covey Jr
DT 94 Jared Crick RFr
S 2 Major Culbert Jr
DB 20 Jase Dean Fr
DB 15 Alfonzo Dennard Fr
LB 52 Phillip Dillard Jr
DE 92 Tyrone Fahie So
LB 42 Sean Fisher Fr
LB 49 Tanner Foxhoven Fr
DE 39 Dan Glassman So
LB 34 Cody Glenn Sr
LB 41 Thomas Grove So
CB 28 Eric Hagg So
DE 80 David Harvey Jr
LB 35 Matt Holt Fr
DL 58 Justin Jackson Fr
DE 85 Faron Klingelhoefer Fr
LB 54 Colton Koehler Jr
LB 44 Micah Kreikemeier Fr
LB 40 Blake Lawrence So
DB 16 John Levorson Fr
DE 75 Luke Lingenfelter RFr
LB 61 Matt Manninger Fr
DT 63 Ben Martin So
S 36 Mathew May RFr
LB 62 Mychael McClure Fr
LB 65 Colin McDermott Fr
DE 66 Conor McDermott Fr
LB 67 Sam Meginnis Fr
DE 96 Cameron Meredith Fr
DL 68 Josh Molek Fr
DT 90 Terrence Moore RFr
FS 43 Brent Moravec Fr
CB 6 Armando Murillo Sr
S 33 Matt O'Hanlon Jr
DB 12 Courtney Osborne Fr
DE 98 Zach Potter (C) Sr
DB 11 Justin Rogers Fr
DE 89 Jonathon Santin RFr
DE 88 Clayton Sievers Sr
LB 48 Marcus Smith Fr
DB 13 P.J. Smith Fr
LB 9 Austin Stafford RFr
DL 55 Baker Steinkuhler Fr
DT 43 Ty Steinkuhler (C) Sr
LB 71 Graham Stoddard Fr
DT 93 Ndamukong Suh Jr
CB 18 Shawn Sullivan RFr
S 3 Rickey Thenarse Jr
CB 23 Lance Thorell RFr
DL 50 Quentin Toailoa Fr
DE 99 Barry Turner Sr
DB 22 Mason Wald Fr
LB 7 Latravis Washington So
S 24 Adam Watson So
CB 5 Anthony West So
LB 45 Alonzo Whaley Fr
DE 17 Josh Williams Fr
LB 53 Tyler Wortman Sr
DE 47 William Yancy RFr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
LS 56 Justin Baumgartner Sr
P/PK 27 Jon Damkroger So
PK 90 Alex Henery So
PK 20 Adi Kunalic So
P/PK 96 Brett Maher Fr
LS 82 T.J. O'Leary Sr
LS 33 David Pillen Fr
P 97 Dan Titchener Sr
PK 37 Jake Wesch Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured Injured
  • Redshirt Redshirt

Roster
Last update: January 16, 2011

Game summaries[edit]

Western Michigan[edit]

Western Michigan at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Western Michigan 0 1077 24
Nebraska 14 20103 47

Nebraska opened the season with expectations below average after finishing 5–7 in 2007. However, there was a buzz in the air as first year head coach Bo Pelini returned to Lincoln to improve a maligned defense and to re-energize the program. Nebraska played very well as the defense seemed much improved from 2007. LB Cody Glenn was the bright spot on defense and seemed to be in on almost every play. The offense continued to be as productive as usual with Joe Ganz at quarterback, en route to a 47–24 win.

San José State[edit]

San José State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
San Jose State 6 303 12
Nebraska 14 0021 35
The Husker spirit groups on the field.

Nebraska came into its second game of the year with a little more certainty. San Jose State quickly put a stop to that. The Spartans marched all over Nebraska's defense on the first drive with Kyle Reed scoring on a 12-yard run. Nebraska scored two touchdowns to recapture the lead going into the second quarter. The game turned mostly defensive with SJSU scoring field goals in the second and fourth quarters. After SJSU's field goal in the fourth, Niles Paul returned the kickoff 85 yards for a Nebraska touchdown. The return sparked the Huskers as they scored three more touchdowns sealing the game.

New Mexico State[edit]

New Mexico State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
New Mexico State 0 007 7
Nebraska 7 14143 38

Nebraska, entering the game 2–0, felt confident going against the Aggies who were playing their first game of the season. The Aggies, on the second drive, went down the field with relative ease only to have their field goal kick blocked by Zach Potter. Nebraska's offense finally looked like it came together scoring 35 points. The scoring included Marlon Lucky taking a toss and throwing it downfield to quarterback Joe Ganz and then Ganz running 33 yards on an option play.

Virginia Tech[edit]

Virginia Tech at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Virginia Tech 9 9107 35
Nebraska 7 3713 30

Nebraska, 3–0, headed into the Virginia Tech game looking for a signature win in the first year of Bo Pelini's first year. It would not be on this night, though. Virginia Tech got on the board first, blocking a Dan Titchner punt for a safety. The Hokies controlled the game for most of the night, until senior Nate Swift returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Huskers needed a big defensive stop and seemed to have got it on a 3rd down run by Tyrod Taylor. Taylor was tackled out of bounds, but Nebraska defense tackle Ndamukong Suh appeared to have leaped on top of Taylor, prompting an official to throw a flag for a late hit. Bo Pelini, obviously upset, berated the official about the call until the official threw another flag for an unsportmanslike conduct on Coach Pelini. The penalties put Tech near the endzone and continued the Hokies drive, eventually having Taylor score and ice the game.

Missouri[edit]

Missouri at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Missouri 14 17210 52
Nebraska 7 307 17

Missouri came into this game having not won in Lincoln since 1978. That streak was broken as the Tigers romped over Nebraska scoring in bunches to roll all over Nebraska. Penalties were the biggest killers of NU as the Huskers had 14 of them for 101 yards.

Texas Tech[edit]

Nebraska at Texas Tech [box score]
1 234OTTotal
Nebraska 0 73210 31
Texas Tech 7 10776 37

After being routed by Missouri, Nebraska was expecting more of the same against Texas Tech. Instead, they found themselves in the midst of a battle. Nebraska went punch for punch with the Red Raiders. Todd Peterson caught a touchdown pass with :29 left to tie the game at 31 forcing it into overtime. In overtime, the Red Raiders scored a touchdown but had their extra point blocked, opening the door for Nebraska to win. However, on 2nd down, Joe Ganz threw an interception to cornerback Jamar Wall, ending the game. This was Nebraska's first loss in overtime in school history.

Iowa State[edit]

Nebraska at Iowa State [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 7 14014 35
Iowa State 0 070 7

Playing Iowa State may have been the trick for Nebraska, having lost their last three games. Nebraska roared to a 21–0 lead at halftime. Iowa State stifled Nebraska offense for the third quarter and scored a touchdown of their own, but going into the fourth, Nebraska took back momentum scoring twice to finish off the Cyclones.

Baylor[edit]

Baylor at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Baylor 14 600 20
Nebraska 7 1078 32

Nebraska might have been sleeping in the first half as they let Baylor jump on them 20–17 going into the half. Nebraska came back from a halftime deficit for the first time since 2003, scoring 15 points in the third and fourth quarters including a safety and a 9-yard touchdown catch by Nate Swift, a catch that broke Johnny Rodgers' record for career catches.

Oklahoma[edit]

Nebraska at Oklahoma [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 0 1477 28
Oklahoma 35 14130 62

Nebraska ran into an offensive explosion in Norman and in a matter of minutes was down 35–0. Three first-quarter turnovers doomed the Huskers as Oklahoma capitalized on all of them. Nebraska however did not lay down and fought through the circumstances to put up a respectable 28 as the Huskers looked to regroup.

Kansas[edit]

Kansas at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Kansas 7 7714 35
Nebraska 7 71021 45

Nebraska vowed the start of a new season heading into this game, one that consisted of three games. Needing only one win to become bowl eligible, Nebraska played exceptional on a frigid day in Lincoln. Nebraska and Kansas went blow for blow until the fourth quarter when a 52-yard touchdown run by Roy Helu Jr. and a 2-yard touchdown catch by Ndamukong Suh opened up the game for Nebraska.

Kansas State[edit]

Nebraska at Kansas State [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 14 21021 56
Kansas State 7 777 28

Nebraska felt confident heading into Manhattan as lame-duck coach Ron Prince had never beaten them, nor had former Nebraska commit, Josh Freeman. Also, Nebraska's defense got their blackshirts back for the first time this season. NU made a crucial mistake early allowing a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown. Barring that play and a long touchdown pass by Freeman, NU played sparkling defense in the first half. KSU scored only twice more one on a methodical drive by backup Carson Coffmann and a kickoff return by Brandon Banks.

Colorado[edit]

Colorado at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Colorado 14 1070 31
Nebraska 14 10313 40

Colorado came into this game fighting for bowl eligibility at 5–6. Nebraska had already secured a spot in a bowl game, but a win would help improve where they would be headed. Colorado would have none of it, taking an early 14–0 lead. Nebraska came back taking a 24–17 lead and was looking to add on going into the half. On a fake field goal play, holder Jake Wesch was to flip it over his head and kicker Alex Henery was supposed to catch it and throw it, a play that was made against Kansas. This time, Colorado's Jimmy Smith picked off the flip in mid-air and returned it 58 yards to tie the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Nebraska trailed 31–30. NU had the ball deep into Buff's territory when Patrick Mahnke sacked Joe Ganz for a 15-yard loss, setting up a 4th & 25. It looked like Nebraska was out of Alex Henery's field goal range with the kick being 57 yards. Bo Pelini sent his kicker out anyway after Henery told him he could do it. Henery came onto the field and with 1:55 left, kicked the 57 yarder, giving Nebraska the 33–31 lead. On Colorado's next drive, Cody Hawkins pass was deflected by Zach Potter and intercepted by Ndamukong Suh who stiff armed Hawkins and rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown, icing the game at 40–31 and sending Colorado home with no bowl. Nebraska finished the regular season 8–4 and Big 12 North Co-Division Champions with Missouri.

Clemson[edit]

Nebraska vs Clemson [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 0 3203 26
Clemson 0 1470 21
The 2009 Gator Bowl in the fourth quarter.

Nebraska defeated Clemson in a come-from-behind 26–21 finish at the 2009 Gator Bowl on January 1, 2009. All 21 of Clemson's points came following Nebraska turnovers. The game remained in doubt until the very end, as Clemson marched from their own 23 to the Nebraska 10. With 1st and goal to go and about two minutes remaining on the clock, the Blackshirts made their stand, resulting in a 16-yard sack and three Clemson incompletions to seal the outcome of the game. The game was played only days after Head Coach Bo Pelini and Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini returned from their father's funeral in Ohio.

Rankings[edit]

Ranking Movement
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Final
AP NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Coaches NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Harris Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
BCS Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR N/A

Statistics[edit]

Team[edit]

Nebraska Opponent
Total Scoring 460 365
  Points per Game 35 28
  Total 1st Quarter Scoring 98 113
  Total 2nd Quarter Scoring 126 107
  Total 3rd Quarter Scoring 81 93
  Total 4th Quarter Scoring 155 52
  Total Overtime Scoring 0 6
First Downs 295 228
  Rushing First Downs 113 85
  Passing First Downs 171 115
  Penalty First Downs 11 28
Rushing Yards 2210 1540
Rushing Attempts 487 420
  Yards per Rush 5 4
Rushing Touchdowns 27 24
  Net Rushing Yards Gained 2512 1921
  Net Rushing Yards Lost 302 381
Passing Yards 3650 3008
  Passing Completions 294 220
  Passing Attempts 432 383
  Interceptions 11 12
  Yards per Pass Attempt 8 8
  Yards per Pass Completion 12 14
Passing Touchdowns 27 19
Total Yards Offense 5860 4548
Total Plays Offense 919 803
  Average Offensive Yards per Play 6 6
Fumbles – Lost 32 – 18 17 – 5
Penalties – Yards 94 – 800 64 – 477
Nebraska Opponent
Punts – Yards 48 – 1850 66 – 2544
  Average Yards per Punt 39 39
  Average Net Yards per Punt 32 32
  Punts inside 20 Yard Line 14 18
  Punts over 50 Yards 4 9
  Punt Touchbacks 5 4
  Punt Fair Catches 6 9
Kickoffs – Yards 88 – 5613 71 – 4435
  Average Yards per Kickoff 64 62
  Average Net Yards per Kickoff 42 42
  Kickoff Touchbacks 29 10
Punt Returns – Yards – TDs 31 – 376 – 1 22 – 208 – 0
  Average Net Punt Return Yards 12 9
Kickoff Returns – Yards – TDs 58 – 1245 – 1 58 – 1383 – 1
  Average Net Kickoff Return Yards 21 24
Interceptions – Yards – TDs 12 – 202 – 2 11 – 249 – 3
Fumble Recoveries – Yards – TDs 2 – 14 – 0 5 – 150 – 2
Average Total Time of Possession 34:01 25:59
  Average 1Q Time of Possession 08:49 06:11
  Average 2Q Time of Possession 08:40 06:20
  Average 3Q Time of Possession 08:35 06:25
  Average 4Q Time of Possession 07:57 07:03
3rd Down Conversions – Attempts 84 – 178 57 – 169
4th Down Conversions – Attempts 5 – 13 10 – 21
Scored from Red Zone – Attempts 54 – 62 37 – 49
Sacks – Yards 35 – 272 21 – 128
  Average Yards per Sack 8 6
PATs – Attempts 56 – 57 45 – 49
FGs – Attempts 18 – 21 10 – 17
Longest Rush 58 67
Longest Pass 69 68
Longest Punt 58 69
Longest Field Goal 57 48

After the season[edit]

The reputation of the Blackshirts, whose trademark black jerseys quietly disappeared during the disappointing 5–7 (2–6) 2007 season, was restored with emphasis during 2008 as the coveted black jerseys were once again distributed to defensive starters on November 11[6] following a key emotional win over the Kansas Jayhawks.

The season concluded January 1, 2009 with a come-from-behind 26–21[7] Nebraska victory over the Clemson Tigers in the 2009 Gator Bowl. Nebraska finished as co-division Champions of the Big 12 North Division, with a final record of 9–4 (5–3). Head Coach Bo Pelini's overall career record improved to 10–4 (.714), 5–3 in conference, and 2–0 in bowl games. Pelini's 2008 regular season record of 9–4 was the highest among all 28 Division 1A teams with new head coaches and staffs that year.[8]

Awards[edit]

[9]

Award Name(s)
All-American honorable mention Ndamukong Suh
All-Big 12 1st team Ndamukong Suh, Matt Slauson, Nate Swift
All-Big 12 2nd team Alex Henery
All-Big 12 honorable mention Larry Asante, Roy Helu Jr., Jacob Hickman, Lydon Murtha, Nate Swift, Zach Potter, Ty Steinkuhler
All-Bowl team Ndamukong Suh

Draft picks, signees, or other future professional players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Merrill, Elizabeth (January 13, 2003). "Huskers Show Off Staff". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on January 31, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2008.
  2. ^ Kaipust, Rich (December 1, 2003). "Pelini Is Interim Coach; 'Ready' for Challenge". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on January 24, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Nebraska vs. Michigan State 2003 - HuskerMax
  4. ^ Nebraska Football Coach Profile: Bo Pelini
  5. ^ "Football - 2008 Schedule/Results". University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Athletics. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  6. ^ "The Blackshirts Are Back!". Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "Blackshirts help Nebraska beat Clemson". Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  8. ^ "The Red, White, Green and Vanilla Husker Spring Game". Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  9. ^ "2008 Husker Honors". Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.