Nebraska Cornhuskers football
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|Nebraska Cornhuskers football|
|Athletic director||Bill Moos|
|Head coach||Scott Frost |
2nd season, 8–13 (.381)
|Past conferences||Independent (1890–91)|
Big Eight (1921–95)
Big 12 (1996–2010)
|All-time record||901–393–40 (.690)|
|Bowl record||26–27 (.491)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||5 (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997)|
|Unclaimed nat'l titles||9 (1915, 1921, 1980–84, 1993, 1999)|
|Division titles||10 (1996, 1997, 1999–2001, 2006, 2008–10, 2012)|
Kansas State (rivalry)
Miami (FL) (rivalry)
Johnny Rodgers (1972)
Mike Rozier (1983)
Eric Crouch (2001)
|Colors||Scarlet and Cream|
|Fight song||There is No Place Like Nebraska, Hail Varsity|
|Mascot||Lil' Red/Herbie Husker|
|Marching band||Cornhusker Marching Band (The Pride of All Nebraska)|
The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team competes as part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, representing the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the West Division of the Big Ten. Nebraska plays its home games at Memorial Stadium, where it has sold out every game since 1962. The team is currently coached by Scott Frost.
Nebraska is among the most storied programs in college football history. The Cornhuskers trail only Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas in all-time victories among FBS teams, and have won more games against Power Five opponents than any other program. Nebraska claims 46 conference championships and five national championships (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997), and has won nine other national championships that the school does not claim. NU's 1971 and 1995 title-winning teams are considered by many to be among the best in college football history. Famous Cornhuskers include Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch. Rodgers, named Nebraska's "Player of the Century" in 1999, and Rozier, who graduated as the NCAA's all-time yards per carry leader, join 22 other Cornhuskers in the College Football Hall of Fame. Notable among these are players Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Tommie Frazier, Rich Glover, Dave Rimington, and Will Shields, and coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne.
The program's first extended period of success came just after the turn of the century. Between 1900 and 1916, Nebraska had five undefeated seasons and completed a stretch of 34 consecutive games without a loss, still a program record. Despite a span of 21 conference championships in 33 seasons, the Cornhuskers didn't experience major national success until Bob Devaney was hired in 1962. In eleven seasons as head coach, Devaney won two national championships, eight conference titles, and coached 22 All-Americans, but perhaps his most lasting achievement was the hiring of Tom Osborne as offensive coordinator in 1969. Osborne was named Devaney's successor in 1973, and over the next 25 years established himself as one of the best coaches in college football history with his trademark I-form offense and revolutionary strength, conditioning, and nutrition programs. Following Osborne's retirement in 1997, Nebraska cycled through four head coaches before hiring state native Scott Frost in 2017.
- 1 History
- 2 Conference affiliations
- 3 Head coaches
- 4 Championships
- 5 Bowl games
- 6 Uniform history
- 7 Memorial Stadium
- 8 Traditions
- 9 Rivalries
- 10 Honors and awards
- 11 In the NFL
- 12 Future opponents
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The early years (1890–1920)
Nebraska began its football history with a 10–0 victory over the Omaha YMCA on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1890. For its first two seasons, Nebraska was known as the "Old Gold Knights," which was changed to "Bugeaters" in 1892. "Cornhuskers" first appeared in an 1893 school newspaper headline ("We Have Met The Cornhuskers And They Are Ours") after an upset victory over Iowa. In this instance, "Cornhuskers" was used to derogatorily refer to Iowa. Nebraska State Journal writer Cy Sherman, who would later help create college football's AP Poll, first referred to Nebraska as the Cornhuskers in 1899; the name caught on quickly and was officially adopted the following year.
The program got off to a strong start, suffering only one sub-.500 season in its first 28 years of competition. Prior to a one-win 1899 season in A. Edwin Branch's only year as head coach, Nebraska 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 any predominantly white university. Because of Flippin's presence on the roster, Missouri refused to play a scheduled game with Nebraska in 1892. The result was a 1–0 forfeit, and, technically, the first-ever conference win for Nebraska.
Nebraska's fourth coach, Frank Crawford (1893–94, 9–4–1, 0.679) was the school's first paid football coach. Eddie N. Robinson (1896–97, 11–4–1, 0.719) and Fielding H. Yost (1898, 8–3, 0.727), the program's sixth and seventh head coaches, were the first Nebraska coaches to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Walter C. Booth (1900–05, 46–8–1, 0.845) was Nebraska's ninth head coach, and had the second-best record during this era among multi-year coaches. His 1902 team went undefeated, untied, and unscored upon. Despite at one point leading his team on a 24-game winning streak, Booth was bested by Ewald O. Stiehm (1911–15, 35–2–3, 0.913), who won the MVIAA conference title in all five of his seasons and posted a school-record 34-game unbeaten streak. His .913 winning percentage remains the highest in school history. The Cornhuskers were a strong candidate play in the first-ever 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 when 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.
When the United States became involved in World War I, many young men went off to war, depleting the ranks of football teams nationwide. Travel restrictions and the Spanish flu pandemic further complicated the college football landscape. William G. Kline led Nebraska through the stunted 1918 season, managing a 2–3–1 (0.417) record. Veteran head coach Henry Schulte (1919–20, 8–6–3, 0.559) took over for the next two seasons, but barely managed a winning record as the program recovered from the war and its aftermath. Although Schulte stepped down as head football coach after 1920, he remained at Nebraska in a variety of coaching roles through 1938.
Climb back to dominance (1921–1941)
By the end of its post-war slump, Nebraska had been led by 15 head coaches over 31 years. However, a period of relative stability followed, beginning with the hire of Fred Dawson (1921–24, 23–7–2, 0.750) in 1921. Dawson arrived at Nebraska after stints at Columbia, Denver, and Virginia. During the entire three-year tenure of Knute Rockne's famed Four Horsemen, Notre Dame lost only two games; one each in 1922 and 1923, both to Nebraska in Lincoln. In Dawson's four years he won three conference titles and compiled the best record of any Nebraska coach from this era.
First-time head coach Ernest E. Bearg (1925–28, 23–7–3, 0.742) won the conference 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 as a head coach, winning five Southwest Conference championships at Texas A&M, and his success continued as he led Nebraska to six more conference titles in eight seasons.
While Biff Jones (1937–41, 28–14–4, 0.652) was not as successful as his predecessors, he managed to win two conference titles and led Nebraska to their first bowl game, a 21–13 loss to Stanford in the 1941 Rose Bowl. The following year, as the United States was drawn closer to involvement in World War II, Jones' program suffered, losing five straight games for the first time. One week after the final game of the season, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and, much like 20 years prior, Nebraska's football fortunes headed downward as the country headed into war.
Slide into obscurity (1942–1961)
Nebraska was led by three head coaches during the war years, which saw a scarcity of players available while most of the country's college-aged men were fighting abroad. By the time the war ended in 1945, the Cornhuskers had gone 11–24 over the previous four seasons.
This time, however, Nebraska's fortunes did not improve after the war. Bernie Masterson (1946–47, 5–13, 0.278) recorded the school's worst-ever winning percentage in his first and only head football coaching appointment. Masterson's predecessor George Clark (1945, 1948, 6–13–0, 0.316), a veteran of both wars with an extensive coaching pedigree, returned for the 1948 season while a search was conducted for his new successor. After the season, Clark became NU's athletic director, a position he held until 1953.
Clark hired Bill Glassford (1949–55, 50–40–4, 0.553), whose up-and-down tenure included a 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 was rookie head coach Pete Elliott, a former quarterback who led Michigan to the 1948 national championship. Elliott would later lead the Illinois Fighting Illini to a Rose Bowl win, but he went only 4–6 (0.400) in his one year at Nebraska. His replacement, Bill Jennings (1957–61, 15–34–1, 0.310), fared even worse in Lincoln, coaching the team for five seasons and not reaching .500 in any of them.
Prior to 1941, Nebraska's all-time winning percentage was .732, seventh-best in college football, trailing only Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, Harvard, Michigan, and Minnesota. Over the next two decades, however, NU's winning percentage was .368, which ranked 126th out of 133 Division I teams and was higher than only fellow Big Eight member Kansas State among major-conference teams.
Bob Devaney era (1962–1972)
When Bob Devaney (1962–72, 101–20–2, 0.829) was hired from Wyoming, he immediately turned around Nebraska's football fortunes. He led the Cornhuskers to a 9–2 record in his first season, capping it with the school's first bowl win, beating Miami in the 1962 Gotham Bowl. This was the first of 40 consecutive winning seasons for the Cornhuskers, and Nebraska's NCAA-record sellout streak began in the seventh game of 1962. After five straight seasons with a bowl appearance, Devaney's teams went 6–4 in both 1967 and 1968, prompting a major shift in the team's offensive philosophy. This transition mainly involved offensive assistant Tom Osborne and his now-famed I-form offense, which Nebraska would run for the next 35 years. Over the following four seasons, with Osborne installed as offensive coordinator, Nebraska suffered just four losses, winning the conference title in each year and securing the program's first two claimed national championships.
The Cornhuskers' 1970 team needed a bit of good fortune to claim the school's first national title. Nebraska entered the day of the Orange Bowl at No. 3, but losses by No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Ohio State gave NU the championship after a 17–12 victory over No. 5 LSU. There would be no such suspense in 1971, as Nebraska quickly moved to No. 1 after a 34–7 victory against Oregon in week one. The Cornhuskers remained atop the AP Poll for the rest of the season, which included a 35–31 Thanksgiving Day defeat of No. 2 Oklahoma, a game that became known as the "Game of the Century". Nebraska wrapped up the title by beating Bear Bryant and Alabama 38–6 in the 1972 Orange Bowl on New Year's night. Nebraska's 1971 team remains the only champion ever to defeat the teams that finished second, third, and fourth (Oklahoma, Colorado, Alabama) in the final rankings.
The program began producing All-Americans with regularity during Devaney's tenure. Among the 18 who received such recognition were 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers, and Rich Glover, winner of the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award that same season. Devaney stepped down after the 1972 season to become Nebraska's athletic director.
Tom Osborne era (1973–1997)
Tom Osborne (1973–1997, 255–49–3, 0.836) subsequently became Nebraska's longest-tenured coach, ending with the fourth-highest winning percentage in major college football history. In his 25 seasons, Osborne never won fewer than nine games, secured 13 conference titles, and only coached three games where the Cornhuskers were not in the AP Top 25.
An undefeated regular season earned the 1983 team— nicknamed "The Scoring Explosion"— a No. 1 ranking and a trip to the 1984 Orange Bowl. The heavily favored Cornhuskers immediately fell behind No. 5 Miami, trailing 17–0 at the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Osborne called for the fumblerooski, a trick play which had quarterback Turner Gill "fumble" the snap by intentionally setting the ball on the turf, where it was picked up by All-American guard Dean Steinkuhler, who ran 19 yards for a touchdown. Nebraska mounted a furious comeback, scoring a touchdown to get within one point with just seconds remaining. Overtime had not yet been brought to college football, so kicking the extra point meant the game would likely end in a tie and give the Cornhuskers the national title. However, Osborne elected to go for two and the win outright, and the conversion pass fell incomplete. Although this now-legendary game is widely regarded as the earliest occurrence of the fumblerooski, Nebraska had actually tried the play twice before, both in a 17–14 loss to Oklahoma in 1979.
After a controversial loss in the 1993 national championship game, Osborne finally won his first claimed national title in 1994, when No. 1 Nebraska beat No. 3 Miami 24–17 in the Orange Bowl. The Cornhuskers were even better in 1995, beating four teams that finished in the top ten and winning every game by at least 14 points. NU's 62–24 Fiesta Bowl demolition of Florida and future Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel is still the biggest national championship blowout ever. Nebraska's 1995 team, which scored 53 points per game and allowed only 14, is widely considered the best in college football history. These title-winning teams, which went a combined 25–0, are one of only two back-to-back national champions since Oklahoma in 1955 and 1956.
In 1996, the Big Eight, which Nebraska had won five years in a row, merged with the Southwest to create the Big 12 Conference. Despite its similarity in name, the Big 12 was an entirely new conference and did not retain any of the Big Eight's history or records. After being shutout in week two by Arizona State, NU won ten straight games to make the first Big 12 Championship Game. However, the Cornhuskers missed out on a fourth straight national championship appearance when they were upset by Texas.
Despite starting the 1997 season outside the top five, Nebraska quickly regained its status as a national contender in week three when the No. 7 Cornhuskers beat No. 2 Washington 27–14 in Seattle. A 45–38 overtime victory at Missouri in week nine kept the Huskers' title hopes alive. The comeback win was highlighted by the Flea Kicker, a last-second, game-tying touchdown that bounced off the foot of intended receiver Shevin Wiggins and directly into the hands of Matt Davison. Nebraska returned to the conference championship game and dismantled Texas A&M for its first Big 12 title. A 42–17 victory over No. 3 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl boosted NU to the top of the Coaches Poll, making Osborne the only coach to retire following a national championship. Nebraska posted a 60–3 record in the final five years of Osborne's tenure.
The post-Osborne era (1998–2010)
Upon Osborne's retirement, the program was handed over to longtime assistant Frank Solich (1998–2003, 58–18, 0.766), who had played at Nebraska under Bob Devaney from 1963–1965. In his six seasons, Solich won the 1999 Big 12 title and took the Cornhuskers to the 2001 national championship game. After going 7–7 season in 2002, the first non-winning season for Nebraska in 40 years, Solich made aggressive changes to his coaching staff. The approach appeared fairly successful, as Solich's 2003 team went 9–3 in the regular season. However, second-year NU athletic director Steve Pederson fired Solich before the 2003 Alamo Bowl, justifying the move with the now-infamous claim that he would not "let Nebraska gravitate into mediocrity" or "surrender the Big 12 to Oklahoma and Texas". Solich's first-year defensive coordinator Bo Pelini was appointed interim head coach and led the Cornhuskers to a 17–3 win over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl. So great was the bad blood between Solich and his alma mater that the coach did not return to Lincoln for over 15 years.
Although Pelini interviewed for the position as permanent replacement, former Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan (2004–07, 27–22, 0.551) was named Solich's successor following a 40-day, one-man coaching search conducted by Pederson. Callahan's mandate to prevent Nebraska's decline was not immediately successful, as his NFL-style West Coast offense led to varying levels of success, including a 5–6 2004 season that was Nebraska's first losing season since 1961. Callahan's teams improved in the following two years, at 8–4 in 2005 and 9–5 in 2006. However, in 2007, Nebraska dropped five straight games 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's fate proved to be the same as Pederson's, as he was fired by Osborne immediately after a season-ending 65–51 loss to Colorado. In four seasons, Callahan accumulated the lowest winning percentage by a Nebraska head coach in 46 years.
Osborne, now full-time athletic director, selected Bo Pelini (2008–14, 67–27, 0.713) to return to Nebraska as the program's 32nd head coach. Pelini's first team tied for the Big 12 North division title with a 9–4 record, the best record among all twenty-eight first-season coaches in the FBS. In 2009, Nebraska, led by Heisman finalist Ndamukong Suh, led the nation in scoring defense at 10.4 points per game, a remarkable turnaround for a unit that had been among the nation's worst just two years prior. NU finished 10–4 and ranked 14th. Following the 2009 season, Pelini was given his second raise and contract extension. In 2010, Nebraska again finished 10–4, with a third straight division title and a No. 20 final ranking.
Move to the Big Ten (2011–present)
Nebraska's first season in the Big Ten Conference was moderately successful, finishing third in the Legends Division and 9–4 overall. In 2012, the Cornhuskers went undefeated at home for the first time since 2001 and won the division. However, they lost the Big Ten Championship game to unranked Wisconsin and the Capital One Bowl to No. 6 Georgia, ending the season with four losses yet again. 2013 saw Nebraska tie for second in the Legends Division and wrap up a 9–4 season with a rematch win over No. 23 Georgia in the Gator Bowl. In 2014, the Cornhuskers went 9–3 in the regular season, but a series of bad losses to end the year led to Pelini's fired by athletic director Shawn Eichorst. At the time of the firing, the university reportedly still owed Pelini $7.65 million. Pelini left the program with a 67–27 record, winning either nine or ten games each season; ironically, NU lost three games under Pelini in his final season, the only time he did not lose exactly four games. Shortly after, Eichorst hired Oregon State's Mike Riley as NU's head coach. The Cornhuskers ended 2014 under interim coach Barney Cotton, losing to No. 24 USC in the Holiday Bowl and finishing 9–4, marking Nebraska's seventh consecutive four-loss season.
Riley (2015–17, 19–19, 0.500) finished his first season at Nebraska 6–7 with a victory over UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl. Riley's second season proved more successful, as the Cornhuskers started 7–0 and worked their way into the national top five for the first time since 2010. However, subsequent losses to No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 6 Ohio State, Iowa, and Tennessee meant NU finished just 9–4 and outside of the top 25. Nebraska went 4–8 the following year, the program's worst season in 56 years. University chancellor Ronnie D. Green fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst in September after a home loss to Northern Illinois and subsequently appointed former Husker Dave Rimington interim AD. Bill Moos was hired as Eichorst's replacement in October and terminated Riley the day after the season ended. Riley finished his three-year career at Nebraska with a 19–19 record and was just 12–14 in conference play.
- Independent (1890–1891; 1898–1906; 1919–1920)
- Western Interstate University Football Association (1892–1897)
- Big Eight (1907–1918; 1921–1995)
- Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1907–1918; 1921–1927)
- Big Six (1928–1947)
- Big Seven (1948–1959)
- Big 12 (1996–2010)
- Big Ten (2011–present)
|Eddie N. Robinson||1896–97||2||16||11–4–1||.719|
|Alonzo Edwin Branch||1899||1||9||1–7–1||.167|
|Walter C. Booth||1900–05||6||55||46–8–1||.845|
|William C. Cole||1907–10||4||36||25–8–3||.736|
|Ewald O. Stiehm||1911–15||5||40||35–2–3||.913|
|E. J. Stewart||1916–17||2||15||11–4||.733|
|William G. Kline||1918||1||6||2–3–1||.417|
|Dana X. Bible||1929–36||8||72||50–15–7||.743|
|George Clark||1945, 1948||2||19||6–13||.316|
|Tom Osborne||1973–97, 2007†||25||307||255–49–3||.836|
|Bo Pelini||2003†, 2008–14||7||94||67–27||.713|
† Interim Head Coach
- Bo Pelini served as interim head coach for the 2003 Alamo Bowl after Frank Solich was fired.
- For recruiting purposes, Athletic Director Tom Osborne briefly appointed himself interim head coach following the firing of Bill Callahan.
- Barney Cotton served as interim head coach for the 2014 Holiday Bowl after Bo Pelini was fired.
- Trent Bray served as interim head coach after the firing of Mike Riley in 2017.
|1970||Bob Devaney||AP, Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, FACT, Football News, Football Research, FW, Helms, NCF, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)||11–0–1||Orange||W 17–12|
|1971||AP, Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, FACT, Football News, Football Research, FW, Helms, Litkenhous, Matthews, NCF, NFF, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess), Coaches (UPI)||13–0||Orange||W 38–6|
|1994||Tom Osborne||Alderson, AP, Berryman, Billingsley, FACT, FB News, FW, NCF, Sagarin (ELO-Chess), Sporting News, UPI, USA/CNN (Coaches), USA/NFF||13–0||Orange||W 24–17|
|1995||Alderson, AP, Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, Eck, FACT, Football News, FW, Matthews, NCF, NFF, NY Times, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess), Sporting News, UPI, USA/CNN (Coaches)||12–0||Fiesta||W 62–24|
|1997||Alderson, Berryman, Billingsley MOV, DeVold, Dunkel, Eck, FACT, Matthews, NCF, NY Times, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess), Seattle Times, USA/ESPN (Coaches)||13–0||Orange||W 42–17|
Nebraska has been awarded nine other national championships by various polling organizations that the school does not claim.
|1894 †||WIUFA||Frank Crawford||2–1|
|1895 †||Charles Thomas||2–1|
|1897||Eddie N. Robinson||3–0|
|1907 †||MVIAA||W.C. Cole||1–0|
|1911 †||Ewald O. Stiehm||2–0–1|
|1916||E. J. Stewart||3–1|
|1928||Big Six||Ernest Bearg||4–0|
|1929||Dana X. Bible||3–0–2|
|1963||Big Eight||Bob Devaney||7–0|
|1975 †||Tom Osborne||6–1|
Nebraska has won 10 division championships.
|1996||Big 12||North||Tom Osborne||11–2|
|2008 †||Bo Pelini||9–4|
|Jan. 1, 1941||Rose Bowl||Stanford||L 13–21|
|Jan. 1, 1955||Orange Bowl||Duke||L 7–34|
|Dec. 15, 1962||Gotham Bowl||Miami||W 36–34|
|Jan. 1, 1964||Orange Bowl||Auburn||W 13–7|
|Jan. 1, 1965||Cotton Bowl Classic||Arkansas||L 7–10|
|Jan. 1, 1966||Orange Bowl||Alabama||L 28–39|
|Jan. 2, 1967||Sugar Bowl||Alabama||L 7–34|
|Dec. 20, 1969||Sun Bowl||Georgia||W 45–6|
|Jan. 1, 1971||Orange Bowl||LSU||W 17–12|
|Jan. 1, 1972||Orange Bowl||Alabama||W 38–6|
|Jan. 1, 1973||Orange Bowl||Notre Dame||W 40–6|
|Jan. 1, 1974||Cotton Bowl Classic||Texas||W 19–3|
|Dec. 31, 1974||Sugar Bowl||Florida||W 13–10|
|Dec. 26, 1975||Fiesta Bowl||Arizona State||L 14–17|
|Dec. 31, 1976||Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl||Texas Tech||W 27–24|
|Dec. 19, 1977||Liberty Bowl||North Carolina||W 21–17|
|Jan. 1, 1979||Orange Bowl||Oklahoma||L 24–31|
|Jan. 1, 1980||Cotton Bowl Classic||Houston||L 14–17|
|Dec. 27, 1980||Sun Bowl||Mississippi State||W 31–17|
|Jan. 1, 1982||Orange Bowl||Clemson||L 15–22|
|Jan. 1, 1983||Orange Bowl||LSU||W 21–20|
|Jan. 2, 1984||Orange Bowl||Miami (FL)||L 30–31|
|Jan. 1, 1985||Sugar Bowl||LSU||W 28–10|
|Jan. 1, 1986||Fiesta Bowl||Michigan||L 23–27|
|Jan. 1, 1987||Sugar Bowl||LSU||W 30–15|
|Jan. 1, 1988||Fiesta Bowl||Florida State||L 28–31|
|Jan. 2, 1989||Orange Bowl||Miami (FL)||L 3–23|
|Jan. 1, 1990||Fiesta Bowl||Florida State||L 17–41|
|Jan. 1, 1991||Florida Citrus Bowl||Georgia Tech||L 21–45|
|Jan. 1, 1992||Orange Bowl||Miami (FL)||L 0–22|
|Jan. 1, 1993||Orange Bowl||Florida State||L 14–27|
|Jan. 1, 1994||Orange Bowl||Florida State||L 16–18|
|Jan. 1, 1995||Orange Bowl||Miami||W 24–17|
|Jan. 2, 1996||Fiesta Bowl||Florida||W 62–24|
|Dec. 31, 1996||Orange Bowl||Virginia Tech||W 41–21|
|Jan. 2, 1998||Orange Bowl||Tennessee||W 42–17|
|Dec. 30, 1998||Holiday Bowl||Arizona||L 20–23|
|Jan. 2, 2000||Fiesta Bowl||Tennessee||W 31–21|
|Dec. 30, 2000||Alamo Bowl||Northwestern||W 66–17|
|Jan. 3, 2002||Rose Bowl||Miami (FL)||L 14–37|
|Dec. 27, 2002||Independence Bowl||Mississippi||L 23–27|
|Dec. 29, 2003||Alamo Bowl||Michigan State||W 17–3|
|Dec. 28, 2005||Alamo Bowl||Michigan||W 32–28|
|Jan. 1, 2007||Cotton Bowl Classic||Auburn||L 14–17|
|Jan. 1, 2009||Gator Bowl||Clemson||W 26–21|
|Dec. 30, 2009||Holiday Bowl||Arizona||W 33–0|
|Dec. 30, 2010||Holiday Bowl||Washington||L 7–19|
|Jan. 2, 2012||Capital One||South Carolina||L 13–30|
|Jan. 1, 2013||Capital One||Georgia||L 31–45|
|Jan. 1, 2014||Gator Bowl||Georgia||W 24–19|
|Dec. 27, 2014||Holiday Bowl||USC||L 42–45|
|Dec. 26, 2015||Foster Farms Bowl||UCLA||W 37–29|
|Dec. 30, 2016||Music City Bowl||Tennessee||L 24–38|
Nebraska's first helmet was red with a single white stripe, which was later changed to a plain white helmet with a black number on the side. From 1967 to 1969, a red, offset "NU" was placed on each side of the helmet. In 1970, the "NU" was changed to the now-familiar single "N," a design that is still in use, although it is thought a few "NU" helmets remained in use as late as 1972. The change was necessitated due to a shortage of "U" stickers, and when the program won its first claimed national championship that season, the single N remained. The helmet design has remained essentially unchanged since, with the exception of the facemask switching from grey to red prior to the 1982 Orange Bowl.
Nebraska's jerseys have been altered slightly over the years with the addition of shoulder stripes and TV numbers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Huskers wore full shoulder stripes, but these were gradually phased out as mesh and tearaway jerseys became popular. NU's jerseys had a script "Nebraska" embroidered onto the front for the 1974 Cotton Bowl Classic. From 1980 to 1983, Nebraska's jerseys featured only a block "N" on the sleeves. In 1984, stripes and numbers were permanently re-added, although both have decreased in size as jersey sleeves have shortened over the years. Patches were added to the left shoulder in 1989 to commemorate the 100th season of Nebraska football. The patch remained the following season, but was altered to read "Nebraska Football: A Winning Tradition." In 1999, an updated version debuted, where it remains. Players' last names began appearing on jerseys for 1970s bowl games. Around 1980, names were added to road jerseys as well. Home jerseys remained nameless; the only exception was for seniors playing in their final home game. From 1990 onward, names were permanently affixed to all jerseys.
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 time in school history for its 1986 contest with Oklahoma. Nebraska led this game for 58 minutes before losing 20–17, and so the red-on-red combination was unofficially retired. Nebraska donned all-white uniforms for the first in the 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl, a 45–21 loss to Georgia Tech. NU used the white-on-white combination for its first three road games in 1992, but lost two of them, including a stunning 19–10 loss to unranked Iowa State. The "surrender suits", as they became known, were not seen for over a decade. In 2007, they were worn for Bill Callahan's last game as head coach, an embarrassing 65–51 loss to Colorado. Nebraska again donned all-white in 2014 to contrast Fresno State's all-red uniforms. NU won 55–19 and proceeded to wear white pants in three more road games that season.
From 1968 through 1994, the pants had two stripes down each side. Originally they were thin stripes, but they became thicker in the mid-70s. 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 its jersey and pants, and went to a permanent all-white look for road games. The changes were incredibly unpopular among fans, partially because the Huskers went 7–7, their worst season in 40 years. Nebraska quickly reverted most of the changes, which included the permanent return of two pant stripes through the 2017 season. Beginning in the fall of 2018, the stripes on the pants were removed under guidance from new head coach Scott Frost as a sort of throw back to the 1995 style from his time as a Nebraska quarterback.
On September 26, 2009, for the first time in school history, the Cornhuskers wore throwback uniforms to honor Memorial Stadium's 300th consecutive sellout. The team did not wear alternate uniforms again until 2012, when Nebraska and Wisconsin squared off in the first Adidas Unrivaled Game. Both schools' uniforms featured block letters instead of numbers on the front and proved to be hugely unpopular. Nebraska wore alternate uniforms against UCLA in 2013. These jerseys marked the introduction of Adidas’ TECHFIT ShockWeb technology. The black jersey featured white stencil font numbers, a white matte helmet with a wide black stripe, and a face mask that faded from red to matte black.
Since 2012, Nebraska has sported an alternate uniforms in some capacity in each season. Against Illinois in 2014, Nebraska wore an all-red uniform featuring black metallic stripes on the jersey and pants. In 2015 and 2016 respectively, NU wore a black uniform and a white uniform that featured a similar basic design and chrome elements from the 2014 alternates. In 2017, Nebraska wore throwback uniforms to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school's 1997 national championship team. Unlike most previous designs, this one was incredibly well-received by fans. In 2018, Nebraska wore throwback uniforms to celebrate the 100th anniversary of WWI ending, while also celebrating Memorial Stadium.
In August 2019, Nebraska released their newest home alternate jerseys as a Blackshirt themed uniform. Similar to the 2013 alternates the uniform set sports a white helmet, black jersey, and white pants. The helmet will feature a black N and stripe which differs from the 2013 alternate. The jersey features the Blackshirt logo on each sleeve, and red numbers on each shoulder. It has not been announced when the team will wear these jerseys but coach Frost mentioned them being permanent alternates to be worn if the defense performs well the week before. Frost also mentioned that by next season he would like to have an additional away alternate uniform.
Memorial Stadium, home of the Cornhuskers since 1923 and the location of an ongoing NCAA-record 373-game sellout streak, provides one of the most exciting game-day experiences in all of college football. The "Sea of Red," as it is known, becomes the "third-largest city in Nebraska" on game days, as its capacity exceeds that of every Nebraska town except for Omaha and Lincoln.
The sellout streak dates back to November 3, 1962, Bob Devaney's first season at Nebraska, a 16–7 loss to Missouri with 36,501 in attendance. The streak reached 300 games with a win over Louisiana–Lafayette in front of a then school-record crowd of 86,304 on September 26, 2009.
The stadium completed a major expansion to its east side in 2013, bringing the official capacity to 85,458, though crowds regularly exceed 90,000. Nebraska played in front of the largest crowd in Memorial Stadium history on September 20, 2014 against Miami, with an announced attendance of 91,585.
Three statues sit outside of the stadium. The oldest statue is the Husker Legacy Statue, unveiled in 1997. It depicts six Nebraska defensive players tackling a Kansas State ball carrier and was modeled after a picture taken during the NU's 1995 game against the Wildcats. It is made of bronze and weighs two tons. Fred Hoppe, the creator, said that "the monument displays the sense of pride that Nebraskans have for their football team." In 2006, Hoppe created Memorial Stadium's second statue, which depicts Tom Osborne and quarterback Brook Berringer and is located outside of the Osborne Athletic Complex on the north side of the 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 stadium. The sculptor, Joe Putjenter, also sculpted the Tunnel Walk gates inside of the stadium.
At every home game since the 1930s, fans have released thousands of red helium balloons when the Huskers score their first points. In 2012, a global helium shortage nearly ended the tradition, but after reviewing the situation, the university allowed for a limited number of balloon releases throughout the season. The tradition returned to normal the following year.
Nebraska's defense has been referred to as the "Blackshirts" since the 1960s, a reference to the black jerseys worn by starting defensive players during practice. Depictions of the Blackshirts often include a skull and crossbones. The tradition originated when Bob Devaney had assistant coach Mike Corgan find contrasting jerseys to offset the red worn by the offense in practice. Further credit is given to George Kelly, Devaney's defensive line coach until 1968, who first coined the term itself; eventually the rest of the coaching staff caught on.
Husker Power chant and Tunnel Walk
Since 1994, Nebraska's home games have opened with the Tunnel Walk. Before NU takes the field, Memorial Stadium's video boards light up with a custom video, and "Sirius" plays as the Huskers take the field from the northwest tunnel. Just before the Tunnel Walk, the west side of Memorial Stadium yells "Husker" in unison, while the east side responds with "Power."
Nebraska football has a long-standing walk-on program, which attracts student-athletes from across the state who did not receive scholarship offers. NU accepted its first walk-on in the early 1960s, and Tom Osborne began an official program in 1973 after the NCAA reduced the number of scholarships schools could offer. The size and stature of the program means that Nebraska's rosters are often unusually large; NU had 141 players on the team that won the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, while opponent Florida had only 94. About forty percent of the roster that traveled to away games under Osborne were walk-ons. He credited them with contributing to his teams' success by providing flexibility to better scout future opponents. Unlike many 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, six walk-ons have become All-Americans and 29 have played in the NFL. Twelve have been named Academic All-Americans.
The rivalry between Nebraska and Colorado, while often considered one-sided, gained traction with Colorado's resurgence in the 1990s. The teams have met 70 times, with the series dating back to 1898, a 23–10 Nebraska win. The Cornhuskers lead the series 49–20–2. The rivalry gained traction when Colorado joined the Big Eight in 1947; they would play in the same conference as Nebraska until 2010. For a brief period of time (1951–61), a buffalo head named Mr. Chip was presented to the winning team, but this exchange ended when Colorado misplaced the trophy. Following Colorado and Nebraska's respective moves to the Pac-12 and Big Ten in 2011, the series was dormant until 2018, when Colorado beat Nebraska 33–28 in Scott Frost's first game as Nebraska head coach. Future non-conference games are planned for 2019, 2023, and 2024.
The Heroes Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Iowa–Nebraska game (also known as "The Heroes Game") since the 2011 season. The teams have met 49 times, with the series dating back to 1891, a 22–0 Iowa win. The Cornhuskers lead the series 29–17–3. Iowa currently holds the trophy, having defeated the Cornhuskers in 2018. The teams play annually and will meet next on November 29, 2019, at Memorial Stadium.
The $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Minnesota–Nebraska game since the 2014 season. The teams have met 57 times, dating back to 1900, a 20–12 Minnesota win. Minnesota currently holds the trophy, having defeated the Huskers in 2019. The teams play annually and will meet next on November 27, 2019, at Memorial Stadium. The Golden Gophers lead the series 33–25–2 through the 2019 season.
The Victory Bell (also known as the Missouri–Nebraska Bell) has been awarded to the winner of the Missouri–Nebraska game since the 1927 season. The teams have met 104 times, with the series dating back to 1892, a 1–0 NU win when Missouri forfeited to protest the presence of African-American George Flippin on Nebraska's roster. The Cornhuskers lead the series 65–36–3. Nebraska currently holds the Victory Bell, having defeated the Tigers in 2010. Since Nebraska's move to the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been dormant. No future games are scheduled.
The Freedom Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Nebraska–Wisconsin game since the 2014 season. The teams have met thirteen times, with the series dating back to 1901, an 18–0 Wisconsin win. The Badgers lead the series 9–4. Wisconsin currently holds the Freedom Trophy, having defeated the Cornhuskers in 2018. The teams play annually and will meet next on November 16, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska and Oklahoma has long been considered one of the great college football rivalries. The teams have met 86 times, dating back to 1912, a 13–9 Nebraska win. The Sooners lead the series 45–38–3. Since Nebraska's move to the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been dormant. Future non-conference games are scheduled for 2021, 2022, 2029, and 2030. Notably, the 2021 game in Norman will mark the 50th anniversary of No. 1 Nebraska's 35–31 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma in the "Game of the Century".
Nebraska dominated the series until 1942, going 16–3–3 in the first 22 meetings. The Sooners then ran off 16 consecutive victories, the longest streak in the series. Nebraska's 1959 win both ended the Cornhuskers' drought against the Sooners and snapped Oklahoma's 74-game win streak against conference opponents. Oklahoma won every matchup from 1972 to 1977, a streak that ended in 1978, when No. 4 Nebraska upset No. 1 Oklahoma 17-14. Less than two months later, OU won a rematch in the Orange Bowl. Both teams won five matchups in the 1980s, but Nebraska controlled the 1990s, which included a seven-game win streak and a 69–7 win in 1997 that remains the largest margin of victory in series history. When the Big Eight and Southwest Conference merged in 1996, Nebraska was sent to the Big 12 North and Oklahoma to the South. This meant the schools no longer played annually, ending a stretch of 68 consecutive years they had met. From 2000 to 2009, the schools 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, when No. 9 Oklahoma defeated No. 13 Nebraska 23–20.
Over the Big Eight's 89-year history, Nebraska and Oklahoma combined to win 74 conference championships, 41 by the Cornhuskers and 33 by the Sooners. During the Big 12 years, the teams won an additional nine conference titles, seven by Oklahoma and two by Nebraska.
The Nebraska-Oklahoma game often showcased the highest level of college football. Both teams were ranked in the AP top ten for 18 matchups; on nine occasions, both teams were in the top five. The 1971 and 1987 games featured teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2. The rivalry's greatest moment likely came in 1971, when No. 1 Nebraska squared off with No. 2 Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day in Norman. The game aired on ABC, with an estimated 55 million viewers. The "Game of the Century" ultimately ended with a 35–31 Cornhuskers victory, and included a first-quarter punt return touchdown from future Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers that is still considered one of the greatest plays in college football history. Following the game Dave Kindred of The Courier-Journal wrote, "They can quit playing now, they have played the perfect game."
Nebraska and Kansas share a natural border rivalry and maintained the longest non-interrupted rivalry in college football history at 105 years. The teams have met 117 times, with the series dating back to 1892, a 12–0 Kansas win. The Cornhuskers lead the series 91–23–3, which includes 36 consecutive victories from 1969 to 2004. Since Nebraska's move to the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been dormant. No future games are scheduled.
Nebraska and Kansas State were conference rivals from 1913 to 2010. With only 135 miles separating the schools, they were the nearest cross-border rivals in the Big Eight and Big 12 conferences. The teams have met 95 times, with the series dating back to 1911, a 59–0 Nebraska win. Nebraska leads the series 78–15–2, which includes 29 consecutive victories from 1969 to 1997. Since Nebraska's move to the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been dormant. No future games are scheduled.
In 1998, No. 1 Kansas State won a controversial 40–30 thriller over No. 10 Nebraska to end their lengthy losing streak in the series. The 1939 game was televised in Manhattan, making it the second televised college football game. The 1992 contest was held in Tokyo as the Coca-Cola Classic.
The Cornhuskers' rivalry with Texas is known more for tension between the two sides rather than number of games played. The teams have met 14 times, with the series dating back to 1933, a 26–0 Nebraska win. Texas leads the series 10–4. Since Nebraska's move to the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been dormant. No future games are scheduled.
In the first-ever Big 12 Championship game, unranked Texas upset heavily favored Nebraska after the Cornhuskers, looking to win a third straight national championship, blew a fourth quarter lead to Priest Holmes and the Longhorns. The 2009 Big 12 Championship Game featured one of the more controversial endings in recent college football history. Late in the game, with No. 19 Nebraska holding a 12–10 lead over No. 2 Texas, Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy threw a pass out of bounds and the clock expired. After a lengthy review, one second was added back onto the game clock, allowing Texas to kick a game-winning field goal.
Nebraska and Miami are two of the biggest "bowl rivals" in college football, matching up in many memorable bowl games over the years. The teams have met 12 times, with the series dating back to 1951, a 19–7 Miami win. The series is tied, 6–6. No future games are scheduled.
The rivalry's most notable game is also one of college football's all-time greats. In the 1984 Orange Bowl, Nebraska scored with seconds remaining to make the game 31–30. NU head coach Tom Osborne opted to try for a two-point conversion instead of an extra point, even though a tie would have given Nebraska the national championship. Miami won the game and its first national title.
Honors and awards
Individual award winners
College Football Hall of Fame
|Name||Position||Years at NU||Inducted|
|Dana X. Bible||Coach||1929–36||1951|
|Eddie N. Robinson||Coach||1896–97||1955|
|Aaron Taylor||C / OG||1994–97||2018|
Retired numbers and jerseys
Nebraska has retired the number of three players and the jersey of 17.
Since 1914, Nebraska has produced 110 First-Team, 56 consensus, and 20 unanimous All-Americans.
Nebraska leads the nation in Academic All-America selections, both in football and across all sports. Nebraska boasts 70 CoSIDA First-Team and 108 overall Academic All-America selections, both tops in the nation. The list includes 15 Huskers that have been named first team Academic All-Americans twice in their careers. The Huskers also lead the nation with a total of 330 Academic All-Americans across all sports.
Nebraska has four players that have been selected as a First Team Academic All-American by entities other than CoSIDA: Don Fricke (1960), Pat Clare (1960), Jim Osberg (1965), and Tony Jeter (1965).
In the NFL
Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Willis Roy (Link) Lyman, Tackle (1964)
- Guy Chamberlin, End (1965)
- Bob Brown, Tackle (2004)
- Will Shields, Guard (2015)
- Mick Tingelhoff, Center (2015)
Currently in the NFL
There are 28 Huskers currently on NFL rosters as of February 4, 2019.
- Ameer Abdullah – Running Back, Minnesota Vikings
- Prince Amukamara – Cornerback, Chicago Bears
- Rex Burkhead – Running Back, New England Patriots
- Cethan Carter – Tight end, Cincinnati Bengals (IR)
- Maliek Collins – Defensive Tackle, Dallas Cowboys
- Will Compton – Linebacker
- Lavonte David – Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Quincy Enunwa – Wide Receiver, New York Jets
- Nick Gates – Guard, New York Giants (IR)
- Nathan Gerry – Linebacker, Philadelphia Eagles
- Randy Gregory – Defensive End, Dallas Cowboys
- Andy Janovich – Fullback, Denver Broncos (TC)
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste – Cornerback, Baltimore Ravens (IR)
- Chris Jones – Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals (PS)
- Joshua Kalu – Cornerback, Tennessee Titans
- Sam Koch – Punter, Baltimore Ravens
- Tanner Lee – Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars (PS)
- Alex Lewis – Offensive Tackle, Baltimore Ravens
- Spencer Long – Guard, Buffalo Bills
- Brett Maher – Kicker, Dallas Cowboys
- Niles Paul – Tight End
- Brent Qvale – Offensive Tackle, New York Jets
- Jeremiah Sirles – Guard – Buffalo Bills
- Matt Slauson – Guard
- Zach Sterup – Offensive Tackle, Miami Dolphins
- Ndamukong Suh – Defensive Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Zac Taylor – Head Coach, Cincinnati Bengals
- Vincent Valentine – Defensive Tackle, Arizona Cardinals (PS)
(PS) – Practice Squad
(IR) – Injury Reserve
(RES/SUS) – Reserve/Suspended
(TC) – Team Captain
|Central Michigan||Buffalo||North Dakota||at Colorado (rivalry)||South Dakota State||Akron||Tennessee||Northern Illinois||South Dakota State||at Oklahoma (rivalry)||Oklahoma (rivalry)||at Arizona|
|South Dakota State||at Oklahoma (rivalry)||Georgia Southern||Northern Illinois||Colorado (rivalry)||at Cincinnati||North Dakota||at Tennessee||Arizona|
|Cincinnati||Southeastern Louisiana||Oklahoma (rivalry)||Louisiana Tech|
Conference non-division opponents
Announced schedules as of August 29, 2018.
|vs Ohio State||at Rutgers||at Michigan State||at Rutgers||vs Michigan||vs Ohio State||vs Michigan|
|vs Indiana||at Ohio State||vs Ohio State||vs Indiana||vs Maryland||at Penn State||at Indiana|
|at Maryland||vs Penn State||vs Michigan||at Michigan||at Michigan State||at Michigan||vs Rutgers|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nebraska Cornhuskers football.|
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