Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 11-16-07

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I probably won't send anything next week due to the holiday, so here's an early Turkey Day greeting. Hope you all travel safe and have a great time with friends and family during the next week. And please remember to add a little 'Thanks to our Troops' in your prayers next Thursday as we gather around the table to enjoy the bounties of life in the best country in the world.

Of course the Thanksgiving weekend wouldn't be complete without a little Husker football. After the Huskers skinned the Wildcats last Saturday, there is hope that the team will once again be enjoying a little roast buffalo along with their Thanksgiving leftovers. With the shot of adrenalin they got from that win, I think they will "Bring It" to Colorado.

Except for Legends in Concord (which serves an early morning golf course crowd), our other watch sites will probably not be open on Friday morning following Turkey Day, and most of you would be hard pressed to venture out of the house anyway what with friends, family and a fridge full of leftovers waiting for you. The game is on early (9 a.m. Pacific) with a national TV feed on ABC. So stay in your PJs, put on your Big Red slippers and plant yourself in front of the Telly with a breakfast of turkey sandwiches and stuffing and cheer on the Huskers!


Got this from Huskerpedia to help you get in the mood for next Friday:
Own the shirt

If you venture out for some holiday shopping this Saturday (17th), check out the Barnes and Noble in San Jose (on Stevens Creek). Our very own Emily Ray's Mission Chamber Orchestra will be there to provide some soothing shopping music (see info at the end of the email).

Some great reading below, especially the piece by Mike Osborne (its long but worth the time). And don't forget to vote for Coach Tom as the best coach ever in college football (see article and website link below).

Go Big Red (White and Blue),


Follow the link and vote for Tom Osborne. He is ahead in the polls right now so make sure to get your vote in soon!!!!!
See the poll on the ESPN "U" website:

You can also get to this same link at



Joe Ganz threw for a school-record 510 yards, including a school-record seven touchdowns, in NU's 73-31 win over Kansas State.

Lincoln - Joe Ganz produced one of the best individual offensive performances in school history to lead a high-powered Nebraska offense to more than 700 total yards in a 73-31 victory over visiting Kansas State in the Big Red's regular-season home finale on Saturday afternoon.

Playing in front of a Senior Day crowd of 84,665 fans in the NCAA-record 289th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, Ganz shattered both Nebraska's single-game total offense (528 yards) and single-game passing records (510 yards), while adding a school record for the most touchdown passes thrown in a game with seven. And Ganz did it little more than three quarters.

The junior quarterback from Palos Heights, Ill., completed 30-of-40 passes and did not throw an interception in his second career start. Along with his 510 yards passing and seven scores through the air, Ganz added 18 yards on six carries on the ground.

Ganz, who completed 11-of-14 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone to shoot the Huskers to a 38-10 halftime lead, went 19-for-26 with 283 yards and four scores in the first 20 minutes of the second half, before giving way to reserve quarterback Beau Davis with 9:57 left in the game.

Nebraska amassed 702 yards of total offense on the day, the first time since 1995 (vs. Iowa State) that the Huskers crossed the 700-yard plateau. NU also produced its first 70-point scoring total since hanging 77 on Iowa State in 1997.

Although Ganz departed, Nebraska continued to roll scoring on its 11th consecutive possession on Marlon Lucky's second touchdown run of the day with just over four minutes left in the game. Lucky finished the day with 16 carries for 103 yards, while adding six receptions for 78 yards, including the 100th reception of his career.

Wide receiver Maurice Purify enjoyed the biggest day among the Husker seniors with six receptions for 108 yards, while a trio of fellow senior wide receivers also enjoyed big days.

Frantz Hardy tied a school record with three touchdown receptions for a total of 83 yards, while Terrence Nunn added five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Senior walk-on Dan Erickson added a career-high three catches for 25 yards.

Overall, nine different NU receivers hauled in receptions on the day, including junior Todd Peterson, a former walk-on from Grand Island, who pulled in four catches for 85 yards with two scores. Junior Nate Swift joined Lucky on a select Husker receiving list with his 100th career reception. In fact, Lucky and Swift each nabbed their 100th catches on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. Swift finished the day with two catches for 38 yards.

The Huskers, who snapped a five-game losing streak to improve to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in Big 12 play, fell behind 7-0 on KSU's second drive of the game, before senior cornerback Cortney Grixby ignited the Husker faithful with a scintillating 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to tie the score midway through the opening quarter.

Grixby's return was Nebraska's first for a touchdown in a decade, dating back to Joe Walker's return for a score in the 1998 season opener. It also appeared to inspire the Husker offense and defense on an emotional Senior Day in Lincoln.

After Brooks Rossman hit a 31-yard field with 4:34 left in the first quarter to give KSU a 10-7 lead, the NU Blackshirts slammed the door on the Wildcats for the rest of the half.

Ganz and the Nebraska offense took full advantage by ripping off 45 unanswered points to drop Kansas State to 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in the Big 12. NU's offensive eruption began with Lucky scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ganz with 32 seconds left in the first quarter to give NU its first lead of the day at 14-10.

Less than two minutes later, Ganz extended NU's lead to 21-10 by hooking up with Hardy on a 36-yard scoring strike with 13:09 left in the half.

Alex Henery pushed the Husker lead to two touchdowns with a 27-yard field goal with 6:39 left, before Lucky struck again with a five-yard scoring run to push NU's lead to 31-10 with 2:05 left in the half.

But the Huskers were just getting started. After the Blackshirts held the Wildcats on fourth down in NU territory, Ganz blistered the KSU secondary with back-to-back connections to Peterson, including a 23-yard touchdown with eight seconds left to put Nebraska up 38-10 at the half.

Nebraska kept rolling after receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, marching 80 yards capped by Ganz's eight-yard touchdown pass to Hardy just three minutes into the half. The duo hooked up for a third time on a 39-yard scoring strike with 6:16 left in the quarter to push NU's lead to 52-10.

At that point, Ganz tied Nebraska's single-game record with his fifth touchdown pass of the day, while Hardy tied a record of his own with his third touchdown catch of the afternoon.

Nebraska closes its 2007 regular season by traveling to Boulder, Colo., for its traditional day-after-Thanksgiving showdown with Colorado. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, Nov. 23, with live national television coverage provided by ABC.


Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Nebraska junior quarterback Joe Ganz has been named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his record-setting performance in Nebraska’s 73-31 victory over Kansas State on Saturday.

The 6-1, 200-pound Ganz completed 30-of-40 passes for a Nebraska record 510 yards through the air. He also threw for seven touchdowns, shattering the previous NU record of five touchdown passes in a game. Ganz finished the day with 528 yards of total offense, breaking the previous school record in that category by 95 yards. Ganz had 12 completions of 20 yards or more in the game.

In two games as Nebraska’s starter Ganz has thrown for 915 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for another score. He owns two of the four 400-yard passing days in Husker history.

Ganz’s selection as Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week marks the second time this year a Husker has won the award. Junior I-back Marlon Lucky captured the award after his 233-yard rushing effort in the season opener against Nevada.

Ganz was one of three players honored by the conference on Monday. Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib was the Defensive Player of the Week, while Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray earned the Special Teams Player-of-the-Week award.



A Nebraskan, a Walk-On . . . a Soldier

Saturday’s Kansas State football game is not only a special day for 29 Nebraska seniors, but also an important opportunity for more than 400 Nebraska-based active troops who have recently returned from overseas duty and are special guests of the University of Nebraska.

Lt. Col. Jim Murphy, who oversees recruiting and retention for the Nebraska Army National Guard, is a double source of pride as the Huskers brace to salute all soldiers the day before Veterans Day.

First, in pregame ceremonies, Murphy will help present Major General Roger P. Lemke with a civilian Nebraska football jersey. Lemke commanded our state’s military forces and directed the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency until he retired just a week ago.

Secondly, even though the 48-year-old Murphy will watch the game in his military uniform, he can take particular pleasure in watching the pads pop on the field. Before he ever decided to become a career soldier, Murphy was one of the biggest long shots ever to start at Nebraska as a walk-on player.

“Mitch Krenk and I defied the odds together,” says Murphy, whose dad (Big Jim) captained Nebraska’s 1956 football team and whose uncle, Monte Kiffin, is the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Mitch ended up going all the way to making the Chicago Bears Super Bowl team (in 1984), but we were both on the seventh or eighth-team when we started out.”

Murphy and Krenk, the president of Nebraska’s Letterman’s Club, decided to take a winter conditioning class together as freshmen. “I think we were the only two non-football players in the class,” Murphy recalls. “We worked as hard, if not harder, than anyone in the class, and we were surprised when Coach (Tom) Osborne invited us to come out for spring football. Then, after that, he invited us to come out for fall camp.”

The two long shots made a pact with each other. “Mitch said we were the lowest of the walk-ons, so we couldn’t just be low maintenance; we had to be no maintenance. That meant we couldn’t get hurt, and if we did, we had to pretend like we weren’t hurt. We had to make grades, stay out of trouble, show up every day, never miss a practice, never be late to a meeting and never give any of the coaches any reason to think we didn’t belong there.”

Murphy laughs about having what he calls an electric shoulder. “I had a pinched nerve in my neck, and once in a while, it would incapacitate me,” Murphy said. “It’d take about 30 seconds before the pain would go away, then I’d jump right back up.”

He says attrition was the best way to jump through the depth chart. “When I was eighth team, two of the defensive backs ahead of me didn’t make their grades and two more quit the team. All of a sudden, I was fourth team, and I started to realize why the Nebraska players would say, You stay; you play.’ Jeff Krejci came over to me one day and said: Geez, Murph, you keep working hard, and you’ll be right there with the rest of us. You’re just as good as some of these other guys. Keep your nose to the grindstone, and you never know what might happen.’”

Lt. Col. Murphy never once let up for anything or anybody. In his first three years as a Husker (1978-79-80), Murphy flew under everyone’s radar. As a junior, he lettered. As a senior, in 1982, he found himself No. 1 on the depth chart at spring practice. He started a couple of games that fall before getting pneumonia after a big win at Auburn. Although he never worked his way back into the starting lineup, he never missed a kickoff on special teams.

“You hear about walk-ons being the heart and soul of Nebraska football,” Murphy said. “All of the superstars on that ’82 team know how true that is. They know how hard we worked just to get on the field, and it helped them work hard themselves. We pushed them to heights they never even imagined.”

Nebraska All-Americans Mike Rozier and Irving Fryer remember laughing at the skinny walk-ons they saw report as freshmen. By the time they were seniors and preparing for their last home game, they weren’t laughing anymore. “Irving and I watched how hard those guys worked,” the Heisman Trophy-winning Rozier said. “We figured if we worked as hard as they did, how much better would we be? Walk-ons set the tone for everyone, including me.”

Murphy smiles when he hears the story. “I remember a story about Irving,” he recalls. “One time in practice, Tim Holbrook, another walk-on from my hometown (Lexington), fought through a crack-back block and just decked Irving in practice. Irving looked at our receivers coach (Gene Huey) for sympathy, and Coach Huey looked back at him and said: Irving, welcome to the Big Eight!’”

For Jim Murphy, the journey from winter conditioning to the playing field was a long and winding road. But there are hundreds of other stories just like his. Tell us about your favorite walk-on players, and we may just post it for others to read.

(This one from Randy York came in too late for last week's email, but I wanted to include it because I think its another important article about Nebraska Tradition)...

For Ruuds, Family Pride Shines Through

A Hall of Fame football coach, now Nebraska’s interim athletic director, wrote a book called “More Than Winning.” He wrote about the process the preparation, the effort, the strategy, the players and the game being more important than the championships and the trophies.

In his book, Tom Osborne talked about his experiences, his values and his faith and how they mean more to him than winning.

For the Ruuds, described by some as the “First Family of Nebraska Football,” Saturday’s game against Kansas State is about more than winning.

Husker Family Tree: The Ruuds
Bo Ruud Biography
Barrett Ruud Biography
Tom Ruud Biography
Clarence SwansonBiography

It is about character and courage and sacrifice . . . and about family pride shining through the dark clouds on and off the football field.

Nebraska All-America linebacker Tom Ruud will watch son Bo Ruud play his last home game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Joining his dad in the stands, because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a bye week, is brother Barrett Ruud, Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler.

Wednesday, in his 30th consecutive season of hunting pheasants in the Nebraska Sandhills with five ex-teammates, Tom Ruud hiked up to the top of a hill on a 120-year-old ranch between Bassett and Taylor to talk on his cell phone.

He was asked about the meaning of Bo’s last home game in this most challenging of seasons. The mediocre phone connection was apparent, but so were the words that came out of a proud father who was obviously choking up.

Despite the struggles of the season, including a leg injury that has sidelined Bo for all but one series of the last three games, Tom Ruud called Saturday’s game “an exciting time” for Bo, one of Nebraska’s three 2007 co-captains.

“He’s been around five years, and it’s been kind of an up-and-down ride,” Tom said. “But Bo has played awfully well, and he’s awfully proud of his teammates. He really wants to get a win Saturday. Every one of those kids is going out there to do the very best they can, and I believe that they can pull together and play well enough to win. Personally, this last game in Lincoln is a little emotional for all of us.”

Bo’s late, great-grandfather, Clarence Swanson, is in the College Football Hall of Fame. His uncle, John Ruud, is still on the Nebraska Tunnel Walk highlight reel for his vicious hit in the Huskers’ 1978 upset win over top-ranked Oklahoma and Billy Sims. Bob Martin, former Husker All-America defensive end, is another Bo Ruud uncle. That means Jay Martin, Bob’s son and a freshman walk-on linebacker from Waverly, will be cheering his cousin on at field level.

Someone else will be there, too . . . in spirit. Jaime Ruud, Tom’s wife and the mother of Barrett, Bo and sister Kim, died of a heart attack on June 30, 2006, at the age of 52.

For Tom, the patriarch of this proud and productive clan of Ruuds, it takes a few seconds of silence to gather his thoughts on a long-distance call.

“Jaime and I tried to raise our kids to be good people first,” he said. “I’m proud of their athletic accomplishments, but I’m even prouder of how they treat people just like they want to be treated themselves.”

A former first-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills, Tom admits he never “pulled any punches.” He always insisted that when his kids did something, “they did it as well as they possibly can.” When you give it your all, Tom said, “you don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Barrett took that philosophy with him to the NFL, where he now ranks second among all NFL tackle leaders halfway through the season. Barrett and Bo, who played on the same state championship team at Lincoln Southeast, never got that kind of chance in college.

But they’ve stayed close, as friends as well as brothers. For the Ruuds, family pride shines through every day, every phone conversation and every game day opportunity.

Saturday, Bo Ruud will take one last pre-game walk through the tunnel. He will sprint through those familiar swinging doors one last time. He will look up and see the words “I Play for Nebraska” and then, a second or two later, he will hear another sellout crowd of 85,000 people give him the most thunderous roar he has ever heard.

A tear or two might well up in the eyes of his tight-knit family, and, I’m betting, in the eyes of countless others who wish Bo and 28 other Nebraska seniors nothing but the very best.

Editor’s Note: Let us know what you think about the rich family traditions in Husker football. Which families do you think could be considered the "First Family" in Nebraska football history. Your responses may be included among the "Voices of Husker Nation."


Jordan Larson had four aces in NU's win at Texas A&M.

College Station, Texas – Jordan Larson had four of the Huskers’ season-high nine service aces, leading second-ranked Nebraska to a 30-26, 30-23, 30-22 sweep at Texas A&M Wednesday evening at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

Larson matched her season best with four aces, as the Huskers improved to 24-1 on the season and 16-1 in the Big 12. Sarah Pavan and Christina Houghtelling also added two aces, as NU tied its season high in aces for the third time this year.

"Jordan set the tone for us with her serving," Nebraska Coach John Cook said. "She was serving rockets all night and they really struggled passing their serve."

Pavan led the Huskers with her third double-double in four matches, leading NU with 20 kills on .350 hitting, 10 digs and a pair of blocks. Jordan Larson totaled 11 kills and a pair of stuffs, as Nebraska held the Aggies (18-10, 7-10 Big 12) to .099 hitting and totaled 10.5 blocks, including for Tracy Stalls and three by both Houghtelling and Kori Cooper.

"It’s a great road win again against a team that has been playing well in recent weeks," Cook said. "To go on the road and win 3-0 against a team that is fighting for its NCAA life is a very good win for us. This is never an easy place to win, and Texas A&M is an NCAA caliber team, especially with the way that have played over the few matches."


Kayla Banwarth totaled 19 digs against Iowa State on Sunday.

Ames, Iowa – Kayla Banwarth enjoyed a successful homecoming, totaling a career-high 19 digs in her first career start to lead second-ranked Nebraska to a 30-20, 30-19, 30-16 victory over Iowa State Sunday afternoon.

Banwarth, playing in front of nearly 40 family and friends who made the drive from Dubuque, keyed the Huskers’ defensive efforts, as Nebraska (23-1, 15-1 Big 12) held Iowa State to. 135 hitting and out dug the Cycloens, 59-45. The all-around effort silenced the Hilton Coliseum crowd of 6,705 – the largest collegiate crowd to ever see a volleyball match in Iowa. Banworth also chipped in five assists and a service ace as Nebraska totaled five aces and held Iowa State (15-11, 9-7 Big 12) without an ace.

Nebraska Coach John Cook was a little worried about Banworth’s nerves before the match, but the freshman passed the test with flying colors.

“I thought she would be really nervous, but she did a great job tonight,” Cook said. “It was very impressive performance from her, as she was calm, cool and collected throughout the match. She has gained a lot of confidence in recent matches and has played well for us the last two matches. The other thing Kayla gives us is that she is a former setter and handles the ball very well. We think she can be a real important piece for us down the stretch.”

While Banwarth keyed NU’s defensive efforts, Rachel Holloway guided a potent Husker attack by totaling 39 assists and seven kills to help NU hit .388 against a team that was third in the conference in opponent hitting percentage. NU hit over .400 in each of the final two games, including .486 in the finale. Sarah Pavan paced the Huskers’ offensive efforts with a match-high 16 kills on .483 hitting and two aces, as six Huskers totaled at least seven kills in the sweep, the Huskers’ 20th in 25 matches.

“I thought we were very good today,” Cook said. “We were on our team for the last three days about coming in her and making a statement today. They followed our game plan very well and Holloway did a great job of mixing up our offense all day. It was a very consistent effort.”


Lincoln – Seven members of the Nebraska volleyball team were honored Tuesday afternoon, as they were selected to the 2007 Academic All-Big 12 Volleyball Team.

The Huskers’ seven selections tied Kansas State for the most of any Big 12 school, as all seven NU players were first-team honorees. The group is led by seniors Christina Houghtelling and Sarah Pavan, who had perfect 4.0 GPAs during the last academic year. It is both Pavan and Houghtelling’s third selection to the academic All-Big 12 team, as only six of the 44 members of the team posted 4.0 GPAs.

Other first-team academic All-Big 12 honorees included Kori Cooper, Maggie Griffin, Jordan Larson, Rachel Schwartz and Tracy Stalls. It marked Stalls’ third appearance on the team and the second for Griffin, Schwartz and Larson. Cooper makes her first appearance on the team this fall.

Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, the volleyball academic all-league team consisted of 44 first team members combined with nine on the second team. First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, and the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.

To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of her team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.


The Huskers celebrate a goal against Texas A&M.

Lincoln-Headed into the 2007 campaign, head coach John Walker knew the season would test his club. The Huskers would be looking to fill a hole left in the midfield by the graduated Brittany Timko, while 24 of the 31 members of the team were underclassmen, including 14 freshmen.

The season lived up to its billing as challenging as the Huskers finished with a 5-10-4 record, including 1-8-1 in the conference, but Walker and the team refused to let the final record define the season.

Closer examination reveals several bright spots for Nebraska. The youth, that was once considered a challenge, turned out to be one of the strengths of the Huskers as six freshmen earned starts during the season, including Jessica Mills and Brittany Goosen. The duo started all 19 games for the Huskers at key positions, with Mills in goal and Goosen on the defensive line.

Those young Huskers helped the team start the season on the right foot, including freshman Alexa Cardona, who scored the first goal of the season in a 2-0 NU win over Northwestern on Sept. 2. The Huskers boasted a 3-0-2 record in non-conference play at the Nebraska Soccer Field in 2007, including a 5-1 drumming of Saint Louis on Sept. 21.

Several players helped to replace the loss of Timko, including fellow Canadians Sari Raber and Selenia Iacchelli. Raber, a junior from Richmond, British Columbia, finished with three goals and three assists on the season as she placed herself as a leader and distributor in the midfield.

Iacchelli, a junior from Edmonton, Alberta, also finished with three goals and three assists as she established herself as a viable threat on set plays. Two of her three goals came on free kicks from more than 35 yards away. Iacchelli recorded 50 shots and 24 shots on goal in the season, both of which led the team.

Filling in for Timko’s goal scoring was sophomore Shay Powell, who led the Huskers with five goals on the season. Powell’s goals came on just 15 shots on goal as the Dallas, Texas, native overcame an early-season injury.

Offensively, Nebraska distributed the ball well, as 17 Huskers scored points during the season. Six freshmen recorded points, including two goals and three assists by Cardona. Sophomore Carly Peetz had only two goals on the season, but she made both count as each was a game-winner. Nebraska scored at least one goal in their last eight competitions, which included a 4-0 victory over Lamar on Oct. 12.

Nebraska’s 4-0 win over the Cardinals was the offensive high of the season as the Huskers racked up 44 shots, including 26 in the first half. The 44 shots were the most in a game since NU recorded 44 in an 11-0 win over Drury on Sept. 3, 2000. Nebraska put half their total shots on goal as 22 of their shots found their way towards the net. NU’s defense would not be outdone though, as the Huskers allowed Lamar just three shots.

The Husker defense had plenty to brag about throughout the season also. Mills completed her first season in net as she anchored the Husker defense. She recorded a shutout in her first career game and went on to be named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25. Mills’ shutout performance against Saint Louis on Sept. 21 and one-goal allowed against No. 12 Florida on Sept. 23 earned her the award. She recorded 11 saves in the two games.

Mills ended the season with 79 saves and three shutouts, but not all the credit can be given to her. Mills had a solid defensive line in front of her, led by Peetz, Goosen, Lindsay Poehling and Anna Caniglia. The Huskers started their season 2-0-2 thanks in part to a defense that allowed just two goals in the first four games. Poehling and Caniglia, both sophomores, will return to a battle-tested defense in 2008.

The Huskers failed to qualify for the Big 12 Championships, but the knowledge and experience gained by the young squad in the 2007 season will prove to be invaluable in the upcoming season. Nebraska loses only three players to graduation, midfielder Jessie Bruch, defender Meghan Hungerford and defender Abby Penas, including only one starter of a 31-player team.

The 2007 season saw the Huskers:
-Earn one Big 12 Player-of-the-Week Award (Mills)
-Take 44 shots, including 26 on goal, in a 4-0 win over Lamar
-Place nine players on the academic All-Big 12 first and second teams
-Win 12th consecutive league opener in 12 tries with a 1-0 win over Oklahoma
-Improve the program’s all-time record to 166-2-2 when leading at the half, finishing 4-0-0 in 2007
-Improve to 21-9-7 at the Nebraska Soccer Field



Thoughts from Mike Osborne On the Current Situation

Current Affairs

If you hate editorials, or if you are a fan of basketball on grass - then you may want to skip reading this email. If not, read ahead with the warning I am not very smart, I just try to observe things:

Let me begin this opinion bit by stating that the following in no way reflects the opinions of anyone at the University. They are solely my views. The current AD, and part-time professor, has consistently warned me over the years people will think whatever I convey about the football program is coming from him. That is not the case. He is not a big talker - so what follows is all my own. I have no inside knowledge of what may or may not happen in the next couple weeks, but I have some thoughts about what has gone on the past few years.

Like most fans, I am overjoyed that situation has changed, and coach Osborne is now very much involved in the program. You can look at our football situation in baseball terms like we're down 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th. You want your best batter up to bat in that situation. That doesn't guarantee anything, but it gives you your best hope for a positive outcome. I am biased, but I think we have our best batter up to bat. And he appears comfortable in the batters box.

After the leadership change was made, people at the athletic department said they felt like they could breath again. The airwaves buzzed around the state and everywhere you went people were celebrating. One of the sports talk stations played the "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" song from The Wizard of Oz as they went into and out of breaks. Pretty harsh, but representative of the spirit of the day.

It was like the iron curtain had been lifted from Nebraska football and now employees, media, players, coaches, and fans could say what they really thought without fear of retribution from above. Have you ever been in an environment where people in authority fed everyone a lot of baloney and you were expected to smile and shake your head in agreement, and any questioning could lead to your excommunication? That is what the athletic department had become.

It may take awhile for employee's nerves to settle. Employees lower on the totem pole have described the situation as a dictatorship. They have said that years ago, no one ever spoke about accountability, integrity, teamwork, and tradition - but all those things were there. Nowadays, there are signs and plaques and speeches everywhere around the building referencing those attributes, but the qualities themselves were not to be found. I think one measure of a person is how they treat those "beneath" them. The key being, if you really think someone is "beneath" you, you already have a problem. Suffice it to say the people in support positions at the athletic department were feeling under foot.

Not more than a couple months after coach Solich was fired I was taken to lunch by a high ranking athletic administrator and told in no uncertain terms to "keep things positive" with regard to my remarks about the program.

Earlier in the season a radio commentator (and former player) was summoned to the north-end fortress and raked over the coals because he dared state (on air) that the team lacked chemistry. He was certain his job was in jeopardy and one more slip of the tongue would cost him his job. Kevin Raemakers was pulled aside after making a remark during his Nebraska Hall of Fame acceptance speech that was perceived as unsupportive of the regime. His arm was tightly squeezed by a man half his size and was told firmly it was no place for him to state his personal views.

The now notorious firing of head football trainer Doak Ostergard was in my view completely related to Doak's natural instinct against smiling and nodding when someone was telling him bold-faced lies. Doak was never one to get animated or belligerent, but he never hesitated to call a skunk a skunk. And he would not just shut up and go away when he thought he was being treated dishonestly.

To be fair, Steve Pederson did some great things that will serve Nebraska football well into the future. The facilities he helped create are truly world class. Recruits for years to come will be dazzled and persuaded by the impressive edifices of the Athletic Department. But they will come to be better people because of the heart of the department, and because of the innumerable good people who have dedicated themselves to making Nebraska the special place it truly is. A surprising thing about Pederson's tenure, a fellow Nebraskan, was he did a lot of things we feared an outsider might do.

The toughest part of the current situation is the sympathetic plight of the coaches children, especially the boys. I have a bit of a bleeding heart for them because I think I have experienced a taste of what they may be going through. Unlike the coaches and their wives or the players, the kids do not control the environment they enter into every day. The coaches get to work with each other, fellow commiserators and comrades-in-arms so to speak. The wives can choose where they go and who they see. They certainly must find comfort in each others company. Though the players may endure some discomfort amongst their peers around campus, they come to practice everyday with about 100 guys going through the same thing, and they are big intimidating guys who probably find it hard to be too worried about what the skinny kid in the business management class may be thinking.

The coaches kids however, must venture behind enemy lines on a daily basis. And make no mistake, they are enemy lines. Most of the kids in their schools are probably fairly well mannered. But that can't mask the sense of "outsider" you feel every where you go. Kids who are sympathetic don't know what to say and don't want to embarrass you. Most kids treat you like you have a contagious disease and keep their distance. You can see the conversations they are having while glancing your way. And then there are the few who think it is their duty to tell you what is too painfully obvious, that things aren't going well for the Huskers. It is difficult when you are at an age where you want to fit in and find your niche with your peers, and there is this palpable force-field around you that either repels people or twists their behavior toward you. I remember being treated with hushed tones, long faces, or being quietly ignored the day after a painful loss and maybe for a full week after a loss to Oklahoma. It confuses you because you can't really grasp why you are being treated like someone in your family died. When peers act so strangely after a loss, you begin to wonder why they are friendly when the team is winning - it can play with your mind if you think too much. Hopefully most of the coaches kids are like me and aren't terribly deep thinkers!

I have heard stories of some of the coaches kids going through some really tough times. Can you imagine what it is like to be the coaches kid sitting in the stands and a large portion of the student section is chanting "Fire (YOUR NAME)" clap clap clap, "Fire (YOUR NAME)." I can only imagine the comments that are being made at school. One of the coaches wives contacted me last year about speaking to some of the coaches kids and it didn't work out. I wish it had - I could have told them some of my stories and some of my solutions. I would have told them that it will all pass, and they'll learn who their real friends are and it can make them better people. One thing I've learned is to be thankful for the good and the bad, you learn from both.

I remember sitting in the stands and hearing the comments about my dad. The first time I was in 5th grade and I took a friend to a game. We were sitting by two older gentlemen who were long time fans. One turned to the other a said, "I just haven't had any confidence in the team since Osborne took over." It took the fun out of the day. As I grew older I became more than a little agitated with the fickleness of some fans. One of my favorite memories from the early 1990's was when a drunk fan called my mom and dad's home number (they had it listed in the phone book) after the home loss to Washington - eventual National Champs. I answered the phone, "Agghhh ish this Tom Oshborn?", "Yes it is" I said. "Well you don't know a ***** thing bout coachin football, what the h---l was that out there tonight..." etc. etc. After he finished saying his peace, he heard some things come out of "Tom Osborne's" mouth that left him in stunned silence. I also took the opportunity to point out some of his personal flaws in less than polite terms. My sister and her friend were standing nearby and fell over laughing.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with Husker hysteria. It is fun when things are going well and everybody's happy. But like Ernie Chambers points out, it has become like a religion to some. I used to jokingly refer to myself as the son of the high priest of Nebraska during my dad's final years, and not because my dad wanted to be considered as such. I thought some fans had lost perspective. But what made it a positive was the way coach Brown, my dad, and some others did an outstanding job of trying to redirect peoples admiration and adoration to the higher power they strove to serve. That is why, unlike some, I don't take offense when an athlete points to the heavens after scoring or doing something great. I like to think they are redirecting peoples affection to where it belongs. I don't necessarily think that athletes mean that God personally allowed them or helped them to score - it is more like they are giving back - pointing to Who really deserves the applause.

Personally, that is part of what has been missing for me from the program in recent years, that sense of deeper meaning, the bigger picture, the higher calling. It did not use to be so much about wins and losses or money or the NFL. It was about teaching young men how to be real men. Men of integrity, character, and humility. I think the current players are outstanding kids. And the coaches are doing their very best. I believe some of the decisions that were made to take the program away from what it was about were not made with ill intentions - just mistaken priorities. You can't build a young man's character when the sales pitch is based on "we're going to help you make it to the NFL." All the while knowing you are selling him fools gold. That mode of operation may work for a short time, but like all things built on shifting sand, it will fall under its own weight. If you want to see and hear from the heart of a Husker what I am talking about - listen to Jason Peter's speech to the 1997 Team reunion banquet from a few weeks ago.

The team used to be an extension of us - it was like they had come out of the stands and played from us and for us. The youthful excitement at a big play was cheered as much by teammates on the field and on the sideline as by the fans. Silly high fives, spontaneous joyous jumping and always arms around each other as they came off the field into the embraces and pats on the back spilling onto the field from the sideline. And there was no fear of failure, only all-out reckless effort. We were all in it together, from the clerk sitting in a gas station in Sidney listening to Lyell Bremser, to the guy holding the down-and-distance marker on the sideline to Tom Sorley standing at the line, looking across at Reggie Kinlaw. If we were gonna lose, we were gonna go down fighting, and everyone was going to do their part. Many of us could do little more than yell at the top of our lungs and make sure we had on our lucky underwear. Some of us could get close enough to yell encouragement to the players only a few feet away, and a few of us stepped onto the field wearing a red jersey and played for the rest. If some of you are too young or if it has been too long ago to recall the sense of unity we had, simply watch the 1978 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma game with Lyell Bremser's play-by-play and you'll be taken back. We can recapture that spirit and sense of family. We need leadership that is sincere and that can be trusted with our young men to hold true to the traditions of Nebraska football, and not just pay it lip service.

A notable irony, coach Osborne, considered NU's greatest leader, has never put Nebraska football first in his life. His faith and his heartfelt responsibility to others to lead by example, is what makes him who he is. In so doing, he has ensured the greatness of Nebraska football. That is the kind of leadership we will have again. It may not translate to instant National Championships or 10 win seasons, but I think it will translate to the rebirth of a sense of all-for-one and one-for-all, which will eventually culminate in another National Championship.

Terms & Conditions in the Current State of Affairs

The Good: Joe Ganz and the offense, and a chance at 2 wins to finish the season. Coaches and players caring about each other in spite of the stress and criticism. And a truly excellent recruiting job by coach Callahan and his staff over the past 4 years. The cupboard is not bare.

The Bad: Everyone straining to keep their dignity in a trying situation.

The Ugly: A potential for $10 million dollars in buyouts to start with a clean slate.

Basketball: You've heard the term "basketball on grass" when the 1990's blackshirts talked about passing teams, in particular Steve Spurrier's Fun and Gun offense. It was not said as praise. Jason Peter, CU coach Bill McCartney, and many other former coaches and players have concurred that as your offense schemes, so goes your defense. The theory being that if your offense is a cerebral finesse construct, then your whole team practices like that. If that is all your defense sees in practice, then your defense becomes soft and passive. An aggressive and physical offense breeds a like defense.

Karma: You eventually reap what you sow.

Hope: The return of an active fullback. The return of a Nebraska born and bred backbone to the team. The return of The Nebraska Way. An eagerness to see what all the quality athletes in the program will do when coached up in a more aggressive, smash-mouth style of football, Nebraska football. With the right coaching, some insiders believe there is enough talent on hand for NU to be a top 15 team next season. That may be a stretch, be we can Hope.

Cause for Concern: The dust is settling in North Stadium. Everything is smooth with coach Osborne in charge. But he won't want to stay forever, and what then? Several people in positions of authority at the University hope he will stay at least 5 years in some official capacity - he is like the wood in the bucket of water. On a farm, one way to keep water splashing out of a pale when you are moving it around in a pickup or trailer is to put a piece of wood in the pale. Coach Osborne has that calming influence.

Truth in Advertising: All the mandatory signs displayed around the athletic department that said "Everyone is Accountable" have been taken down, and accountability was sorely missing at the leadership level. No signs will be around next year, but instead administrators, coaches, athletes, and support staff will act accountably and do so cheerfully.

Truth in Advertising 2: It is doubtful future recruits will be lured by a sales pitch of a fast track to the NFL. Instead, it is likely they will come for an education and an opportunity to earn a place in the Husker tradition.

A confession: Although I had predicted a good season for the Huskers, I had done so to appease the thought police that were keeping an eye out, and that was wrong of me. Although I was hoping otherwise, privately I told several people I feared things were aligned for an unraveling this season. I told Doak Ostergard he had been granted a favor when he was fired last spring. I perceived the situation like a plane on a tarmac destined for a crash, and he had been allowed to deplane. My reasoning: This may sound harsh, but I looked at who was left down there in the leadership - it seemed ripe for collapse.

Welcome Home: Most former players didn't feel connected to the program in the last few years. I know of a former starting fullback and defensive end who said they would never let their sons come play at the modern NU, and both of whom who have sons who may very well be talented enough to do so. Phil Bates son plays for Iowa and others have gone elsewhere. One of coach Osborne's first acts as AD was to send out a letter to all former lettermen to inform them that they were officially welcomed back. They would have an opportunity for tickets, sideline passes, and press box passes. Pictures of former Husker greats were put up in the new north stadium complex within a few days. The security desk, which restricted access of everyone, including former All-Americans and former coaches from entering the north stadium complex was shut down. In it's place are cheerful greeters and the doors are unlocked.

No Spin Zone: The culture at the Athletic Department is being flipped back to one of honesty and trust, which has to come from the top for it to permeate an organization. Consequently, I think happy days are coming our way once again.


Dear Friend of Mission Chamber Orchestra,

The holiday season is approaching and MCO has a suggestion for getting started on your shopping while simultaneously helping the orchestra. All day on Saturday, November 17, at the Barnes and Noble at 3600 Stevens Creek Blvd, when you purchase books, CDs, and DVDs and present the attached coupon (editors note: available on request...didn't want to clog the email system with an attachment), MCO will receive a percentage of the sale. There will also be live chamber music from 2-5 pm for your enjoyment. If you are planning any shopping at Barnes and Noble, please consider coming to 3600 Stevens Creek Blvd. next Saturday.

Visit our Bay Area Huskers website for additional Husker information, Links, Upcoming Events, Past Events, Watch Sites, and the Schedule of Games. Also order Merchandise online, and get information on Husker Scholarships. Check out the History of the Huskers and meet our Directors.

Say hello today, email us, sign up for our newsletter, and become a member of the Bay Area Huskers Alumni Chapter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 11-8-07

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans!

One last home game left for 29 seniors. Lets hope they finally break the string of losses and put another "W" on the board so these guys can hold their heads a little higher. Kickoff for the K-State game is set for 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time and all of our watch sites will be active again with great pub breakfasts for all you Hungry Huskers. The game is televised nationally on Versus.

The Volleyball Team has been doing great...came from behind to beat K-State and swept the Buffs last night in Lincoln.

Lots of gallows humor about the football program flying around, so I added a couple of the funnier samples below...pretty creative folks!

Enjoy the reading below, and don't forget to fly your flag on Sunday (and Monday) in honor of all the veterans who have served this great County over the years. And if you are interested, San Jose has a great Memorial Day parade downtown on Sunday the 11th at 11 am.

Go Big Red (White and Blue)...


Quarterback Joe Ganz and the Huskers welcome Kansas State to Memorial Stadium this weekend.

After a pair of road games against nationally ranked opponents, Nebraska returns home to Memorial Stadium for the final time in 2007, taking on Kansas State on Saturday. The Huskers contest with Kansas State will be televised nationally by Versus with kickoff set for 9:37 a.m. PST in the 289th consecutive sellout in Lincoln.

Nebraska will be looking to close the home season on a winning note and end a five-game losing skid on Saturday. The Huskers dropped to 4-6 overall and 1-5 in Big 12 Conference play with a 76-39 loss at No. 8 Kansas last Saturday.

The Wildcats will come to Lincoln with a 5-4 overall record and 3-3 mark in Big 12 Conference play. The Wildcats are coming off a 31-20 loss at Iowa State last Saturday, leaving KSU in a tie for third place in the Big 12 North Division. Prior to the loss at Iowa State, KSU’s three losses had come by a total of 18 points, including losses against nationally ranked Auburn (23-13) and Kansas (30-24).

Nebraska will look to pick up its third straight win over Kansas State and defeat the Wildcats for the 19th time in the past 20 meetings in Lincoln. The Huskers won 29 straight matchups with K-State from 1969 to 1997, but the Wildcats responded by winning five of seven meetings before NU wins the past two seasons. Nebraska will also be looking to complete its home schedule with a 4-3 record which would mark the 39th consecutive season the Huskers have had a winning home record.

Saturday will also mark the final home contest for 29 Nebraska seniors, who will be introduced to the Memorial Stadium crowd before the start of the game. Saturday’s activities will also include a Veteran’s Salute and Military Day.


Lawrence, Kan. - In his first career start as Nebraska's quarterback, Joe Ganz threw for more than 400 yards and led the Husker offense to 39 points, but it was not enough in NU's 76-39 loss at No. 8 Kansas at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Ganz, a junior from Palos Heights, Ill., led Nebraska to a touchdown on his opening series as NU's starter by capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. He also guided the Huskers to a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter, but KU's offense scored touchdowns on 10 consecutive drives to lead the Jayhawks to victory.

Ganz finished the day by completing 25-of-50 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns to lead Nebraska to the biggest offensive output allowed by KU's defense this season. In fact, NU's 39 points surpassed the total output produced by the Jayhawks' first five opponents combined at home this season (33 points).

Despite a strong offensive performance by the Huskers, the Jayhawks were even more efficient in producing the highest point total ever by an NU opponent. The Jayhawks took their first lead at 21-14 at the end of the first quarter and carried a 48-24 lead into the locker room at the half.

Nebraska marched down the field to narrow the gap to 48-31 after the opening drive of the second half, but the Husker defense could not slow the balanced and potent Kansas offense. The Jayhawks took advantage of three straight Husker turnovers to score four consecutive touchdowns to push their lead to 76-31 with 11:12 left in the game on Brandon McAnderson's fourth touchdown run of the day. McAnderson finished the day with 25 carries for 119 yards.

Ganz, who did throw four interceptions, ended a streak of 28 points by KU when he found Maurice Purify in the end zone on fourth down to pull NU to 76-39 after completing a two-point conversion pass to Nate Swift. Ganz finished with four touchdown passes in his debut, with three of those strikes going to Purify, who enjoyed the finest day of his Husker career with seven catches for 158 yards and three scores.

While Purify had a huge day, nine other NU receivers hauled in at least one reception from Ganz. Marlon Lucky added six catches for 83 yards, including a 62-yard scoring catch and run to give NU a 14-7 first quarter lead.

KU quarterback Todd Reesing also connected with a bevvy of receivers on the afternoon, orchestrating a fine-tuned Kansas onslaught by completing 30-of-41 passes for 354 yards and six touchdown passes. Three of the scoring strikes went to Dezmon Briscoe, who finished with five catches for 52 yards. Marcus Henry led all KU receivers with six catches for 101 yards and one touchdown, while a total of eight Jayhawks recorded catches.

KU finished the day with 572 yards of total offense, includuing 218 rushing yards. Nebraska amassed 484 total yards, but managed just 79 yards on the ground led by freshman Roy Helu's nine carries for 56 yards.

Despite the similar yardage totals for the two teams, Nebraska's five turnovers proved to be the largest difference on the day, while the Husker defense was unable to force a turnover by the Jayhawks.


Senior linebacker Bo Ruud could be in the starting lineup for Saturday's home finale.

Lincoln – Nebraska could have senior linebacker Bo Ruud in the starting lineup for Senior Day against Kansas State as the Husker captain returned to practice Wednesday afternoon.

“It looks real positive,” head coach Bill Callahan said after the workout on the Gass grass practice fields next to the Hawks Championship Center. “We’ll see how he responds tonight and tomorrow when he comes back in to see the trainers. It’s very positive.”

Ruud last played in the early stages of the Texas A&M game on Oct. 21, before he went down with an injury. He has 42 total tackles in 2007 and a pair of interceptions that went for touchdowns in wins over Ball State and Iowa State.

“I would like to see him start (on Saturday),” Callahan said. “I think that would be great for him if he’s ready. We’ll see where we’re at.”

On the other side of the ball, Kansas State’s defense is ranked fourth in the Big 12 in yards allowed with 347.7 per game. The Huskers are preparing for a 3-4 and 4-2 defense from Wildcat defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar.

“We’re going to see both the odd and even front,” Callahan said. “They do a good job with their ends. I’m really impressed with (Ian) Campbell. He’s a premier end in this conference with No. 95 (Rob Jackson). Both guys have the ability to squeeze the pocket and put pressure on the quarterback.”

Nebraska will have its last full practice of the week Thursday afternoon prior to its Friday walk-thru. Saturday’s Senior Day against Kansas State kicks off at 9:30 a.m. PST on Versus.


Adrian Fiala and Jim Rose on the set of the pregame show.

Jim Rose announced Tuesday morning he would no longer be the play-by-play announcer for Nebraska Husker football games.

During Newsradio 1110 KFAB's "Good Morning Show," Rose explained that he is stepping down as the "voice of the Huskers" immediately. Rose has called the games for six years.Rose said the job as the voice of the Huskers was rewarding, exciting and thrilling, but he had lost touch with important things in his life.



Senior tight end J.B. Phillips has received Academic All-District honors for the third straight year.

Nebraska senior tight end J.B. Phillips has been named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII team as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). With his selection to the all-district squad, Phillips advances to the ballot for Academic All-America honors which will be announced in early December.

This marks the third consecutive year that Phillips has received academic all-district honors after being a second-team pick each of the past two seasons. The Colleyville, Texas native is in his second semester of graduate school after picking up his degree last December. Phillips completed his undergraduate work in marketing with a 3.73 cumulative grade-point average and he carries a 3.89 grade-point average in his master’s degree work.

On the field, Phillips is among Nebraska’s most experience performers. He has made 32 career starts at tight end and owns 30 career receptions, including three touchdown grabs.

Nebraska is the nation’s leader in Academic All-Americans for football and all sports. In football, Nebraska has had 62 first-team Academic All-Americans and 90 overall selections. The Huskers have a nation-leading 252 Academic All-Americans across all teams and sports.


Junior Todd Peterson is one of 11 finalists for the 2007 Wuerffel Trophy.

Nebraska junior wide receiver Todd Peterson has been named of 11 finalists for the 2007 Wuerffel Trophy, a national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.

Peterson is the only representative from the Big 12 Conference and his selection marks the third straight year that Nebraska has had a finalist for the award. Former Nebraska fullback Dane Todd was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy each of the past two seasons. Nebraska and Washington State are the only two schools in the country that have had a finalist for the award since its inception in 2005.

A native of Grand Island, Peterson is a well-rounded student-athlete. On the field, the 6-4, 210-pound Peterson has 12 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns this season. He has six career receiving touchdowns. In the classroom, Peterson carries a 3.73 grade-point average in nutrition, exercise and health science and is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection.

He also is one of Nebraska’s most active student-athletes in the area of community outreach. Peterson was named to the 2007 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team for his efforts, which include serving as a motivational speaker during American Education Week and School is Cool Week, volunteering with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Read to Succeed and Pacific Pals.

Earlier this fall, Peterson was named the 2007 recipient of the Brook Berringer Memorial Endowed Scholarship. Originally a walk-on, Peterson was awarded a scholarship in the fall of 2006.

The Wuerffel Trophy award is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led Florida to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans.



Nebraska freshman linebacker Blake Lawrence was selected as a National High School Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation Monday for the outstanding athletic and academic achievements he displayed during high school.

Lawrence is one of five current college freshmen selected in 2007, including Ryan Coffey (Louisville), Kellen Kiilsgaard (Stanford), Matthew Stotler (Columbia) and Barton Dear, who is not playing at the collegiate level.

First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Award has become one of the most competitive and sought after high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement.

"With the National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, the NFF annually strives to honor the absolute finest from the gridiron at the high school level," NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell said. "The accomplishments of this year's five nominees make us all proud, and their contributions both on and off the field set the standard for their peers to follow.”

Lawrence came to Nebraska after an award-winning prep career at Shawnee Mission West High School in Shawnee Mission, Kan., where he was named the Gatorade Kansas High School Player of the Year. Lawrence was a dominant two-way player, starting at quarterback as a senior, while also continuing as a defensive stalwart, where he had 60 tackles, a pair of sacks and three interceptions. His performance led Shawnee Mission West to the state Class 6A title game, while individually he earned all-state and All-Metro honors from the Kansas City Star.

Lawrence was also one of the top scholars at his school, maintaining better than a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average. He graduated in the top 10 percent of his class of more than 500 students and was a National Honor Society Member. He claimed a Kansas University State Scholar Award and was listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students. Lawrence is currently majoring in marketing and advertising at Nebraska.Passionate about helping others, Lawrence found time to give back to his school and his community. He served on his school's Student Council Executive Board and was chairman of the local blood drive. Selected by his peers and administrators, he participated in the UniTown's Cultural Awareness and Diversity program and worked as a Leadership 20/20 Member and Peer Presenter. Lawrence also volunteered as a basketball coach and referee with Special Olympics and as an event assistant for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.

Lawrence and the other four scholar-athletes will be honored during the NFF's Annual Awards Luncheon, presented by Sprinturf, on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.


Former Husker fullback Dane Todd will be presented the Walter Byers Scholarship this week in Baltimore.

Former Nebraska fullback and scholar-athlete Dane Todd will be honored for his selection as the 2007 Walter Byers Award at this week’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives Association.

Todd and female Byers Award recipient Katie Kingsbury of Washington & Lee University will be honored at an awards dinner on Thursday evening in Baltimore.

Todd and Kingsbury were announced as winners of the NCAA’s highest academic honor in May.

The Walter Byers Scholarships recognize the contributions of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. The awards encourage academic achievement of student-athletes and each Byers Scholar receives a $21,500 scholarship. Winners have the option of renewing the scholarship for a second year based on academic standing.

Todd is currently in medical school at Emory College in Atlanta. A Lincoln Southeast graduate, Dane is the son of Loy and Kim Todd.

Todd is one of the most distinguished scholar-athletes in Nebraska history. The Lincoln native was a two-time Academic All-America selection, and graduated in May of 2006 with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in biological sciences. He was also a first-team All-Big 12 selection on the field during his senior season.


Jordan Larson led NU with 17 kills and 17 digs against Colorado.

Lincoln – Jordan Larson’s 17 kills and 17 digs led three Husker double-doubles, as No. 2 Nebraska rolled past Colorado, 30-17, 30-22, 30-20, Wednesday night at the NU Coliseum.

Larson paced a blistering NU attack, hitting .414 on 29 swings, as she matched her season best in kills and fell one shy of a season high in digs en route to posting her team-best 10th double-double. It was also the first time in 12 matches that Larson paced NU in kills, while she also chipped in a pair of aces in helping Nebraska up its record to 22-1 and 14-1 in conference action.

Nebraska Head Coach John Cook said Larson’s strong play is important for the Huskers in the final weeks of the regular season.

Last year, I think Jordan knew she had to carry a really big load on this team with Houghtelling going out," Cook said. "Now we’re more balanced, and she wasn’t sure of her role at times. I just know when she plays great, we’re a great team. That’s what we’ve told her. We need her to be that dominant player. I feel like she’s really coming on right now."

Fellow outside hitters Christina Houghtelling and Sarah Pavan joined Larson in posting double-doubles against the Buffaloes. Houghtelling totaled 11 kills on .421 hitting and 16 digs, while Pavan chipped in 12 kills, 10 digs and four blocks.

Rachel Holloway guided the Huskers to a .388 hitting percentage – its best effort in over a month, as she totaled 47 assists and helped all five primary attackers hit over .350 in NU’s 19th sweep of the year.

While NU’s offensive effort was sharp, Cook was more pleased with the Huskers’ work on the defensive side of the net, recording 62 digs and holding CU to .129 hitting.

"We had a couple of goals tonight," Cook said. "One was to hold Alex Buth under .100, and she only had one kill the whole night. The second thing is we worked really hard on our floor defense the last two days because we want to be a great defensive team going down the stretch. We did a great job there tonight."

Emilee Sisco paced CU with 13 kills, but hit .114 on the night, as the Buffaloes fell to 6-18 overall and 1-15 in the Big 12.


Manhattan, Kan. – Behind a season-high 31 kills from Sarah Pavan, No. 2 Nebraska overcame a 2-0 deficit to rally for a 3-2 victory against No. 12 Kansas State, 24-30, 27-30, 30-25, 30-19, 15-8 Saturday night at Ahearn Field House.

Pavan blistered the Wildcats for a Big 12-high 31 kills on .375 hitting – the second-highest performance of her career - and added 10 digs, as the Huskers improved to 21-1 on the season and moved into a tie with Texas for the Big 12 lead with an 11-1 conference mark.

Pavan’s effort led the comeback, as the Huskers hit over .300 in each of the final three contests, including .579 in the finale, as NU played error-free ball. Tracy Stalls totaled 15 kills on .480 hitting and a season-high nine blocks, while Jordan Larson chipped in 12 kills and four blocks, as NU out-blocked the Wildcats, 15.5-13.5.

Rachel Holloway established career highs in assists (72) and blocks (six) while adding 13 digs to help NU out-hit KSU, .266-187. Outside hitter Christina Houghtelling also turned in another career high with 26 digs and added seven kills and four blocks.

Natalya Korobkova led Kansas State (18-7, 10-5 Big 12) with 22 kills, while Angie Lastra totaled 32 digs for the Wildcats in a losing effort.


Sarah Pavan was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Lincoln -- University of Nebraska right side hitter Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, Ontario) collected her second Big 12 honor of the season, as she was chosen as the conference’s offensive player of the week on Monday.

Pavan averaged 5.95 points, 5.30 kills and 2.40 digs per game in a pair of five-game wins last week for the No. 2 Huskers. She recorded a pair of double-doubles and hit .363 on the week, as Nebraska moved into a tie with Texas for the Big 12 lead.

Pavan paced NU with 22 kills on a .349 hitting clip with 14 digs, three aces and two blocks in Wednesday’s win against Missouri. Three days later against Kansas State, she eclipsed those numbers, compiling a season-high 31 kills – the most in a match in the league this season, on .375 hitting and 10 digs to help the Huskers overcome a 2-0 deficit. Pavan totaled nine of her kills on .615 hitting in game three, helping the Huskers turn the tide against the Wildcats.

Her 31 kills against Kansas State ranked as NU’s second-highest total in the rally-scoring era and the most by a Husker in a regular-season match since the 1999 season. It is the seventh time that Pavan – a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year – has garnered the conference’s weekly award.


by Bonnie Ryan

Senior Sarah Pavan closes her volleyball career at Nebraska as one of the most decorated players in NCAA history. The three-time first-team AVCA All-American not only garnered 2006 AVCA National Player of the Year honors during her junior year, but was also awarded the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup Winner for her outstanding season. Pavan talks about her favorite Halloween costumes among several topics.

Do you remember what your first Halloween costume was?
"It probably wasn’t my first, but the first one I can remember was a princess."

Did you have a favorite costume?
"I dressed up as a gypsy once when I was really little and I thought that was pretty cool. I wasn’t as hard core as some people were, but the princess was a good one."

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
"I like all of them. Probably any type of chocolate bar would be my favorite."

What is one of your favorite memories while playing for Nebraska?
"Winning the national championship by far. Nothing has compared to that."

Take fans through your typical game day preparations.
"Well, we have serve and pass and then we watch video and eat. I’ll usually do homework or have a nap after that. When I wake up, I have to call my dad and boyfriend just to talk to them. Then I pretty much just get taped and that’s about it."

What’s your favorite pre-game meal?
"If we have an afternoon game, I really like Misty’s brunch. It’s my favorite. Those scrambled eggs with ham and the coffee cake are my favorite."

How does your hometown compare to Lincoln?
"It’s pretty similar. It’s about the same size population wise. It’s a lot more diverse racially and ethnically though, so that’s kind of different. But as far as size and types of schools and stuff, it’s very much like home."

Why did you choose the number 9?
"I’ve had this number since I was probably 13. My number used to be 17, but then I played on a regional team or something and they didn’t have that number and number 9 was the only one left, so I took it. I’ve been stuck with it ever since."

Do you have a nickname on the team?
"People usually call me by my last name or they just shorten it to ‘Pav.’ Those are the most common.

What is your shoe size?
"In women’s it’s a 12. They’re not ridiculously big. Other girls on the team have bigger feet than me."

What’s your favorite fast food?
"I don’t usually eat fast food, but if I do—Wendy’s."

Describe Coach Cook in two words:
"This is hard. Perfectionist and demanding."


Tracy Stalls was one of three Huskers to garner first-team Academic All-District honors.

Lincoln – Four members of the second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team were honored Thursday with their selections to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII Team. The four Huskers selected included a trio of first-team selections in Sarah Pavan, Christina Houghtelling and Tracy Stalls, while Jordan Larson was tabbed a third-team selection.

It marks the third straight year that Pavan – the reigning Academic All-American of the Year in all sports – was selected for the first team and the second time for Houghtelling, a first-team Academic All-American in 2005. Stalls earned second-team honors in 2006, while the selection is the first time Larson has been honored. Pavan, Stalls and Houghtelling all advance advances to the ballot for Academic All-America honors which will be announced in early December.

Pavan, who carries a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry, is looking to become the second Husker volleyball player to be a three-time Academic All-American, joining Virginia Stahr (1987-89). Pavan leads the Big 12 in kills (4.91), aces (0.43) and points (5.76) per game while ranking among the conference leaders with a .342 hitting percentage. The 2006-07 Honda-Broderick Award winner, Pavan has five double-doubles and holds NU’s career record for kills with 1,873.

Houghtelling, who has a 3.91 GPA in elementary education, leads the Huskers in digs from her outside hitter position, averaging 3.97 digs per game. The 2005 AVCA National Player of the Year, Houghtelling also chips in 3.25 kills and 0.29 aces per game, while totaling eight double-doubles this year.

Stalls has been a force at the middle blocker position this season, averaging 2.68 kills and 1.12 blocks per game this season. She is hitting at a .447 clip, good for third nationally and is bidding to become the first Husker in nearly two decades to hit over .400 in consecutive seasons. Stalls, who has a 3.95 GPA in an individual program of studies, spent the summer with the U.S. National Team and earned second-team AVCA All-America honors in 2006.

Larson collects her first academic honor, as she has a 3.31 GPA in communication studies. A first-team AVCA All-American in 2006, Larson averages 3.50 kills and 3.46 digs per game this season, ranking among Big 12 leaders in kills (ninth), service aces (0.42, second) and points per game (4.30, ninth). The junior outside hitter leads NU with 10 double-doubles and already ranks ninth on NU’s career digs list with 962.

The Huskers are 23-1 overall and 14-1 in Big 12 action heading into Sunday’s match at Iowa State, set for 4 p.m. Fans can listen to the match across the state on the Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and KHUS 93.3 FM in Omaha, and on the Internet at


Junior Sari Raber earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.

Lincoln – The Big 12 Conference has named nine Nebraska student-athletes to the 2007 Academic All-Big 12 soccer teams, the league office announced today.

Four repeat selections highlighted the Husker honorees as Selenia Iacchelli, Lindsay Poehling and Sari Raber all earned first-team nominations for the second consecutive year. Abby Penas earned her second nomination to the second team, while Jessie Bruch was also named to the second team. Anna Caniglia, Brittney Lanier, Carly Peetz and Shay Powell all earned their first first-team honors for the first time in their careers this season.

The Huskers’ nine honorees are the most since the 2001 season, when 12 NU student-athletes made the list.

Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, the soccer academic all-league squad consisted of 75 first-team members combined with 20 on the second team. First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, while second-team members carry a 3.00 to 3.20 GPA.


Lincoln – The Nebraska soccer team once again dominated their opponent on the offensive side of the ball, but had to settle for a tie as the Huskers battled the Iowa State Cyclones to a 2-2 double-overtime draw on Friday at the Nebraska Soccer Field.

The Huskers (5-10-4, 1-8-1 Big 12) ended their season by creating 23 shots against Iowa State (8-6-4, 4-4-2 Big 12), including 11 on goal, while the Cyclones managed just 16 total shots and six on goal. A back-and-forth first half saw ISU outshoot the Huskers 10-6, but NU roared back with 10 shots to ISU’s four in the second half. NU did its best to seal the game in the double overtime as they created seven shots in the 10-minute period. Both teams had seven corner kicks.


Hawks Field at Haymarket Park was chosen as the STMA Field of the Year.

Lincoln – Hawks Field at Haymarket Park earned a national honor on Friday, as the field was selected as the 2007 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Baseball Field of the Year Award in the College/University division.

It marks the second time in the last four seasons that Hawks Field has received this honor, marking the first time has college field has earned the honor twice since the award was created in 1992. The field also received the honor in 2004.

The commitment to excellence in overall field quality, safety, playability and appearance earned Hawks Field at Haymarket Park Field of the Year honors in voting by a panel of national judges.
In 2007, over 250 events took place at the facility, which the University of Nebraska shares with the American Association’s Lincoln Saltdogs and the city of Lincoln, including a full season of Husker and Saltdogs baseball games and the Nebraska baseball state tournament.

Winning awards for the quality of the field is nothing new for Head Groundskeeper Josh Klute and assistants Jared Hertzel and Jen Roeber. The field has been selected as the top field in both the Northern League and American Association every year since Haymarket Park opened in 2001. Klute will receive the honor on Jan. 18, in Phoenix, Ariz., as part the annual STMA Conference.

"This award means a lot to us because of the all the hard work that our staff puts in throughout the year," Klute said. "With all of the events we host, it takes a great staff to keep the field in great shape, and a lot of the credit goes to Jared and Jen, as well as our interns (Andy Lomax, Jeff Thoman and Jesse Grimm)."

Nebraska Head Baseball Coach Mike Anderson appreciates the efforts that Klute and his staff go to in giving both the Huskers and Saltdogs the best playing conditions possible.

"Josh and his staff are most deserving of this honor considering their work habits, time crunches and passion for Hawks Field," Anderson said. "We’re excited to be playing in a park which is the best field in college baseball. Our program has an opportunity to play on fields across the country, and there is no place like Nebraska and it proves out with this award."

The Field of the Year Awards are presented for top maintenance of natural playing surfaces and support facilities in four major sports areas: baseball, softball, football and soccer. The Field of the Year and Sports Field Complex of the Year Awards are the highest honor STMA bestows upon a facility. Entrants must supply information on the design of the facility, the uses of the facility that impact the playing surface, the organization of the maintenance program and innovative solutions used to overcome playing surface problems.

Each of the five judges on the Awards Committee reviews the entrants independently, grading them on each aspect of the criteria. The results of the independent input of the five judges determine the winning field.


This one may be a Niner story but its potentially relevant for the Huskers if things don't turn around (thanks Jim!)...

Here is a Niner joke I heard on the radio this morning.
A man wearing a Niner jersey, carring his cat who was also wearing a Niner jersey, went into a bar. He asked the bartender "Can we watch the Niner game at your bar, as we always watch the games together at home, but my TV is broken."
Although cats were not allowed in the bar the bartender replied "Aw you can come in and watch the game as long as the cat behaves himself".
As they watched the Niners scored a field goal. The cat went down the length of the bar and gave everyone a High-Five.
The bartender was totally amazed and asked the owner " What does he do when the score a touchdown"?
The owner replied "I don't know I've only had him for three years".

GO NINERS and eventually BIG RED!!

Here's one I got from several sources (many thanks!)...

In case of possible tornadoes sweeping through the state of Nebraska, we ask that all Nebraskans take shelter at the Husker stadium. We are certain that a touchdown will not occur there.
Thanks for your cooperation.

This one hurts...OUCH! (Thanks to all who sent it)...
This must be true, I heard it from a very reliable source. Nick, the guy who told me has a second cousin whos ex-wifes new husbands son in law is a janitor in the University Book Store. Told you it was a close reliable source. Anyway, it is more than a rumor...

New rumor! Bill Callahan will not be fired, but will be resigning to take another coaching position.

Bill was, as recently last week, approached by the US Olympic committee to come on board full time. It is further rumored that he will become the head coach for the illustrious US bobsled team. After an interview with Olympic officials they were unbelievably impressed with the manner in which Callahan is able to get a team to go downhill faster than any coach in modern history.

Visit our Bay Area Huskers website for additional Husker information, Links, Upcoming Events, Past Events, Watch Sites, and the Schedule of Games. Also order Merchandise online, and get information on Husker Scholarships. Check out the History of the Huskers and meet our Directors.

Say hello today, email us, sign up for our newsletter, and become a member of the Bay Area Huskers Alumni Chapter.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 11-2-07

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans,

For a brief shining moment we had hopes of returning the favor to Texas (if you remember them beating us in the last minute in Lincoln last year), but alas, we lost another one. The next road game against Kansas won't be any easier either, as they are having a record year for their football program.

The Volleyball team had a hard fought contest with Mizzou last Wednesday night and some of you may have had the chance to watch it on a tape delayed broadcast on CSTV. They pulled it out in the 5th game of the match (see article below).

Lots of rumors floating around out there about the football program, but I won't put anything in these emails until its published. With that said, check out the NY Times article at the end of the email to get a flavor of whats going on back in Lincoln...good read.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),

Watch Sites:

The game this Saturday against Kansas will be televised on Fox Sports Network and is NOT a Pay Per View game. Coverage starts at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time so set the alarm and put on your Big Red Duds and join the rest of the Husker faithful in cheering on the team. The watch sites will be active and I know Jack's will have their great breakfast menu available for all early risers.

Founders' Day 2008:

Here's a message from our chapter Prez, Dave Pegg:
We have our speaker for Founders Day Sunday February 24th!

Former First District Congressman Doug Bereuter has agreed to be our speaker. Doug spent 25 years in Congress from 1979 to 2004, retired, moved to Alamo, CA and is now president of the Asia Foundation in San Francisco. He attended high school in Utica, NE, graduated from UNL and has masters degrees from Harvard University in city planning and public administration. I'm sure he will be very interesting and can tell us about the Asia Foundation and what it means to the United States. He may even have a comment or two about Congress and Nebraska football.

Please mark that date on your 2008 calendar and we'll plan on seeing you then. Until then, as always, Go Big Red (White and Blue)!!Dave
(details to follow in future emails)


Junior Joe Ganz and the Huskers look to have success against one of the nation's best defenses Saturday at Kansas.

Lincoln – To be successful in Lawrence this weekend against the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks, the Nebraska football team is going to need good ball control Saturday afternoon as Kansas boasts the one of the nation’s best defenses in 2007. Ranked in the top five nationally in four defensive categories, Kansas has produced the second-best scoring defense (10.25) as a result of the third-ranked turnover margin (1.38) in the nation.

“They’ve been opportunistic,” head coach Bill Callahan said after Wednesday’s practice inside the Hawks Championship Center. “They’ve made a lot of plays off batted balls and got a lot of (interceptions).

“When you get on a roll and you’re playing good defense, there’s energy and guys start feeding off each other.”

Kansas is 8-0 for the first time since 1909, a season in which the Jayhawks defeated the Huskers, 6-0, in Lincoln.

“I give complete respect in everything that they’ve done,” Callahan said. “It’s hard to go 8-0. It’s awfully difficult. There are five undefeated teams in the country right now. It’s hard to do. I think we see how football has balanced out across the board. It’s anybody’s game on Saturday.”

Senior linebacker Bo Ruud and freshman linebacker Blake Lawrence did not practice Wednesday. Callahan said the staff would evaluate the injuries again tomorrow, as well as the position of back-up quarterback behind junior Joe Ganz.

Nebraska will have its final full practice of the week Thursday afternoon prior to its Friday walk-thru. Saturday’s game against No. 8 Kansas will be the Huskers’ fifth against a top-10 opponent in the past two seasons.


Quarterback Joe Ganz closed a “focused, concentrated, detailed” week of preparation, according to coach Bill Callahan, as the Nebraska football team worked on the grass fields for two hours Thursday afternoon in Lincoln.

“He's been living in the office all week,” Callahan said. “He's been around every single minute. He's poured a ton of time into his preparation, so you know it's important to him. He did a heck of a job on the practice field, but that's what happens when you prepare hard off the field. Those are the results that occur when you really focus in on the small details of the game, so I'm proud of him in that respect."

Ganz, a junior preparing for his first career start at Nebraska, has built on the traits he showed as a high-school player at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Illinois. Those traits stood out to Callahan as he watched him on film as he prepared to recruit him.

“When I saw him on film, I remember that he ran extremely well. He’s very mobile and threw the ball exceptionally well. He’s not the tallest guy, but there are a lot of quarterbacks in his size range that are effective, so that didn’t bother me. I thought that he was a competitor. He had a fierce, competitive style about his play. He was tough in terms of running down the field.”

Ganz came to Nebraska and has served as a backup for the past three years and has battled through numerous challenges in preparation for this game.


The Big 12 Conference has announced its television selections for Saturday, Nov. 10, with the Huskers’ home finale against Kansas State set for a national telecast by Versus. Game time for the Big 12 North Division match-up has been set for 9:30 a.m. PST. **Remember that we switch back to Standard Time this weekend (Sunday Nov. 4th).

Versus is available in 70 million homes nationwide and is carrying 19 college football games this season, including five Big 12 Conference games. In Omaha and Lincoln, Versus is available on the digital tiers of Cox and Time Warner, respectively. Versus can be found on Channel 231 on Cox Communications in Omaha and Channel 229 on Time Warner Cable in Lincoln. The network is also available on Direct TV (Channel 603) and DISH (Channel 151). For information on Versus in specific areas, please visit, or check with your local cable provider.

The telecast on Versus will give Nebraska eight television appearances this season, in addition to two additional games that were carried on a pay-per-view basis. Nebraska’s game this Saturday at No. 8 Kansas will be televised by FSN, also beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Huskers’ regular-season finale at Colorado will be televised nationally by ABC.

The game will mark the first time since 2003 the Nebraska-Kansas State match-up has been televised as part of the Big 12’s regular television package. Last year’s Husker win in Manhattan was televised on a pay-per-view basis by FSN.

In addition to Nebraska-Kansas State, other Big 12 games selected for telecast on Nov. 10 are: Texas A&M at Missouri (9:30 a.m., FSN); Texas Tech at Texas (12:30 p.m., ABC); Baylor at Oklahoma (3:30 p.m., FSN); Kansas at Oklahoma State (5 p.m., ABC)...(all times Pacific).


Noting Game Nine...Texas 28, Nebraska 25

►Texas’ three-point victory marked the fifth time in the past seven meetings between the two schools that the outcome has been decided by four points or less. Texas has won all five of those games. The ‘Horns have also won all six regular-season meetings between the schools since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.

►Junior wide receiver Nate Swift caught six passes for 112 yards, including a pair of touchdown catches. The two touchdown receptions give Swift 12 career touchdown catches, incuding three this season. Swift’s 12 career touchdown catches place him in a tie for sixth on the NU career list.

►The 100-yard receiving day was the fourth of Swift’s career and his first since his freshman season in 2005.

►Swift’s six catches moved him into third place on the Nebraska career receptions list with 96 catches, passing Matt Davison’s total of 93 receptions from 1997 to 2000.

►Junior running back Marlon Lucky rushed 24 times for 111 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of 2007 and the seventh of his Husker career. With his 111 yards, Lucky moved his season rushing total to 832 and his career rushing total to 1,689.

►Lucky’s 33-yard run in the second quarter was the second-longest rush by NU this season, bettered only by Lucky’s 41-yard TD run against Iowa State.

►Lucky caught six passes for 41 yards, pushing his season receptions total to 55, tying Johnny Rodgers’ school-record set in 1972. Lucky has 89 career receptions, good for fifth place on the Husker career list.

►Senior wide receiver Frantz Hardy caught a 56-yard pass on the second play of the second half, giving him five career receptions of 50 yards or more, including two this season.

►Nebraska forced a fourth quarter turnover by Texas (interception by Zach Potter), marking the first takeaway by the Husker defense in four games (four vs. Iowa State).

►Redshirt freshman place-kicker Alex Henery connected on a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter to improve to a perfect 6-of-6 on field goal attempts this season. Henery is also 26-of-26 on extra-point attempts.

►Freshman offensive tackle Jaivorio Burkes played in his first career game and made his first career start. The start by Burkes marks the third straight season that Nebraska has had a true freshman offensive lineman earn a start. In 2005, Matt Slauson started the final three games of the season and a year ago Jacob Hickman earned a start in game 10 against Missouri. Burkes, Hickman and Slauson are the only true freshmen to start on the offensive line since 1972.

►Senior fullback Andy Sand caught two passes for 16 yards. Sand entered the game with just one reception for 15 yards in his career.

►Senior safety Ben Eisenhart collected a career-high six tackles, bettering his five tackles earlier this season against Oklahoma State.

►Junior punter Dan Titchener averaged 42.6 yards on eight punts, and had four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

►Texas running back Jamaal Charles had 290 yards rushing against the Huskers, the most recorded by an individual against Nebraska in school history. Charles bettered a 247-yard game by Oklahoma’s Billy Sims at Oklahoma on Nov. 24, 1979.



The Nebraska offense began its first day under new leadership on Tuesday, as junior quarterback Joe Ganz took the reins as the Huskers’ new starter following a season-ending injury suffered by senior quarterback Sam Keller against Texas last weekend. Ganz and NU’s first-team offense began to get familiar under beautiful fall weather inside Memorial Stadium, as the Huskers prepare to head to Kansas to take on the No. 8 Jayhawks this Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“(Joe) did a great job,” Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson said of Ganz’s practice. “He’s always kept his head in what we’re doing.”

Ganz, who will earn the first start of his career against the top-10 Jayhawks, embraced the backup role this season after Keller was named the starter prior to the season-opener against Nevada. Ganz’s attitude in his supporting role didn’t surprise Watson.

“That’s who Joe is,” Watson said. “Joe loves Nebraska, he’s embraced his role. He’s always been a team guy first and he’s always proven it in the ways he’s handled his business here with us.”

Under Ganz’s guidance this weekend, the Husker offense could take on a slightly different look, as Watson explains that Nebraska will want to focus on the first-time starter’s strengths and abilities.

“Joe does some things that Sam doesn’t do as well,” Watson said. “We’ll use those things and play to his strengths.”

The Huskers will have two more full practices before they travel to Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday to take on the undefeated Jayhawks. The game is set for an 9:30 a.m. (PDT) kickoff and will be televised on Fox Sports Net.


Opening Statement
“We’re moving on to Kansas. We’re excited about playing the eighth-ranked team in the country this Saturday. They’re awfully good across the board and should present quite a challenge for our football team.”

On Joe Ganz taking over at quarterback
“We have the utmost confidence in Joe’s abilities and leadership to lead our team and perform at a high level. He’s gotten all the work, training and repetition that he needs to be successful in everything we do. He’s a great game manager and a great field general. He has all the abilities in the world to function effectively, so I’m excited about him on the field. Just going back to the Texas game and watching him play for the very short time he was in the game, I think excites everybody. I think we have a lot of hope when you look at a player of that caliber that can come into the game and do the things he did late in the game.”

On Ganz not getting more experience earlier in the season
“The big thing is that I can’t do anything about the past. I think Joe’s well aware of what our plan was throughout those games. We don’t look back in that respect. We look forward to what he can do for our team. I think that’s the big thing is that he’s been in games before, he’s been trained. He’s practiced. He knows the system. He knows how to execute all the throws and reads. I’m very confident in his abilities. I think it’s been well-documented around here that he can do some other things as well, so we’re excited about it.”

On Ganz’s poise
“He is (very even-keeled). He’s the type of player that has great poise. He’s a tough guy from Chicago. He’s not going to let a lot of things rattle him. I don’t get on him too much, even though he’s a Cubs fan. Being a South Sider and a Cubs fan is a little different for me. I have to try to understand that portion of it, for those of you who know Chicago. He’s just an outstanding kid. He’s waited a long time for this opportunity. I know that he’s going to try to make the most out of every play and every practice rep he gets this week in his preparation.”

On increasing the amount of running by the quarterback
“I think he naturally does that. He’s going to be the type of player that’s going to work the pocket. If he has to, he’ll escape and make plays. I think we saw one scramble of his late in the game against Texas down in the red zone where he made a positive play with his feet. He has that ability. We’ve always had plays in that move him around, so it’s really no secret in that regard. He does have mobility. We try to feature that. He has a lot of other things that he does as well to complement his abilities.”

On the team’s confidence in Ganz
“There’s no question in my mind. I look at our players and they’re very supportive of whoever is in that role. You feel that in the course of the week when you’re at practice. You see teammates encourage him and rally around him when he’s getting his turn to run the second unit. Everybody is very supportive of him. I tend to agree that a lot of guys are going to rally around Joe. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.”

On the team rallying around Ganz
“He is (a guy a team gravitates toward) because he’s been here for four years. He’s earned his spurs and gained the respect of a lot of people around here. By and large, he’s a guy that has really earned his spot and this opportunity. He competed hard with Sam and he was unbelievable in the way that he handled himself in that entire competition. When the announcement came out that Sam was the starter, he handled his role with pure class. I can’t say enough good things about Joey. We’re excited to see him get this opportunity, though it was unfortunate that Sam got hurt and is not with us.”

On Ganz’s place on the team
“He’s a different type of player. He brings a different dimension to the attack. I think, by and large, players are looking at it as an opportunity to rally around a guy that’s a fan favorite and a guy in the locker room that everyone enjoys being around.”

On getting an edge from a changed gameplan because of the different quarterback
“There’s not going to be much variation from the system, aside from what we do. We’re going to add some things, but I don’t think that’s going to shock them or surprise them. They’ve seen a lot of different quarterbacks. I don’t think so, but I can’t speak for (KU defensive coordinator) Bill Young or any of those guys.”

On which quarterback will back up Ganz
“I certainly wouldn’t want to waste Patrick’s (Witt) redshirt, but we have prepared him as the third quarterback throughout the season. We’re going to take a very close look at that. As we look at that closely during the week, both he and Beau Davis will compete for the two-spot. We’ll look at that, examine that and let them compete throughout the week. We’ll have a plan for that for game day. Patrick was the guy who was in the three-hole for this position, so we’re going to continue to groom him and see how he looks this week compared to Beau and make that assessment later in the week and make a decision.”


University of Nebraska Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne visited the NET studio Tuesday night for an extended interview with Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala on Big Red WrapUp.
In the interivew, Osborne discusses the Husker football program, football scheduling and his views on a variety of topics.
Click here to watch the entire NET Interview

NU ARTICLE IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED...(couldn't download it but if you can swing by a news stand or library, check it out)..

If you don"t take Sports Illustrated or haven't already been told their Oct 29th edition devoted a whole page (25) to Nebraska football and some of the activities that contribute to current status.


Nebraska's 94 percent exhausted eligibility graduation rate led the Big 12 Conference for the fifth straight year.

The University of Nebraska is the Big 12 Conference leader in exhausted eligibility rates for the fifth consecutive year, according to federal graduation rates released by the NCAA on Tuesday.

Nebraska boasts an impressive exhausted eligibility rate of 94 percent for the second consecutive year. The exhausted eligibility rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes in 10 incoming freshman classes who complete their eligibility at that university. Nebraska’s exhausted eligibility rate has increased from 87 to 94 percent in the past seven years and improved 22 percentage points since the inception of the exhausted eligibility rate in 1991-92.

The current exhausted eligibility rate includes members of incoming classes from 1991-92 through 2000-2001. During that time period 415 of 443 Nebraska scholarship student-athletes who completed their eligibility earned their undergraduate degree.

Nebraska’s 94 percent exhausted eligibility rate ranks two percentage points higher than Texas Tech, which ranks second in the Big 12 Conference at 92 percent. The national average for exhausted eligibility is 86 percent for Division I schools.

In addition to the exhausted eligibility rates, the NCAA also announced other federal graduation-rate data and overall institutional Graduation/Success Rates (GSR) scores on Thursday. The GSR is the NCAA’s calculation of student-athlete academic success. Earlier this fall, the NCAA released GSR scores and federal graduation rates for individual sports, but did not release the institutional figures at that time.

Nebraska’s highlights from the data released by the NCAA on Tuesday included...

  • The Nebraska football team continues to set the pace in the Big 12 in graduation rates. The Huskers’ four-class graduation rate (1997-98 through 2000-01 entering classes) was a Big 12-leading 77 percent. The 77 percent rate was eight percentage points higher than Kansas State, which ranked second in the Big 12 Conference.
  • As previously announced this month, the Husker football team posted a GSR score of 83 percent, second in the Big 12 behind Baylor’s 84 percent mark.
  • Nebraska had an institutional GSR score of 77 percent.

The federal graduation rates for both one and four classes allow a student a six-year window to earn their degree from the time they enter their institution.

VOLLEYBALL TEAM FIGHTS HARD TO BEAT MIZZOU 3-2 (first loss of a game in Lincoln this year)...

Lincoln – Sarah Pavan totaled four of her match-high 22 kills in a game five, lifting No. 2 Nebraska to a 30-19, 32-34, 30-11, 24-30, 15-10 victory over a game Missouri squad Wednesday night at the NU Coliseum.

Pavan recorded her third double-double of the year with 22 kills on .347 hitting and 14 digs, and came up big in game five with four kills, including each of the final two points, and four digs. Her effort helped the Huskers extend their home winning streak to 67 matches and bounce back from their first loss of the year last Wednesday.

Pavan was one of five Huskers with at least 10 kills, as Nebraska improved to 20-1 on the season and 12-1 in the Big 12. Jordan Larson totaled 17 kills and 16 digs for her ninth double-double of the year, becoming the 19th Husker to reach the 1,000-plateau.

Four Huskers finished with double-doubles, including Houghtelling (14 kills, 22 digs) and Rachel Holloway (64 assists, 13 digs), while Stalls totaled 10 kills and four blocks, including a pair of solo stuffs. NU’s middle blockers combined for 24 kills, including a career-high 14 from Kori Cooper on .385 hitting.

Rachel Schwartz also enjoyed a career night, totaling 21 digs in helping NU post an 88-85 advantage in digs and limit the Tigers to .161 hitting, well under the .228 clip they hit in the first matchup two weeks ago.

Nebraska Coach John Cook was disappointed with the inconsistency the Huskers showed Wednesday, as the Huskers could not find a consistent level of play for most of the night. NU committed a season-high 14 service errors and combined for 14 hitting errors in the two games it lost.

“It was very frustrating,” Cook said. “That’s not how we play, and how we’ve played most of the year, we’ve been really good with most of those things. It’s frustrating, but it’s Halloween. Weird things happen on Halloween.”

“I thought we came out and played a great first game, and then we went complacent,” Cook said. Then Missouri got the momentum, and we started breaking down everywhere. Then we came out and played a great game three like we did at Colorado last year – blow them up in game three. Then I think we thought ‘it’s over.’ So we ended up at game five.”



Lincoln-The Husker soccer team returns home to conclude its regular season against Iowa State on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Nebraska Soccer Field.

Nebraska (5-10-3, 1-8-0 Big 12) endured two losses last weekend. The Huskers doubled the Jayhawks' shot total, 22-10, in Lawrence last Friday, but Kansas came away with the 3-1 win. On Sunday, NU struck first with a Shay Powell goal in the 28th minute, but could not seal the deal again as Missouri won 3-1 in Columbia.

NU will look to finish the regular season on a positive note against Iowa State this Friday. The Huskers have a chance to put the Cyclones in a tough position. ISU has clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championships, but currently sits tied with Oklahoma State for eighth place. A Cyclone loss could force them into a first-round matchup against No. 3 Texas A&M in the conference tournament.

A Husker win will also allow NU to finish with a winning record at home this season, as Nebraska is currently 4-3-2 at the Nebraska Soccer Field.


Columbia, Mo. – The Nebraska soccer team battled No. 16 Missouri to a 1-1 halftime tie, but the Tigers prevailed in the second half to win 3-1 over the Huskers on Sunday in Columbia, Mo.

The Huskers drew first blood for the second time in three games as sophomore forward Shay Powell scored in the 28th minute in a tight first half. Nebraska (5-10-3, 1-8-0 Big 12) amassed 11 shots in the game, including three on goal, while Missouri (11-5-0, 6-3-0 Big 12) had 18 shots, nine of which were on goal. Nebraska committed 10 fouls to the Tigers’ 12.

NU outshot the Tigers 7-5 in the first half as the Huskers capitalized on senior Jessie Bruch’s physical advantage. Bruch collected a goal kick in the 28th minute and found Powell along the outside edge of the box. Powell connected on a high shot to beat MU goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.


Lawrence, Kan. -The Nebraska soccer team had the offense but Kansas found the back of the net on Friday in Lawrence as the Jayhawks defeated the Huskers 3-1 at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The Huskers (5-9-3, 1-7-0 Big 12) doubled the Jayhawks’ shot total as NU had 22 shots, including 11 on goal, while KU (5-9-4, 3-2-3 Big 12) amassed just 10 shots, only six of which were on goal. NU outshot the Jayhawks 12-3 in the second half and recorded four corner kicks in the half. The Huskers had five total corners to KU’s four, while both teams had 10 fouls.

Sophomore midfielder Savannah Allen scored the Huskers’ lone goal in the 87th minute. Allen put a curving ball on goal from a corner kick that carried before a Kansas player misplayed the ball and put in net. The goal ended a 294-minute shutout streak for KU, dating back to Oct.14.


* Ganz Becomes NU's Starting Quarterback

Bush nominates former North Dakota governor as Agriculture secretary
By Keith Koffler and Jerry Hagstrom, CongressDaily

President Bush on Wednesday tapped former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer to serve as Agriculture secretary.

"Ed Schafer's the right choice to fill this post," Bush said during an appearance with Schafer at the White House. "He was a leader on agricultural issues during his eight years as governor of North Dakota," Bush added, saying Schafer had worked to expand trade between the state and China, to spur North Dakota's biofuels industry and to increase economic opportunities in rural areas.

Schafer was elected governor in 1992, serving two four-year terms and becoming the first Republican to be re-elected governor in that state. In 2002, he helped found Extend America, a wireless communications company based in North Dakota. Schafer will succeed Mike Johanns, who resigned in September to run for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel in Nebraska.

Full story:


NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE (thanks to Tim and Dave for sending this along)...

October 26, 2007
Restoring Nebraska to the Way It Was

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 25 — Quarterback Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy in 2001 while leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Bowl Championship Series title game.

But upon returning to the campus as an alumnus, Crouch said he and other former players never felt welcome around Steve Pederson, who took over as the university’s athletic director in 2002 and had the job until he was fired last week.

“You couldn’t even get through the gate in the parking lot,” Crouch said in an interview this week at his home near Omaha. “You could never talk to Steve in person. You had to get on his list. People in Nebraska are good, old-fashioned people who want to see you face-to-face.”

That changed when Pederson was replaced by Tom Osborne, 70, who retired as the football coach 10 years ago after a quarter century and went on to serve three terms in Congress.

Even in a season filled with upheaval, Pederson’s dismissal, Osborne’s interim appointment and the sudden jeopardy of Coach Bill Callahan are developments as dramatic as the swoon of the Cornhuskers. They have lost three consecutive games by wide margins and will take a 4-4 record to Texas (6-2) Saturday.

The tumult here demonstrates how quickly fortunes can change even at a traditional football power in a state that venerates the sport, and it illustrates how morale can sour when an athletic department adopts the managerial dynamics of big business.

Shortly after Osborne was brought in by Nebraska’s chancellor, Harvey Perlman, he sent an e-mail message inviting former players to games and to his office. Osborne spoke in person and by telephone with Crouch, and ordered pictures of former stars put up on a wall.

Osborne brings gravitas. He works in a building named after him and his wife, Nancy. In front is a statue of Osborne as a coach, talking to a player. In the lobby is a bust of Osborne near a large photograph of him and his wife.

Osborne won two national titles at Nebraska and shared another. He said he was reaching out to former players because they “felt a little bit isolated and alienated” from the athletic department.

“That whole thread was broken,” he said in an interview in his office. His hope, he added, was that the former players would spread this message around the state and the national football community: “We’re going to be O.K. — and that’s really important.”

It is important in part because some high school recruits are rescinding their commitments to Nebraska because of the uncertainty regarding Callahan, who was hired by Pederson in 2003 to replace Frank Solich, Osborne’s former assistant and successor.

Solich was fired by Pederson after a 10-3 season. At the time, Pederson said, “I refuse to let the program gravitate into mediocrity.” Callahan, so far, is 26-19.

Callahan replaced the college-style option attack of Osborne and Solich with a West Coast offense favoring the pass. In his previous job, Callahan took the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Osborne said he would not return to coaching and that Callahan might be back next season. But he made no promises.

This week, Callahan said he wanted to stay. “I’ve done an excellent job in every area,” he said. Referring to recruiting, he said: “I can’t make any promises. I’m not getting any promises.”

Shortly before Pederson was fired, he signed Callahan to a new five-year contract. Shortly before that, Pederson also signed a new five-year contract. He will be paid $2.2 million as a severance fee.

When asked whether he would get a fair chance to return, Callahan said: “I would hope so. That’s my assumption.”

In his weekly news conference Tuesday, Callahan faced polite but pointed questions. Local reporters asked if he might change quarterbacks and if it was wise to use redshirt players this weekend instead of saving them for an extra year of eligibility. And why, they asked, was Callahan wearing a black shirt instead of the university color, red?

On a public television station, Steve Warren, a former defensive tackle who played for Osborne and Solich, criticized the current defense. It gives up an average of 457.4 yards a game and has allowed an average of nearly 43 points in the four defeats.

“Nobody respects us in the country,” Warren said on “Big Red Wrapup.” “That’s really hard to take. It’s hard to believe we’re at this point.”

Before practice Tuesday, the senior cornerback Zack Bowman said local criticism, articles and rumors were seeping into the team’s psyche.

“Next thing you know, you’ve got guys questioning guys, and guys questioning coaches and stuff,” Bowman said. “That’s where your team starts to break down.”

Some of those articles are published and attributed to primary sources. One is in a book coming out next month called “The Nebraska Way,” by a Nebraska student journalist named Jonathan Crowl.

It reports that Callahan complained early in his tenure that Osborne was a “crusty, old” man who was trying to run Nebraska’s football program from Washington. The source is a former trainer, Doak Ostergard, whom Callahan fired last spring.

“I don’t acknowledge any of that,” Callahan said in an interview. But did he ever say those things about Osborne? “I’m not going to acknowledge that,” he repeated.

Pederson declined to be interviewed for this article. Through a university spokesman, he reissued a statement that said, in part, “We have enjoyed many successes and also faced a number of difficult challenges.”

One of them began three months ago when Pederson hired a consultant who tried to change the athletic department’s culture with blunt demands and performance reviews. The consultant, William J. DeLeo, was a retired executive for Duquesne Light Holdings Inc., an energy holding company in Pittsburgh, where Pederson had been the athletic director at Pitt. After DeLeo arrived in August, he and Pederson instituted the Operational Excellence Initiative.

Two months later came the resignation of Paul Meyers, the associate athletic director for fund-raising. His departure, one of several, got the attention of Perlman, the chancellor.

“That was a signal something was wrong,” Perlman said. “I knew how committed he was. I needed to take a harder look.”

This week, Osborne contacted Meyers to discuss a possible return.

The athletic department’s annual budget is $66.7 million, most of it generated by football revenue and donations. A call to DeLeo’s home requesting comment was not returned.

Perlman said Pederson was not fired strictly because of football results. But, he added, “I’m not trying to totally delink the two.”

Perlman said having football “in disarray” encouraged people to tell him of unhappiness in the athletic department. After listening to their complaints, he said he decided that Pederson lacked credibility and support to deal with football problems.

Among the issues: a fight at practice between two players that left one with facial bruises, and the removal two weeks ago of the traditional Blackshirts worn by defensive players at practice to honor their valor.

“We took them off until we play up to our standards,” said linebacker Bo Ruud, a Lincoln native whose brother, father, two uncles and great-grandfather also played for Nebraska.

Todd Peterson, a junior wide receiver from Grand Island, Neb., said: “It’s tough when you don’t win. I know it’s college, but it’s business at the same time. There’s a lot of money involved. We’re feeling pressure.”

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