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  1. 2011 Dec 04

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Championship Week


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - No one should suggest that Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin’s head was in the CUSA Championship Game. Feel kinda bad for Case Keenum if no one else.

    - LSU is the epitome of sportsmanship. What other team spots their opponent two scores before smashing their skulls in?

    - It was impressive how Oklahoma State took down Oklahoma with the subtlety and grace of a Viking raid.

    - If you told someone that the ACC Championship Game would be 10-10 at the half before one team outscores the other 28-0, they’d likely believe you. If you told them it would be Clemson instead of Virginia Tech, you’d likely be 100 dollars richer.

    - Despite the heart-breaking loss to Kansas State, Paul Rhodes is the best thing to happen to Iowa State since the Morrill Act of 1862.

    - Thought Wisconsin would get revenge on Michigan State. Didn’t think the score would be so close.

    - Badgers running back Montee Ball for Heisman

    - Baylor is 9-3? Clearly college football has ripped open time and space allowing the sport to be swallowed by a separate time rift in which Waco demands only the finest of athletic specimen.

    - Seriously, quarterback Robert Griffin III for Heisman (RG3 if you’re nasty)

    - Still lobbying for the MAC to get a BCS berth over the Big East. You know it’s the right thing to do.

    - Final Bowl Prediction of the Week: Outback vs. South Carolina

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    Tags: houston, lsu, oklahoma state, clemson, virginia tech, kansas state, iowa state, paul rhodes, wisconsin, montee ball, heisman, baylor, robert griffin, south carolina

  2. 2011 Dec 01

    Husker Heartbeat 12/01: Heroes Game Not Official, Selfish Nebrasketball and Volleyball's Blackshirts


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Runge: The Heroes Game isn't a rivalry until the Hawkeyes walk away winners

    - Doc Sadler's bunchwas simply too selfish in Nebraska's loss to Wake Forest

    - Nebraska volleyball puts as much emphasis on defense as Bo Pelini's Blackshirts

    - Shatel: This year's season taught NU volleyball head coach John Cook a thing or two

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    Tags: heroes game, iowa, basketball, volleyball, john cook

  3. 2011 Nov 30

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Audible Audibles Feat. Adam Jacobi


    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker Editor and Community Manager Brandon Cavanaugh sits down with some of the biggest and brightest minds in college football with a brand new feature: Audible Audibles.

    This week, Adam Jacobi of CBSSports.com and Black Heart Gold Pants, one of, if not the premiere Iowa Hawkeyes site on the Internet rocks the mic.

    Topics include:

    - Jacobi's take on Nebraska
    - Reviewing the Heroes Game
    - Is Nebraska-Iowa a true rivalry?
    - Jacobi's thoughts on Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini (which may surprise you)
    - An unexpected history lesson
    - Urban Meyer and his impact on the Big Ten

    Finally, the humble Hawkeye goes Three and Out. Will Jacobi answer the three questions given or call an audible?

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Follow Adam on Twitter: @Adam_Jacobi
    Read his work on CBSSports.com: The Jacobi Archive

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    Tags: iowa, heroes game, kirk ferentz, bo pelini, urban meyer, ohio state

  4. 2011 Nov 29

    Husker Heartbeat 11/29: All Big-Ten Huskers, Pelini on the Road and Helu Named Starter


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Rex Burkhead, Lavonte David, Alfonzo Dennard and Brett Maher were all given first-team Big Ten honors

    - Pelini and company turn their attention to recruiting during their period of rest

    - Thanks to the Huskers' victory over Iowa, Habitat for Humanity will be building a house in Omaha

    - The Nebraska volleyballers' first test in the NCAA tournament, Jackson State, is psyched about the wild setting they'll be facing

    - Former Husker Roy Helu, Jr. is officially the Washington Redskins' starting running back

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    Tags: rex burkhead, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, brett maher, bo pelini, iowa, volleyball, roy helu

  5. 2011 Nov 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Most Valuable Huskers vs. Iowa


    By HuskerLocker

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    By James Stevenson

    Offensive MVH: Could it be anyone other than junior running back Rex Burkhead? The Huskers’ season-long workhorse carried the ball a school-record 38 times for 160 yards and a touchdown and snagged a catch for 12 yards.

    His sole rush for negative yardage was No. 38, when Nebraska handed the ball to Burkhead in the victory formation for him to kneel. Some may view it as backing into the record, but given the way No. 22 has carried the team all season (along with already nearly setting the record against Michigan State), it was only appropriate for “Superman” to take a knee.

    Defensive MVH: Nebraska has never had a two-year force on defense like senior linebacker Lavonte David. He led the team with eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

    He also played well in pass coverage, breaking up two passes. In just two years, David has ranks fifth on Nebraska’s all-time tackle list, and barring a bowl-game meltdown, will finish fourth place behind Husker greats Barrett Ruud, Jerry Murtaugh and Mike Brown.

    Iowa MVHawkeye: Husker fans haven’t seen the last of sophomore running back Marcus Coker. The sole highlight on offense for the Hawkeyes was Coker and his relentless attitude. He rushed for 87 yards on 18 carries (4.8 YPC) and walked in a touchdown.

    He also caught three passes for 39 yards, one of those being a 19-yard scamper early in the contest. One must wonder why Iowa didn’t stick with what seemed to be their most potent offensive threat.

    Stick 'Em Award: Freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell turned in his best game as a Husker. He came up with five catches for 93 yards. Four of his grabs resulted in Nebraska first downs. One of Bell’s catches was spectacular, as a he dove for a ball that was thrown low and away from him.

    Lockdown Award: Senior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard had a slow start to the season after sitting out Nebraska’s early games while recovering from injury. At his best when he’s not on the stat sheet, he only recorded three tackles, but his presence on the field is undeniable.

    In the last few weeks, Dennard has proven himself as one of the elite corners in college football, shutting down the Big Ten’s top receivers. He did it again on Friday, limiting junior Hawkeye wide receiver Marvin McNutt to just four catches.

    B1G Ten Rivalry Award: Nebraska won not only one, but two trophies on Friday. First, the Huskers took home the Heroes Game trophy that was commissioned by the universities.

    Second, the Big Red also laid claim to the Corn Bowl, a trophy commissioned by the Nebraska Innocents Society and Iowa’s President’s Leadership Society. In a league dominated by rivalry games and trophies, Nebraska one-upped everyone with a two-trophy rivalry game.

    Quick Recovery: A mere six days after getting blown out in Ann Arbor by a Michigan team that dominated time of possession, the Huskers’ effort was eerily reminiscent of the Wolverines last week. While both Nebraska and Iowa averaged 4.6 yards a play, Nebraska ran 83 plays to Iowa’s 59, and time of possession favored the Huskers by over 15 minutes (37:47 to 22:13).

    The Blackshirts were the biggest reason for this, holding Iowa to just to two successful third down conversions on twelve attempts. Until the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes offered little scoring threat, and it looked as if Nebraska might record its first shutout of the season.

    Last Friday’s performance was an appropriate way to send off this year’s seniors, especially the ones on a defensive unit that underwhelmed fans with some very high expectations.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: rex burkhead, lavonte david, marcus coker, barrett ruud, jerry murtaugh, mike brown, kenny bell, alfonzo dennard, marvin mcnutt, heroes game, corn bowl, iowa

  6. 2011 Nov 21

    Husker Heartbeat 11/21: Football Standards Dropping?, Nebraska/Iowa Beef and Rams Rolled by Big Red


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - The biggest challenge Bo Pelini faces now is to not let Nebraska's standards drop

    - The Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes already have beef with each other...on the line, that is.

    - John Garrison is ecstatic to be working with the football program again

    - Doc Sadler's Nebrasketball team schools Rhode Island

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    Tags: bo pelini, iowa, john garrison, doc sadler, basketball, rhode island

  7. 2011 Nov 06

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Most Valuable Huskers vs. Northwestern


    By HuskerLocker

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    By James Stevenson

    Offensive MVP: Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez was the only reason Nebraska was in this game. His completed 28 of 37 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.

    He also accounted for nearly half of Nebraska’s rushing yards, carrying the ball 12 times for 53 yards. Martinez was on fire and throwing exceptionally well despite the windy conditions.

    Defensive MVP: Junior defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler has attracted more attention with the lack of injured defensive tackles Jared Crick, Thad Randle, and Chase Rome next to him.

    Despite walk-on (and offensive lineman according on Huskers.com) junior Justin Jackson seeing significant playing time next to him, Steinkuhler turned in one of his best games of the year. He recorded nine tackles, including one sack and two tackles for loss, the only such tackles recorded by the “Blackshirts”.

    Northwestern MVP: Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck called his worst game of the season. Knowing he had a banged up I-Back in Rex Burkhead, and two offensive linemen working their way through nicks and cuts (Hardrick and Caputo), Beck’s play calling in short-yardage conversion situations was baffling and often ineffective.

    In the first three quarters of play, the Cornhuskers only converted two of six third or fourth downs situations requiring four yards or less (converting 25 percent on third and fourth down with only two yards to go).

    Nebraska didn’t even pretend the ball was going to someone else than Burkhead or Martinez, with 33 of 34 carries going to the duo. Where was the Diamond formation? Where were the young and healthy running backs? Why do Husker fans have to wait until late in the fourth Quarter to see Kyler Reed catch a pass?

    Missing in Action: Freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner is one of Nebraska’s most dynamic athletes, so where was he? On a day where Nebraska ended up flinging the ball around 37 times, the fact that it’s most shifty and elusive wide receiver wasn’t on the field is inexcusable.

    Burn Notice: Senior defensive back Lance Thorell led the team in tackles with 15. This was in large part because the receivers he was covering kept catching the ball. What happened to the emergence of Stanley Jean-Baptiste?

    Even a converted safety like Corey Cooper might be a better option than watching Thorell get burned all day. (Dis)Honorable mention goes to Ciante Evans for getting torched on an 81-yard touchdown (though the lack of safety support was baffling).

    No Take Backs!: Hope the Blackshirts enjoyed their new jerseys for a week. After giving up 468 yards, averaging six yards gained per play and 28 points, the defense should be back in white this week (all 20 of the individuals in question).

    Going into this game, I would’ve argued that the offense certainly would’ve needed to score 30-plus points to assure victory. The 81-yard touchdown pass hauled in by Northwestern wide receiver Jeremy Ebert was the back-breaker for the Blackshirts. It was absolutely inexcusable for a defense that is designed to prevent the big play.

    Triple Threat: Sophomore quarterback Kain Colter lead Northwestern with 115 passing yards on four completions. He also paced the Wildcats on the ground, rushing 17 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns. He even showed off his receiving skills, lining up in the slot frequently, and catching another 3 passes for 57 yards. He accounted for 21 of Northwestern’s 28 points.

    Will the Real Nebraska Please Stand Up?: Who is this team? Are they the unit that lost to a 3-5 Northwestern team at home, the one that dominated a (once again) division-leading Michigan State, the one who got exposed in the first half versus Ohio State or the one that dominated the Buckeyes in the second half?

    It’s baffling how inconsistent Nebraska has been this season. It certainly speaks volumes about the lack of depth at key positions with defensive tackle, defensive back, offensive line, and I-back all looking very thin right now. More accurately, the inconsistency sums up and defines the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska. It’ll be fascinating to see which Cornhusker team shows up during every half-game over the next three weeks.

    How Does the Hawkeye Fight Song Go?: Nebraska fans will be the biggest Iowa Hawkeye fans this side of Carter Lake for the rest of the season. Legends Division leader Michigan State visits Iowa City next week.

    A Hawkeye victory would return Nebraska’s destiny to its own hands: win out, and the Huskers could still make the improbable trip to Indianapolis, due to holding the tiebreaker over the Spartans. Michigan State also still has to take a trip to Evanston to face this very Northwestern team on the last weekend of the regular season.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: taylor martinez, baker steinkuhler, jared crick, thad randle, chase rome, justin jackson, blackshirts, tim beck, rex burkhead, yoshi hardrick, mike caputo, kyler reed, jamal turner, lance thorell, corey cooper, cinate evans, kain colter, northwestern, jeremy ebert, iowa

  8. 2011 Nov 04

    Husker Heartbeat 11/04: Blackshirt Evolution, The No. 2 Cornerback and Iowa-Neb Trophy Chosen


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - The Blackshirts have evolved as a motivational tool thanks to Bo Pelini

    - The starting cornerback spot opposite Alfonzo Dennard is still up in the air

    - Northwestern cornerback (and Omaha, Nebraska native) Tim Weak is looking forward to his homecoming

    - The "Corn Bowl" has been voted as the student exchange trophy for the Nebraska-Iowa series

    - Lance Thorell continues the tradition of eight-man football players who've earned Blackshirts

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    Tags: blackshirts, alfonzo dennard, northwestern, tim weak, corn bowl, iowa, lance thorell

  9. 2011 Nov 03

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Ten


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It looks like we have ourselves the biggest week of the century of the season as there is a great No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that we all will watch with inquiring minds. Before we get to this week, let’s review what was. The ecstasy and the agony from last week include -


    Oklahoma: Even though the loss to Texas Tech is still bitter in the Sooners' mouths, they showed up in Manhattan ready to kick butt and prove that Kansas State was in over their heads. The win keeps Oklahoma in the chase for Big 12 title with Bedlam looming in the distance.

    South Carolina: A number of people (myself included) think the Gamecocks are too weak without All-Everything running back Marcus Lattimore and the stumbling, bumbling Stephen Garcia to win the SEC East. They pulled out a good victory in Knoxville against a Tennessee team that’s better than many give them credit for.

    Stanford: A slugfest that went into triple overtime at the Coliseum how you want to make a living every week, but the Cardinal toughed out against Southern California and, most importantly, got the win. Oregon is just down the road. If Stanford defeats the Ducks, they’re in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

    West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a big comeback in the snow against Rutgers, but the biggest winner in that game was…

    Eric LeGrand: For the first time back on the sideline since being injured and paralyzed last October, you sure made it dusty in a snowstorm.


    Texas A&M: It’s not that the Aggies lost to Mizzou, it’s that they blew a double digit halftime lead…for the third time this year.

    Baylor: A lot of yards, but not a lot of points. This isn’t a good mix.

    Iowa: How did the Hawkeyes con people into thinking you could win the Big Ten this year? The TicketCity Bowl could be head coach Kirk Ferentz’s swan song.

    Kansas: Not a lot of yards, no points, and no one watched.

    Clemson: Everyone sort of knew a letdown was coming, but the Tigers did fight hard. Clemson’s a good team. They just need to keep their eyes on the prize of an ACC Championship and BCS bowl.

    Florida, Ole Miss, Illinois, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt:

    Brady Hoke is going to give you all all of the advice he can muster for your respective teams to turn things around:

    On to the weekly festivities! (All times Central)

    Texas A&M at No. 6 Oklahoma – (2:30 PM, ABC)

    The Aggies, fresh off of another embarrassing loss after blowing a two-score lead, head north to Norman to take on a Sooners team hell-bent on not losing another game this year.

    Bob Stoops had his team ready to go last week as they pasted Kansas State in the Sunflower State, which is better than the previous week as Texas Tech dished out a whooping of their own on the Sooners at Gaylord Family/Memorial Stadium.

    From previous weeks, you know the players to watch on both sides on offense, but do take note of the Sooners’ defense, which has been pretty hot and cold over the last month. The secondary was a liability against Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raiders, which doesn’t bode well going against Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill.

    Considering that the Aggies’ season is on the brink of complete collapse, they will come out swinging and try to get into a track meet with Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.

    That’s not a good idea, though. Oklahoma still has national championship dreams and need a quality win to show to the voters that the Texas Tech debacle was a fluke. Look for Oklahoma to flex their muscle and get the win at home.

    No. 9 South Carolina at No. 7 Arkansas – (6:15 PM, ESPN)

    The second biggest game in the country (and in the SEC, for that matter) takes place in Fayetteville, as The Ol’ Ball Coach’s Click-Clack Gang head west to take on Bobby Petrino’s high flying Razorback attack. Both teams gutted out victories on the road last week.

    Some wonder about the ability of the Gamecocks to win out to get to the SEC title game (this author included), however if South Carolina has a good defensive showing as they did last week, they have a shot at SEC glory. Arkansas ranks as one of the top 10 FBS passing attacks, and features a top 20 scoring offense, so something has to give. Since is a home game under the lights, Arkansas has the edge, but don’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire.

    No. 14 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma State – (7:00 PM, ABC)

    The Bill Snyder family is licking its wounds due to the whipping that the Sooners laid on them last week. In an effort to rebound, they’ll try to slow the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium, which is far easier to suggest than do.

    Last week, Oklahoma State took the spurs to a Baylor team that moved the ball but couldn’t score. Kansas State can actually throw the ball well (No. 20 nationally at 210 yards per game), but their passing attack pales in comparison to Brandon Weeden and his merry men with hands of glue.

    It’s hard to see the Wildcats doing very well in this type of game, especially at night where Boone Pickens Stadium is a rough place to play. Look for the Cowboys to keep the pistols firing on the way to the No. 2 ranking Sunday’s polls.

    No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama – (7:00 PM, CBS)

    The game all true college football fans have been waiting for is finally here as the Tigers head into Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. Shockingly, this is the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular season matchup in SEC history. Both teams come in off of a bye week, so what’s lacking in injury issues is made up for with schemes and game preperation.

    Both teams are all about ball control on offense and stifling defenses. LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee has had a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, however Nick Saban’s defense hasn’t allowed one second half point since September. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, while the Tigers are No. 3.

    This game will be decided by who can run the ball better. LSU doesn’t really shock you with how they do it, but one of Nick Saban’s core defensive ideals is shutting down the run come hell or high water. We all have been told that Jarrett Lee is much better at making decisions, and he will have the biggest spotlight to prove it under.

    The Tigers’ receivers will not find as much open space as they have been. Personally, I feel that no one has brought their best game against LSU all year. The team that came closest was West Virginia, who decided that defense was optional. Everything seems to point to Alabama on this one. The winner will be the nation’s undisputed No. 1, and essentially punches their ticket to New Orleans.

    Games to keep an eye on include:

    Louisville at No. 24 West Virginia – The Cardinals are getting better. Can Dana Holgorsen’s group not fall asleep due to the early kickoff time?

    Texas Tech at No. 21 Texas – With the quarterback issues in Austin, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege could tear this Longhorn team up and cause a riot in Austin. Bonus: People will actually be watching this game.

    No. 4 Stanford at Oregon State – A possible trap game for the Cardinal? The Beavers aren’t good by any stretch, but this is FBS college football. Anything is possible.

    No. 19 Arizona State at UCLA – The Sun Devils have the inside track to the Pac-12 title game through the South division. Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel needs this win to potentially save his job.

    No. 8 Oregon at Washington – *UPSET ALERT* Washington is good enough to give Oregon fits on both sides of the ball. Night games in Seattle cause the oddest things to happen.

    And now, a word from the “Head Coaches Whose Pants Are on Fire” department:

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Same song and dance, coach. A loss to Auburn was seen coming by many. Can you and your incompetent team beat Kentucky?

    Neil Callaway, UAB – I didn’t know how much of a stacked deck UAB had, but after reading this piece by Pre Snap Read, the Blazers job makes the Memphis tilt sexy.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – How was it growing young men who get their asses stomped in Austin? Did that help these guys grow into fine, upstanding people? The Jayhawk boosters need a bake sale to get your butt out of that job.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA – See above and against USC’s Kiffykins on how to keep your job.

    Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – A new entry this week, Sherman has to be feeling some pressure after his team dismantled themselves again against Missouri. For having such promise coming into the season, things have spiraled quickly. Then again, Sherman can guide his team to the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day vs. Iowa to make them feel better.

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State – Russell Wilson wasn’t needed at all, keep reminding yourself of this.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: oklahoma, south carolina, stanford, west virginia, eric legrand, texas a, m, baylor, iowa, kansas, clemson, florida, ole miss, illinois, texas tech, vanderbilt, brady hoke, houston nutt, neil callaway, turner gill, rick neuheisel, mike sherman, tom obrien

  10. 2011 Nov 02

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Blackshirts Aided By Beatdowns and a Break From Stiff Competition


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By James Stevenson

    Last Monday, 20 (that’s twenty, not a typo) Nebraska defenders found black practice jerseys in their lockers. Eight defensive linemen and nine defensive backs were among those honored in Bo Pelini’s tweaked version of the Blackshirt tradition.

    While the Huskers certainly earned the right to their black practice jerseys after dominating Michigan State, the resurgence on defense may have as much to do with the competition as with the Blackshirts actually improving.

    There’s no question that Nebraska’s defense has statistically improved since the non-conference schedule. After the debacle at Wisconsin, Nebraska’s was ranked No. 68 in pass defense, No. 58 in pass effeciency defense, No. 64 in total defense and No. 73 in scoring defense.

    Heading into the game against Northwestern this week, those rankings have improved to No 12 in pass defense, No. 23 in pass efficiency defense, No. 29 in total defense and No. 33 in scoring defense.

    That’s some massive improvement. Bo Pelini’s defenses are known for gelling over the course of the season, as players learn to trust each other and the system in his Zone Pattern Match defense.

    For example, the 2010 defense had improved from No. 35 to No. 12 in total defense from the third to the tenth week of the season. The 2009 team improved from No. 50 to No. 9 in the same category.

    The last two seasons prove that Bo Pelini defenses improve during the middle of the season, evolving into the fearsome units he is known for coordinating. The 2011 Nebraska squad seems to be following this pattern, but the competition faced during October is decidedly different than what was seen in the Big 12.

    In 2009 and 2010, Nebraska faced two teams ranked No. 2 in total scoring (Texas Tech in 2009, Oklahoma State in 2010). They usually had another date with a Top 25 scoring outfit (Missouri in 2009 and 2010).

    Unlike those seasons, the 2011 Blackshirts have padded their stats since the Wisconsin game, playing against the Nos. 108, 110, and 66 scoring offenses in Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan State, respectively.

    Neither Ohio State (No. 111 passing offense) nor Minnesota (No. 108 passing offense) featured any sort of significant threat against the Huskers’ secondary. Even Michigan State, despite star quarterback Kirk Cousins, was merely average in both total offense (No. 66) and scoring offense (No. 58).

    Aside from the first half against Ohio State, Nebraska did what it should have done against the offenses it faced: shut them down. Over the last ten quarters of play, Nebraska has only given up 24 points. That’s good defense no matter how you slice it.

    The big question that remains going into the November contests is if the Blackshirts can contain a mobile quarterback. Nebraska was exploited early in the season by slippery signal-callers.

    Ohio State’s Braxton Miller gashed the Huskers for big gains before his second half injury. Wisconsin, Washington and Fresno State used rollouts and plays designed to get their quarterbacks on the move and into space effectively.

    Much like Michigan State, two of Nebraska’s upcoming opponents, Penn State and Iowa, don’t feature much mobility at the quarterback position. The real test for the improved Blackshirts will be Northwestern and Michigan.

    The first mobile quarterback will be Northwestern’s Dan Persa. Hampered by an injured Achilles’ tendon, he hasn’t quite returned to his 2010 form. Last week against Indiana, he still rushed for 41 yards on four attempts with his longest gain being 22 yards.

    The Wildcats’ change-up option at quarterback, Kain Colter, is more of a runner than a thrower, and accounted for 38 yards on five attempts gaining 20 yards on his longest run. Northwestern doesn’t sport much of a defense though, which should reduce pressure on the Blackshirts.

    The biggest test will be in two weeks in Ann Arbor. Nebraska will face one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the country in Michigan junior Denard Robinson. “Shoelace” leads the Wolverines in passing and rushing, and is averaging over 100 yards on the ground in his last seven games. If Nebraska can contain Robinson and limit his running ability, they have a chance to win at the Big House.

    For the Cornhusker defense, being able to defend a mobile quarterback will be paramount during the November stretch if they want to win the Legends Division. Given that dual-threat quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Russell Wilson lead two of the three teams that could hypothetically oppose the Huskers in the conference championship game, a conference title may rely on that improvement, as well.

    The Blackshirts have come a long way since that fateful night in Madison, but to win the inaugural Big Ten Championship, they’ll have to step up and prove they can to shut down the conference’s highest-octane signal callers and offenses.

    Follow James on Twitter: @JamesStevenson
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    Tags: bo pelini, blackshirts, northwestern, dan persa, denard robinson, kirk cousins, kain coulter, ohio state, wisconsin, penn state, iowa, washington, braxton miller, fresno state

  11. 2011 Oct 21

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Eight


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Week eight has arrived with the Halloween season (and Christmas decorations BAH HUMBUG), and everyone’s conference season is in full tilt. The BCS standings are out, and bowl bids are starting to be sized up. Lets take a look at the ups and downs from last week -


    Michigan State: A nice little upset at home versus the Wolverines. Can’t say that anyone needed to be punched, though.

    Oklahoma State: Did a good job taking care of business against Texas. Keep working towards Bedlam.

    Clemson: What a comeback against Maryland! The Tigers can’t afford to live on luck every game, though.

    Oregon: No LaMichael James and a hurting Darron Thomas? No problem! However, the quicker they can get healthier, the better.


    Indiana: A bad loss to Wisconsin, and just a hint of advice: Don’t kick punts into the butt of your personal protector.

    Michigan: Live by Denard, die by Denard. The defense lived up to expectation, but the offense…meh!

    Georgia Tech: a loss to Virginia? Really?

    Kansas: Congratulations, you covered the spread! A moral victory!

    Texas, Maryland, Iowa State, Arizona State and Florida:

    And now here’s something we think you’ll really like (all times Central):

    No. 20 Auburn at No. 1 LSU – (2:30 PM Saturday, CBS)

    The LSU/CBS network carries the Battle in the Bayou between Gene Chizik’s Tigers against Les Miles and his Ragin’ Cajun Tigers. As for Auburn, they earned a well-fought victory against Florida last week, while LSU decapitated Tennessee in Knoxville.

    The main focus of this game is the suspension of three LSU players, most notably starting Safety Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu. Even with one of their better safeties out, the Bayou Bengals shouldn’t have an issue with the anemic Auburn offense. Look for Les’ group to have the most fun between the two Tiger teams on Saturday afternoon.

    No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 16 Michigan State (7:00 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson and the high octane Badger offense (that’s odd to type, to be honest with you) roll into East Lansing for a primetime night game. They’ll face the best defense on their schedule thus far as Sparty tries to ride a wave of momentum after defeating Michigan.

    This is the first time all season that Wilson will be tested outside the friendly confines of Camp Randall. He has to pass this test to get people to believe in both the Badgers as true national title contenders and himself as a legitimate Heisman contender. Something has to give between the FBS’ highest scoring offense and the No. 4 scoring defense.

    Don’t forget that the team which plays the most complete game usually wins these high-profile affairs. Michigan State can’t score enough points to outdistance Wisconsin, but don’t be surprised if the final score is much closer than you think. Over The last few years, Michigan State has made a living by winning nighttime Big Ten games at home that most think they shouldn’t

    No. 25 Washington at No. 8 Stanford – (7:00 PM Saturday, ABC)

    It’s "Sark Week" in Northern California as the Huskies go down to Napa Valley to take on Andrew Luck and the undefeated Cardinal. Luck has been rolling along this year, while Keith Price has been a pleasant surprise as Jake Locker’s replacement for Washington. The only loss of their season was in Lincoln earlier this year.

    Stanford is the most complete team in the Pac-12 right now with both the offense and defense ranking No. 5th in the FBS, a model of efficiency. Washington has been good on offense, but they give up 28 points per game. That’s not what you to throw at Andrew Luck. Stanford takes this one in a high-scoring bout.

    Other games to keep an eye for this week include:

    No. 4 Oklahoma State at Missouri – A big time upset alert. That said, Mizzou can’t even sell this game out?

    No. 9 Arkansas at Ole Miss – Bobby Petrino’s gang wants more blood and the Rebels are hemorrhaging it.

    No. 22 Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) – The Yellow Jackets were embarrassed by Virginia. They’ll be going against a Miami squad that can fall asleep at times.

    No. 10 Oregon at Colorado – How will the Ducks fair in the altitude minus both LaMichael James and maybe Derron Thomas?

    Tennessee at No. 2 Alabama – The Crimson Tide needs to find consistent some offense before LSU, and if you don’t think so, Saban could give…well, he doesn’t care.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Bob Toledo, Tulane - WHOOPSIE. Apparently when you’re 15-40 over your career with the Green Wave, it’s time to call it a legacy (if you can). It’s hard not to feel for Tulane.

    With the effects of Hurricane Katrina still taking their toll on the school’s athletic department, there’s not much that can be done. Barely getting 10,000 people per game in the Superdome and having LSU/Louisiana-Lafayette winning doesn’t help either.

    Turner Gill, Kansas and Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – We put these two together not because they are joined at any coaching hip, nor do we think that either school will win this week.

    We're putting them together because no matter how many losses Houston or Turner will end up with this year, there is a good possibility that both coaches will not be fired at the end of the year.

    Both have buyouts that are pretty hefty and it will take a lot of money being ponied up to get them to hit the road. For Gill, this saves him for another year. Kansas has shown time and time again they don’t know how to run a football program. However, for Ole Miss, there’s a far better chance that some wealthy booster can put up the money necessary.

    Nutt only has one year left on his deal after this season, though. For the Rebels’ program, it’s simply a question of if they want to pay the penalty as opposed to lose one more season to a guy that has shown he has no clue.

    Jeff Tedford, Cal – Utah is pretty similar to the Golden Bears and has the same record. That does mean Cal can beat them...right?

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA – A two game stretch against Arizona and Cal. Welp, good luck against the Golden Bears.

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State - Good luck against Virginia, a team that should be easier than you thought after the euphoric win over Central Michigan last week.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: michigan state, oklahoma state, clemson, oregon, indiana, michigan, georgia tech, kansas, texas, maryland, iowa state, arizona state, florida, auburn, lsu, wisconsin, stanford, bob toledo, turner gill, houston nutt, jeff tedford, rick heuheisel

  12. 2011 Oct 17

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Power Ranking the Huskers' Remaining Opponents


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    It’s officially time to address the second half of the 2011 Nebraska Football season. Currently 5-1 and ranked No. 13 in the initial BCS standings, the Cornhuskers have some work to do in order to tally a total of 10 wins and make an appearance in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Let's have a look at the remaining games on Nebraska's schedule from easiest to toughest:

    6. Minnesota (Current record: 1-5)

    The Gophers are not very good, and Jerry Kill is finally figuring this out. When you are No. 109 in both scoring offense and defense in the FBS, you have issues. This is a team that Nebraska should just dismantle like the 1983 Huskers did (an 84-13 victory).

    5. Northwestern (Current record: 2-4)

    The senior season of pre-season Heisman hopeful Dan Persa has been marred by injury and an inconsistent defense resulting in a current four-game losing streak. Pat Fitzgerald’s crew currently shares the bottom of the Legends division with Minnesota.

    However, they have more upside than the Golden Gophers. They've shown some spark in their last two games (Michigan and Iowa), but at the end of the day, the Wildcats have continue to end up on the losing side of the score.

    4. Iowa (Current record: 4-2)

    The Hawkeyes have reverted to their usual Jekyll & Hyde ways. One week, they're barely able to move the ball against Penn State. The next week, they score 24 points in the final quarter versus Northwestern. This team has become last year’s Michigan State.

    3. Michigan State (Current record: 5-1)

    The Spartans have arguably the best defense of Nebraska’s remaining opponents, allowing just north of 10 points per game. That group came to play last Saturday with a well-executed game plan for the Wolverines as they shut down Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins has been good, but hasn't matched his 2010 success. With the attitude the Spartans showed last Saturday, they can’t be taken lightly at all.

    2. Penn State (Current Record: 6-1)

    Penn State checks in at No. 2 on the list because while the defense has been as good as Michigan’s, the offense has been far more dysfunctional with the dual-quarterback system of Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin.

    It seems like McGloin is the better passer, but there is apparently something special about Bolden that causes PSU's coaches to keep him in the game. JoePa’s group still has a few more games to figure things out before a potentially vicious final three contests on the schedule (Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin).

    1. Michigan (Current Record: 6-1)

    Denard Robinson has been Mr. Everything for the Wolverines this year, already surpassing 2,000 yards when combining rushing and passing yardage. However, the Wolverines' defense has been much better than 2010's, allowing only 14 points per game. This is truly a testament to Greg Mattison’s efforts. Brady Hoke has made the Michigan Men (and Women) happy despite the loss to Michigan State.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: minnesota, michigan, michigan state, northwesterm, penn state, iowa

  13. 2011 Sep 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: A New Traveling Trophy for Black Friday


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    When Nebraska joined the Big Ten conference on July 1, 2011, many traditions were left behind. One of those was the exchange of the Victory Bell between Nebraska and Missouri’s Innocents Societies.

    A long time rivalry, the bell began its exchange in 1927. As of the final game between the two in 2010, the bell now rightfully rests with the University of Nebraska. However, many began to ask - what about future traditions?

    The Innocents Society of UNL and the University of Iowa’s President’s Leadership Society have set out to correct that problem by introducing a new student-exchange trophy. In doing so, both societies want the public’s opinion on what the trophy should be. Four designs were selected from submissions and are now open to a vote. Voting will take place until Monday, October 3.

    Ultimately, the rivalry between the two groups will be used for a good cause. This year, both organizations will be holding a Penny War to benefit citizens and people of Iowa and Nebraska.

    Help both the Innocents Society and President’s Leadership Society determine the next piece of history now: http://nebraskaiowatrophy.com/

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    Tags: iowa

  14. 2011 Sep 14

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Three


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    That’s right. We both know what time it is. Again, before we look at this week, let’s take a moment to remember last weekend’s winners and losers.


    Michigan – Opening the “new” Big House at night was a rousing success with a comeback win against Notre Dame. The Wolverine defense needs to improve, but overall a great experience.

    Iowa State – A great win to win the paper mache Cy-Hawk trophy. Make sure to use Gorilla Glue while putting that thing back together.

    South Carolina – Congrats on pulling out a tough win in Athens. The Gamecocks now have the upper hand on the SEC East. (CLICK-CLACK)

    Arizona State – A good win on a national stage for their program. Since the Pac-12 crown is somewhat up for grabs, Mizzou was great preparation for the conference schedule.


    Notre Dame – Maybe Brian Kelly is this year’s Gerry Faust. Cursed? Who knows.

    Missouri – Another big game for the Tigers, more questionable decisions by Gary Pinkel.

    North Carolina State – How is Russell Wilson playing fo.... oh, yeah. He was told to pack up and split.

    Georgia, Louisville, Memphis, Iowa - Here’s your sign:

    Now, on with the show! All times CST, of course.

    No. 3 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State – (7 PM Thursday, ESPN/ESPN3/ESPN 3D, etc.)

    Thursday night SEC football comes at us with Les Miles and the Tigers heading to in Starkville to face Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs. Last week, the Tigers took care of business against Northwestern State, while Mississippi State was shafted out of their game thanks to bad officiating at Auburn (Look at the tape). While Jarrett Lee’s stats aren’t very good, he’s been what Miles needs - an efficient game manager that keeps the Tigers out of in-game ruts.

    Mississippi State’s playmakers were discussed last week, and while quarterback Chris Reif put them in some bad situations, Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard is the real deal. Since Les Miles hasn’t had an appendectomy to remove Mr. Ed’s horseshoe out of his spleen, LSU should do well enough to squeak out a win on the road before get a beignet by Friday morning.

    No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame (2:30 PM, NBC)

    Notre Dame has very little time to lick their wounds before Mark D’Antonio brings his savvy Spartans into the confines of South Bend. While Michigan State has been alright offensively, the defense has been stout, giving up only six points in two games.

    This is already a make-or-break game for Brian Kelly. Starting 0-3 with a schedule that should probably have resulted in an 2-1 start at worst could spell doom for him in a hurry.

    Sticking with Tommy Rees at quarterback is Notre Dame's best option. Rees made some great throws last week. The defense...well…Kirk Cousins should have his first 300-plus yard passing game of the year. The Spartans will win in South Bend, making the soft howls for Kelly’s job even louder.

    Tennessee at No. 16 Florida (2:30 PM, CBS)

    Derek Dooley marches into The Swamp for an afternoon romp with Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators. Tennessee surprised a lot of people last week with their borderline convincing win at home against a decent Cincinnati team. For Florida, this will be the first test after warm-ups against Florida Atlantic and UAB.

    Muschamp has the defense operating well, while Charlie Wies has done a fine job with John Brantley. Which Tennessee team shows up this week? The Vols are still young, but Dooley makes them grind out tough games, and obviously this is no exception. Florida has enough defensive ability to keep Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and running back Tauren Poole quiet enough for Florida to pull away late.

    No. 17 Ohio State at Miami (7 PM, ESPN)

    Dolphins Stadium gets stunk up and unfilled again for a Miami Hurricanes home game, this time against THE Ohio State University. Jacory Harris and his talented, arm-punting ways make their debut after a one game suspension and Ohio State gets a few players back themselves. Many nicknames are being used for this game, but how about “a rout”?

    Al Golden pulled plenty of effort out of the Canes in Maryland, but Luke Fickell gets more out of his Buckeyes. Ohio State’s Joe Bauserman seems to be the man at quarterback, even with the talented Braxton Miller on the sidelines.

    Miami will be ready to play, but the Buckeye defense should give Harris fits. Jacory is either money or counterfeit, there’s no middle ground. The Bucks should win easily, but if Bauserman struggles, the calls for Miller will get louder.

    No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State (7 PM, ABC)

    The game of the year: this week’s version will come from Tallahassee as Big Game Bob brings his loaded Sooners to take on Jimbo Fischer’s hyped yet virtually untested Seminoles.

    Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles will be ready to test a defense that had what were essentially paid scrimmages from Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern thus far.

    Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel has been stellar so far this year, completing passes at a 66-percent clip. However, the most alarming thing for the Seminoles is their running game, or lack thereof. With only 262 yards total through two games, Florida State will have to do much better on the ground to challenge the Sooners.

    This game comes down to attitude. Oklahoma breathes this type of big game air all the time, while Florida State hasn’t had a reason to feel the nerves yet. Jones should have a good day, and the Sooners should win this one, but a close score won’t truly tell the story.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: As mentioned above, sitting at 0-3 would not be a good thing. Yes, you are close to making hay with this team, and you more than likely won’t be getting fired any time soon, but you need this game against MSU.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: We all knew your team had no chance against Wisconsin. Negative four-yard punts didn’t help, but let’s accept it and move on. You have two weeks to prep for UCLA which may or may not get a skull-kicking by a pissed off Texas team. Get better fast, sir or start looking up moving companies.

    Mark Richt, Georgia: Again, your Bulldogs played pretty well against a better team. However, you again came up short. The Dawgs are playing well, but they just need to put together four quarters of good football. Your game against Coastal Carolina is a paid scrimmage, so use it wisely.

    Mike Stoops, Arizona: That beating you took in Stillwater was harsh, yet was seen a mile away. Don’t breathe easy just yet, because Andrew Luck is coming to town. Lose this one badly, and things could turn ugly.

    Larry Porter, Memphis: This is one of the few jobs in America where you seriously have no chance before your nameplate is put on the door. The school has shown they don’t care about the program and the warnings that Tommy West issued when he was fired haven’t been heard. Few expected you to get clobbered by Arkansas State, though. Is it possible to keep things close against Austin Peay?

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: michigan, iowa state, south carolina, arizona state, notre dame, missouri, north carolina state, georgia, luisville, memphis, iowa, les miles, dan mullen, lsu, mississippi state, michigan state, tennessee, florida, will muschamp, al golden, miami, ohio state, oklahoma, florida state

  15. 2011 Aug 08

    Husker Heartbeat 8/8: Big Red Youth, No Doubting Dennard and a Sophomore Leader


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Young Huskers could shake things up this fall

    - There's no doubting Alfonzo Dennard

    - Seven Cornhuskers who could put the nation on notice

    - Redshirt sophomore Sirles looks to lead fellow linemen

    - Starling continues to mull his options

    - Nebraska/Iowa needs history not hype

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: jeremiah sirles, iowa, bubba starling, alfonzo dennard

  16. 2011 Jul 27

    Husker Heartbeat 7/27: Unveiling a Trophy, Some NU Wallpaper and Nebraska Grabs a Three-Sport Star


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Nebraska-Iowa trophy will be announced on Friday

    - A handy, dandy Big Ten team schedule wallpaper

    - Former Husker Scott Frost says Oregon's great for his growing career

    - The Huskers keep loving the game that haunts them

    - And the scariest game on Nebraska's football schedule is... (drum roll)

    - North Dakota three-sport star prospect commits to NU women's volleyball team

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: scott frost, iowa hawkeyes

  17. 2011 Jul 01

    Big Ten Preseason Rankings – Legends Division: Part One


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    Let’s have a look at how the Legends division will flesh out in 2011. The competition in the will be fierce with arguably four teams able to be top dog.

    6. Minnesota

    The 2010 season was a rough one for the Minnesota Golden Gophers who finished with a 3-9 record overall and a 2-6 record in the Big Ten. By the end of the year, head coach Tim Brewster was dismissed and Minnesota was sitting at the bottom - again. Unfortunately, 2011 does not look to be much better for the Gophers.

    While new head coach Jerry Kill is a good fit for the job, he has a tough row to hoe. Minnesota kicks the season off in Los Angeles with a match-up against Southern Cal that almost guarantees to be ugly. While the Golden Gophers will play Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin at home, don’t expect TCF Bank Stadium's home-field advantage to mean much.

    The bright spot is quarterback MarQueis Gray and the nine starters that are returning on defense. With a new coach, senior leadership and potentially strong players, Minnesota has the opportunity to improve. Unfortunately for the Gophers, that development will take more than just one season to bear fruit.

    Odds of winning the Big Ten Championship: 150/1

    5. Northwestern

    In 2010, Northwestern was an average team. Finishing the year at 7-6, the Wildcats went from a team that won its first five games to a team that lost 35-21 to Penn State after leading 21-0. The offense failed to convert big plays into points and the defense gave up far too many yards in big games. 2010 can only be considered a disappointing year for head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

    Things should be different for the Wildcats in 2011. Northwestern will be returning nine offensive starters, seven defensive starters and two specialists. The talent will be there especially with quarterback Dan Persa who may be one of the conference’s best quarterbacks.

    Fitzgerald will still have a lot of work to do, but Northwestern shouldn’t disappoint. Some even believe that the Wildcats have an outside shot at the Big Ten title. While the odds of that seem low due to the competition in the Legends division, it would be a mistake to overlook Northwestern in 2011.

    Odds of winning the Big Ten Championship: 40/1

    4. Iowa

    The 2010 season was nothing short of interesting for the Hawkeyes. Rumors ran rampant towards the end of the season of drug use eventually leading to the dismissal of Iowa’s all-time leading receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.

    Shortly after 2011 began, 12 Hawkeye players were hospitalized with kidney ailments that were linked to workouts. It seemed like the drama would never end for Iowa who concluded the season 8-5 in regular play and 4-4 in Big Ten play.

    In 2011, the Hawkeyes should be able to position themselves as a potential contender for the Big Ten championship game. While only returning ten starters from 2010 which is the second-lowest in the nation, Iowa will be looking to fresh talent to face new Big Ten rival Nebraska.

    Iowa lucks out in 2011 with both Wisconsin and Ohio State left off the schedule. While the Legends division will be wide open and Iowa tends to thrive in low-pressure situations, it will still be a year of growth for the team. An 8-4 season seems very realistic for the Hawkeyes.

    Odds of winning the Big Ten Championship: 25/1

    Having already predicted the Leaders division standings, who will stand on top of the Legends?

    Leaders 4-6, Leaders 1-3

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: legends, minnesota, golden gophers, northwestern, wildcats, iowa, hawkeyes, pat fitzgerald, jerry kill, big ten, big 10

  18. 2011 Jun 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Blackshirts vs. The Big 10 - Part 4


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Iowa Hawkeyes: Last year was such an odd season for the folks in Iowa City. There was the unpleasant visit to Tucson, the heartbreaking losses against Wisconsin and Ohio State and a 1-3 record during the last four games. What’s even worse were the health scares that put numerous players in the hospital. On the other hand, there was the thumping that the Hawkeyes gave to Iowa State, the way that Iowa just demolished Michigan State and the Insight Bowl comeback against Missouri.

    Kirk Ferentz returns for his 13th season as Head Coach making him second in tenure at Iowa only to Hayden Fry. He’s also the highest paid coach in the conference. Ferentz hasn't been the most successful or beloved Hawkeyes coach, but he’s always seemed to do just enough to keep his job. Pro teams and other schools have stopped calling for the time being and Ferentz needs to utilize the quiet time to rebuild his team into Big Ten contenders.

    Offensively, Iowa loses not only their biggest leader in quarterback Ricky Stanzi, but also both starting guards. James Vandenberg isn’t new to the starting role as he started for two games in 2009 while Stanzi recovered from a broken ankle. He almost led an upset of Ohio State before defeating Minnesota the next week.

    Running back Marcus Coker started the last five games for the Hawkeyes in 2010 whose running back depth was nearly eliminated after losing three starters due to a combination of injuries and off the field issues. Wide receiver Marvin McNutt is a first team All-Big Ten selection and deservedly so. After barely a year at the position, he led the school in receptions and yardage in 2010 and could very well be the best receiver that Iowa's ever seen by the end of his career.

    Defensively, there was no better team last year in the Big Ten. Giving up only 17 points per game, the Norm Parker-led defense was the best in the conference in pass defense and pass efficiency last year. Iowa’s been no worse than No. 12 in FBS scoring defense the last four seasons. Unfortunately, the Iowa defense did lose quite a bit of depth over the offseason.

    Gone are defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug, Christian Ballard. Linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson will be absent as will be safeties Tyler Sash and Brent Greenwood. Iowa does return preseason All-Big Ten cornerback Shaun Prater and safety Micah Hyde. This squad will be very green, especially up front

    The Hawkeyes have their work cut out for them this year. Vandenberg doesn't come off as being a great passer. During their spring game, the balls that he threw seemed to float pretty hard which led to his two interceptions that day. This team will have to stay on the ground as they try to coach Vandenberg into a true blue starter that can make all of the necessary throws. It's expected for Iowa's defense to drop off somewhat because of all the talent that they lost to the NFL.

    Ferentz is probably on one of the hotter seats in the conference given his pay rate and how he didn't finish well last year with all of the talent that he had returning. However, while there is pressure to win, those in Iowa City realize that there will be growing pains this year and will wait until next season for a good run at the Big Ten title.

    Since Iowa will be Nebraska’s new post-Thanksgiving rival, there will likely be something on the line when these two teams play in Lincoln. Iowa is good enough to worry about, but not enough to make you panic. If the Nebraska offense can score on the Hawkeyes regularly, it shouldn't be that much of a contest.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling

    Tags: kirk ferentz, iowa, hawkeyes, ricky stanzi, marcus coker, marvin mcnutt, shaun prater, micah hyde

  19. 2011 Mar 28

    Husker Heartbeat 3/28: Bo, Doc, Big Ten and Clowney


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    *LJS Sipple says Bo Pelini is growing into a CEO role as Nebraska's head coach. More support from the Omaha Nighthawks' Joe Moglia, who worked with Pelini for two years.

    Sipple does have an interesting line near the end of the column:

    "Speaking of pressure, vultures are circling Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Bo's alma mater. For what it's worth, I've never gotten the sense from him, during interviews and conversations dating to 2003, that he has a deep yearning to take over the Buckeye program. It's just a gut feeling. Maybe I'm reading him wrong."

    Bo's never been one to talk at length about his Ohio State roots. That's a strength, in a sense. He'll have to this fall, of course - we'll pull the guy's teeth, but he'll do it - but if Bo has a great desire to return to the Horseshoe, he keeps those impulses pretty close to the vest.

    If the OSU job ever opened up, we think Bo would certainly be on the list - but so would some pretty accomplished names. Urban Meyer would be there. Jon Gruden would be. Nick Saban? Don't kid yourself. One day - and it may be reasonably soon - Saban may find he's run out of things to win at Alabama. The Tide administration already gave the guy a statue. What will it do? Tear it down?

    *NU's getting another fullback for the 2011 season: Mike Marrow.

    *The OWH's Spring Football Preview by position and its Big Ten football preview, too.

    *Excellent analysis from Lee B on whether the Big Ten suits Doc Sadler's preferred coaching method and playing style - it does - and whether he can pull key recruits out of Big Ten country. We'll have to see about that. For now, Sadler still seems to be looking for the quick fix of a JUCO guard or a transfer. The Big Ten doesn't do much of either, frankly. Over at Husker Hoops Central, they're still asking - why didn't the Huskers go dancing in 2011?

    *Breaking down Iowa's spring practice presser. What Kirk Ferentz's answers mean.

    *At Indiana, Kevin Wilson searches for a QB.

    *The Jerry Kill era begins at Minnesota.

    *The nation's No. 1 recruit, Jadeveon Clowney, was frisked by the cops at 2 a.m. outside a bar last weekend. Following in Stephen Garcia's shoes, are we?

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, steve sipple, big ten, iowa, mike marrow, doc sadler, lee b

  20. 2011 Mar 08

    Podcast 3/8: Turkey Leftovers and Husker Football


    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Tags: podcasts, iowa, big ten, volleyball, baseball, women hoops

Click here for our FREE daily podcast.


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