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Nebraska vs.

Sept. 23-
2:30 p.m. (CDT)

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Nebraska vs. Iowa
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Game #3 No. 1/1 Nebraska (2-0) vs. Iowa (0-3)
The Matchup: No. 1/1 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska (2-0) vs. Iowa (0-2)
Game Date: Saturday, Sept. 23 Kickoff Time: 2:36 p.m.
Site: Lincoln, Neb.
Stadium (Capacity): Memorial Stadium (73,918), 235th Consecutive Sellout
Field (Surface): Tom Osborne Field (FieldTurf)
The Coaches: Nebraska-Frank Solich (Nebraska, '66), 23-5, 3rd year career/at Nebraska; Iowa-Kirk Ferentz (Connecticut, '78), 13-34 four years/1-13 at Iowa two years
TV: ABC Regional; Sean McDonough (Play-by-Play); Ed Cunningham (Color); Leslie Gudel (Sideline)
Nebraska Radio: Pinnacle Sports Productions, Warren Swain (Play-by-Play); Adrian Fiala (Color); (KLIN-AM in Lincoln, KKAR-AM in Omaha, KXTK, KKBZ and KMNS in Iowa)

Top-Ranked Nebraska Plays Host to Iowa This Saturday
Lincoln -- The Nebraska Cornhuskers increased their lead in both polls after an incredible, hard-fought overtime win at No. 23 Notre Dame on Sept. 9. Both teams left it all on the field and treated a national NBC football audience and a sellout crowd of 80,232 to one of the best college football games of all time. Nebraska had the game in hand, 21-7, with 8:47 remaining in the third quarter, but two special teams return touchdowns by Notre Dame tied the game, 21-21, and sent it into overtime. As it has in its last two overtime games, Nebraska had a stellar defensive stand, forced Notre Dame to settle for a field goal, then put the ball in the end zone in five plays for the 27-24 overtime win. The win marked Nebraska's first this season over a ranked team and the fifth straight against a ranked opponent under third-year Coach Frank Solich. More than 25,000 Husker fans watched the two tradition-rich teams clash in a clean game featuring the best of power football, some special team's razzle-dazzle and a strong fourth-quarter defensive stand by both teams. Although Husker special teams allowed 317 yards in returns, the Husker Blackshirts played well, allowing just 224 yards of total offense while the Huskers, led by quarterback Eric Crouch and I-back Dan Alexander, rushed for 274 yards and totaled 377 yards.

The Huskers had ample time to iron out the problems on special teams, as NU was idle on Sept. 16, then plays host to the Iowa Hawkeyes in Memorial Stadium on Sept. 23. Iowa is 0-3, having lost to Kansas State in the Eddie Robinson Clasic in Kansas City and to Western Michigan on Sept. 9 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes lost to Big 12 opponent Iowa State at home, 24-14, on Sept. 16 before coming to Lincoln. Last year the Huskers defeated Iowa, 42-7, in Iowa City in the season opener for both teams. This week's game will be aired regionally by ABC at 2:36 p.m. and is a sellout-the 235th consecutive in Memorial Stadium, a streak that leads the nation and dates back to 1962.

In the Polls
For the fifth straight week, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are on top of both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Nebraska increased its lead and first-place votes in both polls after the overtime win at No. 23 Notre Dame in the Sept. 10 poll, then increased its lead in the AP Poll, but went down slightly in the coaches poll on Sept. 17 after sitting idle. Nebraska has 43 first-place votes and 1,747 points in the AP writers poll, ahead of Florida State's 26, and 1,723 points. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, NU has 44 first-place votes and 1,456 points ahead of Florida State's 14 and 1,424 points. Florida is third in both polls, while Kansas State is fourth in the AP but fifth in the coaches behind Virginia Tech. Nebraska began the season at the top of the Associated Press Poll for the sixth time since the AP's first preseason poll in 1950, also entering the season as the No. 1 pick in 1965, 1972, 1976, 1983 and 1996. Nebraska did not retain the No. 1 position in any of those years after entering the season No. 1. Last year, the Florida State Seminoles were the first team to be ranked No. 1 from start to finish. Nebraska was last ranked No. 1 to open the season in 1996, the year after winning its second consecutive national title. Four Big 12 schools are ranked in this week's polls, including Nebraska 1/1 (AP/Coaches); Kansas State 4/5; Texas 15/15; and Oklahoma 17/16. Notre Dame moved up from 23rd (when Nebraska played the Irish) to 16th and 18th, respectively, in the AP and coaches polls.

The Huskers' Last Game - Sept. 9 - Nebraska 27, Notre Dame 24, OT

* Huskers Win Third Overtime Contest...The No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers played in front of a soldout crowd in Notre Dame (80,232, 151st consecutive sellout) and at least 25,000 fans were red-clad Huskers, well above the 4,000 allotment provided to the school. Nebraska scored first on Nebraska's fourth drive on an Eric Crouch 62-yard run. Notre Dame tied it up early in the second quarter, then the Huskers took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime after Crouch scored on a one-yard run with 2:24 remaining. Nebraska expanded the lead to 21-7 after NU scored in four plays on its second drive of the half on a Dan Alexander 28-yard run, but Notre Dame immediately answered with a 100-yard kickoff return and then tied the game on an 83-yard punt return TD with 12:48 remaining in the game. Neither team was able to score in the remaining regulation time. In Nebraska's third overtime game (all three were on the road), Nebraska won the toss and deferred to Notre Dame. Carlos Polk and Loran Kaiser made two tackles each as Notre Dame rushed the ball on its first four plays. Quarterback Arnaz Battle gained a first down to the 8-yard line and Julius Jones carried twice gaining four yards to the NU 4-yard line, but junior defensive tackle Jeremy Slechta sacked Battle on third-and-goal for a seven-yard loss to force Notre Dame to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Nick Setta, giving the Irish a 24-21 lead. On NU's overtime drive, Crouch pitched to Alexander for a gain of one; threw an incomplete pass intended for Wilson Thomas; then completed a third-down pass to tight end Tracey Wistrom for a gain of nine for a first down on the 15-yard line. Alexander pushed his way up the middle for a gain of eight yards to the 7-yard line. Then Crouch ran a quarterback keep around the left end for his third touchdown of the day, sealing the win. Crouch's run was keyed by outstanding blocks by the offensive line, split end Troy Hassebroek and by Alexander.

* In Overtime...Nebraska is now 3-0 in overtime, first defeating Missouri 45-38 in Columbia, on Nov. 8, 1997, when NU was ranked No. 1 by AP and Missouri was unranked. Nebraska defeated unranked Colorado in Boulder on Nov. 26, 1999 when NU was ranked third; and most recently defeated No. 23 Notre Dame 27-24, its first overtime win over a ranked team on Sept. 9, 2000. In the last two overtime games, Nebraska won the coin toss and deferred (Missouri won the toss and deferred to Nebraska). In each case, the defense prevented a touchdown and forced a field goal attempt (all successful); then watched as Nebraska's quarterback (both wearing lucky #7) scored a rushing TD. Scott Frost scored the winning TD vs. Missouri, while Eric Crouch scored the winning TD vs. Colorado last year and vs. Notre Dame. All three overtime games were on the road. Two were against Big 12 Conference opponents. Nebraska is one of five teams (also Air Force, UCLA, Houston and Louisiana-Monroe) to have played at least three overtime games and not lost. Big 12 teams are 12-11 in overtime contests.

* The Win for the Huskers Was...Nebraska's eighth straight win overall; gave NU a 42-6-1 record when playing as AP's No. 1 team; NU's fourth straight as AP's No. 1 team; evened the Nebraska vs. Notre Dame Series record at 7-7-1; was Nebraska's first ever win in South Bend; gave Solich a 23-5 three-year record; was Coach Solich's fifth in a row against a ranked team, seventh win over a ranked team in 11 games, first in a true "road" setting, and second win in an overtime game.

* Notre Dame vs. No. 1...The fighting Irish had upset the last two No. 1 teams that came into Notre Dame Stadium, including Miami (31-30 on Oct. 15, 1988) and Florida State (31-224 in 1993). Notre Dame is now 8-14-1 all time vs. the No. 1 AP team, 3-4 at home.

* Quarterback Eric Crouch...rushed 16 times for 80 yards against No. 23 Notre Dame and for the second consecutive week scored three rushing TDs (tied career best), including the game-winning seven-yard TD run in overtime. Crouch has rushed for at least 50 yards in each of his last seven games and has scored a rushing touchdown in 13 of the last 15 games. Against the Irish, Crouch completed 7-of-15 passes for 103 yards with no TDs and one interception (tipped by fullback Judd Davies). Crouch scored both of Nebraska's first-half touchdowns on a 62-yard run with 1:10 remaining in the first quarter and on a one-yard run with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter. Crouch has scored six touchdowns this season, with three vs. the Irish and three vs. San Jose State and leads the nation's in scoring (18.0 ppg). Crouch had 11 carries for 89 yards and two TDs at halftime, but was sacked three times in the game. Crouch's 62-yard TD run tied his longest run of his career (also 62 vs. Texas A&M in 1999) and bettered his previous long career TD run of 59 yards vs. UAB in 1998. The run was the longest by a Notre Dame opponent since 1997 and the longest TD run by a Notre Dame opponent since 1984. Crouch calmly led the Huskers on a five-play scoring drive in overtime, hitting Tracey Wistrom on a nine-yard pass on third down. On second down and two to go at the ND 7-yard line, Crouch scored the game-winning touchdown. He also scored the game-winning TD in overtime vs. Colorado last year on a one-yard run. Teammate Dan Alexander said Crouch was calm in overtime. Alexander said, "Eric was completely focused in the huddle. I don't think he had any doubt in his mind we were going to score." Crouch was the NBC Player of the Game and was Nebraska's nominee for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.

* Senior -back Dan Alexander...again had an outstanding game. Alexander rushed 24 times for 112 yards and gave the Huskers a 21-7 lead with a 28-yard TD run on Nebraska's second drive of the third quarter. Of Alexander's 112 yards, 87 came in the second half. Alexander averaged 4.7 yards per carry and recorded his third straight 100-yard rushing game after rushing for 108 yards vs. Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl last season and 208 vs. San Jose State in the season opener. It was his eighth career 100-yard rushing day and seventh in his last 10 games. Alexander has scored at least one rushing touchdown in three straight games and has 320 yards on 41 carries with three TDs this season. He ranks fifth nationally with a 160.0 yards per game average and third among the top 25 averaging 7.80 yards per carry.

* Senior split end Matt Davison...has caught at least one pass in 29 of the last 31 games and in each of the last five. Davison had an 11-yard catch and an 18-yard catch in the third quarter vs. Notre Dame for a team-leading 2-29 yards.

* Tight End Tracey Wistrom...has caught at least one pass in each of the last five games he has played. He had a 17-yard catch on Nebraska's TD drive in the third quarter which gave Nebraska a 21-7 lead and a nine-yard catch on a crucial third-down play in double coverage in overtime, giving the Huskers a first down at the Notre Dame 15-yard line. Crouch scored two plays later for the winning touchdown. Crouch and Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie agreed it was "the most critical play of the game."

* Hochstein Ties Pancake Record...Right offensive guard Russ Hochstein had a career-best 23 pancakes to lead the offensive line against Notre Dame. That mark ties the school record set by center Josh Heskew vs. California in 1998. Left guard sophomore Toniu Fonoti had a career-best 17; left tackle Dave Volk had 14; right tackle Jason Schwab had 13 and center Dominic Raiola had 10. Jon Rutherford, the sixth man in at guard, was the only other Husker lineman to see action and had four of the team's season-best 81 pancakes. Since 1995, when pancakes were first recorded, Hochstein is just one of three Huskers who have had 20 or more in a game (also 20 by Dave Volk vs. Kansas State in '99).

* Wingback Bobby Newcombe...has caught at least one pass in 10 straight games and had a 36-yard catch from Eric Crouch on NU's first play from scrimmage vs. Notre Dame. That was a season long for Crouch, Newcombe and the team. Newcombe also had two punt returns for 16 yards.

* Place-Kicker Josh Brown...has made 48 consecutive PATs and nine of his last 10 field goal attempts. He has not had any field goal attempts this season, but made his last field goal-a 31-yarder vs. Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl. Brown made a career-best 42-yarder in the 1999 Big 12 Championship game, plus a 21-yarder, but missed on his third attempt of 38 yards to give him a current streak of one made.

* Scoring on Returns...Notre Dame's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Julius Jones was the first by a Husker opponent since Florida's Reidel Anthony had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. The touchdown immediately followed Dan Alexander's TD run and brought Notre Dame to within seven (21-14). It tied the record for the longest kickoff return for a TD against NU and was the first regular-season vs. NU since Colorado's Howard Ballage had a 100-yard return in Boulder on Oct. 21, in 1978. Notre Dame tied the game, 21-21, with 12:48 remaining on an 83-yardpunt return by Joey Getherall. The last punt return for a TD vs. Nebraska was UCLA's Darryl Henley on Sept. 10, 1988. In the game, Notre Dame had 224 yards of total offense, but 317 yards on returns (113 on punt returns and 204 on kickoff returns). Since game-by-game records were compiled (1946), the Notre Dame game marks the first time that NU has allowed a kickoff return and a punt return for a touchdown in the same game.

* It's a Rush...Nebraska went ahead 14-7 with 2:24 remaining in the first half with a one-yard rushing TD by Crouch. That drive was Nebraska's longest of the year by play and time, covering 65 yards on 15 plays and 8:20. Fourteen of the plays were rushing, covering 54 yards. In the game the Huskers rushed for 274 yards on 59 carries, including the 112 by Alexander, 80 by Crouch and 43 on nine carries by Correll Buckhalter. The Nebraska defense allowed 184 yards rushing, including 107 by Notre Dame QB Arnaz Battle. In the opener, Deonce Whitaker of San Jose State rushed for 147 yards against the Huskers.

* Turnovers...Notre Dame 1...Notre Dame turned the ball over on its second drive of the game when senior linebacker Carlos Polk tipped a pass, which senior rover Joe Walker intercepted. NU did not convert it into a score, falling short on a 4th-and-4 play at the ND 26-yard line. The interception was Walker's sixth of his career. Nebraska 1...The Huskers committed their fourth turnover of the season with 4:04 in the third and Nebraska driving, when Crouch was intercepted by Shane Walton at the ND 26 when fullback Judd Davies tipped the missed pass. Notre Dame did not convert. All three of Crouch's picks this season have been tipped by an NU receiver.

* On Defense...Mike Linebacker Carlos Polk stopped Julius Jones twice in overtime and had a career-best 12 tackles in the game, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and tipped an Arnaz Battle pass allowing Walker's interception. For his efforts, Polk was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week and the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America. Polk, a Butkus Watch List member and a Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate. Polk was Nebraska's nominee for the Big 12 honor for the second consecutive week and won the award for the second time in his career. Nebraska's other two linebackers, starting the second games of their young careers, also had excellent games. Will Linebacker Randy Stella had a career-best seven tackles including a six-yard sack and a fumble caused, while Sam LB Scott Shanle had a career-best seven tackles including, one tackle for loss.

* Defensive Line Holds Strong...DT Loran Kaiser had two stops on Jones in overtime as well and had a career-best nine tackles in the game and one hurry. Rush end Kyle Vanden Bosch had three tackles and led the team with three hurries. DT Jeremy Slechta recorded the defensive play of the game in overtime-a seven-yard sack on third down, one of his three tackles in the game.

* Husker Secondary Rises to Occasion...Nebraska's young secondary also stepped to the plate. Defensive Coordinator Craig Bohl said, "The secondary rose up and really came through, especially on third down." Notre Dame converted three of 12 third downs and completed just 3-of-15 passes for 40 yards. The Blackshirts sacked Arnaz Battle twice, hurried him 10 times and broke up six passes, intercepting one. Rover Joe Walker had five tackles, an interception (five-yard return), two breakups and two kickoff returns for 45 yards. Junior right cornerback Erwin Swiney had three tackles and two pass breakups to move into a tie for second on the NU all-time career pass breakup list with 21. Junior left corner Keyuo Craver had one breakup and moved into eighth on the same list with 18 total. Free safety Clint Finley had a touchdown-saving tackle in overtime and two others.

Tracking the Huskers
Husker Rushing Attack Solid in 2000
Led by a veteran offensive line and a trio of senior running backs, the Husker rushing game is alive and well in Lincoln. Through two games, the Huskers lead the nation averaging 389.5 yards per game. At I-back, Dan Alexander has rushed for 320 yards and three TDs while his backup Correll Buckhalter has 160 yards. Together in the first two games, the two I-backs alone have rushed for 480 yards on 63 carries for a 220.0 yards per game and 7.6 yards per carry. Add to that the 137 yards and six rushing touchdowns by quarterback Eric Crouch and the 68 yards by fullback Willie Miller and what you see is the country's best backfield. Combined, the four have rushed for 685 of the team's 779 yards this season (342.5 ypg). Alexander ranks fifth nationally, averaging 160 yards per game and has had 129 yards after contact (78 vs. SJSU, 51 vs. ND). As a team, the Huskers rushed for a season-best 505 yards vs. San Jose State, without losing a single yard, and 275 yards at No. 23 Notre Dame. However, Nebraska needs to total at least 557 yards on the ground in order to get a spot on the NU top 10 team rushing performances. The 505 rushing yards marked the first time NU had surpassed the 500-yard mark since NU had an NCAA bowl-record 524 in the Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida (Jan. 2, 1996) and was the most in a regular-season game since NU rushed for 624 vs. Iowa State on Nov. 4, 1995. The Huskers rushed for 500 or more yards five times in 1995.

Charting Nebraska's Rushers and Team Totals in 2000







San Jose St.






Notre Dame












Nebraska Boasts Three Current Career 1,000-Yard Rushers
Nebraska currently has three 1,000-yard career rushers on the team, including Buckhalter (1,932 yards), Alexander (1,622) and Crouch (1,485). A Doak Walker Award candidate, Alexander now has 1,622 career rushing yards on 261 carries (6.22 ypc) with 15 TDs to rank 24th on the NU career rushing chart. Buckhalter owns 1,932 career rushing yards on 329 carries (5.91 ypc) with 20 TDs to rank 21st on the NU career charts. He needs 24 yards to move into 20th, and 68 yards to become the 21st Husker to rush for 2,000 yards in a career. A Davey O'Brien Award candidate, Crouch has 1,485 career rushing yards on 300 carries (4.95 ypc) with 27 rushing TDs to rank 29th on the NU career rushing charts. All three are on track to reach the 2,000-yard plateau by the end of the season. Together the trio has accumulated more than 5,000 yards in their careers (5,039). Buckhalter was Nebraska's leading rusher in 1998 with 799 yards and eight touchdowns, while Crouch led the team in rushing in 1999 with 889 yards and 16 touchdowns. Alexander leads the team in 2000 with 320 yards. Crouch leads the trio in career rushing touchdowns with 27, followed by Buckhalter's 20 and Alexander's 15. They rank tied for 19th, tied for 31st and tied for 48th on the NU career scoring charts, respectively.


NU's Top Rushers by Season































totals include attempts-yards-touchdowns

Crouch Continues to Climb Charts
In addition to his climb on the NU career rushing charts, Crouch has already made his mark on the NU passing and total offense charts as well. The junior speedster has run for 137 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry this season. He has completed 11-of-25 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. All three picks were tipped by the intended receiver.

Crouch's 1,485 career rushing yards rank 29th overall at NU and fourth on the NU quarterback career rushing chart, 48 yards behind No. 3 Scott Frost's 1,533 (1996-97); 470 yards behind No. 2 Tommie Frazier's 1,955 (1992-95) and 640 yards behind record-holder Steve Taylor's 2,125 (1985-88). He ranks 10th in career passing yards with 2,040, 190 behind Tom Sorely's 2,230 (1976-78). Crouch has 3,525 yards of total offense in his career to rank ninth and his 168 career points are tied for 19th. Last season, Crouch was the co-All-Big 12 quarterback and co-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year as he rushed for 889 yards and 16 TDs. He led the team in rushing and ranked second among the nation's rushing quarterbacks in rushing yards and first in rushing TDs. He also completed 52 percent of his passes for 1,269 yards (17th-best season at NU) with seven TDs and had 2,158 yards in total offense (fourth-best season at NU), leading NU to a 12-1 record. He started the last 10 games for the Huskers last fall and is 16-3 as NU's starting quarterback.

O-Line Leads the Way
With four returning starters and an all-conference-caliber sophomore manning the front line, the Husker offensive line is as good as it gets. Senior co-captains Russ Hochstein and Jason Schwab man right guard and tackle, respectively, while preseason All-American Dominic Raiola secures center. Sophomore first-year starter Toniu Fonoti and junior Dave Volk man left guard and tackle, respectively. All five of the Husker starters had double-figure pancakes in both of the first two games, even though most didn't play in the fourth quarter against San Jose State. Fonoti led the team with 15 in his first career start against SJSU. Fonoti improved that total to 17 vs. the Irish and has 32 for the season, one behind Hochstein's team-leading 33. Against Notre Dame, Hochstein had a career-best and school-record-tying 23 (Josh Heskew also had 23 vs. California in 1998). Volk is the only other Husker to have recorded at least 20 pancakes (20 vs. KSU in 1999) and has 25 in two games. Raiola has 24 total this season and Schwab has 23. Hochstein and Raiola are both Outland and All-America candidates.

Nebraska Boasts Excellent Receivers at Every Position
The No. 1 Huskers returned nine starters on offense this season, including all three starters at the receiver positions. Seniors Matt Davison and Bobby Newcombe return to their starting positions at split end and wingback, respectively. Davison has led the Huskers the last two seasons in receptions and will soon rank No. 2 overall at Nebraska in both receptions and yards, while Newcombe was honored as an All-Big 12 return specialist in 1999 in addition to his receiving skills. Junior Tracey Wistrom set a school record last year for yards per catch and earned All-Big 12 honors.

Davison...has caught at least one pass in 29 of the last 31 games and now has 75 receptions for 1,118 yards to rank third on the NU career receptions list, passing Guy Ingles's 74 (1,157 yards, 1968-70). He also moved up to fourth on the receiving yards chart, passing Tim Smith's career 1,089 receiving yards (SE, 1977-79), Todd Brown's 1,092 (SE, 1980-82) and Junior Miller's 1,045 yards (TE, 1977-79, yards are corrected from media guide), 39 yards short of Ingles' 1,157 and just 78 yards short of Irving Fryar's 1,196 receiving yards (WB, 1981-83). Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers holds the records with 143-2,479 yards and 26 touchdowns. If Davison leads the team in receiving again in 2000, he will become just the third Husker to do so in three straight seasons.

Wistrom...A John Mackey and Fred Biletnikoff Award candidate, Wistrom now has 22 career catches for 590 yards, for a 26.8 career yards per catch average, which betters the NU school record held by split end Robb Schnitzler, who posted a 21.6 ypc average (1984-86, 30 catches for 648 yards). His 590 yards rank eighth among tight ends on the NU career receiving yards chart and 33rd overall, but his 22 catches are 12 away from the tight end top 10 list and 10 away from the NU top 50. Wistrom had 12 knockdowns against Notre Dame, best on the team. Wistrom and Newcombe led the team with two blazers each (great blocks on a score).

Newcombe...Newcombe ranks seventh all time in career punt return yards with 561 and now has 29 catches for 465 yards in his career, six catches off the NU career top 50 receptions list.

Charting the Husker Receivers in 2000













3-51-0 (17.0)

3-54-0 (18.0)

4-77-1 (19.2)


75-1,118-3 (14.9)

29-465-4 (16.0)

22-590-3 (26.8)

* indicates team leader for receptions and/or yards; yards per catch in ()

Husker Seniors Lead the Defense
Nebraska senior co-captains-MLB Carlos Polk, DT Loran Kaiser and RRE Kyle Vanden Bosch-are leading the way for a young Husker defense. The above three seniors, plus LCB Keyuo Craver, are the only four returnees who started all of the games last season. Through two games, Polk leads the team with 18 tackles. The awards candidate was the Bronko Nagurski and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Notre Dame when he had a career-best 12 tackles. Kaiser and sophomore Sam LB Randy Stella are next with 11 tackles apiece. Although the Huskers didn't have any sacks and just eight hurries against San Jose State, the Blackshirts put the pressure on Notre Dame, recording two sacks, 10 hurries, six pass breakups and one interception. The Huskers have two takeaways on the season, with one interception in each of the first two games, but did not convert either to scores (Groce's interception vs. SJSU came at the end of the first half with no time remaining.)

Young Secondary Rises to the Occasion
Nebraska lost two All-Americans who were the heart and soul of the defense and secondary last season in rover Mike Brown and right cornerback Ralph Brown. Despite the losses of the three- and four-year starters, respectively, Nebraska does have talent returning in the secondary. Keyuo Craver returned to his starting left corner position after starting every game in 1999 as a sophomore and is a member of the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. Erwin Swiney sat out the 1999 season as a medical redshirt (groin injury) after starting every game at left corner in 1998. Rover Joe Walker played behind Mike Brown each of the last three years, but as a senior, already has 10 starts under his belt. Dion Booker started the last five games last season and started the first two games this season at free safety. Clint Finley backs up both Walker and Booker at rover and free safety and has started at least one game in each of the last three years and 14 total at free saftey. The Huskers gave up 153 yards passing vs. San Jose State and just 40 vs. No. 23 Notre Dame. NU ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense with a 68.9 rating and already has picked off two passes and allowed opponents to complete just 17 of 52 passes-32.7 percent. Swiney (21) and Craver (18) rank tied for second and eighth, respectively, in career pass breakups at Nebraska.

Special Teams Look to Improve
Despite allowing two return TDs vs. Notre Dame, Nebraska has outstanding personnel on special teams and returns its starting punter, place-kicker, snapper and return specialists. Joe Walker leads the team with two kickoff returns for 45 yards this season, while Bobby Newcombe leads the Huskers in punt returns with three for 23 yards. Newcombe was second in the nation last season averaging 18.38 yards per return and set a school record in 1997 with 20.33 yards per return. Newcombe and Walker rank seventh and ninth at Nebraska in career punt return yards with 561 and 540 yards respectively. Both are dangerous return men. Newcombe has two regular-season punt returns for TDs, plus one in the Fiesta Bowl last season, while Walker has two punt return TDs, two interception return TDs and one kickoff return TD, tying an NCAA record in 1998 with one of each in the same season. Sophomore center John Garrison is "perfect" in two years as NU's snapper. Senior Dan Hadenfeldt averages 41.7 yards per punt this season, after setting the school record (44.98 ypp) last season. Josh Brown has not kicked a field goal this season, but is 9-of-9 on PATs to extend his streak to 48. Brown has not missed a PAT since the first attempt in game two of the 1999 season vs. Southern Mississippi (Sept. 18), a string of 12 games. He has hit on nine of his last 10 field goals with a career-best 42-yarder vs. Texas in the Big 12 Championship game last season. Although he has no field goal attempts this season, Brown hit 14-of-20 last year with two vs. No. 18 Texas in the regular-season loss, three (of four attempts) vs. No. 21 Texas A&M, one vs. No. 5 Kansas State, two (of three attempts) in the Big 12 Championship game vs. No. 12 Texas, and one vs. No. 6 Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl and has made 9-of-11 career field goals vs. ranked teams.