Monday, December 29, 2008

Remembering Woody's final punch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There was an interesting story in Monday's Florida Times-Union about this year's Konica Minolta Gator Bowl being the 30th anniversary of the infamous sideline punch that ended the career of Ohio State coaching great Woody Hayes.

The story quotes former Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman, who was on the receiving end of Hayes' fateful blow, and clearly doesn't seem to appreciate that he's the answer to the trivia question. Bauman intercepted an Art Schlichter pass with 1:59 remaining to all but seal a 17-15 victory for the Tigers over Ohio State in the 1978 Gator Bowl.

As a result, Hayes resigned as head coach of the Buckeyes the following morning before even leaving Jacksonville. Hayes, who died in 1987, finished his career with a 205-61-10 coaching record with the Buckeyes, including winning three national titles and 13 Big Ten championships.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, December 29, 2008 || 0 comments

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

NU gets physical in first on-site practice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nebraska’s coaching staff didn’t wait long to set the tone for Gator Bowl practices, pitting the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense in a 10-minute scrimmage in the first team period of Saturday’s session.

NU offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said his team’s intensity was “real good” for the Huskers’ first practice since arriving in the Jacksonville area Friday afternoon. Outside of some dropped balls by receivers and a few timing issues, Watson said he was pleased with the two-hour workout at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.

“They’re really fresh,” Watson said of the Huskers. “It looks like day one of fall camp in terms of legs and how fast they’re going.
“I think that there’s a level of expectation that has developed. They understand what it takes to win and how hard you’ve got to work to win -- and at that, there really are no guarantees -- so you’ve really got to put everything into it.”

Members of Nebraska’s coaching staff informed the players there would be a brief scrimmage Saturday morning.

“The kids enjoyed that,” Watson said. “We wanted to get back to hitting each other, our offense attacking and our defense actually tackling.
“There was a lot of spirit in practice. They played hard and they played physical, so it was a good way to start.”

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, December 27, 2008 || 0 comments

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1982 Orange Bowl: Missed opportunity

With Nebraska and Clemson preparing to square off on Jan. 1 in the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, Fla., it's interesting to look back and recall the last time the Cornhuskers and Tigers met on the gridiron in the 1982 Orange Bowl following the 1981 season.

As things shook out, a Nebraska victory could’ve given Nebraska coach Tom Osborne his first national title -- something he’d have to wait another dozen years to capture. Earlier on New Year’s Day, Pittsburgh’s win over No. 2-ranked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and Texas’ victory over No. 3 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl had opened the door for the fourth-ranked Huskers - - if they could only beat No. 1 Clemson.

Although the Tigers were undefeated and ranked ahead of Nebraska, the Huskers were actually four-point favorites in the contest. NU came into the Orange Bowl winners of eight consecutive games after a 1-2 start.

“It was an interesting game and, of course, they were named national champions after that game, so it was memorable,” Osborne said of the Clemson Tigers. “Naturally, we would’ve liked to have done better, but on the other hand, I thought our team played very hard and played very well.
“Of course, Clemson played a great game.”

Despite taking a 7-3 first-quarter lead on Mike Rozier’s I-back option pass to Anthony Steels for a 25-yard touchdown, Nebraska was bottled up by Clemson’s defense most of the night, managing just 256 total yards. The Tigers led 22-7 after three quarters, powered by quarterback Homer Jordan, who finished as the game’s most valuable offensive player with 134 yards passing and 46 yards rushing.

Nebraska cut its deficit to 22-15 on Roger Craig’s 26-yard TD run and his two-point conversion run with 9:15 to play. However, a key penalty wiped out the Huskers’ best scoring opportunity after that as Rozier’s 13-yard run to midfield was nullified by a clipping penalty and NU eventually had to punt.

Clemson took over with 5:24 remaining at its own 20-yard line and didn’t give the football back to Nebraska until just six seconds remained. From their own 46, the Huskers’ last hope was a Hail Mary pass, but quarterback Mark Mauer’s attempt was broken up, leaving the Tigers with the victory and the national title.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Wednesday, December 17, 2008 || 0 comments

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pelini votes Nebraska No. 22

It's always fun every year as this time to take a peek at the USA Today coaches' poll as the media outlet publishes the ballot of each of the 61 coaches for the first time of the year.

There's little doubt that keeping tabs on every other team in the country, while trying to coach your own, is a difficult task, but it's interesting to see how some of the coaches feel about other teams around the country and the perceived slights that might exist. For instance, in this USA Today graphic, it's noteworthy that Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is apparently much less impressed with non-BCS conference programs like Utah and TCU than any of his peers.

Also of note to Nebraska fans is the ballot of Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini, who voted his squad No. 22. Pelini's top five (in order): Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Southern California and Alabama.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Tuesday, December 09, 2008 || 0 comments

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gator Bowl tickets available for NU fans

Nebraska has yet to officially accept a bid to the Gator Bowl to play Clemson, but ...

The University of Nebraska has announced that fans may begin buying tickets for the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, the Huskers' likely postseason destination. The game will be played on Jan. 1, 2009, at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and the bowl announced on Wednesday that Clemson will represent the Atlantic Coast Conference in the game.

"It is all but certain that Nebraska will be playing in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl," Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said. "Formal Big 12 procedures prevent the conference from making an official announcement until Sunday afternoon. We are aware that fans from all of our schools, including Nebraska, want to begin making plans to attend these contests."

Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne encouraged Nebraska fans to purchase tickets from the school's allotment of 12,750 tickets for the Gator Bowl.

"The seats the Gator Bowl has set aside for the participating schools are in excellent locations, and we want our fans to get a chance to purchase those tickets as soon as possible," Osborne said. "Our fans have always supported us very well in past bowl games and we hope there will be outstanding support for our matchup with Clemson in the Gator Bowl."

Tickets may be purchased on-line at or by calling the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-8-BIG RED. Tickets for the 2009 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl are $50 each.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Thursday, December 04, 2008 || 0 comments

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