“When you walk in here, you see nothing but red. I can’t recall walking into another stadium and seeing such an amazing, monochromatic scene and so much loyalty. When they’re stirred up
when Nebraska is challenged — that’s when this crowd can become one of the most intimidating
in college football.” - Chris Fowler, ESPN
Game days at Nebraska are unlike any in college football. Fans line the streets of Lincoln waiting to enter the “Sea of Red,” while the marching band parades up Stadium Drive as thousands of red-clad fans look on. The “Third-Largest City” in Nebraska on game days, Memorial Stadium has been sold out for every game since 1962—an incredible streak of more than 325 games and counting.
The Huskers emerge from the famous “Tunnel Walk” to the sound of “Sirius” and the fans stay at a frenzied pitch until the final play of the game when they graciously cheer for the opposing players as they exit the field.
For as long as anyone can remember, the Huskers have touched a lucky horseshoe on their way from the locker room to the field. The horseshoe hangs above the door as Nebraska leaves the North Stadium.
Game Day Highlights
Spring Practice 2013
The Tunnel Walk
The Tunnel Walk, which began in 1994, has become an integral part of Memorial Stadium’s game-day experience. It was created as a way for fans to share in the excitement of the team emerging from the locker room, something only a few could do before HuskerVision’s cameras and big screens came to Memorial Stadium. The sounds of the Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius,” and the roar of the 87,000 frenzied fans rock the stadium as the Huskers burst through the locker room doors and into the tunnel on their way to the Tom Osborne Field.
One of the Huskers’ most well-known traditions is the Blackshirts, which has become the common nickname for Nebraska’s defensive unit. The term originally dates back to the early 1960s and refers to the black jerseys that Nebraska’s first-string defenders wear in practice. The term has become a part of the vocabulary for every Nebraska fan and caught on nationally under Charlie McBride, who served as the Huskers’ defensive coordinator from 1982 to 1999.
The Blackshirts are again at their finest under the direction of Head Coach Bo Pelini, defensive coordinator John Papuchis and the nation’s best defensive coaching staff.
- Nebraska has ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense 22 times since 1964.
- Nebraska has ranked among the nation’s top 10 in all four major defensive categories (rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense) on five occasions, including 2009 and national title seasons in 1994, 1995 and 1997.
The Blackshirt defense has thrived under the tutelage of Head Coach Bo Pelini.
Blackshirts Under Pelini
- With Pelini as defensive coordinator in 2003, Nebraska forced a school-record 47 turnovers, including a conference-record 32 interceptions. Nebraska ranked second nationally in scoring defense, and 16 Blackshirts from 2003 went on to play in the National Football League.
- The 2008 Blackshirts were among the nation’s most improved defenses. The Huskers finished second in the Big 12 in total defense, allowing 126.9 fewer yards per game than in 2007.
- Nebraska’s 2009 defense was among the nation’s most dominant units. The Huskers led the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 13 or fewer points 10 times in 14 games. Nebraska also ranked seventh nationally in total defense.
- The 2010 Blackshirts ranked in the top-12 nationally in four statistical categories, including third in pass efficiency defense, ninth in scoring defense and 11th in total defense.
- The 2011 Nebraska defense ranked in the top 40 nationally in total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense. Linebacker Lavonte David was the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.
- The 2012 Nebraska defense led the nation in opponent pass completion percentage at 47 percent. Only on eother school held its opponent below 50 percent passing.
The Nebraska offense has long been one of the nation’s most explosive units, including 15 NCAA rushing titles. Nebraska has also led the nation in total offense three times and scoring offense on four occasions.
The Nebraska offense is in its third season under the direction of Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck. In Beck’s first two seasons, the Husker offense has shown great diversity and explosiveness. Nebraska has rushed for better than 200 yards per game in each of Beck’s two seasons and the past three seasons overall. Nebraska has ranked among the top 15 teams nationally in rushing each of the past three years. In 2012, Nebraska also passed for better than 200 yards per game. Nebraska was one of only 19 schools in the country to average 200 yards per game both rushing and passing and the only school in the Big Ten to reach those milestones.
- In the past five seasons, Nebraska quarterbacks have produced four of the top eight single seasons for total offense in school history.
- Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez enters the 2013 season as the holder of 29 Nebraska school records. Among the notable records Martinez holds at Nebraska are career passing yards, career total offense, career passing touchdowns and season total offense.
- Taylor Martinez is one of only three quarterbacks to pass for 4,000 combined yards and rush for 1,500 combined yards in the past two seasons. Martinez is one of only 12 players in FBS history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 2,500 yards in his career. He could join Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick as the only players in FBS history with 9,000 passing/3,000 rushing in a career.
- Martinez is the nation’s leading returning active rusher for 2012, regardless of position.
- Over the past five seasons, Nebraska quarterbacks have produced 10 of the top 20 single-game total offense efforts in school history
- Five Nebraska quarterbacks have earned All-America honors, most recently 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.
- Nebraska has had a running back with at least 1,000 yards each of the past four seasons, Roy Helu Jr. in 2009 and 2010, Rex Burkhead in 2011 and Ameer Abdullah in 2012.
- Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead both completed their Nebraska career in the top five on the NU career rushing list.
- Rex Burkhead rushed for 1,357 yards in 2011, the most by a Nebraska I-back since 1997.
- Nebraska I-backs have produced 24, 100-yard rushing games in the past three seasons.
- After finishing his Nebraska career, Roy Helu Jr. was named to the 2011 NFL All-Rookie team with the Washington Redskins.
- Nebraska I-backs have 29 1,000-yard rushing seasons in school history, including one in each of the past four years.
- Nebraska has had three I-backs drafted in the past seven NFL Drafts.
- Nebraska has had 23 first-team all-conference running backs since 1980
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
- Nebraska receivers have nine 40-catch seasons in the past five years, including Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa in 2012.
- Nebraska returns three receivers in 2013 who combined for 124 receptions for 1,750 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, Kenny Bell (50-863-8), Quincy Enunwa (42-470-1) and Jamal Turner (32-417-3).
- After just two seasons, Kenny Bell is already one of only 20 players in NU history with 1,000 career receiving yards. He ranks ninth in school history with 1,324 receiving yards and is on pace to become Nebraska’s all-time receiving yardage leader.
- Bell has 82 career receptions, including 50 in 2012, to rank ninth on the NU career receptions list.
- Bell reached 1,000 career receiving yards in just 20 games, the second-fastest player in Nebraska history to reach the milestone
- Nate Swift, Niles Paul, Todd Peterson, Mike McNeill and Brandon Kinnie have all completed their careers in the past five years and rank among the top 12 in NU history in receptions.
- In the past three years, Nebraska tight ends Mike McNeill and Kyler Reed have claimed the top two spots on Nebraska’s career tight ends receptions list.
- McNeill finished his career with 82 receptions for 1,072 yards and 11 touchdowns. He now plays for the St. Louis Rams.
- Kyler Reed capped his career with 67 catches for 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns. Reed signed a free-agent rookie contract with Jacksonville.
- 2012 senior tight end Ben Cotton finished his career with 40 receptions, including three touchdown catches. He signed with the San Diego Chargers.