NU’s Alex Henery has kicked 73 field goals in his first three NFL seasons.
By Randy York
Nebraska has celebrated so many 50-year football-related anniversaries lately that a blogger is almost hesitant to make a big deal out of the Huskers’ 50th bowl game despite the rich postseason history that milestone represents. Nebraska ranks third all-time in bowl game appearances behind Alabama’s 60 and Texas’ 52 and ahead of Gator Bowl foe Georgia and Tennessee, which are tied for fourth and fifth all-time with 49 appearances apiece.
Let the record show that the Huskers still own the NCAA record with 35 consecutive bowl appearances. That streak started with a 45-6 pounding of Georgia in the 1969 Sun Bowl and ended the year after a 17-3 win over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl. Bo Pelini was Nebraska’s interim head coach for that ‘03 team before returning as the Huskers’ head coach in December, 2007. Michigan made 33 consecutive bowl trips to rank second in that category and Florida State put together a 32 consecutive bowl-game streak to rank third. No team has touched Nebraska’s NCAA record 17 consecutive January bowl appearances from 1982 to 1998.
The Nebraska-Georgia rematch following a Husker-Bulldog Capital One Bowl a year ago is only the third back-to-back bowl rematch in Husker history. Nebraska lost back-to-back Orange and Sugar Bowls to Alabama in 1966 and ’67 and dropped back-to-back Orange Bowls to Florida State following the 1992 and ’93 regular seasons.
Before offering up a 10 Question Quiz about individual Nebraska bowl game records, now’s a good time to point out that the Huskers will be playing their 20th all-time bowl game against a Southeastern Conference school. Nebraska’s overall bowl record against SEC teams is 12-7. Bob Devaney went 4-3 against SEC teams. Tom Osborne was 7-0, Frank Solich 1-1 and Bo Pelini 0-2. Devaney capped his two national championship seasons with Orange Bowl wins over SEC teams LSU (17-12) and Alabama (38-6). Osborne’s last two of three national championship teams included lopsided bowl wins over Florida (62-26 in the Fiesta) and over Peyton Manning-led Tennessee (42-17 in the Orange).
Quiz Time: 10 Individual Nebraska Bowl Records
(See the answers at the bottom of this column and grade yourself)
1) Who has Nebraska’s single-bowl game top rushing performance? Is it: a) Cory Ross; b) Mike Rozier; c) Tommie Frazier; d) Ahman Green; or e) Dan Alexander?
2) Who owns Nebraska’s single-bowl game record for passing yards: Is it: a) Taylor Martinez; b) Tommie Frazier; c) Tom Sorley; d) Dave Humm; or e) Joe Ganz?
3) Who holds the Husker single-bowl game record for receiving yards: Is it: a) Johnny Rodgers; b) Irving Fryar; c) Niles Paul; d) Corey Dixon; or e) Johnny Mitchell?
4) Which Nebraska kicker has the longest field goal in a bowl game: Is it: a) Dale Klein; b) Alex Henery; c) Greg Barrios; d) Paul Rogers; or e) Josh Brown?
5) Who is the Huskers’ all-time leading scorer in a single bowl game? Is it: a) Alex Henery; b) Paul Rogers; c) Scott Frost; d) Lawrence Phillips; or e) Johnny Rodgers?
6) Which Husker has registered the most sacks in a single bowl game? Is it: a) Trevor Johnson; b) Ndamukong Suh; c) Trev Alberts; d) Dwayne Harris; or e) Lavonte David?
7) Who is Nebraska’s all-time career bowl leader in rushing yards? Is it: a) Dan Alexander; b) Mike Rozier; c) Rex Burkhead; d) Ahman Green; or e) Tommie Frazier?
8) Which Husker quarterback owns the career bowl record for passing yards? Is it: a) Eric Crouch; b) Tommie Frazier; c) Bob Churchich; d) Taylor Martinez; or e) Jerry Tagge?
9) What Nebraska receiver is the all-time career bowl leader in receiving yards? Is it: a) Johnny Rodgers; b) Johnny Mitchell; c) Matt Davison; d) Corey Dixon; or e) Tim Smith?
10) Final question (and please make sure you answer the first nine before checking the answers that soon will follow). What player has scored more career points in bowl games than any other Husker? Is it: a) Josh Brown; b) Johnny Rodgers; c) Kris Brown; d) Scott Frost; or e) Alex Henery?
Answers to Quiz Questions: Please Score Yourself
1) Dan Alexander rushed for 240 yards in Nebraska’s 66-17 win over Northwestern in San Antonio’s 2000 Alamo Bowl. The Huskers tied an NCAA record with 31 second-quarter points and rushed for 476 yards.
2) Joe Ganz made only 16 career starts as a Nebraska quarterback, but the Huskers’ current graduate assistant coach for offense set the school’s bowl game passing record with a 236-yard performance in a come-from-behind 26-21 NU Gator Bowl win over Clemson in 2009;
3) Johnny Mitchell had five receptions for 138 yards in Nebraska’s 45-21 loss to co-national champion Georgia Tech in the 1991 Citrus Bowl. An All-Big Eight freshman tight end at the time, Mitchell caught a 30-yard touchdown pass in that game;
4) Josh Brown kicked a 51-yard field goal in Nebraska’s 2000 Alamo Bowl rout of Northwestern. Three other Husker kickers made a 50-yard field goal in a bowl game – Paul Rogers (1969 Sun Bowl against Georgia); Greg Barrios (1989 Orange Bowl against Miami) and Alex Henery (2009 Holiday Bowl against Arizona);
5) Johnny Rodgers scored 24 points in Nebraska’s 40-6 triumph over Notre Dame in the 1973 Orange Bowl. The Heisman Trophy winner played I-back and rushed for touchdowns of 8, 4 and 5 yards. He caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Dave Humm and, for good measure, threw a 52-yard scoring pass to Frosty Anderson;
6) Trev Alberts and Dwayne Harris share the Nebraska bowl game record of three sacks each. Alberts’ effort resulted in 29 lost yards in Nebraska’s 18-16 Orange Bowl loss to ‘93 national champion Florida State. Harris’ performance resulted in 11 lost yards in the Huskers’ 24-17 national championship win over Miami a year later;
7) Rex Burkhead is Nebraska’s all-time career bowl rushing leader with 357 yards in the Huskers’ Holiday Bowls against Arizona and Washington and Capital One Bowls against South Carolina and Georgia. Alexander (349), Rozier (340) and Green (326) rank 2-3-4 in this career category;
8) Bob Churchich is the correct answer for career passing yards in Husker bowl games. His 501 yards were produced in losses to Arkansas (10-7 in the 1965 Cotton Bowl), to Alabama (39-28 in the 1966 Orange Bowl) and to ‘Bama again (34-7 in the 1967 Sugar Bowl).
9) Matt Davison is Nebraska’s career all-time bowl receiving leader with 233 yards in three bowl games. Rodgers (200 yards), Mitchell (195) and Dixon (173) rank 2-3-4 in this category behind Davison, the football and basketball analyst for the Huskers Sports Network.
10) Kris Brown is Nebraska’s all-time leading bowl game scorer with 36 points in four bowl games compared to Josh Brown’s 32 points in four bowl games of his own. Alex Henery is a third kicker in the top five career bowl scorers with 30 points in three bowl games. Quarterback Scott Frost (two bowl games) and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers (three bowl games) also scored 30 postseason points.
If you scored 100 percent on this quiz, consider yourself an expert. If you scored 90 percent, you’re almost totally in touch. If you scored 80 percent, you’re an extremely loyal fan. If you scored 70 percent, you should be commended for being ahead of the curve. Sixty percent is still a passing grade, but anything less than that simply means you have not fully immersed yourself in Husker history. Here’s the encouraging part about that: It’s never too late to learn.
P.S. I apologize for tricking you with an NFL photo of Alex Henery at the top of this column. I just think it’s fairly intriguing that the most accurate kicker in NCAA history, not to mention Nebraska’s all-time leading scorer, does not own a Nebraska bowl record, individually or career-wise. But Henery, who has made 73 of 85 field goal attempts (85.9 percent) in his first three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, sure is fun to keep track of on Sundays, isn’t he?
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Voices from Husker Nation
Very fun quiz. A group of Husker fans vacationing in Florida enjoyed taking the quiz. Several of the questions stumped us and it varied which one(s) from person to person. I grew up in Lincoln and my folks are UNL alums who moved to South Carolina in 1989. Funny. I went to South Carolina and my wife went to Clemson. Thanks for all the work you’ve done and continue to do. Kevin “Chip” Belka, Columbia, South Carolina
Interesting stuff. Bob Churchich leading all Huskers in career bowl passing was the biggest surprise until you think about how T.O. turned the ground game into a juggernaut. Funny how fast a half century slips by, and I bet Churchich would trade every one of those yards for a bowl win. Larry Hansen, Denver, Colorado
Was surprised Rex Burkhead was our career bowl leader in rushing. Makes you appreciate his character. Give him a month to heal and he’ll be in the huddle no matter what. Steve Thompson, San Antonio, Texas