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September 3, 2005

Maine vs. Nebraska game notes

***Nebraska's 25-7 victory over Maine tonight marked the Huskers' 20th-straight win in a season opener, dating back to a 17-13 loss to Florida State in 1985. Since that loss, the Huskers have won each of the last 20 season openers by 10 points or more.

***Nebraska finished tonight's game with school record 11 sacks for 69 yards in losses, tying the mark set against Oregon State on Sept. 30, 1989.

***Eight Huskers made their first career starts in tonight's game. On offense the first-time starters were left tackle Cornealius Fuamatu-Thomas, left guard Greg Austin, wide receiver Frantz Hardy and quarterback Zac Taylor. On defense, the first-time starters were MIKE linebacker Corey McKeon, WILL linebacker Steve Octavien, and free safety Blake Tiedtke. True freshman place-kicker Jordan Congdon also drew his a start in his first career collegiate game. In addition, cornerback Tierre Green started his first game on defense, after switching from I-back last spring.

***Among the Huskers making their debuts on Saturday night were nine true freshmen, including PK Jordan Congdon, DE Barry Turner, LB Phillip Dillard, DE Zach Potter, S Jeff Souder, OT Matt Slauson, IB Marlon Lucky, WR Chris Brooks and DT Ndamukong Suh.

***The 73-yard pass play from Zac Taylor to Frantz Hardy in the second quarter was the longest pass play for Nebraska since a 74-yard pass from Joe Dailey to Cory Ross in last year's win over Baylor.

*** Hardy had seven receptions for 152 yards in tonight's game, including five catches for 134 yards before halftime. Hardy's 152 receiving yards were the fourth most in school history.

***Sophomore Terrence Nunn returned a second-quarter punt 62 yards to the Maine 1 to set up a Nebraska TD and a 9-0 Husker lead. The 62-yard return came on the first punt return attempt of Nunn's career, and was the longest punt return for a Husker since DeJuan Groce had an 89-yard return for a touchdown in a 24-13 win over Missouri in 2002. Nunn added a 45-yard punt return on his second career punt return and his 135 return yards bettered Nebraska's team leader from 2004, Santino Panico, who finished the season with 68 punt return yards.

***As a team, Nebraska had 10 punt returns for 198 yards in tonight's game, including Nunn's 62-yard return. Nunn finished with four returns for 135 yards and five returns for 61 yards by sophomore Cortney Grixby. By comparison, Nebraska had 31 punt return attempts for a total of 181 yards last year.

***Tierre Green's 43-yard return to open the second half was a career long return.

***The 27-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bo Ruud was his first career interception and touchdown. Ruud's touchdown was Nebraska's first interception for a touchdown since the Huskers returned two interceptions for a touchdown against Texas A&M on Oct. 18, 2003. Titus Adams and Bo's brother, Barrett, returned interceptions for touchdowns in the 48-12 win over the Aggies.

***Ruud also recovered a fumble and finished the game with five tackles and a pass breakup.

***In 2004, Nebraska had three punt or kickoff returns of 40 yards or more; the Huskers matched that total with three 40-plus-yard returns in tonight's game.

***Nebraska limited Maine to minus-6 yards rushing in tonight's game, marking the 14th best mark in school history and the fewest since holding Troy State to minus-25 on Sept. 1, 2001.

***Three Huskers had their first career receptions in tonight's game, including Hardy, redshirt freshman tight end Clayton Sievers and sophomore tight end J.B. Phillips.

***Senior I-back Cory Ross rushed 20 times for 80 yards and a touchdown in tonight's victory. Ross pushed his career rushing total to 1,941 yards.

***The scoreless first quarter in tonight's game marked the first time the first quarter has been scoreless in any Nebraska game since Nebraska and Penn State were scoreless after the first quarter of a 2002 game in Happy Valley. Penn State went on to win the game 40-7. Tonight's game was first time the first quarter was scoreless in a Nebraska season opener since a 0-0 tie after the first quarter in 1999 vs. Iowa. Nebraska led 7-0 at the half vs. the Hawkeyes en route to a 42-7 win.


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