2001 Nebraska Cornhuskers football season review.
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2001 Nebraska Cornhuskers

The 2001 Nebraska Husker football season. Game by Game re-caps, statistics box scores, audio, video, photo's.

For the first time since 1905 and just the fourth time ever, Nebraska's 2001 football schedule featured eight home games. The Huskers won all eight, posting a perfect home season for the ninth time in 10 years. The eighth home game and 12-game schedule came about on March 8, when Nebraska committed to host TCU in the NACDA Pigskin Classic. 

The Huskersí first three opponents opened their seasons vs. Nebraska, and NUís Memorial Stadium played host to four straight night games for the first time in Husker history from the Sept. 8 Notre Dame game through the Oct. 20 Texas Tech contest. The rescheduled game with Rice was moved from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Thursday, Sept. 20, and was the schoolís first non-holiday Thursday game and first Thursday home night game.

The Huskers' 2001 schedule featured four straight home games for the first time since 1990. Nebraska opened the season with a 21-7 win over TCU in the NACDA Pigskin Classic, improving to 5-0 in preseason games. NU defeated Troy State, 42-14, in week two, holding the Trojans to minus 25 rushing yards, the lowest against a Solich defense. 

NU defeated its first ranked opponent, when No. 5/4 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska defeated then-No. 17/17 Notre Dame, 27-10, in the second and last game of a home-and-home series, on Sept. 8. NU handed Rice its first loss of the season, 48-3, on Thursday, Sept. 20 (moved from Sept. 15). Rice and Troy State were both first-time opponents of NU.

The Huskers hit the road to open conference play, defeating Missouri in Columbia, 36-3. Nebraska returned home to defeat previously unbeaten Iowa State, 48-14, in NUís third night game this season. Nebraska won its second Big 12 game on the road, defeating Baylor, 48-7, with 641 rushing yards, the second-highest total in Husker history. 

Much of the game was played in a rainstorm, and the teams went to the locker rooms with 7:34 remaining in the first half for a 36-minute lightning delay. The 36-minute delay was the first time since the Utah State game on Sept. 7, 1991 (19-minute delay), that a Husker game was delayed by inclement weather and the first delay of any kind since lighting problems delayed the Kansas game seven minutes in Lawrence on Oct. 25, 1997. 

The official attendance for the Nebraska-Baylor game of 38,102 was the smallest to watch a Husker game since a crowd of 32,768 saw NUís victory at Texas Tech in the 1994 season. Nebraska tied an NCAA record with four 100-yard rushers against Baylor, as I-back Thunder Collins (165), I-back Dahrran Diedrick (137), quarterback Eric Crouch (132), and fullback Judd Davies (119) each rushed for 100 yards.

Nebraska kept a 33-game winning streak on Homecoming alive, defeating Texas Tech, despite missing six starters for most of the game in a rash of injuries. NU gave up 28 first-half points, but led 38-31 after three quarters and held on for a 41-31 win. 

The Texas Tech game was Nebraskaís 1,100th game, making Nebraska just the fifth NCAA Division I-A team to play 1,100 games. The Huskers broke an unprecedented streak of four consecutive home night games, playing host to defending national champion Oklahoma in an 11 a.m. kickoff on ABC. Nebraska ended No. 1 (BCS) OUís 20-game winning streak with a 20-10 win in Lincoln. It was Nebraskaís second win against a ranked opponent in 2001.

Nebraska played its fifth night game of the season at Kansas on Nov. 3, as the Huskers defeated the Jayhawks, 51-7, and the series became the longest continuous series in NCAA Division I-A history at 96 games. The Husker Blackshirts held KU to 1-of-14 on third-down conversions. Nebraska defeated Kansas State, 31-21, in Nebraskaís last home game of the season, holding the Wildcats to 4-of-18 passing. 

Kansas State had been ranked as high as ninth early in the season. The Huskers ended the regular season at Colorado on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The Huskers fell to the Buffaloes, 62-36, despite a school -record performance from Eric Crouch, who tallied 360 yards of total offense. The nationally televised game marked Nebraskaís 10th televised game, NUís third against a ranked team (2-1) and the second non-Saturday contest of the season (1-1).

Colorado defeated Texas, 39-37, in the Big 12 Championship Game and a record eight Big 12 teams secured bowl bids.

The Huskers led the nation in rushing (314.67) and ranked among the nationís top 10 in seven other categories, including pass efficiency defense (second, 83.81 rating); scoring defense (sixth, 15.75 ppg); scoring offense (seventh, 37.42 ppg); total defense (eighth, 287.17 ypg); kickoff returns (eighth, 25.23 ypr); pass defense (ninth, 170.25 ypg); and punt returns (14th, 13.12 ypr).

Fourth-year Coach Frank Solich has led the Huskers to an 11-win season for the second time in his career and at 42-8 is tied for third on the NCAA Division I-A chart for best career starts in the first four years. The matchup with Miami is Solichís first national championship game. Nebraska has won nine or more games every year under Solich, continuing a 33-year NCAA consecutive record.

Crouch Wins Nebraskaís Third Heisman Trophy
With just one blemish on his near-perfect senior season, quarterback Eric Crouch won the schoolís third Heisman Trophy. Crouch (770 points, 162 first-place votes) won the award over three other quarterbacks: Florida sophomore Rex Grossman (708, 137); Miami junior Ken Dorsey (638, 109); and senior Joey Harrington of Oregon (364, 54), in the fourth-closest voting in Heisman history. Crouch joins wingback/return specialist Johnny Rodgers (1972) and I-back Mike Rozier (1983) as the schoolís third Heisman Trophy winner. 

The Games:

Click Team name for game page, click thumbnail picture for larger version of picture.

TCU               Rice Past Husker football seasons.             TroySt     


Notre Dame 2001 Huskers games.     Missouri       Iowa St


Baylor Husker history game stories.                     Texas Tech     


Oklahoma nebraska vs oklahoma 2001           Kansas nebraska cornhuskers against kansas jayhawks


Kansas St nebraska vs kansas state 2001                     Colorado


NU Staff Boasts 142 Years of Experience
One very good reason Coach Solich was named as Osborne's replacement was to keep the staff intact. Director of Athletics Bill Byrne recognized that much of Nebraska's success should be attributed to its veteran assistants. Although NU lost 18-year defensive coordinator Charlie McBride to retirement after the 1999 season, NU still boasts 142 years of combined experience at NU (counting 2001) and a staff that has participated in 142 bowl games. The 20-year veterans include Solich (23 years), secondary coach George Darlington (29) and offensive line coach Milt Tenopir (28). The others include offensive line/kickers coach Dan Young (19), receivers coach Ron Brown (15), quarterbacks coach Turner Gill (10), defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Craig Bohl (7), rush ends coach Nelson Barnes (5), running backs coach Dave Gillespie (4) and the newest member, defensive line coach Jeff Jamrog (2). Five members of the Husker coaching staff also played at Nebraska, including Solich, Bohl, Gill, Gillespie and Jamrog.

Honors Roll in for Huskers
Several Huskers have been honored for their academic and athletic standing this season. Quarterback Eric Crouch won three of the five awards he was a finalist for, including the schoolís third Heisman (also wingback/return specialist Johnny Rodgers in 1972 and I-back Mike Rozier in 1983), NUís second Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year Award (also Rozier) and the schoolís first Davey OíBrien Award. He was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Quarterback Award and the Maxwell Player of the Year. Crouch was one of 15 semifinalists for the Football News Offensive Player of the Year, was named the ABC/Chevrolet Offensive Player of the Year and won first-team All-America honors from the AP (as all-purpose player), AFCA and The Sporting News. Crouch was the unanimous pick for Big 12 Offensive Player-of-the-Year honors.

Left offensive guard Toniu Fonoti was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy and was named one of 12 Lombardi Award semifinalists.

On defense, linebacker Jamie Burrow was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week by the Football Writers Association for his 17-tackle effort against Oklahoma and was added to their watch list for the defensive player-of-the-year award. Left cornerback Keyuo Craver was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe defensive back award, a semifinalist for Football News Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Award.

Fonoti and Craver were named first-team All-Americans by Football News and The Sporting News, while rush end Chris Kelsay was a second-team selection by Football News. Fonoti was also a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association, AP and Walter Camp Foundation.

Nebraska saw five Huskers earn first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2001. Crouch was named to every Big 12 team and was the offensive player of the year by the coaches, AP, Kansas City Star, Dallas Morning News, Austin American Statesman and the Waco Tribune Herald. Fonoti and Craver were both first-team selections by the AP and Big 12 coaches. I-back Dahrran Diedrick earned first-team honors from the AP, Dallas Morning News, Kansas City Star, Austin American Statesman and and Waco Tribune Herald and rush end Chris Kelsay earned first-team honors from the Kansas City Star and the Waco Tribune Herald.

Offensive tackle Dave Volk earned unanimous second-team honors, linebacker Jamie Burrow earned second-team accolades from the AP, Kansas City Star and Austin American Statesman and defensive tackle Jeremy Slechta earned second-team honors from the Dallas Morning News.

The Big 12 coaches or AP gave honorable-mention honors to rush end Demoine Adams, free safety/rover Dion Booker, fullback Judd Davies, center John Garrison, cornerback/punt returner DeJuan Groce, punter Kyle Larson, offensive guard Jon Rutherford, linebacker Scott Shanle, split end Wilson Thomas and tight end Tracey Wistrom. Coach Frank Solich was a semifinalist for the Football News Coach of the Year Award and earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors from the league coaches.

17 Huskers Play in Bowl With Degree in Hand
Seventeen Huskers will play in the bowl game with degree in hand. Dave Volk (psychology), Jamie Burrow (biological sciences), Erwin Swiney (sociology) and junior Demoine Adams (political science) have played all season with degrees in hand while 13 more earned their degree at the conclusion of this semester on Dec. 22, including Mic Boettner (exercise science), Dion Booker (communication studies), Keyuo Craver (communication studies), Eric Crouch (exercise science), Tim Demerath (business management), John Gibson (sociology), Jeff Hemje (electrical engineering), Matt Ickes (agribusiness), Kyle Kollmorgen (communication studies), Carl Scholting (diversified agricultural studies), Mark Vedral (business administration), J.P. Wichmann (advertising) and Wes Woodward (construction management).

Academic Honors
Several Huskers earned academic honors as well this season. Offensive left tackle Dave Volk received a $5,000 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame postgraduate scholarship and tight end Tracey Wistrom was honored as a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete and received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship at the Hall of Fame dinner, Dec. 11.

Wistrom became the schoolís 59th Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American, continuing a streak of at least 16 years in which NU has had at least one honoree. Wistrom and his brother Grant, who was an academic All-American two years, in 1996 and 1997, are the first pair of brothers at NU to be so honored. Nebraska leads the nation in football academic All-Americans and in all sports.

Volk, Wistrom, Judd Davies and Chris Kelsay earned Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII honors and were contenders for academic All-America honors, while 15 additional Huskers earned first-team academic All-Big 12 honors, including Mic Boettner, Joe Chrisman, Sandro DeAngelis, Gabe Fries, Nick Gragert, Troy Hassebroek, Jeff Hemje, Trevor Johnson, Phil Peetz, Pat Ricketts, Kyle Ringenberg, Carl Scholting, Jeremy Slechta, Aaron Terpening and Wes Woodward. Nebraska has had at least one first-team academic All-American for the past 16 years (every year since 1986).

Eleven Huskers earned second-team academic All-Big 12 honors giving Nebraska a Big 12-leading 30 honorees in all (12 more than the second Big 12 team). Second-team honorees include Demoine Adams, Jamie Burrow, Keyuo Craver, Tim Demerath, John Klem, Steve Kriewald, Kyle Larson, Casey Nelson, Justin Smith, Wilson Thomas and J.P. Wichmann.

Volk is one of four Huskers all time to be named to the academic all-conference first team four straight years, joining punter Mike Stigge (1989-90-91-92), offensive tackle Rob Zatechka (1991-92-93-94) and linebacker Brian Shaw (1996-97-98-99). Burrow is also a four-time honoree, being named to either the first or second team in each of the last four years. Three-time first-team honorees include Davies, Kelsay and Wistrom.

23 Seniors Conclude Stellar Ride
Nebraskaís 33rd consecutive bowl game will be the last for 23 Husker seniors. The group has posted a 42-8 record to date. They are 26-1 at Memorial Stadium and have won the last 21 games at home, boasting the nationís longest active home winning streak. The seniors have won a Big 12 Championship in 1999 and two of three bowl games. Erwin Swiney, who did not redshirt until 1999, and John Gibson, who received a sixth year from the NCAA, are the only two Huskers who played in 1997, when Nebraska won the national championship with a 13-0 record. Fourteen of the 23 seniors hail from Nebraska and 12 are starters for the 11-1 Huskers. Three of the seniors have not redshirted, including Craver, Jason Lohr and Jeremy Slechta. Lohr could petition for a fifth year.

Huskers in Postseason Games
Several Huskers will participate in postseason bowls this season. The tentative lineup includes: Senior Bowl (Jan. 26)-tight end Tracey Wistrom and quarterback Eric Crouch, cornerback Keyuo Craver invited; East-West Shrine (Jan. 12)-linebacker Jamie Burrow, Crouch invited; Hula Bowl (Feb. 2)-Crouch and Craver invited; All-Star Gridiron Classic (Jan. 26)-cornerback Erwin Swiney and defensive tackle

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2001 Record
Nebraska 11-1 

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