Sep 4, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) runs against the Fordham Rams in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska braces for test from Buffalo

Nebraska hosts Buffalo in an intriguing nonconference matchup of teams coming off of wins over FCS opponents.

Buffalo opened the 2021 season with a 69-7 home romp over Wagner, making Maurice Linguist a winner in his head-coaching debut. Nebraska crushed Fordham 52-7 in its home opener, bouncing back from a 30-22 loss at Illinois during Week 0.

Linguist, who spent last season coaching defensive backs with the Dallas Cowboys and was set to be Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator this fall, took over the Bulls program in May after Lance Leipold left for Kansas. Despite coming in late, the one-time Buffalo assistant appears to have his team up to speed already.

“He is consistent in how he leads this team, and he brings energy and the juice, everyday,” Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease said of Linguist. “I’m really excited to be playing for this coaching staff and this team.”

Nebraska’s victory was part of an offensive display — 633 total yards, 329 on the ground — and welcome result after the Cornhuskers lost their conference opener for the third time in four seasons under Scott Frost.

“We needed it,” Frost said. “We had such a good camp and going into that first game, we had high hopes, and I think that the kids really believe how much progress they made and how much better of a team they are. Then game one didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but that doesn’t change the progress that we’ve made.”

Adrian Martinez was 17 of 23 for 254 yards with a touchdown and also ran for two scores as the fourth-year junior became the third Nebraska quarterback in school history to reach 6,000 passing yards.

Buffalo rushed for 312 yards against Wagner, but is 3-14 all-time against current Big Ten members, winning at Rutgers in 2018. This is the Bulls’ first meeting with Nebraska, which is 6-1 against Mid-American Conference schools. The lone loss came in Lincoln at the hands of Northern Illinois in 2017.

“We’ve watched them on tape already,” Frost said of Buffalo. “It’s a really good team. They were in the MAC Championship last year. They’ve lost some pieces and added some really good pieces.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) looks to throw against the Fordham Rams in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Martinez fuels Nebraska in rout of Fordham

Adrian Martinez threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to lead Nebraska to a 52-7 win over Fordham in a nonconference matchup on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

Martinez completed 17 of 23 passes and also rushed for 33 yards for Nebraska (1-1), which rebounded from last week’s loss at Illinois to open the season.

Fordham, an FCS opponent from the Patriot League, was playing its season opener after playing an abbreviated three-game schedule this past spring. Fordham’s fall season last year was canceled due to COVID-19.

Nebraska snapped a 7-7 tie in the second quarter by scoring 45 unanswered points.

Following a 39-yard yard field goal by Connor Culp, Martinez scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 3:56 left in the second quarter.

Nebraska then took a 24-7 lead with 29 seconds remaining until halftime on a 1-yard touchdown run by Sevion Morrison. It capped a nine-play, 83-yard drive.

With 8:24 left in the third quarter, Martinez hit Chancellor Brewington on a 2-yard touchdown pass to give Nebraska a 31-7 advantage.

An 8-yard touchdown run by Samori Toure with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter and a 6-yard touchdown run by Morrison with 14:26 remaining in the game gave Nebraska comfortable cushion.

Marvin Scott had a 6-yard touchdown run for Nebraska to round out the scoring.

Nebraska opened the scoring with 3:59 left in the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Martinez.

Fordham answered, tying the game at 7-7 with 14:14 left in the second quarter on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Tim DeMorat to Fotis Kokosioulis.

Nebraska amassed 633 yards of total offense, 34 first downs and possessed the ball for 36 minutes in the win.

Markese Stepp ran for 101 yards on 18 carries to lead a Nebraska rushing attack that collected 329 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 28, 2019; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost heads onto the field prior to the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois builds big lead, holds off Nebraska 30-22

Backup quarterback Artur Sitkowski threw for 124 yards and a pair of third quarter touchdowns Saturday as Illinois gave new coach Bret Bielema a win in his first game at the school, stopping Big Ten Conference foe Nebraska 30-22 in Champaign, Ill.

Sitkowski hit on 12 of 15 passes in relief of starter Brandon Peters, who left the game late in the first quarter with an apparent shoulder injury after being sacked. Mike Epstein rushed for 75 yards and a score for the Fighting Illini, who were outgained 367-326 but committed just one turnover and only three penalties.

For Nebraska, quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 16 of 32 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 111 yards. He found Oliver Martin for a 4-yard touchdown pass score with 2:41 left to pull the Cornhuskers within a score.

Nebraska got the ball back with a minute left at its 9-yard line, but managed just one first down before giving the ball up on a fourth-and-10 incompletion from its 27.

Martinez’s with 343 all-purpose yards weren’t enough to prevent a result that will increase the pressure on embattled coach Scott Frost.

Illinois initiated the scoring with 4:07 left in the first quarter, thanks to a blunder by Nebraska punt returner Cam Taylor-Britt. After fielding Blake Hayes’ punt at the 1, Taylor-Britt backed into the end zone and downed the ball a split second before throwing it out of bounds, giving Illinois a safety.

The Cornhuskers took the lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Markese Stepp (followed by a missed extra-point) and Connor Culp’s 27-yard field goal, but the Illini rallied. Mike Epstein plunged in from the 1 with 2:51 remaining in the half for a 9-9 tie.

Then came another major mistake from Nebraska. Martinez was strip-sacked by Keith Randolph and Calvin Hart scooped up the fumble and raced 41 yards for a tie-breaking touchdown 37 seconds before halftime.

Illinois ran up a 30-9 lead late in the third quarter as Sitkowski found Luke Ford and Isaiah Williams for 2 and 1-yard touchdowns. Martinez drew the Cornhuskers within two scores on a 75-yard keeper with 3:48 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost speaks to the media during Big 10 media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Scott Frost under investigation for improper use of analysts

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost is under investigation by the NCAA for improper use of analysts and consultants, The Action Network reported Wednesday.

Frost and new athletics director Trev Alberts acknowledged an investigation Wednesday without going into specifics.

The allegations are that Frost used Jonathan Rutledge, senior special teams analyst, to conduct special teams drills during practices, despite Rutledge not being one of Nebraska’s 10 full-time on-field assistant coaches, per the report. Analysts and consultants may only communicate with Frost and the coaching staff, not players, per NCAA rules.

Nebraska has significant video evidence of Rutledge interacting with players during practice in front of Frost and other assistants, per the report.

“The University of Nebraska Athletic Department has been working collaboratively with the NCAA to review a matter concerning our football program,” Alberts said. “We appreciate the dialogue we have had with the NCAA and cannot comment further on specifics of this matter.”

Rutledge and Frost’s chief of staff Gerrod Lambrecht both left the program in the past eight months. Rutledge was fired Jan. 14, 2021, ostensibly for poor special teams play. Frost announced Lambrecht’s departure earlier this month, saying he was pursuing another opportunity.

The NCAA is also investigating Nebraska for holding unauthorized off-campus organized workouts under the supervision of the Cornhuskers’ strength and conditioning staff last year during the coronavirus pandemic, per the report. Lambrecht is linked to those activities, per the report.

The NCAA has interviewed Frost, assistant coaches, staff and players, and Frost has obtained legal counsel, per the report.

Frost, 46, could be suspended a certain number of games, among other punishment, pending the results of the NCAA’s probe.

A former star quarterback at Nebraska (1996-97), Frost is 12-20 at his alma mater entering his fourth season.

Alberts took over as athletic director last month and said he first learned of the probe after he started.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost on the sidelines during the second half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska hires Trev Alberts as AD

Nebraska on Wednesday named former standout linebacker and team captain Trev Alberts as athletic director.

Alberts replaces the retired Bill Moos after serving as the athletic director at University of New Orleans since 2009.

Alberts, 50, won the Butkus Award at Nebraska as the top linebacker in college football in 1993 and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts fifth overall in 1994.

His tasks at Nebraska include overseeing the football program run by former quarterback Scott Frost. He’s 12-20 as head coach of the Cornhuskers. Frost transferred to Nebraska from Stanford in 1995 after Alberts’ college days were done and led the team to the national title in 1997.

Alberts, a member of the Nebraska Hall of Fame, became a studio and game analyst for ESPN and Westwood One in 1996.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; A Nebraska Cornhuskers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bill Moos out as Nebraska AD

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos is leaving his post effective immediately, the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported Friday.

The reason for his departure, which could be officially announced later Friday, was unclear.

Nebraska hired Moos in October 2017. He brought with him nearly 25 years of experience as an athletic director at Montana (1990-95), Oregon (1995-2007) and his alma mater, Washington State (2010-17). He played football for the Cougars.

At Nebraska, Moos hired football coach Scott Frost and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg. The Cornhuskers have underperformed under Frost (12-20) and Hoiberg (14-45).

Moos, 70, also has been involved with Nebraska’s $155 million football facility, which is under construction.

His contract was due to expire at the end of 2022. As recently as December, he said he intended to stay through at least the end of his contract.

“We’re going to move the dial here, and I don’t want to be looking at that success from afar,” he said then, per the Journal Star. “I have every intention of fulfilling the contract.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker JoJo Domann (13) tries to tackle Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Peyton Ramsey (12) during the second half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern, Nebraska to open ’22 season in Ireland

Northwestern and Nebraska will open the 2022 college football season in Ireland after the Cornhuskers’ plans to play there in 2021 were scuttled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northwestern will serve as the home team in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, set to be played Aug. 27, 2022, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

“We are thrilled that our program will get to experience the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and we can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”

The game will mark the first in a series of five games to be contested in the Classic in Ireland.

Nebraska’s game against Illinois in 2021, initially scheduled for Dublin, was instead moved to Champaign, Ill., on Aug. 28.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; A Nebraska Cornhuskers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Nebraska TE Katerian LeGrone found not guilty in sex case

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A Nebraska jury has found former Cornhuskers tight end Katerian LeGrone not guilty of sexual assault.

A female student told police in 2019 that she had been assaulted by LeGrone and former teammate Andre Hunt. Both men were suspended from the football team the day after she filed her report in August 2019 and ultimately were expelled from the university the following April after a Title IX investigation by the school.

LeGrone did not testify during the trial.

After initially denying he had sex with the woman, LeGrone admitted to it. She testified during the trial that she did not “physically or verbally resist” because she was scared, ESPN reported.

LeGrone’s defense attorney, Mallory Hughes, said in her closing arguments: “You can’t assume he should’ve known she didn’t want to have sex. She saw him. He started having sex with her, and she didn’t do anything about it. The law does not require this young man to read her mind.”

The felony charge against Hunt was reduced to two misdemeanors when he agreed to testify against LeGrone.

LeGrone, now 21, saw only a bit of action with the Cornhuskers in 2018, making one catch for 8 yards.

–Field Level Media