Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team worked out in full pads for two hours on Wednesday inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media after practice, crediting senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. for his hard work and perseverance this season. Morgan had just 15 catches and no touchdowns in his first three games, but through the last four games, he’s caught 32 passes, including six for touchdowns.
“[Stanley Morgan Jr. has] meant everything,” Walters said. “He’s kind of the standard of how we do things around here. He’s been excellent. He’s been awesome. [He] loves football. Every time he steps on the field, he’s passionate. He plays until the whistle. He sets the standard. We want all of the younger guys in that receiver room to watch him and to be like him. If you’re like him, you’re going to be successful, not only on the field but also off the field. Being a leader, setting the standards, setting the environment, the expectations, even when things were a little rocky and we weren’t playing as well, he never jumped shipped. He’s always had a positive attitude. I’m glad to see that his hard work and perseverance is paying off.”
“We’re going to call the game to win, but we know those guys have to get touches,” Walters said. “We know those guys have to make plays. If we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, those records will come because those guys are going to have to make plays. Our offense kind of goes through those three guys, but, we’re not going to get out of our normal play calling mode just to set records. It’ll come if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Walters discussed the excitement going into Saturday’s game and how they are ready to take on the challenge.
“We’re playing at a high level,” Walters said. “Their defense is playing at a high level. It’s probably the best defense we’ve played since No. 4 Michigan. So, it’ll be a challenge in front of us to really see where we are as an offense. The guys have embraced that. They have the number one run defense in the country. That’s going to be a challenge. Our offensive line, they’re taking that challenge. They’re excited. We can’t wait to go out there Saturday and see what happens.”
Walters also mentioned the status of wide receiver JD Spielman.
“He’s been limited,” Walters said. “He’s been day-to day. The good thing about JD [Spielman] is that he knows the offense in and out. So, he doesn’t need a whole lot of practice time to stay sharp. So, we’ll make sure he’s healthy and we’ll just see.”
Nebraska will continue preparations for Saturday’s game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium. The game will serve as Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. with television coverage provided by FOX.
The first 1,000 fans who register for the race get access to a closed football practice during fall camp
Lincoln - Want to help a good cause and also get a sneak preview of the 2018 Huskers under first-year coach Scott Frost, then sign up today for the Nebraska Football Road Race on Sunday, July 15. The sixth-annual event raises awareness and funds for Pediatric Brain Cancer. The event begins at 8 a.m. on the west side of Memorial Stadium and includes a one-mile fun run and a 5K. Husker football players will be at the race to take photos, sign autographs, and interact with fans throughout the event. The cost is $25 for the 1-mile fun run and $30 for the 5K, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to pediatric brain cancer research at the Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC. More than $175,000 has been raised during the first five years of the event. The first 1,000 people to register online at www.huskers.com/roadrace will receive an exclusive invite to a closed Nebraska Football practice/scrimmage during fall camp. Online registration closes next Tuesday, July 10.
LA JUNTA, Colo. – The McCook Community College volleyball team was a point from going up 2-0 Friday night against 19th-ranked Otero Junior College but ended up losing the second set and dropping a five-set match.
Otero won 20-25, 28-26, 25-13, 21-25, 15-11.
MCC also got down 16-10 in the fourth set but rallied back to even the match a 2-2.
In the fifth-set tie-breaker, again the Rattlers came out and went up 7-1 and 10-3 before the Lady Indians closed to 11-9and 12-10 but Otero closed out the game.
MCC falls to 14-7 on the year.
The three-game southern-Colorado trip continues Saturday at Lamar followed up with three more road games next week before returning home Oct. 11 against Trinidad.
Nebraska running back Devine Ozigbo was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and quarterback Adrian Martinez was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference announced on Monday.
The weekly award is the first of Ozigbo’s career, while he became the first Husker to be named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week since Tommy Armstrong Jr. in 2016. Martinez was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second straight week and for the third time this season. Martinez is the eighth player in Big Ten history to take home three freshman-of-the-week awards, and he is the first quarterback to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times since Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett in 2014.
Ozigbo was recognized after he averaged 14.7 yards per carry in the Huskers’ 54-35 win over Illinois on Saturday. Ozigbo had 162 yards rushing on only 11 carries – his fourth Big Ten game with more than 150 rushing yards – and he scored a career-high three touchdowns. Ozigbo had touchdown runs of 60 and 66 yards for the two longest rushes of his career. He is just 42 yards shy of rushing for 1,000 yards this season. The Sachse, Texas, native leads the Big Ten and ranks eighth nationally with 12 rushing touchdowns this season, and he also ranks fifth nationally in yards per carry (7.5) and is 21st in rushing yards (958).
Martinez directed a Husker offense that totaled more than 600 yards of offense against the Illini while scoring 54 points, the most points Nebraska has ever scored in a Big Ten Conference game. The Fresno, Calif., native accounted for 345 yards of total offense against Illinois, as he tied the school record with his sixth 300-yard total offense game this season. Martinez completed 24-of-34 passes for 290 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns. He also ran for 55 yards and one touchdown, tying his career high with four total touchdowns. Martinez, who moved into the top 10 on Nebraska’s season passing yards and total offense lists on Saturday, ranks second nationally among FBS freshmen in total offensive yards per game (305.2) and is third among all freshmen in passing yards per game (245.8). Among all FBS players, Martinez ranks 14th nationally in total offense, 17th in completion percentage (66.9) and 21st in points responsible for per game (15.1).
Chicago – University of Nebraska guard James Palmer Jr. (Upper Marlboro, Md.) was one of five players named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team Sunday evening. Palmer led the Huskers to the quarterfinals, averaging 24.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game, as he played all 120 minutes of NU’s three contests. Palmer tied a career high with 34 points in the first-round win over Rutgers, including a school-record 27 points in the second half alone. His 34 points was one off the Big Ten Tournament record, as Nebraska rallied from an eight-point deficit.
The senior guard carried the Huskers to a win over No. 21 Maryland with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, five rebounds and three assists before finishing with 15 points and four steals in the loss against No. 19 Wisconsin on Friday. Palmer is the first Husker named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team since Shavon Shields in 2016.
2019 Big Ten All-Tournament Team
Cassius Winston – Michigan State (Most Outstanding Player)
James Palmer Jr. - Nebraska
Ignas Brazdeikis – Michigan
Zavier Simpson – Michigan
Jordan Murphy - Minnesota
Chicago -- University of Nebraska guard James Palmer Jr. was honored Thursday morning, as he was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team. The team was announced prior to the start of the Big Ten Media Day here in Chicago.
Palmer, a returning first-team All-Big Ten selection, is one of three returning starters back for the Huskers, as he averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in leading the Huskers to a 22-11 record in 2017-18. Palmer reached double figures in 31 of 33 games, including a career-high 34-point effort at Ohio State.
He is one of only five returning power conference plays who averaged 17.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.0 apg last season, while his 18.8 points per game in conference play is not only the most of any returning Big Ten player, it is the highest returning total by a Big Ten player since the 2012-13 season.
Palmer, a 6-foot-6, 207-pounder from Upper Marlboro, Md., will look to be Nebraska’s first two-time first-team All-conference performer since Eric Piatkowski in 1993 and 1994.
2018-19 PRESEASON BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Carsen Edwards, Jr., G, Purdue
2018-19 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM
Romeo Langford, Fr., G, Indiana
Juwan Morgan, Sr., F, Indiana
Anthony Cowan Jr., Jr., G, Maryland
Charles Matthews, Sr., G, Michigan
Nick Ward, Jr., F, Michigan State
Cassius Winston, Jr., G, Michigan State
Jordan Murphy, Sr., F, Minnesota
James Palmer Jr, Sr., G, Nebraska
CARSEN EDWARDS, Jr., G, Purdue
ETHAN HAPP, Sr., F, Wisconsin
Lincoln – James Palmer Jr. had a game-high 23 points to go with four assists and one steal to power the Huskers to victory in the Big Ten Conference opener. The win puts Nebraska at 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the B1G, the Huskers’ best start since the 2003-04 season.
Isaac Copeland was the next most productive Husker with 16 points, going 6-9 from the field and cleaned the glass with five rebounds against the Illini (2-6, 0-1 B1G). Copeland netted nine points in the second half alone.
Glenn Watson Jr. also contributed double figures with 14 points, which moved him into 20th place on NU’s career scoring list with 1,158 points. He needed seven points going into today to become 20th in the Nebraska scoring charts.
Illinois used an 8-2 run to open the second half and cut the lead to 41-31 after Nebraska led 39-23 at the break. The Huskers and Illini traded buckets before Palmer successfully converted two free throws, Copeland made a jumper and an Isaiah Roby dunk put an exclamation point on the day with 3:40 remaining in the second half. The Roby dunk put Nebraska up by 17 and the Huskers never looked back.
Nebraska went 25-30 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe, shot 47.8 percent from the field (22-46) and 42.9 percent from downtown (6-14) in the victory. Nebraska held Illinois to 78.6 percent from the free throw line, 42.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Huskers used a strong start and solid shooting to take a 39-23 halftime lead. The Huskers shot 55 percent from the field and went 14-16 from the charity stripe in the opening 20 minutes of action.
Nebraska got off to a fast start behind Watson and Palmer, as Nebraska hit the first four shots from the field and went 6-of-6 from the foul line to build an early 15-5 lead after a Watson basket.
The Illini chipped away, getting to within 16-12 after a basket from Trent Frazier, but Nebraska responded with seven unanswered points to take a 23-12 lead on a Palmer 3-pointer.
Palmer finished with 12 first-half points as the Huskers shot 55 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, while holding the Illini to 36 percent from the floor.
Illinois pulled to within 29-21 with 3:49 left in the half, but a Palmer 3-pointer and a basket from Copeland keyed a 10-3 run to close the half, Nebraska’s 16-point margin at the break was its largest of the half.
The Huskers return to action on Wednesday, as they travel to Minnesota for a matchup with the Golden Gophers. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. and will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and televised by NET.