The Matchup: Golden Gophers vs. Cornhuskers Saturday

Nebraska City News-Press

NEBRASKA vs. MINNESOTA

DEC. 12, 2020 | MEMORIAL STADIUM

LINCOLN, NEB. | 11 AM (CT)

BROADCAST INFO

TV - BTN or FS1 (Eric Collins, Ben Leber)

RADIO - Husker Sports Network (Greg Sharpe, Matt Davison, Ben McLaughlin)

SATELLITE RADIO - XM 196, Sirius 108

INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com, TuneIn.com

APP AUDIO - Official Huskers App, TuneIn App

HUSKERS

Record: 2-4, 2-4 Big Ten

Last Game: at Purdue (W, 37-27)

Rankings: NR

Coach: Scott Frost

Career/NU Record: 30-26 (5th Year)/11-19 (3rd Year) 

vs. Minnesota: 1-1

GOPHERS

Record: 2-3, 2-3 Big Ten

Last Game: vs. Purdue (W, 34-31

Rankings: NR

Coach: P.J. Fleck

Career/UM Record: 55-40 (8th Year)/25-18 (4th Year)

vs. Nebraska: 2-1

SERIES HISTORY

All-Time Series: Minnesota leads, 33-25-2

As Big Ten Foes: Nebraska leads, 5-4

In Lincoln: Nebraska leads, 12-9

Last Game: Minnesota 34-7 (10/12/19)

Win Streak: Minnesota, 1 game

The Matchup

Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium to complete its regularly scheduled 2020 contests this Saturday when the Huskers play host to Big Ten West foe Minnesota.  Game time at Memorial Stadium is set for 11 a.m. with television coverage provided by FS1 or Big Ten Network. Saturday's game will mark the latest home game in the 131-year history of Nebraska football. 

Nebraska comes into the matchup with Minnesota carrying a 2-4 record following a 37-27 road victory over Purdue on Saturday. The Huskers jumped to a 17-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game and made timely plays in all three phases of the game to hold on for the 10-point victory. 

The Huskers will look to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season on Saturday. Nebraska last won consecutive games in weeks 3 and 4 of the 2019 season when the Huskers defeated Northern Illinois and Illinois. 

Minnesota will bring a 2-3 record to Lincoln and the contest will be the Gophers' first game in 22 days. Minnesota defeated Purdue, 34-31, in Minneapolis on Nov. 20, but had its next two games canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. 

Coach P.J. Fleck's team has one of the Big Ten's most explosive and balanced offenses, averaging better than 400 yards per game. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim is among the nation's rushing leaders, averaging 163.4 yards per game, while scoring 13 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Tanner Morgan is one of the Big Ten's most experienced quarterbacks and leads an efficient passing game.

Series History: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Saturday's game will mark the 61st all-time meeting between Nebraska and Minnesota. The Golden Gophers hold a 33-25-2 edge in the all-time series between the two schools. The Huskers own a 12-9 advantage in Lincoln, including an 11-8 mark at Memorial Stadium.

• Nebraska owns a 5-4 advantage over the Gophers since joining the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers' most recent win in the series in 2018 marked the first Nebraska victory for head coach Scott Frost.

• Nebraska has played Minnesota more than any other Big Ten opponent. The schools met 51 times before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, including 19 straight seasons from 1934 to 1952. NU also played Minnesota eight straight years from 1967 to 1974. Saturday's matchup marks the 10th consecutive meeting between the programs as conference foes.

• Nebraska won 16 straight games in the series between 1963 and 2012, before a Minnesota victory in 2013.

Nebraska Set for December Football

Saturday's game will be the second of three consecutive December Saturdays that Nebraska is scheduled to play to conclude the 2020 season. The stretch began last Saturday at Purdue, and will conclude with a Champions Week crossover game with a Big Ten East foe on Dec. 19.

• The Dec. 12 matchup with Minnesota this weekend is the latest home game in school history. 

• The December games mark Nebraska's first December regular-season games since a matchup with Kansas State in the Tokyo Bowl on Dec. 5, 1992.

• Since that 1992 game, Nebraska's only December contests had been conference championship games (6 times) or bowl games (11 times).

• Before last Saturday at Purdue, the last time Nebraska played a December game at home or on an opponent's home field was a Dec. 4, 1982, game at Hawaii.

Husker Seniors to Be Honored

Saturday's game will mark the final scheduled home game of the 2020 season. Before Saturday's game Nebraska will recognize 17 members of the senior class. The 2020 seniors could return for the 2021 season due to NCAA eligibility relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

• Ten of the 17 players being honored have been in the program for at least five seasons. 

• The group has combined for 246 starts at Nebraska, led by offensive linemen Brenden Jaimes (39) and Matt Farniok (34). Dicaprio Bootle leads the Blackshirt seniors with 31 career starts, while tight end Jack Stoll (25), offensive guard Boe Wilson (23) and defensive end Ben Stille (20) also have 20 or more career starts.

2020 Seniors

Dicaprio Bootle, CB, Miami, Fla.

Jared Bubak, TE, Lincoln, Neb.

Ty Chaffin, WR, Burwell, Neb.

Marquel Dismuke, S, Compton, Calif.

JoJo Domann, LB, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Levi Falck, WR, Circle Pines, Minn.

Matt Farniok, OG, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Christian Gaylord, OT, Baldwin City, Kan.

Will Honas, LB, Wichita, Kan.

Brenden Jaimes, OL, Austin, Texas

Collin Miller, LB, Fishers, Ind.

Dedrick Mills, RB, Waycross, Ga.

Brian Perez, TE, Hartley, Iowa

Ben Stille, DE, Ashland, Neb.

Jack Stoll, TE, Lone Tree, Colo.

Deontai Williams, S, Jacksonville, Fla.

Boe Wilson, OG, Lee's Summit, Mo. 

Frost Offenses Traditionally Impressive on Opening Drives

One common theme of a Scott Frost-led offense has been a fast start. That trend has continued in 2020. The Huskers have scored on the opening drive of the game three times in six games in 2020. At No. 5 Ohio State, Nebraska opened the game with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in just 1:51. The Huskers opened the Penn State game with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead, and scored on their first drive after a blocked punt at Purdue. 

• In Frost's three seasons, Nebraska has scored on its opening possession 14 times in 30 games (13 TD, 1 FG).

• Nebraska scored on its first possession seven times in 12 games in 2018, including six of the final seven games. All seven of NU's opening scoring drives resulted in touchdowns. In 2019, the Huskers scored points on their opening drive four times in 12 games, including three touchdowns.

• Over the last four seasons - 2018-20 at Nebraska and 2017 at UCF - Frost's offenses have scored a touchdown on their opening possession 22 times in 43 games (51 percent). The average length of the touchdown drive in that span is 71 yards.

• In five years as a head coach, Frost's offenses have scored on their opening drive 27 times in 56 games, with 25 touchdowns and two field goals. In 96 games over eight seasons as a play-caller, Frost's offenses have scored on their first possession of the game 48 times, putting points on the board on half of their opening possessions.

• Nebraska has received the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown 10 times in 29 games under Frost. In 2018, the Huskers had a game-opening TD drive to take a 7-0 lead in five straight Big Ten games.

• Frost's Opening Drive Scoring Percentage: 50 percent (48 of 96 drives)

• Frost's Opening Drive Touchdown Percentage: 44 percent (42 of 96 drives)

Martinez Numbers Ranking Among Nation's Best QBs

Adrian Martinez has put up statistics in his three seasons that have him ranked among the Nebraska all-time leaders in several categories. Martinez has thrown for 5,262 career yards, rushed for 1,523 yards and totaled 6,785 yards of offense.

Martinez owns three Nebraska career records, four season records and one game record, which he has set on two occasions, most recently at Iowa on Nov. 27. Last season, Martinez was just the second Husker sophomore to be a team captain since 1930, and he again holds that distinction this year, becoming one of just 13 two-time captains in Nebraska history.

• Martinez is Nebraska's all-time leader in total offensive yards per game (261.0) and 400-yard total offense games (4). He has produced four of Nebraska's 16 individual 400-yard total offense performances, and Martinez's career average of 261.0 yards of total offense per game is more than 20 yards higher than any other Husker quarterback who played in at least 15 career games.

• Martinez averaged a school-record 295.1 yards of total offense per game as a true freshman in 2018. That average ranked 12th nationally, led all freshmen and was the ninth-highest average by a freshman in NCAA history, including the third-best mark by a true freshman.

• Martinez also set NU season records for 300-yard total offense games (7) and 400-yard total offense games (3) in 2018.

• Martinez has been one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks. He is one of only five active FBS quarterbacks with 5,000 career passing yards and 1,500 career rushing yards. Martinez is only the third Husker with 5,000 career passing yards and 1,500 career rushing yards.

• Martinez set an NU record with an 86.2 completion percentage against Minnesota in 2018, connecting on 25-of-29 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He bettered that mark earlier this season at Iowa, connecting on 18-of-20 passes for a school-record 90.0 percent completion rate. Martinez has completed 41-of-50 passes in the past two games. 

• Martinez is completing 70.8 percent of his passes this season, a mark that would be a school record. Martinez is one of seven Power 5 quarterbacks completing 70 percent or more of their passes this season, joining Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama), Will Rogers (Mississippi State), Matt Corral (Ole Miss), Kyle Trask (Florida) and Kedon Slovis (USC). 

• In the Iowa game, Martinez became the sixth Husker with 5,000 career passing yards. He has moved to No. 4 on the Nebraska career passing list with 5,262 career yards. 

• At Illinois in 2019, Martinez produced the second 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing performance in Nebraska history (328 passing, 118 rushing). His career-high 446 yards of total offense was the third-highest total in program history.

• In 2018, Martinez became just the sixth freshman in NCAA history to average 200 passing yards and 50 rushing yards per game and just the second true freshman to hit those marks. Martinez was also one of only four FBS quarterbacks - regardless of class - who averaged 225 passing yards and 50 rushing yards per game in 2018.

Versatile Robinson Sparking Husker Passing Game

Sophomore wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson has been the key target in the Nebraska passing game throughout the 2020 season. Robinson leads Nebraska with 39 receptions for 341 yards this season, including setting a career high with nine catches in each of the past two games. 

• Robinson ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 20th nationally at 6.5 receptions per game. If he were to maintain his current pace, Robinson would establish a school record for receptions per game, bettering Marlon Lucky's 6.25 catches per game in 2007 (75 catches in 12 games). 

• Robinson posted his second career 100-yard receiving game on Saturday at Purdue with nine receptions for 114 yards. 

• With 39 receptions in six games, Robinson is in position to join Nebraska's 50-reception club. There have been only 14 individual 50-catch seasons in school history. 

• Robinson caught 40 passes as a true freshman in 2019, and has 79 catches in just 16 games as a Husker. He reached 50 career receptions in just 12 games, the second-fastest of any Husker. Only JD Spielman reached 50 career catches (11 games) quicker than Robinson, while Nate Swift also caught his 50th pass in his 12th career game as a Husker.

• Robinson has continued to contribute at running back this season, ranking third on the team with 167 rushing yards. 

• Robinson has surpassed 100 yards from scrimmage in three straight games. He is the first Husker to eclipse the century mark in that category in three straight games since Devine Ozigbo in 2018. 

Allen Providing Big-Play Threat at Tight End

Junior tight end Austin Allen provides a big target at 6-8, and this season that has translated to big plays. Allen ranks second on the team with 15 catches for 206 yards, an average of 13.7 yard per catch and 34.3 receiving yards per game. 

• Allen has at least 25 receiving yards in every game this season after a 37-yard reception at Purdue on Saturday. The last time a Husker tight end had six consecutive games with 25 receiving yards was Kyler Reed, who had at least 25 receiving yards in six straight games in 2010. 

• Four of Allen's 15 catches in 2020 have covered at least 25 yards. 

• Allen is averaging 34.3 receiving yards per game, putting him in position to have one of the top 10 seasons for a tight end in school history in terms of yards per game. 

Jaimes Sets School Record for Consecutive OL Starts

Brenden Jaimes has been a mainstay on the Husker offensive line the past four seasons. Jaimes started the final nine games at right tackle as a true freshman in 2017, earning the most starts by a true freshman offensive lineman in Nebraska history. He has started every game at left tackle the past three seasons.

• Jaimes made his 39th consecutive start last Saturday at Purdue. His 39 consecutive starts are the most ever by a Husker offensive linemen, and his 30 consecutive starts at left tackle are the third-most ever at the position in program history.

• Jaimes has started every game he has played, giving him 39 career starts. Against Minnesota, Jaimes could become only the second Nebraska offensive lineman to start 40 games, joining Jeremiah Sirles, who earned 41 starts for the Big Red from 2010 to 2013.

Blackshirts Snuff Out Purdue Run Game

Nebraska's Blackshirt defense made Purdue completely one-dimensional in its 37-27 victory last Saturday. The Huskers held Purdue to minus-2 rushing yards on 17 rushing attempts. 

• The defensive effort marked the first time Nebraska held an opponent to negative rushing yards since Michigan rushed for -21 yards in Ann Arbor on Nov. 9, 2013. 

• The Purdue game was the sixth-fewest rushing yards Nebraska has ever allowed in a road game, and the 22nd time in school history Nebraska has held an opponent to negative rushing yards. 

• Purdue's long rush was nine yards, and the longest run the Huskers have allowed the past two games was a 13-yard rush by Iowa.

• Nebraska is allowing 4.0 yards per rush this season after giving up 5.7 yards per run in Big Ten games in 2019.