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2007 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 2007 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bill Callahan and played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

2007 Nebraska Cornhuskers football
Logo of the Nebraska athletic teams 2004–
ConferenceBig 12 Conference
DivisionNorth Division
2007 record5–7 (2–6 Big 12)
Head coachBill Callahan (4th season)
Offensive coordinatorShawn Watson (1st season)
Offensive schemeWest Coast offense
Defensive coordinatorKevin Cosgrove (4th season)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
(Capacity: 81,067)
← 2006
2008 →
2007 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Northern Division
No. 4 Missouri xy   7 1         12 2  
No. 7 Kansas x%   7 1         12 1  
Colorado   4 4         6 7  
Kansas State   3 5         5 7  
Nebraska   2 6         5 7  
Iowa State   2 6         3 9  
Southern Division
No. 8 Oklahoma xy$   6 2         11 3  
No. 10 Texas   5 3         10 3  
No. 22 Texas Tech   4 4         9 4  
Oklahoma State   4 4         7 6  
Texas A&M   4 4         7 6  
Baylor   0 8         3 9  
Championship: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

Before the seasonEdit

The Nebraska football team's schedule was rated the toughest in the Big 12 Conference, and the 12th toughest in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season.[1] The team had predictions to win the Big 12 North division.[2]

After a tight competition with two-year backup Joe Ganz, former-Arizona State transfer quarterback Sam Keller won the starting position; Keller had spent the previous season on the scout team as per NCAA transfer rules.[3]


September 12:30 pmNevada*No. 19ABCW 52–1084,078
September 811:00 amat Wake Forest*No. 17ESPNW 20–1732,483
September 157:00 pmNo. 1 USC*No. 14
ABCL 31–4984,959
September 2211:30 amBall State*No. 22
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSN PPVW 41–4084,294
September 291:05 pmIowa StateNo. 22
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
W 35–1784,703
October 68:15 pmat No. 17 MissouriNo. 23ESPNL 6–4170,049
October 1311:30 amOklahoma State 
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
PPVL 14–4584,334
October 201:05 pmTexas A&M
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
L 14–3684,473
October 272:30 pmat No. 16 TexasABCL 25–2885,968
November 311:30 amat No. 8 KansasFSNL 39–7651,910
November 1011:30 amKansas State
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
VersusW 73–3184,665
November 2311:00 amat ColoradoABCL 51–6551,403
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Central time

Roster and coaching staffEdit

2007 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
OL 66 Cruz Barrett RFr
WR 1 Chris Brooks So
C 59 Brett Byford Sr
WR 82 Wes Cammack So
C 58 Mike Caputo Fr
IB 19 Quentin Castille Fr
OL 62 Andy Christensen Jr
IB 6 Major Culbert So
QB 15 Beau Davis Jr
WR 26 Dan Erickson Sr
QB 12 Joe Ganz Jr
FB 41 Aaron Gillaspie RFr
WR 11 Curenski Gilleylen Fr
TE 39 Dan Glassman RFr
IB 34 Cody Glenn Jr
OL 75 Victory Haines Sr
WR 7 Frantz Hardy Sr
FB 30 Mike Hays Fr
RB 10 Roy Helu Jr. Fr
WR 8 Will Henry RFr
OL 67 Jacob Hickman So
TE 80 Ryan Hill Fr
TE 86 Sean Hill Sr
WR 4 Menelik Holt So
OL 61 Mike Huff Jr
IB 31 Austin Jones Fr
OL 73 D.J. Jones RFr
OL 78 Marcel Jones Fr
QB 9 Sam Keller Sr
FB 36 Thomas Lawson Jr
QB 3 Zac Lee So
WR 88 Ben Lester Fr
IB 5 Marlon Lucky Jr
OL 71 Mike Masin Fr
TE 44 Mike McNeill RFr
IB 32 Marcus Mendoza Fr
TE 81 Josh Mueller Sr
OL 76 Lydon Murtha Jr
OL 77 Carl Nicks Sr
WR 83 Terrence Nunn Sr
WR 24 Niles Paul Fr
WR 17 Todd Peterson Jr
TE 85 J.B. Phillips Sr
OL 69 Jordan Picou Sr
WR 16 Maurice Purify Sr
FB 48 Andy Sand Sr
OL 70 Matt Slauson Jr
OL 65 Mike Smith RFr
WR 87 Nate Swift Jr
TE 89 Hunter Teafatiller Jr
FB 37 Kevin Thomsen Fr
WR 39 Lance Thorell Fr
OL 68 Keith Williams RFr
IB 27 Kenny Wilson Sr
QB 2 Patrick Witt Fr
TE 49 Dreu Young RFr
Pos. # Name Class
DE 95 Pierre Allen RFr
CB 21 Prince Amukamara Fr
S 4 Larry Asante So
DT 56 Shukree Barfield Jr
CB 14 Anthony Blue Fr
CB 1 Zackary Bowman Sr
LB 40 Lance Brandenburgh Sr
S 8 Austin Cassidy Fr
LB 31 Nick Covey So
DE 94 Jared Crick Fr
LB 52 Phillip Dillard So
S 46 Ben Eisenhart Sr
DL 92 Tyrone Fahie RFr
S 30 Tierre Green Sr
CB 2 Cortney Grixby Sr
LB 41 Thomas Grove Fr
S 28 Eric Hagg Fr
DE 80 David Harvey So
DL 96 Brandon Johnson Sr
CB 25 Andre Jones Sr
CB 19 Tyler Kester Sr
LB 54 Colton Koehler So
LB 12 Blake Lawrence Fr
DE 75 Luke Lingenfelter Fr
DL 63 Ben Martin RFr
LB 59 Jay Martin Fr
S 36 Mathew May Fr
LB 13 Corey McKeon Sr
DT 90 Terrence Moore Fr
CB 5 Armando Murillo Jr
S 33 Matt O'Hanlon So
LB 15 Steve Octavien Sr
DE 98 Zach Potter Jr
DE 86 Andy Poulosky Sr
DE 85 Thomas Rice Sr
LB 51 Bo Ruud Sr
DE 89 Jonathon Santin Fr
DE 88 Clayton Sievers Jr
LB 35 Austin Stafford Fr
DT 43 Ty Steinkuhler Jr
DT 93 Ndamukong Suh So
CB 18 Shawn Sullivan Fr
S 3 Rickey Thenarse So
DE 99 Barry Turner Jr
LB 23 Latravis Washington Fr
S 24 Adam Watson RFr
CB 22 Anthony West RFr
S 9 Bryan Wilson Sr
LB 53 Tyler Wortman Jr
DE 47 William Yancy Fr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
LS 56 Justin Baumgartner Jr
P 90 Alex Henery Fr
PK 20 Adi Kunalic Fr
LS 82 T.J. O'Leary Jr
P 97 Dan Titchener Jr
PK 37 Jake Wesch Jr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Shawn Watson
       1st season as OC/QB coach
       2nd year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Southern Illinois
  • Kevin Cosgrove
       4th season as DC/LB coach
       4th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: UW-Oshkosh
  • Bill Busch
       1st season as RB coach
       8th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Phil Elmassian
       3rd season as CB coach
       4th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: William & Mary
  • Ted Gilmore
       3rd season as WR coach
       3rd year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Wyoming
  • Randy Jordan
       4th season as RB coach
       4th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: North Carolina
  • Joe Rudolph
       1st season as TE coach
       1st year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Wisconsin
  • Dennis Wagner
       4th season as OL coach
       4th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Utah
  • Buddy Wyatt
       1st season as DL coach
       1st year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: TCU
  • Dave Kennedy
       4th season as S&C coach
       11th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska
  • Keith Heckendorf
       2nd season as GA coach
       2nd year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: St. Cloud State
  • Jon Osterhout
       2nd season as GA coach
       2nd year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Sacramento State

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Last update: January 16, 2011

Game summariesEdit


Nevada at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Nevada 0 1000 10
Nebraska 7 14247 52

Marlon Lucky was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week for his career-best 233 yards rushing against Nevada.[4]

Wake ForestEdit

Nebraska at Wake Forest [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 3 1070 20
Wake Forest 0 1070 17

As ESPN described the game, "Sam Keller nearly gave away the game during his first road start at Nebraska. Zack Bowman jumped up to take it back for the Cornhuskers. Three plays after Keller threw an interception deep in Nebraska territory, Bowman picked off a Wake Forest pass in the end zone and the 16th-ranked Cornhuskers held on to win 20–17 on Saturday."[5]


USC at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
USC 7 14217 49
Nebraska 7 3021 31

After a bye week, the Trojans visited the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska. In the pre-season, the game was named as one of the candidates for the 10 most important games of 2007. For the Huskers, the game was especially critical to their hopes of showing progress under 4th year head coach Bill Callahan.[6][7] The game marks the first time a No. 1-ranked team has visited Lincoln since 1978.[8] Because of the game's significance, ESPN College GameDay chose it as the site of its weekly broadcast.[9]

ESPN College GameDay: Cornhusker fans react negatively to Lee Corso's decision to pick USC to win the game; as per tradition, he dons the gear of the team he picks.

Callahan had been criticized for his conservative play-calling during the 2006 game in Los Angeles; instead of playing to win, it appeared the Huskers were playing to not get blown out by the then-favored Trojans. In that game the normally prolific West Coast offense of Nebraska, which had produced 541 yards a game, was corralled on the ground and attempted only 17 passes in a 28–10 Husker loss. For 2007, Callahan pledged to play more aggressively, using running back Marlon Lucky and quarterback Sam Keller.[10] Keller, the Huskers redshirt senior starting quarterback, was a 2006 transfer from Arizona State; as a Sun Devil Keller started the first seven games of his 2005 junior season, throwing for 2,165 yards, before a disastrous game against USC where, after leading ASU to a 21–3 halftime lead, he and the offense fell apart on the way to a 38–28 loss where he was sacked five times and threw five interceptions.[3] Due to NCAA transfer rules, Keller spent the 2006 season on the Huskers' scout team.

The Trojans stayed in nearby Omaha and practiced at a local high school; Carroll took the rare step of closing practice to outsiders after a local radio station announced the location.[11] The game marked the return of primary receiver Patrick Turner and running back Chauncey Washington from injury; linebacker Brian Cushing, who injured his ankle early against Idaho, had not fully recovered but was allowed to suit-up as a reserve.[12] Senior center Matt Spanos remained injured, and true freshman Kris O'Dowd was called to start again. Veteran secondary member Josh Pinkard was lost for the season after his sore knee gave out during a bye week practice, resulting in a torn ACL requiring surgery.[13]

Teams take the field as Nebraska hosted USC for its 284th consecutive home sell out at Memorial Stadium.

Anticipation for the game was high in Lincoln, fueling strong demand for tickets and accommodations; the game brought celebrities including USC fans Will Ferrell (also an alumnus) and Keanu Reeves, Nebraska fans Larry the Cable Guy, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, and Ward Connerly; past Husker Heisman-winner Mike Rozier, Trojans Heisman-winner Marcus Allen and star Trojans safety Ronnie Lott were also on hand for the game.[14][15][16] The game fell on Pete Carroll's 56th birthday; as a surprise, Carroll was treated to a recorded message by actor Kiefer Sutherland, star of his favorite television show, 24.[17] The morning recording of College GameDay attracted 13,293 fans, second to the all-time record of 15,808 set by Nebraska in 2001.[18] With 84,959 in attendance, Nebraska recorded its NCAA-record 284th consecutive home sellout dating back to 1962.[10]

USC dominated the game 49–31, in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated: the Trojans led 42–10 going into the fourth quarter; Nebraska scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes during garbage time.[19] The Trojans dominated on the ground, as they out-gained Nebraska 313–31 in rushing yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry, the most ever against a Nebraska team.[20] Stafon Johnson led USC running backs with a career-best 144 yards in 11 carries with one touchdown; other major contributors were C. J. Gable (69 yards in four carries, including a 40-yard run), Washington (43 yards in 12 carries with two touchdowns), and another versatile performance by fullback Stanley Havili (52 rushing yards in two rushes with one touchdown, and three pass receptions for 22 yards with one touchdown). The Trojans passing game again did not find a rhythm, with several dropped passes, but the defense was able to frustrate the Husker offense for most of the game and cause two pivotal 3rd quarter interceptions.[21][22][23]

John David Booty leads a drive early in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans did not escape injuries, as linebacker Clay Matthews, substituting for the recovering Brian Cushing, broke his thumb, causing Cushing to enter the game as his replacement. The Trojans also suffered two injuries on kick returns: fullback Alfred Rowe suffered a mild concussion, and there was a moment of worry when returner Vincent Joseph, after being tackled and fumbling the ball, lay on the turf for over 10 minutes before being removed by stretcher with a bruised larynx and a neck sprain, but no serious injuries.[23][24] Linebacker Rey Maualuga was flagged during a field goal attempt for the rarely called penalty of "disconcerting", which is given for "words or signals that disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play".[25][26][27]

After losing first place votes in the polls during the bye week, USC's performance regained six after their performance against the Huskers in a hostile environment.[28] Receiving specific praise was the Trojans offensive line, as well as the continued poise and ability of freshman center O'Dowd.[29][30][31]

Ball StateEdit

Ball State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Ball State 0 10219 40
Nebraska 7 71413 41

Iowa StateEdit

Iowa State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Iowa State 3 707 17
Nebraska 0 7217 35


Nebraska at Missouri [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 3 300 6
Missouri 14 6147 41

Oklahoma StateEdit

Oklahoma State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Oklahoma State 17 2107 45
Nebraska 0 0014 14

Athletic Director Steve Pederson was fired after this game. Former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne was named as interim Athletic Director. He indicated that there would be no coaching changes during the season."[32]

Texas A&MEdit

Texas A&M at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Texas A&M 9 7146 36
Nebraska 7 700 14


Nebraska at Texas [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 0 1078 25
Texas 3 0619 28

Nebraska first played the Texas Longhorns in 1933 and the Longhorns hold a 7–4–0 record.[33] Nebraska won the first meeting by the lopsided score of 26–0. As with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, Nebraska plays the Longhorns two out of every four years as part of the Big 12 Conference schedule.[34] Since their first meeting, the series has included a number of upsets and close calls. In 1960 a #4 ranked Longhorn squad was upset by an unranked Nebraska team, 14–13. In 1996 an unranked Texas team defeated #3 ranked Nebraska (who were also the defending national champions) 37–27 to win the inaugural Big 12 Conference football championship and deprive the Cornhuskers a shot at repeating as national champions. In 1998 an unranked Texas team beat #7 Nebraska 20–16.[33]

In 1999 the two teams met twice. In the regular season, #18 Texas beat #3 Nebraska by 24–20. However, #3 Nebraska beat #12 Texas in the Big 12 Championship game, 6–22. In 2002 the Longhorns were ranked No. 7 and they went to Lincoln, Nebraska to play an unranked Nebraska team.[33] In front of the largest crowd in Nebraska history (78,268) the 'Horns snapped the Huskers' national-best 26-game winning streak at Memorial Stadium by a score of 27–24.[35] Most recently, in the 2006 game, #5 Texas faced #17 Nebraska on a snowy day in Lincoln. The Longhorns were trailing and needed a field goal by walk-on kicker Ryan Bailey (with just 23 seconds remaining in the game) to win 22–20.[33][36]

On the morning of the game, oddsmakers favored Texas to win by 21 points.[37] The weather forecast called for a high of 76 degrees and plentiful sunshine with winds NNE at 10 to 15 miles per hour.[38] Texas stuck with their passing game for three quarters and was trailed Nebraska most of the way; the Cornhuskers led 17–9 to start the fourth.[39] ESPN reported, "Once Texas figured out it should be running against one of the nation's worst run defenses, things turned out all right for the Longhorns."[40]

The Longhorns may have switched to running game almost by chance. McCoy took a hard hit as he scrambled outside the pocket and was shaken up badly enough to leave the game for a play. John Chiles came in at quarterback; his one play, a zone-read handoff to Jamaal Charles, produced 24 yards. According to ESPN, "suddenly Texas had figured out how to beat a Cornhuskers' team that had been steamrolled on the ground in recent weeks. Texas only threw three passes in the fourth quarter."[40]

Once Texas switched to the zone read offense, they quickly started gaining yards and points. Charles ran for a career-high 290 yards, including 216 yards and three long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. His tally also set a new record for rushing against the Cornhuskers, surpassing the old record of 247 yards by Oklahoma's Billy Simms. Charles explained "It was my time to show everyone what I can do. When I saw a hole, I blasted through it."[40] Texas finished with 181 yards passing and 364 yards rushing; Nebraska had 315 yards passing and 132 yards rushing.[41] The running back was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week.[42]

The game was a milestone for one coach and a millstone for another; it was the 100th win for Mack Brown at Texas; and it put more pressure on beleaguered Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. Brown remarked on his victory, "A hundred is nice. I knew the game was going to come down like it did. It didn't surprise me. They made sure that I'll remember it the rest of my life."[40] Callahan was fired five weeks later.[43]


Nebraska at Kansas [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 14 1078 39
Kansas 21 27217 76

The Nebraska-Kansas series is the longest uninterrupted series in college football at 102 years.[44][45] In the 2007 meeting, Kansas beat Nebraska 76–39.[44] The Jayhawks set an all-time record for most touchdowns and most points scored by a Nebraska opponent.[46] Their 48 points in the first half was the most ever scored against Nebraska in the first half.[46][47] With the win, Kansas took their record to 9–0 for the first time since 1908.[48]

Fox Sports reported, "It was only the second victory for Kansas in the last 39 games against Nebraska, which appears to be coming to pieces in the fourth season of embattled coach Bill Callahan."[48]

Kansas StateEdit

Kansas State at Nebraska [box score]
1 234Total
Kansas State 10 0714 31
Nebraska 14 241421 73

Getting just his second career start after taking over for the injured Sam Keller in the fourth quarter of the Texas game, Joe Ganz broke the school single-game records for passing yards and touchdowns.


Nebraska at Colorado [box score]
1 234Total
Nebraska 14 21016 51
Colorado 17 72021 65

It was a must-win situation for both teams, as they had identical 5–6 records and each needed a win to get to a bowl. Although they trailed by 11 points at the half, Colorado went on to win 65–51, as the Husker defense simply could not find an answer for Colorado's offense. Husker Coach Bill Callahan, having had his second losing season in four years, both being decided by a loss to Colorado, was fired the day after the game. Athletic Director Tom Osborne went on to hire Mark "Bo" Pelini as head coach.


Ranking Movement
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Final
AP 20 16 14 24 25 25 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Coaches 19 17 14 22 22 23 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Harris Not released 24 23 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
BCS Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR N/A

After the seasonEdit

The team was coached by Bill Callahan, who returned for his fourth year with the Huskers, and expectations for the season were high, considering NU had reached the Big 12 title game the previous year. But the Huskers recorded only their second losing season since 1961, and the second in four years (the last one coming in 2004 on Callahan's watch). Following the conclusion of the season, Callahan was fired by interim athletic director Tom Osborne.[49]

On December 2, 2007, Bo Pelini was named as Head Coach for Nebraska by interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne.



Award Name(s)
All-Big 12 2nd team Marlon Lucky, Carl Nicks, Matt Slauson
All-Big 12 honorable mention Larry Asante, Brett Byford, Cortney Grixby, Jacob Hickman, Lydon Murtha, Steve Octavien, Zach Potter, Maurice Purify, Bo Ruud, Dan Titchener
All-Big 12 Freshman 1st team Anthony Blue, Jaivorio Burkes, Alex Henery

Draft picks, signees, or other future professional playersEdit


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  2. ^ 2007 Preseason Consensus Retrieved on August 22, 2007
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  50. ^ 2007 Husker Honors