Category Archives: Huskers News

Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong doesn’t plan on letting aches, pains or Boilermakers break his stride

LINCOLN — It was uncharted territory for Tommy Armstrong, who sat on his couch last Halloween and watched Nebraska stumble without him at Purdue.

The quarterback had started the previous 22 games, and pretty much seen steady work ever since the first month of his redshirt freshman season after the Taylor Martinez injury surfaced.

Armstrong looked that day at the ice on his right foot — and set his mind on the next week.

“I was itching to get back at any time,” he said. “I just wanted to get healthy.

“The coaches made a decision, with Mark (Mayer, the head trainer) and those guys, of just trying to get me healthy. That’s the thing that always helps — when you have guys that do that for a living — to make sure they get you back healthy. That way you can play the rest of the season.”

It was dissected for a good week afterward what Nebraska might have done with Armstrong in West Lafayette, even if slowed by a turf toe-like injury. But it also was wasted breath after the Huskers committed five turnovers and were porous defensively in a 55-45 loss, with Ryker Fyfe making his only career start.

The bright side is it might have made Armstrong better the following week, when he led the 39-38 upset of No. 6 Michigan State and started this current Nebraska run of nine wins in 10 games.

And that’s the positive way that Armstrong wished to see it.

“I love football,” he said. “That’s what I came up here for, was to play. I play as much as I can, and enjoy it while it lasts, because it’s going to go by quick.”

The Purdue rematch comes Saturday, and Armstrong wasn’t overly interested Wednesday in looking back much at last season.

He’d tried to brief Fyfe before the game on what he might see, having started the previous two years against Purdue. Armstrong said it was no different from when backups have replaced injured starters at other positions — including receiver Jordan Westerkamp and tight end Cethan Carter, who didn’t travel last week.

“Like we always say, it’s the next man up,” Armstrong said. “You’ve just got to expect guys to make plays.

“Being in that situation last year — having a tough season, having a bunch of losses — it was kind of a domino effect on our team. But I think we’re doing a good job of bouncing back this year.”

Armstrong is still dealing with minor injuries. He was in a boot and missed practice time during the bye week before Nebraska won at Indiana to reach 6-0.

There’s pride that goes with his durability, though, especially with the pounding that the senior takes as a running quarterback.

He doesn’t take his health or his opportunities for granted, knowing something could be worse after watching Martinez not get to finish his final year.

“I know how bad he wanted to play,” Armstrong said. “At times, it’s nothing really you can do. You just got to put it all in the doctor’s hands and make sure it’s the smartest decision for yourself, for your future and things like that.”

Armstrong probably needs about two or three more starts to break the school record for career total offense, set by Martinez over 43 career starts. Armstrong heads into his 40th start already No. 1 in passing yards (8,050) and touchdown passes (63).

He said Wednesday he feels good for a stretch run, with nothing hurting enough to affect his play.

“I’ve just got to tough it out,” he said. “There’s times where I come in in the morning and I might be stiff, but I’ve just got to make sure I rehab enough. But I’m good to go.”

It wasn’t the case a year ago, so Armstrong watched from his Lincoln home as Nebraska slipped to 3-6 with the Purdue stunner. A different kind of experience, to be sure.

“Honestly, they tried their best to get me to go, but it was a number of things,” Armstrong said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t go, just like Westy couldn’t go to Indiana.”

NU defensive coordinator Mark Banker hopes last year’s ‘lowest point’ fuels Blackshirts against Purdue

LINCOLN — Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker didn’t mince words in his recollection of Nebraska’s 55-45 loss at Purdue last season.

“It was the absolute lowest point in our season,” Banker said. NU gave up 457 yards on 80 plays. The Huskers’ offense routinely set up Purdue with short fields, but Nebraska’s defense couldn’t get stops when it needed them.

“It was set up like a bad Halloween day,” cornerbacks coach Brian Stewart said. “Dreary. Nobody in the stands. Dreary. We didn’t play well. Couldn’t get excited. It wasn’t a good day. No bueno.”

NU struggled to handle Purdue quarterback David Blough, who passed for 274 yards and ran for 82, often on naked bootleg plays that were run/pass options. Blough also burned the Huskers for a 56-yard touchdown on a third down quarterback draw right through the heart of the defense.

“He’s a pain in the neck,” Banker said of Blough, who has thrown for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns in six games. “He doesn’t like what he sees downfield, he’s going to extend the play with his feet. You leave the middle of the formation open and you don’t get to his feet, he’s going to take off on you.”

Purdue has a pair of tall wideouts, DeAngelo Yancey and Domonique Young, who have 24 and 29 catches this season, respectively. Yancey had five grabs for 111 yards against Nebraska last season. In 2013, he had five catches for 146 yards.

“He’s a good receiver,” cornerback Chris Jones said. “Great route-runner. Catches the ball very well. Gets open.”

Jones was asked if Yancey, at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, is comparable to Oregon’s Darren Carrington, the only receiver who’s given Jones a significant test this season.

“I wouldn’t say he’s that fast,” Jones said, “but something like it.”

What about that bootleg play? Purdue used versions of it repeatedly against the Huskers last season. Will Nebraska be better prepared to defend it?

“I think we’ll be fine,” Stewart said. “Deceptions are there because they’re deceptions. A lot of people have used that approach toward us. UCLA did. I think, as a defensive staff, we know how people are going to attack us. We feel pretty comfortable about that.”

Banker doesn’t want his defense playing Purdue for revenge. Instead he wants his defense to use that performance as fuel for this game.

“I don’t care if it was Purdue or Hobo U or whoever it was,” Banker said. “It happened and it wasn’t good.”

Husker notes: O-line adjusts as Gates misses practice; Carlos Davis impressing and more

LINCOLN — Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf on Wednesday was frank in his assessment of the Huskers’ offensive line, which may be without starting left tackle Nick Gates on Saturday against Purdue.

“We’re beat up,” Langsdorf said.

Gates, along with wideout Jordan Westerkamp, did not practice Wednesday inside Memorial Stadium. Gates’ replacement was walk-on Cole Conrad, who played all but one snap at right tackle in NU’s 27-22 win over Indiana. In that game, Conrad replaced David Knevel, who practiced Wednesday and may start.

Could Gates still play against Purdue? Coach Mike Riley on Monday intimated that he doesn’t want his offensive linemen missing too much of practice because they won’t be prepared for the opponent. Gates is still “pretty hobbled,” according to Langsdorf.

“We need him back as soon as possible,” Langsdorf said.

On Wednesday, Nebraska’s top line, left to right, was Conrad, Sam Hahn, Dylan Utter, Tanner Farmer and Knevel. All but Conrad have started several games this season, although he’s played significant snaps in two games. The sixth lineman is likely senior Corey Whitaker, who started at guard against Illinois and appeared briefly in the Indiana game, replacing center Dylan Utter, who dislocated his pinkie finger. Whitaker hadn’t taken a snap this season — in a game or in practice — with quarterback Tommy Armstrong.

“When he first ran in, I told him we didn’t need a guard, but he’d taken his glove off and said he was playing center,” Armstrong said. “I was just like, ‘OK. I hope we’re in shotgun, because I need to get some under-center practice snaps with you.’ But he did a great job.”

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said a glut of seven redshirt and true freshman linemen aren’t ready yet to see action in a game, though he’s “excited” about their progress.

One of main things Cavanaugh looks for in a young player is the ability to make “split-second decisions” on a play.

“Are we perfect? No,” Cavanaugh said. “But you gotta get a guy in there who’s smart, tough. Mental mistakes will kill you fast.”

Cavanaugh said two linemen — junior Zach Hannon and senior Robby Painter — have been moved up to the top units to account for injuries.

Carlos Davis impressing

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker wasn’t sure redshirt freshman defensive tackle Carlos Davis played his best game at Indiana on Saturday.

“Any time Carlos has been in, he’s played really well,” Banker said, adding that Davis did some particularly nice things in the win over the Hoosiers. Davis fought across the face of offensive guards effectively, chasing down run plays even when he didn’t make tackles.

“You’ve got to be a man to be able to do that,” Banker said. “You’ve got to be physical, you’ve got to be fast with your hands, aware of concepts.”

Defensive line coach John Parrella said Davis is improving with each week as he rotates with sophomore Mick Stoltenberg. Senior nose tackle Kevin Maurice stays on the field for most snaps, but he was able to get a few breathers against Indiana, when Parrella put Davis at nose and Stoltenberg at defensive tackle.

“He’s starting to understand the run reads and use his hands more in pass rush,” Parrella said.

Davis got a rare one-on-one pass rushing opportunity in the Indiana game. He easily beat his man, but Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow slipped by Davis and stepped up in the pocket.

“I got a little too excited and I forgot to rip,” Davis said. “I would have been able to lean and get right to the quarterback. I got back there and I forgot to rip and I took a bad angle. He just came right under.”

Parrella said Davis is learning a lot from Maurice, whom Parrella hinted may be the best defensive tackle in the Big Ten.

“There’s a noticeable difference between him and the other tackles in the league,” Parrella said. “I’m really, really proud of him.”

Parrella said good tackle play goes beyond the stat line.

“He hasn’t had the million sacks that of course everybody wants, but I think he’s leading the country in pressures and he’s extremely valuable to us,” Parrella said.

Purdue has trouble against run

Purdue’s rush defense gives up 264 rushing yards per game — last in the Big Ten — and 5.85 yards per carry, which is 13th in the league. Both numbers rank among the worst five defenses in the nation.

Langsdorf also believes those numbers are “a little misleading” because Purdue has been behind in some games.

“They’ve given up some yards on the ground, but also, the game they’ve been in, they’ve been down so teams have been able to run the ball for a while on them,” Langsdorf said.

Purdue’s run defense is actually most hideous in the first half, when it gives up 7.36 yards per carry. That’s last in college football. No other team gives up more than 7 yards per carry in the first or second halves. Purdue gives up 8.51 yards per carry when it’s tied in a game.

The Boilermakers’ strength on defense is its line, Langsdorf said. He pointed out defensive tackle Jake Replogle specifically.

Quick hits

» Running backs coach Reggie Davis said Nebraska needs to do a better job on first down and “stay ahead of the pitch count.”

“We’ve been thinking about it, working on it, talking about it,” Davis said. “I don’t know how much of it is mindset, how much of it is schematic, how much of it is just physical. I’m not sure. Maybe a little bit of all of them.”

» Tight end Sam Cotton will remain the primary pass-catcher at tight end in the absence of Cethan Carter, Langsdorf said.

Husker hoops gets Anton Gill back, but Isaiah Roby still healing

LINCOLN — The Nebraska men’s basketball team is one for two so far on getting its injured players back to full-speed practice.

Coach Tim Miles said Wednesday that junior guard Anton Gill returned to action the first two practices held this week. The 6-foot-3 Louisville transfer has struggled with chronic knee tendinitis.

“We’ll probably have to give Anton a day or two off as he readjusts,’’ Miles said. “We’re just getting him back up to speed after 2½ months of being shut down.”

The other injured Husker — freshman Isaiah Roby — will try to practice next week, Miles said. The 6-8 wing from Dixon, Illinois, has been largely inactive in a basketball sense since mid-July because of recurring pain from a stress reaction in his pelvis.

Miles said he’s been generally pleased with practice.

“We’re too young to be in polish mode yet,’’ he said. “We’re still installing and teaching. But these guys work hard and learn fast.

“And I’ve been surprised with how highly competitive practice has been.’’

Nebraska hosts Chadron State for an exhibition game Nov. 7 (Monday). The opening game of the regular season is Nov. 13 (Sunday) at Pinnacle Bank Arena at 7 p.m., against Sacramento State.

Husker notes: Interim Purdue coach hoping for normality; Opponent’s NU connection

LINCOLN — Gerad Parker was hoping Tuesday would bring some normality back to the Purdue football program as the Boilermakers continued preparations for Nebraska.

Purdue fired Darrell Hazell on Sunday and named Parker the interim head coach.

“There’s been a lot of things change over the last 48 hours, but certainly appreciate all the support from our administration, and from family and friends and our players and staff,” Parker said on the Big Ten teleconference. “We’re excited about an opportunity to get our guys back on the field today and just get a chance to remove some distractions and get ourselves preparing for a great opportunity in Nebraska.”

Parker is the Boilermakers’ receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. Asked why Purdue decided to shake things up at midseason, he said he was not involved in those conversations.

“I know through our administration and those people, they didn’t see some things they wanted to see from our staff, and that’s why they decided to make the change,” he said. “Like I’ve told a lot of people, in questions and interviews, it’s been a difficult situation on our whole staff and our players, and obviously a weird situation for me.

“All we can do now is embrace it, and turn into a positive.”

Opponent’s NU connection

The Purdue staff will include a familiar face Saturday. Boilermakers defensive coordinator Ross Els was a Nebraska assistant coach for four seasons, then was among those not retained after the Bo Pelini firing.

Els coached Husker linebackers, including current upperclassmen like Josh Banderas and Michael Rose-Ivey but knows other veteran defensive personnel.

“I’m sure the offensive coordinator is going to be in his ear, asking about everybody and asking about matchups and stuff,” Banderas said. “I’m excited that he’s coming back, excited to see him and get to talk to him. But it’s definitely an advantage for them.”

Els helped last season at Lincoln Southwest before Hazell hired him Jan. 1.

“He’s just one of the smartest coaches I’ve ever had the privilege to be coached by,” Banderas said. “He knows his X’s and O’s better than anything.”

Seven Huskers earn spots in preseason rankings

Seven Nebraska wrestlers were ranked in the InterMat preseason poll released Tuesday.

Seniors Eric Montoya, TJ Dudley and Aaron Studebaker all earned top-five rankings in their weight classes. Montoya, an All-American last season, is ranked fourth at 133 pounds. Dudley, who finished runner-up at the last year’s NCAA championships, is fourth at 184 pounds. Studebaker is fifth at 197 pounds.

Senior Tim Lambert and sophomore Tyler Berger also earned top-10 spots. Lambert is seventh at 125 pounds, while Berger is No. 9 at 157 pounds.

Senior Collin Jensen is 13th at heavyweight, and senior Micah Barnes is No. 14 at 174 pounds.

As a team, the Huskers are eighth in the tournament rankings and sixth in the dual meet rankings.

Big Ten notes: Dantonio: Bar remains high at Michigan State; Meyer not happy with penalty and more

This isn’t the Michigan State team we’re used to seeing.

MSU has finished sixth, fifth and third in the nation the past three seasons while winning 36 of 41 games. But this year, the Spartans (2-4, 0-3) are in danger of not gaining bowl eligibility after four straight losses.

Still ahead on the schedule are home games with No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan and a road trip to Penn State.

“The bar has been set very high here and rightfully so,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “We need to deal with it and get on with it. We’ve got enough good players to put a good football team on the field and win.

“I’m never going to say we’re not good enough.”

Graduations, injuries and defections in both lines have slowed Michigan State, and the quarterback job has been thrown open among three players at midseason. Those aren’t the usual signs from a regular title contender.

Nor was giving up 54 points at home Saturday to Northwestern, the most ever at Spartan Stadium. The last team to hang 50 points on MSU at home was Nebraska in 1995 when Nick Saban coached the Spartans.

“If you coach long enough, you’ll see it all,” Dantonio said, noting that he had a difficult year while coaching at Cincinnati after some early success. The freshmen on that team ended up winning a Big East title and playing in the Orange Bowl.

“You just keep drawing on your experience, keep working whether you are a senior or freshman or in between,” Dantonio said. “You have to remain positive.

“I told my players the other day, we’re walking down a long road, and there’s no place to stop and eat. You’ve got to keep walking or running. There’s no turning back. And sometimes it’s a lonely road.”

Meyer not happy with penalty

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer drew a 15-yard penalty for sideline interference Saturday night at Wisconsin when an official accidentally hit Meyer in the head as the official swung his arm to indicate the clock should run.

“He barely grazed my headset,” Meyer said. “It should not have been a penalty. That broke my heart, to put your players in a 15-yard penalty for that in a big game.

“Some will say, ‘Well, that’s just the rule.’ Get rid of the damn rule. That’s not a good rule.”

Players of the week

» Co-Offense: Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and Northwestern tailback Justin Jackson. Barrett, a junior from Wichita Falls, Texas, accounted for 318 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Wisconsin. Jackson, a junior from Carol Stream, Illinois, ran for a career-high 188 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Michigan State.

» Defense: Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy. The junior from Somerset, Wisconsin, had a career-high 15 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, in a loss to Ohio State.

» Special teams: Northwestern wide receiver Solomon Vault. The junior from Gaithersburg, Maryland, returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in a win over Michigan State.

» Freshman: Illinois safety Patrick Nelson. The Chicago product had 14 tackles in a win over Rutgers.

Bits and pieces

» Iowa isn’t expecting senior tight end George Kittle to play much Saturday because of an injury. That means true freshman Noah Fant out of Omaha South should get heavy playing time, as he did last Saturday at Purdue.

» Minnesota starting quarterback Mitch Leidner (concussion) will miss a second straight game Saturday. Fourth-year junior Conor Rhoda will get his second start, against Rutgers.

» Rutgers will start a new quarterback, too. Senior Chris Laviano has been benched for redshirt sophomore Gio Rescigno.

Nebraska baseball’s Red-White series ends with a tie

The third game of the Huskers’ Red-White Series ended in a 5-5 tie after the White team rallied from a 5-3 deficit.

Jake Schleppenbach led the White team with three hits, including a double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that drove in the game-tying runs. Angelo Altavilla finished with two hits and an RBI for the Red squad.

The Huskers open the 2017 season on Feb. 17 in Tempe, AZ.

What a difference a year makes: Huskers grew within scheme after debacle at Purdue

LINCOLN — In the final seconds of last season’s 55-45 loss at Purdue, Nebraska coaches and players stood quietly on their sideline, almost in mourning over one of the more surprising losses in recent Husker history. A sparse Purdue crowd cheered.

Nebraska had lost several games before the defeat in West Lafayette, Indiana, but the final score was a bit of an illusion; the Huskers had trailed 42-16 at one point.

“That was a big low point for the team,” I-back Terrell Newby said Monday. “Obviously, we had a lot of games like that where it came down to where we were in those close situations, but that game kind of hit us.”

In the postgame press conference at Purdue, coach Mike Riley sat on a janitor’s bucket, surrounded by reporters. His team had just run the ball for a measly 77 yards.

“We’re just going to keep coaching them,” he said that day. “That’s what we need to do.”

“We’re not giving up,” linebacker Josh Banderas said after that game. “So I guess I’d just ask the fans not to give up, either. There’s always an upside.”

The following week, Nebraska stunned previously undefeated Michigan State. NU now has a 9-1 record in the 10 games since a most dreary afternoon.

The guy who coached Purdue that day — Darrell Hazell — was fired on Sunday. Riley never got to know Hazell well. He’ll square off against an interim head coach. The Huskers — No. 8 and No. 9 in the two major polls — are a three-touchdown favorite over the Boilermakers. Nebraska doesn’t necessarily want to play for revenge — do that, safety Kieron Williams said, and you might miss larger goals — but Saturday’s tilt with Purdue is symbolic.

The Huskers were in a ditch after that awful game last season. They’ve pulled themselves out of it. How?

“Maybe we found a better way to coach this team offensively — what to really approach and how to do it,” said Riley, whose team has averaged 45.6 rushes per game since throwing 48 passes in the loss at Purdue. “Maybe we just got better and we just built on that.”

Nebraska finished the 2015 season on a 3-1 run — the lone loss to 12-2 Iowa — and Riley said that run carried over to the offseason. The “attitude and work ethic” in spring camp and summer conditioning were good. And Riley praised the senior leadership of the Huskers for being vocal about their goals for the team.

Riley is a big believer in personal communication — in offering “information” to his players about how they can improve, but also asking players for their feedback and thought process as they move forward in their careers. He wants his coaches to do the same, and that process has brought about a closer team.

“I can’t talk to 140 guys myself all the time, so this needs to be a staff thing,” Riley said. “And that’s why we have guys to do that. But I think this group is mature. They verbalize what they want really well. Part of the time, for us, is just to listen.”

Nebraska players had to learn, too, Williams said. The defense — which had especially struggled against Purdue — simply got better by learning more about each other and from the coaches.

“We’ve grown in the scheme,” Williams said. “Our coaches have coached us up and we’ve had more time to learn the ins and outs of the scheme and the best ways to play with each other. Right now, we’re just playing great with each other. And we know what each other is good at.”

Riley credited players with sticking with the coaching staff and continuing to play hard. The persistence has paid off, as Nebraska has matched its win total from last season, and has all of its major goals still on the table.

Not that the ingredients for success have changed, Riley said. What helped Nebraska finish strong last season has contributed to its start.

“The intentions of this team are great,” Riley said. “They work hard and they want to win. They want information. And the coaches continue to work and stay the course. Those are key factors in hard times. And they’re also key right now.”

Purdue at Nebraska

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Radio: 103.1 FM

Huskers reclaim No. 1 ranking, but weekend foes Wisconsin, Minnesota will try to wrest prize back

LINCOLN — John Cook often likes to tout the state of Nebraska as the “epicenter of volleyball,” and even if you don’t agree precisely on the coach’s boast, it’s hard to dispute the center of power in the college game this season lies squarely in the Midwest.

Six of the top seven teams in Monday’s coaches poll sat in the Central time zone, with No. 1 Nebraska (16-1, 7-1 Big Ten) returning to the top spot ahead of a weekend when it will be hard to argue against Lincoln being the focal point of the sport. Hosting No. 4 Wisconsin on Friday night and No. 3 Minnesota Sunday afternoon might give the Huskers a better feel for their chances to return to the final four after playing two Big Ten rivals that also have their eyes on the national championship.

“If you’d told me we were going to be playing a final four-level weekend here in Nebraska less than a year later from Omaha, it would’ve been hard to imagine,” Cook said. “This is going to be an exciting weekend for volleyball to have three of the top four teams in the rankings here in Lincoln.”

The Devaney Center will host the only three teams to hold the No. 1 ranking this season, though the Gophers and Badgers played hot potato with the top spot the last two weeks. Two days after claiming the No. 1 ranking on Oct. 3, Minnesota (13-2, 6-2) lost in five sets at No. 9 Penn State, which leads the conference race at 8-0.

That cleared the way for Wisconsin to grab the top ranking for the first time in school history last week, though it became a short stay when Minnesota dominated the Badgers in a sweep on Wednesday in which the Gophers hit .323.

The impressive showing would have given Minnesota a strong claim to move back to No. 1, except the Gophers were upset in five sets at No. 14 Michigan State on Saturday.

“I think this weekend will determine a lot who will have a shot to win the Big Ten Conference,” Cook said. “So, it’s a big weekend for that. Also, for seeding for the (NCAA tournament) regionals, there’s a lot of implications for that, or could be.”

Cook said the Huskers have to be better prepared mentally for the marquee weekend than they were last season when they prepared to host Wisconsin and Minnesota under similar circumstances on the final weekend of October.

The coach said Monday the team gave into distractions during this week last year, perhaps caused by an influx of visiting family and the ceremony around NU’s “Weekend of Champions” where it honored the 1995 NCAA title team.

Whatever the causes, the Huskers were a step slow and were exploited by two opponents that may be even better this season. Nebraska dropped its closest match of the year against Minnesota, with three of the four sets decided by two points. Two days later, the Huskers hit a season-low .133 and were blocked 15 times in a four-set loss to Wisconsin.

Similar circumstances surround this week. Nebraska again will celebrate a “Weekend of Champions,” featuring the reunion of three past final four teams, including the 2006 NCAA champions. With family in town for the weekend matches, the Huskers might again feel tugs at their focus.

But those losses last October flipped the switch that led to Nebraska’s title run. Since losing to the Badgers and Gophers, NU is 32-1 with a 14-1 record against ranked opponents. The Huskers now are used to playing high-pressure matches under bright lights, Cook said, and this weekend provides two more chances to see how they handle center stage.

“I think our players, they like big matches, and I think they’re used to it,” he said. “So I think it brings out the best in them. They’ll have a little more bounce in their step for this weekend, I think.

“For our team, this is something to prove. We’ve got something to prove this weekend.”

Rolfzen earns Big Ten award

After leading the Huskers in kills in both wins this weekend, senior opposite hitter Kadie Rolfzen became the first NU player to earn the Big Ten’s player of the week award this season.

The All-American from Papillion-La Vista South had a season-high 21 kills on .413 hitting to lead Nebraska to a four-set win at No. 19 Ohio State on Friday. She added 11 digs for the 44th double-double of her career.

Rolfzen then scored nine kills without an error to hit .643 in NU’s sweep of Maryland on Sunday.

She leads the Huskers at 3.40 kills per set, and her .342 attack percentage is the highest of the team’s five starting attackers.

Nebraska back to No. 1

With No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Wisconsin each suffering a loss last week, Nebraska regained the top spot in Monday’s Top 25 coaches poll, which again features nine Big Ten teams.

The Huskers, who were a unanimous No. 1 throughout September, got 62 of 64 first-place votes. No. 2 Texas and No. 9 Penn State each snagged one.

The rest of the top 10 are No. 5 San Diego, No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Washington, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 10 Florida.

Minnesota at Nebraska

When: 12:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Devaney Center, Lincoln

Radio: 1600 AM, 105.5 FM