Nebraska Cornhuskers

Associated Press

Given Scott Frost-Nebraska chatter, UCF announces funding initiative

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If a Power Five program truly wants a Group of Five head coach, there’s little the latter can do.  That, though, isn’t stopping UCF from at least trying to stave off the inevitable.

Mike Riley could very well be on the hot seat at Nebraska, leading to speculation, especially with a new athletic director, that he could be three-and-done in Lincoln.  While some chatter on any potential replacement has involved a pirate, a favorite son has significant support amongst the fan base if a change is made.

Not only is Scott Frost a former Nebraska quarterback, but, as the head coach at UCF, he has the Knights ranked 20th nationally with a 5-0 start.  And that’s coming off a six-win first season for Frost with a program that was winless the year before he arrived.

The pedigree as both a player and young head coach would make him a natural fit at a place like Nebraska, which explains why Frost’s current employer announced Tuesday an initiative to “secure commitments of over $1.5 million annually for the next five years” for the football program.  Specifically, any money raised would largely be used to enhance coaching salaries, both for the head coach and his assistants.

Called the UCF Football Excellence Fund, the program is “pursuing gift commitments ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 annually to further enhance the program’s operating resources.”  Frost himself has already committed his own money to the fund.

“I’m very excited about the success we’ve had in our time here and I’m committed to helping this program continue growing,” Frost said. “I’m happy to be part of the UCF Football Excellence Fund. We need more resources to keep taking this program where we want it to go. I’m hopeful my support will be a catalyst for others to jump on board and take part.”

According to the USA Today‘s salary database, Frost’s $1.7 million salary in 2016 was sixth among AAC head coaches, although the top two, Houston’s Tom Herman and Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville, are no longer with those programs.  With built-in raises, Frost will likely make in the neighborhood of $2 million for this season.

That said, we go back to what was written as the opening sentence: If a Power Five program truly wants a Group of Five head coach, there’s little the latter can do — even if it’s not the 42-year-old Frost’s alma mater that comes calling.

Mike Leach downplays rumors that have him following Bill Moos to Nebraska

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Sunday, it was confirmed that Bill Moos was leaving his job as athletic director at Washington State to take the same position at Nebraska.  It didn’t take long after the official announcement of the move for the speculation to commence.

A home loss to Northern Illinois was the football program’s first-ever to a MAC school and its first home loss to a Group of Five team since 2004, sparking talk as to how much longer Mike Riley could last as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.  Losses by a combined 63 points the last two weeks to Wisconsin and Ohio State did nothing to alleviate those concerns.

Enter Moos, whose last football hire at Wazzu has turned into a very significant upgrade for that program.  Taking over a team that won a combined nine games the four years before he was hired by Moos, Mike Leach guided the Cougars to 12 wins his first three years after being hired in 2012.  The past two seasons have turned into breakout ones of sort for the Cougars as they won nine games in 2015 (most since 2003) and eight in 2016.  They were off to a 6-0 start this season before Cal stunned them in Week 7.

Add Riley’s struggles to Leach’s successes and mix in Moos’ departure Pullman for Lincoln, and the recipe was there for Leach-to-‘Huskers talk.  Monday, the coach downplayed such a possibility.

“I don’t have any plans to do that and then they already have a head coach there and he’s a pretty good one, Mike Riley,” Leach said according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Wish Bill the best and we just move forward.”

Leach did, though, have high praise for his now-former boss.  Extremely high praise.

“He’s the best AD that I’ve ever met,” Leach said. “Everything from active to retired to dead. Bill’s the best AD I’ve ever even met. …

“Bill’s a very honest, straightforward guy and he was a guy you could count on, who you knew had your best interest.”

Nebraska hires Washington State AD Bill Moos

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The red smoke is emerging from the top of Memorial Stadium, and it’s…. Bill Moos?

Nebraska was widely expected to announce a full-time replacement for ousted AD Shawn Eichorst this week, and on Sunday those rumors became true when the Huskers announced the hiring of Washington State’s Moos to run the department.

“Nebraska has secured a proven winner in Bill Moos to lead Husker Athletics into a new era of excellence,” chancellor Ronnie Green said in a statement. “It was clear that Bill stood out in a very competitive, tremendously gifted pool of candidates, not only because of his proven ability to lead programs to greatness, but because of his reputation for integrity in building and leading those programs.”

Moos is being hired to fix the Huskers’ football program as his first, second and third priorities. He did the same at Washington State by pulling Mike Leach from his exile in Key West up to Pullman — a moved that has worked as the Cougars are 18-6 in Pac-12 play since 2015.

That doesn’t mean Leach is on his way to Lincoln, however. Moos made the perfect hire for Washington State, and now he’s reportedly been hired to do the same for Nebraska.

“To lead one of the most storied and successful athletic programs in the nation is a true honor,” Moos said. “Nebraska is a very special place, known far and wide for its phenomenal fans, for doing things the right way, for supporting its students, honoring its athletic legacy and maintaining excellence in athletics success across the board. I am proud to help build upon these Husker traditions.”

Moos, 66, has signed a 5-year contract with a $1 million salary.

No. 9 Ohio State looks like a contender in crushing Nebraska for second straight year

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In theory it should be the kind of spectacle only college football can produce. Ohio State and Nebraska, two programs that have been proud about their brand of football for more than a century, playing on the same field under the Big Ten banner in a primetime broadcast. What could be better?

The games, it turns out. The games could be a lot better.

The first edition was great. Ohio State went to Lincoln for the first time ever in Nebraska’s first Big Ten season, and the Huskers won, 34-27. They’ve played three times since, and none of them were close. The Buckeyes cruised 63-38 in 2012, demolished the Huskers 62-3 last season and did the same again on Saturday night, as No. 9 Ohio State had its way with overmatched Nebraska, 56-14 in Lincoln.

Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first eight drives and did not punt the entire night. J.T. Barrett posted one of the best statistical nights of his lengthy career, hitting a video game-like 27-of-33 passes for 325 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 10 times for 48 yards and two more scores. J.K. Dobbins added 12 carries for a game-high 106 yards and a long touchdown run of his own, and Mike Weber poured in 82 yards on 18 carries.

Overall, Ohio State threw for 354 yards on 39 attempts and rushed 47 times for 279 yards, adding up to 633 yards on 7.36 yards per play with 41 first downs and 10 third-down conversions on 13 attempts.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes’ defense held Nebraska scoreless in the first half for the second time this season — that feat had been accomplished once in the previous 20 years — and limited Nebraska to 44 yards on 16 carries. Nebraska threw the ball nearly every play because it knew it had no chance of running on Ohio State, but it had no chance of throwing on Ohio State, either. Tanner Lee completed 23-of-38 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but the lion’s share of those yards came after the Huskers were already down 42 points.

Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) looked every much like a Big Ten and College Football Playoff contender. Nebraska (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) looked like a team that will be making a coaching change after the season ends.

And whoever Nebraska’s next coach is needs to just turn on the first half film of tonight’s game to see how far Nebraska is from the top of the sport.

Ohio State blowing Nebraska off its own field

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Ohio State has played very much like a team playing its way back into the national championship picture so far. The Buckeyes scored on all five possessions and allowed Nebraska to score on none of theirs, claiming a 35-0 lead at the break.

The Buckeyes’ first drive needed just 2:44 to travel 96 yards, the last 52 of which coming on a J.K. Dobbins burst. After forcing a three-and-out, Ohio State’s next drive covered 85 yards in nine plays, ending on a 6-yard J.T. Barrett run.

Continuing the theme of incrementally shorter drives, Ohio State’s next touches moved 80, 71, and 59 yards yards, culminating in Barrett touchdown passes to K.J. Hill and Terry McLaurin and another Barrett run. Barrett closed the half with Heisman-esque numbers: 18-of-21 passing for 203 yards and tow touchdowns with six carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Dobbins added seven carries for 80 yards; the Buckeyes totaled 163 yards on 21 total carries.

Nebraska mustered only 20 yards on 10 total carries, and Tanner Lee completed 12-of-23 passes for 96 yards. The Huskers managed three first downs.

Ohio State will receive to open the second half.