The Los Angeles Rams captured the NFC championship yesterday with an overtime victory on the road against the New Orleans Saints. With the win, the Nebraska Cornhuskers saw their record of consecutive Super Bowls with at least one former Husker playing in the game extended to 26.
Former Nebraska standout Ndamukong Suh kept the streak alive for the Huskers as a fixture on the defensive line for the Rams. But even if the Rams had lost the game, Nebraska still would have seen their streak extended to 26 later in the day when the New England Patriots clinched the AFC Championship with their own road overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Patriots running back Rex Burkhead, a former Nebraska running back, had four catches for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Patriots’ AFC title game victory.
While Nebraska maintains their impressive streak of Super Bowl participants, a number of colleges will be represented by more players in this year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams. Georgia has a total of five players in the game, edging out Cal, Florida, Miami, and Rutgers for the most players in this year’s Super Bowl. A total of 19 FBS programs will have at least two players in the Super Bowl this season.
As noted by the college football community on Reddit, Georgia could become the second school to have two starting running backs in a Super Bowl if the Patriots start Sony Michel (the Rams would have Todd Gurley). The last team to do that was Cal a few years ago when the Patriots (Shane Vereen) faced off with the Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch). Cal is also making some Super Bowl history as the Golden Bears will be the first school to have a total of five quarterbacks play in a Super Bowl with Jared Goff. Goff joined former Golden Bear quarterbacks Joe Kapp, Craig Morten, Vince Ferragamo and Aaron Rodgers in that Super Bowl QB lineage.
Goff could also be the second-straight Pac-12 quarterback to win a Super Bowl, following Arizona’s Nick Foles last season. Goff would be the third Pac-10/12 quarterback to win the Super Bowl since 2000, joining Foles and Rodgers.
It’s been an incredible month for 7-year-old Nebraska fan Jack Hoffman: the little boy battling pediatric brain cancer who has become an adopted member of the NU family. First, Hoffman got an opportunity to score a touchdown during the Cornhuskers’ spring game — a video from which helped the run become an internet sensation.
Now, and as a result of that video, Hoffman and his family got to meet President Barack Obama on Monday.
“It was just such a great opportunity for us to visit him and raise national awareness for pediatric brain cancer,” Hoffman’s father said. “He talked about his commitment to research and science.”
The Hoffman family was joined by their son’s favorite player, former Huskers running back Rex Burkhead.
It’s been a tough road for Jack Hoffman lately. Surely these past few weeks have been a huge lift for his spirits.
An injury could keep Nebraska’s leading rusher out for the remainder of spring practice, although it shouldn’t — stressing the word “shouldn’t” — have an impact on his availability for summer camp let alone the 2013 regular season.
Following practice Monday, head coach Bo Pelini stated that junior running back Ameer Abdullah tweaked his knee and will be out for a couple of weeks. A determination on whether Abdullah will actually return to practice this spring will be made at a later date.
The Cornhuskers will wrap up spring practice 2013 with their annual spring game April 6. Obviously, the team will err on the side of caution when it comes to Abdullah.
Last season, Abdullah led the ‘Huskers with 1,137 yards and topped all backs with eight rushing touchdowns. Abdullah’s carries increased as Rex Burkhead was dealing with his own lingering knee issue.
One of Nebraska’s promising young running backs has apparently decided to move on from the program.
There’s been no official word from the Huskers yet, but MyValleySports.com reported Monday night that Braylon Heard was transferring from the program. The Omaha World-Herald later confirmed that report. Additionally, former Nebraska running back Aaron Green, who is now with TCU, tweeted Tuesday that Heard was in fact leaving Lincoln.
It’s not known yet where Heard will land.
The sophomore finished fourth on the team and third among running backs with 348 yards and three touchdowns. Heard, Green and Ameer Abdullah were figured to be the next wave of talented backs to succeed Rex Burkhead, but Heard was reportedly frustrated with his role with the team. Heard briefly worked as a corner this past year before switching back to running back.
Heard was a four-star recruit in Nebraska’s 2010 signing class.
Georgia was a a couple of seconds, a few yards and five points away from jumping Alabama and playing Notre Dame in the BCS championship. Instead, the Bulldogs fell a bit short and had to settle for the Capital One Bowl against Big Ten representative Nebraska.
For about three quarters, it ranked among the most exciting bowl games on New Year’s Day. But thanks to the Bulldogs’ defense and a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, No. 6 Georgia was able to pull away from No. 23 Nebraska 45-31.
Aaron Murray shook off a pair of early interceptions to finish the day with 427 yards through the air and five touchdowns. The running back combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall accounted for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia’s defense was gashed again for 239 yards on the ground — Rex Burkhead, making his final appearance for the Cornhuskers, rushed for 140 yards and a score — and another 204 passing from Taylor Martinez. However, the Bulldogs D forced Martinez into a pair of interceptions as part of a three-turnover day.
Defense for Georgia has been shaky at times this season — curious considering the talent on that side of the ball — and run defense was especially poor the past two games, but to Todd Grantham‘s credit, the Bulldogs surrendered just seven points in the second half of today’s bowl against the ‘Huskers.
With Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo all either headed to the NFL or likely so, Georgia’s defense will be an interesting unit to watch in 2013. Murray should return along with Gurley and Marshall, but will Georgia be too reliant upon the offense next year to win games?
Likewise, Nebraska needs to go back to the start with the defense. This is supposed to be Bo Pelini’s area of expertise, yet the ‘Huskers have given up 115 points in the past two games and allowed Ohio State to rack up another 63 earlier in the season.