For most Americans, the phrase “one-armed man” calls to mind “The Fugitive” (either the movie with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones or the TV show the film was based on). But Nebraska Cornhusker fans may recall Trev Alberts and his dominant effort in the national championship game against Florida State in 1993.
Alberts came to Nebraska as part of the class of 1989 as a 6’4” 210 linebacker/fullback prospect from Cedar Falls, Iowa. After a redshirt year, he added 10 pounds to his frame and became the Big Eight Defensive Newcomer of the Year as he tallied four sacks and a fumble recovery.
A year later (and with another ten pounds) he tallied seven sacks in a reserve role, with three fumble recoveries, and twelve quarterback hurries.
As a junior, Alberts became a full-time starter and emerged as an all-conference player and second-team All-American with 73 tackles (including 11 for losses), 17 quarterback hurries, a blocked kick, and four pass breakups.
The 1992 season was the year that the Huskers unleashed the 4-3 look against Colorado, and so his position morphed from a defensive end (or outside linebacker) in the 5-2 to a rush end in the 4-3.
In Alberts' senior year, he exploded with 15 sacks, 38 quarterback hurries, forced three fumbles, and tallied 96 tackles. He was named the Butkus Award winner, an All-American, and the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Football News.
In the regular season finale against Oklahoma, Alberts dislocated his elbow. But he didn’t let that keep him from playing in the Orange Bowl.
Against the Seminoles in the National Championship game, he tallied three sacks and three quarterback hurries to be named Nebraska’s defensive MVP in the game. And he did it with one arm.
Alberts became the fifth overall draft pick in the 1994 NFL draft before injuries forced a premature end to his pro career. But he became the prototype for the rush ends to follow (e.g. Grant Wistrom, Martin Rucker, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Chris Kelsay).
You can picture Bo Pelini putting out the call, “What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse for the next Trev Alberts."
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