Nebraska Football: How the Cornhuskers Have Fared vs. the Big Ten

Brandon Cavanaugh@ IMarch 17, 2011

Nebraska Football: How the Cornhuskers Have Fared vs. the Big Ten

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    As college football took its initial shape in the late 1800s, simple geographical ties helped to start early rivalries.

    While Nebraska spent time in various leagues such as the Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Eight and Big 12 conferences, the Cornhuskers are hardly unfamiliar with their future conference foes.

    In fact, Nebraska has been facing current Big Ten teams since 1891.

    Let's examine past challenges the Cornhuskers have faced across the conference's modern day reach.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Series Record: 7-2-1

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 6 Nebraska 59, Illinois 14

    These two teams tussled intermittently between 1892 and 1925 with Nebraska chalking up four straight victories.

    The schools would meet again briefly in a 1953 contest that resulted in a 21-21 tie.

    Illinois and Nebraska would pick the series back up at one of the worst possible times for a Cornhusker opponent: during Nebraska's offensive whirlwind seasons of the mid-1980s.

Indiana Hoosiers

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    Series Record: 7-9-3

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 12 Nebraska 69, Indiana 17

    Nebraska wouldn’t meet the Hoosiers for the first time until 1936.

    The series became annual and a pain for the Cornhuskers as Indiana won most games.

    The two schools didn’t see much of each other following a 23-7 Indiana win in Lincoln during the 1959 season.

    When the series resumed in the late 1970s, Nebraska defeated the Hoosiers by no less than 18 points four years in a row.

Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Series Record: 26-12-2

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 1 Nebraska 42, Iowa 13

    “Farmageddon” isn’t a new concept.

    This natural rivalry grew from the beginning of Nebraska’s college football tradition.

    The Cornhuskers' second team ever fielded met the Hawkeyes resulting in a 22-0 Iowa victory.

    Omaha, Neb. was the site for a majority of these contests when both teams were members of the Western Inter-State University Football Association.

    Iowa and Nebraska now pick up where they left off, only this time, they'll have a far grander stage.

Michigan Wolverines

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    Series Record: 2-3-1

    Most Recent Meeting: Nebraska 32, No. 20 Michigan 28

    Before the 2005 Alamo Bowl, the last time the Cornhuskers and Wolverines met was in the 1985 Fiesta Bowl.

    No. 5 Michigan won a thrilling game over No. 7 Nebraska, 27-23.

    The Cornhuskers have only won once in Ann Arbor: a 25-13 victory during Nebraska legend Bob Devaney’s first year as head coach.

Michigan State Spartans

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    Series Record: 5-0

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 22 Nebraska 17, Michigan State 3

    Try as they might, the Spartans can’t catch a break against Nebraska.

    Their meeting on Oct. 29 won’t be the first time Bo Pelini has seen Michigan State on the opposing sideline as a Cornhusker, either.

    Pelini served as interim head coach after Frank Solich was fired following Nebraska’s final regular season game versus Colorado in 2003.

    Before that, MSU ran into the Nebraska mid-'90’s buzz saw and lost two contests by a combined score of 105-24.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Series Record: 20-29-2

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 8 Nebraska 56, Minnesota 0

    Another early rivalry, the Cornhuskers made their way up to Minneapolis quite often early in their history.

    Nebraska usually added a loss to their record for their troubles.

    They were one of the original teams that got Nebraska’s goat time and time again, agitating the Cornhuskers up to 1960 when the Golden Gophers knocked off the No. 12-ranked Nebraska team 26-14 in Lincoln.

    Fourteen straight victories later, the Cornhuskers are working on evening up the score.

Northwestern Wildcats

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    Series Record: 3-1

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 9 Nebraska 66, No. 18 Northwestern 17

    Nebraska’s dates with Northwestern have been intermittent and usually not kind to the Wildcats.

    Northwestern hasn't owned a victory over the Cornhuskers since 1931.

    After the first quarter of the 2000 Alamo Bowl ended with a 7-3 Nebraska lead, it looked like the hyped Big 12/Big Ten matchup would live up to its billing.

    Nebraska’s ensuing 31- and 21-point quarters put that idea to rest.

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Series Record: 0-2

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 8 Ohio State 34, Nebraska 7

    In what many are anticipating to be a potential big-time rivalry in the “new” Big Ten conference, Ohio State has won both historical contests.

    The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers have met in Columbus twice; once in 1955, and again in 1956.

    Nebraska hung in with No. 6 Ohio State before losing 28-20 and simply had no shot versus the No. 8 Buckeyes the following year, losing, 34-7. 

Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Series Record: 6-7

    Most Recent Meeting: No. 18 Nebraska 18, Penn State 10

    There is a very clear reason why the Big Ten made Penn State Nebraska’s cross-division rival.

    Plenty of history dots a series that has only included 13 contests to this point.

    Many Nebraska fans still see red over a referee’s decision that a Nittany Lion was in-bounds after what appeared to be a catch well off of the field on a crucial play when the teams met in 1982.

    Some Penn State fans are still steamed over what they see as a legitimate national championship argument from 1994.

    The 2002 season's “Operation: Visine” did its job in "keeping the red out" as a teeming Beaver Stadium was a sea of white clothing in support of the Nittany Lions.

    When Nebraska came to visit State College, they were sent home packing with a 40-7 loss.

    Despite the back-and-forth disagreements, two college football icons remain at the head of any Cornhusker-Nittany Lion event: Tom Osborne and Joe Paterno.

    Regardless of what side fans take, the achievements of both men cannot be ignored.

Purdue Boilermakers

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    Series Record: 0-1

    Most Recent Meeting: Purdue 28, Nebraska 0

    They’ll always have West Lafayette.

    Actually, the Cornhuskers and Boilermakers only have had West Lafayette.

    During the 1958 season, Purdue and Nebraska met for a 28-0 shutout in favor of the Boilermakers.

    The Cornhuskers won’t have an opportunity to settle the score until at least the 2013 season.

Wisconsin Badgers

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    Series Record: 3-2

    Most Recent Meeting: Wisconsin 21, No. 4 Nebraska 20

    Another series that's stirring early interest in Big Ten play, Nebraska hasn’t faced Wisconsin since 1974.

    In four out of the five meetings, the Cornhuskers have always been ranked No. 7 or higher.

    Nebraska has a chance to deliver some payback for their last encounter which took place in Madison.

    The Cornhuskers’ first game as a member of the Big Ten conference takes place in the heart of Badger Country.

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