LINCOLN, Neb. - When No. 17 Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) takes on Purdue (3-5, 1-3) this weekend in Memorial Stadium, it could be the last time junior defensive end Randy Gregory plays the Boilermakers. While the Huskers do have a trip to West Lafayette on their schedule next season, Gregory might be elsewhere – like Oakland, Jacksonville, New York, Tampa Bay, or Tennessee.
Once committed to Purdue out of high school, Gregory had to go the junior college route to get academically eligible. When the Boilermakers fired head coach Danny Hope, new coach Darrell Hazell never recruited Gregory. Purdue’s loss was Nebraska’s gain.
Admitting he was fired up for the game last season, Gregory recorded two sacks in his return to Indiana. It’s likely he will be just as pumped this weekend when he looks across the sideline.
This year, the junior has 4.5 sacks on the season after dealing with an injury in the early going.
Purdue’s offensive line has been respectable when it comes to protecting their quarterback this season, but those numbers might change this weekend.
THE TIGHT ENDS CAUGHT A TOUCHDOWN:
This season, Nebraska tight ends only have a combined seven catches, but three of them were for touchdowns - including last Saturday when sophomore Sam Cotton found the end zone in the third quarter.
Fans like to poke fun at the use of the position, especially when a tight end registers a catch – it’s become a bit of a rarity. It’s likely the number of catches would be higher at this point, if Nebraska had the services of starter Cethan Carter the last three contests.
“They're doing a great job,” said quarterback Tommy Armstrong on Saturday. “They're switching in and out here and there. We've got a bunch of formations with certain guys in. You just have to understand they have to be part of the play-making crew. When their number is called they have to step up, and I think that they took that challenge the right way when it comes to this offense. Being able to block and being able to catch the ball when the ball is thrown to them. We just have to make sure that we put them in the right situations to execute and I think we a great job of it."
Cotton talked with reporters after the game on Saturday and his interview can be SEEN HERE.
BELL LOOKING TO THE CHERISH REST OF HIS CAREER:
Less than an hour after setting the Huskers’ all-time record for career receptions, senior wide receiver Kenny Bell was asked if he has had time to sit back and reflect on his career at Nebraska at any point this season.
"I haven't done that yet. I haven't taken a moment yet and just taken a breath and appreciate it like I want to,” said Bell. “It's something that I need to do more. Sit back and reflect on it because before I know it, it's going to be January and I'm going to be crying in front of you guys because I don't get to wear an 'N' on my helmet anymore.
“I listened to Quincy Enunwa, I listened to Will Compton talk about appreciating it every minute. It's going to go. It's slipping by unbelievably fast. It's saddening because I've had so much fun. I love this University, I love all the people, I love everything about Husker football. Highs and lows. It's been an amazing ride for me.”
Bell’s journey to become one of the best statistical receivers in Nebraska history has been a fun one to watch. Rated a three-star running back out of high school, Bell committed to the Huskers as an athlete after playing a little bit of everything during his prep days. He will leave Lincoln not only the career receptions leader, but also likely the receiving yards leader as well. He needs just six yards to pass former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers.
Eric Olson of the Associated Press had a solid story on Bell today. Check it out here: http://nebraska.scout.com/story/1473409-for-kenny-bell-blocking-as-fun-as-receiving?s=204
Photos by Stewart Photography
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini’s Monday morning presser starts at 11:30 a.m. Check back with Big Red Report in the coming hours.