Nicholls State to play Huskers
BY STEVEN M. SIPPLE / Lincoln Journal Star
Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 - 10:26:14 am CST
Division I-AA Maine found little room to maneuver when it took a 25-9 loss to Nebraska in the 2005 season opener at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers will again play a I-AA opponent, Nicholls State, this season. (Jill Peitzmeier)
As far as Nicholls State athletic director Rob Bernardi knows, his school is the only public university in the nation that offers a culinary program for students.
Come September, Bernardi hopes Nicholls State distinguishes itself on the football field by cooking up an upset over Nebraska in Lincoln.
Bernardi said Tuesday that officials from both schools have signed a contract to play at Memorial Stadium in 2006. There’s only one hitch: Nebraska officials haven’t determined whether the game will occur Sept. 2 or Sept. 9, he said.
“We’re just waiting to hear back from them as to which date we’ll play,” Bernardi said. “I think they’re trying to work out some things with another opponent. But we intend to be in Lincoln on one of those dates.”
Nebraska is in the final stages of finalizing its 2006 schedule. The Huskers’ 12-game schedule next season has room for four non-Big 12 Conference games, and two of those contests apparently are set: Sept. 16 at Southern California and Sept. 23 against Troy in Lincoln.
Nicholls State, an NCAA Division I-AA team from Thibodaux, La., finished 6-4 this past season, winning its last five regular-season games to capture its first Southland Conference championship.
Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson has said he won’t comment on scheduling matters until both the 2006 and 2007 schedules are finalized. NU’s 2007 schedule tentatively features home games against Nevada on Sept. 1 and Southern Cal on Sept. 15 sandwiched around a Sept. 8 road test at Wake Forest.
“Steve has tried to keep us informed and has been very apologetic, really,” Bernardi said. “Some of those athletic directors from big-time schools, you can’t even get them on the phone. That’s not the case with Steve. Every time I’ve called him, he’s called me back. We continue to be patient and just await word from them.”
Asked if Nicholls State had given Nebraska a deadline for a final answer, Bernardi said, “I think he’s certainly aware we need to put a period behind this thing soon. Hopefully, they’ll reward us for our patience.”
Nebraska, 8-4 in 2005, has played Division I-AA opponents in three of the last four seasons. This past season, the Huskers defeated Maine 25-7 in Lincoln.
Division I-A teams can count one victory over a I-AA opponent each year toward bowl eligibility. The rule went into effect in 2005.
Bernardi declined to say how much money Nicholls State will receive for its trip to Lincoaln. He did say Husker tailgaters should be ready for some tasty Cajun dishes.
“I’ve told Steve we intend to bring a band of Cajun chefs,” Bernardi said. “We’re an attractive opponent. We come with our own food.”