(Sorry about not finishing this up. For some reason, we were a little pre-occupied late last week. So we held back on this week's vote during all the hoopla...)
We've taken your nominations for Best I-Back, and here are our candidates.
When you think of the 1971 Cornhuskers, you think of Johnny Rodgers and his punt return against Oklahoma. Or maybe quarterback Jerry Tagge. But perhaps you should think about I-back Jeff Kinney, who had an all-American season to lead the Huskers. Big players come up big in big games, and in that "Game of the Century", Kinney rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns. He went on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Maybe his career numbers don't hold up, but considering that his season records from his sophomore season lasted well into Osborne era, Bobby Reynolds deserves at least a mention. His final touchdown run against Missouri in 1950 is the stuff of legends, as he reversed field three times (covering well over 100 yards) enroute to scoring the winning touchdown. For that, he was an all-American in 1950. Shoulder, leg, and eye injuries limited him after that season, so he won't get the credit he otherwise deserved.
Mike Rozier's 1983 season is the stuff that legends are made of. 2,148 yards. 29 touchdowns. Oh, and the Heisman Trophy. He elected to go to the USFL, and so his NFL accomplishments pale in comparison to what he did in Lincoln. But that doesn't diminish what he did in Lincoln. Especially that 3 yard run against UCLA.
As a season ticketholder since 1992, I didn't see as many games before that. Back then and prior to that, the Huskers only showed up two or three times a year on television, though I did enjoy them for years thanks to Kent Pavelka and Lyle Bremser on the radio. But in the years since, Ahman Green was the best I-back I personally saw in Lincoln. He just had the entire package of speed and power in his running. I remember that opening touchdown against Oklahoma State in 1995. He literally ran through a Okie State safety, sending him reeling. Certainly his 12 year NFL career vouches for that.
On the field, some think Phillips was the best ever. Certainly has the stats to bear that out; his 1994 season total of 1,722 is the third highest in school history, and the most ever by a sophomore. But Phillips will be known for his off the field problems, starting with beating up an ex-girlfriend and finishing up with driving his car into a group of teenagers. He's currently serving a 31-year sentence in California.
The greatest name ever to play I-back (yes, better than Thunder Collins because he actually had game), Isaiah Moses Hipp finished his career sixth in total yards rushing with 2,814. During his time at Nebraska, he split carries with Rick Berns (15th in career rushing) and Roger Craig (16th in career rushing). Imagine the numbers he would have put up otherwise.
So who is it? Who was the best I-back at Nebraska?