The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame induction weekend honors the state's outstanding former players and coaches.

It's also when the NU athletic department publicizes an inductee’s accomplishments as part of the weekend’s events.

“I never realized I did all that stuff,” said DeJuan Groce, one of six former Nebraska players to be inducted this year. “Until you see it on paper it’s a whole different ballgame, and to hear people talk about it is very humbling. I thought I was just doing what I was told to do.

“I knew I was a good punt returner, but I never realized I had records. And defensive back records.”

The accomplishments for the four-year letterwinner from Garfield Heights, Ohio, include earning first-team All-America honors as a return specialist in 2002. Nebraska went 40-12 in Groce’s career, winning the Big 12 title in 1999 and reaching the BCS national championship game in 2001.

Groce had a school-record 17 pass breakups in 2000. As a senior in 2002, he tied an NCAA record with two punt return touchdowns in a game, breaking returns of 83 and 72 yards against Troy State.

Following his college career, Groce was drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round of the NFL Draft and played four seasons, with the Rams and New Orleans. He is now a mortgage loan officer in Dallas.

It was via messages on Facebook that Groce found out he was among this year's induction class.

“A couple of former players sent me messages saying congratulations on getting elected to the HOF,” Groce said. “I was like, ‘What is the HOF?’ I’m thinking they’re cracking a joke, so I looked it up and I was very surprised. I was very humbled with the opportunity to go into the Hall of Fame.”

Saturday’s game against Idaho State was the first time Groce had been back for a game at Memorial Stadium, and he was enjoying watching from the sideline.

“This is wild right now,” Groce said.

Other former Nebraska players who were inducted were Ahman Green, Josh Heskew, Dale Klein, Steve Manstedt and Bill Weber. Frank Solich was honored as a coach. The other two inductees were former Kearney State players Jim Irwin and Mitch Johnson. Dan Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) and his wife Cara received the Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award, and Ron and Jeanie Carson the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award for their support of the Husker program and their respective communities of Lincoln and Omaha.

The old Bo is back

A week after head coach Bo Pelini was not himself on the sideline while dealing with some health issues, Pelini seemed to be back to his old self early in Saturday's game.

After Nebraska was penalized 5 yards for a substitution infraction three minutes into the game, Pelini let the players and coaches on the sideline know they needed to, ahem, get into the game.

On the next play, Rex Burkhead ran 61 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

Recruiting watch

Terrell Newby was the only player known to be making an official recruiting visit Saturday.

Newby is a four-star running back from West Hills, Calif. Among the schools that have offered Newby a scholarship are California, Oregon and Washington.

Newby walked onto the field before the Tunnel Walk with Josh Banderas, a Husker linebacker recruit from Lincoln Southwest.

Nebraska is expecting a large group of recruits for next week’s game against Wisconsin.


* A role reversal, with Taylor Martinez running 15 yards onto the field to celebrate with backup quarterback Ron Kellogg after Kellogg threw his first career TD pass in the third quarter.

* A sign in the student section: “Sexy Rexy is back.”

* Gov. Dave Heineman slipping into his aisle seat in the West Stadium stands about 15 minutes before kickoff. He was still in his seat at the end of the game, which was more than many other fans could say.


* Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis to the defensive players on the bench: “Keep this up. This is fun.” At that point, five minutes into the game, Idaho State had minus 10 yards of total offense.

— Brent C. Wagner