LINCOLN — Coaches who take over for fired predecessors don’t count on making many positive entries into their school’s record book right away.
But first-year Nebraska coach Tim Miles had writers and statisticians flipping through the press guide after the Huskers’ 79-63 win at Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
What they found:
»The 16-point margin of victory was the biggest in a true road game in nine seasons and the seventh largest in the past 25 years.
»Miles won his first road game, something no other Husker rookie coach had done since Paul Schlisser led NU to a 47-9 win at Hastings in 1919-20. The number of coaches in the 93 years in between who lost their road opener: 14.
“I didn’t know any of that,” Miles, who got home at 4 a.m. Wednesday, said later in the day. “No idea on the historical perspective stuff.
“It’s great. It’s nice. But at the same time, it won’t mean anything if we can’t go out and find a way to win Monday against Southern Cal.”
Nebraska (5-1) isn’t planning a parade after the victory. The Huskers, picked last in the Big Ten, whipped up on a Wake Forest squad projected 10th in the 14-team ACC and with a coach on the hot seat in Jeff Bzdelik. The headline in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal was “Another Night, Another Debacle.”
Still, it was just the sixth true road win for Nebraska in the past four seasons.
“I thought our guys responded well going on the road,” Miles said. “One of the ideas to winning on the road is not to make such a big deal about playing on the road. Sometimes that becomes a mind game in itself.
“We tried to stick to the routine as close as we could as if we were in Lincoln.”
One new thing on Tuesday, Miles said, was more vocal leadership throughout the team.
“This is a relatively quiet group, which always concerns a coach because there is so much communication involved,” he said. “You have to interact.
“But in warm-ups and in timeouts, guys were talking. Earlier in the year, during one timeout, I said, ‘I shouldn’t be the only one talking in a timeout. If I’ve got to come up with all the good ideas, we’re in trouble.’”
Nebraska also got strong responses from senior center Andre Almeida and junior guard Ray Gallegos. Those two, who in last Saturday’s home loss to Kent State combined for six points, totaled 40 against Wake Forest — career highs of 20 apiece.
“It appears to me they need to be challenged more often,” Miles said. “I thought those guys played great.”
»NOTES: Husker freshman Shavon Shields remains questionable because of soreness in his recently operated-on elbow. ... Nebraska’s next two games are next week at home: USC on Monday and Creighton on Thursday.
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