Four-year starter Mangieri has memorable senior day to cap home career

Story by Bryce Arens, NewsNetNebraska

The cheers for P.J. Mangieri Saturday weren’t deafening. The noise was reserved for running back Rex Burkhead. But there has been only one Nebraska player to start every game during the last four years.

Not Burkhead, but Mangieri, who started his final home game as a Husker in a 38-14 win over Minnesota.

“I think I heard my name more times than I have heard it in the last four years all in one day,” Mangieri said. “I felt pretty special. It was a great experience.

Mangieri was the No. 1-rated long snapper by Kohl’s National Invitational Scholarship Camp coming out of Dunlop High School in 2009. He came to Nebraska looking to replace graduated long snapper T.J. O’Leary. He started his first game against Florida Atlantic, snapping for Alex Henery, who would go on to have an All-Big 12 season and an All-American year the next year while working with Mangieri. In 2011, Mangieri started work with Brett Maher, a kicker who would become a close friend.

“We have been best friends. We hang out with each other three or four times a week,” Mangieri said. “The last four years have definitely strengthened it and has helped to convert how great our special teams unit has been since he’s taken over.”

Mangieri and Maher have a consistent routine they have developed. They stand in the same spot on the sidelines. A few pats on the helmet after a made field goal or maybe a big slap after a long one. The Mangieri and Maher tandem, along with holders from the past, Austin Cassidy, and the present, Jase Dean, have made Nebraska one of the most accurate field goal units in the country. With Mangieri snapping, Husker kickers have converted 75 of 90 field goals (better than 80 percent) and only missed one extra point.

Mangieri says he is thankful for his time as a Husker, but there is still business to take care of to the season.

“It’s been great just being able to be a true part of the team and start every game these last four years,” he said. “We are just trying to win out, that’s all you can ask for.”

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