With another nine win season culminating into a bowl victory, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are back and looking to improve on an underwhelming 2013 season.
The 2013 season left a lot to be desired for the Cornhuskers. It involved a near catastrophic loss to Wyoming (which they ended up winning by three points), and a shellacking from UCLA in Lincoln.
The Huskers are fortunate to return a solid base from a season ago. In order to gear up for another shot at cracking double-digit victories, these three players are key to the Huskers success in 2014.
Ameer Abdullah - Running Back
Senior Ameer Abdullah is the nation's top returning RB in 2014. Having a very successful season on the ground, rushing for almost 1,700 yards and nine touchdowns. It's a safe bet that Abdullah could very well reach the 1,000-yard plateau again, and perhaps more. Abdullah was a Doak Walker finalist in 2013 and was also named third-team All-American.
He will be in the conversation for one of the best running backs in the nation, so extra attention will have to be focused on him during gameplanning. The whole season is not lost if he underperforms in 2014, but the Husker offense will certainly rely on Abdullah a lot to be successful.
Here is over ten minutes worth of Abdullah highlights from 2013.
Randy Gregory - Defensive End
Junior Randy Gregory was a nuisance against Michigan last season. Although he compiled only four tackles, three of those tackles were registered sacks. Which doesn't mean much in the whole scheme of things because Michigan's offensive line was similar to a set of saloon doors for most of the '13 season.
At any rate, Gregory had some solid games a season ago for Huskers and is looking to do it again in 2014. The Huskers issues of having a consistent pass rush is no longer. Gregory finished 2013 with 64 tackles and nine sacks. He registered 8 tackles in a game three times last season.
With success comes added attention, Gregory will be facing a lot of that in 2014. Undoubtedly one of the more exciting defensive players for the Huskers, Gregory shouldn't have any issues getting to the quarterback.
Gregory speaks with the BTN Live crew below.
Tommy Armstrong - Quarterback
Tommy Armstrong had to see early action as a true freshman due to quarterback injuries. He finished 2013 appearing in eight games with 966-yards passing, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Although the stats don't really show it, but Armstrong did what he could to keep the team afloat as a true freshman.
Although Armstrong hasn't exactly secured a starting spot for 2014, it is assumed that he will be named the Husker quarterback. When he does, he is a key component to this offense, as it will live and die through Armstrong. There is no doubt Armstrong will have to have a better season this year compared to last. But it will be interesting to see how much Armstrong has developed and just how much the added experience from a year ago will aid the young quarterback in the future.
Bonus Key Player: Bo Pelini's Cat
Because, why not? This is awesome.
Yes this actually happened during the tunnel walk. #BoPelini #huskers #nebraska pic.twitter.com/SNfWTny0ID— Josh Harvey (@JoshHarveyScout) April 12, 2014