This isn’t your father’s Nebraska Cornhuskers. The days where they were competing for National Championships consistently.
Those days are long gone, and may never return.
But don’t tell that to head coach Scott Frost, their beloved former quarterback and prodigal son.
After going undefeated as the coach of Central Florida a season ago, it hasn’t been an ideal start for Frost and the Huskers in 2018, dropping their first two games.
While Nebraska is 0-2, their losses weren’t blowouts, falling to Colorado 33-28, and then Troy 24-19.
Frost is a good coach who’s had success everywhere he’s went, it just may take a little longer than Nebraska fans want for him to turn their program into a winner.
Nevertheless, this team shouldn’t be overlooked.
2018 Team Stats
- Total Offense- 42nd
- Rushing Offense- 18th
- Passing Offense- 84th
- Total Defense- 38th
- Rushing Defense- 20th
- Passing Yards Allowed- 79th
- Sacks Allowed- 94th
- Sacks- 2nd
- Team Tackles for Loss- 9th
- Interceptions- 93rd
- 3rd Down Conversion Percentage- 94th
Players of note
- Starting quarterback Adrian Martinez has been banged up but has been practicing this week and will be a game-time decision. The dual-threat freshman is 15-of-20 for 187 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His wheels have been on full display as well, rushing for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 15 carries.
- The rushing duo of Greg Bell and Maurice Washington has been solid to this point in the season. Bell has rushed for 168 yards (6.2 ypc) and Washington for 126 yards (5.7 ypc). Neither of them have rushed for a touchdown.
- At wideout the Huskers have two key contributors, Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman. Morgan has 10 receptions for 139 yards and 1 touchdown while Spielman isn’t too far behind with 9 receptions for 112 yards and two scores.
- OLB Luke Gifford has been getting into the opponents backfield often, notching 5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks
- DE Freedom Akinmoladun has been a good edge setter for the Huskers and will give the Michigan o-line a challenge. Freedom has 2.5 sacks in 2 games this season.
What they are saying
- Harbaugh respects Frost
- Nebraska running backs coach Ryan Held makes a Rocky Balboa comparison: “Nobody thinks we can win this game,” Held said. “National people don’t think we can win this game. We have to be able to rally, come together as a group, go on the road, get on that airplane like Rocky Balboa did and frickin’ beat Ivan Drago.”
- What if?
What if Michigan actually played Nebraska in 1997? We talked to players and personalities about what the game would have been like -- then played it out. Enjoy. https://t.co/30SI792cuq pic.twitter.com/VF9pFN42Ki— Bill Bender (@BillBender92) September 18, 2018
General thoughts about the game
Nebraska’s season is very much on the line. If they fall to 0-3 the doom will set in.
Expect a strong effort from the Cornhuskers. Whether that translates into on the field success remains to be seen, but games like these can become “trap games” if the opponent isn’t taken seriously enough.
Jim Harbaugh does know Frost somewhat well, he believes Frost is a fine coach. Harbaugh isn’t going to take this game lightly and should have his troops prepared for the challenge.
If Adrian Martinez is a full-go for Nebraska, it’ll be yet another mobile quarterback the Wolverines will have to stop. They’ve had their struggles containing scrambling QB’s during defensive coordinator Don Brown’s tenure at Michigan and it’ll be very interesting to see their plan of attack against Martinez.
Nebraska has a fairly decent front seven that is quick and can get into the backfield. The Michigan offensive line will be tested.
The Huskers secondary didn’t play well against pass-happy Colorado, but their run defense has been much better. This could be a game where Shea Patterson throws over 25 times, attacking the biggest weaknesses on the Nebraska defense.
When the final whistle blows I expect Michigan to be victorious, I could even see this being a blowout, but Michigan should be concerned about Nebraska heading into the game, they have enough talent to compete and surprise the nation on Saturday.