It’s no secret the Nebraska Cornhuskers have had some struggles over the last decade. Since joining the Big Ten, they have gotten nowhere near winning the conference, despite bringing in Scott Frost who was touted as the savior of the program. Even though they have had little to no success on the field, the Huskers have been above average at bringing in some of the top recruits in the country. In fact, they’ve brought in a top 25 class in each of the last five seasons.
While they have started this season 3-3, they have not been blown out in any of the games they’ve played including two games against top 25 opponents in Michigan State and Oklahoma. Each loss for Nebraska has come by one score or less.
Michigan will have its hands full with a couple of players on this team, especially the two that we will name on the offensive end. Let’s get to know the enemy and evaluate three guys who could give the Wolverines fits when they do battle this weekend:
QB Adrian Martinez
If there is a household name at Frost’s disposal, Martinez is the closest to it.
The redshirt junior has been a perennial Heisman candidate throughout the past three seasons, as he racks up big yards through the air and on the ground. His dual-threat ability is exactly why Michigan fans should be concerned about this game. Mike Macdonald struggled to stop the quarterback runs against Rutgers when the RPO was ran for the majority of the second half in that game. You can almost guarantee Nebraska will attempt to replicate parts of that game plan.
This offense moves with Martinez, and if the Wolverines can’t takeaway either the run or the pass, he’s going to have a big game and this one could be closer than it should be.
WR Samori Toure
When Nebraska tries to stretch the field, there is one guy Martinez constantly targets — senior wideout Semori Toure. He leads the team with 23 receptions and nearly 500 yards through the first half of the season. He has receptions of 68 and 70 yards and averages 21 yards per reception. He’s put up 100 yards or more in three of his six games.
Oftentimes, Martinez will just chuck the ball up to Toure deep and see what happens. That’s exactly why safeties Dax Hill and Brad Hawkins will need to stay true to the deep ball throughout this game. Martinez is not afraid to take shots, especially after run fakes. If Michigan’s safeties aren’t careful, they could find themselves as Toure’s next victims.
EDGE Garrett Nelson
The Cornhusker defense is suspect at best, but they are successful when they get home to the quarterback. The guy who does that the most is redshirt sophomore Garrett Nelson. Nelson has eight quarterback hurries and two sacks in the last two weeks (including four against Michigan State). He sees most of his snaps in passing situations, so the pass protection on the outside from Andrew Stueber and Ryan Hayes will have to continue to be stellar to keep Cade McNamara upright this week.