Nebraska rush offense vs. BYU rush defense
Few will be under a more watchful eye than Terrell Newby and the Husker I-backs, who face the challenge of replacing the production of second-round NFL draft pick Ameer Abdullah. Nebraska also has four new starters on the offensive line after ranking No. 19 last season in rushing offense (240.2 yards per game). Quarterback Tommy Armstrong will still be involved in the run game, but how much?
Nebraska pass offense vs. BYU pass defense
It’s safe to assume the ball will be in the air more often this season, which puts an onus on Armstrong improving his accuracy (52.9 career completion percentage) and limiting interceptions. The junior threw seven touchdown passes in his last two games of 2014, however, and hit USC for 381 yards in the Holiday Bowl. BYU tied for No. 114 nationally in pass defense last season by allowing 269.7 yards per game, although it saw an average of 42.2 attempts a week.
BYU rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Running quarterbacks make teams hard to defend, and BYU has one of the best with senior Taysom Hill. Nebraska will have to find a good mix of containing Hill and tackling him in space, so a team effort. The Cougars do lack an accomplished tailback, stung by the departure of 2014 leading rusher Jamaal Williams last month, but NU ranked just No. 80 in rushing defense last season (177.9 yards a game).
BYU pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
There is talk of the Cougars throwing it a little more to limit the pounding that Hill takes, and they already were fairly efficient last season (278.7 yards per game, 59.8 completion percentage). Nebraska has to replace some of the pass-rushing oomph supplied by Randy Gregory, and will have new starters at cornerback and safety.
Mike Riley brought Bruce Read with him from Oregon State to coach special teams at NU, and Read had the good fortune of inheriting punter Sam Foltz and kicker Drew Brown. The Huskers did take a huge hit with the injury to punt returner De’Mornay Pierson-El, though, and BYU was among the nation’s best last season in net punting at 41.2 yards. The Cougars aren’t particularly good in their return games.
Nebraska is banking on cleaning up some things with Riley in charge, and there should be a level of enthusiasm as his debut comes before a Memorial Stadium crowd of 90,000-plus. BYU won’t be intimidated by the noise or venue in a season that also includes trips to UCLA and Michigan in September. Both teams had negative turnover margins a year ago, but BYU took about 30 more yards in penalties a game. Nebraska also hasn’t lost a season-opening game since 1985.
Key matchup: Nebraska offensive line vs. BYU defensive front
There will be some unknown when it comes to the Nebraska offensive line vs. the BYU defensive front. Take out left tackle Alex Lewis and the Huskers’ other four No. 1's have two career starts between them. The Cougars will test them with stunts and a mix of three- and four-man fronts, and 6-foot-8, 280-pound left end Bronson Kaufusi is capable of mayhem.
No cupcake for Nebraska to kick off the Mike Riley era, with BYU the toughest opener for the Huskers since hosting No. 24 Oklahoma State in 2003. But the Cougars also have been a five-loss team each of the last three seasons, and not exactly flush with much preseason love in 2015. Look for a decent amount of points to be scored, with NU maybe having a big play or two more in it.
Our prediction: NU 38, BYU 30
Big Red Today coverage
Omaha Skutt wide receiver Christian Banker has accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity at Nebraska.
The Illini opened practice on Valentine’s Day, making them the early birds of the 130 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Husker football coaches will be in attendance for a junior college prospect camp on July 22 hosted by Kansas, according to a flier tweeted by the Jayhawks' director of recruiting.
Nate Gerry and Cethan Carter might carry the best hopes of Nebraska prospects, but overall lukewarm projections leave the Huskers looking at a lean NFL draft for the second time in five years.
Nebraska senior offensive lineman Dwayne Johnson has left the program and will pursue transfer options after he graduates in May with a degree in criminal justice and criminology, a Husker spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Huskers Illustrated first reported the news.
The Huskers have to be happy with their haul to this point. They’re hovering around the top 10 nationally in the recruiting ratings thanks to a lush star-rating-per-prospect. Life’s pretty good in The Good Life. So, what now?
Restricted free agent linebacker Will Compton re-signed with the Washington Redskins on Monday.
Nebraska’s first priority of the spring evaluation period was to “swarm” its own state. The Huskers hit high schools in every corner of Nebraska over the last week, but now the coaches are expanding their range.
Given where Chris Jones plays on a football field — out on an island at cornerback, just a man and his assignment — perhaps it makes sense. The senior who may be NU’s best overall player doesn’t talk much to…
As one of the most successful receivers in Nebraska football history, Jordan Westerkamp knew a little something about adjusting routes and finding ways to make things work. The last four months have been a little like that, too.
Nebraska’s staff spread out, “swarming the state” and promoting it hard on social media. All told, the Husker staff made close to 50 stops six days after the spring game.
Nebraska received its eighth known verbal commit for the 2018 class on Sunday evening from Corona (Calif.) Centennial wideout Chase Williams. Three quick thoughts on his decision.
Nebraska football kept its recruiting roll going Sunday evening when Corona (California) Eleanor Roosevelt athlete Chase Williams verbally committed to the Huskers via a video he released on Twitter.
Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst was a key architect of a massive recruiting reform package — one Husker coaches supported — that was passed April 14 by the NCAA Division I Council.
It’s been a long, long time since Nebraska had a quarterback play quarterback in the NFL. A long time since NU had a quarterback drafted as a quarterback.
Maybe it’s wise to check out what has worked for the Big Ten’s most consistent defense recently — Wisconsin — which conveniently also is among the programs the Huskers have to conquer to get out of the West Division.
Several Nebraska football coaches had a busy day Friday, swarming the state visiting potential 2018 and 2019 recruits. Here's a few of the coaches' tweets pinpointing the high schools they visited throughout the day.
Nebraska officially has seven commitments for the 2018 class. But on Mike Riley’s Husker Sports Network radio show Thursday night, the coach said NU has nine commitments — which means two of them are “silent” unannounced verbal pledges — with…
Nebraska has never had a recruiting class finish better than 17th in ESPN's rankings. The Huskers' 2018 class currently ranks in the top 10. ESPN released Thursday its updated player rankings for the 2018 class, and the Huskers have four…
Riley said Wednesday he was pleased the NCAA Division I Council voted last week to significantly regulate how many camps college coaches can work, and where those camps can be held.
The 10 recruits that were committed to Nebraska earliest in their respective recruiting cycles, and the current Husker commits that have a chance at cracking this list.
Nebraska split practice time evenly this spring as QBs Tanner Lee and Patrick O'Brien battled for the starting job. NU coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday that the job is now Lee's to lose.
David Knevel said the Nebraska offense seemed to find traction this spring with a particular outside running play, with “pinners and pullers” and a design that the right tackle thought was a good fit for Husker linemen.
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Jon Nyatawa tackle top local topics and the hottest headlines from across the country in the April 18 edition of "The Pick Six Podcast."
No need to scour the dictionary for flowery phrases to describe Rutgers’ football offense last year when one word will do: Inept. Maybe “inept” should be in capital letters considering the Scarlet Knights were last nationally in total offense (283.2…
For Nebraska’s 2017 football team, picking out the big movers isn’t the hard part. It’s limiting the list to just 10. That’s because Nebraska arguably has its youngest and least experienced roster since 2011, the season after the Huskers had…
Teammate of NU signee Damion Daniels plans to make decision after senior season.
Prized defensive line/tight end prospect "definitely" keeping Nebraska in the mix
Spielman got a taste of what he’s been waiting for with four receptions and a touchdown in the Red-White scrimmage Saturday.
Nebraska’s newest commit for the 2018 recruiting class won’t have to learn the nuances of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.