Game Day: Nebraska vs. Fresno State

Huskers have the playbook

Nebraska entered the day about a four-touchdown favorite vs. Fresno State, so, if preseason practice and game week preparation went as planned, Nebraska should be able to follow their plan and handle the Bulldogs by checking off all the boxes.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Fresno State rush defense

When you last watched, the Huskers were putting a 326-yard hurt on UCLA. That capped an inconsistent season — four games under 140 yards, three over 240 — and now NU has three first-time starters on its offensive line and two others changing positions. Fresno State couldn’t stop the run a year ago, giving up 234.7 yards a game and ranking No. 116 in rushing defense. Ball control would be one way for NU to keep the Bulldog offense off the field.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Fresno State pass defense

Few reasons for the Huskers to struggle here, with Tommy Armstrong making his 34th career start, surrounded by a loaded receiving corps and entering his second season in the Mike Riley-Danny Langsdorf offense. The X-factor is interceptions, of course, and Fresno State does have some experience in its secondary. A steady run game could set the table for an easier time of it, too.

Fresno State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Bulldogs get back junior Dontel James, who spent last season at a California junior college. The 220-pound running back required minor knee surgery three weeks ago but appears ready to go. Fresno State didn’t run the ball very effectively a year ago, and Nebraska ranked No. 9 nationally in rushing defense (109.8 yards per game). The Huskers lost some horses up front, but planning on better linebacker play.

Fresno State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Bulldogs fondly remember the Derek Carr era, when the current Raiders quarterback threw for 12,843 yards and 113 TDs between 2009 and ’13. They have struggled ever since, and turn to redshirt freshman Chason Virgil to see what he can bring. Nebraska did have problems defending the pass last season and its pass rush is unproven, so it could be interesting what first-year offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau does here.

Special teams

Nebraska will honor punter Sam Foltz on Saturday night, and the All-Big Ten performer definitely will be missed as the Huskers turn to freshman Caleb Lightbourn. But NU is expecting more big things from kicker Drew Brown, and it hopes to get a boost from a healthy De’Mornay Pierson-El and freshman Tre Bryant in the return game. Fresno State kicker Jimmy Camacho made 21 of 26 field goals during his lone junior-college season in 2014, but only attempted four a year ago for the Bulldogs.

Intangibles

For all of its troubles last season, Fresno State was lightly penalized (59 total) and was only minus-two on turnover margin. The Bulldogs have a reputation for playing anybody and anywhere, but a Memorial Stadium night game with a lot of freshmen and sophomores in uniform makes for a tall task, especially with two new coordinators. NU has been feeding off some 2015 late-season momentum and will want to avoid a repeat of its season-opening loss to BYU a year ago.

Key matchup: Nebraska cornerbacks vs. Fresno State receivers

Nebraska liked how cornerbacks Joshua Kalu and Chris Jones finished last season, and they head into their junior seasons with some confidence and experience — and hope for the Huskers to be better on the back end in 2016. Fresno State will challenge them with five receivers who have combined for 196 career catches, including senior Aaron Peck and sophomore Jamire Jordan.

Our take

Nebraska owns a huge edge in experience at quarterback, and Virgil has to deal with the Husker crowd in addition to directing a new Bulldog offense. NU head coach Mike Riley has talked often about a “good vibe” around Husker football this offseason, and now it’s time to take it to the field. Nebraska should get its points and the defense should be further along than a year ago.

Our prediction: Nebraska 48, Fresno State 23

Live updates

Photos

World-Herald fan photos »

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Fresno State matchup provided by the NU Athletic Department. Click here »

Husker History

Find information on every win, loss and tie in Husker history. With historical World-Herald front pages, photos, stories, key stats and more, our ever-growing Husker History Database is your new home for archiving one of the nation's most tradition-rich programs.Click here »

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks. Plus, look back at historical moments in Nebraska football by following @HuskerHistory on Twitter.

BRT app

IPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. Omaha.com/BRTapp and Omaha.com/android

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Carriker Chronicles: John Parrella on his mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and more

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella about his "All Gas, No Brakes" mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and…

Barfknecht: New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ age is no reason to question his capabilities

Contrary to current popular opinion, Social Security eligibility isn’t required to land a high-profile position in Nebraska’s athletic department. It may seem that way with Mike Riley, 64, as head football coach and now Bill Moos, 66, as athletic director.

NU coach Mike Riley says bye week comes at 'fortunate time' with myriad of Huskers recovering after tough few weeks

A lot of Nebraska players are pretty banged up this week, coach Mike Riley said on the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Husker Scott Frost running scout team to prepare UCF for Navy's option offense

Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost knows a thing or two about the option offense, and he's using that knowledge to ready UCF to face it.

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos' contract includes $500,000 for potential bonuses, half based on football performance

New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ contract indicates that football is on the minds of those who gave it to him.

Carriker Chronicles: A full analysis of new A.D. Bill Moos

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Tuesday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos to be the next athletic director.

Regents, not intimately involved in search, give resounding support of Bill Moos hire

Members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents expressed support and even delight Monday over the hiring of Bill Moos as Nebraska’s athletic director.

Shatel: Bill Moos not only can raise money, but stands ground with big-money donors

I’m hearing that some of the big-money folks are making their unhappiness known over Mike Riley’s football program.

Mad Chatter: Happy anniversary, Husker fans! May your next 10 years be better than the last 10; Joe Maddon's blunder and the injured NFL

Bill Moos may be a friendly face, but your skepticism is warranted.

Carriker Chronicles: Recapping Nebraska's loss to Ohio State

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Monday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at the statistics behind Nebraska's 56-14 loss to Ohio State.

'Rural boy' Bill Moos, who oversaw turnaround at Washington State, named new Nebraska A.D.

Moos, who has been director of athletics at Washington State since 2010, will begin his tenure in Lincoln on Oct. 23.

McKewon: Blackshirts are beat up, but passive scheme, confusion hard to understand

Nebraska’s defensive coordinator presided over a Blackshirts surrender that produced more sorrow on my Facebook page and in my Twitter/email message inbox than I can recall since the 2012 Big Ten championship game.

Bill Moos calls himself 'a fierce competitor' when introduced as Huskers' new athletic director

Bill Moos said Sunday that his motto has always been the same in 25 years of athletic administration and won't change as he takes over at Nebraska: "Honor the past, live the present, create the future."

Hiring is all about fit to Athletic Director Bill Moos, who brought Mike Leach to Washington State

For Bill Moos, his first course of action at Nebraska will likely focus heavily on figuring out who fits at Nebraska, and who doesn’t.

Chatelain: Bill Moos' connections to Mike Riley add twist to situation

Picture this scene: Oregon State’s head coach (Mike Riley) sitting down with Oregon’s athletic director (Bill Moos) and telling Beaver football stories.

Shatel: Bill Moos seems solid, but he'll be judged by football success

Somebody asked Bill Moos about boots, so he rattled off a couple of his favorite brands. And sports writers nodded in agreement.

Barfknecht: New A.D.’s straight talk cuts through surprise, doubts

If there had been a national betting pool on Nebraska’s hire for athletic director, today would entail offering refunds.

Barfknecht's Big Ten rankings, Oct. 16

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Oct. 16.

From Mike Bellotti on down, those who served with and for Bill Moos praise his leadership

Bill Moos was always open with Mike Bellotti. So open that they had conversations about what would happen if Moos — then the Oregon athletic director — ever had to fire his football coach.

Huskers head into bye week looking for answers

There was a lot of talk about recovery on Saturday after one of Nebraska’s worst conference home losses ever.

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos career timeline

Bill Moos came full circle in 2010 when he was hired as athletic director at Washington State, returning to Pullman after being an all-conference football player for the Cougars in the early 1970s and starting his career in athletics administration…

Dave Rimington accomplishes goals during short time as interim A.D., likes Nebraska's future under Bill Moos

The former Nebraska center stated three goals when he was introduced as the interim athletic director on Sept. 26. All three got done under his watch, Rimington said Sunday.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska hiring Bill Moos as A.D.

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker gives his gut reaction to Nebraska's new athletic director, Bill Moos.

Poll: How do you grade Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos as A.D.?

What do you think of the hire? Vote in the poll below and leave comments sharing your thoughts.

Who is Bill Moos? What you need to know about the Nebraska athletic department's new leader

Bill Moos will take over as Nebraska A.D. on Oct. 23, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Ronnie Green announced Sunday. Who is he?

In murky waters: Huskers, unable to stop Buckeyes, suffer one of their worst home defeats

Nebraska football coach Mike Riley, captain of this pigskin Titanic, looked cold as he passively watched his program sink, perhaps for good, during Ohio State’s 56-14 evisceration of the Huskers.

Barfknecht: Looking for good news? New Nebraska athletic director should be in place soon

Look for Nebraska to introduce a new athletic director this week. It’s not official, but three sources with ties to NU’s administration indicated Saturday interviews took place late last week and that a decision is either imminent or already made.

Chatelain: Nebraska football can't go on like this anymore

For the sake of all those national champions and All-Americans, for the thousands who grew up and grew old on the planks of Memorial Stadium, for the pride and dignity of a state and its flagship university. Make. It. Stop.

Shatel: Nebraska's boss spoke loud and clear Saturday night after spiritless performance by Mike Riley's Huskers

You could see and hear the boss calling for change. And it seems inevitable now, change will come to Nebraska’s football program. Many want it now, of course, after the embarrassment that unfolded at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

Nebraska-Ohio State: Tracking the offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 56-14 loss against the Buckeyes.