Nebraska rush offense vs. Minnesota rush defense
The Huskers are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry over the last four outings, and haven’t had more than 157 yards in a game since Oct. 1 vs. Illinois. The decline in production has coincided with injuries to the line, but NU head coach Mike Riley also spoke this week about finding a couple identity runs and riding them. It won’t be easy getting matters straightened out against a veteran Minnesota defense that allows just 3.34 yards per carry to rank No. 16 nationally.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Minnesota pass defense
The Huskers’ completion percentage has gone into the tank the last few weeks, and NU is now one of just six FBS teams hitting below 50 percent (49.2). Nebraska was waiting on the status of quarterback Tommy Armstrong all week — and preparing Ryker Fyfe just in case — but Armstrong has been struggling to find any rhythm and has just four TD passes in the last six games. Teams have thrown on Minnesota with some success, including Purdue last week for 391 yards and four scores, but Nebraska would help itself first by running the ball at least some.
Minnesota rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Success on the ground has helped fuel a four-game winning streak, which has been highlighted by sophomore tailback Rodney Smith hitting 100 yards each week and the Gophers picking up 15 rushing TDs (now 28 for the season). Nebraska is a much tougher test, however, although the Huskers have been dented the last two weeks by Wisconsin (223 yards) and Ohio State (238). Mitch Leidner has hurt NU with his legs before, so it will have to contain the Gophers’ quarterback run game, too.
Minnesota pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Gophers have just six touchdown passes all season, and four of those came against Indiana State in September. Only senior Drew Wolitarsky has more than 17 receptions and there is very little big-play threat. Last week definitely got away from Nebraska — Ohio State threw for 352 yards and four TDs — but it had been very good for most of the season. It should get cleaned back up.
Minnesota has been fairly consistent with its kickoff and punt coverage, and Smith gives them a legitimate threat on kickoff returns. Gophers kicker Emmit Carpenter also has made more field goals than anybody in the Big Ten, connecting on 16 of 18 attempts. Nebraska still seems to be ironing things out from week-to-week, although Drew Brown has been steady as expected.
One team is riding a four-game winning streak and the other has lost two straight, but the level of opponent is a big reason why. Nebraska finally gets back home, and has been very good in night kickoffs at Memorial Stadium. Both teams are fighting for Big Ten West survival, so incentive won’t be lacking. NU will have to take care of the football, with Minnesota already forcing 21 turnovers through nine games. It also has a huge edge in head coaching experience with Mike Riley (195 games) vs. Tracy Claeys (15 games).
Key matchup: Nebraska offensive line vs. Minnesota defensive front
The Huskers haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in four weeks, but it hopes by getting some linemen healthy that it can start opening some holes again down the stretch. Among those back in the mix is left guard Jerald Foster, who might be able to supply a boost. Minnesota won’t make it easy, starting with its rugged front four, so Nebraska better match the physical part of the challenge.
Minnesota caught Nebraska right after its embarrassing loss at Wisconsin two years ago, and beat the Huskers 28-24 in Lincoln. The Gophers have the mental and physical makeup to do it again, so NU will have to be firmly regrouped or suffer the consequences. Nebraska, meanwhile, can lean on some of the success and experience that it has had in close games if this one gets tight. Minnesota made a nice four-game run, but lost at home to Iowa the last time it played an upper-level Big Ten opponent.
Our prediction: Nebraska 21, Minnesota 20
Big Red Today coverage
One of Nebraska’s biggest strengths when it joined the Big Ten has now become one of its biggest question marks — despite the return of the top four rushers from last season. And the one back who flashed the most…
Nebraska’s new football coach had to have a few cups of coffee Friday morning. His first spring practice began before sunrise.
Upperclassmen are going all in with the new coaching staff, coach Scott Frost said Friday morning, and those players will continue to be key as Nebraska makes a transition to new schemes on offense and defense this spring.
Scott Frost is all about walk-ons. He’s preached the importance of the walk-on program, he’s thrown around the idea of having 150 players at practice (meaning a large influx of walk-ons) and has said over and over he needs Nebraska…
Nebraska football announced its summer camp schedule Thursday, choosing to keep the Friday Night Lights event that was created and popularized by former coach Mike Riley.
Which Huskers are ready to evolve into valuable contributors and prove it during practices in the coming weeks? Here are five players to keep an eye on.
A smile crept across Carlos Davis’ face. The rumors are true, he said. Winter workouts under new strength coach Zach Duval were as hard as everyone’s heard. Maybe even harder.
Plug your nose, Nebraska traditionalists. Because this one might hurt. The fullback position at Nebraska is pretty much gone.
A former Husker — and NFL player — worked out at Nebraska’s pro day — cornerback Mohammed Seisay.
While many of his former teammates went through drills for NFL scouts at pro day on Wednesday, Nebraska's 2017 tackles leader sat in a balcony seat inside the Hawks Center and watched.
On Wednesday at the Hawks Championship Center, Tanner Lee threw on the run, he threw deep, he threw check downs, and in the end, completed 43 of his 49 passes.
More Canadian Football League scouts than usual attended Nebraska’s pro day Wednesday, focused on Ontario native and former Husker offensive tackle David Knevel.
Former NU standout Ndamukong Suh was officially released by the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.
Nebraska gave members of the student body a shot at earning a spot on the football team Tuesday. On Wednesday, Scott Frost said he isn't yet sure whether any of those dreams would be realized.
Former Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead is re-signing with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media to discuss the opening of spring football practice. Check out a transcript below, as provided courtesy of the Nebraska athletic department.
The press conference ahead of Scott Frost's first spring as Nebraska head coach featured many of the same qualities as the practices he will soon run. There were quick hits. There was efficiency. And most of all, there was enthusiasm.
Several Huskers will miss all or part of spring camp, Scott Frost announced Wednesday at his spring press conference. Among them were Nebraska's two starting centers from last season and Tre Bryant, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances before going…
Scott Frost spent about 25 minutes Wednesday addressing the media in advance of spring football practice. Check out full video from that press conference.
Coach Scott Frost seems to have a type in terms of leaders he wants or likes. He likes hard-workers, he likes guys from Nebraska and guys who get dirt under their fingernails. So we tallied up five guys who we’ve…
Dadgummit, there was something in the air here on Wednesday. It wasn’t insecurity. Not bravado. Not apprehension or uncertainty. It was a young coach and his staff, on the eve of a very big job, totally at ease.
The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice on Friday. For some veterans looking for breakthroughs, here's a glance at eight who might benefit from getting a clean slate with a chance to…
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Evan Bland and Chris Heady tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the March 13 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."
The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice Friday. With a heightened importance of making a good first impression with a new staff, here's a look at five position battles to keep a…
Dad couldn’t find his son. This is 2009, and they’d gone over to a friend’s house to watch the Big 12 title game — Nebraska vs. Texas — and the friend, he had played for the Huskers, and the son,…
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos announced Friday a restructuring of the department's senior leadership, the first step in Moos' "blueprint for success" that aims to improve communication, efficiency and performance.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Grant Wistrom about Scott Frost returning to NU, Erik Chinander rebuilding the Blackshirts and…
Nebraska players also had to adjust to some changes under new strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost is still in talking points mode as the Huskers prepare to begin his first spring practice next Friday.
Masry Mapieu, dropped from Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class over concerns he wouldn’t academically qualify, will be another in-state prospect headed to a FBS program other than the Huskers.