Game Day: Nebraska vs. Southern Miss

Can't touch this

Even after a week of soul-searching, the Husker coaches are expressing steadfast confidence that the defense will take a big step forward. More than 90,000 fans at Memorial Stadium and a Big Ten Network audience await improvement against a Golden Eagles offense that scored 15 points in a loss to Texas State. With reporters swarming them this week, defensive coaches said they await it, too. They peered pragmatically — and, at times, confidently — at the road ahead after Nebraska gave up 602 yards and 35 first downs against Wyoming.

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Southern Miss rush defense

Nebraska put up a sound number last week, running for 375 yards (and 6.0 per carry). It also spread out 47 carries among I-backs Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby, with fresh legs a chance to be a factor again. Southern Miss allowed Texas State a net 73 rushing yards last week, but this is a different kind of challenge for the Golden Eagles. Edge: NU

Nebraska pass offense vs. Southern Miss pass defense

Taylor Martinez takes another shot at USM after scorching the Golden Eagles for 354 yards and five touchdowns a year ago. The Huskers didn't get too fancy against Wyoming as Martinez went 17 of 22, and took few chances downfield. Martinez finished with 155 yards -- his only game lower last season was at Iowa in the cold -- but did connect on three TDs. Edge: NU

Southern Miss rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The lost yardage from three sacks last week helped keep the Golden Eagles' rushing total to just 23 yards. If they can't get anything established running the ball -- or don't really try -- they could be throwing it 50-plus times again. That would make it easy on a Husker defense that got gouged at times by Wyoming, especially up the middle. Edge: NU

Southern Miss pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Golden Eagles go from one of the worst passing units in Conference USA to an intriguing attack with coach Todd Monken and QB Allan Bridgford. The Cal transfer passed for 377 yards last week, and receivers Tyre'oune Holmes and Rickey Bradley combined for 19 catches and 289 yards. Some pressure might be needed to keep them from playing catch. Edge: Southern Miss

Special teams

Other than a failed PAT, NU got off to a good start. Its kick coverage included four touchbacks and three returns to the 18, 22 and 17. Redshirt freshman punter Sam Foltz was sharp, and Kenny Bell put a little pizzazz in the kick-return game with 37- and 35-yarders. The Eagles have a pair of returners to watch in Jalen Richard and Emmanuel Johnson. Edge: NU

Intangibles

NU plays at home (the game was moved from Hattiesburg). UCLA is on deck, but the Huskers should be zoned in after last week's finish. USM is heading into its second game under Monken, the former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator. Some Eagles have been to Lincoln before, but that was a 49-20 wipeout last year. Edge: NU

Key matchup: NU defensive line vs. Southern Miss offensive line

A number of Nebraska defensive linemen, including Avery Moss (left) and Vincent Valentine (center), got either their first or most significant playing time as Huskers last week. The reviews were about as mixed as you might expect. Here's the difference Saturday night: Southern Miss likely isn't going to be able to generate the same kind of run game as Wyoming, and quarterback Allan Bridgford probably won't be as slippery as Brett Smith. So the job should be easier for that front four.

Our take

There was some hand-wringing after the close call last week, but we'll give NU a clean slate and see if it can put together a more complete effort. USM, which has lost 13 straight games, committed six turnovers last week, so it has more than its own issues. Gaining some momentum and positive vibes will be a must with UCLA coming next week.

Our prediction: Nebraska 46, Southern Mississippi 23

Live updates

 

Videos

Extras

BRT Podcast

Jon Nyatawa and Sam McKewon analyze the breakdowns in Nebraska’s season-opening win over Wyoming. Nothing seemed to go as planned for the Huskers Saturday. The two Husker beat writers examine what might have caused the close call, while pondering a few possible structural changes NU could make along the way. Click here »

Printable rosters

Looking for a handy reference guide that you can take to the game? Check out our two-page printable roster, sorted by jersey number and including height, weight, year in school, hometown and high school information. 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.

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

Big Red Today coverage

Scott Frost wants Adrian Martinez to let it rip — and against Illinois, he should have that chance

Aggressive is how NU's head coach wants his start quarterback to stay going forward.

Husker notes: No injury updates on Brenden Jaimes, but Broc Bando 'was more than ready' in debut

No comment from Frost on the injury to left tackle Brenden Jaimes, who left the game in the fourth quarter. He said the depth chart indicated the next player up. That would be Broc Bando, who finished the fourth quarter.

It's Big Ten time: Huskers embrace the fresh start with beginning of conference schedule

For all that has happened to the Huskers in three weeks, everything resets for the upcoming nine-game Big Ten slate.

Video: Scott Frost's complete Husker football press conference, Sept. 16

Scott Frost is ready for the start of Big Ten play, and the Husker coach spent about 17 minutes Monday at his weekly press conference setting the stage for the week.

Huskers award scholarship to former walk-on, Creighton Prep grad Jeramiah Stovall

Coach Scott Frost announced Monday the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back will lose his walk-on status thanks to steady, positive production on and off the field.

Husker press conference, Sept. 16: For Scott Frost and Nebraska, it's next man up after injuries

Nebraska had its best offensive game of the season with 526 yards in a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois. But coach Scott Frost, in his press conference Monday, said the team can still play a lot better on offense.

Nebraska-Ohio State game set for ABC's Saturday night spotlight

It'll be the third straight night game in a row for Nebraska and it'll be the third straight time OSU has played a night game at NU.

Blackshirts don't want to be a side dish to the Husker offense. Against NIU, they served notice

Nebraska’s defense held Northern Illinois' offense to six points Saturday. Though it was a MAC team at home under the lights, the Blackshirts want that goal-line stand to burn into your brains. To remind you they’re not here to mess…

McKewon: While the offense finds its footing, the Huskers' Big Ten hopes hinge on the Blackshirts

This year, the Husker D is the dutiful older brother — figuratively, literally — of the younger, more explosive, more inconsistent offense.

Huskers make walk-on offer to Reis Vernon, one of highest-ranked punters/kickers in 2020

Nebraska is in the market for a kicker in its 2020 class.

Sam McKewon's AP Top 25 poll, Sept. 15

Top 10 generally remains unchanged except for Utah taking the No. 9 spot away from Notre Dame who is now in tenth.

Full coverage of Huskers' win vs. Northern Illinois

Nebraska walked out of Memorial Stadium with a 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday, and The World-Herald was there for all of it. Check out our complete coverage of the game.

Chatelain: The moments that proved Scott Frost, Adrian Martinez truly have no fear of failure

Frost endured a brutal week. His team blew a 17-point lead to an old rival. And for the first time since he returned to Lincoln on a white horse, Husker fans pointed the finger at him, not his players or…

Shatel: Huskers are still a work in progress, but we watched a winning formula take shape

There are still a lot of questions for Nebraska as we watch an identity take shape. What mattered on Saturday night was that the Huskers provided a resounding answer just when they needed it most.

Husker offense wanted to prove something — and it did with complete performance

The body language of offensive players leaving the field gave them away. Finally, they had played something close to a complete game.

Lesson learned: Huskers feeling good after starting fast, finishing strong against Northern Illinois

A line of men in red — a little fed up, a lot hungry, sensing a chance at blood — bolted toward one of the loneliest, most vulnerable positions on the football field. The punter.

Recruiting: Elkhorn South's Teddy Prochazka gets sold on Nebraska by two Husker commits

The junior from Elkhorn South was the center of attention on the sideline prior to kickoff between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.

Lane McCallum doesn't want to just be a kicker, but he'll do anything to help Huskers

The walk-on safety transfer from Air Force was minding his own business when his name was screamed by a coach on the sideline.

Husker notes: Injury watch for two players; ball hawks and more

Although Nebraska played one of the cleanest game of the Scott Frost era and beat Northern Illinois 44-8, two key Huskers may have sustained injuries that keep them out of future practice or play.

Video: Scott Frost's full press conference after Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

Nebraska coach Scott Frost spoke for nearly nine minutes breaking down the Huskers' performance against Northern Illinois.

Martinez tracker: Stock up for Husker QB after turnover-free game

Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.

Nebraska-Northern Illinois: Breaking down the Huskers' performance on offense and defense

World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' victory against Northern Illinois.

Without running game, Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock says Huskies couldn’t find rhythm

It was easy for Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock to identify what kept the Huskies’ offense from scoring any touchdowns Saturday night against a suddenly stout Nebraska defense.

Winning numbers: The stats and figures that defined Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' 44-8 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Tom's Takes: Unlike some Big Ten peers, Huskers walk away with a really good win

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.

Nebraska-Northern Illinois: 3 things we learned, 3 things we still don't know

Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's win over Northern Illinois.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska's win over Northern Illinois

On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick take to Nebraska defeating Northern Illinois.

Huskers earn dominant victory against Northern Illinois as backups see action late

Nebraska led the game 30-5 at halftime and maintained its lead in the second half as backups got to play in the final minutes.

Husker left tackle Brenden Jaimes leaves NIU game with injury in fourth quarter

Nebraska's already-thin depth at tackle may get thinner after starting left tackle Brenden Jaimes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Huskers' game against Northern Illinois.

From the sidelines: More Northern Illinois fans make the trip; Celebrating Bill Straub

Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.