Game Day: Nebraska vs. Wyoming

Home improvement

Now the fun begins. Tonight, head-bobbing Huskers will emerge from their locker room to run the red carpet past adoring fans reaching for high-fives, as the rest of the stadium pulsates to the Tunnel Walk pump-up song. The 2013 Nebraska football team will be unveiled in style against Wyoming, under the lights, on national television. But this time things are a little different. Even more work than usual has been done to get to this point.

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Wyoming rush defense

The Cowboys are shifting to a 3-4 set that has the flexibility to look like a 4-3. They have two experienced ends, Eddie Yarbrough and Patrick Mertens, to anchor the line. But Wyoming is young in the middle of the line and has few proven linebackers. NU’s Terrell Newby had a strong preseason and is the fastest of the backs.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Wyoming pass defense

NU will put its most ballyhooed WR trio — Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Turner — back on the field. Taylor Martinez has further refined his throwing motion. There are whispers that freshman TE Cethan Carter could be one of the big surprises. Wyoming’s secondary is the strength of the team, but the pass rush was toothless last year.

Wyoming rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Cowboys return their top seven rushers, but none of them ran for more than 374 yards last year. The best of the bunch is D.J. May, who has the ability to break a big run. Wyoming uses the run to keep defenses honest, not to win. NU is revamping its D-line, which will use eight to 10 players on Saturday.

Wyoming pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Wyoming’s strength is the relative efficiency of QB Brett Smith and a group of quick, sure-handed WRs led by Robert Herron. The Cowboys will target inexperienced dime backers and new starting safeties Corey Cooper, Andrew Green and Harvey Jackson. The Cowboys will make some plays, but Smith takes few chances throwing into traffic.

Special teams

Both squads are breaking in a new punter. Nebraska seems excited about redshirt freshman Sam Foltz’s ability to flip the field. NU coaches still haven’t said whether Mauro Bondi or Pat Smith will kick. Stuart Williams will handle kicking and punting for Wyoming. New NU returners Bell and Newby (kickoffs) and Turner (punts) could provide a spark.

Intangibles

Nebraska is opening its new East Stadium addition and will welcome the largest crowd in school history. Wyoming has to play another tough, season-opening road game in high heat. Texas beat the Cowboys 37-17 in similar conditions last year. But UT didn’t have NU’s offense or no-huddle tempo. Wyoming was plus-7 in turnover margin last year.

Key matchup:

Nebraska has its biggest, most athletic, cohesive and experienced offensive line of the Bo Pelini era. Chances are good that four seniors and a fourth-year junior take the field for the opening snap. The Cowboys gave up 232 rushing yards per game in 2012 — and that was with a more experienced set of linebackers. Wyoming has to hold up in the heat against NU’s no-huddle attack, with a unit ill-equipped to do so. It’s quite a challenge.

Our take

The Huskers have won 27 straight season openers, the nation’s longest streak. The offense is champing at the bit to put another defense in submission, and NU’s coaches are surprisingly confident in the defense. Wyoming plays with a nice discipline on offense, but its defense doesn’t have the horses to ride against the Huskers’ guns.

Our prediction: Nebraska 52, Wyoming 21

Live updates

 

Videos

Extras

BRT Podcast

In the latest episode of “The Big Red Today Podcast,” Jon Nyatawa and Rich Kaipust break down NU’s football season opener against Wyoming. 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

Husker running back Greg Bell hitting practice hard in hopes of winning starting spot

Hit it and get it. Nebraska running back Greg Bell doesn’t want to dance in the hole, slow down for a second or, truth be told, even talk about himself. Too much competition. Too big of a reward if he…

Husker notes: Tight ends shine in NU's scrimmage; Tyjon Lindsey catching on and more

One popular opinion among Husker offensive coaches Wednesday was that the tight ends solidified their reputation as much as any unit following Sunday's live-action scrimmage.

Shatel: With Scott Frost's new-school approach, curse words aren't in Husker coaches' vocabulary

New School is now in session. Here are the rules: No dog-cussing the players. No bullying or personal shots about their appearance. If you must chew, do so with a positive message. Teach. Look forward.

Tom's Takes: Nebraska's offensive line is adding physicality to its DNA

Nebraska offensive line coach Greg Austin offered a pretty insightful analysis of where the offensive line is two weeks before the Akron opener. There's good news. And could-be-better news.

As decision looms, Nebraska's quarterbacks still have moments of inconsistency

There are days Mario Verduzco grades film of Nebraska quarterbacks and likes what he sees. Good ball placement. Strong body language. Quick tempo. Then there are workouts like last Thursday and Friday, which the Husker QB coach labeled "kind of…

Husker practice report: Nebraska quarterback battle will continue into next week

Nebraska wrapped up its 11th workout of training camp Wednesday morning inside the Hawks Center. Afterward, offensive coordinator Troy Walters said Scott Frost — with input from his staff — will pick a starter soon between Tristan Gebbia, Adrian Martinez…

Want to make an all-Husker fantasy football team? Well, you can't. But here's something close

If you're looking for a nostalgic Husker pick in your upcoming fantasy football draft, here's your guide.

Sights and sounds from Nebraska football practice, Aug. 15

Nebraska kicked off practice early Wednesday morning. Media were allowed to watch about 40 minutes. Here's what we saw and heard.

Husker coach Mario Verduzco says QB battle still 'highly competitive'

Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco gave some insight into the quarterback battle on Sports Nightly Tuesday evening.

Allure of scholarships leads in-state players to lower-level programs instead of Huskers

Interstate 29 represents one of Scott Frost’s biggest in-state recruiting headaches. FCS schools in the Dakotas can’t compete with a Nebraska scholarship offer, but they can damage the Huskers' depth by taking players that may have otherwise walked on at…

In his first fall camp at Nebraska, aspiring dentist Tre Neal already knows the drill

Tre Neal, the Husker with more knowledge of the defense than anyone after transferring from UCF, has risen to the top of Nebraska's production chart that keeps score of plays made and not made in practices by members of the…

Mississippi transfer Breon Dixon wants to 'bring physicality' to the Husker defense

Breon Dixon can’t breathe. He’s cornered by reporters on the second floor of the Hawks Championship Center, gasping for air. “We’re looking way better I’d say as a team, as an offense …” out of breath, he trails off and…

Husker notes: Closing in on defensive starters; Tight races in secondary and more

Nebraska’s defensive coaches have a good grasp on who will be in the top two units after a major scrimmage Sunday, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday.

TBL: Blackshirt legend Grant Wistrom happy to deliver message to Huskers

Former Blackshirt Grant Wistrom believes Scott Frost is the right coach for the Huskers.

Nebraska coach Scott Frost says 'we’re never going to swear at kids' on Jim Rome Show

In the wake of reports about Maryland football’s toxic, bullying culture toward the players, Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Tuesday on the Jim Rome Show he’ll never try to motivate his team through intimidation.

Everything you need to know before attending Nebraska football Fan Day

The lines are sure to be long for Scott Frost's first Fan Day as head coach of the Huskers. Here's everything fans should know before attending the event.

'High intensity' talk from Jason Peter, Grant Wistrom inspires Husker defense

The pep talk worked. After Nebraska legends Jason Peter and Grant Wistrom talked to Husker players Friday night, the team had its most-spirited practice of training camp the following day.

Tickets available now for Husker Nation Kickoff Luncheons in Omaha, Lincoln

Tickets are on sale now for next week's Husker Nation Kickoff Luncheons in Lincoln and Omaha.

Husker practice report: Carlos Davis, JoJo Domann among players impressing in camp

Nebraska's defensive coaches have a good grasp on who will be in the top two units after a major scrimmage Sunday, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday. The next week is about trying to identify starters.

Nebraska has structure in place to avoid problems plaguing Ohio State, Maryland, says A.D. Bill Moos

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said Monday on his monthly radio show there's a structure in place to make sure the athletic department avoids problems like what's currently plaguing Ohio State and Maryland.

Police arrest two more, including teen boy, in burglary at Husker coach Scott Frost's home

Police arrested a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of burglary, according to a news release from the Lincoln Police Department.

Past Husker coaches weren't sold on in-state talent, so Nebraskans thrived at Iowa instead

What happened in Giltner is a prime example of Nebraska’s in-state recruiting failures over the past 15 years. Another instance of a program that lost track of its identity and abandoned its roots.

Shatel: The image-conscious Big Ten isn't looking so good these days

If anyone asks you about being in the Big Ten these days, say, “We just got here, and we really don’t know anybody.”

Scott Frost considers intense new warmup to be a 'rite of passage' for Huskers

The dynamic warmup — or “stretch” as Scott Frost calls it — is a far cry from the static, stationary stretches employed under former coach Mike Riley. Setting the tone for the fast-paced action of practice, the new warmup is…

Barfknecht: With all the scandals, nothing is 'hunky-dory' for Jim Delany's Big Ten

Three weeks ago, we sportswriters scurried to our seats at Big Ten media days, sat upright in our chairs and kept our eyes forward to soak in Commissioner Jim Delany’s “hunky-dory’’ speech. But things haven’t been so hunky-dory since that…

Concussions turned a 200-pound fullback into a reluctant cross country runner

Beau Wood should’ve been Perkins County High School’s starting fullback and defensive end. Instead, he had become a reserve — on the cross-country team.

Nebraska high schoolers are turning away from football and embracing ... cross country?

Auburn had 81 players on its 2006 state championship football team. Last fall it had 29. Dozens of kids have turned away from football and found an alternative — cross country.

Husker Rewind: Ready to run the ball? Nebraska has its deepest stable of backs since 2011

Sam McKewon zeroed in on as many Husker running backs ran by. Collectively, it’s best bunch NU has had since 2011, when Burkhead started and Abdullah, Green and Heard backed him up.

Maryland puts coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave amid football investigation

Maryland placed head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave on Saturday while the school scrutinizes allegations of poor behavior by the football staff, apparent misdeeds that came to light following the death of a player on the practice field.

As populations plummet in northeast Nebraska, kids still dream of becoming the next Russ Hochstein

Hartington, a town resisting the forces of rural decline, hasn’t boasted a Husker football letterman since its All-America guard 17 years ago. But Scott Frost is back in Lincoln and there’s hope that the drought may end soon, perhaps with…