Game Day: Nebraska vs. South Alabama

Stuck

Nebraska posted a number last week that looked dismal on paper — 126 rushing yards and 3.4 per carry — and will set out to improve it Saturday night when South Alabama visits Memorial Stadium.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. South Alabama rush defense

The Jaguars are small, quick and aggressive in their front seven, which is led by linebacker Blake Dees. They're going to blitz and try to put the Huskers behind the chains. Remember McNeese State's strategy last year? Same thing here. And Nebraska's offensive line should be a little concerned about that, especially after struggling to establish its running game against BYU. If NU involves quarterback Tommy Armstrong more in its run game, maybe it looks better. But we don't know for sure if that will happen. Edge: Even

Nebraska pass offense vs. South Alabama pass defense

Nebraska needs to win here, and win big. If USA loads up to stop the run, the full arsenal of pass plays the Huskers have — the screens and quick outs and comeback routes — should be there. One must admit: Armstrong looked sharp in week one when he had time to throw. NU receivers Jordan Westerkamp, Brandon Reilly and Stanley Morgan looked the part, too. Edge: Nebraska

South Alabama rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Huskers' defense is designed to stop the run — perhaps to a fault — and if you don't count the scrambles of BYU quarterback Taysom Hill in the season opener, Nebraska achieved that. NU defenders looked pretty good at tackling, too. The Jaguars have some dynamic backs — including speedster Xavier Johnson — but Gardner-Webb is not a useful test. Edge: Nebraska

South Alabama pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Jaguars quarterback Cody Clements has been around the block in college football, and while playing at UAB last year, he put up some impressive completion numbers, including back-to-back 300-yard games against Western Kentucky and North Texas. South Alabama doesn't have elite wideouts like BYU did, but they're good enough, and NU's pass defense is still shaky after a rough first week. There's a lot to work out with that scheme. Edge: South Alabama

Special teams

What appeared to be a strength of Nebraska's before the season no longer is. Punt returner De'Mornay Pierson-El is hurt. So, too, is punter Sam Foltz. Kicker Drew Brown missed two field goals in the first game. Whatever confidence the Huskers may have felt has been eroded. That said, South Alabama had a poor punting and kickoff performance in its season-opening game against Gardner-Webb, which should open the door for some return chances. The more talented team almost always gets the special teams edge. Edge: Nebraska

Intangibles

Nebraska will be hungry for its first win, and anxious to atone for a mistake-filled performance against BYU. No sleepiness here. If anything, the Huskers have to guard against trying too hard. South Alabama will have to sit around all day and wait for a night game, which is never a good recipe for the smaller team. Edge: Nebraska

Key matchup: Prudence vs. Playmaking

Nebraska coach Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf know they have an elite athlete at quarterback in Armstrong, but they are clearly reluctant to expose him too much to big hits. That's understandable, but if Armstrong doesn't run against blitzing defenses, doesn't that hamper NU's run game? If you're mostly relying on Armstrong's arm, isn't there a greater risk of error or turnovers? Some food for thought.

Our take

Nebraska hasn't lost two non-conference games since 1981. That's right — 34 years. So the odds are the Huskers right the ship, outlast South Alabama on a cool night, and start to focus on Miami (Florida). NU fans should come away happy Saturday night and Mike Riley should win his first game.

Our prediction: Nebraska 35, South Alabama 17

Live updates

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will start broadcasting live Saturday at 5 p.m., then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-South Alabama matchup provided by the Huskers 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 Ten coverage

Look for additional updates on our Big Ten page to get the best coverage of the conference from both The World-Herald and some of the best writers from across the country. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Nate Stanley and Adrian Martinez are Big Ten rivals, but they 'can also be friends'

Nate Stanley and Adrian Martinez spent perhaps five minutes talking about Black Friday. After that, the Iowa and Nebraska quarterbacks got to know each other and become friends.

At Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, Tom Osborne shows his pride in Scott Frost and Adrian Martinez

Former Nebraska coach and Athletic Director Tom Osborne was honored at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon on Friday afternoon.

Huskers' Jack Stoll makes Mackey Award preseason watch list for best tight end

Nebraska junior Jack Stoll made the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award, which is given to the nation's best tight end.

Adrian Martinez handles turbulence the same way he does interviews — calm, cool and collected

The first session of Big Ten media days included Ohio State and Michigan State, but the story of Day 1 was Adrian Martinez and the Huskers.

Video: Scott Frost, Husker players at Big Ten media days

Scott Frost discussed Nebraska's 2019 expectations, where the Huskers are actively recruiting, Adrian Martinez's leadership and more at Big Ten media days on Thursday.

Shatel: Scott Frost may ignore the hype, but there's a reason it follows him wherever he goes

Nebraska went 4-8 last year, right? You’d never know it by hanging around the Chicago Hilton this week.

'Half of defense is energy, enthusiasm and hustle.' Blackshirts feel they've improved all three

The Blackshirts look back on their first year under Scott Frost and barely recognize the unit that finished among the worst in the country in most major statistical categories.

Big Ten notes: West coaches see improving division; Teams with unproven quarterbacks

Three coaches of Big Ten West schools spoke at Thursday’s Big Ten media days. All agreed their division is unquestionably on the rise.

Husker notes: Hoping for a healthy Cameron Jurgens; Transfers could be impact players

A full-go season from the converted offensive lineman would go a long way for the Huskers.

Husker Camp Countdown: No. 19 Kanawai Noa

The World-Herald is counting down the top 50 Nebraska players you need to know heading into the 2019 season.

Scott Frost says Huskers will 'wait and see' before making decision on Maurice Washington

Nebraska has yet to make a decision on the status of running back Maurice Washington, and coach Scott Frost said that could continue to be the case all the way until the Aug. 31 season opener.

In his final media day, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany touts positive future as he bids farewell

After Delany’s opening statement — dedicated to thanking his family, staff and various partners of the league — reporters had plenty of blue collar, bottom-line questions for the commish.

Former Husker De'Mornay Pierson-El signs for second stint with Oakland Raiders

Pierson-El had previously joined the Raiders for a few weeks in April before getting waived.

UNLV assistant, former Husker Barney Cotton on waiting list for heart transplant

Barney Cotton will not coach for UNLV this season due to health concerns.

Husker football facilities are 'functional' but 'don't fit the mold' of what Scott Frost is building

While the Huskers’ current setup is “perfectly functional,” Frost said Thursday at Big Ten media days, he gets why there are conversations to build a new facility.

Complete transcript of Husker coach Scott Frost's appearance at Big Ten media day

A complete transcript of Nebraska coach Scott Frost's appearance at the main podium during Big Ten media day.

Nebraska's JD Spielman on Biletnikoff Award watch list for nation's best receiver

Spielman is coming off a sophomore season in which he caught 66 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns.

'The hype is good': Bill Moos bullish for second year of Husker football under Scott Frost

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos wants all the preseason praise the media wants to give Husker football in year two of the Scott Frost era.

Big Ten media days: Scott Frost praises Adrian Martinez. 'I wouldn't trade our guy for anybody'

Scott Frost made it to the podium to take some questions at Big Ten media days. Here's what he had to say.

McKewon: Elusive on-field success, Jim Delany's last go-round and 8 other storylines at Big Ten media days

Even if the money is rolling in for each conference team, on-field success — be it in CFP berths or Heisman Trophy winners — has been elusive. Commissioner Jim Delany won’t have to address those issues much longer.

Bland: Husker Hype in Chicago, national media meets Adrian Martinez and more Big Ten storylines

As a tidal wave of expectations continues to rise for the Nebraska football season, at least one question will find an answer Thursday at Big Ten media days.

Husker Camp Countdown: No. 20 Ben Stille

The World-Herald is counting down the top 50 Nebraska players you need to know heading into the 2019 season.

Big Ten summer series: Nebraska-Wisconsin among 12 games to circle on the calendar

They’re the games you circle on the Big Ten calendar for their implications in the league race ... or just because they might be fun.

Husker Camp Countdown: No. 21 Damion Daniels

The World-Herald is counting down the top 50 Nebraska players you need to know heading into the 2019 season.

Nebraska DBs coach Travis Fisher touts true freshmen, newfound maturity of Husker secondary

Nebraska secondary coach Travis Fisher won't limit the potential of his four freshman defensive backs one bit before their first training camp.

Pick Six Podcast: All eyes on Adrian Martinez, Scott Frost and Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten media days

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast.

Former Husker kicker Alex Henery reminisces about favorite punts, the Colorado kick and more

Alex Henery is set to join three other Husker greats in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame this fall. But first he joined host Mike'l Severe and "The Bottom Line" on Tuesday.

Nebraska's Adrian Martinez, Mohamed Barry selected for preseason watch lists

Senior linebacker Mohamed Barry became the second player in two days to be named to a preseason watch list.

Husker Camp Countdown: No. 22 Mike Williams

The World-Herald is counting down the top 50 Nebraska players you need to know heading into the 2019 season.

Overall ratings for every former Husker in the Madden 20 video game

There are 26 former Nebraska players on the game at launch, with enough at each position to field a starting 11 on both sides of the ball.