Game Day: Nebraska vs. Southern Miss

Hole new mentality

Two plays. A final-second Hail Mary and an overtime improvisation gone awry. One could look at the decisive moments of Nebraska’s two defeats and conclude the 2015 narrative through three weeks hinged on BYU’s 42-yard heave and a Miami interception. But the what-if game can be dangerous. Some of the facts get neglected among the hypotheticals, and a team like NU can end up ignoring reality.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Southern Miss rush defense

Nebraska could use a repeat of two weeks ago, when Terrell Newby went wild against South Alabama and the run game clicked to the tune of 258 yards and 7.0 per carry. Last week wasn’t awful, with 5.9 yards on the rushing attempts that weren’t sacks, but an immediate 17-0 deficit helped lead to 45 passes. Southern Miss got gashed for 281 rushing yards last week at Texas State.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Southern Miss pass defense

Tommy Armstrong salvaged a potential rough day against Miami with some of his comeback throws, and the junior notched his second 300-yard game of the season (and four TDs). Armstrong, though, had to work around six drops, constant pressure and three completions negated by penalties. Southern Miss will try to get after him, but opponents are completing 62.7 percent of their passes against the Golden Eagles and have been intercepted just once.

Southern Miss rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Defending the run hasn’t been the Huskers’ problem, with no team netting more than 132 yards and their first three opponents averaging a combined 3.4 per carry. They will miss linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey and his efficiency, so that's something to watch. Southern Miss will use Jalen Richard and Ito Smith at tailback, and Richard is coming off a 230-yard, four-TD game at Texas State. NU will try to take away that threat first.

Southern Miss pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Nowhere does Nebraska need to get better more than here, and Southern Miss won’t make it easy to do. Junior quarterback Nick Mullens is completing 64 percent of his passes and already has thrown for 919 yards and eight TDs. If the Huskers can’t generate some pressure, don’t get improved play in coverage and get caught in some mismatches — all familiar themes to recent weeks — another big number could be coming.

Special teams

Neither team is tearing it up, although Nebraska has gotten a boost from Drew Brown making his last three field goals, Jordan Westerkamp showing some spark on a few punt returns at Miami and now punter Sam Foltz being a week healthier. The Huskers have been pretty good on their coverage units, especially kickoffs, which happens to be the one area where Southern Miss has sampled some success.

Intangibles

Nebraska again finds itself needing to summon a response after a tough loss, so the first quarter might tell a little about the Huskers’ state of mind. They better have a sense of urgency with the Big Ten season a week away. Both teams have negative turnover margins and are fighting penalty problems, so a wash there. This is a new Southern Miss team, but the last two that visited Lincoln recently lost by 43 and 29.

Key matchup: NU cornerbacks vs. Southern Miss WR Casey Martin

It’s no secret that Nebraska cornerbacks have had issues in coverage, and Martin is the next test. The senior already has 17 receptions through three games after catching 55 passes a year ago. NU coach Mike Riley said the Huskers would evaluate their secondary personnel this week. Might there be changes?

Our take

Every game could be an adventure until Nebraska gets some of its defensive problems (and injuries) cleaned up. The good news is that the offense, albeit sometimes inconsistent, has showed signs of being able to captain the ship in the meantime. No gimme here for the Huskers, with Southern Miss maybe back on the right track under Todd Monken, so maybe a big week for the captains and upperclassmen to make sure the right focus is there.

Our prediction: Nebraska 52, Southern Miss 27

Live updates

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will start broadcasting live at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Lincoln Railyard, then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show live from Hyatt Place in Lincoln. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Southern Miss 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

McKewon: Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo increasingly praised heading into NFL draft — as he should be

It’s a heck of a thing, how a guy who didn’t even start Nebraska’s first three games of the 2018 season might be the highest pick of any Husker in the 2019 NFL draft.

Four-star safety Noa Pola-Gates will keep Husker fans up late Saturday — will they go to bed happy?

Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, Noa Pola-Gates will finally deliver his college decision.

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos: Husker apparel sales way up thanks to Scott Frost hiring

Nebraska coach Scott Frost has been good for the sale of Husker gear.

Former Husker John Parrella joins Cleveland Browns coaching staff

Former Husker John Parrella was among seven assistants added to the staff of Browns coach Freddie Kitchens on Friday.

Mick Stoltenberg on Nebraska's future: 'These next few years are going to be something special'

Mick Stoltenberg took a lot of pride in being a Husker and a Blackshirt. And now he's finding out that being an alumnus is also something to be excited about.

Riley Moses leaves mark on Fillmore Central, lands dream walk-on opportunity with NU

Concentration, physicality and determination led Riley Moses to success at Fillmore Central, but a brief lapse ended with the Husker walk-on standing over his high school coach.

Huskers set to host two official visitors, including a running back who's 'focused on Nebraska'

On paper, it’d seem Nebraska’s roster is in decent shape for scholarship running backs. But the Huskers this weekend will host one more back on an official visit, and apparently his eyes are all on NU.

Former Husker Jeremiah Sirles signs one-year extension with Buffalo Bills

Former Nebraska offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles signed a one-year contract extension with the Buffalo Bills, the team announced Wednesday.

Nebraska gets plenty of 'way-too-early' hype. Here's what they're saying nationally

Nebraska winning four of its final six games in 2018 is driving national hype.

Pick Six Podcast: Breaking down the Huskers' final recruiting push

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Jan. 15 episode of the Pick Six Podcast.

Junior college running back Dedrick Mills officially signs with Huskers

Maurice Washington officially has more company in the Nebraska football backfield.

Husker signee Ty Robinson lands top-100 ranking; Wandale Robinson rises 37 spots on Rivals

Another 2019 Husker signee became a top-100 recruit when Glibert (Ariz.) Higley defensive end Ty Robinson was rated No. 91 in the country by Rivals, which on Tuesday published its final rankings before the February signing day.

Husker walk-on Luke Reimer turned down South Dakota State to challenge himself at Nebraska

When Luke Reimer left Ashland, Kansas, for Lincoln before his junior year of high school, he didn’t imagine himself as a Husker football recruit. But two years at Lincoln North Star and a desire to push himself changed that.

Walk-on Luke Reimer wants pushed, and Huskers will be happy to oblige

When Luke Reimer left Ashland, Kansas, for Lincoln before his junior year of high school, he didn’t imagine himself as a Husker football recruit. But two years at Lincoln North Star and a desire to push himself changed that.

Signee Spotlight: Powerful Dedrick Mills will complement Nebraska's speedy skill players

The "Signee Spotlight" provides all the information you need on the newest batch of Huskers, including rankings, evaluations and a look at how they landed at Nebraska.

Iowa tight end TJ Hockenson joins 3 other Hawkeyes leaving early for NFL draft

TJ Hockenson, the John Mackey award winner as the nation's best tight end, became the fourth Hawkeye underclassmen to declare early for the NFL draft.

Carriker Chronicles: How long will it take for the Huskers to close the gap on Clemson?

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker discusses what needs to happen for the Huskers to close the gap on Clemson, how long it will take and what realistic expectations are for the next two seasons.

Nebraska targets Miami grad transfer Lawrence Cager, who calls Husker fans 'unmatched'

Nebraska’s search for receivers has taken it to the graduate transfer market and former Miami Hurricane Lawrence Cager. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Cager could be a big-bodied, red-zone threat the Huskers lack.

Nebraska's 25-year Super Bowl streak is in danger, but two former Huskers have a chance

Here’s a look at the two former Huskers who appear on rosters of playoff teams still in the hunt for a Super Bowl, which includes those on the active roster, practice squad or injured reserve.

Rex Burkhead, one of 2 former Huskers still in NFL playoffs, scores first postseason TD

Former Husker running back Rex Burkhead, playing Sunday in his fifth career NFL playoff game, earned his first postseason touchdown.

Sam McKewon's way-too-early Top 25 for 2019 — and yes, the Huskers are in it

The rich stay rich. A few old traditional powers begin to rise again. And a much-maligned league makes a move in 2019.

Adrian Martinez says Huskers motivated for offseason workouts, using losses as 'fuel' for 2019

Upon returning to campus Monday, Nebraska’s football players had an optional week of weight lifting with strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval. But NU players, quarterback Adrian Martinez said Friday, were ready to get to work right away.

Led by Sean Beckton, Huskers emphasize recruiting in the south, aim to 'go after 'em all'

Husker tight ends coach Sean Beckton — a key connection in Atlanta and throughout the SEC footprint for new head coach Scott Frost — understands the area as well as any NU coach ever has. His philosophy, laid out several…

Zac Taylor could be first former Husker player named NFL head coach since the NFL-AFL merger

Former Husker quarterback Zac Taylor is poised to join an exclusive group.

Rimington winner Garrett Bradbury gets praise from trophy's namesake; ex-Husker also bullish on NU's future

Dave Rimington doesn’t pick the winner of the award named in his honor. But count him among those impressed by North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury.

Recruiting: Scott Frost is first Husker coach to visit Columbus Lakeview since 'Solich in 2002'

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost stopped in over the lunch hour. Students at Columbus Lakeview High School went on pause for a minute to process that fact.

Kearney QB Brayden Miller has 'dream' opportunity at Nebraska, but that's not his only option

Brayden Miller called it his dream to play for Nebraska — he received a Husker walk-on offer late last month — but it's not the only option he's considering.

Carriker Chronicles: Frank Solich on being honored by Tom Osborne, memories from NU and more

On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to Husker legend Frank Solich about returning to Nebraska to receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award, memories from his time at NU and much more.

Lincoln Southwest's Nick Leader followed his heart, dad to walk on at Nebraska

For Lincoln Southwest’s Nick Leader, walking on at Nebraska is a family affair. Leader, a Class A honorable mention selection, is following the path his father took. David Leader walked on at Nebraska, then lettered in 1991 and 1992.

Reports: Cincinnati Bengals targeting former Husker QB Zac Taylor for head coach

Former Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor appears likely to join the NFL head coaching ranks.