Nebraska rush offense vs. Arkansas State rush defense
The Huskers’ run game is making a major transition. Gone are the quarterback read-option runs that marked coach Mike Riley’s two seasons with quarterback Tommy Armstrong at the helm. NU quarterback Tanner Lee will hand off to a trio of backs — Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo —
and perhaps a few receivers, too. The Huskers’ offensive line is seasoned, but its last game out — vs. Tennessee in the Music City Bowl — wasn’t pretty. Just 61 yards, the lowest total in more than two full seasons. Arkansas State’s defense only gave up 3.57 yards per carry last season. ASU will try to use the quickness of its front seven against NU’s size.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Arkansas State pass defense
With risks come rewards — and busts. Arkansas State defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen, probably hasn’t met a pressure, blitz or twist he doesn’t like, so ASU will come after Husker quarterback Tanner Lee. Expect Lee — and NU’s offensive line — to be ready, and the Husker wideouts to be the beneficiaries. ASU may give up some chunk plays by taking too many chances. Watch Red Wolves defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, though. He had 13.5 sacks last season, and he’s probably hungry for more in Lincoln.
Arkansas State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
ASU ran for a measly 3.45 yards per carry last season and has close to a brand-new offensive line. While new players may not be a bad thing, Nebraska’s front seven — full of strong, hard-hitting guys like nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg and defensive end Carlos Davis — should get the job done. The Red Wolves like to run a little read option, but they’re more fond of quick toss plays that try to get backs to the edge of the field. Arkansas State may find itself having a tough night running the ball.
Arkansas State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Red Wolves run a spread offense that tries to get its athletes in space and stress a defense vertically and horizontally. Here, quarterback Justice Hansen — at 6-foot-4 — should help. He has the Sun Belt’s preseason all-conference tight end in Blake Mack — watch for ASU to send him up the seam of NU’s defense — and some decent outside receivers. Nebraska’s corners are as green as new tree buds. Eric Lee and Dicaprio Bootle — likely to play a lot in the Huskers’ nickel defense — have never played significant snaps in a college game. Lamar Jackson played a lot in two games last season; he took his lumps in both. Safeties Joshua Kalu and Aaron Williams are solid, though. Can NU get a pass rush? Can new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco manufacture one?
Outside of kicker Drew Brown and snapper Jordan Ober, it’s a big question mark for Nebraska. What schemes has new special teams coordinator Scott Booker cooked up? Reporters weren’t privy to them. De’Mornay Pierson-El was the nation’s most prolific punt returner as a freshman, but injuries have slowed him since. DPE looks and says he’s as healthy as he’s ever been. At kick returner, Nebraska will use redshirt freshman JD Spielman. The Red Wolves had the Sun Belt’s best coverage units — No. 1 in kickoff and No. 2 in punt coverage — and ASU blocked five kicks/punts, too.
Big advantage to Nebraska here. The Huskers haven’t lost a night game at home since 2008, and, other than a Hail Mary win for BYU in 2015, NU hasn’t lost a home opener since 1985. Both teams are young, which probably works against Arkansas State, being the road underdog. While ASU quarterback Hansen has experience, the offensive line protecting him doesn’t have a ton. The Huskers usually know how to leverage an opening-night crowd.
Key matchup: NU's offensive line vs. ASU's front seven
If Nebraska wins this matchup convincingly, the Huskers could roll by four touchdowns. Arkansas State relies on the aggression and toughness of its front seven to stuff the run and get after the quarterback. If NU’s line can protect Lee and crack open a few rushing lanes, Nebraska could get big plays off of ASU’s defense. If not? An upset may be brewing.
This season opener sits between the difficulty of BYU and the relative ease of an overmatched Fresno State team. Arkansas State has the athletes, quarterback and aggressive style to keep the score close. But ASU hasn’t beaten a Power Five conference team since Texas A&M in 2008. Other than BYU, Nebraska hasn’t lost to a non-Power Five team since Southern Mississippi in 2004. Lee handles the pressure OK, the defense flexes its muscle, but the jury will remain out on NU’s running game.
Our prediction: Nebraska 27, Arkansas State 13
Big Red Today coverage
In early March, NU offered three 6-foot-2 juco corners in five days. The Huskers — who graduate corners Lamar Jackson, Eric Lee and Avery Anderson after 2019 — are keen on adding more competition at the position.
A breakdown of everything you need to know about the Huskers' recruiting efforts, as things are about to heat up for the 2020 class.
Cam Taylor's smile is one thing. The way he reacts after big plays is another. But his enthusiasm, coaches and teammates say, is what’s contagious.
Former Nebraska offensive linemen Spencer Long and Jeremiah Sirles are among those hosting a Thursday evening dinner in Schuyler for victims of statewide floods, first responders and volunteers.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about why Devine Ozigbo was his favorite Husker to watch last season, why he was a perfect example of the Nebraska way and is a name to watch heading into the NFL draft.
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Chris Heady tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast.
Minnesota’s offense, which started eight freshmen in its bowl win over Georgia Tech, averaged 5.68 yards per play last season, ranking ninth in the Big Ten. That’s UM’s highest average in a decade.
Ask around the offense, and "plus-twos" are as important as any conventional statistic coaches and players track. Moving a defender two yards can demonstrate a strength advantage and extra effort on an individual level.
Former Husker running back Ameer Abdullah re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings on Monday.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker discusses which players in Husker football history he'd most like to bring back to play for Nebraska today, and which one's would fit the current system best.
Twenty-one of the 33 upperclassmen scholarship players play defense. And 11 of that 21 are seniors. Big, bold vocal seniors who have played a lot of football. With that experience comes urgency. Wisdom. Responsibility.
The Tony Tuioti effect for Nebraska football recruiting is in full swing.
Deontai Williams said, he’s the “OG” of the safety group. He’s right, too — he and junior Marquel Dismuke are the veterans while redshirt freshmen Cam’ron Jones and CJ Smith learn and sophomore Cam Taylor bounces among safety, nickel and…
His boss got all the attention during last fall’s miserable start, but put yourself in Barrett Ruud’s shoes for a moment. Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler returned to his alma mater and hometown in 2018 to coach his old position —…
On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker explores some of Nebraska football's hardest losses, and narrows down what one play in Husker history he'd choose to change.
JoJo Domann is one of Nebraska’s most versatile defenders. And his coaches need an array of colorful language to describe him. Leaning against a wall on the second floor of the Hawks Center, defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said Domann…
Former Nebraska running back Greg Bell — who left the program four games into the 2018 season — is transferring to his hometown school, San Diego State.
Nebraska defensive line coach Tony Tuioti wants a consistent daily mindset from his players, where linemen “press the reset button” after each practice to gear up for the next one with the same energy and enthusiasm.
If the first two weeks of spring practices are any indication, Nebraska's defense has some playmakers.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker previews the Blackshirts' defensive line personnel for spring football, reasonable expectations for the group and much more.
Even if Jovan Dewitt can’t make every meeting — even if, during practice, he has to take a knee and “get some hydration” — he’s going to be at every practice he can.
Nebraska has given Logan Jones something to think about. The Council Bluffs Lewis Central defensive lineman tweeted Tuesday he has received a scholarship offer from the Huskers after committing to Iowa last month.
It's a spring of transition on the offensive line, which lost several leaders from last year's team. Now a trio of juniors holds that responsibility, and this spring is an important step in their development.
Videos include an interview with Scott Frost, a recap of the the practice by Sam McKewon and Evan Bland and an update on Maurice Washington.
Circumstances are aligning for Jaylin Bradley to prove himself. Now coaches are anxious to find out if the running back can.
Attack. That’s a buzzword for the Husker tight ends this spring. Collectively, they’re the offense's most experienced group. But there’s a higher level the coaches expect these tight ends to reach.
So far, so good for true freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey. Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said McCaffrey, an early enrollee, has done well in spring practices to pick up the offense.
Scott Frost doesn't even want to say the Oklahoma word. But the drill Nebraska threw out in front of the media Monday morning did look a whole lot like the infamous Oklahoma drill.
This timeline of events in the Maurice Washington investigation is based on allegations outlined in court documents, investigator reports and officials' statements.