Nebraska rush offense vs. Akron rush defense
The Huskers’ new spread, no-huddle offense should offer an immediate boost to a run game that ran aground in 2017, when NU had six games with fewer than 100 rushing yards. The backfield has some extra juice thanks to quarterback Adrian Martinez and newcomer backs Greg Bell, Maurice Washington and Miles Jones. The offensive line has matured, and the Zips’ run defense — anchored though it may be by a senior-laden defensive line — is likely to melt down. Akron gave up 5.03 yards per carry last year. Not pretty.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Akron pass defense
The Zips’ secondary is legit, returning four starters from a unit that helped intercept 19 passes last year. Nebraska would gladly take senior starting corners Kyron Brown and Darian Dailey on its roster tomorrow. Martinez, in his first career start, has his work cut out for him and will need the ingenuity of coach Scott Frost’s scheme to get chunk passes. A solid run game will help, too. NU’s receivers — led by Stanley Morgan, JD Spielman and Mike Williams — are no slouches and should get some opportunities, especially after catching shorter passes. Martinez is not likely to have a field day here.
Akron rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Few teams were worse than Nebraska at running the ball last season. Akron was one of them. The Zips ranked last in the Mid-American Conference in yards per game and although quarterback Kato Nelson helped some, he didn’t get very good blocking. Nebraska’s front seven, awful and unmotivated at the end of last season, should flourish under a new, aggressive scheme. Akron should be better running the ball in 2018, but not necessarily in Game 1.
Akron pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
In a half-season of play last year, Nelson completed 50 percent of his passes and threw eight touchdowns against two interceptions. Not bad. Receiver Kwadarrius Smith — just 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds — averaged 21.4 yards per catch last year, so he’s dangerous. NU’s secondary is a real wild card with so many new faces at safety and lingering questions at cornerback, but look for Nebraska’s pass rush, as coordinated by Erik Chinander, to get after Nelson from start to finish.
Akron’s kicking game stunk in 2017. The Zips made just 6 of 13 field goals and missed two extra points. The Zips had 12 yards — total — in punt returns last season while giving up 330. Nebraska is breaking in a freshman kicker (Barret Pickering) but should make a little hay in the return game with Spielman, Tyjon Lindsey or whoever else Nebraska puts back there to return kicks.
The Huskers will be sky high for the first game of the Frost era. A new Tunnel Walk, a juiced primetime crowd — that’s going to be a lot for Akron to overcome. NU has to survive the jitters of all that, but it should find energy through all four quarters. Akron has only played in a handful of settings louder and more intimidating than Memorial Stadium. It’s not likely to go well Saturday night.
Key matchup: Nebraska’s tempo offense against Akron’s experienced defense
The Zips will have one of the better defenses in the MAC. NU’s offense, though, is designed to overwhelm lesser foes. The faster the pace, the more the talent advantage should reveal itself. Still, tempo can backfire when the execution is shoddy. The only way Akron stays in the game is if Nebraska commits turnovers or kills drives with miscues.
NU has played Akron just once — the season-opening game of Scott Frost’s senior year. Nebraska coasted to a 59-14 win. This game won’t be that lopsided, but the Huskers have more firepower than the Zips, and a serious dose of energy and excitement to boot. Martinez may take a few lumps, but Nebraska’s run game should be just fine, while Akron’s offense struggles to get to 300 total yards. The Frost era starts with a W.
Our prediction: NEBRASKA 38, AKRON 14
Big Red Today coverage
Moos says the selection committee has to better follow its protocol to measure playoff-worthy teams.
Moos knows there isn’t anything broken with the Memorial Stadium fan experience, but he wants to stay ahead of the curve.
The Davis twins have loved their time at Nebraska and laud NU’s willingness to let two 300-pounders find their way, throw some discus and sack some quarterbacks.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Ralph Brown about how the Huskers can improve on defense, how the defensive secondary can get better in 2019, Lamar Jackson growing into a leader, Nebraska memories and much more.
Former Nebraska outside linebacker Breon Dixon will transfer to Iowa Western Community College, Reivers coach Scott Strohmeier confirmed Tuesday night.
Iowa Western Community College defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey has offers from several of college football's giants — including Nebraska.
Once one of the highest paid players in the league, Suh went more than two months as a free agent before finding a new team.
Mills is now admitted to the school. He'll arrive Wednesday and immediately get to work.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down the race for the College Football Playoff following spring practices and give his four-team prediction for 2019.
Lovie Smith and quarterbacks? They don’t go well together.
The final standings are in and roughly half of Nebraska’s teams met Moos’ base standard of finishing in the top half of the Big Ten this season.
Demariyon Houston, out of Oklahoma City's Millwood High, is a 100- and 200-meter champ. He also has great hands, maybe his biggest asset in college. Not to mention he was class president. He will be the first in his immediate…
Nebraska running back signee Dedrick Mills said on Saturday that his grades from Garden City (Kansas) Community College are in, NU is reviewing his transcript and he believes he will be in Lincoln this week — perhaps by Tuesday.
In less than a year, the NCAA’s transfer portal is already beginning to turn against the student-athletes it was supposed to help.
According to a Wednesday report from USA Today, the league had nearly $759 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.
On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his way-too-early, just-for-fun preview of September's Nebraska-Colorado game.
Bill Moos wants to improve Memorial Stadium. But he won't expand it. The athletic director spoke for the final time of the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday night. Moos said there is currently a proposal out there to put in…
Former Husker safety Cam'ron Jones, who announced last month he's leaving Nebraska, is headed back to Texas.
Fox announced this week it would place the best game from its weekly college football menu in the 11 a.m. CT slot.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker shares his thoughts on kids playing tackle football, what age range they should start playing, flag football and more.
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.
When Noa Pola-Gates arrives in late May, it’s possible he could get trained at every position — defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has indicated that each of NU’s incoming defensive backs is versatile enough to do so — but he…
Offensive lineman Jerald Foster signed a deal Sunday with the Washington Redskins, and defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun inked with the New York Giants on Monday.
Despite earlier reports that Washington entered not guilty pleas when he waived formal arraignment during an April hearing, there have not been any pleas entered in the case, said a Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesperson.
This timeline of events in the Maurice Washington investigation is based on allegations outlined in court documents, investigator reports and officials' statements.
Football coaches like to talk about culture, so much that it becomes a cliche. But it's still true that culture matters, and it's important to Scott Frost.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about the youth on the Husker defense, their off-season additions and what realistic expectations are for the Blackshirts in 2019.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder had 96 career catches for 1,237 yards and six touchdowns over three-plus seasons at Cal.
Nebraska received a graduate transfer commit Sunday from California’s Kanawai Noa.Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot, 185-pounder.
Nebraska running back Maurice Washington is set for his second appearance in a California court for charges filed against him in February.