Nebraska rush offense vs. Troy rush defense
Troy has had a top 25 run defense nationally the last two seasons in yards allowed per carry and per game. That’s good for any league, especially the Sun Belt. Only three teams since 2016 have run for more than 200 yards on the Trojans, and NU will be challenged to do so if quarterback Adrian Martinez doesn’t play. Martinez is a game-changer in the run game. Backup Andrew Bunch can occasionally sneak in a 10-yard run but won't likely bust off a 40-yarder. NU’s top three running backs — Greg Bell, Devine Ozigbo and Maurice Washington — each had their moments against Colorado. Troy’s linebackers — anchored by “bandit” Hunter Reese and inside linebacker Tron Folsom — are active and swarm to the ball. Troy’s defensive line is a little undersized, but aggressive. This game will be a challenge for NU, but it did just rack up 329 rushing yards against the Buffs.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Troy pass defense
Martinez and Bunch are equally capable passers, and Bunch may throw the touch pass a bit better than the true freshman. Troy’s risk/reward defense leaves it a little vulnerable to the big play, evident in the 8.9 yards allowed per pass through two games. Troy defensive coordinator Vic Koenning likes to hunt the passer — 42 sacks last season — but if NU’s offensive line can protect well, opportunities for receivers Stanley Morgan, JD Spielman, Mike Williams and Tyjon Lindsey should be there. Look for tight ends Kurt Rafdal, Austin Allen and Jack Stoll to get in the mix, too.
Troy rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
The Huskers’ front seven dominated Colorado, stuffing tailbacks and making life tough for quarterback Steven Montez. The depth and aggression of NU’s front seven bodes well for the Troy game, as the Trojan offensive line lacks the size and athleticism of Colorado’s. Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker is a threat to run, and the Trojans will occasionally design plays for him. Nebraska has made stopping the run a priority and that won’t change here.
Troy pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Barker will be playing in the toughest atmosphere of his career. He didn’t lead Troy to an upset at LSU last year. Another guy who's no longer at the school did that. And while the Trojans have above-average receivers for a Group of Five conference — Deondre Douglas among them — Nebraska should be able to lock them up well enough for the Huskers’ pass rush to get home. Look for a few turnovers, too.
Nebraska did nothing worth writing home about last week. Just the opposite. A missed field goal, four special teams penalties, mediocrity across the board. Troy wasn’t much better in two home games. Hard to find an edge here, aside from NU having slightly better athletes and the home-field advantage.
Usually, the big, bad home team with all the history gets some sort of bump in a game like this. But Troy nearly beat Clemson in 2016. It did beat LSU last year. Troy’s not worried about playing at Nebraska. It surely relishes and welcomes the opportunity. NU, on the other hand, has to be hungry for a first win. Who wouldn’t be after the way the Colorado game ended? The resolve and certitude of Husker captains may be worth something, even in an 11 a.m. start. Nebraska’s new morning practice regimen will help.
Key matchup: Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker vs. Nebraska’s secondary
If Troy can’t score, it’s going to be hard to pull off any kind of upset. That means, if Nebraska shuts down Troy’s run game — and you can count on it — the 6-foot-1, 206-pound Barker will have to throw for the Trojans to win. How much difference, really, is there between Barker and Bunch? Not much. NU’s secondary needs to make Barker, who's making his third career start, pay for any mistakes.
Nebraska not only has to win this game, it can’t lose it. Seem like a Yogi Berra quote? Think about it: When NU lost last year to Northern Illinois, it outgained the Huskies by 171 yards. The difference was two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Troy will need a similar path to victory in Lincoln. If Nebraska doesn’t gift-wrap touchdowns to the Trojans, the Husker defense should do its job. Coach Scott Frost should win his first career game.
Our prediction: NEBRASKA 24 TROY 14
Big Red Today coverage
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco heads into the Husker football offices at 4:30 a.m. Sunday mornings to review the work of Adrian Martinez, Noah Vedral, Andrew Bunch and any other NU signal caller who takes a snap for the boys…
Northwestern defies conventional logic by remaining its stingy self on defense and letting its more-talented opponents make critical mistakes at the wrong times.
A top Husker 2020 recruiting target was named Friday night the best athlete in South Dakota by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.