Game Day: Nebraska vs. Troy

Trap game?

Scott Frost has been on both sides of this deal. He's played and coached at blue blood programs. He's also led the upstart underdog. So Frost won't be caught by surprise when the Troy Trojans come to Lincoln looking for an upset.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

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.

Special teams

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.

Intangibles

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.

Our take

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

Live updates

Photos

World-Herald game action »

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Troy matchup provided by the Husker 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 Red Today coverage

Junior college running back Dedrick Mills officially signs with Huskers

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

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.

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'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.

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…

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.

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.

Former Husker linebacker Dedrick Young to play in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Former Nebraska linebacker Dedrick Young — a four-year starter for the Huskers — will appear in the Jan. 19 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, according to rosters announced on Thursday.

Mad Chatter: Bluejay meltdown calls back to Nebraska high school classic from 30 years ago

If there existed a hall of shame for this kind of thing, Wednesday’s gaffe would be featured. How did Creighton lose that game? How did Creighton lose that game!

Carriker Chronicles: My favorite stories and memories of Frank Solich

On Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker shares stories about his time playing under former Nebraska coach Frank Solich.

Huskers resume recruiting push by hosting official visitors this weekend. Here's who's coming

They're from different parts of the country. All have visits lined up to other schools in future weeks. Each has different outlooks on position and playing time. But this weekend, all four will be Nebraska official visitors as the Huskers…

Husker notes: Mick Stoltenberg ready to start coaching career; Stanley Morgan training for NFL

Mick Stoltenberg has had the coaching bug for a few years. The former Nebraska defensive tackle — honored with the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award Wednesday night at the Outland Trophy dinner — first noticed how much he liked helping…

Video: Frank Solich receives Tom Osborne Legacy Award and more from the Outland Trophy Banquet

Husker legend Frank Solich was honored with the Tom Osborne Legacy Award on Wednesday at the Outland Trophy Banquet.

Prep Zone Report: Midseason Nebraska high school basketball standouts

World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter and The World-Herald's Jake Anderson discussed the latest Nebraska high school sports news in the latest episode of the Nebraska Prep Zone Report.

Huskers release schedule for camps and clinics, including Friday Night Lights recruiting event

Nebraska has released its schedule of camps and clinics for the spring and summer.

Carriker Chronicles: Three things Nebraska can learn from Clemson's rise to prominence

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker gives three takeaways Nebraska can learn from Clemson's recent success and rise to prominence.

In receiving Tom Osborne Legacy Award, ex-Husker Frank Solich earns hero's welcome

In the corner of a hotel ballroom packed by hundreds of Husker fans, Frank Solich, man of the hour at Wednesday’s Outland Trophy Dinner, stood for picture after picture after picture. His mentor, Tom Osborne, was on his left. Nebraska’s…

Former Husker Brandon Reilly reportedly joins Dallas Cowboys practice squad

Former Husker wide receiver Brandon Reilly has joined the Dallas Cowboys to help them in their playoff push.

Sam McKewon's Final AP Top 25 ballot

Here's how Sam McKewon voted in his final AP Top 25 ballot of the college football season.

Video: Former Husker coach Frank Solich reflects on many years spent at Nebraska

Frank Solich, in town this week to receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award, made an appearance at Boys Town on Tuesday. Watch video at the top of the page from his speech.