FCS opponent McNeese State comes calling this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. There’ll be plenty of talent on both sides, but there are five players you should keep an eye out for more than any of the others.
Husker offensive and defensive players make the list, while two members of the McNeese State offense also are featured.
Who will seize the opportunity to shine this week?
1) Nebraska I-Back Ameer Abdullah
He may not play much this weekend, but rest assured, when he does, he’ll be absolutely electric.
Abdullah sat at No. 5 on ESPN’s Heisman Watch rankings coming out of week one.
He rushed 21 times for 232 yards and ripped off a a 47-yard touchdown run against the Owls of Florida Atlantic.
If he can get his usual carries and break one or two massive runs, the All-American candidate can definitely challenge his personal best set last week.
Even if he doesn’t get a new career-high in rushing yards for the second-straight games, the country’s eyes will be focused in the I-Back from Homewood, AL., and they should be.
2) Nebraska Defensive End Jack Gangwish
No Randy Gregory, no problem! Well, it really isn’t that simple. Anytime a team loses an All-American candidate, it stings, but Gangwish performed admirably opposite Greg McMullen in No. 4′s absence.
The 6’2″ 260-pound defensive end from Wood River, NE truly made the most of his opportunity to shine.
“I’m never going to be the guy that’s not running fast enough or not working hard enough,” Gangwish said to Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald.
Powerful words from the walk-on.
Gangwish was quiet in terms of stats (one tackle, one quarterback hurry), but that doesn’t mean his impact wasn’t felt by his teammates. Can he turn up the heat even more against the Cowboys? Keep your eyes peeled.
3) Nebraska Wide Receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El
The Husker freshman caught two passes, his first ever at the FBS level being a touchdown. Look for Pierson-El to show more flash again this week.
He passed the eye test against FAU, and it’ll be very interesting to see the improvement from week one to week two for the youngster.
In addition to his receiving ability, he did something Husker fans have been dying to see: He returned a punt for positive yardage. Two of them, to be exact. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Pierson-El returning punts yet again.
4) McNeese State Quarterback Daniel Sams
Cowboy head coach Matt Viator announced that the former Kansas State quarterback/wide receiver would not be the starter behind center, but rather junior Tyler Bolfing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be watching for Sams at some point in the game.
He ran for 807 yards and 11 touchdowns last year along with throwing 53 passes, completing 38 with four touchdowns and four interceptions to his name.
If he’s to get meaningful snaps against the Blackshirts, it’ll be an interesting test after FAU’s mobile quarterback Jacquez Johnson left last week’s game early due to injury.
5) McNeese State Offensive Lineman Antoine Everett
Whomever is playing quarterback for the Cowboys will be protected by a mass of humanity. Everett comes into 2014 as a preseason FCS All-American and All-Southland conference honoree.
A 6’3″ and 325-pound behemoth, he started in all 13 games last season.
McNeese State rushed for 2,716 yards last season on 562 attempts (208.9 yards per game), scoring 32 touchdowns.
If Everett can handle the aforementioned Gangwish and McMullen, the Big Red could be in for more of a fight than Husker fans may think. For a little while, at least.
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Tags: Nebraska Cornhuskers