Nebraska Cornhuskers: Rutgers presents offensive challenges


The Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-6)are coming off of their biggest win of the season. The 39-38 victory over the Michigan State Spartans, not only knocked off an undefeated team, it changed the landscape in the Big Ten. Let’s not forget, the Huskers are still in contention for a Bowl Bid.

With two games remaining, the Huskers can’t afford to fall back. Therefore, they are in a must-win situation against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-6) on Saturday.

Defensively, the Huskers are dealing with an offense that’s had their ups and downs this season. Currently, the Scarlet Knights average 26.6 points per game, but they’ve been brutal in Big Ten losses. In the last three games, they have averaged 11 points per contest. However, the Scarlet Knights did score 55 points in comeback win over Indiana.

Quarterback Chris Laviano comes into the game with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Although he’s completing 62 percent of his passes, Laviano hasn’t been able to consistently connect with his receivers. However, Leonte Carroo is probable for the game. How much of a difference can Carroo make for the Huskers’ secondary? Well, in five games, Carroo has nine touchdown catches. He also has 24 receptions for 527 yards this year.

With the Huskers giving up 319 yards passing per game, the Scarlet Knights will test the secondary. However, the Scarlet Knights have been more of a running team this season. Only attempting 28 passes per game, the offense will have to change their character if they use a heavy passing attack. Still, it might be their best asset against the Huskers’ strong run defense.

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The Scarlet Knights have a plethora of running backs capable of making big plays. Sophomore Josh Hicks leads the way for the Scarlet Knights. Along with Robert Martin, the two second-year players have combined for over 1000 yards and eight touchdowns. With James Paul questionable for the game, the Scarlet Knights might only use a two-headed attack. However, all three running backs average over five yards per carry. Therefore, the Huskers will see different looks.

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If the Huskers defense wants to make an early statement, they need to force some turnovers. History says Laviano will throw a couple of errant passes on Saturday. If the Huskers are able to capitalize with some interceptions, they can provide the offense with some easy scoring chances. Coming into the game, the Huskers only have six picks. Maybe they’ll get a pick six.