Are you starting to feel a sense of deja vu Husker nation? Well, you’re not alone. While Nebraska football has had an insane schedule it’s starting to get into crunch time. The Huskers are 3-4 with a tough schedule still ahead.
Here are the remaining five games in order:
- Minnesota (Away)
- Purdue (Home)
- Ohio State (Home)
- Wisconsin (Away)
- Iowa (Home)
The Cornhuskers have a chance to beat any of these teams after what we’ve seen from them so far this season. However, the games that stick out to most as “very” winnable are Minnesota, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
Personally, going into Camp Randall will be just as difficult as usual despite how off the Badgers look this year but I digress. That leaves Nebraska with two “must-win games” (there’s that deja vu again) in Minnesota and Purdue.
During his Thursday press conference, Scott Frost stated “Everything we got will be poured into this one”. As the game against the Golden Gophers approaches, here are a few things to look out for and some keys to victory for Nebraska Football.
Minnesota is without their two best running backs
P.J. Fleck’s squad lost another running back for the season in Trey Potts after losing Mohamed Ibrahim earlier in the year. The Gophers will most likely turn to a committee approach in the run game with some younger players leading the way.
While this may seem like a major issue for the team it may not be that big of a loss. Up to now, Potts has been the second-leading rusher in the Big Ten. Sounds like the Ibrahim loss wasn’t so major, right? Why was that?
As we’ve learned for whatever reason the Minnesota offensive line, similar to their offense in past years, is solid. They’re big, lunch pale type players, and this offense is going to look to win this game in the trenches.
While most would say the Blackshirt defense has done well this year, they are currently 10th in the conference in rush defense. The Huskers give up about 134 rush yards a game and Minnesota is sixth in the conference offensively averaging around 192 yards per game with just over four yards per carry.
The Blackshirts need to keep that number down and fight in the trenches. Minnesota’s recipe on offense will be to slow the game down and try to sit around that four yards per rush number.
Nebraska is still searching for first road win
Out of the four losses, three have been on the road. Two of those losses have been to top 10 teams. I don’t believe this is necessarily something that greatly affects this team besides the fact everyone likes playing in front of their home crowd.
Nonetheless, it’s time for the Huskers to get this monkey off their back and snag a victory in someone else’s house.
Offensive playbook has opened up
Maybe it’s just me but I thought some of the play designs from Frost and Lubick were genius in the Michigan game. The three touchdown throws to Austin Allen, Rahmir Johnson, and Levi Falck were great plays designed by those two guys and great throws by Adrian Martinez but did you notice how they seemed to be drawn up perfectly? Specifically, Allen and Falck’s wide-open touchdowns left the defense’s heads spinning.
Let’s see some more of that!
Part of this has to do with the players looking more and more comfortable in this system each week. This offense has some WEAPONS, especially in the passing game. Samori Toure is one of a handful of receivers at any level with 3,000 receiving yards in a career, Austin Allen continues to be reliable, Omar Manning has been good for a big play each week, and Rahmir Johnson has proven to be a true threat in the receiving game as well as starting to break off bigger runs Husker fans were waiting to see.
Nebraska can win this game early if they bust some big plays and not allow Minnesota to force them into a slow game.
You may be sick of hearing it but every game from now on is crucial for this team. Grabbing these next two wins to get above .500 could create a massive swing of momentum and hopefully cause a ripple effect. You win these two and winning could start becoming a habit.
It all starts with this week against Minnesota.