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SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION – Nebraska

… Previews for CU’s opponents will be posted each week leading up to the start of Fall Camp … Previous posts: Oregon StateWashington StateNew Hampshire

 

Game Two – CU at Nebraska – September 8th (1:30 p.m., MT, ABC) 

Last game between the two schools … November 26, 2010 No. 16 Nebraska 45, Colorado 17 …

Colorado was riding the high of a two-game winning streak, needing one more win to qualify for a bowl game. Instead, the Buffs reverted to old bad habits, falling on the road to No. 16 Nebraska, 45-17. Three Colorado turnovers were all converted into touchdowns by the Cornhuskers, who held the ball for almost 40 minutes of game time.

With the loss, Colorado ended its final season as a member of the Big 12 conference with a 5-7 record. Cody Hawkins, who had only two interceptions (and 12 touchdowns) in four games after taking over for an injured Tyler Hansen, threw two interceptions early in the third quarter, allowing Nebraska to turn a close game into a rout.

While it was impossible to know it at the time, the game may have turned on the fifth play from scrimmage. Nebraska took the opening kickoff, and, on second-and-eight at the Cornhusker 47 yard line, Nebraska quarterback Cody Green hit running back Rex Burkhead for a short gain. Burkhead fumbled the ball, with the fumble picked up Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and returned to the Nebraska 23 yard line. The 3,800 Buff fans in attendance were in full voice – Colorado had the ball and the momentum!

After a booth review, however, the play was ruled an incomplete pass, and Nebraska maintained possession.

It was as close as the underdog Buffs would come to a turnover all day, and as close as Colorado would come to dictating play.

… The full game story and You Tube video of the game, along with the essay for the game, “A November to Remember“, can be found here

 

2017 Nebraska results – 4-8 (3-6 in Big Ten play)

– Returning starters, Offense: 6 … Returning starters, Defense: 8

 

– 2017 Nebraska National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 84th … 25.9 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 74th … 28.2 points per game)

— Rushing – 119th … 107.5 yards per game   (Colorado rushing defense – 108th … 208.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 27th … 277.5 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 94th … 242.6 yards per game)

— Total – 67th … 385.0 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 109th … 450.6 yards per game)

– 2017 Nebraska National Rankings (Defense)

— Scoring – 115th … 36.4 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 81st … 26.4 points per game)

— Rushing – 114th … 214.8 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 74th … 157.2 yards per game)

— Passing – 60th … 221.4 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 39th … 260.4 yards per game)

— Total – 100th … 436.2 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 48th … 417.6 yards per game)

 

Nebraska storylines … 

– He’s Here!! The second coming of Tom Osborne is here!! ….

Think Nebraska fans aren’t hungry for a return to glory?

Try over 80,000 in attendance for Scott Frost’s first spring game.

The former Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback has returned to Lincoln, bringing with him massive expectations. Frost took a Central Florida team which went 0-12 the year before Scott’s arrival, and turned it into a 13-0 Peach Bowl winning team in just two years.

For a fan base which hasn’t celebrated a conference championship since 1999, and hasn’t been relevant on the national stage in over a decade, the hiring of Scott Frost couldn’t have come at a better time.

Nebraska went 4-8 last season, and didn’t look particularly good in doing so. As noted, above, the Cornhuskers were 100th or worse in a number of defensive categories, including scoring defense and total defense. Nebraska went 1-6 in October and November last year, needing a comeback to top Purdue, 25-24, for its lone victory, while giving up over 50 points to Ohio State (56-14), to Minnesota (54-21), to Penn State (56-44), and Iowa (56-14).

Preseason scribes are gushing over the return of Frost, seeing a quick return to greatness for the Big Red. From The Athletic:

The presence of Nebraska’s past greatness is very much felt in Lincoln this spring now that Frost has come home. The new head coach is reviving and modernizing so much of what Osborne mastered to make Nebraska a powerhouse. He sees fundamental areas – strength training, nutrition, the walk-on program – where the Huskers have ceded their advantages and their edge over time.

“I think you’re a fool if you don’t look at a program that was the best program in the country for 25 to 30 years and try to emulate a lot of those things,” Frost told The Athletic. “There’s a formula that works at every school. There’s a formula that works at Alabama. There’s a formula that works at Boise State. There’s a formula that is proven to work here. A couple times in the recent past, people have tried to plug a different formula into this place. I just don’t think that fits Nebraska.

“I’m lucky I have a bunch of guys around me that understand a lot of the things that made Nebraska what it was. We’re certainly not gonna do everything like they did back then. But there’s a lot of things we’ve identified as important to make Nebraska go. Some of those things have been completely neglected.”

The assumption is that Frost will turn Nebraska back into a national power.

The only question, apparently, is not if he can do it, but how long it will take.

Players make plays

Scott brings to Lincoln a resume which includes running an offense at UCF which led the nation in scoring. Whether the no-huddle, fast-tempo offense (so much for bringing traditional ways back to the Cornhuskers) will translate effectively to Nebraska remains to be seen.

Nebraska will enter the 2018 season with a lineup of quarterbacks who have never started a collegiate game. If Frost can find a quarterback, the rest of the offense is in fairly decent shape. The top rushers and receivers are back, including one of the Big Ten’s best 1-2 wideout combos in Stanley Morgan and J.D. Spielman. Nebraska ran for just 107.5 yards per game last season, and is still lacking an elite back (junior college transfer Greg Bell may be the answer here). The offensive line returns four starters, but, as CU fans have learned, experience doesn’t necessarily translate to improved play.

The Nebraska defense last year was awful … almost as bad as Colorado’s defense.

The Cornhuskers gave up 436.2 yards per game (CU gave up 450.6). The defense gave up 5.57 yards per rush, with the opposition gaining over five yards on almost half (46.8%) of all carries (second-worst percentage in the FBS). Seven starters return, including the entire defensive line … good news or bad news? The secondary has some talented starters, but the depth is thin, and may prove a liability by season’s end.

 

Bottom Line

Take the following resume of an FBS team heading into the 2018 season:

— A 4-8 record the previous season, with the head coach being fired;

— A team which, but for a game-winning touchdown in the last 14 seconds against a mediocre opponent (Purdue) on October 28th, would be entering the fall on a seven-game losing streak;

— A defense which ranked 100th or worse in numerous statistical categories, including total defense and scoring defense. A defense which gave up 54, 56, and 56 points in its final three games of 2017;

— An offense which will be featuring a quarterback entering the season with no collegiate starts.

Given those bare facts, most Colorado fans would be salivating at the opportunity to take on just such an opponent.

But ... this particular 4-8 team is Nebraska, and the game will be in Lincoln (September 8th, 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC). Scott Frost has returned to make Nebraska great again, and there will be 85,000 fans on hand in September in his first game against a Power-Five opponent as the Cornhusker head coach. The game will be televised by ABC, and will receive national attention.

Can the Buffs handle the pressure?

It has been eight years since the Buffs have faced the Cornhuskers. The players on the 2018 CU roster were in elementary school the last time the black-and-gold ventured into Memorial Coliseum in Lincoln.

Perhaps that will work to CU’s advantage.

CU fans know how hard it has been for the Buffs to defeat the Cornhuskers, especially in Lincoln (8-26 all-time).

These Buff players, however, don’t have a history of disappointing finishes in Lincoln.

Perhaps they can write a new (and positive) chapter to the CU/Nebraska rivalry …

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21 Replies to “Scouting the Opposition – Nebraska”

    1. I’m sure the spin in the local media (and from VK) will be anti-CU (nothing new there), but, in truth, none of the four McCaffrey boys were ever going to CU.

      I’m just glad he’s going to Nebraska instead of UCLA or Washington (his other Pac-12 offers). CU won’t have to face him unless he plays as a true freshman, or is still around as a fifth-year senior in 2023 when the Corn returns to Boulder.

      1. Wrong Stu……..again. No negative from me. He had a lot of choices.

        Kids can pick where they go. Their choice period.

        No comment from me on what they choose.

        So there.

  1. Unfortunately 2010 was the November that I want to forget. Sigh…..that was when the ship really start taking on water.

  2. So Frost is a really good coach. Really good. The last Husker coaching staff looked like several of TunaMacs. Not good. But now the korndogs have frost. And he will have an impact immediately. Not good for the Buffs. The Nebraska coaching staff is much better than the Mighty Buffs coaching staff. But what do they have to work with from a player perspective.

    Hmmmmm
    247 recruiting class rankings

    …………Nebraska………..Buffs

    2018…………22…………….52
    2017…………23…………….35
    2016…………26…………….69
    2015…………30…………….69
    2014…………35…………….74
    2013…………23…………….68

    It would appear the kornholers have the talent. It would be truthful to say they did not have the coaching. They do now

    Kelly’s OC for 3 years. Fine tuned it.

    Now the Huskerettes have him.

    Players make plays and players win games but they cannot without a winning coaching staff.

    I hate it, but the kornkribs are gonna be pretty good this year.

    Buffs.

    1. Nice statistical comparison. If we have great coaching with our talent and they have poor coaching with theirs, well then, Buffs win. Given my simplistic view with only these two variables, it doesn’t look good. But there is the cohesion variable of blending a new coaching staff with existing players and seeing how fast it gels. Hopefully, sometime after the 2nd game, for the Cornhuskers. Also hopefully, we have strong performance from the Buffs coordinators. Go Buffs!

      1. Yo CJ,

        It’s just so tough.

        Just want the Mighty Buff players to be coached great and win games.

        TunaMac seems a lot like Mike Reilly. Nice guy, family man, but can’t execute the HC role a lick.

        6th year Bowl game is totally required.

        Well okay then

  3. Yo Earache. All ready protecting TunaMac. All up to Montez….all up to Montez

    Bullbanker. Its all about TunaMac.

    Sheep doggie. And you are clueless…..eh? Was it the fault of Montez last year>

    You sheep are all alike.

    1. Oh LaVarK, if Montez improves as much as I expect, he can be one of the best qb’s in the pac 12. That alone is worth a handful of conference wins, let alone the non-con.

      Go Buffs.

      1. Earches,

        But if he doesn’t the losses will be blamed on him vs the coaches? Like the TunaMacs always do. “It ain’t me, I’m only the HC, it’s the players….(You are what your record says your are…..The Tuna) Yup TunaMac sheep baaaaaaaaa that way. Into the valley rode the Earache 600

        TunaMac ain’t proved crap after 5 years.

        Buffs.

        Note: The coaching staff has been upgraded……………Time to upgrade the HC

        1. Hilarious, LaVar. If Montez doesn’t improve, the losses will be blamed on him?

          We’ll have to wait and see how those wins and losses stack up to make that judgment. At least I will. You’ve already made your judgment. Wins = Chev and other coaches you like. Losses = Mac is a bum, who “can’t execute the HC role a lick” at least in your mind.

          As to what Mac has proven in him time at CU? Never mind the fact that Mac has brought the CU football program out of the ashes. He’s built a recruiting organization that CU’s never had before (the results of which we’re seeing take hold now). As you so frequently say “the coaching staff is upgraded” (oh, wait that’s all RG’s handiwork…) and? Won 10 games in his fourth year, marking what, only the 8th time in school history to do that? Now granted, a lot of those 10 wins were on the players. Players make plays, players win games. But, the coaches – all of them – helped that happen too. They recruited them, and coached up a bunch of two-star, and lower three star guys, and surprised the world.

          The big difference from 2015 to 2016 and 2017 was that in 2015, the Buffs lost close games. But, they were in them. That was a big change for our program. In 2016 the Buffs were able to create their good fortune, and win close games that – allegedly – they shouldn’t have. In 2017, they regressed, and lost close games that, they definitely shouldn’t have. Yep. It’s a process.

          My money is on them turning another corner this year in the “winning close” phase, and putting together a nice, solid, 8-ish win season (could be 7, could be 9+) and get to a bowl game.

          That’s going to infuriate you, because Mac may just get another extension if they get that 9-win mark and are again competing for the Pac 12 championship. Or wait, maybe you’ll be stoked because you can then keep harping about how he should be gone from Boulder, despite being a pretty good coach.

          Go Buffs.

          1. Earache

            2015 AB/WL. Buffs lost close games cause the defense was getting better Offense stayed the same.

            2016 WL. Buffs won close games. Defense was Tremendous. Offense stayed the same

            2017 AL. Buffs lost a lot. Defense was bad. Offense stayed the same.

            Hey like you will blame the QB TunaMac will blame the players
            Hey like you will say its MickeyMac, TunaMac will take credit for the recruiting like he took credit for the defense.

            Yup and you already said if Montez doesn’t improve it will be a handful of conference losses.

            Mein Gott

            I love the way you moved up front to ensure the TunaMac new you were there
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRhYgW3FUus

          2. Oh. Ok. I guess you forgot about the miracle catch at Oregon by Bobo. Yep, Akhello did his part w/ the last second pick, but… that vaunted Leavitt D gave up 21 pts in the 3rd quarter. Good thing the offense scored again in the 4th. Whew. And, the D did their part too to close out the game.

            I could go on, but… you get the point. It was all Leavitt… ok. Riiiight.

            Go Buffs.

          3. Ye ol turn the corner routine. Turn left, turn right, turn straight, turn around.

            Welp this is the 6th year of ye ol turn around.

            3 years digging out of the ashes (A TunaMac…”See How Great I am”…emphasis on “I” quote)

            1 year ” Phonee Bolonee “It was me It was me not him” Oh wait championship and bowl game hmmmmmmmmm.

            “I am gonna be looking around and them schools be looking at me………”

            1 year turning back around………. “Okay wait maybe they aren’t looking at me and I didn’t get that extension either……..Not my fault no matter what a captain said ok?”…………..”I am me and you are not.”

            Now this year…………

            Great facilities.

            Best overall staff he has had (addition by subtraction……….. finally after 5 years of mediocre offense)

            Best talent on the team overall he has had. Totally!

            Schedule has some spots a well coached team and coaching staff will take advantage of.

            Buffalo Up TunaMac The sheep love ya.

            Note: I always hope the Buffs win every game regardless who the coach and his lemmings are. See I’m a Buff fan not a coach fan like earinfection is with his now beaver-brother ojt oc.

            Note 2: Doesn’t mean I’m in “The lemming tree” with you Trini Earaches.

            Not 3: They get a bowl game I am happy happy. 20 extra practices

            Note 4: Some school comes after and takes TunaMac. I am ecstatic.

          4. That there’s a lot of copying and pasting your same posts, LaVar. Nicely done.

            Maybe go cheer for Luke in Lincoln?

            Go Buffs.

          5. Earache

            Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

            Copy and Paste eh?

            Nah that be you

            Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

            And I will root for Luke………but not when he plays the buffs.

          6. Nah Earache,

            You’ll be rooting for Mac. And if the Buffs don’t do well, like TunaMac, you will blame it on the kids.

            So teller like.

            UP the Buffalo

            Note: You’re trying hard but ignorance is hard to hid.

  4. I’m glad this series since I have followed it since the 70’s including attending games in Lincoln and Folsom. My favorite game ever was the 62-36 beat down in 2001. Unfortunately, I am not as optimistic as Eric given the lack of passion I saw from the Buffs last year. Regardless of what Macintyre said, often in a defensive manner, he did not have the team ready to play either at home and particularly on the road. The last game the Buffs played? Utah on the road with bowl eligibility. They should have called that the Egg (as in laying one) Bowl except that name already belongs in another conference. The sold out Lincoln crowd will be jacked up. Passion and belief go a long way in college football. I would like nothing better than a CU win but I do not see it happening unless we see a different emotional version of the Buffs this year. Macintyre also has not experienced a rabid Cornhusker home crowd nor any experience with the intensity of these match ups. I won’t venture a prediction until I see what the 2018 version of the Buffs looks like against the Rams.

  5. Frost may in fact get Nebraska football back to a level of respectability. But, it’s not happening against CU this year.

    Of course, that will hang a lot on Montez’ performance, but again, I’m expecting homey to make some great improvement from what we’ve seen so far. He has the tools. If he puts in the work, and gets his head in the game more than we’ve seen so far, dude can be special, I think.

    Shall I predict a score? Sure. CU 48, NU 28.

    Go Buffs.

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