For the first time in history, Maryland secured a victory against Nebraska in football, marking the Huskers’ second loss in their quest for bowl eligibility. The upcoming matchup against Wisconsin offers another opportunity for Nebraska to achieve this elusive goal. In the offseason, I delved into the coaching prowess of Fickell vs. Rhule, hailing them as two of my favorite hires in the recent coaching carousel. Now, we witness these coaching titans go head-to-head on the field with significant stakes – the coveted bowl eligibility. Keep an eye on Braelon Allen, one of my favorite players in the Big Ten, whose size mirrors that of the Titans’ Derrick Henry. He poses a considerable challenge for any defense and could play a decisive role in the outcome.
Both teams grapple with a less-than-ideal passing situation. Badgers’ QB Tanner Mordecai, a notable addition from the portal, is coming off a broken hand and delivered an average performance in a loss to Northwestern. Meanwhile, Nebraska quarterbacks seem plagued by historic turnover rates. The team that manages to minimize quarterback turnovers is likely to emerge victorious. I advocate for the deployment of the speedy young receivers to stretch the field and rekindle the success of Thomas Fidone in the middle.
Emmett Johnson emerges as a promising running back, averaging 5.1 yards per carry – the third-best among freshman running backs at Nebraska since 2000, trailing only Maurice Washington and David Horne. Exploring a run game between the tackles and incorporating a triple-option look could inject variability and reduce the hits on the quarterbacks.
Braelon Allen, a standout player in the conference, ranks as the third-leading rusher with one fewer game played than the two backs ahead of him. Tackling will be crucial, given Allen’s formidable 240-pound stature. At just 19 years old, he already boasts the 24th most rushing yards in the Big Ten since his birth.
Nebraska finds itself amid its fifth-longest losing streak against a single opponent, having suffered nine consecutive losses to the Badgers. This streak is the longest since Devaney’s tenure. Another loss this week would only trail the historic losing streaks to Oklahoma from 1943 to 1958 and Pittsburgh from 1927 to 1938. Attaining bowl eligibility ahead of the Badgers would stand as a significant achievement for Rhule over Luke Fickell.