This week the Huskers face the 3-6 Rutgers Scarlet Knights in New Jersey. Rutgers is another one of those teams that Nebraska should beat, but we all know how those games have gone this year. The Knights have a couple of guys that the Huskers need to keep an eye on. The have a return guy named Janarian Grant that was Big Ten special teams player of the week last week when he returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. He was also Big Ten special teams player of the week one other time this season. His kickoff return for a TD was his third this year.
Another guy to watch for is wide receiver Leonte Carroo…if he plays. This guy leads their team in receptions and yardage despite only playing 5 games this year due to injuries. He has 9 TD receptions in those 5 games. He is regarded by many people as the top receiver in the nation. At this time, his status for Saturday’s game is uncertain.
Statistically, Nebraska is the better team in this contest, ranking above the Scarlet Knights in both offensive and defensive statistics. The Knights do have an edge in turnover margin and penalties.
Several Huskers got banged up this past weekend, but almost everyone has been practicing including Terrell Newby who saw limited action last week. Defensive lineman, Kevin Maurice is also healed and ready to play again.
Can the Huskers make it two wins in a row for the first time this season? Join us at Dukes this Saturday and find out!
I keep going over in my mind what was different about last weeks win vs several losses earlier in the year. I’ve decided there were a few minor things, but overall not a lot…largely, the ball just bounced Nebraska’s way last week. There were some painful turnovers that killed scoring opportunities, and there were some frustrating penalties that kept drives alive for the Spartans…but lets talk about the little differences that helped.
Probably the biggest difference I saw was on the offensive line. Those guys got more push than I have seen in any other game this year, and did a great job in pass protection (no sacks on Tommy!). It didn’t hurt having Imani Cross picking his holes well and really fighting for extra yards! I thought the energy level as a whole was better last Saturday…and it stayed pretty good the entire game. There was even more energy in the stands. Although the Husker defensive backfield got picked apart again by the opposing QB, they still seem to be improving (other than the Purdue game). Instead of being able to drive a truck between the receivers and defenders, the Blackshirts were actually able to make good plays on the ball several times. Connor Cook had to make some perfect throws and his receivers had to make some spectacular catches to get their yards. It is certainly not where we want the Blackshirts to be, but the improvement is encouraging.
I actually thought the Minnesota game was a little cleaner with no turnovers and only 2 penalties, but the energy level was higher for the Michigan State game. Put the two together and the Huskers could be very special going forward.