Summer opponent preview: Rutgers

Nebraska will take on the Scarlet Knights for the first time since the 1920s this fall.

Rutgers – Saturday, October 25th (TBA)

Head Coach: Kyle Flood (3rd season, 15-11 overall)

2013 Record: 6-7 (8-7 AAC)

(Returning information written by Sam Hellman)

Best Returning Offensive Player – Paul James, RB
James as a story is as exceptional as his rise to prominence in 2013. The junior had no college interest out of high school because of injuries and chose to walk on at Rutgers over a Temple greyshirt offer. James battled the same injuries in college, but exploded onto the scene in his third season by beating out former five-star running back Savon Huggins for the starting job. James missed five games in 2013, and still went for 881 yards and nine touchdowns. Stay healthy and he'll be the third running back to break 1,000 yards at Rutgers in the last 20 years.

Best Returning Defensive Player –Steve Longa, OLB
Longa logged 123 tackles on his way to a freshman All-American season at middle linebacker. New Rutgers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi moved him to weakside linebacker in the spring after starting in the middle as a freshman. In the Rutgers scheme, the weakside linebacker is the biggest playmaker on defense, and Longa has All Big Ten potential at the position.

Biggest Starter Loss – Brandon Coleman, WR
Coleman, although injured, declared for the NFL draft instead of returning for his senior season. Now on the New Orleans Saints, a healthy senior Coleman could completely change the Rutgers outlook at receiver. Coleman is 6-foot-6 and can run in the 4.4s when healthy. His absence puts significant pressure on youngsters Carlton Agudosi and Andre Patton to step up as the big receiver targets in the offense.

Last Meeting vs. Nebraska:
The 1920 game between the two was surely a clash of titans, and ended in a 28-0 Nebraska victory. Rutgers is known for winning the first college football game in 1869 – a 6-4 affair against Princeton. Oct. 25's game in Lincoln is just the second game against the Cornhuskers in Rutgers' 145-year history.

(Written by Josh Harvey)

How they matchup based off 2013 stats:

Scoring Offense: Nebraska 31.9 (48th) / Rutgers 26.5 (77th)
Scoring Defense: Nebraska 24.8 (49th) / Rutgers 29.8 (81st)

Passing Offense: Nebraska 196.7 (97th) / Rutgers 235.6 (64th)
Passing Defense: Nebraska 214.6 (32nd) / Rutgers 312.0 (122nd)

Rushing Offense: Nebraska 215.7 (19th) / Rutgers 129.5 (101st)
Rushing Defense: Nebraska 156.2 (54th) / Rutgers 100.8 (4th)

Total Offense: Nebraska 412.4 (59th) / Rutgers 365.2 (96th)
Total Defense: Nebraska 370.8 (40th) / Rutgers 412.8 (74th)

Nebraska player to watch: Josh Mitchell, CB
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova is the favorite to win the starting job this fall, but the senior is known to have trouble with turnovers. In 2012 he recorded 16 INTs and last season in just ten games it was worse at 14. Nebraska cornerbacks will likely get their chances.

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