Nebraska preps for Purdue

With the initial College Football Playoff rankings out, Nebraska preps for Purdue this week.

LINCOLN, Neb. - The College Football Playoff Committee has released their first top 25 poll of the season on Tuesday night and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1) find themselves at No. 15, in front of fellow Big Ten member Ohio State (6-1, 3-0).

Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, and Ole Miss are the top four teams in the initial rankings. The Big Ten’s other potential playoff team, Michigan State, is No. 8.

On the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday, head coach Bo Pelini was asked about the playoff committee’s first vote.

“I’m sure I’ll hear about it, but I got other things on my mind than what that vote is today,” Pelini said on the Big Ten teleconference. “It’s not really something that affects me right now.

“There are certain things in your control, and that’s not one of them. You just try to win as many football games as you possibly can, and you control what you control.”

While Pelini and crew say they aren’t paying attention, BRR’s Josh Harvey doesn’t know if he believes them:


The Purdue Boilermakers (3-5, 1-3) are starting to put points on the board. Just 1-3 in their last four contests, head coach Darrell Hazell’s squad has averaged nearly 36 points per game over their last three weeks heading into their bye.

A major reason for the turnaround might be because of sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby. The Ohio native has brought a confidence to the huddle.

“Since they went to a one quarterback system they have really made some significant strides in their offense in the last three games,” Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said. “They tweaked some things, added a little bit to their package, I think they have been playing really well.

“He’s a deceptively good athlete. It was the number one thing we showed our players in their game plan report. You might see him as a big quarterback, but he’s had some good runs the last couple of games…he can run.”

When it comes Purdue, stopping their speedy running backs is priority number one. The Boilermakers like to spread teams out and get the pair into space.

?“Both backs are pretty dynamic, barely do you ever run into a situation where you have two running backs that are that fast,” Papuchis said. “You have to make it that much more imperative to get your gaps down, everyone executing their responsibility and you don’t let a missed gap into a big play.”

Nebraska DT Maliek Collins


Another game in the book, another 40+ point performance for Nebraska last week against Rutgers. The horizon might look even better. The Boilermakers are No. 91 in points against this season, giving up 31.3 a contest.

“They have settled defensively a little bit on what they want to be,” said Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck. “They are big up front and have big linebackers.”

The past two weeks, Nebraska has gone to a bigger rotation of offensive line getting game reps, sparking a debate on who deserves to start among fans. According to Beck, it’s “status quo,” meaning there will be no changes to the lineup on Saturday.

Last season, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah ran for 126 yards against Purdue on 20 carries, finding the end zone once. The nation’s leading rusher this season, Abdullah will be facing a squad that is giving up 173.3 yards per game on the ground this year. Translation…Abdullah could be in for another huge game statistically, not that it matters to him.

“Ameer is not caught up in all of that stuff right now,” said head coach Bo Pelini. “But hopefully he’ll finish out this year the way he wants to finish it out individually and team-wise. He’ll be able to look back on this with a lot of pride with the things he’s been able to accomplish. It’s pretty special.”

Popping up on more Heisman radars, Pelini was asked if it bothers him when Abdullah is left off lists.

“Does it bug me? Yeah, it does a little bit,” said Pelini. “I could talk for half an hour on that whole situation and how that goes. That’s not just this year, but year after year. I take that with a little bit of a grain of salt. I mean just watch the film. That’s all you’ve got to do.”

Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah


* Nebraska kicker Mauro Bondi was dressed out for practice on Tuesday, but was limited according to Big Red Report sources. Bondi is recovering from a broken collarbone. BRR expects he will back to his kickoff duties for Wisconsin in a couple weeks.

* Nebraska offensive lineman Givens Price was back at practice on Sunday and practiced again on Tuesday, meaning he will likely play this Saturday. Tight end Cethan Carter, who has not played in Nebraska’s last three contests, did miss practice again on Tuesday.

* Defensive end Randy Gregory had a huge game last season against Purdue, but he won't likely see the 1-on-1 blocks that he saw last year. Papuchis said it's hard to get tripled team, but it literally has happened to the potential All-American the last few weeks. Guys like sophomore defensive tackle Maliek Collins have to capitalize.

* After being rewarded a Blackshirt last week and choosing to not wear it, linebacker Josh Banderas once again was not sporting his black practice jersey on Tuesday.

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