After what has seemed like a long nine months, the wait is finally over. Nebraska’s new man is about to coach his first game in Lincoln.
Head coach Mike Riley and the Huskers will square off against BYU on Saturday afternoon. The contest is a 2:30 p.m. CT affair on ABC.
“I have really appreciated this team’s work, they are conscientious and their intentions have been good,” Riley said. “I think they work hard, it has been fun getting to this point.”
Temperatures are expected to be in the lower 90s, which could play an x-factor in the game. BYU likes to run a fast paced offense, which means Nebraska will need to try slow the pace if they can – especially with the heat.
The series: Despite both schools having a strong football tradition, this is the first meeting between the pair.
Nebraska's depth chart: CLICK HERE
What a win means for Nebraska: If winning the Big Ten West is the goal, this game doesn’t really mean much. But, kicking off the Mike Riley era on a good note is crucial for this team to gain confidence as they transition on both sides of the football to a new scheme. Nebraska can’t afford a loss before traveling to Miami in week three. If for some reason Nebraska fell to 2-2 heading into conference play, things might get a little rough in Lincoln.
What a win means for Utah: A college independent, BYU has a nasty September. In addition to their season opener against the Huskers, they play Boise State at home and travel both to UCLA and Michigan. Leaving Lincoln with a mark in the loss column wouldn’t really set the month up very well.
Who to watch on offense and defense: It’s easy to just point at defensive tackle Maliek Collins or quarterback Tommy Armstrong, but here is a look at other players in the contest that will need to be on their game.
Keys for Nebraska over BYU:
Projected star of the game: Nebraska will go where the quarterback takes them. With the loss of sophomore receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El, Armstrong’s legs might be called upon more than usual the first half of the season. He gets a good matchup this week against a secondary that struggled much of last season. Armstrong will be able to move the ball through the air effectively and have quite a few nice gains on the ground. It will be his notice to the Big Ten West division that he is the best quarterback on this half of the conference.
Did you know? The average BYU offensive player is nearly five years removed from high school. Senior quarterback Taysom Hill is actually going on seven years since his last high school game. Nebraska has the star advantage, but BYU is quite a bit older. For more.....CLICK HERE
Quote to note: “We don’t have a set rotation on how that is going to go. There are certain things we have marked for different guys so we will probably do it according to that and be aware of that during the game. It is not a set rotation.” - Mike Riley on the Nebraska running back situation
Josh Harvey's prediction: I wouldn’t be shocked to see it take a little while for the Nebraska offense to get going. BYU isn’t going to be intimated by Memorial Stadium. In the last 10 years, they have gone to plenty of places to open the season and won games. It probably helps they are an older squad. Nebraska’s depth ultimately wears the Cougars down. I have the Huskers winning 38-28, but it will be a close one at halftime.
Beth Long, Scout.com – Nebraska 28 BYU 24
Joe Quinn, AM 590 – BYU 27 Nebraska 24
Matt Svobdoa, BRR contributor – Nebraska 27 BYU 24
Brett Edwards, KLKN-TV – BYU 34 Nebraska 27
Peter Terpstra, KLKN-TV – BYU 27 Nebraska 24
Andrew Ward, KLKN-TV – Nebraska 31 BYU 24
HuskerMo, BRR member - Nebraska 37 BYU 27