Nebraska head coach Mike Riley had to wait nine months to coach in his first game in Lincoln.
This week might have felt about as long.
The Huskers lost on a Hail Mary toss by backup BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum last weekend. As if Riley’s first game wasn’t memorable enough?
Nebraska will look to get in the win column on Saturday night, when they host South Alabama at 7 p.m. in a Big Ten Network affair.
“We’re looking forward to another go-around this week. South Alabama has been kind of interesting to watch from afar, because they started (playing) football not that long ago,” said Riley. “They have accumulated, what I look at, as an overall team that has a lot of speed and athleticism. They look good playing. They made it to a bowl game last year. I think it was their first bowl game. They’re doing a nice job in that program.”
Nebraska’s depth chart: CLICK HERE
Temperatures are expected to be around 65 degrees at kickoff, with partly cloudy skies. By the fourth quarter, temps will be in the upper 50s.
Nebraska will welcome three players back from suspension this week: OLB.) Michael Rose, CB.) Jonathan Rose and OL.) Robby Painter.
One player who continues to be suspended is tight end Cethan Carter, who should be back next week.
The series: This is the first matchup between the two schools.
What a win means for Nebraska: They did what they are heavily favored to do. Nebraska needs a little momentum heading into a road contest at Miami next week. Jumping out to an early lead is crucial for the Huskers to be able to work on a few areas of their game in a live contest.
What a win means for South Alabama: A win over a program like Nebraska would be a signature moment for the Jaguars. The 2009 season was the first for USA. At this point, their best win in school history might be Western Kentucky in 2013. Last season, the Jaguars faced Mississippi State and lost 35-3.
Who to watch on offense and defense: On defense, we highlight outside linebacker Michael Rose, who will be making his first game appearance since the 2013 season. On offense, offensive tackle Alex Lewis, who needs to lead the front five to a better effort than last week.
Projected start of the game: Running back Terrell Newby was held to just 43 yards last week on ten carries. Nebraska will likely start to hone in on just one to two players this week at the running back spot. We think one of them will be Newby, who will get plenty of opportunities to carry the rock. Look for him to find the end zone once and be around 100 yards in this one.
Reason to be concerned? The Nebraska secondary didn’t look great at times against BYU, giving up over 350 yards in the air. South Alabama runs a similar type offensive scheme, where they try to beat teams with speed and the pace of the game. The Jags have the ability to stretch the field. Guys like Daniel Davie, Joshua Kalu and Jonathan Rose will have to be ready to run.
Did you know? Despite entering just his junior year, wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp is already No. 15 in career receiving at Nebraska. Another 250 yards will put him in the top 10 all-time. We think he gets to 1,000 this season.
Quote to note: "That was our first experienced game and a tough. We had those same kind of wonders ourselves. I think that it's been very good. The first practice on Monday, I thought everyone's response was good. I think we have practiced better each day, which is the way it should be." – Head coach Mike Riley on his team bouncing back this week
Josh Harvey’s prediction: Last year the Huskers struggled against McNeese State, a solid FCS program, but overall a major underdog when coming to Lincoln. Nebraska must avoid the same type of outcome after a loss last weekend to BYU. I think the players avoid a similar type letdown. There is a sizable weight advantage in the trenches. The Huskers will wear on the Jags early. Nebraska wins this one 45-20.
Joe Quinn, AM 590 – Nebraska 45 South Alabama 21
Matt Svobdoa, BRR contributor – Nebraska 49 South Alabama 10
Beth Long, Scout.com - Nebraska 49 South Alabama 14
Brett Edwards, KLKN-TV - Nebraska 42 South Alabama 17
Peter Terpstra, KLKN-TV - Nebraska 38 South Alabama 14
Andrew Ward, KLKN-TV - Nebraska 45 South Alabama 17
HuskerMo, BRR board member - Nebraska 46 South Alabama 20
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