Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
2015 Record: 6-7 (3-7 in Big Ten)
Head Coach: Mike Riley (Second Year, 8-7)
2016 Record so far: 2-0, Unranked in AP Poll
Record vs OSU since 2006: 1-1
What has happened so far in 2016: For a team coming off a disappointing year last season, Nebraska has started 2016 on a good note. In their first game, the Huskers defeated Fresno State handily with a 43-10 victory at home. The Huskers dominated the run game to a tune of 292 rushing yards as Devine Ozigbo and Tommy Armstrong Jr. led the way with two rushing touchdowns a piece. The following week, the Huskers topped the visiting Wyoming Cowboys 52-17. Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to senior standout Jordan Westerkamp. The Huskers will turn their attention to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, who are ranked No. 22 in the AP Poll.
Key Offensive Player: Nebraska has no shortage of weapons. Returning for the Huskers on offense are Westerkamp — the team’s leading receiver — and senior Brandon Reilly. In the backfield they return senior Terrell Newby as well as sophomore Devine Ozigbo, who will be pushing for the starting job. The real key of the offense is senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. In his final year for as a Husker, Armstrong looks to lead the Nebraska offense. He will look to improve off a year in which he passed for a career high 2,856 yards and 21 touchdowns, adding 324 yards rushing and six touchdowns. There’s no question the offense goes as Armstrong goes.
Key Defensive Player: The Huskers defense is coming off an extremely up-and-down year. But they have started 2016 on a positive note, allowing a modest 13.5 points per game and a stifling 81 rushing yards per game. The star on defense is senior safety Nate Gerry. Gerry, standing at 6-foot-2, not only led the Huskers last season as Nebraska’s leading tackler with 79 tackles, but also led the team with four interceptions and seven pass breakups. Gerry has really blossomed into a complete safety.
Weaknesses: One glaring weakness the Huskers have to address this season is the defensive line. The Huskers last season finished ninth in the NCAA against the rush. One of the main reasons for the success was the play of defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Collins, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the NFL draft, is a huge loss for a unit that wasn’t particularly deep. The Huskers will need sophomore Mick Stoltenberg and senior Kevin Maurice to step up this year, if they want to replicate the success they had against the run last year.