Photo courtesy of Jordyn Senstock/Nebraska athletics
After the long await of Big Ten college football, we finally have made it to game week.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers will stroll into “The Horseshoe” and take on Ohio State this Saturday.
The two teams that led the fight to play the Big Ten season this fall will face off to open their respective seasons.
The Huskers will try to avenge last year’s embarrassment where Ohio State cruised to a 48-7 victory even with College Gameday in Lincoln. The total yardage numbers were 580-231 in the Buckeyes’ favor.
It will be interesting to see which team gets into the flow of the game first, especially considering this is opening week. Heading into Saturday’s early game, Ohio State fans may wonder: who are the Nebraska Cornhuskers?
The other big thing to note is that the Cornhuskers have no opt-outs or test-outs for the upcoming season.
Here at Fifth Quarter, we have the writers that cover their teams thoroughly. Let’s give the fans a better understanding of what the Huskers will look like against the Buckeyes at 11 a.m. CT on FOX. We talked to FQ’s Nebraska co-account manager and writer, Zach Reeder, on what he thinks of this big match-up on Saturday.
IF OHIO STATE HAD TO WATCH OUT FOR ONE NEBRASKA PLAYER, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): Wan’Dale Robinson has to be the man. You know Nebraska will scheme ways to get him the ball in all areas of the field. Robinson is as dangerous as it gets in college football in space. Scott Frost and this coaching staff will try to get him in the screen game and in 1-on-1 opportunities from wideout.
Don’t sleep on him as a running back either. He touched the ball 88 times as a running back last year en route to getting 130 total touches in 2019.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THIS GAME AND WHY?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): Omar Manning is the first player I would like to highlight. The 6-foot-4 wideout has the size and speed combination at 225 pounds to be a problem. The former 4-star junior college standout should be a mismatch that the Huskers haven’t had the luxury of in past seasons.
The second player is the hard-hitting safety in Deontai Williams. Just over a year removed from a season-ending shoulder injury, Williams has a lot to prove. The former Jones County Junior College player will bring the boom the Huskers have missed in the secondary for years.
The third player I would like to highlight is the workhorse at running back in Dedrick Mills. Nebraska can’t abandon the run like it did last year. Mills ran for 67 yards on 11 carries in the 2019 match-up. He will have to keep the Buckeyes honest by working between the tackles this Saturday. It seemed like Mills really came into form towards the end of last season.
WHAT SCARES YOU MOST ABOUT THE HUSKERS AND BUCKEYES?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): First, I will talk about the Huskers. I’m hoping the role of self-doubt doesn’t creep into these guys after last year’s massacre. Confidence will be key, especially if the beginning of the game doesn’t go the Huskers’ way. The offensive line is the positional group I worry about most, because of how exposed they got last year.
Expect this group to want redemption from a rough outing last year. Expect the Buckeyes to throw every look they can at the Huskers.
It is kind of hard to pick one scary thing about this team. We will pick one on each side of the ball that scares me the most. On offense, their scheme makes them so hard to prepare for at any time. Combine that with unbelievable athletes and it will be hard to stop them.
On defense, it’s the Buckeyes’ defensive front. Last year, they dominated the game and this group is very experienced with lots of upside. Remember the name Zach Harrison as he will be the best NFL prospect in the future. His size, speed, and explosiveness could wreak havoc off the edge.
WHAT ARE YOUR OVERALL EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): I expect a battle because it’s game one after a long layoff and no spring ball. I think both teams will have plenty of kinks to work out. Combine that with the amount of true speed of a college football game and we should see plenty of mistakes. I hope the Huskers play with plenty of fire for all 60 minutes.
WHAT STAT LINE SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM WAN’DALE ROBINSON?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): I think Robinson gets plenty of touches in this one. I’m not sure we see as many touches from the running back position, but still, nonetheless, we will see them. I’m going with seven receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. I think we also see five carries for 32 yards.
INJURIES OR OPT-OUTS THAT WILL HURT THE HUSKERS?
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer): The Huskers will come into the season banged up in the secondary. Two cornerbacks will miss the season with major injuries. The biggest will be the lengthy cornerback in Braxton Clark. Last year, the redshirt freshman appeared in 11 games and showed extreme growth in 1-on-1 situations. The 6-4 corner showed his size and press ability could be instrumental in the secondary in the future.
Zach (FQ Nebraska writer):
Halftime: Ohio State 21, Nebraska 17.
Final: Ohio State 41, Nebraska 27.