College Football News Preview 2020: Nebraska Cornhuskers Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Nebraska Cornhuskers Offense
Keep the offense moving, and then keep it moving some more. It’s not just about the yards with this team so far. It was able to roll up huge numbers against Indiana, Colorado, and even Wisconsin, and it didn’t matter in any of those three losses.
It’s not even totally about turnovers, either. They mattered in the loss to Colorado, but they couldn’t stop giving the ball away against South Alabama, Maryland and Illinois and managed to win.
Last year, and going forward, it’s about converting on third downs, and doing it over and over and over again.
Northwestern was totally and completely miserable, and it almost beat the Huskers be keeping the score low and controlling the tempo. That was the only time all of last year that Nebraska won when it was under 40% on third down conversions.
The team was 1-5 when under the 40% mark, and while that didn’t matter a whole lot in blowout losses to Ohio State and Minnesota, not keeping the defense off the field was a big deal in the brutal-close losses to Colorado, Purdue and Iowa.
Biggest Key To The Nebraska Cornhuskers Defense
A clutch stop would be really, really nice. In 2018, allowing teams to drive at will was more of the problem. The defense held more often, but the more trips meant more points.
Last season, Nebraska allowed didn’t all all that many trips inside the red zone – at least not compared to the rest of the normal college football world – but it gave up automatic points every time a team was able to drive deep.
The Huskers were 122nd in the nation in red zone defense, allowing teams to convert 91% of the time.
Indiana was able to get inside the 20 six times, scored on all six trips, and got five touchdowns – Nebraska lost.
Purdue got into the red zone four times, scored four touchdowns – Nebraska lost.
Overall, the team was 1-6 last year and is 2-10 under Scott Frost when teams converted on every trip inside the red zone – both wins were over Illinois – and is 7-2 when teams converted 75% of the time or fewer.
Key Nebraska Cornhuskers Player To A Successful Season
PK Connor Culp, Sr.
Or sophomore Chase Contreraz, or redshirt freshman Game Heins, or freshman Tyler Crawford, or someone to rely on who can kick a field goal on a consistent basis.
Barret Pickering was the guy, but he got hurt. Dylan Jorgensen is transferring. In all, six players attempted a field goal for Nebraska last year, combining to hit 12-of-20.
For a team that played SO many close games – 12 over the last two years decided by seven points or fewer – every made field goal matters.
Culp comes in from LSU after losing the job and not doing anything for the last two years, but he hit 11-of-16 field goals for the 2018 team.
Key Game To The Nebraska Cornhuskers Season
Purdue, Sept. 5
2016 was the last time the Huskers got off to at least a 2-0 start.
With Central Michigan to follow the opener against Purdue, and with South Dakota State after that, it has to happen already. This has to be when the team gets rolling early.
Cincinnati, at Northwestern, Illinois, at Rutgers. If Nebraska can just stop tripping all over itself, it should be – more like it has to be – at least 5-2 to start the year, and there’s no real excuse to not be bowl eligible by Halloween.
It might be all about positive momentum with this program – there hasn’t been a lick of that under Scott Frost so far. That’s not happening if the Huskers lose to Purdue for the third year in a row.
– Nebraska Cornhuskers Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Nebraska Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Opponents 15-of-16 – Nebraska 12-of-20
– Fumbles: Nebraska 27 (lost 12) – Opponents 17 (lost 10)
– 1959-1961 – The last time Nebraska went three straight years without a bowl game