Nebraska Cornhuskers College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Nebraska Cornhuskers Biggest Key: Offense
A downfield passing game would be a big, big help. This, and stopping the turnover problem are vital to any sort of success. There’s a massive fumbling issue – 22 of them, losing nine – that has to go away, but making things happen down the field is even bigger.
Adrian Martinez and the now-Louisville Cardinal Luke McCaffrey didn’t have a problem completing passes, but they didn’t go anywhere.
The Husker quarterbacks combined to hit 68% of their throws, but they went for just 9.75 yards per completion with a mere five touchdowns in eight games.
The 2019 Husker quarterbacks averaged over 13 yards per completion, and that’s been about the norm for the program lately. Being under ten yards per try is disastrous, and it’s a big part of the reason why Nebraska lost to Minnesota (3.8 yards per throw) and Northwestern (under five yards per pass).
Nebraska Cornhuskers Biggest Key: Defense
The run defense has to do even more. It was great against Purdue, but that’s partly because the pass defense was getting consistently hammered. Too many other teams were able to bash away.
The Huskers allowed over 200 yards four times in eight games and gave up over four yards per carry. On the positive side, 2020 was a giant improvement for the run D after the previous three seasons, but it still wasn’t enough. In terms of raw numbers, the run D stats tied into another issue.
The pass rush. It was one of the weaker pass rushing defenses in the Big Ten.
For a team that struggled in so many areas on both sides of the ball, pressure and sacks were a big, big help. It’s only a slight coincidence that the Huskers were 3-1 when the came up with multiple sacks and 0-4 when they didn’t.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Zavier Betts, RFr.
Adrian Martinez is obviously the team’s most important and key player, but he might only go as far as the receivers can help him.
Wan’Dale Robinson didn’t make a ton of big plays, but he caught a whole lot of passes. Now he’s off to Kentucky, and the most reliable returning targets are probably the tight ends.
The Huskers really, really need a No. 1 wide receiver.
There are a slew of promising targets, and the 6-2, 200-pound Betts is one of the possible stars. He was third on the team in receiving yards with just 131, but he’s got the size and explosion to do a whole lot more.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Illinois, Aug. 28
The Huskers were embarrassed by the Illini at home last year, allowing 285 rushing yards, a big day through the air, and 41 points in the ugly loss. This time around it’s a road trip in late August to kick off the season as well as the Big Ten campaign.
Lose this, and it’s uh-oh time with a trip to Oklahoma a few weeks later and a November looming with Ohio State, at Wisconsin, and Iowa to deal with.
2020 Nebraska Cornhuskers Fun Stats
– Penalties: Nebraska 54 for 485 yards – Opponents 39 for 357 yards
– Fumbles: Nebraska 22 (lost 9) – Opponents 13 (lost 2)
– 2nd Half Scoring: Opponents 113 – Nebraska 60