Big Ten Preview Nebraska Cornhuskers

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first_imgLocation: Lincoln, Nebraska2018 record: 4-8Head coach: Scott Frost (second year, 7-9)2019 record so far: 3-1Record against Ohio State since 2010: 1-4What’s happened so far in 2019:Coming off a losing season under first-year head coach Scott Frost, Nebraska started the season with a 35-21 home win against South Alabama. It dropped its next game against nonconference rival Colorado 34-31 in overtime. Nebraska followed its first loss with a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois and a 42-38 win against Illinois after trailing 35-21 in the second half.Key offensive player:Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez is the engine of the Cornhusker offense and has proven to be a threat both through the air and on the ground in 2019. He has 10 total touchdowns and leads the Big Ten in both passing yards per game with 263.3 and total offense per game with 321.8. In Nebraska’s loss to Colorado, Martinez completed his first nine passes and scored a touchdown on the ground, but went seven for his next 17 and was sacked six times. When he is truly acting as a dual-threat quarterback and can complete multiple passes in a row, Martinez and Nebraska’s offense can put up points in a hurry, as evidenced by its Big Ten fifth-best 38 points per game.Key defensive player:Redshirt senior linebacker and team captain Mohamed Barry leads Nebraska with 33 tackles, which is tied for No. 5 in the Big Ten. Barry tied his career-best with 12 tackles against South Alabama and hit double-digit tackles again against Northern Illinois. He registered his first sack of 2019 and the third of his career against Colorado. Barry has cemented himself as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten, and will be a major cog in the middle of a Nebraska defense that hasn’t allowed a running back to gain more than 50 yards rushing in three of its first four games. Weaknesses:Nebraska has struggled at stopping the pass in 2019. The team allowed an average of 240 passing yards per game through Week 4, and in its first game against a Power Five opponent, it allowed two long passing touchdowns to Colorado. The team has a propensity to give up big plays against major conference opponents. Under Frost and a young quarterback, the team also struggles to find ways to win in tough environments. Last season, Nebraska had zero wins on the road, and in its first trip away from Lincoln in 2019, the Cornhuskers blew a 17-0 lead to Colorado. While still learning to win high-stakes games, Nebraska puts pressure on Martinez to stand out in all areas of the game. Combined with an average defense, Nebraska relies too heavily on its offense to win games.last_img

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