After a dismal start to the season and every prediction being way off course, we look to get back on track this week against a Rutgers team that is in a similar place as the Huskers.
If the Husker players and coaches want to keep the heat off their seats for the remainder of their season they will need to rebound after back-to-back losses to Oregon and NIU.
Let’s take a look at what our contributors think about this weekends matchup with Rutgers:
Adam Sutton – Writer, Husker Hype
Never again am I going to doubt the ability of this team to go down by multiple scores before the half. The NIU game was an absolutely frustrating embarrassment and its one that I could see lingering in the team’s heads for another week. I don’t doubt that the team wants to win, but at this point, it looks increasingly more difficult for them.
Sans the 3 quarters of defense where the Huskers shut out the Huskies, the rest of it looked like a team without any sort of passion and energy. To add literal insult to injury, Matt Farniok and Marcus Newby are both unlikely to play this weekend after a mid-week injury update from coach Mike Riley.
I hope I’m wrong, but at this point its beginning to look like shades of 2007 in Nebraska. From here on out, the team is playing for their coaches jobs.
- Offensive MVP – J.D. Spielman
- Defensive MVP – DiCaprio Bootle
Prediction: 24-31 with a Rutgers win.
James Stig – Guest Contributor
If you would’ve told me the Huskers were only one play away from being 0-3 to start the season, I most definitely would’ve called you crazy. But, here we stand with Rutgers coming to town with a dismal 1-2 record. This Rutgers team has nothing to lose and will look to hand the Huskers their third straight loss. The Scarlet Knights last Big Ten conference win came on October 17, 2015, and since then, their only wins have been Army, Howard, New Mexico, and Morgan State. Ouch.
Rutgers starting QB is Kyle Bolin who transferred from Louisville after backing up Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. Bolin’s backup, Johnathan Lewis, accounted for four rushing and one passing touchdown in their beating against Morgan State. Three Scarlet Knights receivers (Janarion Grant, Jerome Washington, Damon Mitchell) have amassed 100+ yards so far on the season. In the backfield, Rutgers have a two-headed attack with seniors Gus Edwards and Robert Martin handling the rushing duties along with a freshman Raheem Blackshear. Depth is certainly there, talent not so much.
Nothing impresses me about this Scarlet Knights team which leads me to believe the Huskers *should* dominate this game handily. If coach Chris Ash can inspire his defensive line to take advantage of an inexperienced, banged up Cav-led line, we can see a close ballgame in the first 30 minutes. The Blackshirts should take care of business and seal a victory for the Cornhuskers. Rutgers is coming off a 65 point shutout against an FCS foe which can raise concern for Diaco Doubters. However, since 2015, the Scarlet Knights have scored 63, 52, 65 against FCS opponents. Nothing to worry about here as the Huskers steam roll Rutgers, 48-14.
- Offensive MVP: Mikale Wilbon
- Defensive MVP: Lamar Jackson
- MVP: Stanley Morgan
John Swedlund – Editor, Husker Hype
The Huskers will need to find a way to get the offensive line to gel while missing starters at two key positions this weekend. I like what I’ve seen out of C Michael Decker in the limited snaps he’s played this year. He will need to make sure he has the mental side down and get the right calls to everyone on the offensive to help ensure a successful outing for the struggling Big Red offense.
The defense needs to build upon its last two games and be a crutch the offense can count on for the rest of the season. With Rutgers speed at quarterback, I see the linebackers and defensive ends as the keys for success against Rutgers.
I think, nay hope, this is the game where things begin to gel across the board for the offense. If Tanner Lee can limit his mistakes and get the time he needs to operate it could be a ray of sunshine over a cloudy program.
- Offensive MVP – Mikale Wilbon
- Defensive MVP – Antonio Reed
- MVP – Defensive Line
Chris Wahl – Guest Contributor
Over the last decade being a Husker fan comes with extreme highs and extreme lows. After a beautiful opening drive full of Tanner Lee accuracy in week one, the Husker offense has sputtered to regain its footing and stumbled for the second week in a row.
The Blackshirts look to continue a trend of improvement this week. But to judge their performance against a backup NIU QB and a few good quarters against Oregon seems less than ideal this early in the season.
The Huskers have a chance to steer the ship in the right direction as they open B1G play with a “fresh slate” against Rutgers this Saturday. Injuries and lack of consistency loom over the Huskers but they should have the depth to pull out a win.
I see the Huskers establishing the run early, owning the time of possession game, but continuing to struggle to put away Rutgers in a 31-24 victory against the Scarlet Knights.
- Offensive MVP – Mikale Wilbon
- Defensive MVP – Luke Gifford
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