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Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus // Nebraska Cornhuskers

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2009 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus

Game 1: North Dakota Fighting Sioux // Game 2: Rice Owls // Game 3: Texas Longhorns // Game 4: Houston Cougars // Game 5: New Mexico Lobos // Game 6: Kansas State Wildcats // Game 7: Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Cornhuskers are in year two of the Bo Pelini experience and from all accounts, Nebraska appears to be headed on the right path. Most are picking Nebraska to win the Big 12 North, which would be an impressive feat for just about anyone in their second year rebuilding a program. I can't say that I followed the Nebraska program as close as others, but from all accounts, Bill Callahan left the Nebraska program in shambles and Pelini has done an excellent job of getting back to "Nebraska football" which I think is great for the Big 12.

Join me after the jump for a closer look at Nebraska.

General Information

Opponent University of Nebraska
Nickname Cornhuskers
Location Lincoln, NB
Enrollment 17,371 (Undergraduates)
Conference Big 12
Head Coach Bo Pelini
2008 Record 9-4 (5-3)
Starters Returning/Lost 13/9
Blogs Corn Nation
Big Red Network
Double Extra Point
Links 2009 Roster
2009 Spring Fan Guide


Statistics

Statistic Nebraska Texas Tech
Pass Offense 281.00 (15) 413.15 (1)
Rush Offense 169.77 (37) 117.84 (94)
Total Offense 450.77 (12) 531.00 (4)
Scoring Offense 35.38 (17) 43.77 (3)
Pass Efficiency 154.46 (15) 158.76 (9)
Sacks Allowed 1.62 (43) 1.00 (4)
Pass Defense 233.38 (89) 242.23 (94)
Rush Defense 116.46 (21) 140.38 (61)
Total Defense 349.85 (55) 382.62 (79)
Scoring Defense 28.54 (80) 27.85 (74)
Pass Efficiency Defense 133.95 (82) 130.56 (72)
Sacks 2.69 (14) 2.62 (18)
Tackles For Loss 6.31 (40) 4.85 (95)
Turnover Margin -0.85 (107) 0.62 (22)


Top Returners

Category Player
Rushing Roy Helu, Jr. (125 / 803 yds / 7 TD)
Passing Zac Lee (1-2 / 5 yds / 0 TD / 0 Int)
Receiving Mike McNeill (632 rec. / 442 yds / 6 TD)
Tackles Ndamukong Suh (76)
Sacks Ndamukong Suh (7.5)
Interceptions Ndamukong Suh and Anthony West(2)


A Few Things

  1. Quarterbacking: It's not a stretch to say that there's not a ton of experience at the quarterback position. It appears that Zac Lee is going to be the starting in 2009 and I think it's safe to say that two passes does not constitute a lot of time on the field. That certainly doesn't mean that Lee can't play, but rather, Nebraska is one of a few Big 12 North teams (Missouri and Kansas State off the top of my head) replacing a quarterback this year. Lee was pretty good in the Nebraska spring game, and I'd be willing to bet that NU is going to take advantage of the short to intermediate passes, until Lee gets fully acclimated.
  2. Suh Does It All: There's a reason that Ndamukong Suh was voted as the preseason defensive player of the year. When you lead your team in almost every statistical category, you're doing pretty good. The guy is flat-out dominant, and although the interior of the Texas Tech line generally does a pretty good job, Suh is going to be the player to watch for in in the 2009 game.
  3. Finding Receivers: Nebraksa also faces the task of replacing their top two receivers from last year in Nate Swift (63 / 941 / 10 TD) and Todd Peterson (62 / 786 / 4). That's quite a bit of production to replace and I thought they were perfect receivers for Nebraska's passing offense in that they were tall, lanky guys that were all about keeping the chains moving. The 14 touchdowns are going to be difficult to replace, and NU's biggest returning receiver is TE Mike McNeill, who may is certainly one of the best tight ends in the Big 12.
  4. I Think Nebraska is Just Fine at Running Back: Nebraska loses Marlon Lucky, who rushed for 517 yards and 7 touchdowns, but I don't think there's much to be concerned about as returning rusher Roy Helu, Jr. (839 yds; 7 TD) and Quentin Castille (467 yds; 6 TD) represents a formidable 1-2 punch. Castille looks to have some fairly serious break away speed as he averaged over 4 yards a carry, but in games where Castille had some opportunity, he produced, including games of 125 yards against Clemson.
  5. Surprising TO Margin: I never would have guessed that Nebraska was this deficient in the turnover category, 107th in the nation. I would guess that this is something that's going to change this year. The surprising statistic is that the Cornhuskers dropped 17 fumbles on the carpet in 2008, which is a ton. I can't imagine that this trend will continue in 2009, and although Ganz threw 11 interceptions, I don't think he was the problem.
  6. Replacing LB's: It doesn't take a seasoned blogger to notice that Nebraska has over twenty linebackers on their opening roster. That's just crazy. It appears that Nebraska will be replacing some depth at linebacker, but when you have over twenty possible replacements, I don't think that finding candidates will prove to be that difficult. Besides, for a team that was 21st in rush defense, this is likely to be an area where Nebraska will be just fine.