#17 Nebraska Football 2013 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Overall Rank: #17
#2 Big Ten

Nebraska Team Page#17 Nebraska Football 2013 PreviewBuy Nebraska Football Tickets

Nebraska was on a roll until their second contest again Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. The Cornhuskers allowed 70 points and the Badgers pretty much stopped playing halfway through the third quarter. Blowout losses have hindered an otherwise great coaching job by Bo Pelini during his time at Nebraska and this team is too good to get thrashed a couple times every year.

2012 Record: 10-4, 7-1
2012 Bowl: Capital One Bowl vs. Georgia (L 31-45)
Coach: Bo Pelini (49-20 at Nebraska, 49-20 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tim Beck
Defensive Coordinator: John Papuchis

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ameer Abdullah, RB, 1,137 yards
Passing: Taylor Martinez, QB, 2,871 yards
Receiving: Kenny Bell, WR, 863 yards
Tackles: Ciante Evans, CB, 56
Sacks: Ciante Evans, CB, 2.0; Jason Ankrah, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Imani Cross, WR Quincy Enunwa, WR Jamal Turner, TE Jake Long, OL Brent Qvale, OL Spencer Long, OL Jeremiah Sirles, LB David Santos, CB Andrew Green, CB Josh Mitchell

Key Losses: RB Rex Burkhead, RB Braylon Heard, TE Kyler Reed, TE Ben Cotton, LB Will Compton, S Daimion Stafford, S PJ Smith, LB Alonzo Whaley, DE Eric Martin, DL Cameron Meredith, DT Baker Steinkuhler, K/P Brett Maher

Taylor Martinez is heading into his fourth year as the starter for the Cornhuskers. Last year he rushed for 1,019 yards and ten scores and threw for 2,871 yards and 23 touchdowns. Martinez is going to run, yet Coach Pelini may want to throw the ball a little more since he has so much talent at wide receiver. Kenny Bell developed into the big play wide out during his sophomore season. He averaged over 17 yards per reception and ended up in the end zone eight times. Bell was just the seventh player in Nebraska history to catch 50 passes in a single season. Jamal Turner and Quincy Enuwa were not too far behind that mark. Running back Rex Burkhead was in and out of the lineup during his senior season due to a string of injuries and that gave Ameer Abdullah the opportunity to emerge as one of the best backs in the Big Ten. He rushed for 1,137 yards and eight scores. With Burkhead gone and a year of starting experience under his belt, Abdullah is going to have a very productive season. A deep and talented offensive line, led by guard Spencer Long and tackles Jeremiah Sirles and Brent Qvale will make sure Abdullah and Martinez will get plenty of space to operate.

It was not just the Big Ten Championship game where the Cornhuskers defense was outmatched. The team also gave up 63 points in a loss to Ohio State and 36 to UCLA. There were some good games, like when they held Michigan to just nine points, but most outings were relatively disappointing. And now it could be worse with eight starters gone. The group of youngsters has more speed and playmaking ability, yet they are still young and will give up some big plays. The front seven is going to take a lot of sorting out. Jason Ankrah will have to be a senior leader on the line after starting nine games last year and tallying 2.0 sacks. Senior Thad Randle has some experience too, but that is about it. All three starting linebackers from 2012 are gone, but the Cornhuskers are high on some of the young talent and speed they have in the middle of the defense. The secondary at least returns a couple starters in corners Ciante Evans and Josh Mitchell, but their jobs are not safe either.

The Bottom Line:
Nebraska is going to give up quite a few points at times again in 2013. The defense just is not there yet to consistently stop the more potent offenses in the Big Ten. However, the schedule makers did keep Ohio State and Wisconsin off of the slate, so those 70 point games should be a thing of the past. Martinez and all of the skill on offense will make this a fun team to watch and they can win shootouts with just about anybody. And there will be a few Big Ten shootouts involving Nebraska this year.

Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 253.36 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 207.43 (88, 5)
Total Offense: 460.79 (26, 1)
Scoring Offense: 34.79 (28, 2)
Rushing Defense: 192.50 (90, 10)
Pass Defense: 168.14 (4, 1)
Total Defense: 360.64 (35, 7)
Scoring Defense: 27.57 (58, 9)
Turnover Margin: -0.86 (105, 11)
Sacks: 2.21 (48, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (90, 10)

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#133 Terrell Newby
#237 Josh Banderas


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