Jacob Bova, Senior Sports Editor: Nebraska 48, Colorado 42
Last week was one of the worst performances by a Scott Frost-led offense in his time as a head coach. Don’t expect back-to-back poor performances. Frost is one of the best offensive minds in college football and he should fix the problems that plagued the team in week one.
That being said, a step up in competition means those problems need to be solved. The Huskers can’t afford another poor performance from sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez. They can’t afford a no-show from the offensive line. They will need to have everything clicking if they are going to win this game because the Colorado offense will have everything clicking.
The Husker defense will have a much tougher time stopping the Colorado offense as the Buffaloes have tons of weapons that can hurt the Huskers on any play. If the Blackshirts are even half as productive as they were against South Alabama, that should be enough to win.
This game feels like it will be one where whichever team has the ball last will win, as both offenses are significantly stronger than their defensive counterparts. At the end of the day, Nebraska should win as its defense looks to be stronger than Colorado’s while both offenses are essentially a wash.
Drake Keeler, Assistant Sports Editor: Nebraska 45, Colorado 31
After winning by only 14 against South Alabama in week one, doubts have arisen about the hype that surrounded Nebraska coming into the year. The Huskers need to make a statement to prove they belong in the top-25. What better way to make that statement than to put up 45 points in a win against rival Colorado?
Saturday will mark 355 days since Nebraska’s 33-28 loss to the Buffaloes in Scott Frost’s Husker debut last year. Much has changed since then, as Colorado has a new coach in former Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Tucker had a successful debut, taking down in-state rival Colorado State 52-31, but Nebraska presents a tougher test.
Martinez, who was seen as a Heisman candidate coming into the season, lost a lot of that hype after he struggled in week one. Martinez had a successful debut against the Buffaloes a year ago, racking up 304 total yards and three touchdowns combined between passing and rushing. The upcoming rematch will be the perfect opportunity for Martinez to get back to the production he had his freshman year and continue to establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
Both offenses in this game are dangerous, but turnovers will be the difference maker. The Huskers forced five turnovers against South Alabama, which was the reason they were able to come out on top in that contest. Nebraska didn’t force a single turnover against the Buffaloes last year, but the Blackshirts look much more capable of creating takeaways this year. The Colorado offense has too many weapons to not put up points, but Nebraska’s defense will do enough to keep the Huskers on top.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that this game will be extremely competitive, but expect the Huskers to come into Folsom Field on a mission and come out with a victory.
Luke Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor: Nebraska 38, Colorado 33
This is going to be a good one. Nebraska’s last trip to Folsom Field was a 28-20 win in 2009 where quarterback Zac Lee threw 14 passes for just 73 yards. This time around, Husker fans might expect a little more production from their quarterback.
Considering Martinez was knocked out in the fourth quarter of last year’s game and struggled mightily last week, he has something to prove. He’ll be buoyed by the return of sophomore running back Maurice Washington, who will be in line for more snaps after serving a half-game suspension last week.
Perhaps there were some first-week jitters, or maybe the team was already looking ahead to the Colorado game. One thing’s for sure: If Nebraska plays like it did last week, this could be another deflating road loss, similar to last year’s defeats at Wisconsin and Iowa.
Nebraska’s defense shined last week, but will face a much tougher challenge against one of the top wideouts in all of college football, Laviska Shenault Jr. Last year, he burned the Husker secondary for 177 yards and found the end zone twice.
Shutting down Shenault Jr. will be key, but the balance of the game hangs in the hands of the Husker offense. If Martinez can bounce back and show his true quality, a taste of revenge could be in store for Nebraska. If not, it’ll be another long trip back home for the Huskers.