Nebraska football has another big game this weekend, with the Huskers needing a win against Maryland to break a four-game losing streak and keep their hopes for bowl eligibility alive. Nebraska has had just one road win on the season, but will have a chance to get a second against a Terrapin team that has stumbled down the stretch.
Here’s what to watch for in the game:
Bowl hopes on the line
Coming into the year, it seemed that Nebraska making a bowl game would almost be a guarantee. Even after a 4-2 start, a bowl game for the Huskers seemed likely with plenty of winnable games down the stretch.
Nebraska has gone 0-4 since then and will need to win to make a bowl game. That process starts with this weekend’s game against a struggling Maryland team.
The Terrapins are currently enduring a losing streak of their own and have dropped five games straight, including each of the last three matchups by more than 30 points. Maryland is 1-6 in conference play, with its only Big Ten win coming against last-place Rutgers.
The Huskers have already lost to a below-average and depleted Purdue team, so a win on Saturday is no guarantee at this point.
Technically, the Huskers could still make a bowl game at 5-7 if there aren’t enough six-win teams to fill all of the bowl spots; however, relying on that is risky, and they will come out on Saturday with the intent to win.
Maryland quarterback carousel
To start the year, Maryland junior Josh Jackson was the clear starter at quarterback. Now, 10 games into the season, four different quarterbacks have thrown a pass for the Terrapins. Jackson has been the starter when available, but injuries have held him out of two games and limited him in others.
Junior Tyrrell Pigrome has played in nine games in relief of Jackson, and has struggled. In those nine games, Pigrome has five total touchdowns and seven turnovers.
Redshirt freshman Tyler DeSue and true freshman Lance LeGendre have also thrown passes this season. DeSue backed up Pigrome in the 52-10 loss against Minnesota, and threw for 88 yards and a touchdown after Pigrome was injured in the game.
LeGendre played in Maryland’s blowout loss to Michigan, completing 1-2 passes for seven yards. However, the Terrapins plan on redshirting the former four-star recruit, and he can play in both the last two games without burning that redshirt.
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley said the team has sets designed for LeGendre, so he may see the field against the Huskers.
The starting nod on Saturday will go to either Pigrome or Jackson, but up to three quarterbacks may see the field for the Terrapins.
Young players getting snaps
At this point in the year, the injuries have piled up for Nebraska on both sides of the ball. Those injuries have forced other players to step up and contribute, but have also allowed younger players to get some in-game reps.
Against Wisconsin, a variety of younger defensive players earned some playing time. True freshmen Myles Farmer, Ty Robinson and Nick Henrich all got snaps, along with junior Keem Green. All of these players have the opportunity to play in at least one more game without burning their redshirt.
On the offensive side of the ball, true freshman running back Rahmir Johnson also can play in one more game and keep his redshirt. In the win against Northern Illinois, he had three rushes for nine yards. Against Purdue and Northwestern, Johnson got snaps but didn’t touch the ball.
Saturday’s matchup against Maryland is a must-win for Nebraska, and Husker fans could see a lot of different players make an impact in that effort.