The Nebraska Cornhuskers had an up and down season in 2012, but things are looking promising for the 2013 campaign. For the most part, there was a lot to like about Nebraska’s play. They still have to toughen up a defense that gave away too many big plays. The offense should be even better with the natural progression and improvement of Taylor Martinez.
In four losses, Nebraska gave up 53.5 points per game. That number is incredibly too high for an elite level team. In the wins, Nebraska gave up 17.2 points a game. Nebraska gave up more points in the 4 losses than the 10 wins by a wide margin.
The defense will need to adjust better to what teams are scheming towards next season. Also the offense must cut down on the turnovers in the big games. With the schedule in front of them, it’s conceivable for the Huskers to finish with an undefeated record.
At first glance, the Nebraska schedule looks like something they should navigate very easily. Nebraska only has four road games in 2013. Maybe “very easily” is too strong of a phrase, but the “Big Red” does not have to play Wisconsin or Ohio State during the regular season. Instead, those games are replaced with Illinois and Purdue. Those two teams won a combined 8 games in 2012, while Ohio State put up 63 against Nebraska last season. Then Wisconsin dropped 70 on the Huskers in the Big 10 Championship game.
Their four toughest game from a preseason point of view is UCLA, Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State. Three of those games are at home, while the Michigan game is on the road in Ann Arbor. Nebraska also plays Penn State on the road and that promises to be a toss up.
Of course there will be pitfalls and injuries on both sides of the ball for every team, but Nebraska should have depth at plenty of positions in 2013. The Cornhuskers have their leading passer, rusher, and receiver back from a strong season.
Ameer Abdullah is ready to break out and have a dominating season. He also has Imani Cross as a backup to alleviate the pressure in game situations.
Taylor Martinez may even take on a bigger role for the Huskers in his Senior season. In 2013, his lack of turnovers will be the ultimate sign of how well Nebraska is playing. As a duel threat, the pressure he places on a defense can be mind numbing. Nebraska runs into problems when Taylor Martinez is forced to do too much in bad down and distances. On paper there are only a few opponents that can cause that type of pressure.
The offensive line should be stout as always. They ranked 8th in rushing last season, and the Huskers could be better in 2013. As a unit, the linemen must be better in pass protection. If they can keep the pocket clean, Martinez has the ability to get the ball down the field.
The Huskers were top 5 in pass defense last season, and the defensive backs should be ready to compete from the beginning. With that said, Nebraska needs to be dominant up front. If they are able to contain the average offenses, Nebraska will be vying for a BCS bowl berth.
Here is a look at the full Nebraska schedule for 2013.
Aug 31- Wyoming
Sept 07- Southern Miss
Sep 14- UCLA
Sep 21- South Dakota State
Oct 05- Illinois
Oct 12- @ Pudue
Oct 26- @ Minnesota
Nov 02- Northwestern
Nov 09- @ Michigan
Nov 16- Michigan State
Nov 23- @ Penn State
Nov 29- Iowa
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