{{featured_button_text}}

Location: Boulder, Colo.

Coach: Mel Tucker (1-0, first season).

2018 Record: 5-7, 2-7 Pac 12.

Rankings: Not ranked.

OFFENSIVE RATING: 6.5

Offensive averages / national rank

Points

52.0 / 10

Total yards

475.0 / 44

Rushing yards

243.0 / 30

Passing yards

232.0 / 64

DEFENSIVE RATING: 4

Defensive averages / national rank

Points

31.0 / 87

Total yards

505.0 / 112

Rushing yards

131.0 / 72

Passing yards

374.0 / 120

SPECIALISTS RATING: 7

Special-teams averages / national rank

Kickoff returns

32.0 / 9

Punt returns

6.0 / 62

Net punting

44.25 / 23

Why you may need Rolaids

1. Colorado looked better offensively in its opener than Nebraska did. Not sure too many people saw that coming. This is still a team that went 5-7 last year adjusting to a new scheme, but the Buffaloes have proven weapons in quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Laviska Shenault. Throw in receiver Tony Brown, who led CU with 71 yards against Colorado State, and running back Alex Fontenot, who rushed for 125 yards and three scores in his first career start, and a Nebraska defense that played well last week will have its hands full.

2. Nebraska is going on the road, where it hasn't won in awhile — by the time Saturday gets here, the Huskers will have gone 680 days since their last road win. That victory came Oct. 28, 2017, at Purdue, when NU needed a touchdown pass from Tanner Lee to Stanley Morgan with 14 seconds left to beat the Boilermakers 25-24. Since that night, the Huskers have allowed 54, 56, 56, 41, 34, 36 and 31 points while losing seven straight games away from Lincoln. That's an average of 44 points per game.

3. Even though both teams have a game under their belts, it still feels like there are plenty of unknowns for both sides. How will Nebraska's offense respond after last week's subpar performance? How does Colorado's defense answer after getting gashed by a Colorado State unit that went 4-8 last year? How do new head coach Mel Tucker, his assistants and their players handle his first true home game (the Buffs and CSU played in Denver to open the season) against one of CU's most heated rivals?

Why you might chill

1. Colorado State can throw it around — the Rams were 13th nationally last year in passing yards per game — and had little trouble moving the ball on Colorado for the first three-and-a-half quarters of last week's game. Playing in a 3-4 scheme, the Buffaloes were often victimized on the edges as CSU attacked horizontally. Now, think about the playmakers NU can deploy outside: Maurice Washington, JD Spielman and Wan'Dale Robinson could all be in for big games.

2. A Nebraska defense that was an abject disaster in 2017 opened 2018 by sacking Colorado quarterback Steven Montez seven times. That number accounted for nearly a third of Nebraska's season sack total (24). The Buffaloes will make some plays with their high-level skill players, but can the guys up front consistently keep Nebraska from disrupting things? NU defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday he liked his defensive line against Colorado's offense. 

3. Colorado is the home team, but how much of a home-field advantage will the Buffaloes have? If the Nebraska faithful are able to snap up enough tickets to neutralize, or at least lessen, the effect of the home crowd, that can only help NU in what should be a charged atmosphere. Perhaps the most important pregame storyline will be just how much red finds its way into Folsom Field.

By the numbers

3

Last week's 52-31 win over Colorado State marked just the third time in CU's history the Buffaloes scored 50 or more points in a season opener. The last time came 65 years ago in a 61-0 win over Drake.

0

Colorado had zero turnovers and zero sacks allowed last week against Colorado State. The Buffaloes were one of just three teams nationally last week to have zeroes in both columns, along with fewer than five penalties (CU was penalized four times for 43 yards).

292

The average price in dollars of a single ticket for Saturday's game. According to a report in The Denver Post, the Nebraska-Colorado matchup has the third-most expensive ticket price of any event in the Denver/Boulder area in 2019, behind only concerts by the Rolling Stones ($333) and Elton John ($313).

Press coverage

Selected quotes from Colorado head coach Mel Tucker's press conference previewing Saturday's game.

On how he has approached the Nebraska game with his team:

"First of all, you really can't downplay rivalry games. You have to embrace them. They are what they are and that's what makes this game great. However, our focus is really on the preparation and what it's going to take to put ourselves in a position to perform the way we need to perform in the game. I just put a message out … again that I don't want our guys talking. This is not a time to talk, this is about preparation. There's already a date on the game."

On rivalry games he's been involved with:

"I anticipate this one being probably the most intense because it's the one that's up next. And you're only as good as your next game and that's where your focus has to be. But, rivalry games, in my experience, are usually the hardest-hitting, cleanest football games that you're going to play."

On Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez:

"He's an excellent playmaker. It's rare to see a quarterback that can throw the ball accurately in the pocket and is also a threat to run at any moment. I believe your quarterback has to be your number one competitor, and on tape, he looks that way. He puts a lot of pressure on you defensively because of all the things that he can do. Everyone's going to be at the point of attack on every play. We'll have to be at our best. Some players you can win with, and some players can win for you, and he's the type of guy that can win for you."

On if he will have jitters coaching his first game at Folsom Field:

"I don't think of it that way, in terms of jitters and things like that. Obviously I'm looking forward to playing at home. We got a great venue, a great stadium, our fans are going to be loud. Our students are going to be into it. You know, Ralphie is going to be running a little bit faster. It's really about our focus and our preparation leading up to the game. The game will take care of itself."

Nebraska's foes for 2019

Be the first to know - Sign up for News Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments