College Football Preview: The 2015 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview
2014 Record: 9-4 (25th of 128) Lost Holiday Bowl 45-42 vs. Southern California
Odds to Win National Championship: +16500 See the Latest Odds
Overview: For the first time since 2007, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will have a new head coach, as Mike Riley left the Pac-12 to take on this new challenge. Even with the inconsistent play, Nebraska has still reached seven straight bowl games and has a fanbase that expects to be a consistent threat in a wide open Big Ten. While it is year one, there are still decent expectations for this program.
Offense: Off top, Nebraska’s offense takes a hit with Ameer Abdullah graduating, as he was easily one of the top offensive players in the country. The good news is that the offense is still led by playmaking quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. who showed promise in his first real season by rushing for 700 yards and throwing for 22 touchdowns. Armstrong is a difference maker and has a chance to be a top-10 quarterback at some point. Imani Cross and Terrell Newby is a running back duo that combined for 10 touchdowns last season, and they’ll be running behind a fairly talented offensive line. At receiver, Jordan Westerkamp, De'Mornay Pierson-El and Alonzo Moore should be able to hold down the fort. This offense lost its best player but still has solid options.
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Defense: Nebraska's defense has really come a long way from a few years ago, and it ranked a respectable 53rd in the country last season. Taking another step forward isn’t out of reach with players such as Maliek Collins and Nate Gerry back on board. Collins led the Huskers with 10.5 tackles for loss and Gerry is a hard hitting safety who also picked off five passes. Vincent Valentine is one of the better defensive tackles in the Big Ten and Josh Banderas showed enough as a sophomore to where he can lead a new group of linebackers. Daniel Davie solidified himself as a reliable cornerback and Greg McMullen can make some fans forget that Randy Gregory is no longer around. This unit has some nice potential.
Special Teams: Drew Brown returns at kicker after making 66.7 percent of 21 field goal attempts. Sam Foltz returns at punter after averaging 42.2 yards on 63 punt attempts.
Overall: Nebraska has enough to push every team in the Big Ten West, but it’s hard to figure out exactly what to expect under a new head coach. The offense should be fine with an experienced QB and the defense has improved. If the defense can be top-30 caliber, the Cornhuskers could be playing in the Big Ten championship against OSU. That’s the ceiling for this team.