The Nebraska Cornhuskers come into their Homecoming game vs. Southern Mississippi with a (1-2) record. So far, these Huskers have played one of the most exciting schedules in college football, but the endings haven’t gone right. Their two losses have come on the final play of the game.
First, the BYU Cougars shocked the Cornhuskers’ defense with a 42-yard Hail Mary pass. Last week, Nebraska ruined a 23-point fourth quarter comeback, with an interception on the first play of overtime. The Miami Hurricanes eventually kicked the game winning field goal, sending the Huskers to their second loss before the end of September. Now the Huskers are trying to avoid a third defeat prior to conference play.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2-1) have been building towards this moment for three years. Coach Todd Monken is in his third year of the rebuilding process, and he’s slowly turning the program around. After four wins in his first two seasons, the Golden Eagles already have two wins this season, with an eye on a Bowl game.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles will give Nebraska plenty of problems. Quarterback Nick Mullens is completing 64 percent of his passes, while amassing an 8/3 touchdown to interception ratio. He’s also throwing for over 300 yards per game this season. If it sounds familiar, it should. The Huskers are giving up over 300 yards passing per game this season. So far, opposing offenses have been lighting up the “Blackshirts” defense, and they need to take a stand today. Otherwise, it will truly be a long season for first-year head coach Mike Riley.
Offensively, Nebraska has the passing game rolling. Barring a few miscues, and erratic play, the Huskers have been prolific at times. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong leads the Big Ten in pass attempts, completions and touchdowns. However, his three interceptions in the Miami game were the difference in a bizarre game.
For Nebraska, it would be nice if they were able to unleash the running game. The Golden Eagles give up 194 rushing yards per game, and there’s no way they should be able to stand up to the Nebraska offensive line. Terrell Newby leads the Huskers with 52 rushing attempts for 323 yards this season. However, the Huskers are clearly a balanced team interested in emphasizing the passing game. Will it turn into a second victory for the Huskers?
Hopefully, for coach Riley’s sake. Even with the losing record, the pressure has mounted from the outside, but losing two non conference home games could change everything for the Husker faithful. Either way, there shouldn’t be a time to panic from whatever happens this season.
It’s an early kickoff for Nebraska’s Homecoming. Game starts at 12:00 noon ET.