Opponent Watch: Revisiting Nebraska's Most Dangerous Game

Before the season started, we ran a poll asking fans which game they'd pick as Nebraska's "Most Dangerous Game".  The Texas A&M game ended up winning the poll, actually by a rather large margin, followed by Texas, and then Washington. 

Now that a third of the regular season has passed, it's time for a reassessment. 

Kansas State

Daniel Thomas has been the stud running back everyone expected, ranked third nationally in yards per game despite being contained by Central Florida. The Golden Knights held Thomas to only 76 yards on 22 carries, keying on him the entire game. Unfortunately, keying on Thomas cost UCF the game as Carson Coffman was able to scramble into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown as the Knights went after Thomas instead. 

Kansas State is 4-0 and off to their best start since 2003. They haven't looked particularly impressive, but they're winning by playing gritty defense and playing ball possession on offense. 

Texas

It's obvious after last weekend's loss to UCLA that the Longhorns have issues. Their offense could be the most anemic of the Mack Brown era. Texas coughed up four fumbles and mustered only 85 yards on the ground against a Bruin defense that's ranked 94th nationally against the run, giving up 313 yards in their loss to Kansas State. 

UCLA completed only five passes for 27 yards, and they possessed the ball for nearly 11 minutes more than Texas. The Longhorns defense was supposed to be the strength of this team, yet there they were, giving up a 38-yard run to knee brace-wearing UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince

The Longhorns face Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout this weekend. At this point, it's hard to imagine them pulling out a win against the Sooners, but they are still Texas and they have more athletes than nearly anyone else in the country.  It's also hard to imagine Texas losing three games in a row - losing to Oklahoma will make them very dangerous. They won't lie down and die, they'll come to Lincoln anxious to break a losing streak. 

Omggirl_medium

Pretty much sums it up for Texas so far this season. 

Oklahoma State 

The Cowboys don't have a problem on offense, scoring 65, 41, and 65 points against Washington State, Troy, and Tulsa in their first three games of the season (note that these teams are ranked 117, 109, and 113 in total defense, respectively). Okie State is first in total offense, at 596 yards per game and second to Oregon in scoring offense. 

Quarterback Brandon Weeden is third nationally in passing yardage per game at 325 yards per game. Receiver Justin Blackmon is first nationally in receiving yards per game at 143.7. 

Lest you think the Cowboys are all about passing, running back Kendall Hunter is ranked second nationally in rushing yards per game with 157.67. He's averaging 7.88 yards per carry and has already scored six touchdowns.

We're going to learn a lot more about Oklahoma State when they meet Texas A&M this Thursday on ESPN. We'll have an open thread for that one. 

Missouri

Husker fans had fun with Missouri a couple of weeks ago when they had to pull out a last minute win against San Diego State. This past weekend, the Tigers had an impressive 51-13 win over Miami of Ohio, moving them to 4-0 before the start of Big 12 play against Colorado on October 9th. 

Since Derrick Washington was released from the team, the Tigers have gone with the "by committee" approach, probably trying to find the guy who'll rise to the top before conference play with  DeVion Moore and Kendial Lawrence have the majority of carries. Receiver T.J. Moe has already had two 100-yard games this season, and Michael Egnew ripped off 145 yards against San Diego State. 

What to think of Missouri? 

Iowa State

The Cyclones are 2-2, posting wins over Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa with losses against Kansas State and Iowa. To be blunt, Iowa State doesn't pose much of a threat against our Huskers who will be looking to avenge last season's eight-turnover debacle. 

Kansas 

Kansas is 2-2, posting wins over then-ranked Georgia Tech and the New Mexico State Aggies. Their losses include the inexplicable season opening game against North Dakoka State and Southern Miss. Clearly this is a rebuilding year for Kansas. 

Texas A&M 

The Aggies are 3-0, and they seem to be roughly the same team they were last year - with wild mood swings, but maybe more offense to carry them through some rough spots. Solid wins over Stephen F Austin and Louisiana Tech followed up by a head scratcher against Florida International that required the Aggies to score three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a win. 

Quarterback Jerrod Johnson threw four interceptions on four straight possessions in the third quarter, including a 54-yard pick six. Running back Christine Michael is having a great year so far, averaging just over 110 yards per game, while receiver Jeff Fuller is fourth in the Big 12 in receiving, and pulled in 160 yards against Louisiana Tech. 

Texas A&M remains an enigma. They're a lot like Oklahoma State. They haven't played anyone of note, they're undefeated and they've had one close game against an opponent that they should have easily blow out. Maybe that's a pre-season requirement this year, because it seems to be contagious. Again, Thursday night's game is a must watch for Husker fans. 

Colorado 

Colorado is who we thought they were - rather lost and playing uninspired football. This year's game is most likely the last we'll ever play against them as well, despite their being smart enough to get out of the Big 12 when they could. I'm writing them off as a dangerous game, mostly because this game is in Lincoln. If I'm incorrect about that, let me know. 

So Who is It? 

Texas is the only opponent we'll face that has a defense the level of Nebraska's. Despite all the hand wringing and teeth gnashing over the South Dakota State game, the Jackrabbits were never really in danger of winning the game. 

I'm not going to create another poll, but I would like to know if you have changed your thoughts about Nebraska's opponents this season. Does Kansas State present more of a threat than you thought previously? What about Texas? 

All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com  

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