Nebraska takes on Rutgers for the first time since there were 48 states and gas cost 20 cents per gallon. In 1920 the Huskers defeated Rutgers 28-0.
The Scarlet Knights have a lot of firepower on offense, so don't look for the Huskers to take this one by the same score. If Rutgers plays well, the Huskers may not take it at all.
Here are the five reasons Nebraska will lose this weekend.
The Rutgers Passing Attack
Pass efficiency wise, there are not many defenses better than the Huskers, but we have seen the Nebraska secondary give up some big plays. Nebraska will be going up against one of the better passing quarterbacks in the Big Ten this weekend in Gary Nova. Nova is third nationally in both yards per completion (16.3 yards) and yards per attempt (9.8 yards).
Nova also ranks 12th in pass efficiency and is tenth in Quarterback Rating. If Nova can create some big plays with his arm early in the game Rutgers will be able to stick around for longer than most would prefer.
Rutgers ability to get to the quarterback
We saw what happened against Michigan State when Tommy Armstrong had no time to throw. He looked uncomfortable the entire game, and rarely had time to make his progressions. This led to poor decisions and a few missed throws to wide-open receivers.
This week could be fairly similar to that game as the Rutgers defense ranks seventh in the country with 24 sacks. Freshman defensive lineman Kemoko Turay leads Rutgers with 5.5 sacks. Look for the Scarlet Knights to bring pressure early and often. If they are able to get to Armstrong early and bring down his confidence, it could be be a long day for the Husker passing game.
Hangover from Northwestern
We've seen it before. Nebraska is coming off of a victory and faces an opponent who they should easily take care of... then they fall flat on their face. It has already happened once this season in McNeese state, and could very well happen again. If Nebraska continues the trend of starting slow and allows Rutgers to stick around into the second half, don't be surprised if Nova leads them to a very surprising road victory.
Big play Wide Receivers
Rutgers has a very solid group of wide receivers, and as good as the Nebraska secondary has been, it will be difficult to shut down the playmakers for Rutgers for an entire game. Leonte Carroo leads with Scarlet Knights with 648 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 19 yards per reception and 93 yards receiving per game.
Behind Caroo is Andrew Turzilli. Turzilli only has seven receptions on the year, but has 293 receiving yards, which is good for an incredible 41.86 yards per reception. Rutgers ranks 11th in pass plays of 50 yards or more and will look to challenge this secondary. Rutgers should attempt to go deep early and often against a secondary that has given up the big play plenty of times.
For the second week in a row Nebraska will be facing a young running back attempting to fill some big shoes. This week it is Desmon Peoples, who has replaced Paul James who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Rutgers' win over Navy. Peoples is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has 409 rushing yards this season. Peoples is also a threat in the passing game, averaging almost 19 yards per reception. If Peoples can get going early Nebraska will have to bring more defenders into the box, and that is when Nova will pick the secondary apart.
A lot of things need to go right for Rutgers to steal a win on Saturday. Is it probable? No, but it is also not impossible. If Gary Nova and Desmon Peoples find early success then Rutgers could stick around for a while, and this team has the talent to come out of Lincoln with a victory.