In Scott Frost’s second year at UCF, he improved a .500 team to one with an undefeated record that many of its fans thought deserved to be national champions (they did not). Throughout that season, the speculation was raised that he’d come home and become yet another potential savior to a Nebraska program that had fallen under hard times 20 years after Tom Osborne’s retirement.
The timing was perfect—Frost stepped in to replace Mike Riley, who’d only been hired because the previous guy, Bo Pelini, wasn’t a nice enough guy for the Nebraska faithful. But now the Huskers have a homegrown alum who knows the ropes of coaching and the demands of the Nebraska fanbase. It’s seemingly the perfect match.
That being said, Nebraska was never going to be the easiest cleanup job. Under Pelini, the team consistently underperformed in the biggest moments and always had exactly four losses. Then under Riley, the team lost its footing and the defense especially fell apart thanks to Bob Diaco. Frost’s first season was a reset in which the team started 0-6 amidst many jokes about “Scott Frost Day.” But Nebraska found its footing in the second half of the season, in which its only losses were close contests to Iowa and Ohio State.
With four very winnable games (South Alabama, at Colorado, Northern Illinois, at Illinois) to start the 2019 season, things are looking up for the Huskers. If they win those, they’ll be 4-0 and most likely a top-20 team with Ohio State heading to town in late September, which would give Frost the chance at his first signature victory.
What to expect from the Huskers
Scott Frost can coach an offense, that’s for sure. When quarterback Adrian Martinez was healthy last year, he showed some promise. Frost is going to run an RPO-heavy offense, which will attempt to trick the defense and allow Martinez to showcase his running skills. Nebraska still has a way to go to recapture the magic of its “Blackshirt” defense though. The Huskers had trouble stopping opponents from scoring all last season, including allowing a 99-yard drive from Northwestern in the final minutes of the game to set up overtime and an eventual Wildcats victory. The improvement of the defense is the key factor for what will take Nebraska to that next level.
Three Names to Watch
Adrian Martinez, QB - As mentioned earlier, Martinez is the cog that will make this offense run. In his sophomore year, he has the chance to make the leap and become one of top signal-callers in the B1G.
Darrion Daniels, DT - Daniels is a senior transfer from Oklahoma State who is expected to help anchor a defensive line that really struggled last season. His brother Damion, a redshirt sophomore, also plays the same position for the Huskers.
Wan’Dale Robinson, WR/RB - This true freshman’s impact on the Huskers is yet to be determined, but it is CQ protocol to mention that Robinson was originally a Kentucky commit who flipped to Nebraska late in the recruiting process.
How IU Can Win
Did you know IU holds the all-time lead in this series? Yes, the Hoosiers and Huskers have played so few times and so far in the past that Indiana actually has a series lead here. Of course, the Hoosiers haven’t won any games against Nebraska since Bob Devaney revived the Husker program back in the 60s.
Nebraska is still in rebuilding mode, and despite an easy schedule I’m not sure if they have enough depth or talent to win their division yet. But Nebraska is one of the most intense road environments that the Hoosiers will face this season, and if Indiana can handle that, and defend the RPO game that you know Frost will be implementing, then they’ll have a chance to pull off the upset in Lincoln.
I want to say IU has a good chance of winning this one. I want to say that IU will be 5-2 going into this one and have a chance to clinch a bowl berth. But sadly, I’ve seen games like this too many times. Huskers win on a last-second field goal, and Nebraska fans declare their program to be permanently “back.”
Nebraska 30, Indiana 27