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3 must-win games for Nebraska Football in 2023



Apr 22, 2023; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders is interviewed by ESPN broadcaster Quint Kessenich during the first half of a spring game at Folsom Filed. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Looking ahead to the 2023 Nebraska football schedule, here are three games the Huskers really need to win.

We are less than 100 days away from Nebraska football taking the field for its Thursday night opener against Minnesota.

It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from the Huskers in 2023. Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule has done his best to upgrade the roster and he has.

Jeff Sims is going to be a key addition at quarterback and Nebraska football has a lot of nice pieces back on defense. There is even reason to believe a bowl game is more than realistic in 2023.

Yet, since the Huskers have gone five straight seasons without making a bowl game, Nebraska football fans know better than anyone that they need to temper their optimism.

Still, it’s fun looking ahead, and as far as the 2023 schedule is concerned, here are three games Nebraska football needs to win.


This is the first game of the Matt Rhule era and it sure would be nice to start with a win. Minnesota isn’t going to be easy. The Golden Gophers never are under P.J. Fleck. I expect them to contend for the Big Ten West title and believe whichever team wins this game will be in a solid position to do that.

The Huskers have to play at Wisconsin and at Illinois, but the schedule isn’t impossible. Nebraska is a big underdog right now to Minnesota but the Gophers have a new starting quarterback and don’t have running back Mohamed Ibrahim.

This will be one of the games people pay attention to the most on that first Thursday night of the season and it would be great for Nebraska to be put in a positive light.

Nebraska needs confidence too and beating a really solid Minnesota team, on the road, right out of the gate, would do wonders for the mental state of the holdovers.


Back-to-back road games to start the season is less than ideal. However, if you win both games, suddenly, Nebraska football would be looking at just three road games left: at Michigan State, at Illinois, and at Wisconsin.

Those are all challenging games but they are winnable. Nebraska could have won in each building during the 2021 season when the Huskers played all three teams on the road, they just shot themselves in the foot.

Considering that, if Nebraska was able to steal the first two games (far from easy) it would be a huge jolt of momentum/confidence. That’s a tangible thing and this team needs it.

Beating Colorado would help deliver. If the Huskers won the first game, there wouldn’t be as much pressure. Yet, imagine heading to Boulder 0-1? That would be a lot of pressure on the Huskers for a game that lots of college football fans are going to watch.

Yet, if Deion Sanders is able to cobble together a team and beat Matt Rhule, the trash talk from Buffalo fans will be unbearable.

(Plus if you start 2-0, Nebraska could have a shot at some of these bigger-name recruits)


The Hawkeyes are always going to count as a must-win game for Nebraska. The idea of seeing Kirk Ferentz and crew celebrating inside Lincoln Memorial Stadium again makes me ill.

I’m sure Iowa fans felt the same way about Nebraska spoiling their chances of a Big Ten West title and ending their (regular) season with a win at Kinnick Stadium.

It would be great to do it two years in a row and the Huskers should have a shot. Iowa is going to be tough. Cade McNamara will be a solid quarterback, but Nebraska is going to be better than expected, especially on defense.

Sims could make all the difference and if he’s healthy for 12 games, Nebraska football will go bowling. The Huskers should also have a good shot to beat Iowa, but even if both teams are terrible, it’s still a must-win game, almost like a season all in itself.

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Nebraska Football zeroing in on local 2025 LB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is beginning to make inroads into the 2025 recruiting class, and they will have visitors on campus next weekend. Hosting some local talent. 2025 outside linebacker Zayvion Campbell will be in Lincoln next weekend.

This is notable for a couple of reasons. For one, Ryan Gottula is the head coach at Lincoln Southeast. His son Gunnar is part of the 2023 Nebraska football recruiting class. The family connection could help Nebraska football land Campbell.

Secondly, Nebraska is continuing to recruit in-state. This is something that we have seen in the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes it appears that in-state recruiting will be a focal point. This is something the coaching staff has zeroed in on as one of their main goals during their time at Nebraska. They are sticking to that goal.

What could he bring to Nebraska football?

Campbell is a very intriguing player. He measures in at around six-foot-three, 200 pounds. He has good pursuit ability, and is able to wrap up and make tackles with ease. Campbell would be able to fit the Nebraska football defense by providing a solid presence inside. Campbell uses a variety of moves in order to get to the quarterback as well.

He would give Nebraska a player that could be used in multiple ways in a 3-3-5 defense. It would be fun to see defensive coordinator Tony White work with him. He has the ability to rush as well as fill gaps on the inside. That type of versatility is what Nebraska football should be looking for defensively with the scheme they have.

At the very least, Campbell is coming to campus to check things out.  It’s important that Nebraska continues to look at multiple candidates at the linebacker position. At the very least,  they need to make an effort to continue the recruiting pipeline in-state. The 2023 and 2024 classes were filled with Nebraska-born players. This is a trend that needs to continue.

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Nebraska Football: QB visit canceled and a Carter Nelson update



Nebraska football
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is set for its first official visit weekend of June and Kamari McClellan has canceled, plus the latest on Carter Nelson.

One of the big questions lingering about Nebraska football recruiting this weekend was whether or not three-star quarterback Kamari McClellan would make it for his official visit.

It was still on the schedule for this weekend according to the recruiting sites and in a recent interview, McClellan indicated he was still coming. However, with the recent commitment of Daniel Kaelin, it was only going to happen if Nebraska football suddenly decided to take two quarterbacks in 2024.

Anything is possible but the visit has now been canceled according to Sean Callahan of Husker Online. I think McClellan will wind up at Clemson or another team scrambling for a QB. Nebraska football was in that position and the kid is talented, but Kaelin, who is heading to the Elite 11, is a much better get.

Daniel Kaelin will visit Nebraska football again

Speaking of Kaelin, it wasn’t lip service when he said he wants to be around when any recruit comes to visit. The quarterback will take his official visit the same weekend as Carter Nelson.

But he’s now on the list for an unofficial visit this weekend. There are a couple of wideouts expected to visit. Jacory Barney is one and the Huskers lead for the three-star wideout via the On3 prediction machine. He’s ranked 459th overall out of Miami, Florida.

Williams Nettles is also visiting but he could be a cornerback or receiver. Caleb Pyfrom is a three-star in-state tackle also visiting and Kaelin being on campus could help push him toward a commitment, which seems to be where things are trending according to recent crystal balls.

It’s just clear that Kaelin is serious about doing what he can for this class, no matter how many times he needs to come to campus.

Another Carter Nelson visit

Add Penn State to the list of teams to worry about in the Carter Nelson sweepstakes. He’s going to visit the Nittany Lions on June 16th, which will be his fourth scheduled official visit.

Nelson is going to visit Georgia this weekend, followed by Notre Dame next weekend. The Huskers just got a Futurecast projection from Greg Smith of Rivals to land Carter, the top-ranked recruit in the state in 2024 and things seem to be trending in the right direction.

My thought is that Nelson is likely going to take these visits and make a decision sometime this summer, maybe in July or August. That’s just a guess. I don’t see this recruitment bleeding into the season and Nebraska football has put more effort in than any other program.

That doesn’t mean anything on its own. But Carter just took a visit to Nebraska along with Kaelin and that connection seems to be helping. Nelson hasn’t talked about his recruitment a ton, so it’s hard to get a read, but the tea leaves are pointing in Nebraska’s direction.

We’ll see if that’s still true after the next three weekends.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify.




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Nebraska Football trending in right direction with Florida CB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is having a newsworthy recruiting month to start up June. The program is already trending with four-star corner Mario Buford. Now, it appears that another corner may be in their sights as well.

Amare Sanders is the name to keep an eye on. He is a four-star corner He is ranked numerically at 87.50 according to the On3 recruiting rankings. He plays at Gulliver Prep high school, and is from Miami, Fla.

Sanders is a three-star recruit and measures in at 6-foot-2, 167 pounds. Right now, Nebraska is in the lead for his recruitment according to the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine. He is also visiting Nebraska this weekend, in what is turning out to be a big weekend for visitors.

Sanders has tremendous athleticism for a corner. He is able to make the proper reads on passing plays, and that allows him to close on wide receivers quickly and break up potential completions. He does a good job of turning his hips, and reading the play in its entirety. This is certainly important to his game and the way he plays. He also is a decent size for a corner, as he measures in at 6-foot-2 167 pounds.

Nebraska football making Florida a priority

It’s clear that Nebraska football wants to establish a stake in Florida. They are trending with wide receiver Jacory Barney Jr, and already have a commitment from Willis McGahee IV. Both of those players hail from Miami Palmetto. Sanders goes to Gulliver Prep, which is another highly-touted school in the state of Florida.

Currently, the 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class ranks 31st overall nationally with seven commitments. They have focused on both sides of the football, and are landing talented prospects both in and out of the state of Nebraska.

It will be interesting to see if Sanders ends up coming to Nebraska. The fact that he is visiting this weekend and is trending towards the Huskers is certainly a positive sign. The program done work in Florida before, but it seems like this time around their efforts will stick. Recruiting in Florida is a key component for success. Nebraska football is trying to establish that.

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