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Final Nebraska Football 2023 game-by-game predictions



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

As Nebraska football gets ready for fall camp, here are my final game-by-game predictions for the 2023 season.

The 2023 Nebraska football season is right around the corner. Fall camp starts on Monday and it seems like the perfect time to throw down some predictions.

Anyone who follows this website or subscribes to the Husker Big Red Youtube Channel knows that I believe Nebraska football will make a bowl game in 2023.

Matt Rhule is too good of a coach and despite a less-than-perfect roster, there is too much talent not to win at least six games. Of course, we could have said that in previous seasons too.

Hopefully, 2023 is the year Nebraska football starts earning back respect, as Rhule talked about at Big Ten Media Days. What will the final record look like? Will the Huskers go bowling?

Here is my final game-by-game prediction for the 2023 Nebraska football season:

Aug. 31 at Minnesota (L)

This game is hard for me to pick. The Gophers have been listed as the favorite by as many as eight points. The Gophers do have a new quarterback and graduated one of the best running backs in program history Mo Ibrahim, but the cupboard isn’t bare.

If this was game in Lincoln, I think I would predict Nebraska football to win. It’s going to be close and I think the Huskers will cover the spread but fall just short in the debut of Matt Rhule.

Sept. 9 at Colorado (W)

I expect Nebraska football and Colorado to be coming off of a loss. The Buffaloes open the season against TCU, the national runner-up from last season, so each team will be desperate for a win.

Colorado has totally revamped its roster and added some five-star talent. Shedeur Sanders should also be one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

But Jeff Sims is a good quarterback too — one of the better ones in the Big Ten. I also think Nebraska football will win this game in the trenches.

Nebraska takes this one by double digits.

Sept. 16 Northern Illinois at Nebraska (W)

Rocky Lombardi will be back for another start at Lincoln Memorial Stadium. He started for Michigan State back in 2018 for the Spartans in a loss to Nebraska football.

The Huskies were 3-9 last season and while they played for the MAC title two years ago, Nebraska football should be able to control this game and win easily in Matt Rhule’s home opener.

Sept. 23 Louisiana Tech at Nebraska (W)

Another must-win game for Nebraska football if it wants to reach a bowl game. The Huskers’ loss at Georgia Southern a year ago was super costly in that regard.

Hank Bachmeier transferred from Boise State to be the Bulldogs starter. They were also 3-9 a season ago. Sonny Cumbie knows a thing or two about offense and Louisiana Tech should be decent on that side of the ball.

The defense was terrible last season and this is a game where Nebraska should own the line of scrimmage and win by at least two touchdowns.

Sept. 30 Michigan at Nebraska (L)

After two road games to open the season, Nebraska football will play three straight home games culminating in a huge tilt with the Wolverines to end September.

It would be great if the Huskers were 5-0 at this point in the season and I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility. The first two games against Minnesota and Colorado feel like toss-ups.

I feel like Nebraska will split those first two. This is another game in which the crowd will be electric. It could also be the first game back for Jim Harbaugh if he is suspended.

The Wolverines are super deep and will probably have the best defense in the Big Ten. I see Nebraska football putting up a real fight and probably covering the spread, but losing a seven-point game or so.

Oct. 6 Nebraska at Illinois (L)

Heading to Champaign, Nebraska football is staring at an 0-3 record in the Big Ten, so I thought about predicting Rhule’s first upset as head coach.

The Fighting Illini have never had a home-field advantage, but they should have a pretty solid team once again. The defense should be good, even with Ryan Walters at Purdue, although the secondary was hit hard with NFL draft defections.

Illinois has two big-time talents on the defensive line and linebacker, plus Isaiah Williams is back at wide receiver. Illinois has a new quarterback in Luke Altmyer but also has to replace running back Chase Brown.

Nebraska could have easily won the game a year ago if Casey Thompson didn’t get hurt, and the Huskers nearly come away with a win, but fall short, dropping to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten.

Oct. 21 Northwestern at Nebraska (W)

I don’t want to look past Northwestern. However, this season is going to be a struggle. The Wildcats will have to rally around an interim head coach and while this game won’t be quite as ugly as the game in 2021, Nebraska football won’t have to sweat this one. It will win by 2-3 touchdowns and finally get the new coaching staff their first win in conference play.

Oct. 28 Purdue at Nebraska (W)

Aidan O’Connell was one of the better quarterbacks in recent history for the Boilermakers. He led Purdue to the Big Ten title game, but now the Boilermakers are starting over with a new head coach.

I believe in Walters and think Purdue will compete for a bowl game this season. The drop-off won’t be huge. But losing a really good head coach/QB combo isn’t ideal.

Nebraska football will have momentum after a convincing win over Northwestern and the Huskers move closer to bowl eligibility with a win over Purdue.

Nov. 4 Nebraska at Michigan State (W)

The first Big Ten road win for Matt Rhule will come over Mel Tucker and the Spartans, at least according to this game-by-game prediction for Nebraska football.

The Huskers should have won in East Lansing two years ago and this time around, they will exercise some demons. Michigan State will face Minnesota and Michigan in consecutive weeks before Nebraska, so they are going to get eat up.

Nebraska will be a couple of weeks away from the bye, plus the Huskers will be riding a two-game winning streak. Tony White calls a great game and the Huskers get a big-time win in East Lansing which makes them bowl-eligible.

Maryland at Nebraska (L)

Not everything is going to go perfectly for Nebraska this season and Maryland is one of the more difficult games on the schedule. A win here and Nebraska might still be in contention for the Big Ten West title with Iowa and Wisconsin still to play.

Taulia Tagovailoa is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and he’s going to have an All-Big Ten caliber season. Nebraska football will be riding high and Maryland is better than people realize.

Tagovailoa lost some weapons in the passing game, but Maryland add some pieces in the portal and returns one of the Big Ten’s best backs in Roman Hemby.

The Huskers drop a close one here.

Nov. 18 Nebraska at Wisconsin (L)

According to my predictions, Nebraska football will be 6-4 heading into Madison. The Badgers are very tough to beat in November at home. Braelon Allen and company will likely be competing for a Big Ten West title.

Luke Fickell has to be hoping he can keep the defense playing at a high level. They weren’t great last season, but they weren’t terrible either.

Tanner Mordecai could be the X-factor and Allen with a competent quarterback is scary. I think this will be close and competitive, but Wisconsin will pull it out late, maybe even in overtime.

Nov 24 Iowa at Nebraska (W)

It would be great to have a bowl game clinched going into Iowa. Beating the Hawkeyes here would mean a winning season and while the Hawkeyes will be better this season, Rhule beats Kirk Ferentz in his first try.

So many times over the years, the Huskers have been the better team against Iowa and have beaten themselves. It didn’t happen last season and even though it was a different staff, that win is going to carry over.

Nebraska fooball knows it can beat Iowa. That doubt won’t be in the back of their minds. Cade McNamara is a better quarterback but Jeff Sims will have a better day and the Huskers keep the Heroes Trophy in Lincoln.

Final record (7-4, 4-5) 

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Nebraska Football could utilize two QBs vs. Michigan



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule gave an update in his press conference on Thursday with regards to the quarterback position. Rhule indicated that Jeff Sims is not 100%, but he has practiced all throughout the week. Heinrich Haarberg, who was also battling injuries following the last weekend’s game, practiced this week as well.

This is certainly encouraging as it relates to the health of the quarterbacks. For one, Sims is apparently progressing. It also means that Haarberg is at a point where he is not too bothered by his injury. This is reassuring, given that he has been a key part of the offense of the last couple weeks.

Nebraska football as a team is going to need both to be healthy on Saturday. Haarberg is the presumed starter, but it would be nice to add Sims in for his running ability in certain situations.

I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to the program using both quarterbacks. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a very smart play. It gives Nebraska football versatility at the position, and allows two explosive athletes to get their shot on the field.

Nebraska football will need to have all hands-on deck against a rushing defense that is second in the conference with 80.5 yards allowed per game. They also have allowed only one rushing touchdown on the season. They rank second behind Nebraska with 2.8 yards allowed per carry. The bottom line is, Nebraska football is going to have their work cut out for them.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the quarterback situation on Saturday. Will we see both quarterbacks? Time will tell, but at least the room itself is restocked and somewhat healthy again. The Huskers have depth at the quarterback position and that is never a bad thing. How they utilize it will be interesting, as they look to get above. 500.

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3 keys to an upset win for Nebraska football vs. Michigan



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-US

Is an upset possible for Nebraska football on Saturday? Here are three keys to pulling it off.

After a pair of confidence-building wins, Nebraska football will welcome No. 2 Michigan to Lincoln Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

It’s going to be a huge test. It’s also a major opportunity for Matt Rhule and company to score a defining win. I can’t even remember the last time Nebraska beat a team as good as Michigan. Probably since Eric Crouch caught that touchdown pass to beat Oklahoma.

Nebraska football has its work cut out for it. The Huskers are 17-point underdogs and this Michigan team is a juggernaut that’s won 16 consecutive Big Ten games.

J.J. McCarthy (QB) and Blake Corum, the running back, are Heisman candidates. Plus, the defense has only surrendered 23 points in four games leading all of college football in scoring defense.

It’s going to be a huge challenge but Nebraska isn’t a pushover. It’s the toughest game for Michigan so far and the Wolverines’ first road game.

If Nebraska wants to pull the upset, here are three keys to making it happen.

Contain Michigan’s run game

You might think that’s not possible, but in three of four games this season, Michigan has rushed for 200 yards or less. One reason for that is more throwing with McCarthy. The pass offense is better and games are also going quicker especially if you use a pace like Michigan or Nebraska.

Blake Corum is the bell cow but Donovan Edwards is dangerous. He had over 200 yards in the win against Ohio State last November.

Michigan’s offensive line has used a few different combinations and hasn’t been quite as good. Nebraska football also leads the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed. The Blackshirts surrender just 1.8 yards per rush and if they can limit Michigan’s ground game (150 yards or less), an upset becomes much more likely.

Nebraska football must win the turnover battle

You could list this as a key for just about every single game in college football this week. But Nebraska is at a disadvantage talent-wise compared to Michigan.

That’s nothing to be ashamed of. The Wolverines have about 20 players that could get drafted this April. Nebraska is a team with talent too — it actually ranks 26th in terms of blue-chip players (4-star recruits or higher) being on the roster.

But the Huskers are going to need some short fields or maybe even some points from the defense to pull this one off. A big return, some kind of play like that will need to happen.

McCarthy didn’t throw an interception in three of the four games for Michigan. Yet, against Bowling Green, he tossed three and if the Huskers could get 1-2, you’d have to like their chances of pulling the upset.

Heinrich Haarberg needs 100 yards rushing

Michigan hasn’t allowed a single team to run for 100 yards. Their run defense is spectacular but Haarberg will need to break a big run or two if the Huskers are going to have a shot.

That touchdown run against Louisiana Tech reminded me a little of T-Magic. Haarberg also has been fine throwing the ball. His arm isn’t elite. He also hasn’t thrown any interceptions.

Nebraska has been using more option principles and running QBs have given Michigan some struggles over the years. Haarberg isn’t a statue. He’s also a gamer and after two starts, he’s improving.

We’ll see if he can deliver on Saturday, but if Haarberg can run the way he did in his first two starts (a very big ask) Nebraska should have a shot to win on Saturday.

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Nebraska Football flips local TE Eric Ingwerson after long pursuit



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football landed a commitment from 2024 tight end Eric Ingwerson on Wednesday, according to multiple media reports.

Ingwerson is the 128th overall athlete in the 2024 class, and the ninth overall player in the class from the state of Nebraska per the 247Sports composite rankings. He has a numerical rating of 86 overall.

This is a solid commitment for several reasons. For one, Nebraska football has been interested in him for quite a while. He received an offer from the program on April 11, and had him and for an official visit on June 16.

Ingwerson joins a tight end room that is already in good hands for 2024. Carter Nelson headlines the room, with Ian Flynt also part of the room as well.

It is also worth noting that Ingwerson played on the defensive side of football as a defensive lineman for Papillion-LaVista. He could definitely play the position for Nebraska, as he measures in at six-foot-seven, 235 pounds. There is the chance that he could play a different position other than tight end. However, his size makes him an intriguing option at the position itself.

There can also be the possibility that Nebraska football could be looking at him as an offensive lineman. The size is there. This staff knows how to develop offensive lineman. Ingwerson could fit well in the positional group.

Currently, the 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class ranks 23rd overall in the country per the 247Sports rankings. This class has a solid high school group, and Ingwerson certainly adds to that. The 2024 class has the potential to be a cornerstone class of Matt Rhule’s tenure.

Ingwerson will be an asset to Nebraska football, no matter what position he plays. Furthermore, this is a great flip by the program. Once again, they have shown the ability to identify a prospect they want, and pursue him until they land him. The staff has done a good job of being able to flip recruits. Ingwerson is certainly a part of that distinction.

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