No team in college football is in need of a feel-good win the way Nebraska is this weekend. After dropping their season opener in Week 0 to Illinois on the road last week, Nebraska hopes to get one in the win column in their home opener against the Fordham Rams.
Although Nebraska's season could not have started out worse, a chance to rebound is expected this weekend against an FCS opponent that did not play college football in 2020 but did play a brief three-game schedule in the spring. So, in a sense, there are no excuses this week for head coach Scott Frost and the Huskers.
This will be the first meeting between Nebraska and Fordham, and all signs are pointing to a win for Big Red to get to .500 as they keep their home game sellout streak going.
Fordham at Nebraska
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 4 at 12 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Nebraska -40.5
When Fordham Has the Ball
Fordham's offense is all about success through the air, so Nebraska's secondary will be busy. The Rams have a big arm in Tim DeMorat, the Patriot League's Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 1,049 yards in only three games in the spring. With how efficient DeMorat is, it will be imperative for Nebraska to find a way to disrupt his rhythm in the backfield. Nebraska had three sacks last week against Illinois, and the Huskers should have a good advantage in the trenches against the FCS Rams.
When Nebraska Has the Ball
Although it was a disappointing, miserable loss last week, Nebraska at least has a game under its belt to knock off a little bit of the rust. And coming into this game, there should be no reason why Nebraska doesn't control the game on the ground. Quarterback Adrian Martinez will be a part of that formula after rushing for a team-high 111 yards last week against Illinois. Nebraska shouldn't need Martinez to be the leading rusher in this one, nor should they allow for that opportunity to happen.
This is a game where Martinez should focus more on improving his production and efficiency with the pass. After completing just 16 of 32 attempts last week, Martinez could benefit from going up against an FCS secondary to gain some momentum through the air. Of course, Nebraska should also hope it won't need a long afternoon out of Martinez, as the Huskers should build a comfortable lead that allows for Frost to insert other players for the majority of the second half.
There is no way to sugarcoat this one because Nebraska absolutely needs to win this game and look respectable doing so. A close game will do nothing to calm the nerves around Lincoln in what has quickly become an uphill climb to a possible postseason bowl berth for Nebraska. Expect some big plays from Martinez early and often to help Nebraska jump out to a solid lead in the first half, and then for Nebraska to be able to go on cruise control on the ground for the remainder of the game.
Prediction: Nebraska 43, Fordham 24
Podcast: Week 1 Preview, Predictions & Spread Picks