2022 Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview

by Matt Fargo

Nebraska Cornhuskers

2021-22 Season Record 3-9 (1-8 Big 10 West) - 6-5-1 ATS - 6-5-1 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 5

Overview

It has been a forgettable run for the once proud Nebraska football program as it has had five straight losing seasons, the last four under current head coach Scott Frost. Prior to that, the Huskers had a run of nine straight regular seasons of .500 or better under Bo Pelini and Mike Riley and while the real glory days are long gone, Frost was supposed to be the guy to get them back on top but it has been just the opposite. They have gone 13-31 in the Big Ten during this five-season slide and while the 3-9 record last season was the worst of them all, it was arguably the best of them all as far as competitiveness. All nine losses were by single digits and by an average of 6.2 ppg so Nebraska was painfully close to putting together a winning season. Despite a returning production ranking of No. 102 and just 12 returning starters, expectations are high in Lincoln for a turnaround.

Offense

Adrian Martinez seemed like he was at Nebraska forever as he was a four-year starter who compiled 10,792 all purposes yards which is the most in program history and he is now a graduate transfer at Kansas St. but the offense that ranked No. 24 last season should be just fine. The Huskers managed only 27.9 ppg which was No. 71 in the country as they were not clutch when it counted. Taking over at quarterback will be Casey Thompson who transferred in from Texas following a great season where he threw for 2,113 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The top two receivers are gone and while there are a few holdovers, three solid transfers enter the picture. The running game was above average thanks to Martinez so now it will be a traditional back that steps up behind an offensive line that has three starters back and will improve from a subpar 2021. 

Defense

The defense finished No. 50 overall and No. 38 in scoring and will be plugging in new players but there is a lot of experience and transfer help to make this a better unit. The Huskers were unable to take the ball away as their 13 turnovers were tied for No. 112 in the country and that will get better as will getting to the quarterback after registering only 20 sacks, tied for No. 98 in the nation. The sacks should spike as the Huskers welcome defensive end Ochaun Mathis where he started 34 games at TCU and had 15.5 sacks. The defensive front did ok in stopping the run and that should also get better especially with Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich at linebacker, the two top tackling leaders, where they combined for 208 stops as a sophomore and freshman respectively. The secondary is going to be relatively new but experienced with plenty of transfer help behind corner Quinton Newsome.

2022 Season Outlook

This could be the final season for Frost to make something happen after taking a pay cut for another shot of rejuvenating this downward trend. He hired five new assistant coaches and has relieved himself from the play calling duties which indicates that even he knows this is the last gasp. The pieces are in place with a slew of transfers to make this a big year and reverse all of those close losses from last season. The schedule is never easy in the Big Ten but it does not get better than this. The Huskers open in Ireland against Northwestern and then are home for four straight games that includes a doozy against formal rival Oklahoma. Four conference road games include Michigan and Iowa but they miss Ohio St., Michigan St. and Penn St. altogether. The O/U win total is set at 7.5 which is big after a three-win season but getting over that is doable as a 5-1 start can get them there. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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