2008 Season Preview: Nebraska

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I’m a firm believer that Bo Pelini is going to restore the Nebraska football program to national prominence but keep in mind that Rome wasn’t build in a day. Pelini returns 11 starters from last year’s 5-7 squad and while I believe the `07 Huskers may have quit on Bill Callahan this is still going to be a very difficult trip for Nebraska because the overall talent level is where it needs to be just yet.

Nebraska returns a thousand yard rusher in Marlon Lucky as their feature back and with the transition away from the West Coast Offense he should get more carries this year. Joe Ganz showed enough promise filling in for the injured Sam Keller last year to make fans wonder if Callahan made the right selection by going with Keller for most of the season.

Maurice Purify will be missed at the receiver position where senior Nate Swift becomes the new #1 target. Behind Swift there isn’t a lot of proven talent at receiver. Todd Peterson had 18 receptions and Menelik Holt had 4 last season.

2007 Offensive Leaders
Passing Sam Keller 205/325, 2422 yards, 14 TD, 10 INT
Rushing Marlon Lucky 206 carries 1057 yards, 9 touchdowns
Receiving Marlon Lucky 75 receptions, 705 yards, 3 touchdowns

The good news for Pelini is that he returns 7 starters on defense. The bad news is that last season the Nebraska defense gave up 37.9 points and 477 yards per game. Pelini is a defensive specialist as a coach and returning to the days of the legendary black shirts will come in time. Strong safety Larry Asante and defensive end Zach Potter give Pelini a good place to start. Asante is the leading tackler among the returning starters and Potter led the team in tackles for loss.

2007 Defensive Leaders
Tackles Steve Octavien 92
Tackles for Loss Zach Potter 9.5
Sacks Barry Turner 3
Interceptions Bo Ruud, Cortney Grixby 2

Oklahoma has won four of the last five meetings against Nebraska including the 2006 Big 12 Championship. When you consider the Huskers road record last season this year should make it five of six.

2007 Team Stats
Points Scored P/G Points Allowed P/G Rush P/G Pass P/G Home Road
33.4 37.9 144 324 4-3 1-4
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