Nebraska Football Predictions 2020
Written by: Ben Pekay
Sept. 5 Purdue- Loss
Sept. 12 Central Michigan- Win
Sept. 19 South Dakota State- Win
Sept. 26 Cincinnati- Win
Oct. 3 @ Northwestern- Win
Oct. 10 Illinois- Loss
Oct. 24 @ Rutgers- Win
Oct. 31 @ Ohio State- Loss
Nov. 7 Penn State- Loss
Nov. 14 @ Iowa- Loss
Nov. 21 @ Wisconsin- Loss
Nov. 27 Minnesota- Loss
The 2020 Nebraska football season will be a disappointing one. It is Scott Frost’s third year at Nebraska. Last year they went 5-7 and in 2018 they went 4-8. If Frost does not show improvement, his time could be running out at Nebraska. They return Quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez is an interesting player. His 2018 season was his best season, throwing for 2,617 yards and 17 touchdowns. He took a step back in 2019, throwing for 1,956 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Martinez’s play will reflect on how the team does. For Martinez to be successful, he needs to limit turnovers. Nebraska’s best wide receiver JD Spielman was on a leave of absence from the football program and has just announced he is transferring from the program.He had 898 yards and 5 touchdowns last year. This is a giant loss for the Cornhuskers. Their best returning wide receiver is Wan’Dale Robinson who had 453 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air and 340 yards and 3 touchdowns through the ground. Besides Robinson they have few experienced wide receivers. Nebraska’s defense was 10th last year in the Big Ten in total defense and 7 of the top 14 tacklers are gone. They return Linebacker JoJo Domann who had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year and Cornerback DiCaprio Bootle who had 31 tackles last year and 6 pass deflection. The Nebraska defense is the Achilles heel of the team this year. Without strong play from the defense, it will be very tough for Nebraska to win consistently in the Big Ten.
Nebraska's first game is against Purdue. These teams are very similar. Both have very good wide receivers on offense and have a weak defense. Purdue returns Quarterback Jake Plummer who threw for 1,603 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. In addition to Plummer, they return wide receiver Rondale Moore who was a 2018 All-American and 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year David Bell. Last year Purdue was second to last in the Big Ten in total defense. On defense, they return Defensive End George Karlaftis. He was second-team All-Big Ten last year with 54 tackles and 7.5 sacks. This game is a toss-up. Purdue will win this game because they have more weapons on offense and Plummer will outplay Martinez. Central Michigan will not be a challenge for Nebraska. Central Michigan will have a new quarterback after the graduation of Quinten Dormady. It will probably be David Moore who threw for 1,143 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 4 picks last year in 6 games. They return all seven top wide receivers and tight ends. Nebraska will win this game because of the level of talent on their team. Next up for the Cornhuskers is South Dakota State. They return Running Back Pierre Strong Jr. who was a 2nd team FCS All-American last year and Wide Receiver Cade Johnson who was a 3rd team FCS All- American. South Dakota State returns Starting quarterback J’Bore Gibbs who threw for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. South Dakota State will keep the game close but Nebraska will prevail because of the solid play of their offense.
After South Dakota State, Nebraska has a very tough home game against Cincinnati. Cincinnati returns Quarterback Desmond Ridder who had 18 touchdowns and 2,164 yards last year. Cincinnati lost Running Back Michael Warren II who had 1,265 yards and 14 touchdowns last year to the NFL and Tight End Josiah Deguara who led the team in receptions and receiving touchdowns. Their best returning receiver is Alec Pierce who caught 2 touchdowns and had 652 yards last year. They are much stronger on the defensive end of the ball. They return 10 starters including 1st team All-AAC Corner Ahmad Gardner and Defensive Tackle Elijah Ponder who had 33 tackles last year and 2.5 sacks. They are very talented throughout their defense. This game is a toss-up. This will be a low scoring game, but Nebraska will come out on top because of the atmosphere of Memorial Stadium and the solid game from Adrian Martinez. Next up is Northwestern. Northwestern starting quarterback will be Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey who threw for 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Northwestern has little talent around Ramsey and will struggle on offense throughout the year. On the defensive end, they return Linebacker Paddy Fisher who had 88 tackles last year. The Northwestern offense won't be good enough to win them games. Nebraska will win this game because of the strength of their offense.
Next up for Nebraska is Illinois. Illinois returns its starting quarterback, Brandon Peters, who threw for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and its best wide receiver, Josh Imatorbhebhe, who caught 9 touchdowns and had a total of 634 yards last year. On defense, they return safety Sydney Brown who had 88 tackles last year and 3 interceptions and Linebacker Jake Hansen who had 72 tackles last year and 7 forced fumbles. The Illini and the Cornhuskers are very even teams but Illinois will win because of the big game from Brandon Peters and the Illini defense will come up with big plays in crunch time. Next up for Nebraska is Rutgers. Well, everyone knows about Rutgers. After Rutgers, Nebraska has Ohio State. Ohio State is insanely talented on both ends of the ball. They return preseason Heisman candidate Quarterback Justin Fields who threw for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns and Wide Receiver Chris Olave who caught 12 touchdowns last year and had 848 total yards. Although they lost Chase Young and Jeff Okudah to the NFL draft, they return Cornerback Shaun Wade who had 25 tackles last year and 8 pass deflections. He is probably a future first-round pick. They have a lot of talent through their defense. Ohio State will blow out Nebraska because of the talent on their team and the big game from Justin Fields. Next up is Penn State. Penn State returns Sean Clifford who was very solid last year and will only get better with time and Tight End Pat Freiermuth who had 507 yards and 7 touchdowns last year and is an excellent pass blocker. On the defensive end, they return Linebacker Micah Parsons who had 109 tackles and 5 sacks last year who is arguably one of the best linebackers in the country. Penn State will beat Nebraska because of the strength of their defense and the poor play of Nebraska’s defense.
Next up for Nebraska is Iowa. Iowa starting quarterback will be Spencer Petras who was Nate Stanley’s backup last year. They return their top four starting receivers including Ihmir Smith-Matsette who had 722 yards and 5 touchdowns last year. On the defensive end, they return Defensive Back Jack Koerner who had 81 tackles last year and 5 pass deflections. Iowa has depth and experience through their defense. This game will be very low scoring. Iowa will win because their offense will outplay Nebraska’s defense. Next up for Nebraska is Wisconsin. Wisconsin lost star running back Jonathan Taylor to the NFL draft. They return Quarterback Jack Coan who threw for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns last year and Running Back Nakia Watson who had 331 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. On defense, they return Linebacker Jack Sanborn who had 80 tackles and 5.5 sacks last year. This Wisconsin team is very talented and has a chance to win the Big Ten West this year. Nebraska will lose this game because of the talent on this Wisconsin team and the poor game from Adrian Martinez. Next up for Nebraska is Minnesota. They return Tanner Morgan who threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and Rashod Bateman who was the Big Ten’s receiver of the year last year. They also return their offensive lineman. Minnesota is not as strong on defense. They return Jordan Howard who had 57 total tackles last year with 6 pass deflections but lost 5 starters to the NFL. I think Minnesota will win because they will be just good enough on offense to beat Nebraska and Adrian Martinez will have a bad game.
The season will be a disappointing one for the Cornhuskers. Their season depends on the play of Adrian Martinez. If he plays well, they could win 8 games. I don't think he is going to play well because of the lack of improvement in prior years. Nebraska will end the season with a 5-7 record and miss out on a bowl game.