Loyalty is a big part of Fitzgerald's success -- he both shows it and fosters it. He needed a dramatic talent upgrade.

They will face an Ohio State team that are three-time Big Ten defending champions. Jonathon Cooper pressures Taylor Martinez last season. The Badgers are going to fly to the ball with what seems like 12 linebackers. Justin Fields, Heisman trophy finalist, returns at quarterback for the Buckeyes. The skill corps hasn't really come around as expected, though. Currently the Buckeyes are ranked #5. Fitzgerald replaced McCall with former Boston College offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. Sophomore Spencer Petras completed 6 of 10 passes in reserve duty last year, and he appears to be the likely starter, though redshirt freshman Alex Padilla and well-touted true freshman Deuce Hogan are options. The college football season will forever have a small-sample problem, but it still has massive potential for narrative shifts. With a three-man defensive line that loses starters in all three spots (including 2019 leader in sacks, Khalil Davis – 8), Master Teague and Trey Sermon could be set up to have a big day. Nebraska Football Position Breakdown: Offensive Line New, 51 comments All five starters are returning to this unit, but things are going to look different this season. Epenesa was a second-rounder -- they were probably Iowa's two best players last year. Think back to September 2019: It was fair to call Minnesota an underachiever. Nebraska runs a 3-4 scheme, but their roster is full of defensive linemen who can be swapped across the front. The Big Ten's fall football season, postponed in August and reinstated in September, finally kicks off this weekend, which means you have 14 more team capsules to read. Kendric Pryor was maybe Wisconsin's best receiver against man coverage last year; is he ready for a senior breakout season? Mick McCall and Mike Hankwitz had been his offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively, since 2008. However, the run-stopping that would be expected from this did not exist. Corn Nation has affiliate partnerships. There are fewer questions about the defense. ... led by All-American guard Wyatt Davis and returning starters … There is an affiliate link there, in the interest of full disclosure. TV: The game will be televised on Fox. Gaziano was basically a one-man pass rush, so his absence is concerning, but it's just about the lone concern.

Nebraska has not played a football game in 330 days. For a complete breakdown of the rest of the conference, check out the Big Ten East preview. Nebraska is coming into the 2020 season with it’s three leading rushers returning, Dedrick Mills, Adrian Martinez, and Wan’Dale Robinson. I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of Adrian this year.

Per SP+, Hankwitz has fielded a top-30 defense in five of the past six seasons. The DBs should hold up, but there is a near-total lack of proven playmakers in the front seven.

Good passing is evidently worth two extra wins per year in Madison. 1 nationally at the start of the 2020 season. Six of last year's top nine havoc producers are gone, including sacks leaders Carter Coughlin and Sam Renner and safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. and Chris Williamson. They found some rhythm late but finished just 3-9; one year after winning the division title, they went 1-8 in Big Ten play. Senior receivers Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith are high-efficiency veterans, and Smith-Marsette has some proven pop. Purdue stumbled to 4-8, alternating between promising and disappointing performances. Linebacker Kristian Welch, safety Geno Stone and corner Michael Ojemudia were, along with Epenesa and Golston, among Iowa's top five havoc creators last year (TFLs, passes defensed, forced fumbles). After a spirited race with Minnesota and Iowa, Wisconsin won the West last fall to secure its sixth conference-title game appearance in nine years. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images). They have stunk for three years, with win totals of 4, 4, 5, respectively, since 2017. They would lose to Iowa and Wisconsin down the stretch, but a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl gave them their first 11-win season since 1904 and their first AP top-10 finish since 1962. Nebraska is headed out to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Another option is the TuneIn app for game audio. The Cornhuskers have technically improved under his watch -- from 62nd in SP+ in 2017 to 49th and 55th in his two years -- but it was easy to get wrapped up in the story and assume something beyond slight growth. Buffalo transfer Charlie Jones is speedy, too. Smith has undoubtedly figured out how to upgrade the talent level in Champaign -- Imatorbhebhe is particularly top-notch -- but there's a lot of talent in the Big Ten, and the Illini are still playing from behind. Top returning players: WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, LB Jake Hansen, LB Milo Eifler, LG Doug Kramer, CB Nate Hobbs. The special-teams unit should still be dangerous.

Thanks to strong defense and impervious close-game performances, NU still won nine-plus games three times in that stretch, but 2019 was the last straw.

The level of brilliance Minnesota attained in October, and the fact it maintained some degree of it, makes the Gophers an awfully intriguing team in 2020. Of these returning players, linebackers Collin Miller and JoJo Domann will be heavily relied upon, as both combined for 119 total tackles, 15.5 TFLs, and 3.5 sacks. 2019: 10-4 (7-2), 11th in SP+ The defense, led by Betiku's pass rushing, linebacker Dele Harding's run stuffing and sturdy secondary play, improved from 115th to 54th in defensive SP+. Brohm hadn't built nearly enough depth in two years to account for what he was losing from the two-deep from week to week, and for the first time as a head coach, he couldn't coax out the production he needed. Still, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was a top-15 pick in the NFL draft, and end A.J. This is the second longest stretch without a game. The Boilermakers had won just nine games in four seasons when he arrived in West Lafayette, but he immediately improved them from 3-9 and 105th in SP+ to 7-6 and 48th. Thanks to the addition of Indiana grad transfer Peyton Ramsey, five NU QBs threw at least 10 passes last season, and two backs -- Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson -- have taken on heavy loads before.

Nate Stanley is gone after three years and 8,240 yards. 2020 Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Depth Chart | Ourlads.com

Nebraska returns all five starting offensive linemen from 2019. The offense slid from 17th to 45th in offensive SP+, and the defense, 82nd in defensive SP+, couldn't pick up enough slack. Minnesota entered conference play having fallen to 50th overall. Still, he had his moments -- 328 yards passing and 118 rushing in a comeback win over Illinois, for instance. Top returning players: WR Rondale Moore, DE George Karlaftis, WR David Bell, DE/OLB Derrick Barnes, LB Jaylan Alexander. The Big Ten's fall football season, postponed … 2020 projection: 6-2, sixth The QB change and depletion of known playmakers on D, however, could hold them back in a packed West race, as could the loss of a couple of high-upside difference-makers in the trenches. But despite appearances, the pass is the key. Nebraska Team Capsule: The Huskers are trying to get Bowl-eligible under Frost, going 4-8 in his first season and then 5-7 a year ago. Today, we talk about the West division. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. This, we know. Fleck's Golden Gophers were projected 30th in SP+, but they found themselves tied with South Dakota State after 54 minutes and trailing both Fresno State and Georgia Southern in the final minute. Top returning players: WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, RB Tyler Goodson, DE Chauncey Golston, WR Tyrone Tracy Jr., CB Matt Hankins. The narrative shifted entirely. Previewing the Big Ten West's season, Projecting every bowl game, including the College Football Playoff, Indiana jumps into Top 25; Ohio State up to No.

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