The first week of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football season is in the books. The Huskers started off slow but eventually knocked out the Fresno State Bulldogs following a 29-0 second half winning 43-10.
Last week, I selected five Huskers to have big-time performances and I’ll be doing the same every week moving forward. First, let’s review how I did choosing the opening game’s stars.
Running back Devine Ozigbo – “Zig” had a career night with 17 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He’s technically listed No. 2 on the depth chart, but he’s by no means going to see any less time than Terrell Newby, the technical No. 1.
Mike Riley confirmed this following the game stating, “I think that for us right now it’s a rotation. They are both going to play.” Started off with a solid pick.
Defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun – I’m really surprised that Freedom didn’t manage more than one assisted tackle. Then again, take into account that he’s easily identified as Nebraska’s best pass rusher and he’ll be getting plenty of attention from offensive coordinators. Fresno State made sure of that. He’ll have better days, but in terms of picks, I’d say I’m one for two.
Tight end Cethan Carter – Suffice it to say I expected Nebraska to pass at least a little more than it did. The Huskers threw the ball 13 times as opposed to running it 51 times which meant a guy like Carter had few chances to catch the ball. That said, he crushed it in the run blocking category. Since Nebraska was able to almost tally 300 yards on the ground and one of the backs had a career night, I’m going to call this a half-point.
Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp – See above when it comes to opportunities to make a big play.
There was a very long pass that would’ve upped Westy’s numbers, but it went way over his head. He did snag a catch, but it was only for six yards. I trust in No. 1, but I can’t take this point in good faith.
Cornerback Lamar Jackson – The other No. 1 in your program was picked on by Fresno State, and wisely so. The true freshman gave plenty of cushion, working to not get burned deep. However, he ended up with six tackles (five solo), a sack and two tackles for loss. I call that a win.
Not a bad first week as I manage 2.5 points out of a potential five. Time to see if I can do a little better for the Huskers’ tilt with Wyoming. My champions against the Cowboys:
Running back Devine Ozigbo – I’ll take the guy who racked up two scores and topped the 100-yard mark despite rotating in. He ran with purpose and dragged defenders. I expect him to do the same versus Wyoming.
Wide Receiver Alonzo Moore – Following a contest where he was the only shining star of the Huskers’ receiving crew, I like him to be a significant cog as Nebraska tries to even out its run-pass ratio. I pondered choosing the returning Brandon Reilly, but Moore proved himself a dangerous part of this offense and I dig what he brings to the table.
Defensive end Ross Dzuris – The mustachioed mauler showed why he constantly grades out as one of the two best defensive linemen in John Parrella’s corps. With four tackles (three solo), two sacks and three tackles for loss against Fresno State, I’m counting on this dapper defender to make me look good.
Cornerback Lamar Jackson – That’s right, I’m doubling down on the true freshman. Mike Riley basically summed up the reason for my pick in Monday’s press conference.
“I thought [getting picked on] was good for him and I don’t think he shied away from anything. I thought he played pretty darn aggressively and confidently.”
I do, too, Coach and that’s why he’s my guy for the second week in a row.
Safety Nate Gerry – He’s served his time for a team rules violation. Now it’s time to let the muscle-bound maniac known to his teammates as “Bane” wreak havoc. I can see him doing damage in the secondary and being brought on run blitzes.
Think you can best my picks? Leave yours in the comment section below.