Believe it or not, Nebraska is sitting at No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and has officially completed its best-case scenario heading into the 2016 season with a 7-0 record. Now come the backloaded baddies, but before we get to that, it’s time to see how good my picks were versus Purdue.
Safety Kieron Williams – Four tackles, one for loss and two picks. Yeah, that’s a solid first-round pick.
Running back Terrell Newby – The offense struggled to get much of a running game going. That said, Newby still managed 82 yards at 3.7 yards per pop. That’ll move the chains.
Defensive end Ross Dzuris – Three tackles, one for loss and a sack that helped wrap the game up in a tidy bow should be worth one point.
Wide Receiver Stanley Morgan – Morgan had two catches for 43 yards including a nice 28-yard snag. We’ll call this half a point.
Wide Receiver Brandon Reilly – Reilly checked in with four catches for 73 yards and also had a 28-yard reception to his name.
Easily one of my best weeks to date (if not the best). Time to see if I can get this thing snowballing as I sit with 21 positivity points out of 35 selected players. It’ll be tough to garner positive marks against Wisconsin for the Big Red and myself by proxy. I still think it can be done, though.
First Round Pick: Safety Kieron Williams – Well, if it ain’t broke, etc. Williams is going to be a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping the Wisconsin offense off the field and Badger points off the scoreboard. He’s only gotten better as the year has gone along, and regardless of which Wisconsin quarterback he’s facing, I like his odds of snagging an interception, if not a pick-six.
Second Round Pick: Running back Terrell Newby – If there’s any member of the offense that can will this team to a victory over the Badgers, it’s Newby. I dare say he has a better shot to be the hero of this game than Tommy Armstrong, Jr. I don’t doubt that Danny Langsdorf has specific plans to keep Armstrong dialed in and making plays. However, Newby’s been a beast lately, and I think that continues.
Third Round Pick: Safety Nate Gerry – I can see Mark Banker using Gerry in a number of ways against an offense that the senior safety calls the best the Blackshirts have faced to date. The massive South Dakotan can be used in run support from the defensive backfield as a hybrid safety, or play center field and maybe snag an interception of his own.
Fourth Round Pick: Wide Receiver Brandon Reilly – Amazingly, Reilly hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this year. Why pick him? He averages 23 yards per catch and with tight end Cethan Carter out yet again, I can see the need for a circus catch or two for the third consecutive week.
Fifth Round Pick: Linebacker Marcus Newby – Okay, this pick is thanks to a hunch. Newby’s been used in some special pass rush packages in the past. Some of those have included Dzuris where the left tackle has essentially needed to pick one to block while the other one (ideally) has a free shot at the quarterback. I’ll put one of my picks on the line when it comes to Newby going headhunting.
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. – Armstrong has the ability to make or break this game all by himself. It’s going to be tough sledding behind this offensive line as it is, but there’s still potential for him to have a solid day if he can stay on his feet and not let Bad Tommy come out to play … much.
Running back Devine Ozigbo – Zig sat out the Purdue game partially to heal in preparation for this matchup. Expect to see plenty of him and Newby when the Huskers try to get their running game going. That said, I’m not sure how well his ankle will hold up.
Fullback Luke McNitt – Does anyone find it interesting that there’s not been one designed fullback carry this season? Does anyone else think that’s not a coincidence? Last year, Andy Janovich scored his first touchdown of the season (and his career) against the Badgers. Dare I suggest we see a Nebraska fullback do it again?