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PREVIEW Nebraska at Minnesota

The Nebraska Cornhuskers kick off the Matt Rhule era with a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to take on the Golden Gophers.

Broadcast Information

  • Kickoff 8:00 pm Eastern Time on FOX.

  • Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt on the call.

  • Radio: Nebraska - KLIN 1400 AM / 99.3 FM; Minnesota - KFAN 100.3

What's At Stake?

The first game of the season for both teams doubles as the conference opener. Nebraska is hoping that it can get a fresh start with Matt Rhule running the show after a hugely disappointing run under Scott Frost. Rhule turned around Temple and Baylor in short order and the Husker faithful hope he can do the same in a town starved for competent football. For the Golden Gophers, they are enjoying one of their most successful periods in modern history. PJ Fleck, for all his quirks, has the team bought in. The Gophers have won at least 9 games in three of the past 4 seasons, including a breakout 11-2 campaign in 2019. They hope to challenge Wisconsin and Iowa for the Big Ten West crown.

Key Players

For Minnesota, they are replacing long-time starter Tanner Morgan with Athan Kaliakmanis aka the 'Greek Rifle'. The Gophers are also replacing stalwart running back Mohamed Ibrahim. It will likely be a running back by committee approach for Sean Tyler, Zach Evans, and Bryce Williams.

For Nebraska, transfer quarterback Jeff Sims (Georgia Tech) is a big get for Matt Rhule. Sims displayed talent for a struggling Georgia Tech team. Nebraska is more talented than the Yellow Jackets and the roster is better than the results they put out under Scott Frost. I expect to see a markedly improved Nebraska team from the jump, with Jeff Sims leading that charge.

Key Matchups

  • Minnesota's defensive front against Nebraska's rushing attack. Minnesota fielded a strong defense in 2022 (somewhat bolstered by scheduling luck with the Big Ten East opponents). Nebraska should have a solid rushing attack between the mobile Jeff Sims and running backs Gabe Ervin and Anthony Grant.

  • Minnesota's offensive line against Nebraska's new look 3-3-5 front. Minnesota is replacing three offensive linemen, and it is not every day teams face a 3-3-5 look. I'm interested to see if the newly formed offensive line gets confused by Nebraska's scheme.


I really want to call for a Nebraska upset, but I just cannot get over how disappointing Nebraska has been for the past half-decade. Whereas, Minnesota has shown a level of steadiness and competence that we have not seen from Nebraska. When teams show you who they are, believe them the first time. I am going to believe Minnesota and Nebraska's recent track records until they give me a reason to think otherwise. Minnesota wins, 24-20.



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