Greg Sharpe Previews Nebraska – Wyoming [AUDIO]
When the Nebraska Cornhuskers take the field against Wyoming, Saturday night in Lincoln, they'll be riding the longest opening game winning streak in the FBS, 27 straight games, dating back to September of 1985.
In 2013, they'll be looking to extend that streak in front of more fans than ever at Memorial Stadium, thanks to a new 6,000 seat expansion on the stadium's East side. The new seating and a new statue honoring long time Nebraska and Wyoming coach Bob Devaney will welcome fans in Lincoln, Saturday night.
The 'Voice of the Cornhuskers' Greg Sharpe told me he's impressed with what's he's seen at Memorial Stadium:
As for this Nebraska team, they've got a coach in his 6th year (Bo Pelini), a quarterback starting for the 4th year (Taylor Martinez), playing in the Big 10 conference for the third year. It all adds up to some real stability for this program:
It all starts on offense where redshirt senior Taylor Martinez is back at quarterback, and some Huskers watchers say he might try to make more happen this season with his arm and a little less with his legs, but he still has the ability to make things happen when he pulls the ball down and runs with it depending on the situation:
Head coach Bo Pelini has the same staff for the second straight season, and also has a new, softer image around the country - thanks to a You Tube video (see below) of him pulling off a prank on his team last week. That side of the usually intense Pelini may have surprised some, but not those close to the Husker football program:
The Nebraska defense will field a whole host of new faces in 2013, and is by far one of the biggest question marks on the team. Pelini himself says the group has 'youthful depth'. So what should we expect from the Cornhusker defense?
Former Washington high school standout Nate Gerry figures to be part of that defense from time to time. He'll also see action on special teams. Not bad for a true freshman that arrived in Lincoln two months ago as a projected redshirt:
That first test will come Saturday night when Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith brings the Cowboys to Lincoln for the second time in three seasons. When the two teams played in 2011, Nebraska won 38-14, but Smith has two impressive seasons under his belt since then, combining for 5,459 yards and 47 touchdowns. He's also rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in his career:
As a program, Nebraska has played in three conference title games and five bowl games in the last five years, and should have a big scheduling edge in 2013, with 8 of the Huskers 12 games in Lincoln, including each of the first five. That sets the table for a potentially memorable season, but along with it, brings some very high expectations for this team:
Kickoff is 7:00pm in Lincoln, Saturday night. ESPN 99.1 will join the Nebraska - Wyoming game in progress, following the conclusion of the Roosevelt - Brandon Valley game. Listen live here.