We’ve had to wait eight years, but it’s finally here. Saturday at 1:30pm MT from Lincoln, Neb. the Colorado Buffaloes resume their “rivalry” with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska holds a 49-18-2 edge in this game which dates back to 1898. The Buffaloes are coming off of a 45-17 win over Colorado State, while Nebraska’s opener against Akron was washed out, making this weekend’s contest Scott Frost’s first as the Cornhuskers head coach. I caught up with my fellow Ralphie Report colleagues Jack Barsch and Jeff Hauser to breakdown this matchup.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:17 PM]
Alright fellas. Thanks for joining me. We’ve had this game circled on our calendars for quite some time now. Jack, let’s start with you. What can you tell me about Nebraska true freshman QB Adrian Martinez?
Jack Barsch [9:18 PM]
Martinez is a true freshman with a lot of talent. He makes plays with his legs with a little throwing at times. CU could try to study film of his senior year to read his tendencies, but he missed the entire season with an injury. So, his game against the Buffs will be his first live bullets in two years. Full of talent, but he is so very inexperienced.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:21 PM]
The Buffaloes had a lot of trouble with a mobile QB last season named Kahlil Tate. Similar playing style?
Jack Barsch [9:22 PM]
Similar athleticism, but that’s not the same. Tate was an improvised runner who killed CU players by running when no one was looking. Martinez is a designed runner. Plus, CU will have prepared for him.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:24 PM]
Jeff, what do you think we can expect from Scott Frost’s offense?
Jeff Hauser [9:25 PM]
Among the unknowns about Adrian Martinez is how he’ll get back to game speed at a college level. After missing his entire senior season in HS, how will he come in as Nebraska’s first true freshman to start under center? If what we see on paper stands true, the four-star recruit will play better than CSU’s KJ Carta-Samuels. Coach MacIntyre saw him play in HS and was very impressed with his pure mechanics.
Expect a lot of the same looks from what we saw at UCF. Triple option, pin and pull sweeps and power runs are what Nebraska OC Troy Walters will be deploying in Lincoln.
Jack Barsch [9:30 PM]
One thing to keep in mind is that Coach Mac 2 has faced an Oregon offense with Scott Frost OC and also had Troy Walters on staff. He is very familiar with both of their tendencies.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:33 PM]
Defensively, the Buffaloes looked impressive against Colorado State. ILB Nate Landman was flying all over the field. Which Buffs do you expect will be very involved on Saturday against Nebraska’s offense?
Jack Barsch [9:34 PM]
Well, if CU wants to win, comfortably at least, it better be the edge defenders. Drew Lewis could control the game if he plays well.
Jeff Hauser [9:37 PM]
I agree with Jack on this. CU needs to seal the edge early and force Martinez to try and beat them by thowing the ball downfield. I want to see Davion Taylor have his breakout game on Saturday.
Jack Barsch [9:38 PM]
Davion Taylor, theoretically, is a perfect counter to a running QB. Fast enough to catch anybody, big enough to shed blocks and hit the edge hard.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:40 PM]
Love the call on Davion Taylor being the key to shutting down Martinez. Speaking of throwing the ball, Martinez does have a weapon with senior wideout Stanley Morgan Jr., who caught 61 passes for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Which Buffaloes defensive back do you expect to primarily cover Morgan Jr. tomorrow?
Jack Barsch [9:41 PM]
Morgan isn’t a physical freak like Preston Williams was, so anyone could potentially match up with him. I expect Delrick Abrams put himself in CB1 pole position after last week, so I bet he gets the draw.
Jeff Hauser [9:47 PM]
Abrams should get the nod and will match up well against Morgan. CSU has one of the best receiving corps in the nation, yet CU’s defense put them out to dry all night. The key for Nebraska is working in the steady TE rotation of Jack Stoll, Austin Allen and Kurt Rafdal.
Jack Barsch [9:48 PM]
JD Spielman will be tough to corral on the other side as well. I expect Nebraska to move the ball pretty well.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:50 PM]
What about tailback Greg Bell, who is projected to start tomorrow? Nebraska struggled at running the ball last season. Will that change in the Frost regime?
Jack Barsch [9:50 PM]
If you ask the fans, they’ve already rushed for 8000 yards.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:50 PM]
Jeff Hauser [9:50 PM]
Jack Barsch [9:51 PM]
I think they will be better, but it’s hard to be worse. Greg Bell is a solid get from the JUCO ranks, but the real prize is late academic qualifier Mo Washington. He’s supposedly an electric athlete. If the Frost S&C staff have worked the miracles as proclaimed, then they should be able to push the pile.
Jeff Hauser [9:54 PM]
Bell will surprise people, but how he fits in this offense is undefined right now. Washington is a dangerous game-changer, who can go 0-to-100.
Anthony Kazmierczak [9:58 PM]
Alright, before we get to predictions, Jeff, you had the chance to speak to a bunch of former Nebraska and Colorado players, coaches and even a celebrity (Larry the Cable Guy) about the rivalry and what they remember most. What do you guys remember most about this rivalry?
Jack Barsch [9:58 PM]
if you haven’t read Jeff’s article, please do.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:10 PM]
Personally, this is THE GAME for me. I’ve had this one circled on my calendar ever since it was announced the Buffaloes would be renewing their rivalry with the Cornhuskers. Since I’m quite a bit older then you guys, growing up in the days of Bill McCartney and the Big Eight Conference, this was the one game I always made it a point to watch. And once the Big 12 was formed, Friday’s after Thanksgiving were my favorite day of the year.
Jack Barsch [10:11 PM]
While the CSU game fills me with dread and nervousness every year, this game filled me with pure excitement and, shall we say, less than stellar feelings about the opponent.
Jeff Hauser [10:11 PM]
Oh man... For me, the rivalry was EVERYTHING. I grew up with buffalo blood flowing through my veins and the games I couldn’t be at or watch, I spent listening to Larry Zimmer on KOA. Tommie Frazier was one hell of an athlete, who caused headaches for me. I remember the Buffs coming close several times before 2001’s old fashioned ass whooping. It felt like Nebraska was the place of bad people. There was a girl I was dating named Haylee and she was a HUGE Nebraska fan. I thought I was able to overlook her love of the red for her stellar personality, but sadly, she didn’t make the cut. I found myself at 23-years-old with the same feelings about that situation as I did towards the Cornhuskers as a kid. Tradition never fades. I miss looking forward to the Black Friday game. It was special.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:13 PM]
Ok guys, memories aside, what are your predictions for Saturday’s contest?
Jack Barsch [10:14 PM]
Vegas is sliding pretty heavily towards the Buffs, so I think I’ll ride with them. CU by a touchdown.
Jeff Hauser [10:14 PM]
Colorado wins a close game 35-31.
Jack Barsch [10:17 PM]
One quick thought before I go - Nebraska’s defense gave up 50 points multiple times last year. That doesn’t get fixed easily, especially when the new scheme is feast or famine. Buffs play their cards right, they can get to half a century.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:17 PM]
I agree, Jack. Over/Under for this one is currently 65. I like a high scoring affair with the Buffaloes winning 62-36 :)