Nebraska received a ton of hype in the offseason and even had its over/under pushed to 9 wins at some places, but it wasn’t a great opener despite winning. The Cornhuskers struggled to put away South Alabama and now are small -3.5 point road favorites (over/under 64.5) against a Colorado team who failed to make a bowl last year.
It took about one game for people to realize that Adrian Martinez should’ve never been in the Heisman conversation. He’s still only a sophomore and possibly not ready to take the next step after failing to throw a touchdown and rushing for just six yards on 13 carries (sacks included) against South Alabama.
His numbers will get better, but that kind of performance won’t work in the Big Ten or maybe even against Colorado. The other worry is that no one had success in the ground game as top running back Dedrick Mills went for just 44 yards on 15 carries against a defense that allowed more than 200 rushing yards per game last year. The Huskers won 35-21, but three of their touchdowns came from areas other than the offense.
Buffs Gave Up 500 Yards Last Week
The good news for Nebraska is that Colorado’s defense still appears to be a problem. While the Buffaloes beat their in-state rival, they gave up 374 passing yards and a 41-yard rushing touchdown. That could lead to a better performance from Martinez, but this defense is still different than a year ago with former Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker the head coach.
Colorado will try and win this game the same way it did last week, by feeding the ball to running backs Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham, who combined for 30 carries, 165 yards and four touchdowns. While they may not have the same kind of success, the Buffs also have an experienced and mobile quarterback in Steven Montez. Combine that with stud playmaking wide receiver Laviska Shenault and the tools are there for another outright upset.
Nebraska “D” No Bargain Either
Nebraska had a couple of defensive touchdowns last game, but it still gave up three touchdowns to a subpar offense. The question is if the run defense can step up and limit what the Buffs can do on that front because that could decide the game.
When these teams met last year, Nebraska’s run defense was dominant, but Montez did whatever he wanted in the passing game, throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-28 win. Even worse for the Huskers is that they ran for 329 yards at home and still lost.
This is a prime spot for a home underdog against a team who was likely overrated going into the season and is still getting some extra love because it won the opener. However, at the end of the day, Colorado may have the more consistent quarterback and playing at home, which may be enough for another upset.
The Cornhuskers have covered in their last four against a team with a winning record, but are 0-5 ATS in their last five out of conference. The Buffaloes are 8-1 ATS in their last nine following a straight-up win of more than 20 points.
Our Pick – Colorado +4