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Aer Lingus College Football Classic: Know your teams (Part two)

Saturday 27 August 2022 sees the return of college football to the Aviva stadium.

This week, let's get to know the Nebraska Cornhuskers

Where is the team located: Lincoln, Nebraska

Head Coach: Scott Frost; entering his fifth season (15-29 overall record)

Notable Irish connection

Jerry Murtaugh

One of ten children. Murtaugh grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He played football, and baseball for Omaha North high school, and was a State wrestling champion before being recruited by Nebraska.

Murtaugh was the starting linebacker on the 1970 National Championship team, and was named All-American and All-Conference during his Nebraska career.

He held the record for career tackles for 33 seasons, and is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. He signed with the New England Patriots after graduation but, sadly, knee injuries ended his career before it began.

Current NFL Players you might recognise

Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ILB

Randy Gregory, Denver Broncos, OLB

Andy Janovich, Houston Texans, FB

Famous former players

Roger Craig. Running Back. Played for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings. Craig won three Super Bowls with the 49ers. Offensive Player of the Year (1988).

Neil Smith. Defensive End. Played with the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, and San Diego Chargers. Won two Super Bowls with the Broncos, selected to the 1990s all decade team, and is in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Will Shields. Guard. Never missed a game in the 14 seasons he played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Selected to 12 straight Pro Bowls, starting in 1995, and was named on the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s.

Ahman Green. Running Back. Played with the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, and Houston Texans. Made the Pro Bowl in four straight years (2001-2004).

2022 Season Expectations

2021's 3–9 season was Nebraska's worst by win percentage since 1957. However it does come with an asterisks: Eight of the Cornhuskers' losses were by a single score. Indeed it is worth noting that 20 of the 29 losses under Frost have been by eight points or fewer. The team was its own worst enemy at times with costly penalties and ill timed mistakes.

The Nebraska Offense was decent last year but they didn’t score enough, failing to get 30 points other than against Northwestern and Fordham. Now, with a new quarterback, a new play caller (and having lost Cam Jurgens), they’ll have to find their feet quickly.

The Defence needs more takeaways and more sacks; they lacked big plays last season.

This year’s schedule is a tad kinder than last, and the feeling is that Nebraska did a solid job of addressing its needs in the transfer portal. Could this be the first winning season of Frost's tenure?

Players to watch

Casey Thompson - QB

  • Transferred from Texas

  • Frost praised Thompson's maturity in the huddle and locker room, saying that he's 'already earned the respect of veterans on the roster'

  • OC Whipple's pass focused offense should allow plenty of opportunities for him to showcase his talents

Luke Reimer - ILB

  • From walk-on to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten

  • Started all 12 games in 2021

  • First Husker to have a 100-tackle season since 2018

Garrett Nelson - OLB

  • Started every game last season

  • Team-high 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks

  • Defense needs to generate more pressure and Nelson is capable of building on his progress thus far

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