After sky-high offseason expectations turned into a 2-10 regular season campaign in 2021 for Indiana football, head coach Tom Allen and company are looking to get back on track in the 2022 season. We are profiling each of the 12 teams Indiana will face this season as the Hoosiers look to right the ship. Up next is Nebraska, who finished 3-9 a season ago in one of the worst seasons in the program’s rich history.
- Opponent: Nebraska
- Date/Time/TV: Sat., Oct. 1, Time/TV TBA
- Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
- 2021 record/postseason result: 3-9 overall, 1-8 Big Ten, no bowl game.
Returning Starters, Offense (5): RB Rahmir Johnson, WR Oliver Martin, WR Omar Manning, OL Turner Corcoran, OL Bryce Benhart.
Staters Lost, Offense (6): QB Adrian Martinez, WR Samori Toure, TE Austin Allen, OL Nouredin Nouili, OL Cam Jurgens, OL Matt Sichterman.
Offensive Outlook: After four seasons of Adrian Martinez at quarterback, the former Husker QB transferred to Kansas State, making way for former Texas signal caller Casey Thompson under center. At running back, Rahmir Johnson found his way into the starting role by the end of his freshman season in 2021, while former Cathedral High School star running back Markese Stepp, a one-time USC Trojan prior to transferring to Nebraska last year, entered the transfer portal last month. Offensive lineman Nouredin Nouili remains on the roster as a suspended player, but will miss the entire of the 2022 season due to a failed drug test. Offensive lineman Cam Jurgens and tight end Austin Allen are now in the NFL, playing for NFC East rivals Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, respectively.
Returning Starters, Defense (5): DT Ty Robinson, DE Garrett Nelson, CB Quinton Newsome, NB Isaac Gifford, DE Caleb Tannor.
Starters Lost, Defense (6): DT Ben Stille, NT Damion Daniels, LB JoJo Domann, CB Cam Taylor-Britt, S Marquel Dismuke, S Deontai Williams.
Defensive Outlook: When Indiana and Nebraska last met in Lincoln in 2019, defense took a backseat that afternoon in a thrilling 38-31 win for the Hoosiers. This time around, it could be a meeting of two sides stronger on the defensive side of the football. While Nebraska loses several key defensive players, including JoJo Domann who was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and Cam Taylor-Britt who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, the team adds key transfer Devin Drew from Texas Tech, who had 34 tackles and seven quarterback hurries for the Red Raiders in 2021. The Huskers held Ohio State to a season-low 26 points in their meeting a season ago, showing that this defense can step up to any opponent in the nation – but the win column reading just three at season’s end leads to fair questions about the team and unit as a whole.
Returning Starters, Special Teams: None.
Starters Lost, Special Teams (3): K Connor Culp, P William Przystup, LS Cameron Pieper.
Special Teams Outlook: Special teams has been a point of emphasis for Nebraska this offseason, according to head coach Scott Frost, whose team has had several years worth of mishaps costing the Huskers games in this position group. Three FCS transfers make up the new special teams group in Lincoln. Incoming punter Brian Buschini, a Montana transfer, was named FCS Punter of the Year and a first-team FCS All-American in 2021. New kicker Timmy Bleekrode both kicked and punted at Furman, making 21-of-25 kicks in his career for the Paladins. Long snapper Brady Weas transfers to the Cornhuskers following four seasons at Georgetown.
Overall outlook: Nebraska played close games with some of the top teams in the country last season, including at Oklahoma and at home against Ohio State, but ended up falling short almost every week in one of the worst seasons in the history of the storied program. Scott Frost’s bunch has no doubt been talented during his tenure – but the team has failed to live up to lofty expectations from the fanbase, or even to more reasonable ones from an outside perspective, since he took over in Lincoln. The team had a penchant for losing leads and coming close, but never close enough to win, last season. The talent is there and should make for a better record, but because Nebraska was 3-9 a season ago and had trouble winning close games, Indiana can not be counted out of winning this game.
More 2022 opponent previews:
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”