LINCOLN, Neb. — Going into Nebraska’s final home game last season, the Huskers were 5-6 and hoping for a monumental upset over Iowa, which at that point was battling for a College Football Playoff spot.
This year, Nebraska (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) enters its home finale with a chance to go undefeated at home for the first time since 2012 and get back on the nine-win train.
Here are five things to watch this week before Nebraska plays Maryland (5-5, 2-5) this week:
1. Who will start at quarterback?
Well, we’re back here again.
Mike Riley announced on Monday that senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong is again day to day this week, this time with a hamstring injury.
Following protocol from a week ago with Armstrong’s status uncertain, Nebraska’s current starting quarterback is senior Ryker Fyfe and the backup is wide receiver Zack Darlington.
This game doesn’t hinge as much on Armstrong’s abilities as Minnesota did. Maryland is on a three-game losing streak.
Regardless, Fyfe hasn’t been great when he comes in for Armstrong. So watching the quarterback situation will again be key.
2. Senior day
Like every year, the stories of how Nebraska’s seniors have grown over the past four years will roll out this week.
This year’s class is chock-full of walk-ons and might be the class which has experienced more change than any other class in the past decade.
Senior day will be even more emotional with the reminder that Sam Foltz, killed in a car crash during the summer, will not be playing his final game in Memorial Stadium with the rest of his class.
3. Which Maryland team will show up?
Once upon a time Maryland was 5-2. The Terrapins were a scoring machine, putting up 52, 41, 30 and 50 points in the first four weeks.
Since then, the Terrapins have fallen off the map a bit.
Maryland has suffered two straight beat downs by Michigan (59-3) and Ohio State (62-3).
So, Maryland has looked both formidable and really weak. It has been the latter recently, so it will be interesting to see which Maryland team shows up on Saturday morning.
4. Winning the ‘easy’ one
Nebraska has to win out to make the Big Ten championship game.
With Iowa’s win over Michigan, it now looks like that day after Thanksgiving game against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City will be a big challenge.
Maryland isn’t a gimmie game but it certainly isn’t Iowa. Nebraska will have to make sure it doesn’t look past this week.
5. Good morning, Huskers
Nebraska hasn’t played an 11 a.m. game in nearly two months.
The Huskers were not great in morning games a year ago, which was part of the reason why they finished 6-7.
How will Nebraska handle playing in the morning after three straight night games and eight straight games since it last had an early start?