On September 9, Matt Rhule and the Nebraska Cornhuskers go on their first road trip of the season to take on Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes. But how would they match up in each position? We answer these questions as we take a look at the Nebraska vs Colorado matchup.
The Long Awaited Matchup Between Shedeur Sanders and Jeff Sims
As the son of Colorado head coach and former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders, Shedeur Sanders is proving himself to be an impressive quarterback option for the Buffaloes. As one of the top quarterbacks in the country at Jackson State, he threw for 40 touchdowns and six interceptions. And at Colorado’s Spring game in 2023, he was no different. He completed 16 out of his 19 passes while throwing for two touchdowns. But can he maintain his play when it comes to playing in the Big Ten against tougher opponents? This is the main weakness that people would see with his game, but he doesn’t look like he shies away from the challenge. In fact, his father’s competitive attitude will allow him to embrace it.
In the matchup pitting Nebraska vs Colorado, it’s clear that Sanders outclasses Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims. But this doesn’t mean that Sims won’t be a good quarterback in Marcus Satterfield’s offense. In his short career at Georgia Tech under Geoff Collins, he passed for 4,464 yards and 30 touchdowns. However, Sims was often limited by his turnovers. Meanwhile, Sanders serves as the complete package for Colorado. He threw for 70 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his career at Jackson State. Can Sims prove the doubters wrong and beat Colorado in Memorial Stadium or will Deion and the staff find a way to carve up Tony White’s young defense?
6️⃣ kickoff times are set for this fall!
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFootball) May 31, 2023
Can Anthony Grant Outperform Talented Freshman Dylan Edwards?
As the 10th best running back in the 2023 class according to 247Sports, freshman Dylan Edwards provides an instant spark to the Buffaloes under offensive coordinator Sean Lewis. He demonstrated this ability in his senior season at Derby High School in Kansas when he rushed 203 times for 1,900 yards and 11 touchdowns. The program also has another 1,000-yard rusher in Alton McCaskill from Houston who can provide another dimension to Colorado’s offense and complement Edward’s play.
When it comes to running backs, Nebraska is severely outmatched. Redshirt sophomore Ajay Allen transferred after one year with the program, and the Cornhuskers haven’t seen much explosiveness out of Rahmir Johnson since Adrian Martinez was under center in 2021. But there is hope that Anthony Grant can contribute in a big way this season. This is because he was close to being a 1,000-yard rusher for the Cornhuskers last season along with scoring six touchdowns in four appearances with the team. Can prove himself as a rival to him or will Grant end up being NU’s starter once again next season?
Experience vs Flash At The Wide Receiver Position
Since Sanders’s arrival, Colorado has focused itself on building a program that has flashy and aggressive play from its wideouts. In fact, this is headlined by the explosive play provided by Jimmy Horn Jr. Over his 23 games as a South Florida Bull, he hauled in 67 receptions for 959 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Watch for him to break out with Sanders under center. Another intriguing player to watch is Louisiana native Omarion Miller. As a senior for North Cadoo, he caught 49 receptions for 1,183 yards and 15 touchdowns. This makes many think that he can break out in Colorado’s new offense as a freshman with Sanders at the helm, but a more realistic possibility is the coaching staff redshirting him for the season.
With the departure of Trey Palmer last season, the Cornhuskers have lost one of their biggest playmakers out of their arsenal. Luckily, Rhule and wide receivers coach Garrett McGuire have reloaded with returnees to the program in Marcus Washington, Isaiah Garcia Castaneda, and Xavier Betts. Furthermore, the program has also been active in the transfer portal with Billy Kemp joining the roster. Out of these three options, Washington has the best opportunity to succeed in the Nebraska vs Colorado matchup. He was a legitimate second option to Palmer last year and was second on the team in receiving yards last season with 471. However, experience may not matter in this scenario. McGuire has lots of options at his disposal and he’ll have a big decision to make when it comes to picking someone that provides the most spark to Satterfield’s new offense.
Read more about Nebraska’s wide receiver group here: Know Thy Foe: Nebraska vs Minnesota’s Offense
A New Star In Arik Gilbert?
Nebraska tight ends coach Bob Wager has a lot of talent in his room. Whether it is incoming players like Keelan Smith or Ian Flynt from Texas, you can’t deny that he has a lot of young talent waiting in the wings. However, Arik Gilbert is the most experienced out of the bunch. As a true freshman All-American at LSU and a National Championship winner at Georgia, winning is in his DNA. But the problem is that he didn’t do much last season at Georgia. With former Georgia Bulldog Stetson Bennett, he only caught two passes for sixteen yards in 2022. But now that he looks to be one of the focal points of the offense in the Nebraska vs Colorado matchup, there is hope that he can return to form as one of the beter tight ends in the Big Ten this season.
Read more about Gilbert here: Predicting The Offense Ahead of Nebraska’s Spring Game
For Buffaloes tight ends coach Tim Brewster, the tight end room is looked at as a complete reset. Brady Russell graduated as one of the top tight ends at Colorado last season with 20 receptions and 153 yards. Now only underclassmen remain on the roster. Luckily Brewster added transfer portal help with Arkansas State tight end Seydou Traore. He caught 655 passes and four touchdowns as their top option. Now, he looks to add to the talent on the field this season.
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