Too Early Preview: BYU vs Nebraska

BYU vs Nebraska

Over the next few weeks I’m going to start previewing the BYU Football schedule. It’s a better use of my time then another obligatory off season expansion post. I’m going to go game by game starting with Nebraska and ending with Utah State. Oddly enough this is going to be the first time BYU and Nebraska ever play in football.

BYU kicks its season off against Nebraska in around 120 days. Who are this year’s Cornhuskers and how will BYU line up with them? I know depth charts aren’t set and there are still a lot of unknowns, but I will update this post the week of the game.

Last season Nebraska went 9-4 and bounced in and out of the top 25 all season. They peaked at number 11 in the AP and Coaches poll in week 11 just before they lost to Wisconsin and Minnesota in back to back weeks. This year’s Nebraska team is different though.


The assumption is that returning starting QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is going to start against BYU. He is a junior, started all of last year, and had a good number of snaps as a freshmen the year before that. All the research I’ve done on Armstrong shows that he’s streaky. He’s a dual threat quarterback, but he has a rough time reading defenses. At times he sticks to one read and doesn’t notice other receivers open at all.

In Nebraska’s loss to USC in the Holiday Bowl, Armstrong threw 32-51 for 381 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick. The bowl game looked like a summary for the season for Armstrong. He was good in parts and bad in others.

Last year, he had Ameer Abdullah (2nd round pick to the Lions) as a feature back behind him. Abdullah was a beast for Nebraska, totaling over one thousand yards the last three years. As of right now, they are still deciding on a running back and may have to do running back by committee. It will be interesting to see how this affects Armstrong.


All reports coming out of spring football say the defense looks great. You have to take spring football with a grain of salt. The Nebraska defense was okay last year with a good defensive line but, injuries last year hampered the rest. This still seems to be up in the air.


Coaching is the biggest difference between the 2015 Cornhuskers and the 2014 Cornhuskers. Nebraska decided that 9-4 was not good enough to continue to put up with Bo Pelini and hired the guy most opposite of Pelini, nice guy Mike Riley. Riley is the most familiar part of Nebraska for BYU. The Cougars played his Oregon State teams the last few years.

Mike Riley brings a pro set offense and all of the returning starters have to adjust. A new coach and a new system is good for the Cougars. BYU is more familiar with Mike Riley then some of his players are right now. BYU played Mike Riley at Oregon State 3 times with a 2-1 record.

Too Early Prediction:

There will be an adjustment period for Nebraska with Mike Riley. They will not have success right away. As long as BYU plays their game, they can take advantage. BYU wins 42-27 in Taysom Hills triumphant return to the field. Go Cougars.

Jamaal Williams has chance to be special
Jamaal Williams

About the author

R Todd Graham

I'm Todd Graham, no not the coach, I'm a big BYU, Utah Jazz and Seahawks fan. I think I'm funny others may disagree. My opinion is mine you are welcomed to disagree.

  • Realistic Optimist

    For all the reasons stated in the article plus a couple other reasons, I believe that the Cougars should and will win this opener vs Nebraska.

    In addition to all the reasons that this article gives us, we almost ALWAYS get ready and win that first major P5 team of the season, (Texas and Oklahoma).

    Of all the P5 teams, this should be our easiest win and I will be there to see it. I already have my tickets and hotel reservations. (Stub Hub)

    I think that Michigan will be our next easiest win, but more on that later.

    I worry more about Boise State than I do vs Nebraska or Michigan. I think we will win.
    Not sure.

    Missouri and UCLA worry me the most. I think it will take a lot of prayers along with
    great coaching, great training, game focused attention with no distractions, and a miracle for us to win either of these games.

    I think we can handle the rest of our games with less than 1 additional loss. I project a
    9-3 to 8-4 season, and with this schedule, for now, I will be thrilled and cheer on our coaching staff as well as our players.

    • DC

      BYU should win this game???? Laughable. NU has more talent and this game is at home. BYU is going to have multiple players suspended and that is only going to complicate things for them. NU wins handily.

      • Realistic Optimist


        For all the reasons which you state, your reasoning is well founded. However, you failed to factor in one MAJOR factor:

        Year after year, and with very little exception, BYU almost always gets up for it first major P5 type team and pulls off the upset.

        #3 in the Nation Oklahoma in the New Dallas Cowboy Stadium, Texas at our house and the following year at their House. Ga Tec, Texas A.M, etc.

        The problem is, after pulling off that big upset, we let are guard down; we do not put as much into our coaching research; our coaching; our training; etc and we lose the easier games to follow.

        I am by no means suggesting that Boise State, UCLA, Missouri, and Michigan are easier games, but I am suggesting that Cincinnati, or Utah State could upset us.

      • Realistic Optimist

        This being 8/5/15, we have 31 days to see who is the most realistic.
        We should have a gentleman’s agreement to respectfully say that our opinion is not as good as the other person’s opinion, if indeed it is our opinion that proves to be wrong on 9/5/15 at Lincoln Nebraska.

  • GaudeteMan

    Nebraska’s secondary is top 20. They have two d-line men that will both go in the first round next year. If they don’t turn the ball over they will come into Utah and win. It will be a tough tough game for the Cougars as NU has a lot of depth on the O-Line as well.

    • Realistic Optimist


      I agree that Nebraska will be a tough game, as will the games vs. Boise State, Missouri, Michigan and UCLA. If we go 2-2 with these two teams, I think our best chance of winning two games in this set would be vs. Nebraska and vs. Michigan.

      Nebraska will not be comming into Provo to beat us. We will be going to Lincoln, Nebraska to pull off a 7.0 upset over Nebraska.

  • gdubs

    lol @ your prediction. You don’t come into Nebraska and win by double digits after not beating a single team in 2014 that had a winning record.