Nebraska vs. Illinois, 9/29/17

Nebraska wide receiver Stanley Morgan (right) wins the battle for the ball with Illinois defensive back Nate Hobbs (8) in the third quarter on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star

Nebraska interim athletic director Dave Rimington joined an Omaha radio show Wednesday morning and illuminated several areas he thinks are important as the Huskers continue their search for a permanent department leader.

Among them, Rimington — the former NU two-time All-American and one of the best linemen in college football history — said emphasis must be placed in people, not opulent facilities.

He acknowledged the Huskers' resources and facilities as "second to none," but also said that's the going rate for major college football these days. 

“We’ve got to find things that people just can’t copy, because you can always copy a weight room and make it a foot bigger than the previous largest weight room,” he said on 1620 The Zone’s "Sharp and Benning in the Morning." “Big weight rooms don’t mean anything to me. Big offensive linemen mean something to me. Don’t worry about the facilities, don’t worry about a Black Out. Let’s worry about the product on the field and make sure the product on the field matches what we’re putting out there in marketing and branding. That’s where I think the magic is.

“I watched that Tunnel Walk and it was great. Smoke and mirrors and lights flying and it’s great. But we need to get on the field and kick some butt, is what we need to do.”

Spoken like a true offensive lineman.

“That’s an honest answer,” the president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation continued. “We’ve got the branding. We’ve got the marketing. We’ve got to go out on the field and really put a hurting on somebody. That’s the name of the game. It’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s getting out there, mano a mano, and beating somebody up.”

Morgan added to Biletnikoff watch list: Husker junior wide receiver Stanley Morgan is opening some eyes around the country.

Morgan on Wednesday was added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s best wide receiver.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is leading the Big Ten with 510 receiving yards despite missing Sept. 28’s game against Rutgers due to a neck injury.

Morgan is the only receiver in the conference averaging more than 100 yards per game — he’s at 102, nearly 20 more than Maryland’s D.J. Moore — and is tied for the league lead with five touchdowns.

Morgan is averaging 11.4 targets per game and has finished with at least 94 yards in each of his five games.

Buckeyes coming full speed ahead: The No. 9 Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in several offensive categories, including scoring (45.8 per game), total offense (568) and yards per play (7.4).

They’re dead last in one metric: time of possession.

Ohio State has had the ball for an average of just 27 minutes, 13 seconds per game.

“Some of these plays come at us at 11 seconds,” Husker defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said. “They’re moving very fast, I think that’s coach (Kevin) Wilson’s touch.”

That’s OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who joined Urban Meyer’s staff after six seasons as Indiana’s head coach. Before that, he coordinated Oklahoma’s offense.

“He’s a fantastic offensive coach and I have a deep respect for him and the offenses that he runs and leads,” Diaco said. “They’re moving at a high rate, similar to how his offenses ran at Indiana.”

Barrett leads Buckeyes: Senior Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett enters Saturday ranked No. 7 in league history in total offense (10,670 yards) and with 119 career touchdowns to his name (85 passing).

“I’m sure he feels like an extension of the coaching staff out there and they feel like that about him,” Diaco said. “He protects the ball, protects the plays, protects the edges and just does a really nice job of running that offense.”

This year, he’s thrown 16 touchdowns against one interception and has added more than 50 rushing yards per game.

Rare OSU offensive line injury: Sophomore right guard Branden Bowen broke his leg against Maryland and will miss the rest of the season.

Saturday night will mark the first time in Meyer’s tenure at OSU that an offensive lineman misses a start for an injury. It’s also the first time in Meyer’s tenure that the Buckeyes will change their five starters in the middle of a season.

This and that

OSU’s defense has 57 tackles for loss this season. Defensive end Nick Bosa leads the league in that department with 10, all solo. … NU wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El is 10th in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (60.5). … Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Ward is tied for the Big Ten lead in passes defended with 10. … OSU has five receivers averaging 32 yards or more per game.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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