As Nebraska’s search for a 12th football game this fall continues, Scott Frost gave the latest indication on Thursday that the school is prioritizing Oct. 27 rather than a postseason game in early December.
“I don't want to schedule a game for December because I think we're going to have a chance to be in the (Big Ten) championship game," Frost told reporters after practice. "Scheduling a game in December, I don't want our kids thinking that we're not going to be in the championship game. We need to be in the championship game."
The Huskers, of course, are looking for a last-minute game because they lost their Sept.1 season-opener against Akron to a lightning storm. Athletic director Bill Moos originally called the possibility of playing the Zips on Dec. 1 “the most solid option,” but the school is clearly looking instead toward its open date in late October.
“It’s not ideal to play 12 straight weeks,” Frost said. “They don’t really even do that in the NFL, but if that’s the hand we’re dealt, so be it. These kids have practiced hard enough, worked hard enough, that they deserve to have a full slate of games. Administration is dealing with that and we’ll play whoever they line up for us.”
Several cancellations on the East Coast this weekend due to Hurricane Florence’s approach make for potential matches for the Huskers. Teams that have matching bye dates and had games nixed this weekend include FCS outfits Elon and Tennessee State and FBS schools such as Marshall and East Carolina.
The most intriguing, though, is No. 18 Central Florida, Frost’s former school.
Would he and his staff, which led the Knights to a 13-0 record in 2017 and left for NU in December, feel comfortable lining up against their former players?
"It would be a great game,” Frost said, acknowledging that the Knights are slated to play the Thursday following the 27th, meaning it would present a tough turnaround. “I think it would be an evenly matched game of two really good teams, but personally, I'd cringe a little when our defensive end hit their quarterback, and that's not how you want to go into a game."
He added, “The hardest part for me is if anybody on either team got hurt or anything bad happened to any kid on either team, I'd be broken-hearted. I still love those kids that are playing down there at UCF so much. I'm rooting for them.”
Regardless of opponent, a finalization could come sooner rather than later. For example, Iowa State had its Sept. 1 game canceled, too, and they announced Wednesday a makeup date against Incarnate Word.
Talkin’ Troy: Frost and NU’s coaches have talked with the Huskers about the mindset Troy will bring to Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Trojans, after all, beat LSU on the road last year and Frost is familiar with leading an upstart program against a brand-name foe.
“I’ve coached at a place like (Troy) and when you go play a game like this, it’s like the Super Bowl for them,” Frost said. “It’s a great opportunity for a team to come into an environment like this and try to win and they did it last year. … I think our guys know what they’re in for. They’re going to play a really well-coached team that’s going to play their butts off and we have to play harder than them.”
DB picks Indiana: Nebraska hosted touted 2019 cornerback Tiawan Mullen on an official visit Sept. 1, but Mullen is headed to a Big Ten foe. The Coconut Creek, Florida, defensive back announced his verbal commitment to Indiana on Thursday.
Good works: Nebraska defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun was named to the All-State Good Works team on Thursday morning.
It’s a high honor, as only 11 players in the FBS earn the designation. Akinmoladun has earned extensive recognition for his off-field work over the course of his career.