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Bouncing around the Big Ten: Post-Scott Frost era begins for Nebraska against No. 6 Oklahoma

A look at Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota’s upcoming contests. A glimpse at the rest of the Big Ten. And a few games that might fly under the radar from around college football in the third edition of the web-only Bouncing around the Big Ten.

NCAA Football: Nebraska Head Coach Mickey Joseph Press Conference
Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph speaks to the media during a press conference on Sept. 13, 2022 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kayla Wolf / USA Today Sports
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Scott Frost’s dismissal from Nebraska highlighted a busy week in the Big Ten. Here’s everything you need to know about the conference, with a look ahead to Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa's games.

Mickey Joseph gets first test as head coach against No. 6 Oklahoma

Mickey Joseph will begin his Division I head coaching career for Nebraska (1-2) against the sixth-ranked Sooners (2-0) when the teams face off Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Joseph ultimately chose the Cornhuskers over the Sooners, but in the wake of Scott Frost being fired following Nebraska’s 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern last week, Joseph took over as the interim head coach this week, 10 months since arriving from LSU to become the Cornhuskers’ associate head coach and passing game coordinator.

Nebraska went 5-22 in one-score games during Frost’s tenure, including last season’s 23-16 loss to the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma.

With Nebraska going through a coaching transition and No. 6 Oklahoma looking to bolster its hopes for a College Football Playoff appearance, there’s plenty to play for on both sides.

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The Sooners added Central Florida transfer Dillon Gabriel at quarterback after Caleb Williams left for USC. Through two games, Gabriel has completed 70 percent of his passes for 529 yards and has five touchdowns with no interceptions.

Oklahoma has yet to commit a turnover, the first time since at least 1936 that the team hasn’t turned the ball over through the first two games of a season.

“Continuing to take care of the rock, again, that’s where it’s all going to start for us,” Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said of Gabriel. “Proud of him from that standpoint. We’ve created some explosive (plays). The biggest thing is making sure we’re not taking unnecessary sacks.”

On the other side, the Sooners have allowed just 16 points through two games, handling UTEP 45-13 and Kent State 33-3.

Their level of competition will take a leap on Saturday. Even though the Cornhuskers have dropped games to Northwestern and Georgia Southern, the offense has still been potent, averaging 36 points a game. The game is set to get going at 11 a.m. in Lincoln.

Minnesota looks to stay hot with struggling Colorado

On Saturday, Minnesota (2-0) hosts the Buffaloes (0-2) in Minneapolis, where the Gophers have put up 100 points in their first two games — the seventh most productive offense in the nation.

Colorado was overrun last week by Air Force, 41-10, as the Falcons rushed for 435 yards. Slowing down Minnesota’s outstanding running back Mo Ibrahim is the next challenge for Karl Dorrell’s program.

Ibrahim has rushed for 262 yards in his first two games and has been a catalyst for the Minnesota offense.

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“He’s special. We always like to have a player like Mo,” Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck said. “That’s the goal in recruiting is to continue to bring in players like that — that have unique styles that can break tackles.”

The Buffaloes don’t seem to have that bell cow in the backfield — and have yet to show much offensive punch. Colorado is averaging just 3.7 yards a carry while giving up 7.1 on the ground — scoring one touchdown while allowing nine.

Also, questions at quarterback persist for the Buffaloes. Brendon Lewis, last year’s starter, got the nod in the opener but struggled, and transfer J.T. Shrout started against Air Force but was just 5-for-21 for 51 yards.

Before the Air Force debacle, in which the Falcons bothered to pass only five times for 8 yards, the Buffs played a tough first half against TCU and trailed only 7-6 before giving up 31 consecutive points in the second half. The game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. in Minnesota.

Iowa trying to right the ship against Nevada

The Hawkeyes (1-1) rank last among 131 FBS programs averaging only 158.0 yards of total offense a game after beating South Dakota State 7-3 and losing to Iowa State 10-7.

They punted or turned the ball over in 10 of their 13 possessions against Iowa State. Despite that, quarterback Spencer Petras will remain the starter for at least another week.

“I think that synergy of all 11 guys working together has just missed a piece here and there,” tight end Sam LaPorta said. “If one guy on offense fails to execute his job on any given play, it’s usually a bad play.”

Nevada (2-1) is coming off a 55-41 loss at home to Incarnate Word in which it allowed 616 yards of total offense.

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The Wolfpack rank 96th nationally in total defense allowing 404.3 yards per game.

Iowa can rely on its defense with Nevada’s offensive line susceptible to sacks and lost yardage. Last season, the Wolf Pack gave up 89 tackles for loss to go along with the 45 sacks allowed.

They have one returning starter from last season and four starters are transfers.

Against Incarnate Word, Nevada surrendered six sacks and 11 tackles for loss. The Wolf Pack have allowed nine sacks and 26 tackles for loss this season. The game is set to start at 6:30 p.m. in Iowa.

NDSU is 6-0 in its last six FBS games, with wins over Power 5 opponents in Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota and Kansas, and the Bison’s FBS last loss came in 2009.

Last week’s Big Ten scores

Saturday, Sept. 10
Minnesota 62, Western Illinois 10
Iowa State 10, Iowa 7
Georgia Southern 45, Nebraska 42
No. 3 Ohio State 45, Arkansas State 12
No. 4 Michigan 56, Hawai’i 10
No. 14 Michigan State 52, Akron 0
Washington State 17, No. 19 Wisconsin 14
Duke 31, Northwestern 23
Penn State 46, Ohio 10
Maryland 56, Charlotte 21
Illinois 24, Virginia 3
Purdue 56, Indiana State 0
Rutgers 66, Wagner 7
Indiana 35, Idaho 22

This week’s Big Ten games

Saturday, Sept. 17
No. 6 Oklahoma at Nebraska, 11 a.m.
UConn at No. 4 Michigan, 11 a.m.
Southern Illinois at Northwestern, 11 a.m.
Purdue at Syracuse, 11 a.m.
Western Kentucky at Indiana, 11 a.m.
Rutgers at Temple, 1 p.m.
Colorado at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.
No. 22 Penn State at Auburn, 2:30 p.m.
New Mexico State at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m.
Toledo at No. 3 Ohio State, 6 p.m.
Nevada at Iowa, 6:30 p.m.
No. 11 Michigan State at Washington, 6:30 p.m.
SMU at Maryland, 6:30 p.m.

AP poll update

  • Ohio State and Michigan stood pat at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
  • Michigan State moved up three spots to No. 11
  • Penn State entered the top 25 at No. 22
  • Wisconsin dropped out from No. 19
  • Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue are receiving votes.

Clear your schedule

Three FBS games you should tune into this weekend:

  • No. 22 Penn State at Auburn — 2:30 p.m. Saturday — Penn State’s last big test before going to Michigan on Oct. 15 comes in the form of traveling to SEC country. Auburn has run for over six yards per carry in its 2-0 start to the season.
  • Kansas at Houston — 3 p.m. Saturday — Kansas is off to a 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and just beat West Virginia by 13 points in overtime in Morgantown. Houston has gone to overtime in both of its games this season, edging out UTSA but falling to Texas Tech.
  • UTSA at No. 21 Texas7 p.m. Saturday — Texas nearly took down Alabama in its most recent contest, but with starting quarterback Quinn Ewers expected to miss some time due to an injury, Hudson Card will be in charge of taking down a UTSA team, led by quarterback Frank Harris, that’s gone to overtime in both its games.

Note: This report was compiled in part through previews from Field Level Media.

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