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2021 Nebraska college football preview: Time is running out for Scott Frost

Nebraska will look for their first winning season with Scott Frost as the head coach in what is a crucial year for the program.

Head coach Scott Frost of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks on from the sideline during a regular season game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium on December 18, 2020 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

The 2021 season is an extremely important one for Scott Frost and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Even with the recent change at the athletic director position, Frost should get the longest leash possible because the Nebraska community realizes if he cannot get it done in Lincoln, the future of the program might be in trouble. In three seasons since he returned to his alma mater as head coach, Frost has yet reach a .500 overall record and has finished 3-6 in Big Ten play every year.

The offseason was not too kind for Nebraska as plenty of talent left the roster to the transfer portal, so turning around this program in 2021 will be even more difficult than initially realized. The Cornhuskers will be one of the most intriguing teams this year because with another under .500 season, pressure would be extremely high on Frost moving forward.

2020 Season Review

  • 3-5 Big Ten (5th in West)
  • Lost four of first five games, won two of final three games

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 20
ESPN Returning Production: 72% overall (60th): 56% offense (96th), 88% defense (9th)
Returning Talent Index: 0.97, 6th in Big Ten
Returning starters: 7/11 offense, 10/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: Adrian Martinez (Junior)

Adrian Martinez will enter his fourth season as the starting quarterback for Nebraska, and he will determine how successful this offense can be. Martinez completed 71.5% of his passes in 2020 for 1,055 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He also does plenty of damage with his legs and led the team in rushing with 521 yards and seven touchdowns.

Offense (non-QB): C Cameron Jurgens (Sophomore)

The Nebraska offensive line figures to be a strength of the team in 2021, and their leader is Cameron Jurgens at the center position. The Cornhuskers had a decent running game last season, as they ranked No. 38 in the sport in yards per rush attempt, and they should get more from their running backs led by Rahmir Johnson. Protecting Martinez and creating running lanes for him and the backs will be crucial for this offense in a crucial season.

Defense: CB Cam Taylor-Britt (Junior)

Cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt is probably the most talented player on the defensive side of the ball. He would have been drafted this spring had he decided to turn pro, but he is betting on being a higher draft choice by returning to Lincoln for another season. Taylor-Britt is very physical at the cornerback position, and he should be in for a big season for the Cornhuskers.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 32nd overall: 35th offense, 38th defense, 93rd special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 30th overall: 43rd offense, 19th defense

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

To win national title: +25000
To win Big Ten: +1800
Win total: 6 (Over -139, Under +110)

2020 Against The Spread: 4-4-0
2020 Point Total: Over 1-7-0

2021 Nebraska Schedule

2021 Nebraska Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Saturday, Aug. 28 at Illinois 1:00 pm/Fox Nebraska -7
Saturday, Sep. 4 Fordham 12:00 pm/BTN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 11 Buffalo 3:30 pm/BTN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 18 at Oklahoma 12:00 pm/Fox Nebraska +19.5
Saturday, Sep. 25 at Michigan State TBA Nebraska -4
Saturday, Oct. 2 Northwestern 7:30 pm/TBA Nebraska -6.5
Saturday, Oct. 9 Michigan TBA Nebraska +2.5
Saturday, Oct. 16 at Minnesota TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 23 OPEN TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 Purdue TBA Nebraska -6.5
Saturday, Nov. 6 Ohio State TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 13 OPEN TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 20 at Wisconsin TBA N/A
Friday, Nov. 26 Iowa 1:30 pm/BTN Nebraska +4.5