The Nebraska Cornhuskers kick off their 2013 season at Memorial Stadium Saturday, hosting the Wyoming Cowboys. Television coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
Nebraska starts its third season as a member of the Big Ten, having gone 10-4 en route to a Big Ten Legends Division championship and a berth in the Capital One Bowl last season. The Huskers return their starting quarterback, an experienced halfback, their top three receivers from a year ago, and two all-Big Ten offensive linemen.
The defense, on the other hand, is a work in progress. Nebraska will have to replace three starters on the defensive front, three starting linebackers, and both safeties. The Huskers' offense might have to win games on its own until the defense can find its footing.
Wyoming struggled to a 4-8 finish in 2012, but the Cowboys did win three of their last four games to give fans some hope. Quarterback Brett Smith, who returns this year, led a passing attack that ranked among the top-40 nationally.
Rankings and records: Nebraska is ranked 18th in both the AP and USA Today polls entering the season. Wyoming is unranked.
Vegas: Nebraska is a 30-point favorite Saturday. The over/under is 65.5 points. OddsShark has details and wagering information.
Weather: It should be sunny and hot in Lincoln, with a high near 90 degrees.
Three names to know
With arguably the Big Ten's best offense and a defense decimated by graduation, Nebraska is going to have to score points by the truckload. Quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Ameer Abdullah, and wide receiver Kenny Bell could do just that. Martinez had his best season as Nebraska's starting quarterback in 2012, completing 62 percent of his passes for 2,871 yards and 23 touchdowns, with 1,019 rushing yards and 10 rushing scores. His well-documented struggles with downfield accuracy remain, but the fourth-year starter has improved his accuracy in the short- and intermediate-route passing game and remains one of the most effective running quarterbacks in the country. The Huskers lose Rex Burkhead, but Abdullah (226carries, 1,137 rushing yards, eight TDs) filled in capably for Burkhead during an injury-plagued 2012 season. Kenny Bell (50 catches, 863 yards, eight TDs) might be the conference's best receiver.
Two things at stake
Nebraska has not lost its home opener since 1985, and has not lost a September home game since 2008. Wyoming is 0-6 all-time against the Cornhuskers, and will be attempting to avenge the 38-14 beatdown they were handed in 2011.
How to witness
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: KLIN 1400 AM/94.5 FM (Lincoln) and KFAB 1110 AM (Omaha). A full list of Nebraska affiliates is available courtesy of the team's website. KFBC 1240 AM is the Cowboys' flagship station. Other affiliates are available on Wyoming's website.
For previews, depth chart analysis and other assorted Nebraska-related goodness, visit Corn Nation.