Florida Atlantic Owls
Stadium: FAU Stadium
Location: Boca Raton, FL (Distance from Lincoln, 1,613 miles)
Head coach: Charlie Partridge (1st year)
2013 Record: 6-6
Best Returning Offensive Player – QB Jacquez Johnson (Jr.)
The dual-threat quarterback rushed for 772 yards last season, throwing for 1,832 yards in the air and 12 touchdowns. The Huskers have had trouble with running quarterbacks in the past, but Johnson has also struggled with defenses outside Conference USA. It’s likely he will get pushed in the fall by sophomore Greg Hankerson, but Johnson is the guy. He really came on strong towards the end of the season – throwing six touchdowns in the Owls’ final two contests.
Best Returning Defensive Player – CB D’Joun Smith (Sr.)
No Florida Atlantic player enjoyed a more profound breakthrough than Smith did in 2013. Yeah, he lettered in 2011 and he started in 2012, but he became a genuine stopper in pass defense last fall. In his debut facing Conference USA wide receivers, he blossomed into a first-team all-star with seven interceptions and 20 pass breakups, second nationally to only Indiana's Tim Bennett. With continued growth—and more weight—the 5-11, 175-pound should be playing on Sundays in 2015.
Biggest Loss – WR Daniel McKinney
The Michigan native had 48 and 49 catches the past two seasons, becoming a staple in the Owls offense. His biggest performance came against Rice last season, when he had six catches for 104 yards.
Last Meeting vs. Nebraska – September 5, 2009
The two have only met once and it was Nebraska in Lincoln. Behind 152 yards from Roy Helu Jr. and three touchdowns, the Huskers ran away with it 49-3 in their season opener in 2009. Nebraska actually lost the time of possession battle, but forced three turnovers.
Nebraska Player to Watch: QB Tommy Armstrong
A season opener is always important for a quarterback, especially a youngster. Armstrong’s performance in just this one game will be extremely evaluated. What type of changes has he made? Is he making better decisions? Is he progressing through his receivers?