Can Nebraska Cornhuskers Repeat as Legends Division Champions?

By Scott Peceny
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers nearly ran the table in Big Ten conference play, finishing atop the Legends division at 7-1.

The Huskers’ season was good enough to put them into the Big Ten title game, which resulted in a disappointing loss to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Nebraska has a nice recruiting class coming in, and the team has the goal of not only returning to the conference title game, but also avenging their loss from a year ago. Can head coach Bo Pelini get the Huskers back into the title game in 2013?

First and foremost, the most important Cornhusker will return to Nebraska this season.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez will be a senior in 2013 and will once again charge the Huskers’ offense with both his arms and legs. Martinez will be the senior leader on this team, and his playmaking ability is something defenses must account for.

In addition to Martinez, Nebraska gets two more playmakers back in wide receiver Kenny Bell and running back Ameer Abdullah. Bell and Abdullah were crucial pieces to this offense in what were their sophomore years and aim to be even better in their junior campaigns. With fellow runner Rex Burkhead gone, Abdullah is now the lead back for the Huskers. At just 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Abdullah is small for a Big Ten back. Look for him to put on 15-20 pounds before the season begins. With some extra bulk, he should have no problem carrying the load for Nebraska.

The problem for Pelini and the Huskers isn’t on offense; it’s the defensive unit that is in question. The defense was less than stellar for Nebraska last year, as they surrendered 60+ points twice in Big Ten play.  The Huskers ranked 58th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 27.57 points per game.

With eight senior starters now gone, Nebraska has big time work to do defensively.  There will be plenty of competition for playing time during spring practice, and the Cornhuskers need tons of guys to step up into starting roles for next season.

As spring practice progresses and these positional battles heat up, Rant Sports will keep you updated.

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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