Matt Rhule’s coaching tenure in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers was an utter disaster, but Rhule has proven he is a terrific college coach at Temple and Baylor and makes his Nebraska coaching debut on Thursday in Big Ten action against Minnesota, which is a solid favorite on the NCAAF odds.
2023 College Football Odds and Expert Analysis: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers | 2023 NCAAF Expert Analysis
Regular Season: August 26 to December 9
Week 1: Saturday, August 26 to Monday, September 4, 2023
How to Bet Nebraska at Minnesota NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, 8 PM ET
Where: Huntington Bank Stadium
Opening NCAAF Lines: Minnesota -7 (total 43.5)
Minnesota won at Nebraska 20-13 last season. Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 128 yards and two second-half touchdowns, and backup quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis brought Minnesota back from a 10-point halftime deficit. Ibrahim is now in the NFL. The Gophers beat the Cornhuskers for a fourth straight year. Kaliakmanis, who took over at the start of the third quarter after Tanner Morgan was injured on the final play of the first half, led the Gophers to scores on four of his first five possessions. The Huskers got a field goal to pull within a touchdown, but they turned over the ball on downs near midfield on their final possession and the Gophers ran out the clock. Minnesota has a 7-5 edge since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011. Five of the last seven meetings between the teams have been decided by seven or fewer points, with Minnesota holding a 4-1 record in those close games.
Why Bet on Nebraska?
Coach Matt Rhule was fired by the NFL’s Carolina Panthers early last season and hired by Nebraska at the end of November to take over this year. Best known for taking Baylor from 1-11 to an 11-3 campaign and 2020 Sugar Bowl berth, Rhule spearheaded one of the quickest turnarounds in Power Five history. He also led Temple from 2-10 to back-to-back 10-win seasons and an AAC championship in 2016.
Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts said Rhule’s success as the coach at Temple and Baylor provides evidence of Rhule’s ability to build a program and made him an ideal fit at Nebraska. He’s from New York and coached on the East Coast aside from one season at UCLA as an assistant and his tenure at Baylor, but he’s familiar with the Big Ten as a former Penn State linebacker.
Rhule’s new starting QB this year will be Georgia Tech transfer Jeff Sims. The 6-4, 220-pound Sims started 23 games for the Yellow Jackets over the past three seasons, accounting for more than 5,500 yards of total offense. Sims enters the 2023 season as one of 14 active FBS quarterbacks with 4,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards.
Nebraska’s new offensive coordinator is Marcus Satterfield, who also guides the Husker quarterbacks. Satterfield is in his 12th season as an offensive coordinator, including the past two seasons at South Carolina. He also owns two seasons of experience as a head coach, leading Tennessee Tech in 2016 and 2017.
During the offseason, Nebraska added 63 newcomers to its roster. That number includes a large freshman class of 43, but adding experience to the roster are 20 first-year transfers. Fifteen of Nebraska’s 20 first-year transfers are FBS transfers with three junior college transfers, one Division II transfer and one Division III transfer.
The Huskers have won 98 of their 133 season openers, winning their first game more than 75 percent of the time while posting a 98-30-5 record. The Huskers are opening a season away from home for the fourth straight year, the only four times this century that Nebraska has played its season opener away from Lincoln. Nebraska is 11-4 when it opens the season against a conference opponent.
Rhule is looking to become the first Husker head coach to win his first game since Bo Pelini in 2008. Overall, seven of Nebraska’s last 10 head coaches – dating back to 1949 – have been victorious in their debut game.
Bet Nebraska Cornhuskers to Win
MyBookie Betting Lines for NCAAF
Why Bet on Minnesota?
Minnesota finished last year 9-4 with a 28-20 win over Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl. QB Tanner Morgan started 47 games over five seasons and is now trying to make it in the NFL. Redshirt sophomore Athan Kaliakmanis takes over under center. He started five of the 11 games he played in and compiled a record of 3-2 as a starter last year by completing 60-of-111 yards for 946 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a score.
Brevyn Spann-Ford is one of the nation’s better tight endsand returns. He started all 13 games last season and led the team in receptions (42) and was second in receiving yards (497) and receiving touchdowns (2). He was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2022 by the league’s coaches and media.
Running back Bryce Williams is 26 rushing yards away from becoming the 48th Gopher to reach 1,000 yards in a career. After rushing for 2,820 yards in his Western Michigan career, running back Sean Tyler needs 180 more yards to hit 3,000 for his career. WR Chris Autman-Bell needs 30 receiving yards to get to 2,000 for his career, which would make him the ninth player at Minnesota to reach the milestone. He also needs five receptions to tie Drew Wolitarsky and Omar Douglas for 10th all-time.
Minnesota is 97-36-6 all-time in season openers, including wins in five of its last seven openers (4-2 under Fleck). The Golden Gophers are 101-31-7 all-time in home openers with an identical stretch of five wins in their past seven home openers (also 4-2 under PJ Fleck). Minnesota, which is opening a season at home for the 11th straight year, is 9-5 in home openers since Huntington Bank Stadium opened in 2009.
For the third time in the last four seasons, Minnesota opens the year with a Big Ten opponent after facing Michigan in a 2020 schedule that featured only league action and Ohio State in 2021. Thursday’s matchup with the Huskers will be the 11th time in program history that Minnesota faces a conference foe in the season opener. The Gophers are 2-8 in those previous games.
The Gophers are 20-10 all-time in program history on Thursdays, including 19-6 in the regular season. Minnesota has won six of its last seven games on the day and is 5-1 under Fleck on Thursdays.
Bet Minnesota Golden Gophers to Win
MyBookie Betting Lines for NCAAF
Minnesota 27, Nebraska 20
NCAA College Football National Championship Odds: Top 20 Teams
|Ohio State Buckeyes||+1050|
|Florida State Seminoles||+1175|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||+1700|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||+1900|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+5200|
|Oregon State Beavers||+7000|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes||+7500|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||+10000|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+11000|
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