Walking off the turf at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., a year ago, Colorado’s Nate Landman got his first taste of the CU-Nebraska rivalry.
Several CU alums let Landman and other Buffs know that their 33-28 victory against the Cornhuskers had significant meaning.
Last year’s game was the renewal of a rivalry between former Big 12 Conference foes, ending eight years of dormancy. On Saturday, the two will meet in Boulder for the first time since 2009 and the anticipation and intensity for the game is already ramping up.
“I’ve seen the stuff on social media and everything,” Landman, the Buffs’ junior linebacker, said on Monday. “There’s a little bit of beef between us and I love that. I think that makes the game of football more fun and exciting, not only for us but for the fans, as well. To have them in our place, we don’t want to lose at home and we don’t like losing at home. We want to protect our turf. I think it’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be hard and physical. I think the rivalry and the whole intensity of it is going to come together and make a great game.”
The Buffs (1-0) haven’t thrown much trash talking at the Cornhuskers (1-0), but there have been some verbal jabs coming from the other side.
Huskers head coach Scott Frost called the Buffs “ex-rivals” on Saturday. On Monday, he commented on the fact that CU is making efforts to “keep the red out” of Folsom Field on Saturday.
“I know Nebraska will never have an issue trying to keep Nebraska fans to hold onto their tickets for games,” Frost said to Huskers media.
Nebraska linebacker JoJo Domann, a junior from Colorado Springs, was recruited by the Buffs and said, “Thank God I came (to Nebraska). I’m happy to be here and hopefully we can take it to them this Saturday.”
Neither team should have any issue finding motivation on Saturday. Although he did refer to CU as former rivals, Frost, who was born in Lincoln and played at Nebraska, admitted, “Any time Nebraska plays Colorado, there’s going to be a little more juice on both sides.”
Frost added that Boulder “is a good scene for college football. … It’s a fun place to play.”
Both coaches expressed respect for each other on Monday.
CU head coach Mel Tucker said the Cornhuskers looked explosive on offense and physical on defense in their 35-21 win against South Alabama.
“They’re a very talented team and they look well coached,” Tucker said.
During Frost’s press conference, he said, “I think (Tucker has) done a really good job wherever he’s been. They executed pretty well last (Friday in a 52-31 win against Colorado State), so he’s done a good job going in there and getting a new team ready to play.”
Taking the high road
As expected, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez was asked about the knee injury he sustained against CU last year.
After that game, Nebraska submitted a video to the Big Ten and Pac-12 that appeared to show CU’s Jacob Callier twisting the leg of Martinez at the bottom of the pile. Martinez, who got up limping a couple plays before the Callier play, missed the next game.
On Monday, Martinez said, “(The injury) was unfortunate. It’s football. I think injuries are a part of the game. It is what it is. I moved on after that and I’ve moved on since and I’m just really ready to go.”
Callier was attacked on social media by Nebraska fans after that game. The sophomore is not being made available to the media this week.
During the fourth quarter of Friday’s game against CSU, the Buffs made some adjustments at guard, as senior Jack Shutack and redshirt freshman Casey Roddick both played a few snaps.
“We really just wanted to get some guys in there,” Tucker said. “We wanted to play as many guys as we could. Guys that earn that time will get that and guys that are not happy with the playing time they’re getting, then do something about it. We have plenty of opportunities in practice to show what you can do, to show what type of improvement you can make and you get what you earn.”
Senior Davis Price, who handled all but one kickoff the previous two years, kicked off the first six times for CU on Friday. For the final three kickoffs, junior James Stefanou took over, putting all three in the end zone for touchbacks. “We really wanted to get more production, get the ball placed properly and get the ball in the end zone if we could,” Tucker said. … Tucker praised the effort of senior receiver Tony Brown as a blocker against the Rams. “Just a really strong effort by Tony,” he said. “He does it every day. He makes the plays he’s supposed to make. He’s an experienced guy and that’s really leading by example, as well.”