No. 19 Nebraska hosts last FCS foe in McNeese St.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska will play an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision for the fifth straight year when McNeese State visits on Saturday.
The 19th-ranked Cornhuskers (1-0) don't plan to host another again.
With the start of the College Football Playoff, and strength of schedule a factor in the selection process, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini supports the Big Ten's policy of avoiding games against opponents outside the Bowl Subdivision.
''When I say that, it sounds like McNeese State is not a good football team. I'm not saying that,'' Pelini said. ''I'd just prefer to not have to deal with that. I think that scheduling will probably change for everybody across the board over the next few years.''
McNeese State, which will be playing its opener, has regularly played FBS opponents. The Cowboys have won at South Florida and Middle Tennessee State the past two years, and they start 2015 at LSU.
McNeese State will earn $415,000 for playing in Lincoln, and coach Matt Viator would like to continue scheduling the big boys.
''This helps us financially, and I think it helps us competitively, too,'' he said. ''I've always kind of taken a different approach and used it with our players as what a great opportunity this is to play in front of 87,000 people and to play a storied program like Nebraska and yada, yada, yada.''
Typically, FBS teams have scheduled FCS opponents to achieve the ideal of seven home games and the millions of dollars each of those games generate. The FCS team is glad to accept the challenge, and usually a lopsided beating, to earn a paycheck that helps its athletic department make budget.
McNeese State, ranked as high as No. 6 in the FCS polls, will play a Nebraska team that amassed 784 yards while hammering Florida Atlantic 55-7 last week.
''It would be good for us if it were Nebraska's first game,'' Viator said. ''The adage in coaching is that you should improve more from your first to second game than any other game. That's not good for us.''
Things to watch in Nebraska's final prep before next week's trip to Fresno State:
ABDULLAH ON GUARD: Ameer Abdullah, who ran for a career-high 232 yards last week, said he's warning his teammates to avoid complacency against the Cowboys.
''It scares me,'' the senior co-captain said. ''Not a lot of people are expecting them to win the game in the first place, so you can let it hang loose. You can call all your fake plays. You can fake a punt, fake a field goal. You can blitz every single player if you want. You might as well just apply everything in your playbook and try your best to get the upset of the week.''
''When it's there, Tommy throws the ball well and we have guys that can get far down the field,'' Pelini said. ''As long as we're going to be able to run the football, we have to keep people off of us, too. If you want to load the box, you're going to have to keep our guys going down the field.''
ARMSTRONG ACCURACY: Armstrong liked that he threw for a career-high 271 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions last week. He didn't like his 52-percent accuracy (15 of 29). He said he wants to hit on better than 60 percent.
FYFE TIME? The Huskers should be able to give backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe a significant number of snaps Saturday. Fyfe took 21 in the second half against Florida Atlantic, and this week Pelini announced the sophomore had been awarded a scholarship.
MCNEESE QB QUANDRY: Tyler Bolfing has been named McNeese State's starting quarterback, but Daniel Sams and possibly Will Brisco will play, Viator said. Sams transferred from Kansas State, where he ran for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.