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Huskers prep for another of Big Ten's best pass rushers — Minnesota's Boye Mafe

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Boye Mafe

Boye Mafe had a solid game against Nebraska last season, and this year he's one of the Big Ten's best pass rushers.

Turner Corcoran on changing positions after Prochazka injury

Nebraska has already faced four of the Big Ten's top six pass rushers this season, including two last Saturday in Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Husker tackles Turner Corcoran and Bryce Benhart will face another this Saturday.

Minnesota's Boye Mafe has five sacks in his last three games. He got one against NU last season and generally gave the Husker offensive line fits in Minnesota’s 24-17 win.

“I watched a little bit of him,” Corcoran said. “He is a stud like all of these dudes in the Big Ten are. You are not getting an off week with anyone. He is very similar to the way Hutchinson and (Ojabo) played. I am looking forward to the challenge again.”

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mafe is similar in size and speed to Hutchinson, who had many pressures against NU but no sacks. Corcoran said NU tried to take away Hutchinson's inside rush lane and build a pocket for Adrian Martinez.

“I thought we had a good game plan as tackles with funneling him upfield rather than letting him get inside and move inside because that is where most of his pressure and sacks came from,” Corcoran said. “That was kind of the message all week was to stay underneath those guys.”

NU offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said pass protection remains a daily emphasis. He also praised Nebraska’s running backs for their blocking.

“There’s a whole bunch of stuff involved, and the obvious is getting the offensive line continuing to improve the way they have been,” Lubick said.

More notes from Tuesday's interviews:

» Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said he tries to forget about previous games after a 24-hour reaction period Sunday. The loss to Michigan was clearly tough, though, for Verduzco and Martinez.

“I usually on Sundays give him a call or text him and have a conversation,” Verduzco said. “I just want to know how he’s doing. Usually I’m (taking it harder) than he is. But then when Monday comes it’s great, and I’m around the guys again I kind of get myself bounced back.”

» Verduzco said fourth-string true freshman quarterback Heinrich Haarberg has been doing “really well” in practice the last several weeks, though he’s clearly headed for a redshirt.

Haarberg has a “gun” for an arm, Verduzco said. He hasn’t tested how far Haarberg can throw the ball, but he “can rip it pretty good.”

“That’ll come up more as he’s in our offense, but guys with guns like him — well, you watch Patrick Mahomes,” Verduzco said. “He can make throws like Aaron (Rodgers) can, that a lot of guys can’t make.”

Verduzco said he didn’t want Haarberg to wait until spring camp to develop as a quarterback.

“Don’t wait until you’re a junior — get going now,” Verduzco said. “And he appreciates that. I guess I’m hard on him a little bit. But to get the mental part, at least in regards to the playbook, lined up with the strength of his arm and his athleticism, yeah, I think he’s taking that to heart.”

» Levi Falck and Bryce Benhart, both from Minnesota, have a little extra motivation this week, Falck said.

» Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Nebraska’s defensive execution is even more important during a week when an opponent like Minnesota wants to hold on to the ball.


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