LINCOLN — Nebraska is ready to take its shot.

Most prognosticators won't pick the Huskers to beat No. 5 Ohio State this weekend, NU coach Scott Frost said, and "rightfully so." In his view, the Buckeyes have offensive and defensive lineups littered with future NFL talent. Las Vegas oddsmakers consider Big Red a 17-point underdog Saturday.

But Frost said his group will be ready to play. At the very least, it will be a measuring stick for how far along the program is nationally.

"We got nothing to lose but to go out and give everything we got and see where the chips fall," Frost said after Thursday's practice.

There's a maturity required to navigate a week that includes extra hype and the appearance of ESPN's "College GameDay," Frost said. As a team, Nebraska is much closer to handling it than last year. And a roster featuring just 16 scholarship seniors still has plenty of room to grow.

"Sooner or later this program's going to be ready to take on that challenge and overcome the challenge," Frost said. "These are the games you want because it lets us see where on that road we are. I don't have any doubt we'll get there. We'll take our swing on Saturday and see how far we've come."

Kicking still in flux

Frost gave a wry smile as a reporter asked the question: Any progress in the kicking game?

No, the coach said, placekicking "hasn't been very good." Statistics bear that out, with a couple missed extra points, blocked field goals and short kickoffs through four games. Frost said coaches didn't anticipate the injury to starter Barret Pickering, otherwise they would have done more in the offseason to address the deficiency.

"We're hoping Barret gets ready sooner rather than later," Frost said. "And in the meantime, we're going to do the best we can."

Matt Waldoch, a recent addition from the club soccer team, has been practicing all week and could handle kickoff duties this weekend. Punter Isaac Armstrong and converted safety Lane McCallum have kicked extra points and field goals this year.

Frost said the kicking status likely won't affect his play-calling on potential two-point conversions as much as it might in the red zone or in overtime.

Quick hits 

» Asked about cornerbacks Lamar Jackson and Dicaprio Bootle, Frost said they're facing their biggest challenge of the year considering Ohio State's talent among its receivers and quarterback Justin Fields.

"There's not just one of them or two of them," Frost said of the wideouts. "They've got a bunch of them. If you give these guys a crack, they'll make a big play."

» The Memorial Stadium crowd will be a factor if the Huskers can keep the game close, Frost said. So the onus is on the team to set the right tone.

"I hope on big plays and big downs there's a lot of noise in there," Frost said. "Maybe the crowd can get us a play or two."

» Has Nebraska awarded its final scholarship for the fall? "We think so," Frost said. "But I'll announce that when I'm ready to announce it."

» The black alternate uniforms will not be worn this weekend, Frost said. Their debut will come "down the road."

Sign up for Big Red Today news alerts

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.