LINCOLN — In a turn of events since Tuesday, Nebraska is expected to be without its top rusher when it meets Northern Illinois.
Sophomore Tre Bryant — who topped the 100-yard plateau in each of his first two games and is second in the Big Ten with 299 rushing yards — didn’t practice all week with a knee injury and won’t start Saturday, coach Mike Riley said after Thursday’s workout inside Memorial Stadium.
Running backs coach Reggie Davis declared Tuesday that Bryant was “good to go.” Instead, Riley said, junior Mikale Wilbon will make his first career start while Devine Ozigbo moves up to No. 2 on the depth chart.
The junior Ozigbo has yet to appear in a game this year after carrying 97 times last season — third most on the team — for 412 yards (4.2 average).
“I was kind of hoping to wait as long as I could, but it’s probably too late,” Riley said of Bryant. “So he probably won’t play.”
Wilbon is tied with wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El as Nebraska’s second-leading rusher at 23 total yards. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Chicago native played almost the entire fourth quarter at Oregon last weekend after Bryant went down, turning three carries into 8 yards and adding a 4-yard catch. He ran twice for 15 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Arkansas State.
Riley said the Husker offense remains steady no matter who lines up in the backfield.
“We don’t have to change too much with any of the backs,” Riley said. “They’re all pretty much all-purpose, they all have good hands, they’re all…
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