WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Nebraska opened its season with an easy, confidence-building win and next week welcomes the nation's top-ranked team.
Tucked between those games is its only nonconference road trip of the year, an 1,165-mile jaunt to central North Carolina to face a Wake Forest team on Saturday that's breaking in a new quarterback and trying to get its offense going.
In previous years this might've been the perfect trap game for the 16th-ranked Cornhuskers. But after the Demon Deacons' breakout 2006 season, it's hard to see Nebraska overlooking them.
"You don't win the ACC championship and go to a BCS bowl without great talent and coaching," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said.
The Huskers (1-0), who routed Nevada 52-10 last week, insist they aren't looking ahead to next week's visit from No. 1 Southern California. They're well aware of how Wake Forest embraced its underdog role a year ago and rolled to a school-record 11 wins, its first ACC title since 1970 and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
"Wake Forest is going to be hungry," said quarterback Sam Keller, an Arizona State transfer making his first road start with the Huskers. "They are a tremendous team. They are very disciplined and very organized in their game plan and how they scheme. We are playing on someone else's home turf, so that poses a whole new set of challenges."
The Cornhuskers weren't tested by the Wolf Pack. Their 625 total yards were the most since Callahan came to Lincoln three years ago, with 413 coming on the ground, and their defense allowed a Big 12-best 185 total yards.
That spells trouble for the Demon Deacons (0-1), who for the second straight season are breaking in a new quarterback in Week 2. Starter Riley Skinner -- who came off the bench last year and beat lowly Duke in the first start of his ACC rookie of the year season -- separated his shoulder in a 38-28 loss at Boston College.
Sophomore Brett Hodges was 17 for 23 passing for 130 yards with one touchdown and one interception in relief of Skinner. Now he faces a much tougher opponent than his classmate did in his first start, even if coach Jim Grobe says Hodges is "light years ahead mentally" of where Skinner was at this point last season.
"We're not having to go back and pare down the offense because of Brett," Grobe said. "Last year we had to do that with Riley, mainly because they just hadn't done much up until last fall camp. ... Brett has no issues mentally with the offense. The problem with Brett is getting enough quality snaps in game situations."
Of course, a more productive running game could take the pressure off the inexperienced quarterback. Wake Forest had just 2 yards rushing against Boston College, and must improve against a Nebraska run defense that allowed 77 yards on the ground.
"It was kind of a wake-up call on Saturday for our entire offense," Hodges said.
The Demon Deacons uncharacteristically threw 60 passes, completing 45 for 366 yards for two touchdowns. But two of the four interceptions they threw came in the red zone.
"I definitely see it's going to be a test for us, as far as a defense, going out there in that environment with an offense like theirs that has a lot of multiplicity and has some athletes out there," Nebraska safety Tierre Green said.