Thursday, October 19, 2006

NU Re-View: Nebraska 21, Kansas State 3

THE GOOD ...

- POUND THE ROCK: West Coast guru Bill Callahan has clearly made a decision that Nebraska will be a run-first team, specifically on the road. In flashbacks to days of yore, NU ran the ball between the tackles, effectively setting up Zac Taylor and the play action later in the game. The recent running success comes from using the power backs in the stable (Brandon Jackson and Cody Glenn) and getting offensive line play.
- DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Nebraska win over Kansas State was remarkably similar to last week's win over Iowa State. In both games, Nebraska scored early (although needing a fake field goal against KSU) and ran the ball to hold onto the lead. In both games, the Nebraska defense softened at the end of the game, but not enough to put the lead in doubt.
- THE TURNING OF THE CORNER?: Well, maybe not THE corner, but at least A corner. Nebraska has now won as many conference road games this season as they had in Callahan's entire tenure at NU.

THE BAD ...

- SECOND HALF SLEEPINESS: For two straight weeks, Nebraska's defense has bent in the second half and given up yardage to their opponents. Once K-State started putting freshman phenom QB Josh Freeman on a bootleg or rollout he became far more effective, remniscient of Jake Plummer. It's hard to argue with wins, but Nebraska's talent level certainly is not sufficient to be able to flip switches on and off.
- MAURICE PURIFY: No, he's not bad. In fact, Maurice's size and speed make him the prototype Nebraska receiver for the future. But why is he not on the field every play?

... AND THE SECOND CHANCES.

Earlier this year, Nebraska's game against USC was touted as an opportunity for Nebraska to regain the national stage. The 'Huskers failed to take advantage of that opportunity, although the game plan NU used against the Trojans has been copied by almost every team that has played them since. Now the defending national champion Texas Longhorns (ugh, that's painful to type) come to Lincoln and the national spotlight returns. Is this Nebraska's time to shine?

THE BIG PICTURE

Boy, don't ever say Callahan isn't a man of his word. Nebraska has pounded the rock all season, even in LA when the effectiveness was at best questionable. This Saturday, NU faces a Texas squad with a dominant, near-NFL caliber defensive line and a secondary now riddled with injuries. Do we see the stubborn Callahan who will pound Glenn and B-Jax into the Texas D-line? Or do we see a game plan that Billy C has been sitting on for just this opportunity?

THE NEXT GAME

Texas (-7) at Nebraska. An early kickoff, with a redshirt freshman quarterback coming into his first really hostile environment. A weather forecast calling for mid-30s and rain. A confident Nebraska team looking at a Texas squad who struggled at home with Baylor in the first half. All the makings of an upset, right? Maybe, but not this time. Texas has too much talent on both sides of the ball to make picking the upset a smart play. Cheer with your heart, but bet with your head. Take the Longhorns, give the points.

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