Well its the end of the week...its a quick short blog today but we'll keep it hot...since the weather outside sucks....but I can handle the cold.
THE HOT LIST:
1. Nebraska/Texas Key Matchups
2. Rex Burkehead: A Man Among Boys
1. As we do every game I've got a couple huge matchups for this game. We'll begin now:
-Nebraska's Defensive Line vs. Colt McCoy
As in every game, the success of this defense is dictated by the play of our defensive line. As we saw in the Kansas game...Senior QB's do have the ability to shred this team apart. Nebraska faces its second senior QB of the season on Saturday. Colt McCoy arguably is a completely different player than he was the last time Nebraska saw him when he was just a lil sophomore. Nebraska simply must make Colt McCoy's day miserable, he can't be allowed to run around in the pocket and pick us apart. Nebraska will need to implement a stronger blitz package this weekend to keep him rattled. Only when he's flushed out of the pocket can we hopefully expect him to throw interceptions. I watched him play last Thursday, if there's one thing he doesn't like...its been flushed and getting hit. Nebraska must bring the wood to him, hit him hard, and get into his mind mentally.
-Nebraska's Secondary vs. Jordan Shipley and Company
There's no question that as Jordan Shipley goes...so does the Longhorn offense. Nebraska simply hasn't faced a caliber type receiver like this and shown they can stop them (Kerry Meier). Nebraska must put its best corner on him and hope that they don't get beat over the top. All in all it was a very disappointing performance by this secondary last week against Colorado. Texas brings a different caliber receivers to the table and they'll have to play their best game against these guys. Nebraska simply can't expect to win if Texas makes huge plays in the passing game.
-Nebraska Special Teams vs. Jordan Shipley
As we saw in the K-State game Nebraska goes up against one of the premier return men in all of College Football. Nebraska can't allow Texas to win the field position battle. Nebraska did a superb job against Brandon Banks of K-State. They'll have to remember how they were able to contain the speedy little guy to minimal yards that game on kickoffs and punt returns. Nebraska must come with the idea that they are going to hit the heck out of Shipley and pry that ball from his grip. Keeping Texas pinned back inside their own 20 yard line will wear on the Longhorns mentally and give Nebraska a huge advantage.
-Nebraska running game vs. Texas front seven
There's question that Nebraska has changed its offensive look and will likely look to pound the rock at Texas. Texas brings one of the best defenses at stopping the run. They rank 3 nationally in total defense and are #1 at stopping the run. The key is blocking Lamar Houston and Sergio Kindle. Those guy feed Muckelroy and that great LB group. If you can bottle them up I feel very confident that our fullback can block a LB or safety. Remember when you line up in a big set like Nebraska did against Oklahoma, it only takes making one guy miss...you do that and stand up...because it's gonna be a big run. Texas A&M may have shown how to attack Texas as they were able to line it up and run it right at Texas in the second half. Nebraska has to take a few things that they saw in that game and apply it to their style of football. Nebraska's offense is predicated on its ability to run the ball...that allows Zac Lee to set up the play action pass to get timely completions in the passing game. Nebraska will have to run the ball effectively if it has any hopes of beating Texas.
This is probably the most important matchup in this game, because he who wins the turnover battle likely wins this game handily. Last time Nebraska was in the Big 12 title game turnovers killed any hope of beating Oklahoma. Nebraska played well enough to win that game but just didn't win the turnover battle...that allowed OU to score an easy touchdown that proved to be costly as Nebraska played catchup for the entire game. Look at how Nebraska beat OU this season....it needed 5 turnovers just to get a W. Nebraska needed a pick-6 to beat Colorado last week. Turnovers are key...when your playing a team that is as sound as Texas you have to force turnovers to give your offense a short field to score easy points. That's HUGE...Nebraska has to force at least 3 turnovers and turn that into 17 points. Do that and a victory is very very likely...look at how Texas won last week against A&M....an Aggie turnover allowed Texas to put itself up by 2 scores and they never came back from that. If you wanna win the Big 12 title you absolutely have to force turnovers...get pressure on McCoy and that can easily happen.
Predicition: This game brings many aspects of the game that Nebraska likely has to play against Oklahoma just to win. Use your defense to make the plays and keep it vanilla on offense. Nebraska comes into this game with really nothing to lose, allowing them to play lose and fast. Colt McCoy makes plays with his feet and this arm keeping the game close late into the fourth quarter. Nebraska establishes Rex Burkehead as a bruiser, beating up the tired Texas defense on the ground and notching a late TD that extends Nebraska's lead to 10 points. Texas responds with a quick touchdown but runs out of time to get the ball back to tie up the game. Nebraska pulls the upset and moves onto the Fiesta Bowl.
Nebraska wins 17-14.
2. Great article about Rex Burkehead....he is simply one of the most polished freshman that have played at Nebraska. He returns home to his great home state of Texas, but he says it's not a homecoming..he's here for business. He's downhill running style creates a stable compliment to fast finesse style of running that Roy Helu brings. Nebraska only has a chance in this game because of Rex's natural ability to run hard in one motion. He doesn't think...he just reacts making him a great great player for many years to come at Nebraska. Can't wait to see him pound the ball at Texas on Saturday.
Well I'm outta here to jet down to Dallas...I'll come back on Tuesday as usual....till then....GO BIG RED...and enjoy your weekend....stay warm....SKOCZ OUT!!!!