The sun still rose this morning, but Nebraska’s appearance in the AP Top 25 Poll was nowhere to be found. Nebraska’s 36-30 loss to UCLA, fueled by a statistical blowout on the defensive side of the ball, sent the Huskers tumbling out of the Top 25 to a vote-based tie with Arkansas at #27.
In the Coaches Poll, Nebraska fell to #24.
Pollsters were heavy handed this week in the AP Poll which saw Arkansas fall out of the top 25 from their #8 ranking, Wisconsin also dropped.
Visit ESPN for complete rankings.
Outcoached. Outplayed. Unhinged under pressure.
UCLA 36 – Nebraska 30
Stat of the night: UCLA Total Offensive Yardage: 648 Yards.
648 Yards. 2 More yards allowed than Rice gave up the Bruins last week.
Jim Mora Jr., with his 8 starting freshman, came prepared and beat Pelini in the coaching department. The Nebraska defense, except for a handful of key moments, was non-existent. The offensive line played well the first half, but taking blitz after blitz, was shot in the final quarter of play. Play calling – a zone read from the 4; third down conversions?
Yet despite all of that, Nebraska was in this game until the end. And then the pressure boiled over. Taylor Martinez trying to rally his troops, stares down a streaking Kenny Bell (if memory serves correctly) a fires a pass everyone expected for an interception. Game essentially over at that point, minus the idiotic rule changes for onsides kicks in 2012.
There’s a lot of soul searching that needs to be done on defensive side of the ball, and let’s hope they find what they are looking for…and fast. For starters, there are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube for How To Tackle.
What did you think of the game tonight? Fire off in the comments.
Looks like I was the winner last week with score predictions with Nathan Wall being the winner among commentors (Nathan: I’ll be emailing you this week to arrange a prize delivery)
This week, Nebraska on the road at UCLA. I’ll kick things off:
Nebraska 42 – UCLA 33
Unless the Blackshirts step up, this could be a barn burner.
Leave your prediction in the comments to be eligible for this week’s prize.
Jim Mora Jr took over the team this season after Rick Neuhisal was fired last season.
Defense certainly isn’t the specialty for the Bruins as they gave up 3 touchdowns and 174 rushing yards to mid-major Rice last week in their season opener. The UCLA secondary was also exposed as Rice managed to put up 184 yards of passing.
For offense, the Blackshirts will need to step up this week. UCLA has a potent blend of rushing attack and the passing game. First, QB Brett Hundley will take to the air with at least 25 attempts tonight. His 75% completion perentage against Rice is an example of his accuraccy, but more importantly, he averaged nearly 10 yards per completion. Hundley is no stranger to taking the ball on the ground himself either, putting up 68 rushing yards on 7 attempts last week.
On the ground, the main threat is Johnathan Franklin. Franklin has big-play potential, busting out two 70+ touchdown runs last week in route to his 3 touchdown, 214 yard effort. Nebraska will need containment to keep Franklin at bay.
Last week, UCLA also suffered from the penalty bug, losing 107 yards on eight penalites. The Bruins also finished even in the turnover battle with Hundley tossing a pick, and losing a fumble on special teams.
I, Huskerzone Admin kick off the 2012 season with my game day score prediction with Nebraska sitting as a 20 point home favorite:
Nebraska 45 – Southern Miss 17
Comment on this post with your predictions and I’ll have the prize wagon out to award something to the most accurate prediction (via fuzzy math).
I’m also curious to your expectations on the win-loss record this season. I’m going on record at 10-2.
Last season, Southern Miss averaged nearly 37 points per game, while chewing up the yardage to a tune of 461 yards per game.
But that was last year. QB Austin Davis is gone, and replaced with Chris Campell and a new coach in former South Carolina Defensive Coordinator, Ellis Johnson.
Many have labeled this year’s Southern Miss team a rebuilding project as QB Chris Campbell has never taken a snap at the college level. But SMU does feature a rather talented four-pack of running backs with Tracy Lampley, Kendrick Hardy, Desmond Johnson and Jeremy Hester; who combined, put up over 1300 yards of rushing in 2011. Lampley is also a special teams threat, racking up over 800 returning yards in 2011
Defensively, this could be matchup that forces the ball to the passing attack as they return 3 starters at the line who were key in keeping the majority of their 2011 opponents under 100 yards rushing per game.
In an era where the home opener is often a cream puff tune-up game, Southern Miss represents a bit of a challenge to Nebraska, and in fact, beat Nebraska on September 11, 2004. Nebraska ended up at 5-6 that year – the low point in modern-day Husker History.
The Huskers are a 20 point favorite going in to todays game. I predict:
Nebraska 45 – Southern Miss 17
Stay hydrated, because it is going to be a scorcher. High of 97 in Lincoln, with a bit of humidity in the air thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. A few clouds scattered about but that won’t be providing much relief.
Just a touch of wind out of the South-South East, enough to make things a bit more comfortable.
Go Big Red.
Don’t forget, Husker Fan Day takes place today beginning at 2:00pm at Memorial Stadium.
Players and coaches will be available throughout the field. Below is the Husker Fan Day Field Map as provided by Huskers.com
Nebraska is ranked 16th in the first coaches poll of the year. Fellow Big 10 conference foes Michigan (8th), Wisconsin (12th) and Michigan State (13th) are ranked ahead of the Big Red.
So the Legends represent 3 of the top 20 spots. While the Leaders represent 1. Time for division name changes in my book.
1. LSU (18)
2. Alabama (20)
3. USC (19)
7. Florida State
9. South Carolina
11. West Virginia
13. Michigan State
19. Oklahoma State
20. Virginia Tech
21. Kansas State
22. Boise State
24. Notre Dame