A couple of weeks ago, we went to a local farmer’s market. Corn was in season. I bought 4 ears of corn for $1.50. Several days later, I had maybe the worst day of my year thus far. I went to work and by noon had a pretty good cold. The afternoon was fairly miserable, and then I went to the dentist after work, who gave me less than great news. When I finally got home at 8:00 that night, I lit up the barbecue to make a hamburger. As I was waiting for it to cook, my dad called. Our family dog, Monte, whom 11 years ago I had brought home from work where he was dropped off as a stray puppy, had died. He was literally the best dog on the face of the earth. It was a crappy day.
Know what else I did that day? I husked some corn. I like corn. I especially like to barbecue corn on the cob, and that’s what I did that day. It didn’t even taste good.
Anyone can be a corn husker, but few can be Dawgs. Let’s win this one for Monte.
I had meant to put up a preview of Nebraska and a recap of last week on the blog but never got around to it. The Huskies left me feeling a bit more optimistic after last week but they still had quite a few problems. The Cornhuskers seem to have holes too. They blew out Chattanooga but took a while to get rolling in that one. Last week, they struggled with Fresno State and held on for the win. Fresno is close to even with Hawaii, if anything they’re a little bit worse. I believe Nebraska is worse than they were last year, but not by much. When they stomped the Huskies last September I thought they’d be the National Champion. So, maybe these teams are a lot closer to even than the betting line suggests. On defense, the Huskies have to stop Taylor Martinez from running all over them. He’s the only thing that really scares me for the Huskers. On offense, the challenge will be to run the ball even though Nebraska knows that the Huskies will be running. If the Dawgs can get a few big pass plays to start the game, then I think the offense will have some success. They have to tackle well, not lose any assignments, create turnovers, and play smart physical football. Frankly, I’m excited for this game. We can see how the Huskies truly measure up. Last week we saw glimpses of what the Huskies could be (in the first quarter) and this week they’ll have to be that team for the whole game to win. I don’t think they’re quite able to pull it off but I think they’ll keep it close, making it a fun game to watch.
Nebraska 31, Huskies 21
Of all the outcomes, I would only be surprised if the Huskies blowout the Huskers. Outside of this, anything seems possible. Before the season began, I was thinking we would get thumped in this game, because in some ways it really is a recipe for disaster. You have the unbelievable road environment in Lincoln, with its red sea and tradition. The revenge factor is there too, and the talent favors NU as well. Throw in a healthy Taylor Martinez, and a repeat of the 56-21 score last year seems possible. But the strength of the Huskies is their D-line, and nothing Nebraska throws (or runs) at them is going to be a surprise. I doubt Martinez gets bottled up all day, but I think the Dawgs will keep him in check, and force him to throw the ball. I also expect UW to score a little, especially with news that Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska’s stud cornerback, is likely out. Dennard is capable of shutting down one side of the field in the passing game, so his absence could be huge. Despite these reasons to be optimistic, I just see every call, and every bounce going the Cornhuskers way tomorrow. The players in red and white will be amped for this game, and I still think emotion plays a large factor in college football.
Nebraska 45, Washington 20
I just don’t like where the UW’s defense is at. I realize Neb runs the ball primarily, and I think UW is much better suited to stop the run. That said, I think Neb does throw and tries to exploit the Dawgs weakness. UW must throw the ball well, because Neb is going to key on Polk, so UW needs to flip conventional thinking: throw to set up the run. Neb was embarrassed in the Holiday Bowl and they will be jacked up, crowd will be nuts, there’s nothing about this game I like on the road. Neb simply because of the home field advantage and the revenge factor. Close early, Neb pulls away late.
Neb 38 – UW 21
This is such a strange game. Everyone knows about the 3 games in a year, with the first two being as different as could possibly be. Taking away the history, this is a pretty favorable game for the Huskies considering Nebraska is considered a possible top 10 team. Nebraska is certainly talented, but passing isn’t their strength. Their secondary, which was the major difference in the first game, has taken a step down, especially if Alfonzo Dennard doesn’t play (probably wishful thinking). So far, Nebraska has shown themselves to be nowhere near the same team they were last September.
Even with that being the case, I still consider Nebraska the favorite. They have more talent, they have more experience winning games, and they’re at home. Plus, it’s not like the Huskies have been dominant this year. It’s scary but easy to picture Keith Price interceptions, no holes for Chris Polk, and Taylor Martinez running for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns.
For the Huskies to win, I think they have to be balanced on offense and get to at least 27 points. I think they can do this. I expect more out of the receivers, and as long as Price doesn’t let the situation get to him, he should have some success. The defense needs to play like they did in the Holiday Bowl. Anything much short of that and they could be in trouble. They can’t let Martinez run wild too often, and they have to consistently control the line of scrimmage. Up until Friday morning I didn’t give the Huskies much chance, but I’ve talked myself into an upset. Go Dawgs.
UW 30, Nebraska 24