Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
This is a must win game for Nebraska should they wish to win the Big Ten Conference. Below are the keys to winning the "Battle for NU".
Husker fans have had two weeks to stew and fret over the last game. We’ve all had two weeks to analyze and dissect the next game and the remainder of the season.
It’s time for this team to take out its anger and frustration on the field this Saturday. As we found out last year in Lincoln, Northwestern is a well coached, scrappy, very good football team.
I was shocked by their interior dominance over the Cornhuskers last year. They whipped our lineman on both sides of the ball. That can’t happen this year. Here are a few other keys the Huskers must accomplish in order to get back on the winning track.
1. Contain Colter
Kain Colter, as we witnessed last year and the nation is finding out this year, is a helluva football player. He’s tough, quick, elusive, and multi-dimensional. Bo Pelini and John Papuchis have to devise a plan to contain him. Since he moves around from quarterback to runningback to receiver, the Huskers need to be aware of him at all times.
2. Go on to the next play
This problem plagued the team last year, and we’ve seen it a couple times this year. Negative plays, offensively and defensively, seem to snowball and become progressively worse on the next play and next series. With a senior laden team, someone needs to step up and stop the bleeding, especially on the road. Make a play!
3. Be physical
As mentioned, last year Northwestern was the physically superior team. This can not happen. The lines on both sides of the ball have to man-up and own the line of scrimmage. Call me a college football snob, but there is simply no excuse for the Nebraska Cornhuskers to be man handled by the Northwestern Wildcats. They may have advantages elsewhere, but not in the trenches.
4. Run the damn ball
I’m not sure why we still hear the buzz words "balance" and "multiple" in reference to our offense. Do what you do best. Run the ball. Once that’s established, work the play-action, boots, roll-outs, and hitch-and-go’s off of its success. A 70-30 run/pass split wouldn’t bother me at all. Control the clock, control the game. Plus, alleviate pressure on Taylor Martinez. Rex Burkhead!
5. Win the turnover battle
Nebraska won the turnover battle last year, but still lost the game. However, this year they’re on the road. I’m gonna continue to list this as a key factor for victory until Nebraska achieves it. The defense needs to become more adept at forcing turnovers, and the offense needs to value the ball like it’s the last cheese steak sandwich they’re ever going to eat.