In just over 24 hours, your Nebraska Cornhuskers will be battling the Miami Hurricanes in an ACC/B1G matchup from Sun Life Stadium in Coral Gables, Florida.
There's been much talking about the game from both fan bases, and I wanted to know what was going through the minds of the folks at StateOfTheU, the Miami SBNation community. Fortunately, the man who runs the site helped me out with my inquisitions.
We invite you to take a look at these, and we are thankful for the cooperation.
1. Time for the second game the home slate of the Hurricanes season versus a Nebraska team that has a lot of previous history with the Canes, although it happened a while ago save last year. What is the feeling as Miami hosts the Huskers in Sun Life Stadium Saturday afternoon on what could happen?
SOTU: I think these are two evenly matched teams that both have talent but also both have blemishes. Vegas seems to agree with me since they have the Hurricanes as 3.5 point favorites and you know being at home is worth a field goal. In my opinion the Hurricanes' advantages lie in team speed and athleticism, especially on the perimeter. Joe Yearby and Mark Walton are two very skilled and speedy backs. But the Cornhuskers with their very strong offensive line, and with Vincent Valentine Jr. & Maliek Collins on the D line are the more powerful team. Which team can more affectively emphasize their strengths and expose the other's weaknesses? It will be very interesting to see. I think no matter how it plays out, this is going to be a tight contest through out.
2. Brad Kaaya was a very young QB last year that seemed to get better as the schedule went on last year. What’s going to be different now for Nebraska fans to watch vs. a year ago?
SOTU: Kaaya's footwork and accuracy remain superb. He has good arm strength and well above average pocket awareness. The biggest difference from last year to this season is his leadership and command of the offense. Kaaya is very effective at changing plays at the line of scrimmage. And his decisions are crisper and better. My only concern is that he is well protected. Kaaya is not exactly a scrambler, though he can move a little within the pocket to buy an extra millisecond or two.
3. There has been a pretty fair distribution of carries between Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton. However, Yearby’s numbers have been much better. Is he the man who will be toting the ball on Saturday, or do you expect Walton to get some carries as well?
SOTU: Yearby has a few more long runs, as well as some long pass receptions. That's the main difference in the two. Both are very good, and both will see snaps as well as carries on Saturday. Being a sophomore Yearby is the slightly bigger of the two. But the true freshman Walton has been surprisingly effective between the tackles. It's amazing that UM could lose a runner as talented as Duke Johnson and running back still be arguably the best position on the team. That's how good these guys are. And 3rd string back Trayone Gray is a 230 pound load as well. Don't be shocked if gets a few touches at some point as well.
4. Yearby seems to stand out in pass catching as well, however he’s third on the team behind Rashawn Scott and Herb Waters. What is the plan of attack with the passing game, especially seeing how Nebraska’s Corner Daniel Davie seemed to struggle last week.
SOTU: Right now Scott is Kaaya's favorite target, and he's a good one because at 6'2 200 he can make plays over the middle, as well as get deep. But Kaaya loves throwing to his RBs. Both Yearby and Walton run good patterns and have excellent hands. So look for plenty of tosses to those guys coming out of the back field. Also, 2013 freshman All-American Stacy Coley is expected back from injury this week. Miami loves to get him the ball underneath and let him use his quickness to make plays, especially on bubble screens. Waters is the main option out of the slot, and he does a little of everything well, though he did have some costly drops last week Vs FAU. The one thing that has been missing a little so far this season in the Hurricanes passing game is the TE. Stan Dobard and David Njoku care both talented options. Watch out for OC James Coley to try and get them more involved this week against the safeties and linebackers of the Cornhuskers.
5. The Defense did it’s job against Bethune Cookman, but the whole team was a little shaky versus Florida Atlantic in the beginning. With what you’ve seen of Nebraska’s offense, what are you excited to see and what worries you with Miami’s Defense?
SOTU: I am most nervous about how Miami tackles. Jordan Westerkamp looks pretty hard to take down when he catches the ball out in space. Fortunately for UM, CBs Corn Elder and Artie Burns as well as S Jamal Carter are a few of the better tacklers on the team. But UM's LBs looked terrible last week, shooting through the wrong gaps, and taking terrible angles to the ball. If that continues it sets up TB Terrell Newby for a big game. Watching QB Tommy Armstrong Vs BYU I was very impressed with his arm strength and accuracy. He seems much improved as a passer. Nonetheless his prowess to scramble and make something out of nothing worries me more than his abilities in the pocket. Nebraska seems more like a methodical offense than one that explodes with huge gainers. That also worries me. UM has had a lot of trouble getting off the field this season on third downs.
6. Al Golden is still catching hell, especially since the U lost their last 4 games including the Independence Bowl. What realistically has to happen to get him fired, and on the opposite, what has to happen to quiet down the chirping?
SOTU: Well University of Miami AD Blake James finally came out publicly and said the team needs results. An 8 or 9 win season and/or finally winning the ACC Coastal would probably save Golden's job. Anything less and it is probably the end of the Golden era.
7. I was surprised to hear earlier in the week that this game was not sold out. What’s the fear of Nebraska fans in the South and in Florida coming to take over the Stadium?
SOTU: I know Nebraska travels pretty well. And the fickle fan base of the Hurricanes..... well don't get me started. Nonetheless from what I have seen on Social Media, the Miami faithful are pretty excited for this one. If I had to guess I'd say 75% od the stadium will be rooting for the home team, and a quarter of the crowd rooting for the Cornhuskers.
8. Who are we watching out for in this game that we haven’t mentioned yet above?
SOTU: Deon Bush is a senior S with NFL written all over him. He has a penchant for big time tackles that force fumbles, and is also pretty good in coverage. Watch out for Bush to come up with a huge play somewhere in the second half.
9. It’s prediction time. Tell us how you see this game evolving, and who will win.
SOTU: I expect this weekend's game to be a shoot out that is decided by turnovers. Neither team's defenses will bring back memories of the 80's & 90's where these were two powerhouse programs. I think Kaaya and Armstrong duel it out and whichever QB can avoid the big mistake wins. Miami's D has a host of players in Bush, Chad Thomas, Al-Quadin Muahmmad, and Tyriq McCord who can jar the ball loose. I think a timely forced fumble and or INT is the difference and the Hurricanes get a close win at home, 34-31.