Yesterday, I discussed how the Nebraska Cornhuskers could be defeated by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles tomorrow in Lincoln.
Now, lets talk about why that will not happen.
Nebraska is the more talented team:
This will come as a surprise to none. Nebraska is better than Southern Miss. As a Husker fan, you would like to see Nebraska impose their will on an opponent like Southern Miss. While I think the Golden Eagles can stick around in this game, I would expect the Huskers to wear them down early in the second half. Southern Miss may be a very good team this year, but Nebraska has the edge in nearly every position on the field, and that could show early and often.
Nebraska’s offense is finding its identity:
Husker fans (myself included) are starting to realize how good Tommy Armstrong is. Not only has he come into his own on the field, but his teammates look to him as the leader of the team.
Alonzo Moore talked about Armstrong’s leadership, "I remember him telling me when we were down, were going to come back and win this game… I was going back to the sideline after I scored and he just nodded, like we were going to do this and we just took off from there."
With Nebraska finally realizing what they have at quarterback, and their loaded wide receiver corps, the offense is beginning to take shape. While Nebraska purists would love to see 45 rushing attempts a game and the option run half of those plays, it is not who Nebraska is anymore. I’m not saying Nebraska is going to abandon the run, that’s ridiculous, but they are going to throw the ball more than Husker fans are accustomed to seeing. And that may be a good thing.
Southern Mississippi’s defense is bad:
Outside of a decent pass rush, the Golden Eagle’s defense has been awful. Southern Miss is giving up 194 rush yards per game, which ranks 96th in the country, and 5.15 yards per carry, which is good for 113th in the country. The passing defense has been slightly better, ranking 64th in the country. This has the makeup to be a huge game for the Husker offense. With the inability of Southern Miss to stop the run, and the rise of Tommy Armstrong, the Huskers could end this game early in the second half.
Nebraska is more focused than ever:
In my 5 Reasons the Huskers Could Lose article I wrote about the Huskers possibly coming out flat. While that is a real possibility, the Huskers seem to be more focused than ever. While I don’t think starting 1-2 is a good thing, one thing it did was show where Nebraska needs to make changes.
Husker WR Brandon Reilly said, "Everyone is more focused now than if we were 3-0."
If Nebraska is 3-0 right now we focus on the success of the team and praise Mike Riley without looking at the areas that need improvement. Since Nebraska has two heartbreaking losses it is only natural to focus on what needs improved. If Nebraska can show improvements and continue to improve week to week, I would expect Nebraska not only to take care of Southern Miss, but compete for a Big Ten West title.
The Southern Miss Secondary is thin:
We have talked about how the Southern Miss defense has struggled early this season. Add to that their secondary has injuries and suspensions and Nebraska could be in for a huge day passing. Starting defensive back Devonta Foster has missed the first two games with an unknown injury, and his backup is suspended for the first half of the Nebraska game because of a targeting call. While I expect Nebraska to establish the running game early and stick with it throughout the game, look for Tommy Armstrong to have a very effective game.