I apologize for not posting an article in this series last week for Kansas, but we're back on for Nebraska! The DSM Register confirms that only hillside tickets remain for the Nebraska game. This is undoubtedly going to be the biggest crowd at Jack Trice stadium this year, even with the game being on ABC Regionally. Even better, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous in Ames on Saturday! As Nebraska is the 4th team from the top 10 that ISU has faced, the result on the field might not be so nice, but not all hope is lost! These are some things to watch for when the Huskers come to town.
How can we NOT talk about turnovers before the Nebraska game. I will forgo rehashing last years game for the millionth time, but this year may come down to the same thing. Undoubtedly Bo Pelini has drilled his team on ball security since Oct 25th, 2009 but here's the reality.
Nebraska has fumbled the football 28 times in 8 games, 3.5 times per game.
Now, there's a catch to what I just said. Nebraska has only given 9 of those fumbles to the opposing team. Say whatever else you want to about the Huskers, but they've been adept at falling on the football this year. Still, it's very dangerous to be putting the football on the turf that much. The Cyclones have been opportunistic all year in going after the ball, its come at the expense of some missed tackles, but I'm not going to debate tackling strategy here. Someone once said that it's not enough to be good, you have to be lucky if you want to win a National Championship. A championship is on the line Saturday, just not the National one. Will the Husker's luck hold over for one more game, or will the Cyclones find a way to get the ball?
More after the Jump
I talked about this in my article earlier in the week, but Nebraska's run defense is not as good as their passing defense. If the ISU running game can get some traction, this game is not going to be the blow out that most of the nation expects. I have to wonder if we're going to see any of the Wildcat formation with Alexander Robinson under center. Even more interesting is the idea that Robinson can throw the ball, so the Wildcat formation may not 100% indicate a running play.
I also look forward to the roles that Jeff Woody and Shontrelle Johnson will play in the offense this week, and I'm looking for both Robinson and Johnson to exceed 100 yards rushing.
The defensive line has grown in leaps and bounds in the last two weeks, harassing Garret Gilbert and Quinn Mecham to no end. If Jake Lattimer and Co can break down the Nebraska Offensive line, it's going to be a long day for the Huskers. Martinez will still be a threat, but only if he's back to 100%, which I'm not convinced he will be. Without an offensive line, Roy Helu Jr. will not be able to match his performance last week. The ISU defense is much maligned, but I think they're better than they look in statistics. Particularly with Wally Burnham at the helm.
My pick: ISU 28, Nebraska 24