With the most anticipated game of the season thus far coming up tomorrow, I found a writer from the Nebraska Scout site, BigRedReport.com and asked him a few questions about his team.
InsideMizzou: What has impressed you the most about the Huskers in their 3-1 start?
Chris Emma: The most impressive part of Nebraska's start has been Roy Helu. Helu has averaged 6.4 yards per carry in the first four games, and helps balance Nebraska's offense.
IM: How important is this game for Nebraska to prove that they are a legitimate force in college football once again?
CE: This game is a big game for the Huskers for numerous reasons. Nebraska has struggled on the national stage in recent years, so a win would be huge for national perception. Also, the Huskers need to win every game in the Big 12 North if they'd like to play in the Big 12 Championship. Losing against Missouri would be a big blow to those hopes.
IM: What have you seen from Zac Lee thus far? Can he carry the offense if Helu is hindered by his reported sickness?
CE: So far this season, Zac Lee has proven that he can be one of the top QB's in the Big 12. Lee has the physical tools to take over a game, and has shown that he is mentally tough. On another note, Helu sat out as a precautionary on Tuesday, and will play in the game.
IM: What do you think the Huskers need to do to stop the talented offense of Missouri?
CE: The key for the Huskers is to get consistant pressure on Blaine Gabbert, and force him to make quick throws. Gabbert hasn't faced a defense like Nebraska's defense so far, and the Huskers need to force him to make mistakes. Also, Nebraska needs to avoid giving up a big play. If the Blackshirt defense can do those things, they will shut down Missouri's offense.
IM: What weakness on the Huskers will hurt them the most against Mizzou?
CE: A potential problem for Nebraska is how Zac Lee will handle a hostile road environment. Lee struggled in his first road start while playing at Virginia Tech, so it will be interesting to see how Lee can handle the rowdy crowd in Columbia.
IM: What is your key matchup for the game?
CE: The key matchup will simply be Blaine Gabbert against Nebraska's defense. Since taking over as starting QB, Gabbert has yet to face a defense as talented as the Huskers defense. He will have to make quick decisions and avoid making costly mistakes. On the other side, Nebraska will have to bring pressure on Blaine Gabbert, and play tight coverage on the Tiger WR's to force turnovers.
IM: Finally, what is your score prediction?
CE: Nebraska: 24
Zac Lee will lead the Huskers down field for a final minute score, and bring Nebraska a huge victory.
IM:Thanks to Chris for taking time out to answer these questions! Columbia is buzzing with excitement for this game and I'm sure it will be a great one.