How fast is Taylor Martinez?
OK, we know he's fast. He might be the fastest Husker quarterback ever. But is he really as fast as Kansas State made him look? Remember that 80-yard touchdown run? By the time the KSU defenders collapsed to the inside to try and pick him up, he was beyond them and gone. Can his pure explosiveness actually allow him to do that against Texas, which has about as much speed on defense as Nebraska will see this year?
How good is Lavonte David?
We have seen him dominate up to this point, averaging a conference-best 12 tackles per game. Going back to the speed factor of a team like Texas, do those drive-killing tackles he is used to making, materialize as often as we saw against everyone prior to this game? We know he has great instincts for the ball. And he is definitely light on his feet. But this test against the Longhorns could cement his status this year as the best ballhawk in the league, perhaps the country.
Is the offensive line this good?
|The offensive line (Mike Caputo pictured) should get its toughest test to date.|
You can't average over 300 yards per game on the ground and not have a good offensive line. But can this line do the same thing to a stout Longhorn defense? Texas has the 19th best rush defense in the country, giving up an average of 114 yards per game. The Longhorns have allowed just two teams to eclipse the century mark in rushing yardage this year. Their best performance of the season came against pass-happy Texas Tech, where they allowed -14 yards. Their worst display came against the "Pistol" offense of UCLA, where they gave up 264 yards. Can the Husker offensive line blow Texas off the ball like they have done against everyone else?
Can the Huskers get penetration in the backfield?
Part of it has to do with facing more running teams than passing teams. But the questions about a Husker defense which ranks 50th in sacks and 108th in tackles for loss, persist. Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert can run, but it's barely a shadow of the running potential of predecessors like Colt McCoy and Vince Young. You have to think that if the Huskers are inclined to pin their ears back and go after someone, the sophomore quarterback should make a solid target and opportunity.
If the Huskers get behind, can they make it up?
The Huskers haven't been behind the entire season. That reminds one of the old option days. Another painful reminder is that if the team does get down in this contest, it's hard to make it up in an option attack. Nebraska has shown a penchant for the big play, short drives in terms of time and being able to smoothly go down the field. But again, they were doing that with a lead. If they get behind, can Nebraska regain the lead? How will Shawn Watson call a game from behind in the second half? How will Taylor Martinez adjust to being asked to pass more than throw? It's not to say that the Huskers will be faced with that in this game. But they could, and we haven't seen them in that situation yet.