Husker Tornado's Game Preview

Check out our latest game preview as the Nebraska Cornhuskers travel down to Stillwater to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

GAME NINE - October 28th, 2006

- 2:30 PM CT - ABC(TV) - Stillwater, OK

#20 NEBRASKA (6 - 2)

VS

OKLAHOMA STATE (4 - 3)

Player Breakdowns

Oklahoma State Offense

The Oklahoma State Cowboys enter this week's game with Nebraska following a 33-34 overtime loss to Texas A&M. The Cowboys are averaging 421.71 yards in total offense, placing them 12th in the nation. Oklahoma State currently ranks 41st in passing (218.43 ypg), 5th in passing efficiency (169.41 rating), 10th rushing (203.29 ypg), 7th scoring offense (37.43 ppg), and 53rd in turnover margin (+ 0.14). Second year head coach Mike Gundy has his offense running very well and very balanced.

QB: So. Bobby Reid (81 of 136, 1387 yds, 17 TDs, 6 INTs) had run the Cowboys' offense as well as anyone could expect this season. Reid is a great talent that is a true dual threat. He has rushed for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns on 60 carries. Reid was knocked out of last week's game with Texas A&M after suffering a mild concussion. He is expected to start Saturday, though. Back-up RFr. Zac Robinson (11 of 26, 142 yds, 3 TDs) played well after Reid left last week's game, throwing for three touchdowns.

RB: The Cowboys are stacked with young talent at running back, as So. starter Mike Hamilton (81 carries, 489 yds, 4 TDs) leads the group. Hamilton has an impressive combination of speed and power, as he has rushed over opponents with a 6 yard per carry average. He is also a dangerous receiver catching 5 passes for 43 yards. His receiver role has declined from a season ago, however. Behind him are a pair of quality backs that have done an excellent job in their reserve roles. TFr. Keith Totson (58 carries, 308 yds, 2 TDs) is similar in size to Hamilton, however, has slightly quicker feet. Totson has added 4 catches for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. Oklahoma State's other top back is Jr. Dantrell Savage (35 carries, 300 yds, 2 TDs). Savage is a JUCO transfer, the fastest of the running backs, and gained 134 yards last week against Texas A&M, averaging over 10 yards per carry. So. Fullback John Johnson has touched the ball exclusively as a receiver in short yardage, catching 4 passes for 31 yards and 3 touchdowns.

WR/TE: The Pokes' receiving corps is one of the best in the conference, led by the outstanding North Carolina transfer, Jr. Adarius Bowman (36 catches, 791 yds, 9 TDs). Bowman is 6'4", 220 lbs. and he uses that size to his advantage ranking second nationally in receiving yards. Bowman exploded two weeks ago against Kansas, catching 13 balls for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sr. D'Juan Woods (16 catches, 269 yds, 4 TDs) has also been excellent this season, finishing up his great career in the top three in receiving in Oklahoma State history. So. Ricky Price (3 catches, 82 yds) and Jr. Tommy Devereaux (3 catches, 37 yds) have played small roles in the offense this year, however, both have great speed. At TE, So. Brandon Pettigrew (13 catches, 157 yds, 2 TDs) has been a dangerous threat for the Cowboy offense.

OL: The Oklahoma State offensive line has played fairly well this season. The Cowboy line is doing a nice job assisting the run game, as they average 5.2 yards per rush. Through seven games, the line has allowed 10 sacks. Starting for the line at tackle is RFr. Brady Bond (6'6", 285 lbs) at left, and Sr. Corey Hilliard (6'6", 315 lbs) on the right. At guard is Jr. David Koenig (6'5", 290 lbs) on the left side, while Sr. Kurt Seifried (6'4", 300 lbs) resides on the right. Finally, starting at center is So. David Washington (6'3", 310 lbs).


Oklahoma State Defense

Coming into Oklahoma State's eighth game of the season, the Cowboy defense ranks 68th nationally in total defense (341.57 ypg), 59th pass defense (197 ypg), 87th pass efficiency defense (136.31 rating), 75th rush defense (144.57 ypg), and 62nd in scoring defense (22.29 ppg). This unit had a difficult time containing Texas A&M last week, who compiled over 423 yards of offense against them.

DL: The Oklahoma State defensive line is allowing opponents 3.8 yards per rush. This is a veteran group, with Seniors at all four starting spots. At defensive end is Sr. Darnell Smith (14 tackles, 1 FR, 1 QBH) on the left, and Sr. Victor DeGrate (32 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PBU) on the right. DeGrate has been named to the Ted Hendricks Award watch list, given annually to the nation's top defensive end. Top back-ups include Jr.'s Nathan Peterson (17 tackles, 5 sacks1 FR, 4 QBH) and Marque Fountain (19 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF). Sr. Ryan McBean (10 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 FR, 1 QBH) starts at DT, and Sr. Larry Brown (12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 blkd kick) is the starting NG. Back-ups for the interior defensive line include Sr. Xavier Lawson-Kennedy (5 tackles) and So. Jeray Chatham (2 tackles).

LB: Starting at MLB for the Cowboys is Jr. Rodrick Johnson (33 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FR,1 PBU). His 6'3", 250 lb. frame combined with above average speed make him the best linebacker on the team. He is backed up by So. Marcus Brown (13 tackles), who sat out all of last year after transferring from Air Force. On the outside, So. Alex Odiari (12 tackles, 1.5 sacks) and TFr. Patrick Lavine (31 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU) start. Top outside linebacker reserves include Jr.'s Jeremy Nethon (24 tackles, 0.5 sack, 3 PBU) and Zach Carter (5 tackles). Original starter, TFr. Chris Collins (31 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR, 2 PBU, 1 blkd kick) suffered a season ending knee injury against Kansas, which has weakened the unit.

DB: While not the strongest unit on the defense, Oklahoma State's defensive backs are young and have been susceptible to a good passing attack. Starting at cornerback Jr. Martel Van Zant (29 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 PBU) and So. Jacob Lacey (24 tackles, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 2 PBU). Top back-ups include TFr. Perrish Cox (9 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBU) and So. Quinton Moore (15 tackles, 1 FR, 1 PBU). Cox has looked fantastic for a true freshman, showing the promise of a budding star. At safety, Jr. Donovan Woods (36 tackles, 1 INT, 2 FF) starts at FS, with So. Calvin Mickens (6 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU) backing him up. RFr. Andre Sexton (48 tackles, 2 FF, 1 QBH) starts at SS, as Sr. Grant Jones (13 tackles, 1 PBU) backs him up. They will be up against the best passing team this season since the Houston game where they gave up over 300 yards of passing offense.


Oklahoma State Special Teams

The Cowboys' special team units have been excellent this season, especially in the return phase. Oklahoma State currently ranks 46th in net punting (36.15 yd avg), 10th in punt returns (15.83 yd avg), and 1st in kickoff returns (30.37 yd avg).

K: So. Jason Ricks has made 6 of 8 field goals on the season, with a long of 53 yards. Jr. Bruce Redden handles kickoffs and is averaging 63 yards, with 16 of his 46 kickoffs downed for a touchback.

P: So. Matt Fodge has done an impressive job this season, punting 25 times for an average of 49.2 yards. 6 of his 25 punts have been downed inside of the opponents' 20.

KR/PR: Handing kickoff returns has predominantly been TFr. Parrish Cox (11 returns, 31.4 yd avg) and Sr. Grant Jones (5 returns, 39 yd avg). On punt returns, TFr. Parrish Cox (20 returns, 13.9 yd avg) and Jr. Tommy Devereaux (2 returns, 37.5 yd avg) have been making big plays.

Coverage: The Oklahoma State kick coverage team is allowing 23.8 yards per return on 29 kickoffs. Opponents are averaging just 13.9 yards per punt return on 15 returns, and the Cowboys have given up one touchdown on a punt return.



Nebraska Offense

Nebraska enters Saturday's game with the Oklahoma State Cowboys following a heartbreaking 20-22 loss to Texas. Nebraska's 434.88 yards per game puts them 10th in the nation in total offense. The Cornhuskers also rank 19th in passing (248.38 ypg), 4th in pass efficiency (172.92 rating), 18th in rushing (186.50 ypg), 11th in scoring offense (34.88 ppg), and 24th in turnover margin (+ 0.63). Nebraska will look to increase their rushing output after struggling against a stout Texas defensive front last week.

QB: Sr. Zac Taylor (122 of 192, 1824 yds, 16 TDs, 3 INTs) has played well this season, coming up big in the second half of the Texas game last week after a spotty first half. When the offensive line refuses defensive penetration, Taylor can pick apart any defense you throw his way. Unfortunately, offensive line play for the Huskers has not been nearly as consistent as needed to get to the top level. Still, Taylor has a tendency to try too hard to make a play for the team, and has forced passes into double coverage. He is one of the best QBs in the conference, as his passer rating of 167.72 indicates. He is, no doubt, the best QB in the Big XII at clock management. So. back-up Joe Ganz (6 for 12, 93 yds, 2 TDs) has looked decent in his three attempts at mop-up duties, but hasn't seen action since the Troy game.

RB: Nebraska's top four running backs get shuffled often, however, Jr. Brandon Jackson (72 carries, 402 yds, 3 TDs) has seemed to shoot to the top of the depth chart over the past month. Jackson has been showing his cut back abilities, as well as a penchant for breaking tackles over the past few games and has to be considered the top guy. So.'s Marlon Lucky (79 carries, 481 yds, 6 TDs) and Cody Glenn (64 carries, 344 yds, 6 TDs), formerly co-number ones, now appear to be co-number two's, however each see plenty of work. Lucky is the team's top home run threat, showing the best north-south speed, while Glenn is the top power back, tough to turn away in short yardage. Jr. Kenny Wilson (68 carries, 310 yds, 3 TDs) has been impressive on his carries, but has touched the ball just twice since the Kansas game. The backs are critical in the passing game as well, as Brandon Jackson has caught 12 passes for 152 yards and 1 touchdown, while Marlon Lucky has caught 13 passes for 123 yards. Lucky also threw a touchdown pass last week against Texas, making him one of the most dangerous weapons for the Husker offense. Sr. FB Dane Todd (2 catches, 9 yards, 1 TD) rarely touches the ball, but is a solid lead blocker.

WR/TE: Nebraska's receiving corps is one of the better in the conference top-to-bottom, with many deep threats. Jr. Maurice Purify (17 catches, 417 yards, 3 TDs) is the team's biggest target and has become the go to guy for QB Zac Taylor. Jr. Terrence Nunn (25 catches, 420 yds, 1 TD) and So. Nate Swift (12 catches, 208 yds, 1 TD) are top two on the depth chart, and although Nunn has been thrown to often, Swift has not been a big part of the offense in the last month. Jr. Frantz Hardy (9 catches, 221 yds, 3 TDs) is arguably the fastest wide-out, a threat to score every time he touches the ball. So. Todd Peterson (8 catches, 125 yds, 1 TD) is a tall receiver that has sure hands, but doesn't get many opportunities on the field. At TE, Sr. Matt Herian (12 catches, 150 yds, 2 TDs) has played well after missing a year and a half due to a broken leg, however, he has played tentatively after the catch. Jr. J.B. Phillips (12 catches, 75 yds, 2 TDs) is a solid second option at tight end.

OL: Nebraska's running backs are averaging 5.43 yards per carry, which dropped from 5.57 after averaging just 3.13 yards per carry against Texas last week. The Husker's offensive line play is improved over last season's line, although still tends to get beat by quick, athletic defensive linemen. Through seven games, the line has allowed 15 sacks. They have given up 8 combined in the past two weeks against Kansas State and Texas. Starting at the tackle positions are Jr. Chris Patrick (6'4", 290 lbs) at LT, and So. Matt Slauson (6'5", 335 lbs) at RT. So. Lydon Murtha (6'7", 315 lbs) and Jr. Carl Nicks (6'5", 325 lbs) will also shuffle in and see a number of snaps. Sr. Greg Austin (6'1", 295 lbs) starts at LG, while So. Mike Huff (6'4", 305 lbs) is at RG. Starting center, Sr. Kurt Mann (6'4", 290 lbs), has struggled with a viral infection for over a month, and is close to 100% now. Jr. Brett Byford (6'3", 300 lbs), will remain the starter in his place until Mann is ready to go.

Nebraska Defense

As the Blackshirt defense enters week eight, they rank 51st nationally in total defense (320.25 ypg), 80th pass defense (218.25 ypg), 29th pass efficiency defense (111.00 rating), 26th rush defense (102 ypg), and 15th in scoring defense (14.50 ppg). After playing very well against an outstanding Texas team, the Husker defense will look to carry some confidence into Stillwater.

DL: Nebraska's defensive line is led by Sr. Adam Carriker (27 tackles, 1 sack, 10 QBH, 2 PBU) at base end, and Jay Moore (24 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 QBH, 2 PBU) as the open end. Both Carriker and Moore had good days against the Longhorns a week ago. So. Barry Turner (12 tackles, 1 FR, 4 QBH, 1 PBU) is a quality back-up that has more quickness off the end than the other linemen. Sr.'s Ola Dagunduro (12 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 blkd kick) and Barry Cryer (21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 2 PBU) start at nose tackle and defensive tackle, respectively, and have played well this season. Back-up sophomore tackles Ndamukong Suh (15 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF) and Ty Steinkuhler (14 tackles,0.5 sack, 1 FF) will continue to see more action in the rotation, as both have looked impressive this season, especially Suh. This is one of the better starting front fours in the country, as Nebraska's opponents currently average 3.4 yards per carry.

LB: Nebraska's linebackers have been inconsistent this season, but played an excellent game against Texas last week. Starting at MLB is Jr. Corey McKeon (39 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 2 QBH, 2 PBU). Jr. Lance Brandenburgh (23 tackles, 0.5 sack) split time with McKeon last week due to McKeon's ankle injury, and played very well. Jr. Bo Ruud (44 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 FF, 2 QBH, 2 PBU) starts at WLB, with Jr. Steve Octavien (19 tackles, 1 FF, 1 PBU) backing him up. Octavien, who has been hampered with injuries this season, finally got into a full game last week and shined with 10 tackles. He is a dynamic player on the field, always flying to the ball. Sr. Stew Bradley (50 tackles, 1 FF, 2 FRs, 1 PBU, 5 QBH) starts at SLB, and does not have a healthy back-up. Brandenburgh has also served as Bradley's back-up this year.

DB: The much maligned defensive backfield for Nebraska has been the weakness of the defense, but outside of one or two busted coverages, they played well against Texas last week. Cortney Grixby (25 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR, 6 PBU) is in his third year as starter at WCB, while Jr. Andre Jones (40 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBU) is the starting SCB. Jones, a JUCO transfer, has done a nice job thus far in 1-A play, but isn't quite a shut down corner yet. Grixby is picked on because of his 5'9" frame. Opponents that are able to match a tall receiver against him typically have success. Both corners tend to give up first downs, due to the pillow soft zones, often giving a 5-8 yard cushion to the opposing receiver. Jr. Tierre Green (43 tackles, 1 FR, 1 PBU) starts at SS and Sr. Andrew Shanle (29 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 FF, 1 FR, 2 PBU, 4 QBH) is the starter at FS. True freshmen Rickey Thenarse (3 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU), Major Culbert (3 tackles), and Corey Young (9 tackles) are getting more playing time. Thenarse looks like he is going to be a future star for the defense, with his speed and hard hitting. Depth is a major concern as injuries have riddled the defensive backfield, limiting the types of coverages Nebraska can play.

Nebraska Special Teams

Nebraska's special teams play has been very average this year, no where near as prolific as they were last season. The Huskers rank 31st in net punting (37.11 yd avg), 57th in punt returns (8.79 yd avg), and 100th in kickoff returns (17.67 yd avg). Nebraska's problems returning the football attributed greatly to last week's loss to Texas.

K: So. Jordan Congdon is 2 for 3 on field goals, with a long of 38. On kickoffs, he averages just 57 yards on 41 attempts (4 touchbacks). He has an accurate leg, but power is the concern. So. Jake Wesch is expected to take over kickoff duties this week. He has averaged 60.7 yards per kickoff, with 1 of his 6 attempts going for a touchback.

P: So. Dan Titchener has played well through seven games. He is averaging 39.4 yards on 38 punts with a long of 53, having 16 punts downed inside the opponents' 20. He has a great leg, and his consistency appears to be increasing.

KR/PR: Jr. Brandon Jackson has a 20.2 yard average on his six returns, while Jr. Tierre Green has returned three kickoffs for an average of 19.7 yards, and Jr. Kenny Wilson has returned two punts, averaging 21 yards. Punt returning was a big issue last week, as Nebraska appeared unwilling to field a punt. This resulted in big Texas punts, pinning Nebraska deep. Jr. Terrence Nunn averages 8.5 yards on 18 punt returns and So. Nate Swift has returned 3 punts for an average of 16.7 yards. Nunn tends to fumble or bobble nearly every punt return, which has hurt field position.

Coverage: Nebraska's coverage teams have been mostly solid this season, if you take away Texas' Quan Cosby's 78 yard kickoff return that opened play last week. The Huskers kick coverage unit is allowing 16.9 yards on 41 kickoff returns, while the punt return coverage team is allowing a 6.7 yard average on 7 punt returns.


Nebraska's Offense vs. Oklahoma State's Defense

After struggling to find rushing room against the dominant Texas defensive front, the Huskers hope to have more success this week against the Cowboys. Oklahoma State, on the season, allows just under 342 yards per game. However, the Cowboys are giving up 413.50 yards per game over the past four games against teams with a pulse.

Oklahoma State's front four is the strength of their defense. All four starters are Seniors, and their success will largely depend upon DE Victor DeGrate's ability to get to QB Zac Taylor. Oklahoma State has earned 3 sacks in each of the past four games, and will be up against an inconsistent Nebraska offensive line that has given up 4 in each of the past two games.

Nebraska should have success running the football, as Houston, who put up 196 rushing yards against the Pokes, typically averages just 131 yards. Likewise, Kansas State rushed for 180 yards against the Cowboys, while their season average is just 122. With Nebraska's talent at running back, the Huskers could expect to get over 200 yards, much like Texas A&M gained a week ago.

Throwing the football could also be a success for the Cornhuskers if they are able to slow down the Oklahoma State pass rush. With the linebacking depth suspect, and one of the worst pass efficiency defenses in the country, the Cowboys could be in for a tough day. Nebraska was able to put up 302 yards through the air against a talented Texas defense, despite having a complete disaster of a second quarter. QB Zac Taylor will be able to take control of this game with enough time to throw, as Nebraska's receivers match up favorably against the Oklahoma State secondary.

Oklahoma State's Offense vs. Nebraska's Defense

Oklahoma State features a lot of no-huddle, keeping opposing defenses on their heels. They like to do a little of everything, from spreading out the wide receivers and throwing downfield, to running option with dual-threat QB Bobby Reid. The Oklahoma State Cowboys sport the Big XII conferences second best offense, trailing Nebraska by just 13.17 yards per game.

First and foremost, the Nebraska defense will need to get after Reid and take his mobility away, much like they were able to do with Bret Meyer at Iowa State. From there, the Huskers will look to shut down WR Adarius Bowman and TE Brandon Pettigrew, two of the biggest playmakers for the Cowboy offense. Nebraska's defense has been solid, holding Texas to 20 points below their average last week.

Oklahoma State's running game, with Mike Hamilton, Keith Totson, and Dantrell Savage has found success in nearly every game this season. Houston did the best job of shutting them down, as the Cougars held the Cowboy RB's to just 81 yards. However, they couldn't stop Bobby Reid when he was on the run, as he gained 85 yards, doubling the team's run total for that game. Reid's mobility has really helped this team become a more effective offense.

In the passing game, Reid has been better than advertised, with a 177.65 efficiency rating. His most frequent targets, WR's Adarius Bowman and D'Juan Woods, alongside TE Brandon Pettigrew have giving fits to opposing defenses. His accurate arm will give Nebraska's mediocre secondary major issues if there isn't much of a pass rush.

Keys to the Game

For Nebraska to Win:
1.) Establish running game. Goal of five yards per carry should get the job done.
2.) Shut down QB Bobby Reid's mobility factor. Don't let him beat you with his feet.
3.) No turnovers. Turnovers cost Nebraska the game against Texas last week.
4.) Pass Protection has to be there for QB Zac Taylor. If anything like last week's second quarter happens again, there will be major problems.
5.) Keep WR Adarius Bowman under control and under 100 yards.

For Oklahoma State to Win:
1.) Attack Nebraska's secondary early. Quick Out routes for 8-10 yards are successful against Nebraska.
2.) Nebraska has had trouble in recent history against quality mobile QBs. Get Reid in bootlegs, option passes, etc.
3.) Pressure QB Zac Taylor. He forced a terrible throw that was picked off last week under immense pressure.
4.) Whether it is Hamilton, Savage, or Totson, there must be an adequate run game.
5.) Commit to stopping Nebraska's running game.

Gametime Weather
Weather Report for Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State

Latest Line - Nebraska by 6.

Position Advantages:
Position/Advantage
QBs: Nebraska
RBs: Nebraska
WR/TE's: Nebraska
OL: Even
DL: Nebraska
LB: Nebraska
DB: Oklahoma State
Special Teams: Oklahoma State
Coaching: Nebraska

Injury Report
Nebraska:
CB - Zack Bowman - knee - out for season
CB - Isaiah Fluellen - knee - out for season
MLB - Phillip Dillard - knee - out for season
OLB - Nick Covey - knee - out for season
C - Kurt Mann - virus - probable
CB - Andre Jones - broken knuckle - probable

Oklahoma State:
LB - Chris Collins - knee - out for season
QB - Bobby Reid - concussion - day-to-day

Game Breakdown & Outlook

Nebraska and Oklahoma State split their last two games, each team winning at home. Of course, Bill Callahan wasn't Nebraska's coach, and Mike Gundy wasn't the head coach for Oklahoma State during those two games in 2002 and 2003. As a series, Nebraska holds a 36-3-1 all-time record over the Cowboys, with Oklahoma State winning just once since 1961.

An issue heading into this game that will affect both teams is how well they react to adversity. Both teams enter Saturday's game coming off heartbreaking losses. Oklahoma State lost in overtime to Texas A&M after having their extra point blocked. Nebraska lost in the final minute of their game with Texas, following a fumble after achieving a possible game winning first down. The team that best responds to their loss will have a big edge emotionally in this game.

Statistically, Nebraska and Oklahoma match-up evenly, as the Huskers have the Big XII's #1 offense and #8 defense, while Oklahoma State has the conference's #2 offense and #9 defense. The big difference is that Oklahoma State allows 22.29 points per game, while Nebraska allows just 14.90. What is more interesting is that the Cowboys have allowed no less than 31 points to each of its last four opponents, after chewing up Missouri State, Arkansas State, and Florida Atlantic.

A quick look at common opponents sees Oklahoma State defeating Kansas 42-32, while losing to Kansas State 27-31. Nebraska defeated Kansas 39-32 in overtime, and defeated Kansas State 21-3.

Nebraska will be the best offensive team that Oklahoma State has seen this season. If the Cowboys want to win, they will have to follow what USC and Texas did to Nebraska. That is, to stop Nebraska run game. USC and Texas held Nebraska to under 2 yards per rush, taking sacks into consideration. Both teams were able to put pressure on Zac Taylor and clog up all gaps, eliminating running lanes. Although Oklahoma State doesn't have the talent of a USC or Texas, that doesn't necessarily mean they can't slow the Husker run game down. It is unlikely they'll be able to get it under 2 or even 3 yards per carry, but the one thing the Cowboys cannot afford is to give up the big 20-plus yard runs that Nebraska has had a tendency to break.

Oklahoma State will also be mindful of Zac Taylor, who is one of the top rated QB's in the country. With Nebraska's more than capable group of receivers, this will prove to be a handful for the Cowboys' defensive backfield. Maurice Purify, who is turning into Nebraska's best receiving threat, will be a difficult match-up for CB's Martel Van Zant and Jacob Lacey.

Oklahoma State will likely have their best chance to win this game if it turns into a shootout. Adarius Bowman has proved through seven games that he is one of the nation's best receivers, and would love to have another big day Saturday. QB Bobby Reid has a number of quality receivers to throw to, and could have a very big day if Nebraska can not contain him. Don't underscore the abilities of the Cowboy running backs, as the top three are all capable of breaking big runs.

This game should be run similarly to Nebraska's past two road games. Look for Nebraska to establish the ground game, win the time of possession battle, and keep this a lower scoring game. Oklahoma State won't have enough possessions to turn this into a high scoring shootout, but should still be able to put a few scoring drives together. The fact that Oklahoma State's defense appears to be soft when met with even mediocre offenses such as Kansas State does not bode well for the Cowboys. The Huskers know they can't afford to lose any more conference games if they intend on reaching their goals of winning the Big XII North division and getting a re-match with Texas in Kansas City. There won't be a slip up Saturday, Nebraska wins by about 10.


Nebraska - 27
Oklahoma State - 17


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