September 15th, 2007
#1 USC (1 - 0) (0 -
#14 Nebraska (2 - 0) (0 -
The USC Trojans' offense has been a perennial force for the
better part of this decade. Once again this year, they field a talent rich
pool of athletes at nearly every position. Against Idaho two weeks ago,
the offense didn't show off much flash and didn't have to. Through one
game, the Trojans rank 45th nationally in total offense (420 yds), 76th in
passing (206 ypg), 48th in passing efficiency (132.95 rating), 28th rushing (214
ypg), 24th scoring offense (38 ppg), and 102nd in turnover margin (-2).
QB: Sr. John David Booty (21 of 32, 206 yds, 3 TD, 1
INT) is expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy this season, and has a slew
of good targets to get the ball out to. He should get back his biggest
target for this game, the 6'5" Patrick Turner. Booty did have a nice day
against Idaho two weeks ago, but didn't rack up the passing yards, as he played
just 3 quarters. Booty is backed up by So. Mark Sanchez and Sr. Michael
McDonald (1 of 2, 0 yds, 1 INT). McDonald served as the top reserve for
USC against Idaho with Sanchez battling a thumb injury. He wasn't very
sharp against Idaho in mop-up duty, but will probably not be seen this
week. Sanchez has been cleared to play this week, and will return to his
second string position.
RB: USC's plentiful stable of high
caliber running backs is one of the best in the nation. So. C.J. Gable (8
carries, 68 yds), So. Stafon Johnson (12 carries, 64 yds, 2 TDs), So. Allen
Bradford (8 carries, 15 yds), TFr. Joe McKnight (6 carries, 26 yds), and Sr.
Desmond Reed (5 carries, 36 yds) all carried the rock for the Trojans against
Idaho. One bonus this week will be the return of Sr. Chauncey Washington,
a pounding back who has been cleared and is ready to go after coming back from a
shoulder injury. The running backs saw limited opportunities in the
passing game two weeks ago, as they combined for 3 catches for 23 yards and a
touchdown. Most of these guys can be game breakers and will face their
first big test of the season this week. At Fullback, RFr. Stanley Havili
(1 carry, 10 yds) starts. Havili is an outstanding talent that will be
counted on for his good hands. Against Idaho, he caught 5 passes for 22
yards and a touchdown.
WR/TE: The USC receiving corps
is big, young, and fast. There is a lot of talent here, but is lacking the
experience they have had in the past. The crew is led by Jr. Patrick
Turner at SE and RFr. David Ausberry (5 catches, 46 yds) at FL. Turner
should be back this week after missing the season opener with injury. Top
reserves include Sr. Brad Walker (2 catches, 22 yds), So. Vidal Hazelton (4
catches, 44 yds, 1 TD), and TFr. Ronald Johnson. Hazelton took over for
Turner against Idaho and he played very well in Turner's absence.
Ausberry, Turner, and Hazelton are all over 6'3". This is one of the most
talented groups of wide receivers in the nation and gives opponents difficult
match-up problems. At tight end, Sr. Fred Davis (2 catches, 49 yds) is a
quality deep threat for the Trojans, while back-up Sr. Dale Thompson has good
hands, and is an excellent blocker.
OL: The USC offensive
line should be one of the best in the nation this year, however, will still be
without starting center, Sr. Matt Spanos (6'5", 305 lbs) who is out with
recovering from a triceps injury. Starting at center again this week will
be TFr. Kristofer O'Dowd (6'5", 300 lbs), who will be in for his first road
test. Starting at tackle is Sr. Sam Baker (6'5", 305 lbs) at left, and Sr.
Drew Radovich (6'5", 305 lbs) on the right. So. Charles Brown (6'6", 290
lbs) will also play a lot at RT. At guard is Jr. Jeff Byers (6'4", 285
lbs) on the left side, with Jr. Chilo Rachal (6'5", 315 lbs) starting on the
right. Against Idaho, the line made way for 5 yards per rush for the
offense, while giving up 1 sack.
Southern Cal's defense looked good against Idaho for the most
part, but was not without their struggles. The USC defense ranks 19th
nationally in total defense (253 ypg), 31st pass defense (155 ypg), 17th pass
efficiency defense (82.90 rating), 38th rush defense (98 ypg), and 13th in
scoring defense (10 ppg).
DL: USC's defensive line is
also considered one of the country's best this season. The Trojans allowed
Idaho a 3.1 yard per carry average in the season opener. Starting on the
line at end will be Sr. Lawrence Jackson (3 tackles, 1 PBU) on the left, and a
combination of TFr. Everson Griffen and Jr. Kyle Moore (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF,
1 FR, 1 PBU) on the right. Backing up Jackson at LE is Sr. Alex
Morrow. Starting at nose tackle is Sr. Sedrick Ellis (4 tackles, 2
PBU). His back-up is So. Averell Spicer (1 sack). At defensive
tackle is Jr. Fili Moala (2 tackles), with RFr. Derek Simmons (1 tackle) serving
as his back-up. Ellis and Jackson are All-American candidates and having
them return to USC for their Senior seasons was big for the
LB: USC has what is probably the best group of
linebackers you'll find anywhere. Starting at MLB is Jr. Rey Maualuga (4
tackles), a big, hard hitting linebacker that dominates the field. At SLB
will likely be Jr. Clay Matthews (4 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 BK), unless Jr. Brian
Cushing is ready to go, which is still up in the air. Sr. Keith Rivers (6
tackles, 1 PBU) starts at WLB. Top reserves in the linebacking corps
include Sr. Thomas Williams (3 tackles), So. Luther Brown (4 tackles), and TFr.
Chris Galippo (2 tackles) at MLB, along with Jr. Kaluka Maiava at WLB.
With Cushing in the starting line-up, this is definitely a stronger group, so it
will be interesting to see if he is ready to go for Saturday. Matthews did
an admirable job in his absence, however, in the season opener against
DB: Southern Cal's defensive backfield is definitely
talented, but suffered a tough break this week, as Jr. Josh Pinkard will be out
for the remainder of the season after injuring his knee. Starters this
week at cornerback are Jr. Cary Harris (2 tackles) at LCB and Sr. Terrell Thomas
(4 tackles) at RCB. So. Shareece Wright (4 tackles) will now back up
Harris, while So. Vincent Joseph is Thomas' back-up. This group will
really need to step up their level of play with Pinkard out. At safety,
Jr. Kevin Ellison (3 tackles, 1 PBU) starts at SS and Jr. Mozique McCurtis (3
tackles) is the top reserve. So. Taylor Mays (5 tackles starts at FS, with
TFr. Marshall Jones now as his back-up. This is a big group of defensive
backs, as Joseph is the only player under 6'. Pinkard played at corner and
safety and will be missed, to what extent will depend on how high the rest of
this unit can turn it up.
USC Special Teams
special teams units were solid against Idaho, but will need to be more explosive
in the future weeks. The Trojans rank 47th in net punting (36.5 yd avg),
71st in punt returns (7.5 yd avg), and 75th in kickoff returns (20.50 yd avg).
K: Jr. David Buehler starts at place kicker for the
Trojans. Against Idaho, he hit his only field goal attempt, from 36 yards
out. He showed a big leg, averaging 67.3 yards on 7 kickoffs with 4 going
P: Jr. Greg Woidneck handles
punting duties for USC. He punted 2 times for an average of 43 yards
against Idaho. None of his punts were downed inside of Idaho's
KR/PR: USC's return game wasn't very explosive in their season
opener two weeks ago. So. Vincent Joseph (2 returns, 20.5 yd avg) and Sr.
Desmond Reed handle kickoff return duties. Reed also takes care of punt
returns for the Trojans (4 returns, 7.5 yd avg).
Trojans' kick coverage team was very good against Idaho, allowing just 16.3
yards per return on 3 kickoff return attempts. Punt coverage was also very
good, with the Vandals getting just 6.5 yards on two returns.
Nebraska's offense is
talented and pretty deep at most positions. After a great showing in the
season opener, they struggled to find consistency against Wake Forest last
week. After two games, Nebraska ranks 17th nationally in total offense
(499), 50th in passing (235 ypg), 66th in pass efficiency (118.02 rating), 14th
in rushing (264 ypg), 28th in scoring offense (36 ppg), and 71st in turnover
QB: Sr. Sam Keller (38 for 66, 193
yds, 2 TD, 3 INT) hasn't seemed to find his groove through two games.
Keller looked at times like a wild eyed freshman against Wake Forest last week,
overthrowing a number of wide open receivers, a few of which could have easily
gone for touchdowns. On the positive side, he led the Husker offense down
the field late in the second quarter to take the lead before halftime, capped
off with a nice touchdown pass. His quarterback rating is also sulking due
to numerous dropped passes over the first two games. Jr. Joe Ganz (1 for
1, 19 yds) is Nebraska's top back-up and saw action in mop-up duty in the
season opener against Nevada.
RB: Jr. Marlon Lucky (54 carries,
323 yds, 4 TDs) is Nebraska's top running back and sits solidly at third
nationally in rushing. Lucky has proved that he can be the every-down back
for Nebraska this season. TFr. Quentin Castille (24 carries, 106 yds, 2
TDs), is a power back that hits the hole hard and is physically
impressive. Jr. Cody Glenn (8 carries, 36 yds), another power back, runs
hard, but has had foot problems. TFr. Roy Helu (6 carries, 26 yds) and So.
Major Culbert (5 carries, 35 yds, 1 TD) are other reserves that have seen
carries this season, and should continue to see the ball throughout the
season. This is a very good group of running backs, and there aren't
tremendous drop-offs between each back. The running backs do see lot of
passes in this offense, with Marlon Lucky having the best hands of the group,
catching 7 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown this season. Sr. Andy Sand
is the starter at FB, and will rarely touch the ball in Callahan's offense, but
is as a quality blocker. Sand has one reception for 15 yards through two
WR/TE: Nebraska's receivers continue to struggle two
games into the season. Dropped passes are the biggest problem this
year. The other pressing issue is that there hasn't been anyone jump into
the go-to-guy role. Starting Z receiver, Sr. Terrence Nunn (8 catches, 119
yds) still needs to show that he can be a consistent threat on the field.
Behind Nunn is Sr. Frantz Hardy (3 catch, 44 yds), the fastest of the Nebraska
receivers, but has had problems holding onto the football. Starting at X
is Jr. Nate Swift (7 catches, 73 yds), who has done well this season. Sr.
Maurice Purify (3 catches, 30 yds), however, will probably assume the role of
starter at X at some point this season. His rust showed last week,
dropping passes and not running crisp routes. Jr. Todd Peterson (1 catch,
8 yds), has consistent hands and will be used often for his good size
(6'4"). Sr. Dan Erickson (1 catch, 19 yds), So. Menelik Holt, and TFr.
Niles Paul (1 catch, 6 yds) are also in the mix. Tight end has been weak
for a few seasons, and still is not quite where they need to be. Starting
TE, Sr. J.B. Phillips and top reserve Jr. Josh Mueller are not gamebreakers and
have yet to see a pass this year. RFr Dreu Young (1 catch, 14 yds), Sr.
Sean Hill (1 catch, 25 yds, 1 TD), Jr. Hunter Teafatiller (3 catches, 21 yds),
and Mike McNeil (1 catch, 25 yds), however, have all caught passes in their
OL: The Huskers' offensive line has been
excellent in pass protection through two games, not allowing one sack. Run
blocking was phenomenal against Nevada, but was a little shaky against Wake
Forest After two games, they are allowing the backs 5.1 yards per
carry. Starting at tackle is Sr. Carl Nicks (6'5", 330 lbs) at LT, and Jr.
Lydon Murtha (6'7", 310 lbs) at RT. RFr. Mike Smith (6'6", 290 lbs) and
RFr. D.J. Jones (6'5", 310 lbs) will see their share of snaps as the top tackle
reserves. Jr. Andy Christensen (6'3", 300 lbs) will start at LG with Jr.
Matt Slauson (6'5", 335 lbs) starting at RG. Sr. Jordan Picou (6'3", 300
lbs.) backs up Christensen, while Jr. Mike Huff (6'4", 300 lbs) is Nebraska's
top RG reserve. Sr. Brett Byford (6'3", 300 lbs) starts at center, and
does a nice job. These linemen move around a lot as Huff has played RG and
LG, Murtha has played LT and LG, and Slauson has played RT and RG. Nicks
will be the most important guy to watch, blocking QB Keller's blind side.
After an average outing last week, they will look to get better against even
stiffer competition this week.
Nebraska's defense, like the offense, was outstanding in the
season opener, but struggled in last week's game at Wake Forest. Nebraska
is currently 28th nationally in total defense (280.5 ypg), 12th pass defense
(124 ypg), 3rd pass efficiency defense (70.28 rating), 70th rush defense (156.5
ypg), and 20th in scoring defense (13.5 ppg). The Husker defense looked
undisciplined at times last week, taking poor angles and not knowing where to go
against Wake Forest's misdirection.
DL: Nebraska's defensive line
has been solid through two games. It has been difficult for opponents to
line up and run through the tackles against this front four. One area of
improvement though, is getting pressure without blitzing a LB. Jr. Barry
Turner (6 tackles, 0.5 sack, 2 QBH) starts at open end. He is the quickest
of the unit, a good pass rusher that that is improving against the run.
Starting at base end is Jr. Zach Potter (7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH), who has been
very active behind the line of scrimmage. Top reserves are Jr. Clayton
Sievers (1 tackle, 1 QBH) behind Turner, and RFr. Pierre Allen (1 tackle) behind
Potter. Jr. Ndamukong Suh (5 tackles) is a beast at nose tackle, with Jr.
Shukree Barfield (3 tackle) and Sr. Brandon Johnson sharing back-up
duties. So. Ty Steinkuhler, starter at defensive tackle, is battling a
knee injury and has been replaced by Jr. Kevin Dixon (3 tackles, 1 INT), who has
done a nice job. Nebraska is holding opponents to 4.1 yards per carry,
which went up after a mediocre showing against Wake Forest.
Nebraska's linebacking corps is talented and quick, but looked slow footed
against the many misdirection plays Wake Forest ran a week ago. Jr. Corey
McKeon (9 tackles, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 1 PBU) is in his third season as starter at MLB
for the Huskers. Back-up So. Phillip Dillard (8 tackles, 1 QBH) is starter
quality linebacker that sees a lot of action. Sr. Bo Ruud (5 tackles)
starts at SLB, while Jr. Steve Octavien (11 tackles, 0.5 sack, 2 QBH, 1 PBU)
starts at WLB. Octavien has had an injury riddled career, but is showing
to be a player now that he is healthy. Sr. Lance Brandenburgh (4 tackles),
is the top back-up for both Octavien and Ruud. This group really struggled last
week to play misdirection and bootlegs, but started staying home in the second
half, which helped stop the leaks that were occurring.
Nebraska's secondary has done well over the first two games. However, much
like the rest of the defense, this unit struggled to play against Wake Forest's
misdirection and bootleg plays, resulting in some broken down coverages.
Sr. Cortney Grixby (6 tackles, 2 PBU), is in year four as a starter at
WCB. He is just 5'9" but has a great vertical leap and doesn't miss many
tackles Jr. Armando Murillo (8 tackles, 2 PBU) starts at LCB, and back-up
Sr. Andre Jones (2 tackles, 1 PBU) also sees a good share of plays. Sr.
Zack Bowman (8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 QBH), who missed all of 2006 with a knee injury
and suffered a knee injury in spring ball this year, is getting back to form,
making a crucial interception in the fourth quarter against Wake Forest last
week. Sr. Tierre Green (5 tackles, 1 PBU) starts at FS and So. Larry
Asante (13 tackles, 1 PBU) is the starter at SS. Green suffered a neck
injury last week and is listed as day-to-day. So. Rickey Thenarse (2
tackles) and Sr. Ben Eisenhart (5 tackles) see time at FS as reserves, while Sr.
Bryan Wilson (2 tackles) is the top reserve at SS. This crew has yet to
give up a touchdown pass.
Nebraska Special Teams
special teams are looking to be a strength for the team. Their punt return
game has been poor, however. The Huskers are ranked 8th in net punting
(40.71 yd avg), 95th in punt returns (4.67 yd avg), and 32nd in kickoff returns
(24.43 yd avg).
K: TFr. Adi Kunalic (1 for 1, 46 yd
lng) handles kickoffs and long field goals. Kunalic's monster leg pushed
through 7 of 14 kickoffs for touchback, with a 68.1 yard average. RFr.
Alex Henery handles short field goals (2 for 2, 22 yd lng) and extra
P: Jr. Dan Titchener has continued to do well after a
solid season last year. He is averaging 44.9 yards on 7 punts with a long
of 51. He has above average leg power, with solid
KR/PR: Nebraska's kick return game
has been of good quality, however, the punt return game needs some work.
Seniors Andre Jones and Cortney Grixby (6 kick returns, 27.3 yd avg) are the top
kickoff return team. Seniors Cortney Grixby (3 punt returns, 1.3 yd avg)
and Terrence Nunn (1 return, 0 yd avg) are the top punt returners, however,
Andre Jones (1 return, 24 yd avg) had the best return of the
Coverage: Nebraska's coverage teams have done an
average job through two games. The kick coverage unit allowed an average
of 22.6 yards on 7 kickoff returns, while the punt return coverage team allowed
a 7.2 yard average on 4 punt returns.
Nebraska's Offense vs. USC's
Nebraska's offense will look for continued improvement
and will need to get it this week against a tough USC defense. QB Sam
Keller will need to be the star of the show after having difficulties getting
into gear in the first two games. Nebraska's receivers continued to drop
some passes last week, something that must be stopped for them to help out
Keller. Nebraska's receivers did a better job at getting open last week,
however, Keller overthrew many of them. USC's defensive backfield must do
without do-it-all Josh Pinkard. The Trojans have pretty good depth to
replace him, but no one at his abilities or experience. USC will hope that
Keller plays the same way he has in his first two games.
games, the Huskers have converted 33% of their third downs and 90% in red zone
scoring. The Huskers were atrocious on 3rd downs last week, however,
converting just 20%. Nebraska's ground attack was stagnant at times
against Wake Forest, but RB Marlon Lucky did manage 90 yards rushing for the
day. Nebraska's offensive line is doing a fine job, especially in pass
protection. Rush blocking wasn't as solid last week, but they were facing
a very good defensive front. Idaho converted just 24% of their 3rd downs
against USC two weeks ago, while The Trojans had 7 tackles for loss, including 2
sacks. USC will likely be without LB Brian Cushing this week, which could
hurt the Trojan defense.
In the trenches, Nebraska's offensive line is
bigger, but USC's boasts a quick defensive line with good size to match.
Nebraska's average offensive lineman is 6'4", 309 lbs, while USC's average
defensive lineman stands at 6'4", 286 lbs. Nebraska's Marlon Lucky will be
looking for this game to make him a household name, and it will be tough to do
if the offensive line doesn't do a better job than they did against Wake Forest
a week ago. This will be a key battle to watch, because Nebraska was not
able to garner a rushing attack against USC last season and it hurt
USC's Offense vs. Nebraska's Defense
look for QB John David Booty to lead USC to another tough road victory.
Booty will want to put up some big numbers against Nebraska in the national
spotlight to get his name buzzing about the Heisman again. The Trojans
have as good of talent as anyone in the country at wide receiver, and with the
return of Patrick Turner, could give Nebraska fits all night long.
Nebraska's defensive backfield is much stronger than they were a year ago
against USC, and it should end up showing in box score by the evening's
end. They haven't played receivers of this caliber yet this year, and that
match-up will be key for the outcome of this game. USC's third down
conversion percentage against Idaho was 47%, and had a solid 86% red zone
The Trojans' running backs were fine against Idaho,
earning just 5.5 yards per carry, although the Vandals aren't generally known
for great defense. USC has a multitude of backs they can use and there
isn't much drop-off between them. Chauncey Washington's return could be a
big one, as he is a bruising tailback that the Trojans could definitely
use. Nebraska's had a tough time in the oppressive heat at Wake Forest
last week. They came up big when they needed to and were tough to run
north and south on through the game. Wake Forest did find success,
however, running misdirection, as the Huskers' linebackers and defensive backs
were constantly out of position, especially in the first half. Nebraska
has earned 13 tackles for loss and 2 sacks through two games. Nebraska's
3rd down defense is allowing opponents to convert on 30% of their attempts.
USC's average offensive lineman is 6'5", 302 lbs, while Nebraska's
average defensive lineman stands in at 6'4", 284 lbs. The Trojans are
without C Matt Spanos again this week, and LT Sam Baker is battling a nagging
injury, but will play. Nebraska's defensive front is young and has its own
injury problems with DT Ty Steinkuhler trying to come back after a knee injury
in the season opener. Nebraska's front four hasn't been a dominant force,
and needs to do a better job of getting into the backfield. Idaho was able
to get four tackles behind the line and earn a sack in the season opener against
USC. The battle everyone will be watching is USC C Kristofer O'Dowd
against Nebraska NT Ndamukong Suh.
Keys to the
For Nebraska to Win:
1.) QB Sam Keller
needs to be much improved over his first two games.
2.) Holes must be present
in the run game and pass protection needs to stay consistent against a nastier,
faster defense this week.
3.) Turnovers will be critical. Nebraska
cannot afford to turn them over, and must force a few away from USC.
Special teams need to remain solid.
5.) No defensive breakdowns, especially
in the defensive backfield.
For USC to Win:
care of the football.
2.) Shut down Nebraska RB Marlon Lucky, he has been
their top play-maker.
3.) Get into the Nebraska backfield and put the
pressure on Sam Keller, who has been struggling, even with time to throw.
Defensive backfield must pick it up to replace injured Josh Pinkard.
Improved special teams performance.
Report for Nebraska vs. USC
Latest Line - USC by
Special Teams: Nebraska
FS - Tierre
Green - neck - questionable
DT - Ty Steinkuhler - knee - day-to-day
Kenny Wilson - leg - out for season
DB - Josh Pinkard -
knee - out for season
OT - Sam Baker - ribs - day-to-day
LB - Brian
Cushing - leg - doubtful
WR - Patrick Turner - leg - probable
C - Matt
Spanos - triceps - day-to-day
DE - Trey Henderson - knee - Early
Game Breakdown & Outlook
This is the fourth
meeting between Nebraska and USC. USC currently enjoys a 2-1-0 record
against the Huskers. This will be the first meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska
since 1969. Last season's meeting between these teams saw USC defeating
the Huskers 28-10 in Los Angeles. Nebraska enters this game following a
hard fought 20-17 victory over Wake Forest last week, while USC had a week off
after beating Idaho two weeks ago, 38-10.
Nebraska's offense had a
difficult outing in Winston-Salem last week and a lot of that had to do with a
very good Wake Forest team as well as the sweltering heat the Huskers
encountered. The humidity was thick and caused Nebraska to look a little
lethargic. Star WR Maurice Purify returned, but wasn't a huge factor as
his route running was rusty and he dropped a few passes that should have been
caught. Look for him to play a better game at home this week.
Nebraska's running backs are one of the better groups in the country thus far,
as they have 5 backs that they can count on to step in and play well. The
Huskers should run the ball with more success than they did a year ago due to
improved line play.
USC has a very good QB in John David Booty and he has
what it takes to put drives together and be a big difference maker in this
game. He wasn't at his best against Idaho, however, some of that may be
due to it being the first game of the season. His receivers are
outstanding playmakers that will cause match-up problems for every defense they
face this season. Nebraska's defensive backs are looking to be one of the
better units in the Big XII conference this season, as they have done very well
over the first two games. USC's running back crew, like Nebraska's, is
excellent and a little deeper. Nebraska will not be able to just arm
tackle these backs, or that score board will get lit up.
A lot of
questions have been asked about USC after their game against Idaho. Many
believe they do not look as strong as they have in recent memory, because they
didn't steamroll the Vandals. While there may not be a Reggie Bush, Steve
Smith, or Dwayne Jarrett in their line-up, these Trojans are still
explosive. They played a very simple offensive attack with the starters
through three quarters, then let the reserves finish the game off.
Questions have also risen on Nebraska after their struggle against Wake Forest
last week. That was a tough fought win on the road in miserable heat that
the Huskers were not used to playing in. If there is more to it than that,
we will find out this week.
For Nebraska, a win Saturday will be a
message to everyone that the Huskers are back in the nation's elite. It's
been six seasons since Nebraska was mentioned with national championship
aspirations, and this game could vault them back into that talk. A loss
will not be the end of the world for the Huskers, but will certainly not feel
good, especially with all the build up to this game. A win for USC should
keep them at #1, fending off LSU and Oklahoma for now, however, a loss could
hurt Booty's Heisman chances, and would definitely hurt the Trojans' chances to
appear in the national title game.
Playing at home will be a big
advantage for Nebraska, but it will take more than a home crowd to beat a highly
talented team like USC. Nebraska will need to run the ball, and get more
than the 1.8 yards per rush they earned in last year's game. If Nebraska
is able to get over 3 yards per carry, the game will be competitive. If
Sam Keller finally starts to click this week, he could put up some good numbers
against a weakened USC defensive backfield. USC simply needs to play smart
football and to not turn the ball over, allowing Nebraska to capture momentum
and keep the crowd into it. USC is a tough team to pick against.
They are a more talented team than Nebraska, although they aren't perfect.
Nebraska will have to play a near perfect game to win, and they haven't been
good enough in the passing game to think it'll suddenly turn on this week.
USC should win this one, but it will likely be a close game.
USC - 28
Nebraska - 20
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