11:00 AM CT
NEBRASKA (5 - 6) (2 - 5)
– 6) (3 - 4)
Report for Nebraska vs. Colorado
Latest Line -
Colorado by 4.5.
- vs. Colorado State - W 31-28
9/8/07 - at Arizona State - L 14-33
- vs. Florida State - L 6-16
9/22/07 - vs. Miami (OH) - W 42-0
vs. Oklahoma - W 27-24
10/6/07 - at Baylor - W 43-23
10/13/07 - at. Kansas
State - L 20-47
10/20/07 - vs. Kansas - L 14-19
10/27/07 - at. Texas Tech
- W 31-26
11/3/07 - vs. Missouri - L 10-55
11/10/07 - at Iowa State - L
9/1/07 - vs. Nevada- W 52-10
at Wake Forest - W 20-17
9/15/07 - vs. USC - L 31-49
9/22/07 - vs. Ball
State - W 41-40
9/29/07 - vs. Iowa State - W 35-17
10/6/07 - at Missouri -
10/13/07 - vs. Oklahoma State - L 14-45
10/20/07 - vs. Texas
A&M - L 14-36
10/27/07 - at Texas - L 25-28
11/3/07 - at Kansas - L
11/10/07 - vs. Kansas State - W 73-31
The Colorado offense has not been very good this year, having
trouble finding the end zone. Entering their tenth game, the Buffaloes
rank 79th nationally in total offense (364.18 ypg), 59th in passing (225.73
ypg), 98th in passing efficiency (113.16 rating), 75th rushing (138.45 ypg),
82nd scoring offense (24.18 ppg), and 99th in turnover margin (-0.64 pg).
QB: RFr. Cody Hawkins (222 of 395, 2452 yds, 17 TDs, 15
INTs) has had some growing pains this season, but has shown flashes of being a
good Big XII QB. He is just 5'11", with decent scrambling ability.
Taking away sacks, he has rushed for 74 yards on 21 carries with 2
touchdowns. Hawkins is completing 56.2% compared to Bernard Jackson's
49.3% from a year ago. He has a fairly strong arm, but not a lot of great
receivers to get the ball to. Most of Hawkins' best yardage games were
marred with multiple interceptions as well. Jr. Nick Nelson (3 of 6, 22
yds) is Hawkins' top back-up, and has played in just 3 games this
RB: Colorado's best offensive weapon is Sr. Hugh Charles
(152 carries, 820 yds, 5 TDs). Charles is an elusive runner, but his
longest carry of the year is just 37 yards. He is averaging 5.4 yards per
carry, but hasn't had a really solid day since Texas Tech four weeks ago in
which he carried for 123 yards, caught 26 yards and scored 2 total
touchdowns. Top running back reserves include RFr. Demetrius Sumler (100
carries, 335 yds, 4 TD), Sr. Byron Ellis (28 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD), and TFr.
Brian Lockridge (38 carries, 213 yds, 1 TD). The running backs have made a
big contribution to the passing game as well with Hugh Charles (23 catches, 200
yds, 1 TD), Byron Ellis (12 catches, 39 yds, 1 TD), and Demetrius Sumler (6
catches, 41 yds, 1 TD) all catching balls this year. You won't see So. FB
Jake Behrens touch the ball much, as he has just 5 carries for 33 yards, and 1
catch for 1 yard and a touchdown.
WR/TE: Colorado has a decent
group of receivers, but no true star. Starters include Jr. Patrick
Williams (26 catches, 261 yds) at X, and RFr. Scotty McKnight (40 catches, 454
yds, 3 TDs) at Z. McKnight has started to make a name for himself though,
and since he is just a red-shirt freshman, should have a solid career ahead of
him. The second tier of receivers are Sr. Dusty Sprague (26 catches, 314
yds, 2 TDs) and TFr. Josh Smith (21 catches, 431 yds), who share near even time
with the starters. Top reserves include Sr. Stephone Robinson (4 catches,
30 yds), Jr. Cody Crawford (7 catches, 73 yds), and TFr. Kendrick Celestine (8
catches, 117 yds). Smith has been the Buffs' top deep threat, with an
average of 20.5 yards per catch. Tight end has been an important part of
the offense, and the combination of So. Riar Geer (13 catches, 120 yds, 2 TDs)
and Sr. Tyson DeVree (24 catches, 257 yds, 5 TDs) has been pretty good.
Sr. Joe Sanders (8 catches, 71 yds), RFr. Nate Solder (3 catches, 50 yds), and
So. Patrick Devenny (1 catch, 3 yds,1 TD) also have caught passes this season at
OL: The Colorado offensive line has done a decent job coming
into their twelfth game of the season. The line has allowed for an average
of just 3.8 yards per rush while giving up 16 sacks and 61 tackles for
loss. The offensive line has not been a strong point for the Buffs for a
few years and this group didn't do much to raise the bar this season
either. Starting at left tackle is Sr. Tyler Polumbus (6'8", 300 lbs),
while TFr. Ryan Miller (6'7", 320 lbs) starts at right tackle. These are
two of the bigger tackles in the conference. Colorado is very thin at
tackle and there are no true reserves specifically for the position. If
someone is injured, line shuffling will occur. Starting at guard is TFr.
Kai Maiava (6'0", 295 lbs) on the left and Sr. Edwin Harrison (6'4", 300 lbs) on
the right. Top reserves at guard include RFr. Wes Palazzi (6'1", 295 lbs.)
and So. Devin Head (6'4", 295 lbs). At center, Jr. Daniel Sanders (6'3",
310 lbs) starts, with RFr. Keenan Stevens (6'3", 275 lbs) performing back-up
Colorado's defense is
the strength of the team, but has not been a consistent group this year.
The Buffaloes rank 52nd nationally in total defense (369.36 ypg), 80th pass
defense (241.55 ypg), 66th pass efficiency defense (126.78 rating), 38th rush
defense (127.82 ypg), and 63rd in scoring defense (27.45 ppg).
DL: Colorado's defensive line isn't among the best in the
Big XII, but has done a decent job of replacing their 2 defensive end starters
from last season (Abraham Wright and Walter Boye-Doe). On the season, they
have allowed 3.8 yards per carry to opponents compared to last season's 3.3
yards per carry. This is a good rush stopping crew, ranked 5th in the Big
XII. Starting at defensive end is Jr. Maurice Lucas (28 tackles, 2 sacks,
1 QBH, 1 PBU) on the left and Sr. Alonzo Barrett (33 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 5
QBH, 2 PBU) on the right. Top back-ups at end include So. Chris Perri (6
tackles) and RFr. Marquez Herrod (4 tackles, 1 QBH). Starting at nose
tackle is Jr. Brandon Nicolas (35 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 QBH, 1 PBU) with So. Taj
Kaynor (1 tackle) and So. Chris Perri performing back-up duties. Jr.
George Hypolite (43 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 INT, 6 QBH, 1 PBU) starts at defensive
tackle, while So. Jason Brace is his top reserve. Hypolite is the best of
the group, and the most experienced.
LB: The Colorado
linebacking crew is a pretty solid group, but injuries and a suspension have
thinned the group. Starting at MLB is So. Jeff Smart (74 tackles, 1 FF, 2
FR, 5 QBH, 4 PBU) with So. Jake Duren (13 tackles, 1 PBU) serving as the top
back-up. So. Michael Sipili was scheduled to start at MLB before the
season started, but was suspended indefinitely. Smart has played well,
however, as the starter. On the outside, Jr. Brad Jones (68 tackles, 1
sack, 7 QBH, 3 PBU) starts at SLB, while Sr. Jordon Dizon (144 tackles, 4 sacks,
2 INT, 1 FF, 8 QBH, 2 PBU) starts at WLB. Dizon is always flying to the
ball, and is among the top tacklers in the country. Top back-ups on the
outside include TFr. Nate Vaiomounga, RFr. B.J. Beatty (1 tackle), and So. Jake
Duren. Reserve Jr. R.J. Brown (12 tackles) is not expected to play Friday,
but is listed as questionable.
DB: Colorado's secondary has been a
pretty strong, despite the defense ranking 80th against the pass.
Opponents are completing a pretty high 57.9% of their passes against this group
this season. Starting at cornerback is Sr. Terrence Wheatley (42 tackles,
5 INTs, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 10 PBU) on the left and Jr. Benjamin Burney (53 tackles, 6
PBU) on the right. Wheatley is questionable this week due to a foot
injury. Top reserves at cornerback include Jr. Gardner McKay (15 tackles,
3 PBU) and So. Cha'pelle Brown (37 tackles, 1 QBH, 10 PBU). At safety, Jr.
Ryan Walters (56 tackles, 1 INT, 2 FF, 1 FR, 2 QBH, 4 PBU) starts at free safety
while Jr. Daniel Dykes (79 tackles, 1 INT, 2 FF, 4 QBH, 3 PBU) starts at strong
safety. Walters is listed as questionable this week because of a
concussion. Top backups include Jr. Lionel Harris (20 tackles, 1 sack, 1
INT) and RFr. Jalil Brown (3 tackles).
The Colorado special teams units are pretty solid this
season. The Buffaloes rank 57th in net punting (35.26 yd avg), 43rd in
punt returns (10 yd avg), and 37th in kickoff returns (22.82 yd avg).
K: Sr. Kevin Eberhart is having a mediocre season, hitting
14 of 22 field goal attempts, with a 54 yard long. Eberhart has pushed 6
of his 49 kickoffs for a touchback.
P: So. Matt DiLallo is having
a pretty solid season with good consistency. He has punted 56 times for an
average of 40.16 yards this year with a long of 57. 20 of his 56 punts
have been downed inside the opponents' 20.
Colorado return game has been good this season. Sr. Terrence Wheatley (37
kick returns, 24.8 yd avg) and Sr. Hugh Charles (9 kick returns, 26.6 yd avg)
make up the top kick return unit. Sr. Chase McBride (30 punt returns, 9.6
yd avg) and Sr. Stephone Robinson (4 punt returns, 13.5 yd avg) are the top
options as punt return man.
Coverage: The Buffaloes' kick
coverage team has been above average this year, allowing an average of 20.12
yards on 43 kickoff return attempts. Punt coverage has been solid, with
opponents averaging 6.62 yards on 29 punt returns.
Nebraska's offense picked
up their play in the last two games with Joe Ganz starting at QB. Entering
their twelfth game of the season, Nebraska ranks 16th nationally in total
offense (455.36 ypg), 11th in passing (309.27 ypg), 17th in pass efficiency
(144.60 rating), 69th in rushing (146.09 ypg), 36th in scoring offense (31.82
ppg), and 115th in turnover margin (-1.27 pg).
Jr. Joe Ganz (58 for 94, 951 yds, 12 TDs, 4 INTs) was thrust into the starting
role 2 weeks ago for Nebraska after Sr. Sam Keller (205 for 325, 2422 yds, 14
TDs, 10 INTs) went down with a broken collarbone. Ganz played well in his
first start against Kansas, throwing four touchdowns but also four
interceptions. Last week, however, he was lights-out, throwing for 510
yards and 7 touchdowns, both Nebraska single game school records. Ganz has
benefited from more consistent offensive line play, as well as his own ability
to escape the rush with his quick feet. He won't beat anyone in a long
distance race, but he's got enough speed to buy a few extra seconds to
throw. He has rushed for 56 yards and 1 touchdown on 14 attempts this
season. Jr. Beau Davis (1 for 1, 9 yards) is Nebraska's top back-up, and
saw action last week in mop-up duty.
RB: Nebraska has a solid
stable of running backs, led by Jr. Marlon Lucky (194 carries, 950 yds, 8 TDs),
a quick back that isn't that is tough to catch in the open field. TFr.
Quentin Castille (76 carries, 343 yds, 4 TDs) is a bruising runner, shows
promise, but has fumbling problems. TFr. Roy Helu (45 carries, 209 yds) is
a speed back with very good field vision and cut back ability. Jr. Cody
Glenn (27 carries, 78 yds, 2 TDs) is a power back that hasn't seen many carries
this year in part due to injuries. As with any group of backs, they are
really only as good as their offensive line and their line has been very
inconsistent this year. Marlon Lucky (67 catches, 590 yds, 3 TDs) leads
the team in receptions in addition to being the team's leading rusher.
Cody Glenn (6 catches, 52 yds), Roy Helu (5 catch, 40 yds), and Quentin Castille
(2 catch, 26 yds) have also been used in the passing game. At FB, Jr.
Thomas Lawson (3 catches, 11 yds, 3 TDs) and Sr. Andy Sand (3 catches, 31 yds)
share time. They do not see the ball very often
WR/TE: Nebraska's receivers are very good, and seem
to have picked up their level of play over the past game or two. Starting
at Z is Sr. Terrence Nunn (31 catches, 364 yds, 1 TD), who has had a
disappointing Senior season. Behind Nunn is Sr. Frantz Hardy (14 catches,
294 yds, 3 TDs), who is an excellent deep threat, catching 3 touchdowns last
week. Starting at X is Sr. Maurice Purify (46 catches, 678 yds, 6 TDs),
Nebraska's best receiver that is finally getting to see the field
consistently. Jr. Nate Swift (34 catches, 488 yds, 3 TDs), is the top
reserve at X and started most of this season. Other reserves include Jr.
Todd Peterson (16 catches, 313 yds, 4 TDs), Sr. Dan Erickson (8 catches, 77
yds), So. Menelik Holt (2 catches, 48 yds), and TFr. Niles Paul (1 catch, 6
yds). Starting at TE, or H-Back, is Sr. Sean Hill (18 catches, 288 yds, 3
TDs). Hill has been a nice surprise for the Huskers this year. Sr.
J.B. Phillips (2 catches, 19 yds, 1 TD), Jr. Hunter Teafatiller (4 catches, 34
yds), RFr Dreu Young (1 catch, 14 yds), and Mike McNeill (1 catch, 25 yds) are
reserves at TE, and haven't seen many throws their way.
OL: Nebraska's offensive line has played poorly this
season. There is no consistency in their rush or pass blocking
schemes. However, in their last game against Kansas State, the line played
very well, their best performance of the year. On the season, they are
allowing the backs 4.6 yards per carry. Starting at tackle will be Sr.
Carl Nicks (6'5", 330 lbs) on the left and TFr. Jaivorio Burkes (6'5", 315 lbs)
on the right. Nicks is the best of this group, while Burkes has really
been solid through three starts. RFr. Mike Smith (6'6", 290 lbs) is the
top tackle reserve for both Nicks and Burkes. So. Jacob Hickman (6'4", 285
lbs) starts at LG, while Jr. Matt Slauson (6'5", 335 lbs) will start at
RG. RFr. Keith Williams (6'5", 310 lbs.), RFr. D.J. Jones (6'5", 310 lbs),
and Jr. Mike Huff (6'4", 300 lbs) are Nebraska's top reserves at guard.
Sr. Brett Byford (6'3", 300 lbs) starts at center, while Sr. Jordan Picou (6'3",
300 lbs.) is the top back-up.
Nebraska's defense is among the worst they have ever
had. Last week was an improvement, as they showed determination they had
lacked up to that point this season. The Huskers rank 111th nationally in
total defense (473.09 ypg), 84th pass defense (245 ypg), 70th pass efficiency
defense (128.59 rating), 114th rush defense (228.09 ypg), and 105th in scoring
defense (35.45 ppg).
DL: Nebraska's defensive line has had trouble
getting a push up front this season. There has been minimal pressure off
the edge, and they have struggled to plug up running lanes. Opponents are
picking up 5.2 yards per rush, a sorry number for any defense. Jr. Barry
Turner (24 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 QBH, 2 PBU) starts at open end. Turner
seems to have lost some speed, which is what made him a good pass rusher.
Starting at base end is Jr. Zach Potter (43 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1
FR, 5 QBH, 1 PBU), who has played the most consistent ball of the season on the
line. Top reserves are Jr. Clayton Sievers (7 tackles, 1 QBH) and Sr. Andy
Poulosky (7 tackles, 1 sack) at open, in addition to RFr. Pierre Allen (15
tackles, 2 QBH, 1 PBU) at base. Starting at nose tackle is Jr. Ndamukong
Suh (29 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR, 4 QBH, 1 BK), with Jr. Shukree Barfield (13
tackles) performing back-up duties. Suh has great size and strength, but
hasn't played up to expectations. So. Ty Steinkuhler (12 tackles, 1 FF, 1
QBH), starter at defensive tackle has struggled with some injuries this
season. Jr. Kevin Dixon (18 tackles, 1 INT, 2 QBH) is his primary back-up
and has performed very well.
LB: Nebraska's linebacking crew has
fallen short of expectations this season. Sr. Corey McKeon (63 tackles, 1
sack, 1 INT, 1 FR, 3 QBH, 6 PBU) continues to start, despite not being the best
MLB on the team. So. Phillip Dillard (34 tackles, 1 QBH, 2 PBU) is
Nebraska's best MLB, yet was moved back to the bench a few weeks ago due to
injury and hasn't played much since. Sr. Bo Ruud (46 tackles, 2 INT, 2 FF,
2 PBU) is back to start at SLB after a knee injury kept him slowed the last
couple of weeks. Back-up TFr. Blake Lawrence (2 tackles) is also back in
the line-up after missing time with an injury. Jr. Tyler Wortman (6
tackles) played well as the fill-in starter for Ruud, but will now go back to
sharing back-up duties with Lawrence. Sr. Steve Octavien (80 tackles, 2
sacks, 9 QBH, 3 PBU) starts at WLB and is Nebraska's best linebacker. So.
Major Culbert (8 tackles) serves as Octavien's top reserve. TFr. LaTravis
Washington (2 tackles) and So. Nick Covey (5 tackles) could also see action in
DB: Nebraska's secondary has been much maligned
this season, getting burned often in many games. Sr. Cortney Grixby (24
tackles, 2 INTs, 1 QBH, 7 PBU) is finishing up his fourth year as a starter at
WCB. He is arguably playing better than anyone else in the secondary,
despite being the smallest of the group at 5'9". Grixby's back-up, Sr.
Zack Bowman (27 tackles, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 6 PBU), has been inconsistent this year,
with his knee injuries hampering his career. Jr. Armando Murillo (63
tackles, 0.5 sack, 7 PBU) starts at LCB, with Sr. Andre Jones (14 tackles, 2
PBU) and TFr. Anthony Blue (13 tackles, 1 PBU) backing him up. Murillo has
shown promise while Jones is having a disaster of a year. Blue earned a
start last week as the Huskers' top nickel back. At the safety positions,
Sr. Tierre Green (49 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH, 3 PBU) starts at FS and So. Larry
Asante (71 tackles, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 4 PBU) is the starter at SS. Green is
having a disappointing season, not making many plays or getting big hits.
Top reserves include So. Rickey Thenarse (27 tackles, 2 FF) and Sr. Ben
Eisenhart (34 tackles) at FS, with Sr. Bryan Wilson (16 tackles, 1 QBH) at
SS. Thenarse is a promising young talent that hits like a freight
Nebraska Special Teams
Nebraska's special teams
have been solid this season. The Huskers are ranked 18th in net punting
(37.57 yd avg), 78th in punt returns (7.81 yd avg), and 35th in kickoff returns
(22.86 yd avg).
K: TFr. Adi Kunalic (1 for 1, 46 yd lng)
handles kickoffs and long field goals. Kunalic has fired 27 of 60 kickoffs
for touchback, with a 65.4 yard average. RFr. Alex Henery handles short
field goals (8 for 8, 39 yd lng) and extra points.
P: Jr. Dan
Titchener is one of the nation's better punters. He is averaging 41 yards
on 45 punts with a long of 52. 14 of his 45 punts have been downed inside
the opponents' 20. He has above average leg power, with solid
KR/PR: Nebraska's kick return game has been good,
while the punt return game is below average. Seniors Cortney Grixby (38
kick returns, 26 yd avg, 1 TD) and Andre Jones (15 kick returns, 21.1 yd avg)
are the top kickoff return men. Cortney Grixby (7 punt returns, 5.1 yd
avg), Jr. Nate Swift (2 punt returns, 3 yd avg) and Andre Jones (6 returns, 13.8
yd avg) are the team's top punt returners.
coverage teams have been pretty solid this season. The kick coverage unit
is allowing an average of 20.6 yards on 35 kickoff returns, while the punt
return coverage team allows a 5.1 yard average on 18 punt returns. So.
Rickey Thenarse is the bullet for the unit, and has laid down some big
Nebraska's Offense vs. Colorado's
Nebraska's offense was as efficient as it has ever been
in the Bill Callahan era in their last game against Kansas State, especially
through the air. QB Joe Ganz had a record setting day, throwing for 510
yards and 7 touchdowns with no picks. Not bad for a QB starting his second
ever game. His escapability in the pocket has added an extra dimension to
the Huskers' offense. He is able to run for yardage when a play might go
for a loss, or the ball thrown away. The receiving corps is good, and has
been playing their best football the past two games. While Maurice Purify
is the best receiver on the team, there are a number of other guys that have
stepped up recently, including speedy WR Frantz Hardy who caught 3 TDs against
Kansas State. RB Marlon Lucky leads the team in receptions with 67, and if
he is able to receive for 24 more yards, he becomes the first Nebraska player in
history to rush for 1,000 yards and receive for 1,000 yards in a career.
He is a do-it-all back and his efforts in the receiving game are his biggest
strength. Colorado is allowing their opponents to complete 57.9% of their
passes, while Nebraska QB Joe Ganz is hitting on 61.7% of his throws (75% last
week against KSU). The Buffs allowed Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and
Missouri' s Chase Daniel to each throw for over 400 yards recently, which has to
be concerning for them coming into this game. Colorado's secondary is not
necessarily as bad as their stats show, because there are some very good
athletes here, including the outstanding CB Terrence Wheatley. However, if
he and teammate S Ryan Walters are not able to play at full speed, the Buffaloes
could be in big trouble against a surging Nebraska offense.
Huskers' ground attack hasn't been really effective since the season opener, but
started to get things going last week before opening up an aerial assault
against Kansas State. The offense line, which has not performed well this
season, showed signs of life last week and the running backs seemed to run with
a little extra something behind them. RB Marlon Lucky can be a great
looking back when holes are there for him, but he has struggled to find holes at
times, when they are present. Behind Lucky is a talented group that has
provided excellent depth. Colorado is giving up 3.83 yards per carry this
season, while Nebraska's running backs are averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
The Huskers performed much better than expected against a Kansas State defense
that thrives on getting into the backfield. If Nebraska is able to keep
that tenacity, they will make it difficult on the Colorado defense this week to
slow them down. Colorado LB Jordon Dizon is a tackling machine and could
give the Husker run game fits, as he always seems to be where the ball is.
Colorado's defense allows opponents to convert on just 35.8% of their third
downs, but has allowed a high average of 89.5% red zone scores. Nebraska
has converted a mediocre 44% of their third downs, and a solid 89% red-zone
scoring offense rate. Lack of production on third downs was a big part of
the problem during Nebraska's 5 game losing streak, and was still just 45%
during the rout of Kansas State.
Up front, Nebraska's average
offensive lineman is 6'4", 314 lbs, while Colorado's average defensive lineman
comes in at 6'3", 268 lbs. Nebraska's line had been struggling against
smaller, quick defensive lines this season, but handled the solid Kansas State
defensive front well in their last game. Colorado has gotten solid
penetration from their front 7, and the big question has to be if Nebraska's
performance against Kansas State was a one time only special, or if it is
something to be expected again Friday. If the line reverts to play as they
did during the losing streak, Colorado will have a good chance to get into the
backfield. The Huskers have given up 17 sacks and 55 tackles for loss this
season, while Colorado has put up 65 tackles for loss and 18 sacks this
Colorado's Offense vs. Nebraska's
The Colorado offense not been as consistent as coach Dan
Hawkins would like. His son, Cody Hawkins starts at QB for the Buffs and
hasn't been bad, but hasn't exactly lit up opponents either. He doesn't
have the best receiving corps in the Big XII, and there aren't many solid deep
threats, but the team is better off today than they were a season ago. He
is completing 56.2% of his passes, while Nebraska's defense is allowing
opponents to hit 57.6% of their passes. Colorado's receivers are
serviceable, but only Scotty McKnight has caught more than 26 passes this
season. McKnight has been Hawkins' go-to guy, but has scored just 3 times
this season. The tight ends have been good this year, especially Tyson
DeVree who leads the team in receiving touchdowns with 5. The passing
offense was efficient in their last game against Iowa State as Hawkins completed
57.5% of his throws and connected with 8 different receivers for 262 yards and 2
touchdowns, with no interceptions. Nebraska's defense struggled the most
this season against teams with mobile QB's. Their pass defense was at
their best when they were able to load the box and bring the heat on the
opposing QB's. Hawkins has escapability, but isn't a true dual-threat QB
in the sense of the term. It will be interesting to see how Nebraska
chooses to attack the Buffalo QB on Friday.
The Colorado rushing attack
is led by top playmaker Hugh Charles. Charles has had 5 games of over 100
yards rushing this season and will hope to get his sixth against a Nebraska rush
defense is 114th in the nation against the run. The Husker defensive
problems have largely been lack of tackling. Last week, however, they were
flying to the ball and gang tackling, something that hadn't really been seen
since the season opener. Colorado isn't loaded at running back, though as
there aren't really any established solid backs behind Charles. For this
reason, he needs to stay healthy for the Buffaloes to win this football
game. Colorado's third down conversion percentage is a poor 32%, and holds
a less than stellar 77.8% red-zone scoring average. Nebraska's defense has
been awful on 3rd downs, allowing opponents to convert on 49% of their attempts,
while allowing opponents to score on 91% of their red-zone opportunities.
Neither team can be happy with those numbers.
In the trenches, Colorado's
average offensive lineman is 6'4", 305 lbs, while Nebraska's average defensive
lineman comes in at 6'4", 284 lbs. The Buffaloes' offensive line has been
decent, but inconsistent this season. They will find themselves against a
Nebraska defensive line that has also been just decent and inconsistent.
Nebraska's defensive front has had issues with being pushed around when they
aren't bringing a blitz. On the year, Nebraska has put up 69 tackles for
loss, and 13 sacks. 4 of those 13 sacks were earned in their last game
against Kansas State. Colorado has allowed 61 tackles for loss and 16
sacks this season. Because of this, you have to like Nebraska's chances,
if they bring an efficient blitz. However, Nebraska's defense is allowing
an unbelievable 5.2 yards per carry this season, while Colorado is averaging
3.76 yards per carry. Hugh Charles should be able to find some running
room on Friday.
Keys to the
For Nebraska to Win:
1.) Play with the
energy and emotion showed against Kansas State.
2.) Continue aerial
assault. Despite poor NU defense, Colorado doesn't have the horses to
compete in a shoot-out.
3.) Win turnover battle. Huskers have just one
takeaway in past six games.
4.) Get pressure on QB Cody Hawkins, force him
5.) More efficiency on third downs.
Colorado to Win:
1.) Defense must slow down the surging Husker
2.) Get pressure on QB Joe Ganz, and don't allow him to get into a
3.) Cut down on penalties. 174 yards in penalties in the
past two games, both losses.
4.) Improve on third downs and red zone
5.) Receivers need to step up and make plays.
Special Teams: Nebraska
QB - Sam Keller - collar bone -
out for season
LB - Lance Brandenburgh - shoulder - out for season
Lydon Murtha - toe - out for season
OG - Andy Christensen - knee - out for
RB - Kenny Wilson - leg - out for season
- Ryan Walters - concussion - questionable
CB - Terrence Wheatley - foot -
WR - Kevin Moyd - illness - questionable
LB - R.J. Brown -
concussion - questionable
LB - Bryan Stengel - thumb - out
LB - Michael
Sipili - suspension - out indefinitely
QB - Bernard Jackson - academics - out
Game Breakdown &
This is the 65th meeting between Colorado and
Nebraska. The Huskers lead 46-17-2 all-time over the Buffaloes. The
2000's have seen a more competitive series, as Nebraska has won 4 of the 7 this
decade with Nebraska winning the last two games. Last year, Nebraska
defeated Colorado 37-14 in a game that that was closer than the final score
would lead one to believe. The last time these two teams played in Boulder
was 2005, where Nebraska dominated Colorado 30-3. The fourth quarter saw
two sections of Colorado fans removed from the stadium after trash was being
thrown onto the field. No matter the outcome Friday, hopefully, that
situation does not arise again.
Colorado is coming into this game with a
5-6 record, 3-4 in Big XII play. Their season started with a 31-28
overtime victory over Colorado State in a game that the Buffs showed flashes
offensively. After a pair of losses to Arizona State and Florida State in
which Colorado did not have a run game, the Buffaloes rushed for 359 yards while
blowing out Miami (OH) 42-0. They opened conference play with a match-up
with then #3/#4 Oklahoma. Oklahoma led by 17 in the third quarter before
Colorado took over, finally winning the game 27-24 with a 45 yard field goal as
time expired. Since that game, the Buffaloes have been
disappointing. Following a 43-23 win over Baylor, Colorado went on a two
game skid against Kansas State (47-20) and Kansas (19-14). The Buffs
outgained the Jayhawks, but their 3 turnovers hurt them in the end.
Colorado then went to Lubbock, Texas and defeated Texas Tech 31-26. Their
last two games have not been what they wanted as Missouri throttled the Buffs
55-10 and Iowa State slipped one past them 31-28. A win Friday makes
Colorado bowl eligible, something they could definitely use after missing out
last year. A loss means an end to their season and no more practice until
Nebraska enters their twelfth game this week with a 5-6
record, and just 2-5 in Big XII play. Nebraska started off hot against
Nevada, before running cold for the majority of the year. The defense
showed problems in game two against Wake Forest, having issues with tackling and
would then be throttled offensively by just about everyone for the next seven
games. Their offense was exposed against Iowa State seven games ago,
finally showing signs of life in their last two games. After playing Iowa
State, they went up against Texas A&M, where Nebraska was competitive for 2
quarters before falling apart in the second half. Game nine against Texas
saw Nebraska jump out to a 17-3 lead before allowing Texas to score 25
unanswered second half points, ultimately losing the game 28-25. Two games
ago against Kansas, Nebraska was embarrassed as they gave up a school record 76
points in a 76-39 loss. Nebraska was out-gained in 9 straight games before
waking up and destroying Kansas State 73-31. A win over Colorado this week
would make the Huskers bowl eligible. A loss would be their sixth in seven
games and end their season without a bowl for the second time in four
years. After making 35 straight bowl games, Nebraska missed out in
2004. They do not want to miss out on another one, just 3 seasons later.
Nebraska is coming off of what was their best offensive
performance in the Bill Callahan era. The Huskers racked up 73 points
against a Kansas State team that had only been giving up 22 points per
game. QB Joe Ganz looked like an All-American in a performance that is not
likely to be matched any time soon at Nebraska. He didn't do it all by
himself, however, as it was the offensive line's best performance in months, and
the most consistent effort for four quarters from the running backs and
receivers. With Nebraska's other receivers playing well and getting
attention from the defense, Maurice Purify could find himself open more
often. Nebraska should keep a majority of its attack through the air this
week, as Colorado's secondary could be without 2 of their starters
again. If Terrence Wheatley and Ryan Walters are not ready to go on
Friday, expect Nebraska to for sure have another monster day through the
air. Nebraska's ground game will need to be present and respectable,
however, won't need to shoulder a majority of the load. Colorado's
strength is in its rush stopping linebackers and with Jordon Dizon and his crew,
big holes could be hard to come by for Nebraska.
Colorado will need a
mistake free, consistent performance from QB Cody Hawkins this week. His
17 touchdowns to 15 interceptions on the year doesn't give great confidence that
he can without an interception for two games in a row, but Nebraska's defense
has forced just one turnover in their last six games. More playmakers need
to emerge from the Buffaloes' receiving corps. There is a lot of pressure
on RB Hugh Charles, as he has been carrying a large portion of the load for the
Colorado offense. Nebraska's rush defense is among the worst in the
nation, so Charles should have plenty of opportunities to make things
happen. For that to happen, however, the young offensive line will need to
put forth a better than average effort this week, especially if Nebraska decides
to be aggressive as they were last week against Kansas State.
There is a lot riding on Friday's game for both Nebraska and
Colorado. It's Senior Day in Boulder, and there would be no greater thrill
for the Buffs than to send the Seniors out with a win over Nebraska that would
shut the Huskers out of a bowl game, while putting themselves in one.
Nebraska has the opportunity to make it to a bowl game after suffering a
mid-season slide that their program has not seen in many decades. However,
they seemed to have found their way on offense, and have the firepower to put up
a lot of points against the Buffaloes. If Nebraska is able to have their
way with the Buff defense, it doesn't seem likely that the Colorado offense will
be able to match scores. The Buffaloes lack the offensive playmakers that
Nebraska has and in order to win this football game, the Buffs really need to
play lights-out in every category. Colorado blew a 21-0 lead against Iowa
State last week, and one has to wonder where their confidence will be coming
into Friday's contest. Nebraska's is very high after playing with more
energy than they have displayed all season long. A big question though is
whether or not Nebraska can sustain the level of play that was shown against
Kansas State two weeks ago.
This is likely Nebraska head coach
Bill Callahan's final game, as there is expected to be an announcement on his
future likely coming on Saturday. Nebraska will play hard for their coach
and not let down. Colorado's best shot to win will be if the Huskers play
with the lack of enthusiasm shown during their 5 game melt-down earlier this
season, but after their meeting with Kansas State, it is hard to believe they
would roll over again.
Nebraska - 35
Colorado - 24
Game Preview: Nebraska at Colorado
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