and Linebackers Orie Lemon and Justin Gent
vs. Nebraska Option Game
Martinez and his explosive running ability in this option scheme has been the major factor in Nebraska's offensive success. Martinez has opened the door to running backs Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead getting their opportunities.
While the passing game is not a staple, defenses being occupied with stopping the option have been a welcome target when the Huskers execute well in the passing game. The beauty of the zone read and mid-line option that the Huskers run is that it will be aimed at four seniors on the Oklahoma State defense in Jarka, Donaldson, Lemon, and Gent.
From a pure scheme standpoint, this is a good matchup for the Cowboys. Jarka and Donaldson are well schooled and comfortable in gap-protection defense. One oddity in this Nebraska offense are the big gaps the Huskers use on the offense line and that could cause some alignment adjustments for the Cowboys.
Edge: Slight to OSU's Jarka, Donaldson, Lemon, and Gent
The trick for the Cowboys' offensive line will be blocking the Huskers up front and getting someone, likely center Grant Garner, off the line and to the second level on David. If David even gets shaded away from the play and the line is tied up, then the strong possibility for a big play (20 yards or more) is there. The Huskers are good, but this is a matchup where both sides will get their share of small wins inside the game.
Edge: Slight to Nebraska Defensive Front
vs. Nebraska Cornerback Prince Amukamara
Pelini loves his secondary and the "Prince", Prince Amukamara, is the prize member of that cast. Pelini wants to see Amukamara enhance his reputation by shutting down Blackmon.
The Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, and the whole offense, including quarterback Brandon Weeden, are anxious to see Blackmon win this battle of supreme playmakers from opposite sides of the football.
The Cowboys could also win in man coverage because of other matchups they can take advantage of. If Nebraska does employ man/zone, bracket man, or zone, etc., then the run game or other receivers will also have an opportunity for an advantage.
Edge: Even between Blackmon and Amukamara
I think the Cowboys have the advantage at a lot of positions. They have the better quarterback, better running backs, better star wide receiver, better offensive line. On defense, Nebraska has a lot of edges, but special teams are a push.
Turnovers are the variable, if the Cowboys turn it over, then Nebraska could walk out of Stillwater with a nice win and back on track. If the Huskers turn it over, then it could get sideways in favor of the Cowboys. Head up and close to even, the Cowboys talent, coaching and homefield advantage hold serve and OSU is 7-0.
Big 12 Predictions
@ #22 Texas 49, Iowa State 7
@ Baylor 34, Kansas State 28
Texas Tech 21, @ Colorado 20
Texas A&M 35, @ Kansas 14
#3-Oklahoma 24, @ #16 Missouri 21
Straight Up: 47-12
vs. the Spread: 26-24
Not every game has a spread. The games against FCS competition do not have a point spread.