Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nebraska Cornhuskers: First Look

In what should be one of the most interesting games of the weekend, the top-ranked USC Trojans return to action on Saturday as they travel to Lincoln, NE to take on the #14 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. The match will be featured on ABC Prime Time's nationally televised Game of the Week, in what will be a very hostile environment. The Trojans beat the Huskers at the Coliseum last year 28-10, but this year's game figures to be a lot more challenging. Nebraska will be at home, Memorial Stadium, where they hold the current record for most consecutive sell outs at 283 games. That streak dates back all the way to 1962, so expect to see over 85,000 loud, screaming fans. The sea of red that is the Nebraska crowd will be further inspired by ESPN's College Game Day, who will be on location, broadcasting live from Lincoln. The Huskers have not played host to a #1 ranked team since 1978, when they beat Oklahoma 17-14. This is the type of game that can vault Nebraska's program back to where it belongs -- among college football's best. Even Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan can feel the electricity in the air:
"I think the game against SC is pretty well established, pretty well talked about in our part of the country," Callahan said. "We're going to have to have our best effort on Saturday night."
Big time college football returns to Lincoln on Saturday, I can't wait! Let's take an early look at the match-up:

Nebraska enters the game with a record of (2-0) after winning at Wake Forest 20-17 on Saturday and beating Nevada 52-10 in the opener. USC (1-0) had a much needed bye this past weekend, which should have provided some valuable rest and treatment for a banged up Trojans squad. Hopefully the Trojans were able to heal up, not only for this game, but for the rest of the season, as they continue their march towards another national championship. I am certain that we will see a different USC team than the one that took the field against Idaho in the opener. USC started the game fast, jumping out to a 21-0 lead and, though unspectacular, managed to come away with a solid 38-10 victory. The Trojans usually show up for big games, so expect Pete Carroll to fire up his troops for this one. The Trojans emerged the Idaho game relatively healthy, with LB Brian Cushing being the only starter to suffer an injury, but he should be back this week. As far as this game goes, junior CB/S Josh Pinkard is definitely out (possibly for the season), so Cary Harris and Shareece Wright need to step up once again. The status of other players, such as Chauncey Washington is still uncertain, but we'll keep monitoring the injury report as the week progresses.

The different faces that will be lining up for both teams will also give the game a different feel than last year. Nebraska lost QB Zac Taylor to graduation, but returns a familiar foe in former Arizona State QB Sam Keller. Two of the Huskers' leading rushers, Kenny Wilson and Brandon Jackson are also gone. The defense must replace last year's entire starting defensive line. USC returns QB John David Booty, who completed 25 out of 36 passes for 257 yards and 3 TDs in last year's game, but his two main targets (Jarrett, Smith) are gone. Jarrett and Smith combined for 17 catches, 189 yards, and 3 TDs last season. We have yet to see the Trojans #1 WR Patrick Turner, who sat out the opener with a neck injury, and the younger wide outs David Ausberry, Vidal Hazelton, Travon Patterson, and Ronald Johnson are all still trying to find their role in the offense. It will be interesting to see how the passing game performs in the loud Memorial Stadium. Gone to for the Trojans is RB Emmanuel Moody, who led the Trojans in rushing yards (70), but has transferred to Florida. Chauncey Washington finished with 12 carries for 52 yards and a TD against the Huskers last year, but is questionable with a shoulder injury. We'll see how everything shakes out.

Wednesday: Nebraska Offense preview
Thursday: Nebraska Defense preview
Friday: What to expect/predictions

Fight On!

1 comment:

Joey said...

I don't like that Cary Harris-Maurice Purify match-up at all. In fact, I don't like Cary Harris matched up against any Division 1 receiver most of the time. Pinkard being out def hurts us because we lose the athleticism, experience, and savvy leadership.

Our DB's against their receivers scares the living shit out of me. Especially with Keller having a decent arm.