Game Day: Nebraska vs. Georgia

A chance to build

Husker players would like to see the 2014 Gator Bowl be a bridge to something else: the 2014 season. A win Wednesday would serve as a connector to a campaign in which most of the defense and key parts of the offense are slated to return. "It's huge to start off 2014 with a win," said junior I-back Ameer Abdullah.

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2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Georgia rush defense

Nebraska hopes to get back to near full speed after the rash of injuries on its offensive line. The Huskers were limited to 89 yards against Iowa and averaged just 141.8 per game and 3.7 per carry in their last four games overall. Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson was the SEC tackles leader as the Bulldogs held five of eight conference opponents under 145 rushing yards. Edge: Nebraska

Nebraska pass offense vs. Georgia pass defense

The Huskers need to take better care of the football after throwing 11 interceptions in their last seven games, including two game-changers against Iowa. But NU veteran receivers Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa will get some opportunities against an inexperienced Georgia secondary susceptible to the big play. The danger for Tommy Armstrong and/or Ron Kellogg is the pressure the Bulldogs bring (32 sacks, 105 hurries). Edge: Georgia

Georgia rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

It's no stretch to say Georgia tailback Todd Gurley starts the 2014 season in the Heisman Trophy conversation, and television on New Year's Day isn't a bad place to launch your campaign. The sophomore is healthy again and running behind a veteran line, and Nebraska has had its issues with getting backs to the ground. Edge: Georgia

Georgia pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Georgia isn't going to be quite the same without record-setting quarterback Aaron Murray, but junior Hutson Mason still has the weapons at his disposal that help the Bulldogs rank No. 16 nationally in passing offense and No. 11 in passing efficiency. Nebraska will have to find a way to generate some rush against an offense that allowed just 18 sacks despite throwing 420 passes. Edge: Georgia

Special teams

Georgia lacks punch in the return game, ranking last in the SEC in kickoffs (16.9 yards) and 13th in punts (3.2). But the Bulldogs are solid in coverage, All-SEC kicker Marshall Morgan has made 20 of 22 field goals and Collin Barber averages 44.1 yards per punt. For NU, Mauro Bondi has 46 touchbacks in kickoffs (25 more than Georgia) and Pat Smith has connected on 11 of 12 field goals. Edge: Georgia

Intangibles

Motivation is a legitimate question after both teams played in conference championship games a year ago and expected to be better than 8-4 this season. Both have negative turnover margins, but experience in close games. Nebraska hasn't won a bowl since 2009 (0-5 in last five postseason games overall), while Georgia owns an 8-4 bowl mark under Mark Richt. The crowd should be pretty much equal. Edge: Georgia

Key matchup: Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason vs. Nebraska cornerbacks

Although a fourth-year junior, Mason had played little behind Aaron Murray until the last six quarters of the regular season. Nebraska can challenge him with veteran cornerbacks in coverage such as Ciante Evans, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Josh Mitchell.

Nebraska wins if ...

It can get better quarterback play in a battle of backups.

Georgia wins if ...

It comes out with the right motivation and mind set.

Our take

Nebraska has watched SEC opponents eventually pull away in its last two bowl games, so it has to prove it can play the full 60 minutes. Both teams got battered by injuries this season, although NU hasn't had as many of the season-ending variety and will get some players healthy for this one. The Huskers' defensive improvement will get challenged here and they better keep their turnover problems under control, or else ...

Our prediction: Georgia 35, Nebraska 23

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Extras

Printable rosters

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Big Red Today coverage

ABC will televise Nebraska-Michigan State game

Nebraska's Oct. 4 game at Michigan State will be televised nationally on ABC, the network announced Monday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

The Huskers last appeared on ...

Lunch with Tom: 10 a.m.

Hungry for some sports chat? Join World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel at 10 a.m. for an early edition of “Lunch with Tom” to discuss Nebraska’s win over Miami and ...

Huskers move up in polls after win over Miami

Nebraska moved up three spots in this week's Associated Press college football poll after beating Miami 41-31 on Saturday.

The 4-0 Huskers are 21st in the poll, up from ...

Notes: Better night for Husker LB Santos

LINCOLN — Nebraska linebacker David Santos had two tackles at Fresno State, and his lasting memory from that trip was the punt that he mistakenly batted into the Husker end zone ...

Barfknecht's Big Ten Rankings, Sept. 22

World-Herald Big Ten beat writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the conference football teams as published in The World-Herald on Sept. 22.

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1. Michigan State (2-1)

Last week: beat Eastern Michigan 73-14 ...

Nebraska aims to keep takeaways coming

LINCOLN — Before the Nebraska defense forced three turnovers Saturday night against Miami, it had been 13 games since a Husker opponent had forked over the ball that many times.

NU ...

McKewon: Huskers blended controlled fury with smart plan against Miami

LINCOLN — Nothing unites Nebraskans — both natives and transplants — quite like big-city bad manners spawned by arrogance and oversight.

The Huskers had most of the advantages Saturday night. A crowd as ...

Barfknecht: Heat on Brady Hoke building quickly at Michigan

Let’s take a quick trip back in time.

Destination and date: Chicago in late July for Big Ten football media days. All the coaches address the media horde in ...

Nebraska-Miami: Five things we learned, don't know

Five things we learned and five things we still don’t know coming out of Saturday's Nebraska-Miami football game.

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Five things we learned

1. The 1994 “Pipeline” in attendance ...

Turning up the heat: Abdullah, Huskers keep pressure on in win over Miami

LINCOLN — By the end, the guts of Miami’s defensive linemen had begun to sag. The owners of those stomachs were spent, drained, gassed, softened and glazed, a wall of ...

Chat: Husker Talk Live postgame replay

Replay the Nebraska-Miami postgame chat with staff writer Rich Kaipust.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Game Day

Video: Husker postgame press conference

Watch video from the postgame press conference with Husker coach Bo Pelini and select players following Nebraska's 41-31 win over Miami.

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Video: Bo Pelini after Miami

Video: Ameer Abdullah ...

Live video: Nebraska Monday Press Conference, 11 a.m.

Watch live video Monday morning as coach Bo Pelini and select Huskers address the media as the team prepares to face Illinois.

Quarter by quarter: Nebraska 41, Miami 31

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Rich Kaipust recap the key plays in each quarter of Nebraska's win over Miami.

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FIRST QUARTER

Brad Kaaya: Nerves? What nerves? Miami’s ...

Notes: Scoop and score turns tide back Nebraska’s way

Hanging on to a slim third-quarter lead and with the momentum seemingly slipping away, the Nebraska defense dug in Saturday night.

Make that dug out.

The momentum swung back to ...

Barfknecht: Hurricanes have no answers for Abdullah

LINCOLN — Miami came to Memorial Stadium on Saturday night ranked No. 2 nationally in rushing defense, giving up 2.0 yards per carry.

But none of the Hurricanes’ first three ...

Huskers force turnovers at critical times

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s defensive performance Saturday may not always have been pretty, but it was good enough to get the job done in a 41-31 victory over Miami.

There were ...

From the sidelines: Stadium basks in game-long salute to 1994 Huskers

LINCOLN — You couldn’t escape the nostalgia.

Not that a record-breaking Memorial Stadium crowd would have wanted to.

But everywhere you looked Saturday there were reminders of Nebraska’s 1994 ...

Emotions run high, but total Husker-Hurricane meltdown is averted

LINCOLN — Most of Nebraska’s defenders weren’t exactly sure what caused the second-half skirmishes that seemed to tightened the Huskers’ grip on the game’s momentum Saturday night.

They ...

Chatelain: Huskers ground out an old-fashioned victory

Their tickets were scattered in the nosebleeds of North Stadium. Row 86. Row 81. Two here, two there.

In a perfect world, the 1994 national championship team members would’ve ...

Shatel: It’s more than a win; 
for Husker fans, it’s cathartic

LINCOLN — Better believe this was personal.

For more than 30 years, Nebraskans have wanted Miami in their yard, with their weather, on their turf, surrounded on all four sides by ...

Tracking the Husker offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Jon Nyatawa takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 41-31 win over Miami.

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TRACKING THE OFFENSE

The game ...

NU assistant John Garrison says Huskers ready to soften up Miami 'space-eaters'

Nebraska assistant coach John Garrison minced few words Friday when discussing what his offensive line would be up against Saturday night.

NU will see some size across the line with ...

NU Regents OK change worth $21 million to Huskers' marketing contract

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s athletic department will make $21 million more on its multimedia rights in the next six years under a renegotiated contract.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents ...

Mad Chatter (Part II): Nebraska-Miami, where the present tries to live up to the past

It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little, tiny bites. We’re doing things a bit differently today. I spent Thursday working on a loooooong flashback to ...

Mad Chatter: The greatest game in Nebraska football history

If the rapture had come Jan. 3, 1995, nobody in Nebraska would’ve objected. 

Four other undefeated NU teams have claimed national championships. None brought so much satisfaction to the ...

Husker kicker Mauro Bondi totals motorcycle, breaks collarbone in crash

LINCOLN — Nebraska junior kicker Mauro Bondi suffered a broken collarbone and was hospitalized Thursday night after losing control of his motorcycle in north Lincoln, police said.

Bondi, transported to Bryan ...

Barfknecht: Huskers may have best chance for a little Big Ten redemption

The Big Ten has been beaten up nationally — and rightfully so — for its football ineptitude so far this season.

The numbers are gruesome: 1-10 against Power Five foes, with the ...

Stage fright or fight? Forget the big name, Nebraska must lock in against Miami

LINCOLN — Josh Kalu flashed a smile as big and bright as the lights that will shine down on Memorial Stadium Saturday night.

A true freshman, just 19 years old, Kalu ...

Shatel: It’s not much like the old days, 
but for Huskers, it could be a start

LINCOLN — Well, that was some Orange Bowl parade of memories.

We knew this would happen. We knew this week would bring out all the old, dusty scrapbooks and photos. And ...