Game Day: Nebraska vs. UCLA

Positive spin

When seven AP Top 25 voters got down to the final spots on their ballots last Saturday night, they made the determination that Nebraska wasn't good enough to make the cut. NU's players chose not to touch anything this week that had to do with ratings or respect or national perception. "We'll start getting the national attention when we start winning championships," senior offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles said. "So that's the ultimate goal." With UCLA in town Saturday, the Huskers have high hopes that a win will be a big step toward that objective.


2-Minute Drill by Jon Nyatawa

Nebraska rush offense vs. UCLA rush defense

Only a dozen teams allowed more runs of 30 yards or more last year than the Bruins, who gave up 12. Nebraska averaged 7.2 yards per carry in a 36-30 loss to UCLA last season, but the Huskers ran the ball only 36 times, their lowest total all year. Nebraska's mix of option and power should be enough to counteract the varying alignments from UCLA. Advantage: NU

Nebraska pass offense vs. UCLA pass defense

Assuming NU's running game gets going, the receivers should have room to roam against a young secondary. In UCLA's five losses last year (when teams established the run), the Bruins gave up a 73.2 completion percentage, 9.6 yards per pass play and 10 TDs (two interceptions). The key for Taylor Martinez is to throw when UCLA is thinking run first. Advantage: NU

UCLA rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Of the 12 Huskers expected to rotate at linebacker and on the defensive line, only Jason Ankrah and Thad Randle have extensive experience. And the Huskers are still trying to perfect a system that gave up more yards per carry last year (4.76) than ever before under Bo Pelini. The Bruins' sideline-to-sideline approach tends to create vulnerabilities. Advantage: UCLA

UCLA pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

NU's veterans are in its secondary, but the Huskers have already given up 29 pass plays of 10-plus yards this year (third-worst nationally). QB Brett Hundley was 21 of 33 for 305 yards and four touchdowns against NU last year. Three of the TDs went to guys now in the NFL (Joseph Fauria and Johnathan Franklin), but the Bruins have restocked well. Advantage: UCLA

Special teams

NU has made it a point to redesign many of its units -- most notably on kickoff return, where the Huskers rank sixth nationally behind Kenny Bell. But UCLA has blocked nine kicks under Jim Mora. And the Bruins controlled field position last year vs. NU, when the Huskers' drives started at the 20.5-yard line on average. UCLA began its possessions at the 36.4. Advantage: UCLA


The Huskers are working in new players on defense, but UCLA is young all over. UCLA was only plus-11 in total point differential in seven games away from the Rose Bowl -- but plus-85 in the seven contests at home. Nebraska has won 10 straight at home. Also note the kickoff time: 11 a.m. That's 9 a.m. in L.A. Advantage: NU

Key matchup: UCLA's offense vs. Nebraska's linebackers

Josh Banderas, No. 52, Zaire Anderson, Nate Gerry, No. 25, and Michael Rose had better be ready. They'll be trying to corral UCLA QB Brett Hundley on scrambles and designed runs, attempting to help on the zone read or doing their best to cover running backs in the flats and receivers across the middle. UCLA will most certainly isolate NU's inexperienced linebackers in space. Are they up for the challenge?

Our take

How have UCLA players and coaches prepared for the game while coping with the death of WR Nick Pasquale? Sports can help us heal. But how ready are the Bruins to play? They'll be riding emotions, but can they match NU's focus? The Huskers need this game, for perception, for confidence, for momentum, for pride.

Our prediction: Nebraska 42, UCLA 38

Live updates




BRT Podcast

In this week's edition of "The Big Red Today Podcast," Jon Nyatawa and Sam McKewon break down the UCLA-Nebraska game before offering their predictions for the weekend's biggest matchups. Click here »

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks.

BRT app

iPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. and

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-UCLA game provided by the Huskers athletic department. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Former Huskers defensive back Barron Miles headed for CFL Hall of Fame

Miles played 12 years in the CFL with Montreal and British Columbia, winning a Grey Cup with both teams, and finished his career with 66 interceptions.

Sam McKewon's Nebraska spring football prospectus: Offensive line

Nebraska football rises and falls on the strength of its run game, and there weren’t a lot of holes blasting open the last few years for the Huskers.

The best way to teach Nebraska's new system? 'Give them everything early'

When Scott Frost begins teaching players his system, he gives them the entire playbook. No baby steps. No half measures. “We're going to give them everything," said assistant coach Sean Beckton.

Sam McKewon's Nebraska spring football prospectus: Receivers and tight ends

Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman give the Huskers a proven 1-2 punch, but the real question of the spring is: Who joins them?

Carriker Chronicles: Danny Woodhead discusses playing in the NFL, reflections from his career and more

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Nebraska native and NFL veteran Danny Woodhead about his career accomplishments, playing in the Super Bowl and…

Indianapolis Colts add former Husker offensive lineman Matt Slauson

The Indianapolis Colts have signed former Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson.

Sam McKewon's Nebraska spring football prospectus: Running backs

Running Back U is in need of a polish. Maybe a lull should have been expected, but it definitely hit in 2017, when an injury to Tre Bryant sunk the Huskers’ run game.

'Go after 'em all': Nebraska plans aggressive recruiting push into southeast

Nebraska's coaches focused heavily on recruiting the southeast while at Central Florida. They've brought that strategy with them to Lincoln and won't be afraid to go head-to-head with SEC and ACC powers in trying to pull elite prospects out of…

Carriker Chronicles: Evaluating the Huskers' defensive personnel heading into spring practice

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Monday's episode, Carriker takes a deep dive into the Huskers' defensive personnel heading into spring practice and where the Blackshirts can improve.

Sam McKewon's Nebraska spring football prospectus: Quarterbacks

Scott Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco have to find at least one guy — preferably two — who can run the high-octane, fast-paced spread system the way McKenzie Milton has at Central Florida and Marcus Mariota did at Oregon.

Husker assistant Greg Austin envisions restored offensive line dominance

The offensive lineman had just finished the least enjoyable football season he could remember. His team lost games in bunches. If he wasn’t part of the worst line in program history, it felt that way.

Huskers assistant Jovan Dewitt has teaching outside linebackers down to a science

As Nebraska’s new outside linebackers coach begins to pour out his mind and explain concepts, his words pick up pace and his ideas expand beyond the football field.

What happened to Running Back U? Nebraska's new regime has task of restoring backfield tradition

One of Nebraska’s biggest strengths when it joined the Big Ten has now become one of its biggest question marks — despite the return of the top four rushers from last season. And the one back who flashed the most…

Huskers get first taste of early-morning practices that will be common under Scott Frost

Nebraska’s new football coach had to have a few cups of coffee Friday morning. His first spring practice began before sunrise.

Husker notes: Experienced Huskers embracing leadership; Fans welcome at Friday Night Lights

Upperclassmen are going all in with the new coaching staff, coach Scott Frost said Friday morning, and those players will continue to be key as Nebraska makes a transition to new schemes on offense and defense this spring.

Spring football: 5 Husker walk-ons that could make an impact this season

Scott Frost is all about walk-ons. He’s preached the importance of the walk-on program, he’s thrown around the idea of having 150 players at practice (meaning a large influx of walk-ons) and has said over and over he needs Nebraska…

Scott Frost will continue Friday Night Lights camp, revives women's clinic

Nebraska football announced its summer camp schedule Thursday, choosing to keep the Friday Night Lights event that was created and popularized by former coach Mike Riley.

Spring football: 5 Huskers ready to emerge as key contributors

Which Huskers are ready to evolve into valuable contributors and prove it during practices in the coming weeks? Here are five players to keep an eye on.

Huskers gained more than physical strength after offseason workouts 'pushed us to the edge'

A smile crept across Carlos Davis’ face. The rumors are true, he said. Winter workouts under new strength coach Zach Duval were as hard as everyone’s heard. Maybe even harder.

Running backs coach Ryan Held loves fullbacks, but says Huskers will transition away from the position

Plug your nose, Nebraska traditionalists. Because this one might hurt. The fullback position at Nebraska is pretty much gone.

Mo Seisay works out at NU's pro day; former Husker hoping to get second chance in NFL

A former Husker — and NFL player — worked out at Nebraska’s pro day — cornerback Mohammed Seisay.

Husker pro day notes: Chris Weber adjusting to life after football; Tyler Hoppes drills well

While many of his former teammates went through drills for NFL scouts at pro day on Wednesday, Nebraska's 2017 tackles leader sat in a balcony seat inside the Hawks Center and watched.

Tanner Lee takes matters into his own hands at Nebraska's pro day

On Wednesday at the Hawks Championship Center, Tanner Lee threw on the run, he threw deep, he threw check downs, and in the end, completed 43 of his 49 passes.

Former Husker David Knevel highly regarded by CFL, but has eyes on NFL

More Canadian Football League scouts than usual attended Nebraska’s pro day Wednesday, focused on Ontario native and former Husker offensive tackle David Knevel.

Miami Dolphins officially release former Husker Ndamukong Suh

Former NU standout Ndamukong Suh was officially released by the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.

Husker notes: No decisions yet on walk-on tryouts; Sean Beckton likes tight end competition and more

Nebraska gave members of the student body a shot at earning a spot on the football team Tuesday. On Wednesday, Scott Frost said he isn't yet sure whether any of those dreams would be realized.

Former Husker Rex Burkhead officially re-signs with the New England Patriots

Former Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead is re-signing with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

They said it: Scott Frost on the QB competition, spring practice priorities and more

Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media to discuss the opening of spring football practice. Check out a transcript below, as provided courtesy of the Nebraska athletic department.

Scott Frost focused on efficiency, repetition entering first spring at Nebraska

The press conference ahead of Scott Frost's first spring as Nebraska head coach featured many of the same qualities as the practices he will soon run. There were quick hits. There was efficiency. And most of all, there was enthusiasm.

Tre Bryant among injured Huskers for spring; Nebraska also without starting centers

Several Huskers will miss all or part of spring camp, Scott Frost announced Wednesday at his spring press conference. Among them were Nebraska's two starting centers from last season and Tre Bryant, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances before going…