Nebraska rush offense vs. UCLA rush defense
One of the disappointments this season has been the Huskers’ inability to run the ball consistently or with regular authority. The worst of it came in back-to-back games against Northwestern and Purdue, resulting in NU throwing 48 passes in both. But the UCLA defense ranks No. 88 nationally in rushing yards allowed (187.8 per game) and has been dented by injuries.
Nebraska pass offense vs. UCLA pass defense
Nebraska can look good when things are going well, and several Husker receivers had big regular seasons as Tommy Armstrong passed for 2,856 yards and 21 touchdowns. The bugaboo has been interceptions, and Armstrong threw 10 of his 16 in his last four starts. UCLA picked off 12 passes this season, and opponents completed just 56.8 percent of their throws.
UCLA rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
UCLA isn’t one-dimensional, and Paul Perkins’ success the last two seasons backs that up. Perkins averages 5.7 yards per carry and makes defenses pay for missed tackles. Nebraska, however, stayed solid against the run most of the season and went into bowl season No. 8 nationally in rushing defense at 113.4 yards per game. The Huskers also have all their pieces back.
UCLA pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Only two freshmen this season threw for more than the 3,350 yards by quarterback Josh Rosen, who was an immediate good fit for the Noel Mazzone offense. The Bruins also have one receiver with 1,068 yards (Jordan Payton) and another with 10 TDs (Thomas Duarte). Nebraska watched six of its first seven opponents throw for 300 yards or more.
UCLA has the Lou Groza Award winner with kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who has made 38 of 45 field goals his last two seasons. Nebraska answers with Drew Brown, successful on his last 10 field goals and now 13 of 17 from 40-plus yards. Give NU a solid edge at punter with Sam Foltz (44.4-yard average), but UCLA has the bigger return threat with Devin Fuller.
Motivation will be hard to gauge until the game gets rolling, but UCLA obviously had some higher hopes after being ranked as high as No. 7, and Nebraska is simply fortunate to be playing after a 5-7 season. The Bruins should have the crowd edge and play more regularly on natural grass. Both teams have issues with penalties, but UCLA has a huge edge with turnovers.
Key matchup: UCLA receivers vs. Nebraska cornerbacks
One thing that became clear late in the season and into December is that Nebraska has found its 2016 cornerbacks with Josh Kalu and Chris Jones. Those two now face good final tests to their sophomore seasons, matching up with Jordan Payton, Thomas Duarte and company — with Josh Rosen trying to find them.
Nebraska is 3-4 against the Pac-12 since 2009, but the talent of this UCLA team is closer to the Bruin squad that beat it in 2012 and ’13 and the USC unit that hung 45 on it last year. NU will have to put up some points, but its defensive effort against a fast-paced UCLA offense likely will be the determining factor.
Our prediction: UCLA 38, NEBRASKA 27
Big Red Today coverage
What a night to be alive in Lincoln. On a mild December Saturday night, the Haymarket was electric, buzzing with pride and excitement and anticipation.
Few knew for certain the newly-hired coach would make an appearance Saturday night for the men's basketball game against No. 13 Kansas until the hanging video boards "froze over" during pregame introductions and began showing photos and clips of Frost's…
Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator stressed takeaways and sacks in turning around UCF.
North Platte senior Bryson Krull is a big, physical wide receiver with sure hands, and the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder is the latest in-state player to commit to walking on at Nebraska.
Scott Frost is a candidate for another postseason honor.
Bellevue West lineman AJ Forbes has scholarship offers from virtually every Division II school in the area. On Thursday night Forbes committed to walk-on at Nebraska.
Lincoln Southeast defensive lineman Bryson Williams has decided to shut down his recruitment and will not be taking an official visit to Nebraska this weekend.
Chris Weber is Nebraska football's 108th Academic All-American — most of any program in collegiate athletics — and the 70th first-team selection. Nebraska also has a nation-leading 330 Academic All-Americans across all sports.
Marcus Riley has been committed to Louisville since July 2016. Until recently, he was strong in that conviction. Things got interesting when Riley was among the dozen or so offers sent out by Nebraska the day after Scott Frost's hiring…
Martinez said that Thursday during an interview on "The Bottom Line," less than 24 hours after he announced his commitment to Nebraska. He added that fans can believe in Scott Frost, and the Huskers will "work our tails off" for…
It only took Scott Frost two seasons as a head coach to win one of the biggest honors in college football.
Nebraska has added two more preferred walk-on commits. Lincoln Pius X senior Chris Cassidy informed The World-Herald of his commitment Thursday morning, and Omaha Skutt's Jake Archer announced his decision on Twitter.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Carriker is joined by one of his daughters to give his quick take to the Huskers' landing a QB commit, talk about how players react…
Imagine a time when you couldn't follow a Husker football game or know its outcome until the next day's newspaper landed on your doorstep. For diehard fans in the 21st century, that would be torture. In the first quarter of…
Pending Republican tax proposals could put the squeeze on big-time college sport programs.
In less than two weeks on the job, Nebraska’s staff has sent out more than 70 known offers to prospects from the Class of 2018 and beyond. Players big and small. From the West Coast and East Coast. In junior…
Nebraska’s walk-on event Wednesday landed commitments from Lincoln Southwest’s Collin Shefke and O’Neill’s Wyatt Liewer. Liewer received a preferred walk-on offer Oct. 8. Shefke received his offer Wednesday.
Nebraska fans travel well. There was the invasion of Notre Dame in 2000. Taking over Northwestern in 2014. Tack on another badge: the constant presence at Central Florida games in 2017.
Nebraska sent out invitations and used the hashtag #HomeGrown to bring prospects to its walk-on event on Wednesday night.
Size. Nebraska’s new coaching staff clearly wants it from the receivers and tight ends who may join the Huskers’ 2018 recruiting class.
Nebraska has landed Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez, who committed to the Huskers on Wednesday. Quick takes on Martinez’s decision and what it means for the Huskers.
New Nebraska coach Scott Frost will have some story to tell after signing day. Frost has committed to lead Central Florida in its quest to finish an undefeated season and win the Peach Bowl over Auburn. That's one thing. He's…
Barret Pickering has been busy. And that won't be changing anytime soon for Nebraska's reaffirmed incoming kicker.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker is joined by NU volleyball coach John Cook to preview the Huskers' match against Penn State in the NCAA tournament final four.
Adrian Martinez — a consensus four-star prospect who’s a top-100 recruit according to ESPN — is now a Husker, announcing his decision Wednesday to pick Nebraska over Tennessee. He’ll enroll early at NU and try to win the starting job…
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Dec. 12 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."
Nebraska football recruiting and strength and conditioning were topics Tuesday on "The Bottom Line," when World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon and former Husker Adam Carriker were among the guests.
Sometimes, football players need a year to grow into their frames after high school. That’s the story of one Nebraska official visitor this weekend, City College of San Francisco pass rusher Jordan Allen.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Tuesday's episode, Carriker talks about a busy Sunday in Nebraska recruiting news and what's next on the agenda.
Iowa Western offensive lineman Noah Banks did not visit Nebraska on Tuesday as originally planned and is making other options higher priorities as the junior-college national signing day approaches.