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
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella about his "All Gas, No Brakes" mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and…
Contrary to current popular opinion, Social Security eligibility isn’t required to land a high-profile position in Nebraska’s athletic department. It may seem that way with Mike Riley, 64, as head football coach and now Bill Moos, 66, as athletic director.
A lot of Nebraska players are pretty banged up this week, coach Mike Riley said on the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.
Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost knows a thing or two about the option offense, and he's using that knowledge to ready UCF to face it.
New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ contract indicates that football is on the minds of those who gave it to him.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Tuesday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos to be the next athletic director.
Members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents expressed support and even delight Monday over the hiring of Bill Moos as Nebraska’s athletic director.
I’m hearing that some of the big-money folks are making their unhappiness known over Mike Riley’s football program.
Bill Moos may be a friendly face, but your skepticism is warranted.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Monday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at the statistics behind Nebraska's 56-14 loss to Ohio State.
Moos, who has been director of athletics at Washington State since 2010, will begin his tenure in Lincoln on Oct. 23.
Nebraska’s defensive coordinator presided over a Blackshirts surrender that produced more sorrow on my Facebook page and in my Twitter/email message inbox than I can recall since the 2012 Big Ten championship game.
Bill Moos said Sunday that his motto has always been the same in 25 years of athletic administration and won't change as he takes over at Nebraska: "Honor the past, live the present, create the future."
For Bill Moos, his first course of action at Nebraska will likely focus heavily on figuring out who fits at Nebraska, and who doesn’t.
Picture this scene: Oregon State’s head coach (Mike Riley) sitting down with Oregon’s athletic director (Bill Moos) and telling Beaver football stories.
Somebody asked Bill Moos about boots, so he rattled off a couple of his favorite brands. And sports writers nodded in agreement.
If there had been a national betting pool on Nebraska’s hire for athletic director, today would entail offering refunds.
World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Oct. 16.
Bill Moos was always open with Mike Bellotti. So open that they had conversations about what would happen if Moos — then the Oregon athletic director — ever had to fire his football coach.
There was a lot of talk about recovery on Saturday after one of Nebraska’s worst conference home losses ever.
Bill Moos came full circle in 2010 when he was hired as athletic director at Washington State, returning to Pullman after being an all-conference football player for the Cougars in the early 1970s and starting his career in athletics administration…
The former Nebraska center stated three goals when he was introduced as the interim athletic director on Sept. 26. All three got done under his watch, Rimington said Sunday.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker gives his gut reaction to Nebraska's new athletic director, Bill Moos.
What do you think of the hire? Vote in the poll below and leave comments sharing your thoughts.
Bill Moos will take over as Nebraska A.D. on Oct. 23, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Ronnie Green announced Sunday. Who is he?
Nebraska football coach Mike Riley, captain of this pigskin Titanic, looked cold as he passively watched his program sink, perhaps for good, during Ohio State’s 56-14 evisceration of the Huskers.
Look for Nebraska to introduce a new athletic director this week. It’s not official, but three sources with ties to NU’s administration indicated Saturday interviews took place late last week and that a decision is either imminent or already made.
For the sake of all those national champions and All-Americans, for the thousands who grew up and grew old on the planks of Memorial Stadium, for the pride and dignity of a state and its flagship university. Make. It. Stop.
You could see and hear the boss calling for change. And it seems inevitable now, change will come to Nebraska’s football program. Many want it now, of course, after the embarrassment that unfolded at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 56-14 loss against the Buckeyes.