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
Aggressive is how NU's head coach wants his start quarterback to stay going forward.
No comment from Frost on the injury to left tackle Brenden Jaimes, who left the game in the fourth quarter. He said the depth chart indicated the next player up. That would be Broc Bando, who finished the fourth quarter.
For all that has happened to the Huskers in three weeks, everything resets for the upcoming nine-game Big Ten slate.
Scott Frost is ready for the start of Big Ten play, and the Husker coach spent about 17 minutes Monday at his weekly press conference setting the stage for the week.
Coach Scott Frost announced Monday the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back will lose his walk-on status thanks to steady, positive production on and off the field.
Nebraska had its best offensive game of the season with 526 yards in a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois. But coach Scott Frost, in his press conference Monday, said the team can still play a lot better on offense.
It'll be the third straight night game in a row for Nebraska and it'll be the third straight time OSU has played a night game at NU.
Nebraska’s defense held Northern Illinois' offense to six points Saturday. Though it was a MAC team at home under the lights, the Blackshirts want that goal-line stand to burn into your brains. To remind you they’re not here to mess…
This year, the Husker D is the dutiful older brother — figuratively, literally — of the younger, more explosive, more inconsistent offense.
Nebraska is in the market for a kicker in its 2020 class.
Top 10 generally remains unchanged except for Utah taking the No. 9 spot away from Notre Dame who is now in tenth.
Nebraska walked out of Memorial Stadium with a 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday, and The World-Herald was there for all of it. Check out our complete coverage of the game.
Frost endured a brutal week. His team blew a 17-point lead to an old rival. And for the first time since he returned to Lincoln on a white horse, Husker fans pointed the finger at him, not his players or…
There are still a lot of questions for Nebraska as we watch an identity take shape. What mattered on Saturday night was that the Huskers provided a resounding answer just when they needed it most.
The body language of offensive players leaving the field gave them away. Finally, they had played something close to a complete game.
A line of men in red — a little fed up, a lot hungry, sensing a chance at blood — bolted toward one of the loneliest, most vulnerable positions on the football field. The punter.
The junior from Elkhorn South was the center of attention on the sideline prior to kickoff between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.
The walk-on safety transfer from Air Force was minding his own business when his name was screamed by a coach on the sideline.
Although Nebraska played one of the cleanest game of the Scott Frost era and beat Northern Illinois 44-8, two key Huskers may have sustained injuries that keep them out of future practice or play.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost spoke for nearly nine minutes breaking down the Huskers' performance against Northern Illinois.
Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.
World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' victory against Northern Illinois.
It was easy for Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock to identify what kept the Huskies’ offense from scoring any touchdowns Saturday night against a suddenly stout Nebraska defense.
A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' 44-8 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.
Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's win over Northern Illinois.
On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick take to Nebraska defeating Northern Illinois.
Nebraska led the game 30-5 at halftime and maintained its lead in the second half as backups got to play in the final minutes.
Nebraska's already-thin depth at tackle may get thinner after starting left tackle Brenden Jaimes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Huskers' game against Northern Illinois.
Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.