I want to start this off by saying it sure is nice to wrap up the season with a slate of bowl games that Washington is participating in to wrap up the season. I am really excited about the game and I think Washington is going to show a lot better this time.
I think Jake is going to have a good game. Like I said in the preview his biggest problem in the last meeting was looking like a deer in the headlights from the onset. I think he is going to be loose and I also think he will be a threat to run early. Jake is going to get a little bit of redemption in that class and that is going to help his draft status.
I would like to see a lot of Chris Polk early in this one. If you look at the film of our first possession in the last meeting he had some good early carries before Jake started throwing ducks that were intercepted. Did I say interceptions? Washington can't turn the ball over if they want to be competitive.
Washington is going to do better against the Nebraska defense but will they be able to score enough points to win the game or be at least competitive? I guess we have to play the game to find out but I am predicting that they will beat the spread and the game will be closer than most think.
The Husky special teams were terrible earlier this season but we saw considerable improvement over the last quarter of the year. Washington needs to at least keep it even Thursday night and avoid giving up big plays if they want to have a chance to pull off the upset.
The one thing that really disturbs me is the match-up between the Nebraska offensive line and the Washington defensive line. If we had a healthy Talia Chricton and Semisi Tokolahi in the line up I might just be predicting an upset. The Huskers have a huge advantage in this area that the Huskies may not be able to overcome. If you look at the film from the last game they just blocked our team down field from the onset and it was really ugly.
One thing that is important for the defense will be the presence of Cort Dennison who missed the first game. Cort is the glue of the front part of this defense. I think his return is a huge plus.
Vic Aiyewa is a completely different player then he was in September. He progressed from a really green guy who makes a lot of mistakes into being one of the best SLB's in the Pac 10.
Don't forget that this is Mason Foster's last game and that he will be rested, locked, and, loaded for his Husky finale. Look for Mason to have over a dozen tackles in this game win or lose.
Our secondary has certainly improved. We have had solid plays from the safeties and Quinton Richardson has been reborn over the last half of the season. The improvement in his play is eye popping. Desmond Trufant has also picked it up and has shook loose the sophomore slump he was going through.
If Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez is limited with his high ankle sprain we just may have a shot in this one. The Nebraska offense struggled the last quarter of the season once he got dinged up. When Martinez is limited this team becomes more one dimensional which helped account for a fall in scoring average from 38 to 25 points per game.
So who do I pick in this one? Do I pull a Dick Baird, and go with the Huskies, or do I look at the Las Vegas line and the obvious mismatch in the trenches and pick the Huskers? I think it will be close and I think the huskies will beat the spread. In the end I think the game is won in the trenches and the Cornhuskers have a decided edge on both sides of the ball.
Nebraska 31 Washington 24
Vegas : Nebraska by 14