Our 2013 NCAA Football schedule continues Saturday as Nebraska welcomes UCLA to Lincoln. We’ll have complete coverage beginning at 11:30 AM Eastern on our WestwoodOne affiliates coast-to-coast and streaming live right here on WestwoodOneSports.com!
To get you ready for the game, our analyst Terry Donahue, who will call the game, filed this scouting report on the Bruins and the Cornhuskers.
In a Nutshell: UCLA is going to be one of the most explosive offensive football teams in the country this year. In their opening game they had about 650 yards of total offense, split pretty evenly between rushing and passing. That kind of balance makes them really formidable. I think they have a chance to score more than 40 against anybody they play and I think they’ll reach that number Saturday against Nebraska as well.
Player I’ll Be Watching: Quarterback Brett Hundley is a year older and a year more experienced in the offense. Last year, UCLA beat Nebraska in a very close game at the Rose Bowl and UCLA is much improved over where they were a year ago. I think the key to the game will be what Hundley does, not necessarily when he’s throwing the ball, but when he’s pulling the ball down and running. Last year, in critical times, he was able to pull the ball down and keep drives alive with his legs and Nebraska didn’t have an answer for him running the ball in a scrambling situation.
What the Bruins need to do to win: On defense, UCLA must not become vulnerable to the play-action pass. The Bruins have a very young secondary without a returning starter back there. In big games like this, those guys are going to want to get up in there and get into the action, and their coaches want them to support the run defense. But they must not over-commit and give away huge pass plays. How do I know? It’s happened to me in Lincoln before! We were so anxious to stop the run – and we did stop the run – but we gave up four or five play-action touchdown passes and got blown out. When you give up easy plays like that, you lose your spirit.
In a Nutshell: The home-field advantage is huge at Memorial Stadium. They’ve got great fans and it’s always noisy. The Huskers are a very good offensive team and, at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to big plays and which team makes more. Nebraska’s defense has been a bit suspect early this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how they do against UCLA. If both teams hold to form, we could be looking at a very high-scoring game.
Player I’ll Be Watching: Quarterback Taylor Martinez. As he goes, so go the Cornhuskers. I know you can say that about almost any team and almost any quarterback, but it’s even more obvious with this team. When Martinez plays well, Nebraska wins. When he doesn’t, it isn’t pretty for Big Red.
What the Cornhuskers need to do to win: If I’m watching Brett Hundley, the Nebraska defense better be doing the same. If Nebraska can stop Hundley from tucking and running and making plays with his legs, it’ll make it much more difficult on UCLA to continue drives and move the chains. It’s not easy to have an answer for Hundley’s athleticism, but if I’m Nebraska’s defense this week, I’d have spent a lot of time coming up with ways to stop the Bruins’ quarterback from killing me when he’s dropping back to pass and then decides to pull the ball down and run with it.
– Terry Donahue
John Tautges and Terry Donahue will be on the call in Lincoln. Coverage begins at 11:30 AM Eastern and you can listen to the broadcast right here on WestwoodOneSports.com.