College Football

Path to Victory : Nebraska vs UCLA

ARE YOU READY FOR A BOWL GAME? Foster Farms’ bowl promotions aren’t as grandiose as the Monday Night Football songs but their commercials are still pretty fantastic. Typically, after a 5-7 season, you wouldn’t expect to see a bowl breakdown in Nebraska. The Huskers finished their regular season with a pretty good showing (except from Tommy Armstrong) against Iowa but came up short to end the year with a losing record. Even so, thanks to the NCAA hosting way too many bowl games, the Huskers find themselves eligible for the postseason. GBR, APR, am I right?

Nebraska’s opponent, UCLA, had a disappointing season of their own after finishing 8-4. Ahh, the days when 8-4 was disappointing…but I digress. After starting the season ranked 13th in the country, going undefeated in the non-conference and beating BYU…ugh…they struggled in the PAC-12 finishing with a 5-4 conference record. With losses to Arizona State, Stanford, USC and Washington State for some reason, the Bruins hopes of a PAC-12 title were dashed despite the talent of their squad. Or maybe, since they lost, we’ll just say they didn’t have the talent.  Mike Riley is 6-2 in bowl games with his last victory (and bowl game) coming in 2013. Can the Huskers shake off the ghosts of the 2015 season and upset the Bruins? By following these simple steps…

Run the Ball

Nebraska had a tendency to run the ball early in games, struggle for a quarter and then abandon trying in any real way. Senior Fullback Andy Janovich didn’t have a carry against Iowa despite a few 3rd or 4th and short situations. Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf stated after the game that, since they’d struggled to run the ball early, he didn’t trust it to work later. That’s an attitude that’ll lead you to failure every time. Be patient with the running game and take the pressure off of Tommy Armstrong.

Janovich didn't have a carry against Iowa.

Janovich didn’t have a carry against Iowa.

No Turnovers

Zero. Whether it’s a fumble or an interception. Nebraska can’t afford to be behind in the turnover battle against anyone but especially against a team as talented as UCLA.

Game Management

This one is for the coaches. Be mindful of the game clock. Be smart about down-and-distance. 4th & 1 and you’re down by 11? Kick the field goal and get yourself within one score. Nebraska’s coaches have had several gaffes this season that, arguable, cost their team games. Whether it’s 3rd down against Illinois or 4th down against Iowa –we need to see the coaches have learned about these mistakes. Putting your players in better position will help turn 5-7 back into 9-4.

Prediction:  Nebraska 30 – UCLA 27

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