When Nebraska and UCLA clash this weekend at 4:30 PM (PST), it is a game that most football fans expect the Cornhuskers to win.
No. 16 Nebraska is the favorite and looks to add a quality win to their record after opening up at home with a win against a challenged Southern Mississippi team.
The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles lost 23 lettermen to graduation, and their head coach from last year moved on after a successful season. So it was surprising that Nebraska led by a score of only 21-17 near the end of the first half last Saturday.
Nebraska came back in the second half though.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez was impressive completing 26-of-34 passes for 354 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Nebraska has a very nice rushing attack too.
But that win over SoMiss came at home for Nebraska. This upcoming tilt against the Bruins will be at the Rose Bowl. This is also an underrated Pac-12 UCLA team—not a C-USA team ravaged by departures.
In fact, with a 4:30 PM game time, will the Huskers be tired? That time converts to 6:30 PM which might be a little past corn country's bed time.
With all this in mind, will this be the defining week that new Bruins' head coach Jim Mora Jr. brings in a huge victory over a top-ranked team?
Yes, UCLA will be coming off nine days of preparation for Nebraska. Sure, the UCLA Bruins are coming off a 25-point road win at Rice and will have a buzzing fanbase to welcome them home on Saturday.
So, yes, there is a new culture in Westwood, and the odds are that this new culture will probably keep the game close.
A key to keeping the Cornhuskers defense off balance, will be the running of UCLA QB Brett Hundley and RB Johnathan Franklin. UCLA is fourth in the nation in rushing after one game. Against Rice, Franklin rushed for 214 yards and scored three touchdowns while touching the ball just 15 times.
Look for a tie at halftime—and a tight second half that will yield a very close seven-point loss for the Bruins.
Final Score: Nebraska 34 - UCLA 27
And that is a score that all Bruins can call respectable against a top twenty team.