After a trip down to Blacksburg, Va. for a much anticipated rematch with Virginia Tech, Nebraska comes back to Lincoln to host the Louisanna Lafayette Rajin Cajuns.
Coming off of an emotional and tough game, win or lose, in Blacksburg, I could see this game against the Rajin Cajuns as a bit of a trap game.
Take note though Cornhusker fans, Pelini and the coaching staff proved in 2008 that after difficult games, with unfavorable outcomes, alas Missouri and Oklahoma, that they have the moxie and personalities to get the Cornhuskers to refocus to the current task at hand.
The Rajin Cajuns come into the 2009 season looking to replace a couple of stellar offensive players in quarterback Michael Desormeaux and running back Tyrell Fenroy. Desormeaux was the Sun Belt Conference offensive player of the year, while Fenley was the all time leading rusher in school and conference history.
The Rajin Cajuns will look to Sophomores Chris Masson and Brad Mcquire to lead the way for the offense. Coming out of spring practice neither had a clear edge over the other and it looks like the battle will go to the final days of fall camp.
On a positive note for the Cajun's is that they return a group of experienced offensive lineman led by senior center Chris Fisher, senior guard Brad Bustle and junior tackle Jonathan Decoster.
The other side of the ball for the Rajin Cajuns has lots of question marks coming into the 2009 season. In 2008 the defense gave up an average of 33.6 points per game. But, Coach Bustle said that he saw a much improved defense in spring drills, one that appears much faster and more athletic.
The defense is lead by linebacker Antwyne Zanders, a two time all Sun Belt Conference honoree.
Now, for the game itself.
Just as Nebraska will be coming off real a tough road game the week before, La-Lafayette, will also be coming into this game after visiting an LSU team in Death Valley. Makes me wonder, if playing two very strong out of conference road games, back to back, could have some sort of negative carry over to their visit to Lincoln.
Because of some inexperience at some key offensive positions I look for the Blackshirts to pose an all day problem for the Rajin Cajun's offense and whoever might start at quarterback for them.
I also look for this Cornhusker defense to start producing turnovers, a hallmark of any Pelini defense, that was sorely missed last year. An inexperienced quarterback, on the road, in a hostile environment, at times lends to turnovers.
The Rajun Cajins offensive line will be matched up against one of the premier defensive lines in the Big 12 conference and maybe the country. Can they hold the line and keep Suh and company from disrupting the entire offensive flow?
If they are unable to at least slow the rush down and keep negative offensive plays to a minimum, it might be a really really long day for the Cajuns quarterbacks and running backs.
When Nebraska has the ball I look for Lee and company to have very little trouble moving the ball through the air or on the ground. I look for a big day for tight end Mike McNeil who can cause match up problems for any defense. Lee will be able to find guys like Niles Paul, Menelik Holt and Chris Brooks open down the field for big plays through the air.
On the ground Nebraska should produce solid rushing numbers behind a group of experienced linemen who will be leading the way for Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille. I look for both running backs to have good days toting the pigskin with both possibly exceeding the 100 yard mark.
In the end, a hostile environment, at least by Nebraska fan's standards, an inexperienced quarterback and the second tough out of conference road game in a row will prove to be too much for the Rajin Cajuns.
I see Nebraska dominating this game in the second half and leaving the field with a fairly comfortable victory.
My pick Nebraska 45
Rajin Cajuns 21