When analyzing just how much success the 2010 Nebraska Cornhuskers would have, one thing was clear:
They have the perfect schedule to return to the national spotlight.
In 1997, Nebraska was coming off a 20-point win over #10 Virginia Tech in the previous year’s Orange Bowl and felt that they had something to prove.
They bullied the Akron Zips and had one heck of a time corralling an unknown talent named Daunte Culpepper from Central Florida of all places.
Nebraska would win the game 38-24, but the next game loomed on the horizon and defined what would eventually be a national championship season.
Here we are again. Nebraska pasted Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl. The Cornhuskers stomped Western Kentucky and spoiled Nathan Enderle’s trip back home. Now it’s off to Washington.
- Déjà vu all over again
Nebraska’s offense isn’t quite as solidified as it was back in the late 90’s. The defense has the potential to be even saltier. Brock Huard and Marques Tuiasosopo aren’t waiting for the Cornhuskers. This time, highly rated NFL prospect in Jake Locker lies in wait.
“The Battle in Seattle” is a game that would energize either team with a victory.
For Nebraska, the cornerstone would be laid for another run at the national championship. That’s quite an impressive feat for head coach Bo Pelini only in his third year at the helm. Pelini has repeatedly mentioned “Year Three” as when everything clicks and a team truly finds its identity.
For Washington, a win over the Cornhuskers would be just the trick for head coach Steve Sarkisian to prove that his team can vie for the Pac-10 crown.
In 1997, Nebraska dominated the ground game in a 27-14 win rushing for 384 yards. Washington quarterback Brock Huard was knocked out with an injury early on. This left Tuiasosopo in charge and he responded with 270 yards through the air and two touchdowns against the Blackshirt defense.
This year, Washington has a dangerous triple threat with Locker at quarterback, Chris Polk at running back and Jermaine Kearse amongst other receiving threats.
Luckily, for Nebraska, the Cornhuskers’ secondary already ranks amongst the elite proving preseason publications correct thus far. The remainder of the “Peso” defense is finding their footing quickly and no doubt the defensive-minded Pelini brothers have some special looks cooked up for Locker.
- The Road to Arlington (and Glendale?)
The similarities from 1997 to 2010 are eerie for Nebraska. While Taylor Martinez may not be as punishing as former quarterback Scott Frost, Martinez is faster and quite good with a modernized offense.
Roy Helu Jr. is the speedy back much like Ahman Green. Joel Makovicka was actually a fullback, but very versatile much like one Rex Burkhead.
There are even two road games that Nebraska could use a little, or maybe a lot, of luck to win in at Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Here’s hoping that Nebraska fans don’t have to relive the famous “Fleakicker” moment that caused a few million hearts to skip a beat.
Might the Cornhuskers find themselves facing Alabama in a rematch of the 1970 national championship game? Could the Buckeyes of Ohio State meet Nebraska in a preview of the newly formed Big 10?
All of the Husker Nation's eyes are on “The Battle in Seattle.”
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