Bowl Games 2010: Nebraska vs. Washington Tale of the Tape
It’s déjà vu all over again.
Nebraska (10-3) faces Washington (6-6) for the second time this season.
The two teams are more seasoned and a little more dinged-up than in their initial meeting, naturally.
Looking at records alone might suggest that this game will likely be a repeat of the Cornhuskers’ 56-21 manhandling of the Huskies in Seattle earlier this year.
The current 13.5 points that Nebraska is favored by in Vegas might as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the rematch.
Taylor Martinez (109-of-187, 1,578 yards passing, nine TDs/six INTs and 942 yards rushing on 148 attempts, 12 TDs)
Jake Locker (179-of-316, 2,209 yards passing, 17 TDs/nine INTs and 302 yards rushing on 101 attempts, five TDs)
It’s no secret that both of these players are banged up quite a bit more than in their previous encounter.
Martinez has been battling turf toe and ankle problems, while Locker has been suffering from a fractured rib.
Martinez, Nebraska’s answer to Michigan’s Denard Robinson earlier in the year, now produces runs that seem far more tentative than those in Seattle.
Locker was woefully inefficient versus Stanford and didn’t participate against Oregon.
With time to heal, each quarterback should get the opportunity to regain some of his original form.
Locker has the edge, as he hasn’t been nearly so reliant on his feet as Martinez.
Chris Polk (226 attempts for 1,238 yards and eight TDs)
Roy Helu, Jr. (177 attempts for 1,211 yards and 11 TDs)
Rex Burkhead (160 attempts for 912 yards and seven TDs)
Polk is easily the most notable player on Washington’s roster aside from Jake Locker.
Helu and Burkhead combine to form one of the nation’s most dangerous Wildcat formation combinations this side of Eugene, Oregon.
WR Niles Paul (516 yards, one TD)
WR Brandon Kinnie (478 yards, five TDs)
TE Kyler Reed (364 yards, seven TDs)
WR Jermaine Kearse (1,001 yards, 12 TDs)
WR D’Andre Goodwin (500 yards, four TDs)
The Cornhuskers have struggled to find a consistent passing game, though the emergence of Brandon Kinnie and Kyler Reed has been a pleasant surprise.
Reed is especially adept at shaking defenders and getting downfield quickly.
It’s not hard to figure out Jake Locker’s favorite target from the Huskies’ receiving corps.
Jermaine Kearse has been Locker’s go-to receiver all season long.
D’Andre Goodwin provides a solid safety valve should secondaries clamp down on Kearse.
Simply put, Washington has the passing game figured out.
(National rankings as of Dec. 8, 2010)
Rushing offense: No. 10 (259.6 YPG)
Passing offense: No. 109 (154.6 YPG)
Scoring offense: No. 28 (32.7 PPG)
Third Down Conversion: No. 49 (42.13 percent)
Rushing offense: No. 45 (164.2 YPG)
Passing offense: No. 77 (200.3 YPG)
Scoring offense: No. 93 (22.1 PPG)
Third Down Conversion: No. 114 (31.36 percent)
(National rankings as of Dec. 8, 2010)
Rushing defense: No. 52 (144.3 YPG)
Passing defense: No. 7 (159.9 YPG)
Scoring defense: No. 8 (17.2 PPG)
Third Down Conversion defense: No. 3 (29.17 percent)
Rushing defense: No. 103 (198.8 YPG)
Passing defense: No. 36 (202.42 YPG)
Scoring defense: No. 93 (31.2 PPG)
Third Down Conversion defense: No. 76 (41.57 percent)
LaVonte David (145 TKL, 77 solo, 14 TFL, six sacks, 10 PBU, six QBHs)
Mason Foster (151 TKL, 97 solo, 11 TFL, 4.5 sacks, two PBU, two PDs, two QBHs, two FF, two FR, one KBLK)
Nebraska's LaVonte David was a question mark headed into the season.
Probable starters Sean Fisher and Will Compton were sidelined with injuries, and it was up to the JUCO transfer to shine.
He promptly exceeded all expectations.
Washington’s Foster has been a defensive terror for the Huskies, serving as their defense’s “Swiss army knife.”
Foster had plenty of opportunities to make his presence felt in opposing backfields and in the second level of the Washington defense.
Clearly, he earned his scholarship.
It’s a coin flip here, so we’ll use postseason honors.
David was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team Defense.
Foster was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team Defense.
It looks like it’s the Huskers by a nose.
Prince Amukamara (58 TKL, one sack, one TFL, 13 PBU)
Eric Hagg (five INTs)
Alfonzo Dennard (four INTs)
Nathan Fellner (four INTs)
Desmond Trufant (46 TKL, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, five PBU)
Nebraska’s 2010 secondary is freakishly good thanks to not only the efforts of Nebraska defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders, but to the depth chart as well.
The Cornhuskers quite literally have eight defensive backs that could be plugged into their unique 4-2-5 “Peso” defense and dominate.
To all Nebraska fans, there are several names that were omitted, but merely for the sake of brevity.
Washington has Fellner and...well, everyone else.
Trufant and Quinton Richardson make solid contributions but are nowhere near as salty as the Cornhuskers’ bunch.
Bo Pelini (30-11 with Cornhuskers)
Steve Sarkisian (11-13 with Huskies)
Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has been second-guessed, poked, prodded and even dressed down publicly.
He stepped up, did what he had to and went on about his business.
His players love him.
One might argue that they would legitimately attempt to run through a wall for the man.
He clearly can infuse passion into his players.
Sarkisian is still trying to work some magic with Washington, and he’s having moderate success.
One has to wonder if that will continue should Jim Harbaugh stay at Stanford and with the rise of the Oregon Ducks.
Look for another Pac-10 team to be put through the meat grinder by Pelini’s defense.
Final Tally: 6-2 Nebraska
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