Nebraska Football 2011: Fresno State Recap and Washington Preview

Matt ZvolanekCorrespondent IISeptember 12, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 10: Ameer Abdullah #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs a kickoff back for a second half touchdown during their game at Memorial Stadium September 10, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 42-29.(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Nebraska(2-0) vs Washington(2-0)


Nebraska beat Fresno State, 42-29.  What to say about this one?  It was far from the dominate outcome many expected. 

Nebraska looked downright awful at times on defense and it showed up in the final stats, as the Blackshirts gave up more than 400 yards.  Nebraska’s defense didn’t record a turnover or a sack against Fresno State.  Part of the reason was the Bulldogs' QB, Derek Carr, is a good quarterback and coach Pat Hill had him roll out on every pass. 

The roll out made it nearly impossible for the D-line to get pressure on Carr.  The offense appeared to be asleep in the first half, only scoring two touchdowns and going into halftime losing. 

In the second half, Nebraska’s receivers stepped up and made some key plays.  Jamal Turner once again showed off his amazing potential.  Special teams also appeared to be napping.  From the punt return to all the holes on kickoff coverage, there is much more work to be done.  But the return game did prove effective as Ameer Abdullah raced downfield for an 100-yard kickoff return. 

Hopefully, this game will be a wakeup call for the Huskers.

What to Watch For:

There are a few things to watch.  First, it might be the defense and special teams were just having an off day.  Also, look for Alfonzo Dennard to be on the field.  And finally, the most closely scrutinized part of the Huskers, the offense.  Martinez needs to continue to progress as a passer and Brandon Kinnie needs to hang on to the ball.  Hopefully, the offense will utilize Jamal Turner and the bubble screen pass.

Biggest Question: 

Will Dennard come back?  The secondary looked lost at times on Saturday and need some senior leadership as well as Dennard’s lockdown skills.

Projected Outcome: 

The Huskies have survived two close games against the likes of Hawaii and Eastern Washington.  Despite this, the Huskies are not to be slept on, as evident by last year’s Holiday Bowl.  However, they have lost Jake Locker.  Nebraska should recover from the lackluster effort and win the game.  Final Outcome: 45-21

Interesting Fact: 

Nebraska and Washington will play for the third time in a year.