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Nebraska Football: A Statement Game vs. the Huskies Could Erase Identity Crisis

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Nebraska Football: A Statement Game vs. the Huskies Could Erase Identity Crisis
Eric Francis/Getty Images

After being bitten by the Bulldogs, the Huskers hope to harness the Huskies.

Clearly, the Huskers would like to wash away the bitter taste left in their mouths from last season's Holiday Bowl, but after their ugly win against Fresno State, a convincing win over Washington would carry with it more than the sweet taste of redemption.

After all, Nebraska's 2011 resume thus far consists of a meaningless tune-up against an FCS team and a surprisingly difficult win over a WAC team that has lost its last three bowl games.

This has perplexed many Husker fans; two games into the season, Nebraska has yet to shed much light on their true identity.

Are they a team with an inflated ranking, an impression that could cement itself after another lackluster game? Or are they a conference contender still finding its way through the first few chapters of their inaugural Big Ten season?

If Nebraska ever needed a statement game, one to reassert themselves, shore up their confidence and justify their Top 10 ranking, they cannot squander this weekend's opportunity to shine.

The time is now, lest they duplicate the frustrating roller coaster ride they endured last season.

In 2010, following a pair of games that left many questions unanswered, they throttled Washington, stumbled against South Dakota State and then thoroughly tamed the Kansas State Wildcats. Those uneven performances made it difficult to formulate an accurate opinion of the Big Red.

Yet just when it seemed that the South Dakota State game could have been an anomaly, the Huskers turned in another mistake-prone performance and stumbled against the Longhorns.

From that point, it seemed that Nebraska never fully recovered.

To be fair, Taylor Martinez was slowed by injury and opposing teams became more adept in defending him, yet (minus a game or two) the Huskers lost every game of consequence from that point on; Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game and the Holiday Bowl rematch against the Huskies.

That's why a Husker-worthy performance in this game is so crucial.

Nebraska cannot afford to leave Laramie next week, en route to a date with the seemingly legitimate Badgers, with more question marks hanging over their helmets.

To avoid that potentially disastrous scenario, the Huskers need to focus on the following aspects of their game against the all-too-familiar Washington Huskies.

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