Come Bowl With Me, Part II: Gator Bowl—Nebraska-Clemson

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Come Bowl With Me, Part II: Gator Bowl—Nebraska-Clemson

Gator Bowl
January 1, 2009
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
University of Nebraska vs. Clemson University

The second bowl game I will attend this season is the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 in Jacksonville.

This game should be a great one because of the matchups on both sides of the ball.

Let's take a quick look at each team's strengths, weaknesses, and keys to success.

 

Nebraska

Strengths

Passing game is 14th-best in the nation

Second-best pass defense in the pass-heavy Big 12

Hold opponents to 35.3 percent on third-downs

Best time of possession average in Big 12—34 minutes per game

 

Weaknesses

Big 12-worst -10 turnover margin

59.92 penalty yards per game

28 fumbles on the year, 15 of which were lost

 

Keys

Use the great WR corps they have to keep Clemson's pass defense off-balance

Secure the football

Limit defensive penalties to put Clemson in third-down situations

 

Clemson

Strengths

Passing defense ranked tenth in the country

Allowed only 16.6 points per game this season

Most passing yards of any ACC team

Exceptional kick-off coverage—net of 45.1 yards

 

Weaknesses

13 fumbles lost and 14 interceptions thrown

Worst third-down conversion percentage in the ACC with only 31.1 percent

No pressure on the QB—ACC-worst 14 sacks

 

Keys

Look for WR Aaron Kelly as a deep threat

Take care of the football

Get pressure on Joe Ganz so he can't pick apart the secondary

 

Matchup to Watch

Nebraska wide receivers vs. Clemson's secondary

 

X-Factor

Nebraska TE, Mike McNeill

With Clemson's secondary preoccupied by the Cornhusker's wideouts, look for McNeill to take advantage and have a great day against the Tiger linebacker—especially in the red zone.

 

Prediction

Nebraska 28, Clemson 27

I expect this to be a close game, with Nebraska's strength through the air on both sides of the ball helping them squeak it out.

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