Nebraska Vs Clemson; Gator Bowl Preview and Prediction

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJanuary 1, 2009

As any in-the-know college football fan knows, most games are decided and won by whichever team dominates the line of scrimmage.  Looking at Clemson and Nebraska I see a distinct advantage for Nebraska in the offensive and defensive lines.

The running back trio of Helu, Lucky, and Castille will be running behind a very experienced and physical Nebraska offensive line lead by right side mates of guard Matt Slauson and tackle Lydon Murtha.  Nebraska will run to set up the play action pass game for Joe Ganz.

Nebraska is going to take advantage of Clemson's very smallish linebackers, two starters of which, come in as undersized safeties weighing only 200 lbs.  Nebraska will get the running game to the second level of the Clemson defense so I expect a lot of runs over 10 yards.

This will eventually lead to the Clemson defense bringing safeties tighter to the line of scrimmage and Joe Ganz will beat them with play action passes over the top for big passing plays.  Expect it.

Nebraska will eat the clock as they have all season and wear out Clemson's defense.

Clemson's offensive line has improved throughout the season but they will be facing a Nebraska defensive line that is the most talented part of the entire Nebraska team. 

The right side of Clemson's offensive line are freshman and they will be seeing a whole lot of All-Big 12 defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh and defensive end Zach Potter.  Suh and Potter will make plays in the running game and rushing the passer. Clemson's offensive line has at times given up quite a few sacks and negative plays.

I expect CJ Spiller and James Davis will get some yardage, probably even get in the endzone, but I don't think it will be enough to off set the advantage Nebraska will have on offense.

Other than kicker, I give an advantage to Clemson on special teams. Especially with CJ Spiller returning kicks and Nebraska giving up some yardage on kickoff returns.  Look for Nebraska to try to negate this by kicking the ball short.

All in all, I expect Nebraska wins, but both teams play very well.


Prediction:  Nebraska 31 Clemson 21