The UCLA Bruins have been going through a swarm of emotions due to the death of teammate Nick Pasquale. On Friday September 13, the Bruins come into the game as a 3.5 point underdog. Head coach Jim Mora Jr. spoke on Saturday morning about how they will play for Nick Pasquale, though their hearts are heavy. Last season, UCLA ran past Nebraska in a 36-30 victory. Now the “Big Red” want to return the favor in the return trip. Both teams will honor Pasquale with decals and patches containing the number 36. The CBS Coaches poll has Nebraska ranked 15th and UCLA 17th. Both teams will look good in their new uniforms.
This game will come down to a few important factors. For Nebraska, the defense has to be in the right position. Once they are in the proper position, they need to make sure form tackles. In every big game and sometimes little games, the defense has been inadequate. It’s not possible for the defense to be overwhelmed and Nebraska to pull out a victory.
The only reason why UCLA is the underdog is because they are playing away from home. For an upset victory, the Bruins will have to weather the storm of the hostile crowd. Dual threat quarterback Brett Hundley carried the ball seven times for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bruins offense is fun and impact. They are in the top 25 in running and passing. With almost 650 yards against Nevada, it seems like UCLA was hitting on all cylinders. They had nice wrinkles against Nebraska last year. James Franklin was dynamic out of the backfield with swing passes. Jordan James takes over the new role.
The Bruins defense had trouble with the Cornhusker offense as well, but they were able to apply pressure on key downs. The key is to watch Anthony Barr's presence.
Offensively, the Cornhuskers have to take care of the football. It would be advisable to limit the turnovers over to zero. That might be their only chance of winning at home. Short fields could be detrimental to Nebraska’s chances. In addition to holding on to the ball, Taylor Martinez has to be dynamic in the both facets of the offense. Martinez must keep UCLA on their heels.
The running game can be lethal at times, but they have to show it on a big stage. They are averaging 330 yards on the ground with an assortment of running backs.
Defensively, Nebraska has been pummeled by the opponents. UCLA has a balanced attack and that spells doom for the Nebraska defense. That’s why the “black shirts” have to play their best game in years. If not, Saturday’s game could turn into a track meet.
This should be a high scoring game. If Nebraska can win the turnover battle then they have a chance. If not, then it’s going to be trouble for the home team. Secretly, Taylor Martinez can have a Heisman moment coming if he comes through in the clutch.