Sort of the same boat as last year's third week against USC, I can see more reasons for Nebraska winning this game than the UW.
Doesn't mean the Huskies can't win. A 16-13 win over the touted Trojans is proof of that.
Here is what worries me:
1, Jake Locker trying to do too much: That would work right in the hands of Nebraska's defense, which will likely get pressure on the quarterback with its front four defenders, and have seven guys spread out in space behind that.
If Locker tries to squeeze a pass in small creases, I could see him throwing an interception or two.
2, UW's special teams: New punter, young coverage units and again, very little presence in the return game. If the Huskies want to play the field-of-position battle, it looks like an uphill climb with this unit (especially given the Cornhuskers special teams are very sound).
3, Defensive letdown: Let's face it, THIS has been the Huskies' best unit through two games. I thought overall it would be better than last year's group, but not the side of the ball carrying the team.
Nebraska will pressure every single facet of the Huskies' defense.
Here is the preview box, with my prediction.
No. 8 NEBRASKA (2-0)at WASHINGTON (1-1)
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. PDT, Husky Stadium, Seattle.
TV: Fox Sports Northwest/ESPN3.com. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: Tied 3-3-1. The Cornhuskers have won the past two games, including a 55-7 win in Lincoln, Neb. in 1998. In their last trip to Seattle in 1997, they also won – 27-14. The UW's last victory was in 1992, a 29-14 triumph at Husky Stadium.
What to watch: What is UW coach Steve Sarkisian now looking for in his offensive line? Fast-moving big bodies, regardless of experience. True freshman Erik Kohler (6-5, 306) fits that, and not surprisingly, he's been paired next to standout Senio Kelemete at left guard. … How good is the Cornhuskers' defense? Maybe not as stout up front, but their back seven is as good, if not better than last season. Needless to say, UW's Jake Locker won't be asked to drop back and sling it over the field. It will take equal distribution between Locker's arm and Chris Polk's running. … What kind of game should this be? If the UW has its say, a low-scoring grinder – by stopping the run, controlling field position and limiting special teams mishaps, which arguably is the biggest concern of the three phases.
What's at stake: Not a time for any one player to be a hero for the Huskies. It's going to take all 11 guys on each side to win this one, against a very confident and determined Nebraska team in search of a high-profile road win against a non-conference opponent.
TNT pick: Cornhuskers, 29-19. PRIME NUMBERSNEBRASKANo. Name (position) Height/Weight Year03 Taylor Martinez (QB) 6-1/205 FreshmanNone of the previous signal callers scare the UW like this California product.07 DeJon Gomes (SS/LB) 6-0/200 SeniorAn emerging talent who can turn an errant Locker throw into a 'Pick Six.' 21 Prince Amukamara (CB) 6-1/205 SeniorArguably the top man-to-man cover guy in the nation. Relishes the Kearse nod.24 Niles Paul (WR) 6-1/220 SeniorBig-framed deep threat will keep UW honest; also active in returns and Wildcat.94 Jared Crick (DT) 6-6/285 JuniorCould be the one to disrupt the ever-changing Huskies interior offensive line.
WASHINGTONNo. Name (position) Height/Weight Year07 Cody Bruns (WR) 5-11/177 JuniorPossession receiver, holder and now backup punter. Starting to show value.08 Nate Williams (SS) 6-0/215 SeniorKeeps making line-of-scrimmage plays early in games, and UW needs that today.10 Jake Locker (QB) 6-3/230 SeniorThe weekend to wear two hats – mistake-free playmaker and game manager.41 Cort Dennison (MLB) 6-1/236 JuniorIf he has any letdowns, chances are Huskies are in for a long afternoon.73 Drew Schaefer (C) 6-4/281 SophomoreWhoever lines up at the starting guard positions, it's his job to monitor trouble.