Gator Bowl Preview Nebraska vs ClemsonWell here we are Husker fans, about 24 hours until kickoff of the Gator Bowl where our beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers will be taking on the Clemson Tigers of the ACC Conference. The first New Years Day bowl for the Huskers since they lost to Auburn in the 2006 Cotton Bowl. The Huskers have really improved under first year head coach Bo Pelini and they hope to close out his first season with a victory over the Tigers on New Years Day!

It will be very interesting to see how both teams come out and open up the game. I think the first quarter could be a little sluggish as both teams have been over for quite a while. Clemson will be coming into the game with a 7-5 record and winners of their last three games while Nebraska comes into the game with a 8-4 record and has also won their last three games and are playing their best football of the year.

I think the Nebraska offense will have their way with the Clemson defense because the Tigers never really get pressure on the opposing quarterback. Not getting pressure on Joe Ganz will allow him to pick apart the defense and if he has to, he will hurt you with his legs while picking up good yardage. The offensive line play for the Huskers will be huge and I suspect that they will play a great game while Ganz keeps moving the chains and the Huskers put the ball in the endzone five times.

Marlon Lucky still isn’t quite 100% but he is the best he has been in a very long time. Look for him to get quite a few carries as well as super sophomore Roy Helu Jr. Helu has really came on and sparked the Huskers rushing attack while Lucky has been out. We can’t forget about Quentin Castille either as the truck load will get in their on third and short situations as well as down on the goal line.

On the defensive side of the ball look for Clemson to attack the Huskers on the ground. C.J. Spiller and James Davis are two very good running backs for the Tigers and both have great speed if they get into the open field. The Blackshirts will have to control the line of scrimmage where they will be going up against a very young offensive line. I think Ndamukong Suh and Zach Potter will have big days for the Blackshirt defense while they hold the Clemson running attack to around 150 total rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper passed for 2,395 yards with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 12 games. That is not very good production through the air and if the Huskers d-line can get any sort of pressure on Harper and still control the Tigers running game, I expect Harper to not handle the pressure and will make mistakes through the air.

At the end of the game I’m predicting the Huskers to come out on top. I think it all comes down to how well the offensive and defensive lines play for the Huskers. I think they will control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and Ganz and company will put up over 40 points. I just don’t think Clemson has the offense to keep up with the Huskers in a shootout if the point total gets into the 40’s.

My Gator Bowl Prediction: Nebraska 45 Clemson 38

Your thoughts?

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Nebraska practice for the Gator BowlThe Nebraska Football team has been down in Jacksonville, FL since Friday as they prepare for the Gator Bowl where they will be facing off against the Clemson Tigers. The team had to practice without Bo and Carl Pelini as they missed the first practice due to their father passing away earlier in the week.

Coach Sanders took over on defense during practice while Coach Watson ran the offense. The players commented that the practice was a little weird without the Pelini brothers yelling but overall things went pretty well they said.

One pretty cool thing the coaching staff did was allow some high school coaches from Florida and Georgia to attend practices. It’s an open practice where they allow the coaches to all come and see what Nebraska does during their practices and what they all have to offer. It is all about building relationships with the coaches in the part of the country as the Huskers would like to bring some kids out of the SEC country if they can. The Huskers did somethign similar to this when they played a few years back in the Cotton Bowl as well.

Shukree Barfield was surprised before the first practice as he was awarded a blackshirt. It was also mentioned that Eric Hagg had his blackshirt taken away but he had it taken away a while back, the news just was just never reported in the media.

I have tried lining up a question and answer with a Clemson blog but so far I have not heard back. If there are any Clemson fans out there reading this post, please let me know of any sites that might be interested in doing a Q/A with Nebsports please.

Go Huskers!

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Nebraska BasketballNebraska lost to the Retrievers of UMBC (University of Maryland at Baltimore County) by a score of 66 to 64 on Tuesday night. The Huskers never led in the game and trailed big in the first half 37 to 21, but were able to trim the lead to lose by 2 in the end.

This game was very poorly officiated and the Huskers obviously played a very poor game.  Cookie Miller was out due to family/personal reasons and his presence was definitely missed.  UMBC played a zone defense for most of the game and for the third loss in a row the Huskers had a difficult time figuring out how to score against it.

The Huskers did not play well on either offense or defense and gave up multiple layups in the first half. UMBC shot very well through-out the first half and for most of the game. They were led by their diminutive point guard Jay Greene who went 3 for 3 from behind the arc. The biggest thing that he was able to do was to defeat NU’s attempts at getting full or ¾ court pressure on. He probably would have been shut down by Cookie, but as previously mentioned Cookie was out.

Offensively NU could not find a way to penetrate the zone in throughout the first half. They were not shooting well from either behind the arc or inside of it. Later in the game Sek Henry started driving the basketball to the hoop and was able to get the ball to the rim for a make or a foul every time he attempted it. Sek’s driving to the hoop came to an end when he fouled out of the game on a horrible call by the officials with around 4 minutes left.

Paul Velander was a big part of keeping NU in the game in the second half as he was 4 of 8 from 3 point range keeping his season 3 point percentage above 50%. Steve Harley had a nice game playing all 40 minutes of action and guarding their point guard in the second half. Ade Dagunduro led the Huskers in scoring with 19 points.

It is Christmas so I am going to try to stay positive, but this game really hurts. The Huskers need to win tough games like these at home against lesser competition. This is going to be one of those losses that are similar to the Barry Collier era, just mind boggling losses to teams that we should be able to beat. Doc needs to figure out a way to get some scoring punch. I don’t know if it is finding a way to get Bear Jones back in the lineup, or something else. Every bad team in the Big 12 will run a zone at us and probably be able to beat us with it. This loss makes you think about what Sallie, Diaz or Niemann could have brought to the table this year.

It is too early to start thinking about next year, but this team is probably going to have losses to teams like Colorado and Iowa State in conference. Right now we are looking like probably one of the worst teams in the conference. Let’s hope the old adage about it never being as bad or good as it seems is true and this is the low point in the season instead of a sign of things to come.

Go Big Red! - Corey

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Jason Ankrah chooses NebraskaThe Nebraska Cornhuskers picked up a huge commit in Jason Ankrah earlier last week. Ankrah asked that the info not be leaked out until he had a chance to contact the other schools and play in the Maryland Crab Bowl which happened this past weekend.

The Huskers needed to sign a big defensive end prospect and they got their man in Ankrah. Ankrah is currently 6’4 and 248 lbs. He was rated as a four star prospect by Virginia Tech, Clemson, Maryland and Michigan were the other colleges that had offered him scholarshps.

I’m kind of surprised that Ankrah chose the Huskers when he could have elected to stay closer to home where his mom would have preferred. However in the end he said that it was his choice and his family members whated him to do what he thought was best for himself.

The Huskers now have two or three spots left in this years recruiting class. Expect them to oversign by a couple players as there have been some rumors about past commits that might not be elegible due to academics.

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Nebraska vs IPFW RecapThe Nebraska basketball team beat IPFW (Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne) Saturday night 75-48 in front of a crowd of 4,860.  The crowds are normally small this time of year with students being gone, but being on a 2 game losing streak probably hurt the attendance a little also.  The Huskers came out sluggish and seemed to have a little bit of a hangover from the last couple of games.  Their pressure was largely ineffective in the first half and Doc decided to give Nick Krenk a couple of minutes of play to close out the half on his night.  With Krenk in the game the Mastodons scored a couple of threes to take the lead at half time 34 to 29.

Nebraska was led in the first half by Steve Harley’s 12 points as he kept the team in the game by providing the primary scoring punch for the Huskers.  The other achilles heel for the Huskers in the first half was their poor shooting from the free throw line as they were two of eight. Nebraska came out and played better the second half.  They dropped the ¾ court pressure and instead picked up a tough man to man defense in the half court.  Nebraska also showed a trapping 1-3-1 zone look that created multiple turnovers and allowed some easy transition baskets to close out the game and make the final score much more lopsided than it actually was for most of the game.

From the Outside:

Taking a look at the Huskers scoring punch this year the big question is where is Ryan Anderson?  He was a consistent scoring threat from 3 last year as he shot 36.8% and made 50 three pointers on the season.  This year he is only shooting 29.2% on 7 or 24 shooting.  It seems that the absence of Alecs Maric has really caused teams to try and stay with the shooters more than they did last year.  Also he has had open looks this year, but has not made them at the rate that he did last year.

On the other side of is Paul Velander who is shooting an amazing 51.1% from 3 (24 of 47) this year, which is up from 38.3% last year.  Sek Henry has also improved his 3 point shooting going from 27.4% last year to shooting 47.4% so far this year.  It remains to be seen how the teams shooting percentages will change once they face the stiffer competition in conference play, but clearly Sek and Paul need to see more looks in the offense.  A nice addition to the shooting this year has been Toney McCray who is shooting 40% on 6 of 15 from 3

Down Low:

It was good to see Chris Balham get the start as he has sat the last three games with his chronic knee problems.  Alonzo Edwards did not play due to an injury and not practicing most of the week.  He should play more over the next couple of games if healthy.  No sign yet of Jorge Diaz as all signs point to him not being able to make it on campus.  If he is as good as advertised he could be a 15 minute a night guy on this team right now.  NU needs an inside presence to create some space on the outside for the shooters.

Moving Forward:

NU gets a good win against a bad team, but needs to continue to improve as they move forward.  Ade and Ryan are going to need to step up big time once conference season rolls around if this team wants to win games.  It will be interesting to see how the 1-3-1 develops as time goes on, it could be a way to limit another teams ability to take advantage on the inside.  With Nebraska’s quickness we may be able to get more steals in the pressure zone without creating as many fouls as we have been with the full court man to man defense.

See you all at the game Tuesday night – Go Big Red, Corey

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Nebraska Rex BurkheadThe Nebraska Cornhuskers received a huge verbal commitment from Plano, Texas running back Rex Burkhead. Burkhead is a big time get and was the running back that the Huskers were shooting for in this recruiting class. He chose the Huskers over offers from Auburn, Cal, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, & Virginia. It was also rumored that he was offered a scholarship to Texas on his last visit but only if he accepted it right then which he did not do.

Here are four highlight films from his junior season where he ran for over 1700 yards. He also ran for over 1700 yards during his senior season.

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Nebraska recruits Andrew GreenThe Nebraska Football team received another verbal commitment over the weekend as three star cornerback Andrew Green said yes to the Huskers. Green is six foot tall and weights in at 181 lbs while running a 4.5 40.  He is also rated as the #3 most physical corner in the country by Rivals.

Green said that he accepted the Huskers scholarship offer because “It’s where my heart felt right.” He took four official visits to schools including Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma State.

I expect him to be redshirted in the 2009 season, and the come in and compete during his redshirt freshman and sophomore years. If he can keep up his physical play he could be a gread db for this team. I love the fact that the coaches are stock piling db’s in the draft class as that is where the Huskers can we use some help in the next couple of years.

Welcome to the Big Red Family Mr. Green!

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