Week 3 - UCLA at Nebraska
Nebraska RB Imani Cross
Nebraska RB Imani Cross
Posted Sep 11, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Prediction & Preview - UCLA at Nebraska

UCLA (1-0) at Nebraska (2-0) Sept. 14, 12:00, ABC

Why You Should Give A Hoot: UCLA-Nebraska may not be the biggest Week 3 game among ranked teams, but it has plenty of meaning to both of the combatants.

The 23rd-ranked Huskers have a score to settle with the Bruins, who won last year's game on the West Coast, 36-30. Nebraska, which fancies itself as a co-favorite in a very deep Big Ten Legends Division, rebounded from a rough start with Wyoming to bludgeon Southern Miss last Saturday. All eyes will be on Bo Pelini's defense, which has been maddeningly inconsistent from time to time.

UCLA returns to work after resting in Week 2. The Bruins opened 2013 strong, hammering Nevada, 58-20, behind a high-powered offense. Head coach Jim Mora, like Pelini, is determined to guide his team to higher ground, preferably ending the year in Pasadena. A win in Lincoln could catapult No. 16 UCLA to new heights of confidence in advance of the start of the Pac-12 season.
Why UCLA Might Win: If Nebraska plays defense the way it did against Wyoming, the Bruins will shred the Blackshirts.

UCLA likes to spread the field with playmakers and allow star QB Brett Hundley to distribute. Hundley represents a very tall order for the Huskers, because of his ability to make things happen with his arm and his legs. While it was just one game versus Nevada, Jordon James looks as if he might be the answer at running back, rushing for 155 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Why Nebraska Might Win: UCLA will score. Nebraska will answer.

The Huskers move the ball like a Pac-12 program, a poor-man's Oregon, if you will. They, too, boast a dual-threat quarterback, Taylor Martinez, who's flanked by playmakers. Nebraska harbors the better skill position talent, a big-play group consisting of backs Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross and receivers Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa. The retooled Bruin defensive backfield will need to be on its game Saturday afternoon.
Who To Watch Out For: Nebraska has yet to allow a sack, but here comes LB Anthony Barr and the explosive UCLA front seven. The Huskers are going to be very busy trying to keep the Bruins from forcing Martinez into ill-advised hurls.

- The Husker staff has liked what it's seen so far out of DE Randy Gregory, a first-year JUCO transfer. He had four pressures last week, but needs to start turning a few of those hurries into sacks.

- UCLA rates a sizable edge at linebacker in this one. While the Bruins have Barr and tackling-machine Eric Kendricks, Nebraska starts two true freshmen, Nathan Gerry and Josh Banderas.

- For those still unaware of Hundley, this could be his coming-out party if he's the reason the Bruins leave Lincoln with a W.

What Will Happen: Nebraska is flawed. UCLA is focused. The Bruins have had two weeks to prepare for a Husker defense that still has a long way to go before achieving consistency. With Hundley in charge, the visitors will keep the sticks moving and the scoreboard changing. Nebraska can certainly hang with UCLA offensively, but not for 60 minutes. Barr and Kendricks will eventually do something disruptive that jars the ball loose and changes the tenor of the game. The Bruins are the more complete team right now, which will be the difference in the compelling Week 3 undercard to Alabama-Texas A&M.
Prediction: UCLA 41 … Nebraska 34
Line: Nebraska -4.5 – O/U: 71
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 4.5