October 10, 2007

Scouting the Huskers

If Nebraska football 2007 was a bag of popcorn, it'd be full of unpopped kernels.

In short, not much is popping in Lincoln these days.

The last six or seven years have been pretty hard for Cornhusker fans, who are typically used to winning conference titles, making the Orange Bowl and winning national championships.

But the days of Tom Osborne are over. Heck, the days of Frank Solich are gone as well. Since the departure of Dr. Tom, the Huskers have lost 36 games in the last 10 years. You'd have to string together the previous 20 seasons to surpass that number of NU losses (38, from 1977-1997). My how times have changed, huh? The tenure of current coach Bill Callahan seems destined for failure and the vaunted Blackshirt defense has more gaps in it than the southern border of the United States . And how do you think fans in red are dealing with the shellacking handed out by Missouri this past weekend? It was only the team's second loss of the season, but it could have just as easily been their fourth.

To make matters worse, old rival Colorado looks to be on the upswing and the Tigers and Kansas are looking pretty good at the moment. Is Nebraska close to total collapse? No telling, but the Huskers are nowhere near as dominant as they are used to being. Is this the year Oklahoma State can steal a game up north?

CORNHUSKERS AT A GLANCE
Location:
Lincoln, Neb.
2006 record: 9-5 (6-2 Big 12)
Record so far this season: 4-2 (1-1)
Last game: Loss, 41-6 to Missouri
Game time: 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Lincoln (TV: Pay-Per-View)
Current ranking: N/A
Fact of the week: Nebraska is the only state in the Union which has a unicameral legislature. All the other states have a House and Senate while Nebraska only has a Senate. It's also entirely non-partisan, something also unique to the land of corn.

THE BIG THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…
… the Cornhusker offense:
It's pretty solid, but the air game is what the unit can do best. The days of running and running and running at Memorial Stadium are over. Currently, the unit ranks 20th in passing (293 yards per game) and 66th in rushing (136ypg). It averages almost 31 points a game, good for 45th nationally. Sam Keller has 1,720 yards passing and has a 64 percent completion percentage, but he can be spotty at times, as his nine touchdowns and eight interceptions attest to. He spreads the ball out pretty well amongst receivers, as five different Huskers have more than 200 receiving yards so far in 2007. They're led by Maurice Purify with 308 yards on 24 catches. Sean Hill leads the team in touchdown receptions with three. Marlon Lucky leads on the rushing front with 632 yards on the ground and six TDs to boot. He's averaging 105 yards per game (good for 25th nationally), but he's only had three outings of over 100 yards. Almost half of his rushing production this season came in the season opener against Nevada, when Lucky ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Last week against Missouri, he posted only 67 yards.


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