Breaking it down: Huskers return to historically familiar spot for showdown
Who: Nebraska vs. Miami (FL)
When: 2:30 p.m. CT
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Spread: Miami -3
Matchup to watch: Brad Kaaya vs. Nate Gerry
The Miami quarterback threw for 359 yards as a freshman at Memorial Stadium last year. Needless to say, he picked apart the Husker secondary. Nebraska is allowing 346 passing yards heading into this one, and it’s obvious there are still some issues slowing down mobile quarterbacks. Nate Gerry can’t necessarily do all the stopping himself, but he can force turnovers. On the road, Nebraska needs it’s top defensive back to come up with a big play or two to slow Kaaya and the Hurricane offense down. Otherwise, this one will turn into a shootout in a hurry.
Thing I’m excited for: Nebraska back in Miami
We’ll inevitably see tons of clips of Tom Osborne winning national titles in Miami. It’s a happy place for Husker fans. Perhaps that’s why Nebraska will be wearing Miami-inspired cleats. One of the great rivalries of the 1980’s won’t have the same juice, especially with it being a regular season game. It’s unfortunate that this game doesn’t have anywhere near the implications it once did. Still, last year saw the two teams rack up 151 penalty yards and engage in some extracurricular activities. This one could take on a similar feel.
Number to remember: 13
That’s how many times Tommy Armstrong threw against Miami last year. Part of that was because Ameer Abdullah carried the ball 35 times for 229 yards. The real reason was because Nebraska was a run-first team. This year, that philosophy is gone. Armstrong has already thrown the ball 71 times this year in the Huskers’ new pro-style offense. Nebraska’s game-plan will be drastically different this year against Miami compared to last. It isn’t ideal to have Armstrong throwing the ball 35 times a game, but he could easily be asked to do that and more if the Huskers fall behind early.
Prediction: Miami 38, Nebraska 34
I’ve talked a lot about the quarterbacks, but I think the difference-maker is Joseph Yearby. The Miami back has versatility like former Cane Duke Johnson, and could provide all sorts of problems for Michael Rose-Ivey and the Husker linebackers. There are going to be moments when Nebraska looks like the team that had no answer for BYU in the first half. Armstrong and Co. keep the Huskers alive, but ultimately, the Blackshirts fail to get the late stops they need to pull off their first road win.