Nebraska vs. Georgia Southern: Final thoughts and a prediction
The good news for the Nebraska Cornhuskers is that the losing streak is over.
Scott Frost’s organization lost 7 in a row if you were to include the season-opening loss to Northwestern onto the losing streak that ended the 2021 season. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t dominant, but the 38-17 win over North Dakota in Week 1 (technically Week 2 for Nebraska) at least got the Huskers back in the win column, and now Frost and his troops can reset.
With that in mind, there’s more good news in that regard. No, there’s no such thing as a “gimme” in college football. Every win, even against an opponent like North Dakota last weekend or Georgia Southern this weekend, has to be earned between the white lines.
The Sun Belt’s Eagles will fight, but Nebraska should be in for another tune-up game. The Huskers should be able to start stacking some wins and gaining some momentum.
Keys to a Nebraska win
Protect the football
Let’s not complicate things. In any game against a supposedly inferior opponent, playing a clean game is the key to getting out of the contest without any major scares. The Huskers have turned the ball over 5 times so far this season, which is something that needs to immediately change in order for any sustained success to be realistic.
Quarterback Casey Thompson threw 2 interceptions in the loss to Northwestern and threw another to North Dakota, which undoubtedly made things harder for the Huskers over the first 2 weeks.
Nebraska needs Thompson to protect the ball. In fact, anyone who touches the rock this weekend needs to make sure ball security is on top of mind.
Run the football
One of the best ways to demoralize a team that you should be better than is to run the ball down their throats. Sure, the crowd in Lincoln is going to want to see some explosive plays, but there’s absolutely no reason for the Huskers to get too “pretty” against Georgia Southern.
Anthony Grant has rushed 42 times for 290 yards and 2 touchdowns over the past 2 games, so why not keep feeding him?
The Huskers can control the clock, control the ball, and ultimately control the game by keeping this game on the ground. It may not be super fun to watch, but it will be effective. That’s what Nebraska needs right now. Every win is important.
Stop the run
This may seem like a Football 101 pamphlet, but that’s because the Huskers really need to get back to the basics. Run the rock. Stuff the rock. It’s an easy game when you break it down to those two concepts, and that’s something the Huskers should be able to do against Georgia Southern.
The Eagles are going to try to be explosive. They put up 59 points against Morgan State in their season-opener. They have the ability to do so with quarterback Kyle Vantrease.
Vantrease has been known to throw an interception or two over his college career though (he’s thrown 14 compared to 29 touchdowns), so if the Huskers can take away the Eagles’ run game and make Vantrease beat them — he’s bound to make some mistakes.
It’s one thing to put up 367 yards and 4 touchdowns (with 1 pick) against Morgan State. It should be a completely different thing for Vantrease to do that against the Blackshirts.
The Huskers now have a win under their belt and they should be able to start building some momentum. I anticipate Nebraska will look much better than it did against North Dakota, which should translate to an easy win for Big Red.
Nebraska 38, Georgia Southern 9