Nebraska vs. Kansas State
Betting Line: Nebraska -12
Even though both teams are 4-0, Thursday Night Football on ESPN will be a battle of David and Goliath. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are not only a defensive team like in 2009, but the 2010 version of the team can put points on the board. They proved this by getting 56 on the road against Washington. The Wildcats of Kansas State have yet to play on the road, and they will meet their biggest and toughest home Game yet against Nebraska. Do they have what it takes to keep it close, or perhaps pull a shocking upset? Let’s find out!
The Nebraska Cornhuskers offense lives and dies with freshman QB Taylor Martinez. The young sensation has passed for 532 yards and 2 TDs, but that isn’t where most of his damage is done. He is doing is damage on the ground. The Corona, CA native has rushed for 496 yards on 56 carries for 8 TDs. His offensive line has done an OK job protecting him, allowing 6 sacks through 4 Games. 3 of those sacks Game in a blowout 56-21 win over Washington. As a whole, the offense is averaging a very stellar 471 total yards per Game. 308 of those average total yards on coming in the running Game.
Last year the Cornhuskers offense was simply pathetic. This was made easier to deal with because they had a rock solid defense. That hasn’t changed. They are giving up just a paltry 265 yards of total yards to opposing offenses. Through 4 Games they’ve sacked opposing QBs 9 times. The defense was the main reason the Cornhuskers remained undefeated when beating South Dakota State 17-3 at home. The offense had a bad day, as Martinez finally looked like a freshman. They were clearly looking past the Jackrabbits because of a week off that was ahead and a Thursday night Game following that respite.
Senior RB Daniel Thomas has been doing big things for his Kansas State Wildcats. They’ve played just 4 Games and Thomas already has a whopping 628 yards and 6 TDs. In the season opener he ripped up UCLA for 234 yards and 2 TDs. He had a quiet Game before the bye week against UCF, but you can expect better things here. He must play a big Game for the Wildcats to have a chance. His QB, fellow senior Carson Coffman is still learning. He played a big Game against Missouri State passing for 3 TDs, but this will be the best secondary he has seen by far.
HC Dan Snyder is going to make sure that freshman QB Taylor Martinez gets many different looks from his defense. They aren’t an overpowering buNCh, but they can get the job done. As a team this defense has 7 total sacks in 2010. In terms of total yards allowed, the defense has been hot and cold. They played good Games against UCLA, and Iowa State, but Missouri State and UCF both did well against the Wildcats. Thus far in 2010 they haven’t been able to stop the run. That could be bad news here, as the Cornhuskers will seek to run, run, run, and run some more. It will be key for the DEs to keep pressure on the young Martinez if they want to win this big home Game on national television.
This Game between two unbeaten teams comes down to the running Game. Which team can run the ball more effectively? The Cornhuskers have a freshman who has been playing out of their mind, and the Wildcats boast a senior that is looking unstoppable. The defense that steps up and plays the biggest Game will give their team the victory.
These two teams have taken turns in the drivers seat this decade. It’s not as if the Games of the past decade have been all that close. 5 or 6 years ago it was Kansas State smashing Nebraska each year. The last few years, it’s been the Cornhuskers doing the smashing, iNCluding a 73-31 Scorein 2007. The problem with handicapping this Game is that Nebraska has played one big time Game. They looked great in that Game against Washington, but then you have South Dakota State, Idaho and Western Kentucky. Pretty weak.
Kansas State on the other hand, has had a slightly tougher Schedule, iNCluding an opening week win over UCLA. We stress caution here due to the unknown factor coNCerning Nebraska. We don’t know, yet, how good they are. But Our numbers show this Game as being much closer than the current line of -12. We’ll stick with Our numbers, which take into ACCount Schedule strength, and back the big home dog here. Kansas State +12