More Preview: Colorado at Nebraska
By Douglas Kroll
When Dan Hawkins left perennial winner Boise State to take the head coaching job at Colorado, never in his wildest dreams would he have thought that the Buffaloes would be picking up only their second win of the season, in the second to last weekend of the year. It has been a tough go of it so far for Hawkins, with his team sporting a 2-9 record, including a loss to I-AA Montana State in his first game with the Buffs. But all could be forgiven-sort of- if the Buffaloes could knock off No. 23 Nebraska in this traditional rivalry.
In what has become one of the annual games the day after Thanksgiving (this will be the 11th straight season meeting on the Friday), Colorado travels to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to tussle with the 8-3 Cornhuskers. Nebraska has already clinched the Big 12 North title, guaranteeing its first appearance in the Big 12 Championship game in six seasons. On the other end of the spectrum, it will be only the fifth time since 1984 that the Buffs wont be going to a bowl game.
In what will be the 1,100th game in Colorados storied history, the Buffaloes will try to avoid only the third 10-loss season in the schools 117 year history. Its tough to say that they have been that awful this year, as they have lost the nine games by an average of 9.9 points. Four defeats have been by five points or less, including a heartbreaking loss on the road at Georgia earlier this season. But the Buffs will try and finish the season on a two game winning streak, after defeating Iowa State 33-16 two weeks ago.
Colorado has struggled on offense, especially with its passing attack. The Buffs have averaged only 106 yards per game through the air. Starting QB Bernard Jackson has thrown seven interceptions and only six touchdowns, but brings an aspect to the offense that the fans in Boulder havent seen in a while, with his seven rushing touchdowns on the year. Jackson is also the second leading rusher on the squad, behind Hugh Charles who has only averaged 65 yards per game.
Nebraska has had a chance on a couple of occasions to really put themselves back on the football map and show the nation that they are back to their winning ways of years past in Lincoln, But they have come up short; first against USC and then at home against Texas. Nebraska will try and break the streak of four straight games that the road team has won in this series, including the Huskers 30-3 win in Boulder a season ago. They will also try and extend their winning streak to three games heading into the Big 12 title game in Kansas City, Mo., after consecutive
wins against Missouri and Texas A&M.
The Cornhuskers offense has been impressive, putting up an average of 33.6 points per game on the season and outscoring their opponents 103-17 in the first quarter. The passing attack has been the catalyst for that offense as Zac Taylor has thrown 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions, while completing 61 percent of his passes. Taylor is averaging 230 yards per game through the air.
Brandon Jackson has been Nebraskas leader on the ground, with 67 yards rushing per game and six touchdowns. Overall, Nebraska has punched it in a total of 24 times on the ground, which is pretty impressive considering the 27 total touchdowns through the air as well. But they will be going up against one of the best defenses in the Big 12.
See Colorado at Nebraska
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.