After a disappointing showing in the season opener against Wyoming, Nebraska hopes to get things headed in the right direction tonight against Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles come into Lincoln losers of 13 straight games and they dropped their season opener last week to Texas State. As things get closer to kickoff here are the keys to victory for Nebraska, along with our HOL staff and expert predictions for Week 2. The Huskers enter today's game with Southern Miss as a 28 ½ point favorite.
Come out with aggression
One of the biggest things I want to see from Nebraska tonight against Southern Miss is aggression. The Huskers need to take the field with a purpose and look past the Golden Eagles 13 game losing streak.
Hopefully after a week of criticism and negativity surrounding NU's 602 yard defensive performance against Wyoming, Nebraska will take that personally and get after Southern Miss right out of the gates.
Make Southern Miss one-dimensional
Southern Miss will come at Nebraska's defense with a spread offense, but one of the biggest keys to slowing them down will to actually limit their running game.
If the Huskers can put Southern Miss in second-and-long and third-and-long situations, it will go a long way in helping them scheme for the Golden Eagles offense.
Play fast on defense
What disappointed me the most about Saturday's defensive performance against Wyoming was I thought Nebraska's players were thinking too much instead of playing fast.
Going forward for this defense to be successful they need to stop overthinking and play fast. I look for the defense to take a big step in the right direction.
Pressure Bridgford with front four
One of the difficulties with facing Brett Smith last week for Nebraska was when a quarterback scrambles like that and buys time you can't scheme for it. So many times last week Smith kept plays alive and made NU's defense work.
The good thing about this week is Southern Miss quarterback Allan Bridgford is not mobile and not a threat to run. This should allow for Nebraska to blitz and get after Bridgford. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw at least four quarterback sacks on Saturday.
Get the crowd going early
At times I felt like Memorial Stadium last week was watching an NFL preseason game. The way Nebraska came out on offense and how they played on defense never allowed the 91,000+ to get into the game.
This week it will be important for Nebraska to get the crowd going and make them a factor. Last week the stadium so badly wanted to get involved, but the Huskers just couldn't give them that series of plays to make it happen. A big part of getting the crowd going is making plays and stops on defense. As we know last week, there weren't a whole lot of big stops on defense.
Callahan's weekly predictions
This is a huge moment for Nebraska early in the 2013 season. I expect the Huskers to rise up to the challenge and take care of Southern Miss. However, the Golden Eagles will put a few points on the board, but NU will hand their business and ease some of the concerns with their defense heading into the UCLA game.
Nebraska 52 Southern Miss 24
Michigan 27 Notre Dame 20
Northwestern 31 Syracuse 23
Indiana 41 Navy 31
Florida 17 Miami 13
Georgia 34 South Carolina 30
Season Record: 5-1 overall; 3-3 vs. points