On September 8, the Cornhuskers take their first visit of the year. They go to Southern California, to take on the UCLA Bruins, and new head coach Jim Mora Jr. UCLA is in the middle of a rebuilding project. Last season UCLA finished with a 6-7 record. They reached the first ever Pac 12 Championship Game, due to USC’s post season ban.
They put up a fight for former coach Rick Neuheisel, but in the end they came up short in a 31-49 loss to the Oregon Ducks, and then lost their bowl game to Illinois.
Neuheisel was let go after the conference title game, and Mora was hired on December 10. Since then Mora landed a top 15 recruiting class in 2012, and started the rebuilding process in Los Angeles.
The Bruins return 3 year starter Kevin Prince at quarterback. He will be under the toutering of a quarterback guru in Mora, who will bring in his West Coast offense into UCLA.
The defense will return 10 starters, and maybe the deepest defensive line in the Pac 12. All four members of the defensive line are seniors. 5 star prosepct Owamagbe Odighizuwa ankers a great bench, and will be a solid building block in 2013.
This defense will give junior quarterback Taylor Martinez some problems. This will be the first real test of the 2012 season for the Husker signal caller. He will be under serious pressure all game, and his decision making will be a key factor in the outcome of this game.
This may be a game where the Huskers need to lean on senior runningback Rex Burkhead more than they would like to.
The Blackshirts will have their first road test against a brand new offense, with a quarterback who’s performances have been more up and down than maybe any other quarterback in the country. The defense may find itsself in short yardage situations if Martinez can’t make big throws and good decisions.
In the end I see Nebraska’s defense winning the battle, and Burkhead being the deciding factor in this game.
By Jimmie Allen
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