Previewing Nebraska - A Look At The Husker Offense

LINCOLN NE - NOVEMBER 26: Roy Helu Jr. #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs past Liloa Nobriga #48 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26 2010 in Lincoln Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

On first glance the Nebraska offense is as threatening as they come. The Huskers score an average of 33.8 points per game which is good for 3rd in the conference. They're also the top ranking rushing attack in the Big 12 by rushing for an average of 5.9 yards per carry and 269.2 yards of offense per game on the ground with 31 rushing touchdowns on the season. However, the Nebraska offensive philosophy hinges on the health and mentality of one player.

WR

Branson Kinnie

40 Rec/455 Yards/5 TDs

LT

Jeremiah Siries

LG

Keith Williams

C

Mike Caputo

RG

Ricky Henry

RT

Marcel Jones

TE

Ben Cotton

3 Rec/34 Yards

WR

Mike McNeil

14 Rec/250 Yrads/1 TD

SR

Curenski Gilleylen

 

QB

Taylor Martinez

97/183/1435 Yards/9 TDs/5 Ints

134 Rush/974 Yards/12 TDs

RB

Roy Helu

166 Rush/1,120 Yards/10 TDs

The Nebraska offense took a huge hit with the Taylor Martinez saga. All the rumors swirling about him being injured, suspended, fighting with coaches and alienating coaches really don't matter. What matters is that Martinez either hasn't been playing healthy or he hasn't been playing 100% over the past month and the Nebraska offense has taken a hit for it. The Huskers maxed out in conference at 51 points against the Oklahoma State Cowboys but then averaged just 22 points per game over the next four until they scored 45 last week against the 11th worst defense in the Big 12.

Nebraska is 12th in the Big 12 in passing offense with an average of 155 yards per game and to make matters worse their top receiving threat, Niles Paul, is sidelined with an injury. Removing Martinez from the equation further damages an already one dimensional attack. What it does is remove Martinez (7.3 yards per carry) and inserts Cody Green (2.9 yards per carry) into an offense that thrives when the quarterback finds success running the football. 

I'm not saying that a Martinez-less offense makes Nebraska any less dangerous because they've got play makers in the backfield with Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead but it does make them a little easier to defend when the quarterback isn't a natural runner like Martinez.

The key for Oklahoma's defense tonight is contain, contain, contain. Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander need to keep plays from going outside, Austin Box and Travis Lewis need to keep the middle plugged and the secondary needs to keep everything in front of them. If they can accomplish this (along with sure tackling) then the Oklahoma offense should be able to set the scoring pace for the game.

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