Part two of the fantasy matchup that is Nebraska versus Miami takes place this weekend and it may get interesting from a number of angles. The weather calls for rain (maybe even lightning), most of Nebraska’s wounded returns and Daniel Davie still reeks of burnt toast.
The two people pleased about that last nugget would be Miami head coach Al Golden and Hurricane quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Last year was a classic brawl in both the figurative and literal sense as the Huskers not only bested the ‘Canes 41-31, but the two teams actually traded blows and Golden’s squad was booed out of the stadium.
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Miami lost its heart and soul to the NFL Draft with a litany of picks along with presumed heir to running back Duke Johnson’s throne, Gus Edwards and linebacker Darrion Owens to season-ending injuries.
How much red fills Sun Life Stadium will be a fun social experiment, but there’s far more for fans to be intrigued about for this weekend’s contest.
Nebraska at Miami
Kickoff: 3:30. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2
Spread: Nebraska -3.5
Three Things to Watch For
1.Three Pairs of Hands
There was a botch versus BYU that could cost the Huskers big time if it happens against the Hurricanes. A poor snap led to a bobbled football by Tommy Armstrong which ended up in the hands of a Cougar.
The resulting drive gave BYU three points and may have ultimately cost Nebraska the win. While Miami isn’t the team BYU is, any opponent can take advantage of turnover opportunities (I’m looking at you, Auburn).
What makes things worse is the need to watch for precipitation. If Terrell Newby is I-Back No. 1 again, things might get dicey as he’s had issues holding onto the football in the past. It’ll be interesting to see what Nebraska does with a running back rotation (if any).
Running backs coach Reggie Davis may have also taught Newby how to hold onto the football differently to make sure it sticks snugly through all kinds of weather (like the fans of Dear ol’ Nebraska U).
2.Tommy Armstrong versus Miami’s Defense
Two games in, two fantastic performances by Tommy Arm-So-Strong. Does he have another in him? Considering the precipitation, the Huskers are likely keeping the ball on the ground for most of the day or utilizing a fair number of short throws.
Expect his completion percentage to be high as I can see head coach Mike Riley dishing out a number of screens for receivers and running backs. Add in some five to seven-yard passes that give the backs or returning tight end Cethan Carter room for yards after the catch and you’ve got a dangerous offense.
The Husker offensive line will need to step up to give Armstrong not only the time he needs to make these throws, but I can see him being given more wiggle room to run. As a result, the hosses up front need to stick to their men like glue or put them on the turf.
3. Brad Kaaya versus Daniel Davie
Kaaya isn’t the best quarterback the Huskers will see this year, but if he can pick on Daniel Davie with long fade routes like Taysom Hill, Tanner Mangum and Cody Clements did, the loss of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to the NFL won’t sting as badly.
Big Red secondary coach Brian Stewart feels confident in his work with the right side where Davie resides.
"They're going to see if we've got that fixed. We're going to show them we got it fixed,” the Associated Press reported him as saying.
Don’t be surprised to see returning Blackshirt Jonathan Rose or Chris Jones take over if Kaaya has early success. He’ll try to. Even fellow Blackshirt Michael-Rose Ivey acknowledged that.
"I'm pretty sure the first play is going to be play-action pass deep shot. They're going to keep testing him. I know Daniel is going to respond well."
If Nebraska doesn’t turn the ball over, Miami’s going to have to play flawlessly to have a shot. If fumbles from poor snaps or ball security come into play, the Hurricanes could get revenge for last year’s loss by double-digits.
I have to think Miami’s loss of talent to both the NFL and injury plays a huge factor here. If the Huskers keep to the ground and mix up just enough passing to keep the chains moving, they should be safe.