Saturday's game vs. Missouri features a matchup that looks very bad for Nebraska. Missouri's spread offense will try to stretch the field and complete passes underneath, putting pressure on the linebackers. However, Nebraska's linebacking corp is hurting. Corey McKeon and Steve Octavien missed practice yesterday, and are very questionable. Lance Brandenburgh, who would fill in for McKeon, is also hurting.
Even if the Huskers were healthy, the spread offense has been a real challenge for Kevin Cosgrove. Cosgrove let Texas Tech jump to a 21 point lead last year after the Raiders hung 70 on the Big Red the year before. And last year in Columbia, Brad Smith ran untouched through Cosgrove's prevent defense.
So what's the solution? Well, Cosgrove is going to need to try SOMETHING different. With the shortage of healthy linebackers, it may be time to try some nickel and dime coverages, especially when Missouri tries to spread the field. Mixing up a healthy dose of blitzes wouldn't hurt either.
On the other side of the ball, there's a potential, albeit, smaller mismatch. Missouri has shown a vulnerability in defending the run. Oklahoma's Allen Patrick ran for 162 yards last week. I'm thinking that a heavy dose of Brandon Jackson is in order for this week. A nice side helping of Cody Glenn would be nice as well.
Saturday's game will probably come down to intangibles. The game is in Lincoln, and the home crowd seems to be worth about 2 touchdowns for the Huskers. In the end, it will come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes. Last week, both teams made mistake after mistake to set up this week's slapfest.
Somebody has to win this one...and since it's in Lincoln, I'll take the Big Red in a 34-28 victory.