Nebraska squares off with Oklahoma State a week after a devastating and embarrassing home loss to Big 12 rivals Texas. The Cornhuskers did little right as they got denied a chance at a national championship in front of a sold out crowd at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, is coming off of a very impressive 34-17 road victory against Texas Tech. The Cowboys gained 581 yards of offense highlighted by quarterback Brandon Weedens 356 passing yards. Oklahoma State (6-0) has crept to as high as 15th nationally in the polls while the Huskers, who were #5 last week, have dropped to 13th. If there is a single thing that stands out in this game it is the disparity amongst the two pass defenses. The Huskers come in #1 in the country in pass defense only allowing 117 yards per game while the Cowboys—whose offensive passing numbers (361ypg, #3) are another story— have the opposite in their pass defense which ranks 114th in the country while surrendering an average of 280 yards per game. Needless to say, it should be a righteous ole game in Stillwater.
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What a letdown it was for Husker fans. A week after absolutely crushing Kansas State (48-13) in front of a national audience while on the road, they chopped it last week. But, all isn’t lost. The Huskers can still get to the Big 12 championship game representing the North. But, a loss to Oklahoma State here could be crippling. If anything was learned from the Texas defeat, it was that Taylor Martinez can’t (yet) beat good teams with just his arm. Kansas State wasn’t aware of that: He had 15 carries for 241 yards and 5 touchdowns and only threw it seven times. Texas knew it though: He was 4-12 passing for 63 yards. Things should be easier this week for Martinez. Oklahoma State is 92nd in the country in total defense and 74th in points allowed. It should be a much easier go of it this weekend for the Husker offense.
They can certainly move the ball Oklahoma State. They had three 1st-quarter touchdowns last week in Lubbock and moved it with such ease against a porous Texas Tech defense. The tough will get going this weekend though as the ‘Huskers. The Cowboys have some staggering offensive statistics to back up how good they have been: 2nd nationally in total yardage and points scored and 3rd nationally in passing yards per game. Weeden has been outstanding with 1966 yards and 19 touchdowns. He should still be effective against a dominating (at most times) Nebraska defense but, like any offense, they’ll need the running game to get going. Kendall Hunter has a potential NFL career ahead of him and if he can keep the Nebraska defense honest then it should really help the Cowboy cause. If there are concerns for the Cowboys, it is their defense. They (OK State) only surrender 124.5 yards a game on the ground, good for 35th nationally. But, there are two ways to look at that. One, they haven’t played good teams (Louisiana-Lafayette and Washington State have been two opponents) or that teams are having so much success in the air (OK State is 114th nationally in pass defense, 92nd in total defense) that there is no reason to run. Time will tell on Saturday.
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
@ Oklahoma State +5.5
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Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State Predictions for Week 8:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play) – I think it’s safest to put it this way: can Nebraska be involved in a shootout? Outside of Texas Tech’s 31 points in a win vs. the ‘Huskers last year, Nebraska has only surrendered more than 20 points twice since the beginning of the 2009 season. One of those was last week. Oklahoma State should be able to move the ball well but they aren’t playing Louisiana-Lafayette or Washington State this week. They are playing the “Blackshirts” of Nebraska. With that said, we do expect OK State to score a few but will Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez be running free in the Cowboy secondary on QB reads? Or, will he find his motions in the passing game? Either way, don’t expect this game to turn into a Wild West shootout.
Spread Prediction – 5.5 is an interesting number for any game. There are so many different variables in this game that it may be difficult for a bettor to come up with how to bet. But, Nebraska has such a good defense that they should be able to slow down the Oklahoma State offense. As for the aforementioned Cowboy defense? It’s not certain they can stop anyone. We’ll bet that Martinez gets out of whatever funk he was in last week and the Husker offense provides the kind of punch that was on hand when they made their last road trip—a crushing defeat of Kansas State.
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