Nebraska Football: Three Key Match Ups In Music City Bowl

BY Fansided and Paris Gunderson/FanSided via Husker Corner • December 17, 2016

Throughout the season we have seen Nebraska Football face some big opponents, and this is definitely still the case as they prepare to face the Tennessee Volunteers.

There will be many important matchups during the Music City Bowl, as Nebraska and Tennessee have very different playing styles.

– Blackshirts vs. Vols?

One key match-up to look at is Tennessee’s offense versus the Blackshirts. The offense for Tennessee is known for being strong, ranking No. 24 in the nation with an average of 36 points scored per game. The Husker defense, on the other hand, has been growing and improving a lot throughout the course of the season.

They rank No. 32 in the country for points allowed per game with an average of 23 points. They also were tabbed in the Top 25 for yards allowed per game, only allowing an average of 334 yards.

We’re essentially looking at a Top-25 offense versus a similarly talented defense.

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Both sides bring great things to the table, but I really hope that we see the Blackshirts come out as a powerhouse during the game as we have seen them in past. Players like Nate Gerry and Michael Rose-Ivey must make game-changing plays like we’ve seen them do in games earlier in the season.

Let’s hope that they don’t begin to fall apart under the pressure and miss important defensive opportunities. Examples of this would include making sure they limit Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs and eliminating big passing plays to wide receiver Josh Malone.

– Sieve Defense?

Another key match-up we will see on December 30 is Tennessee’s run defense versus the Husker offense. The Vols have allowed an average of 234 rushing yards per game, opening the door for the Huskers to come in and potentially keep the ball on the ground.

With the loss of wideout Jordan Westerkamp for the game, the Huskers may prefer to run a primarily rushing offense, giving Nebraska an advantage against a Tennessee team that has proven themselves weak against strong running backs. The Huskers have a slight leg up when it comes to a passing offense as well, averaging about 24 more yards than the Vols.

This naturally changes based on who plays quarterback for the Big Red. With this in mind, Nebraska has to make sure its controlling the clock as much as possible to help keep the momentum and control of the game.

– Sea of Orange?

Lastly, I think that an important match-up to consider is the entire Nebraska football team and staff against the Orange and White fans at the game. There is no doubt that Nashville will be orange-dominated.

    The Huskers are known for being one of the best teams when it comes to traveling, but that does not change the fact that it is only a three-hour drive for Tennessee fans in Knoxville heading to Nashville. Compare that to an 11-hour drive for Husker fans in Lincoln to get to the bowl.

    Despite the fact that Huskers travel well, it has to be acknowledged that there will be many people in Volunteer colors within that stadium. The Huskers will have to start fast to build momentum from the beginning, or I believe that they will struggle for the entire game.

    If they are not able to start off on the right foot, I feel that Nebraska will fall short and this disadvantage will only be heightened when most of the people around you are cheering for your failure.

    This bowl game will no doubt be one of, if not the most exciting games of the year for both Husker and Volunteer fans. While Nebraska has gone through its ups and downs, I believe that the Big Red are going to be able to go in and dominate, bringing another bowl game trophy back to Lincoln.

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