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College Football Week 2: #16 Nebraska At UCLA

#16 Nebraska
UCLA
Taylor Martinez (credit: Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Johnathan Franklin (credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Taylor Martinez (credit: Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Johnathan Franklin (credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner Bo Pelini has been very consistent in his four years in Lincoln, winning at least nine games every season. But Nebraska fans expect more, like a Big Ten championship. Pelini has the personnel to deliver on that wish.
The Bruins tabbed Jim Mora (the son), an out-of-work former NFL coach, to replace the disappointing Rick Neuheisel. He went right to work, assembling a solid coaching staff and putting together an impressive recruiting class.
Offense
Winner Taylor Martinez can run, but can he throw? For most of his college career, he has not done the latter consistently. Last week, however, Martinez looked extremely sharp, connecting on 26 of 34 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. It was easily his best performance since his coming-out party against Oklahoma State as a freshman.
Brett Hundley, a redshirt freshman, took his first college snap and ran 72 yards for a touchdown last week against Rice. He looked impressive, as did senior running back Johnathan Franklin, who ran for more than 200 yards and three scores.
Defense
Winner The Cornhuskers have a new defensive coordinator, though you figure Pelini handles a lot of the duties on that side of the ball. Either way, this unit must improve, and if the opener against Southern Miss is any indication, it has.
The Bruins’ defense was in the bottom quarter as far as national ranks last season. With a new staff changing schemes, who knows exactly what to expect? It is reasonable to assume it will struggle at times, especially against quality offenses like Nebraska’s.
Special Teams
Winner Nebraska has an electric return man in Ameer Abdullah and a very good kicker/punter in Brett Maher, though he did miss both his field goal attempts last week.
Ka'Imi Fairbairn, UCLA’s freshman kicker, had three first-half extra points blocked last week. The Bruins went for two on their second-half touchdowns.

The Winner Is

Taylor Martinez (credit: Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Winner #16 Nebraska
4 out of 4

Although Nebraska has the edge in the important categories, UCLA is more than capable of pulling off the upset in the night game at the Rose Bowl. It would be an impressive start to the Jim Mora era.

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