OU-Nebraska matchup breakdown
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 04, 2010
12/04/10 at 6:50 AM
World Sports Writer John E. Hoover analyzes the Big 12 championship game and tells you who has the edge in each of the matchups:
OU pass game vs. Nebraska pass defense
Landry Jones will have to be courageous but not careless with his throws. The Cornhuskers play tight man-to-man coverage and like to roll help to receivers in the slot. That's where Ryan Broyles plays. Can Broyles and Kenny Stills get away from Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard and DeJon Gomes?
OU run game vs. Nebraska run defense
DeMarco Murray's health is paramount (he practiced Thursday), though the Sooners could make do with a combination of Mossis Madu and Roy Finch. Madu has to hang onto the football against a hard-hitting and swarming defense that features LB Lavonte David and an experienced line.
OU run defense vs. Nebraska run game
Roy Helu ranks fourth on Nebraska's all-time rushing list, and versatile Rex Burkhead has 822 yards this year. OU went small last week (no tackles) and wasn't challenged, but will go big this time. If tackles Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker and Stacy McGee step up, LBs Travis Lewis and Austin Box could have a big game.
OU pass defense vs. Nebraska pass game
The Huskers rank last in the Big 12 in passing yards, averaging just 155 per game, though they've been efficient. Key question: Taylor Martinez (ankle injury) or Cody Green? Jamell Fleming, Demontre Hurst and Quinton Carter have become ball hawks. Jonathan Nelson was injured last week (concussion) but has practiced this week.
The Huskers rank first in the Big 12 in punt returns, but Tress Way and the Sooner punt team has given up all of 43 yards (2.2 average). Nebraska ranks second in kickoff returns (24.1 per return), while the Sooners have allowed three TDs. PK Alex Henery leads the league in FG percentage (16-of-17), and NU leads the league in kickoff coverage.
Bob Stoops is 1-1 against Bo Pelini, including last year's 10-3 loss in Lincoln. The game plans and late play calls by OU coordinators Brent Venables and Kevin Wilson last week in Stillwater showed they're at the top of their game. Nebraska's Carl Pelini and Shawn Watson (South Dakota State, Texas, Iowa State, Texas A&M) have been vulnerable.
Original Print Headline: Big 12 breakdown
Landry Jones. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
LB Lavonte David. DAVE WEAVER/Associated Press
Taylor Martinez. NATI HARNIK/Associated Press