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UCLA Football vs. Nebraska: Why Bruins Will Beat Cornhuskers 45-38

After UCLA’s “big” 49-25 win over Rice, people have begun to take notice of a different type of UCLA football team.

And as a result, UCLA doesn’t look so massively over-matched by Nebraska, our Bruins’ second opponent of the college football season.

There are quite a few reasons, too. Because while UCLA was pounding on Rice, Nebraska felt its season get a little bit rougher than they’d like.

First, they were dealt a massive blow when Heisman hopeful and Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead left with an MCL sprain:

Rex Burkhead made the most of his carries.

But the big concern among Husker fans now is the health of the senior running back, who left with an injury in the first quarter of Nebraska’s 49-20 win against Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

He watched the second half in street clothes, his left knee wrapped.

Burkhead is listed as day-to-day, so it’s possible that he suits up and starts against our Bruins. Of course, we’re not sure how healthy he’ll be, and since UCLA’s front seven looked solid against Rice (especially after Ellis McCarthy was subbed in at the nose tackle, and when Anthony Barr tore up the field with one hand), Burkhead will almost certainly need to be full strength to have a good game.

That’s not their only issue, though. They struggled out of the gates against a weak Southern Miss team that had a ton of turnover this past offseason, including the loss of head coach Larry Fedora (a coach that UCLA fans coveted for awhile).

Of course they, much like us, figured it out and routed Southern Miss in the end.

The point is, Nebraska is far from unbeatable and far from the automatic loss we chalked up for ourselves this offseason.

And sports books agree with us. UCLA are just six-point dogs to Nebraska, which means if UCLA were to upset the Huskers, it wouldn’t be such a big surprise.

Most notably, UCLA has to like its chances against a Cornhusker defense that has constantly struggled against dual-threat QBs in the past. If you forgot already — we know you haven’t — UCLA is starting QB Brett Hundley, who ran 72 yards on his first snap as a collegiate football player. Let’s not forget, though, that all the heavy-lifting was done by his arm; Hundley went 21-for-28, which culminated into 202 yards and two touchdowns.

And while the Nebraska defense can stop most running backs, Noel Mazzone’s offense can keep any offense off-balance, allowing for Johnathan Franklin to have a big day any given Saturday.

Meaning we shouldn’t worry so much about the UCLA offense, and instead, we should worry about our defense.

Because last week, Rice had no problems finding holes early in the game in UCLA’s secondary, where Rice QB Taylor McChargue was able to get a rhythm going before the Bruins adjusted and entirely shut down Rice’s offense after the half.

That might not be possible against Nebraska. The Bruins will have to face the tough task of playing Taylor Martinez, who is also a dual-threat QB but has made some major strides in becoming a better passer.

Last week? Martinez threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns against a listless Southern Miss defense.


What this game will come down to, it seems, is which team can put up big points faster? Both have above average offenses that can blow out opponents if given enough leeway.

Which is why we’ll set our predictions here high: UCLA will win this one 45-38, contrary to our earlier prediction that the Huskers would beat our Bruins 31-20. UCLA has the edge since they’re at home, and while Nebraska fans travel well, the Bruins were 5-1 at the Rose Bowl last season.

Let’s hope for a massive upset here to get the Mora era in Westwood toa strong start.


Tags: Football Nebraska Cornhuskers UCLA Bruins

  • Bill Kerr

    This prediction cracks me up. Did you WATCH Nebraska vs. Southern Miss?

  • Adam

    Someone has been drinking some kool-aid.
    That’s a LOT of confidence you have in the team. Rice is HORRIBLE.
    Southern Miss was at least 12-2 last year and finished #21 with a quality 49-24 win over 13-1 Houston.

    • carlosatUCLA

      I know it was Rice, but let’s be real: 2012 Southern Miss is nowhere NEAR as good as 2011 Southern Miss. They won’t win the C-USA since they lost their star QB, their top wide-outs and half of their defensive playmakers, AND lost their coach, Larry Fedora, to UNC.

      Southern Miss will win 7 games total, all being in that conference, which isn’t saying much.

      • samshady

        And…Rice is in the same conference and won’t win 7 games this year, which is saying even less.

        • Nathan Walters


  • Jeff Beaudette

    Rice drops 25 on UCLA…what makes this goof think that Nebr won’t hang 55-60 them? I will be looking for next weeks artical! Keep beating your chest over your week(weak) 1 pounding of Rice Puddin’……

  • Bruins1

    You know as much as I loved how we played on offense last week, it was just rice. This week will be a different story and im kind of nervous for our first home game being against Nebraska. They did look pretty good last week, we will just have to see. I think this week will really tell both teams who is the real deal. Hopefully its us! Go Bruins!


    While UCLA is undoubtedly an improved team, they have a first year head coach and associated staff and beat up on a Rice team that went 4-8 last season and won’t win that many games this season.

    Meanwhile, the Huskers feature a couple of possible Heisman candidates, one of which is a junior three year starter at QB who is in the process of breaking every single QB record Nebraska has on its books. Plus, UCLA will be playing it’s next “home” game in front of a tidy gathering of 40,000+ fans—-Nebraska fans, and that is a conservative estimate. The NU ticket office, all by itself, has sold more than 16,000 tickets for this game and most NU fans don’t even buy their tickets that way. And the Huskers beat a team last week that is one of the two best teams in CUSA this season and are the defending conference champions to boot, having beaten a Houston team–on the road—that would have gone to a BCS game had THEY won that game.

    UCLA would have more of a chance if this game was later in the season. I expect that they are going to get popped in the mouth–whether Burkhead plays or not. I’d expect a score that is right in keeping with what the Huskers did to Southern Miss, probably a very similar game.

    Did you actually SEE the Nebraska/Southern Miss game? It was probably THE most complete game of the whole Pelini era. And, it was the first game of the season against a quality opponent.

    Sorry, but I’ll be shocked if NU/UCLA is any sort of a barnburner, as you seem to think it will be. NU 50, UCLA 20.

  • Nicholas Bia

    Hey does Oamagbi Odigazua play? When he picked UCLA over DONU Bo said well thats his mistake. Probably right but i hope we get to see him play. I think we will do quite a bit better than Joey is thinking. This will be a homecoming for a lot of Skers. I also cant wait to see the Red to Blue ratio in the stands.


    I like your enthusiasm but unfortunately thats all it is go huskers!

  • BugEater76

    Lol like your enthusiasm! But Big Red is going to bring the pain.

  • huh?

    So going up 14-0 in 7min 53 seconds is coming out “slow”?

    1st 13:42 NEB – Burkhead, Rex 57 yd run 0 – 7
    1st 07:07 NEB – Bell, Kenny 26 yd pass from Martinez, Taylor 0 – 14

    • GoJoeBruinUCLA

      We came out 19-0 and let Rice back in, much like Nebraska did USM. So OK.

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