#16 UCLA comes off its first bye-week of the season and heads to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the #23 Cornhuskers. Redshirt sophomore and rising star quarterback Brett Hundley will lead the Bruins in a tough test of tenacity, grit, and will – fully aware that in the national picture, this could be a defining moment. A win could mean cracking into the AP top 15 for the first time since 2005. Judging by the atmosphere clogging intensity of Huskers’ fans, and talent of each team, let’s break down what each quarter could look like.
The Staff behind Bo Pelini and Jim Mora Jr. can get a team fired up like nobody’s business; undoubtedly they will. But just how long do those pre-game chants carry through the course of the game? Not much past the first four plays or so – unless, of course, the home team forces a three-and-out of the visitors. Coming out of the tunnel at home, in the Rose Bowl, is as far as you can get from doing the same in Memorial Stadium. Both teams will start off with a will to win, but after the first few plays, Nebraska will be the only team clutching that will. As a sea of red engulfs those few blue t-shirts, the fans will carry Nebraska on a strong first drive that puts them up 7-0 on the visiting Bruins – but their lead won’t last as UCLA OC Noel Mazzonne will talk things over with the Westwood Warriors who’ll march into the end zone on a game tying drive. The quarter’s last scoring play will be a Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal to put the Bruins up 10-7 with 2:36 left on the clock.
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez reminds himself of what’s at stake and puts on a show that the Bruins’ secondary just cant handle. Attacking from all angles with strikes through the air and big chunks of yardage on the ground, he puts the Huskers in front 14-10. At this point the game is on track for being just as exciting as it was last year – but who will derail who, and which dual threat QB will prove their dominance?
Coming out of halftime talks focused not on defensive error but offensive opportunities that have not been capitalized on, the pace of the game rockets as the Bruins and Huskers play through a shootout that, with 4:12 to go in the quarter, has UCLA up 31-28. As UCLA slowly builds up their road confidence, the Huskers seem to get winded. Maybe some training in San Bernardino would have changed that. UCLA finds pay dirt once more prior to the quarter’s end, and after being on top 38-28, the Bruins grasp to their lead.
The fight and passion of the first three quarters rolls along into the fourth, but its the Bruins’ up-tempo, no huddle, and fast paced offense prevails. Martinez and Company score ten points more in the final quarter, but their defense lets UCLA do the same, and the Bruins bring a win to Westwood. Final score: UCLA – 48. Nebraska – 38.