Southern Miss Golden Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday September 1st, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Memorial Stadium Lincoln, N.E.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: S.Miss +17.5/Neb -17.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The no. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers will host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles inside Memorial Stadium for their season opener when both teams meet on September 1st. For the Cornhuskers, they have won an incredible 26 straight season openers. That streak leads the nation and their last season opening loss came all the way back in 1985 against Florida State. The Cornhuskers now look to keep that streak alive when they take the field against the Golden Eagles to get the 2012 season under way.
Nebraska posted a 9-4 record last year and now they will return 16 starters from the 2011 group. Needless to say, expectations are high in Lincoln especially with the likes of QB Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead returning on offense. Burkhead and Martinez ran wild for much of the 2011 season by combining for 2,231 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground. Burkhead led the team with 1,357 yards and he will be the biggest threat on offense once again this season. Obviously from the statistics, Martinez is a running style quarterback but he also directs Bo Pelini’s spread option offense very well. If Martinez could become a better passer, the offense would really be unstoppable.
Throughout his career in Lincoln, Martinez has been rather inconsistent throwing the football completing just 57% passing with 23 touchdowns and 15 picks. Luckily the offense will return both leading receivers Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa. However, Martinez will need to be more consistent with his arm considering Nebraska ranked 102nd in passing during 2011 averaging just 162 passing yards per game. Now the Cornhuskers running game can win ball games, but this offense could really take off with the help of a legitimate passing attack.
20 POINT TEASERS! 15 TEAM PARLAYS! -105 ON ALL SIDES
AND TOTALS! FIND ALL THIS AND MORE AT 5DIMES!
The Cornhuskers commendable opponent in the opener will be a Southern Miss squad that turned a lot of heads in 2011 after capturing a school record 12 wins. The Golden Eagles stunned Houston in the Conference USA Championship Game and then concluded the year with a win over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. The Golden Eagles return 7 starters on offense from a group that averaged 461 yards per game in 2011 (17th in NCAA). Despite returning 7 starters, the offense will now experience life without QB Austin Davis. Davis was brilliant for the Golden Eagles in 2011 and now that role will be filled by an inexperienced junior in Chris Campbell. Not much is known about Campbell but most would expect the passing offense to take a step back in 2012.
If the passing game falters, Southern Miss has a very talented running back group that should be able to keep the offense in motion. The Golden Eagles averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground in 2011 and new Coach Ellis Johnson is a guy that will run the football very often. Running back Desmond Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per carry last year and will get the starting nod against the Cornhuskers. If Johnson cannot get the job done, there is plenty of talent awaiting in the wing to get their opportunity to spark the offense.
Perhaps the bigger concern for the Golden Eagles when they travel to Lincoln will be the concerns surrounding the defensive line. The entire defensive line will be composed of new faces this season and the rest of the defense returns just 5 starters. Obviously you do not want to have concerns among the defensive front when you battle one of the best rushing teams in country like Nebraska. Only time will tell if the Golden Eagles new defense and new head coach are up to the challenge.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Coach Johnson did a great job at South Carolina in straightening out the Gamecocks defensive kinks and I think he will have a solid game plan prepared for the Cornhuskers. Barring any unforeseeable events, I think the Golden Eagles will contend in a low scoring game. Take Southern Miss +17.5
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