Panel Of Pokes: Wagons East

Leon Halip

Time for the first Panel of Pokes for 2013

The Cowboys head due east on I-80 towards Lincoln in making their return to Memorial Stadium.  Ok, so the players will fly but at least the equipment truck shouldn't get lost along the way.  Growing up in Chicago my family always took vacations in the West and we would always spend countless hours on I-80 since my parents were from Iowa and Nebraska.  Getting excited about driving under the "bridge" in Kearney is pretty depressing.

Luckily getting the gang back together for Panel of Pokes is one of the better things in life.  We have our three panelists from last year plus the addition of a fourth writer.  Be sure to check out their sites to help get more info on the Pokes.

Ian McMackin - GoWyoGo

Poke Pick: WR Robert Herron - Similar to the opener at Texas in Austin last season, I see Herron having some big plays and ends up with around 200 receiving yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Score Prediction: Nebraska 42 Wyoming 28

Thoughts on the game: The 2013 season could be the best Wyoming offense since the  Joe Tiller era of the mid 90's and the Cowboys have the capability to move the ball and score some points on the Cornhuskers. The concern is how will the Cowboy defense contain a good Nebraska offense? If the Pokes played surprising defense, the game could get very interesting.

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Poke Pick: Robert Herron. Herron tends to show up in big games with a terrific performance and this time will be no different.

Score prediction: 38-34, Wyoming. Time to pay these Huskers back.. however, defense in this one will be optional. Nebraska's ground attack will punish Wyoming. Wyoming's air attack will punish Nebraska. Nothing will slow down this track meet.

Thoughts on the game: I think this is a good opportunity for the Cowboys to stamp a signature win on Dave Christensen's Wyoming coaching career. The Huskers aren't exactly ripe for the picking, however, I think the talent on the Cowboy sidelines is much better than it was when these teams last matched up. I'm still not sold on Taylor Martinez.. guy is a great runner but a poor decision maker. Too often you hear the Husker faithful wanting to run this guy out of town. I think if the Cowboy defensive line can get any kind of push and force a couple of sacks or keep the pressure on Martinez the turnovers will come.. however, if you don't contain the edges Martinez is going to run for a lot of yards and that's the last thing the Cowboy defense needs. The Cowboys obviously have to play a perfect game here if they want to steal one in Lincoln. The  Huskers have won their last 27 opening day wins. That's staggering. Brett Smith needs to keep his streak without interceptions alive. The Cowboys need to be able to run the football.. they cannot rely on Brett Smith and a cast of terrific wide receivers to win this game.. they need to control the ball, sustain drives, and give the defense a rest. If they don't do any of those things the defense is going to spend a lot of time on the field and this will get out of control in a hurry. I think the Pokes stand a reasonable chance.. but one mis-timed turnover will send the Husker Sea of Red into a frenzy and it'll get out of hand.


Matt Blaylock - Poke Pride

Poke Pick: Brett Smith

Score: Cornhuskers - 34 Cowboys 24

Thoughts: This game will be closer than many expect but look for Nebraska to pull away late. I would expect Wyoming to be close as the 4th quarter starts but the depth of Nebraska will show as they score late to win.

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Connor Cunningham - WyoNation

Poke pick: Freshman LB Lucas Wacha- he flys around the field, and if he can stay healthy he will quickly become a fan favorite.

Score: Nebraska 41 Wyoming 24

Brett Smith and the offense can keep wyoming in it early, but it seems inevitable that Nebraska's depth and powerful offense will take over in the second half. I think Nebraska grabs a big lead in the 3rd and wears down the Wyoming defense, controlling the time of possession in the second half. With that being said, I hope I'm wrong.

Go Pokes!

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Matt Hargleroad - Cowboy Altitude

Poke Pick: I have to go with Robert Herron in week one because he has been money in the last two season openers.  He's had  two touchdown catches in week one versus Southern Utah and Texas.  His chemistry with Brett Smith has improved greatly in the last year and they look to be a lethal combination. 

Score: Nebraska 37 Wyoming 28

Thoughts: This would be a huge upset if the Cowboy could leave Lincoln with the W.  With the struggles that Wyoming has had against the run in recent years it's hard to imagine a sudden improvement.  Facing one of the most effective rushing attacks in college football will be a huge test for the Cowboy defense.

Wyoming will be able to hang tough for the first half but eventually the Huskers run game will prove to be too much.

SIDE NOTE: I'm sad that John Candy died with his last film being Wagons East.  Also Richard Lewis' hair is really annoying.  

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