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.
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.
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.
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.