After thrashing Southern Miss to open the season, the 16th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers get their first potential challenge of the year as they visit the UCLA Bruins. With home field on its side, even a UCLA squad that finished just 6-8 a year ago will provide a test for Nebraska's run defense.
Here's what you need to know before the Huskers and Bruins kick off on Saturday.
Sep. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
Players to Watch:
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez will be the headliner as usual, whether he's passing (as he did for five touchdowns a week ago) or keeping the ball himself. UCLA's defense has ample experience in containing mobile quarterbacks—they've been practicing against Brett Hundley and Richard Brehaut, after all—so expect another pass-first showing from Martinez.
UCLA halfback Johnathan Franklin torched Rice for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the Bruins' opener, and he'll be the key to UCLA's hopes on Saturday. If he can break off a big play or two, he'll open things up for freshman Hundley and the passing game.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley vs. Nebraska linebacker Will Compton. Hundley ran for 68 yards and a score in his college debut last week, and Nebraska's veteran linebackers (led by senior Compton) must keep him in the backfield and make him a passer rather than a rusher.
UCLA defensive end Datone Jones vs. Nebraska offensive tackle Brent Qvale. Qvale is in his second game as the starter at left tackle, and he'll have his hands full with Jones, the Bruins' most prolific penetrator with three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss last season.
Nebraska 42, UCLA 28
Hundley and Franklin have enough speed to keep things interesting early, but freshman quarterbacks don't often fare well against the Blackshirts of Nebraska's defense. Look for a couple of Hundley turnovers—and another sharp passing performance from Martinez—to spark a second-half rout for the Huskers.