Saturday, December 3, 2016
Nebraska offense vs. Clemson defense
RB Marlon Lucky has been slowed by a turf toe injury that he suffered in November and cost him the regular-season finale against Colorado. The injury is severe enough that Lucky likely won't be at 100 against Clemson despite the extended time off. However, backup Roy Helu is the team's leading rusher, has done an excellent job of picking up the slack and should continue to get the bulk of the work. He is a violent runner who is stronger than his 215-pound frame suggests, he can bounce runs outside after starting inside and shows good speed when he gets into space. Both backs run behind an offensive line that has done a good job of sustaining blocks and should have some success opening up holes between the tackles against Clemson. However, don't expect Helu and/or Lucky to have as much success getting outside because of the Tigers' speed at linebacker. It's also worth pointing out that Ss Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons are active in run support and give Clemson a formidable last line of defense. Nebraska's Joe Ganz has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the FBS and he faces a listless Clemson pass rush that has recorded just 14 sacks, but don't expect him to put up big numbers in this one. Only nine FBS teams give up fewer passing yards per game than the Tigers (167.8 ypg) despite their lack of pressure on the quarterback, and they match up well with the Cornhuskers. CBs Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor have the man-to-man cover skills to stick with WRs Nate Swift and Todd Peterson coming out of their breaks. In addition, the 6-foot-3 Hamlin is big enough to hold his own working against 6-4 TE Mike McNeill, and Ganz should be wary of throwing in Hamlin's direction because Hamlin has six interceptions.
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