February 6, 2016

Huskers tangle with UCLA in Foster Farms Bowl

fosterNebraska looks to end a down season on a positive note Saturday night against UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl.

Husker coach Mike Riley says the off-season begins now and the game against UCLA gives them a chance to improve in two key areas that plagued them in a 5-7 regular season that failed to meet expectations.

“One of them is turnovers and the other one is we have to run the ball better”, said Riley. “We want to get up in that top three in rushing and we are in the middle of the conference so those are a couple of things that can help everything be better.”

UCLA is 8-4 and enters as a nearly touchdown favorite. Kickoff in Santa Clara is 8:15p.m. and the game will be carried by ESPN.

 

Husker defense needs sound effort

Mark Banker

Mark Banker

Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker says the Husker defense will need to be sound and make plays on Saturday night to be successful against UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl.

Banker says the Bruins do a good job of creating the match ups they want prior to the snap.

“The quarterback has that responsibility from a run or pass standpoint at the line of scrimmage”, said Banker. “As the game progresses you will see them stop the cadence and look to the sideline so that somebody above can get them in the right call.”

Banker says it is a similar philosophy to the one Northwestern employs.

“The difference between Northwestern and UCLA is UCLA’s speed is much, much better.”

Bruins hope to contain Armstrong

UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley

UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley

The UCLA defense will try to contain Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong in Saturday night’s Foster Farms Bowl. Bruins defensive coordinator Tom Bradley says they are concerned about Armstrong’s ability to make plays outside of the pocket.

“He’s a heck of an athlete and he is somebody we are going to be smart about and understand leverage on the football with him”, said Bradley. “He does an excellent job with not only his feet but he throws and runs and does so many different things for them.”

Bradley says he is hoping the defense gets off to a good start and that is always a concern in a bowl game.

“It is not something we can ease into with them and we have been preaching that since we started practicing for this game.”

UCLA enters the game as about a touchdown favorite.

Run game a key for Nebraska

Danny Langsdorf Photo courtesy/huskers.com

Danny Langsdorf Photo courtesy/huskers.com

Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf says the Huskers want to run the ball when they play UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl on Saturday night.

The Bruins have the top ranked pass defense in the Pac-12 Conference but ranked just seventh against the run by giving up 187 yards per game.

Langsdorf says the Huskers need to run the ball well enough to stay out of obvious passing situations.

“This is an athletic and really good defense that will test us with their speed”, said Langsdorf. “We have to cover them up in the run game and make sure we get to the second level of the linebackers and create those big holes.”

The Huskers will conduct their third of four practices at Laney College in Oakland on Thursday afternoon following a tour of Alcatraz.

Huskers work to limit mistakes

The Huskers are practicing at Laney College in Oakland. photo courtesy/huskers.com

The Huskers are practicing at Laney College in Oakland. Photo courtesy/huskers.com

Nebraska coach Mike Riley says the Huskers are working on taking what the defense gives them as they prepare for Saturday’s Foster Farms Bowl against UCLA. Much of that hinges on the decision making of quarterback Tommy Armstrong.

The junior accumulated more than three thousand yards of total offense but he was intercepted 16 times, including four in a season ending loss to Iowa. The Huskers were a minus 13 in turnovers in a 5-7 regular season but Riley believes it is an issue that can be fixed.

“You have to be invested, you have to study and I think Tommy has those kind of characteristics that give him a chance to make a turnaround”, said Riley. I feel great about our opportunity to help make that better.”

The Huskers will conduct the second of four bowl practices in the Bay Area later today at Laney College in Oakland.