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December 30, 2009

Callahan's take: Huskers need to finish the job


SAN DIEGO - The Nebraska football team will have the chance to win 10 games tonight for the first time since the 2003 season when they match-up with Arizona tonight in the Holiday Bowl.

As things get closer to kickoff, here are the five keys to a Husker victory against the Wildcats tonight in the Holiday Bowl.

What will NU get on the ground?

Nebraska wants to run the football. Everybody knows that, but can they do it tonight against a good Arizona front seven?

A big part in this will be the push NU gets from their offensive line. In the Big 12 Championship game the Huskers didn't get a push at all. They need a much better effort tonight against Arizona.

NU will also need a solid game out of either Roy Helu or Rex Burkhead at running back. Both players appear to be the healthiest they've been since the beginning of the season.

Can Green provide a spark?

Both head coach Bo Pelini and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson have already said that freshman quarterback Cody Green will see action in tonight's Holiday Bowl.

Watson and Pelini wanted to keep Green motivated this month throughout bowl preparations and I think this was a good move on their part. Playing Green will also start the quarterback competition early for 2010.

If Green can provide the Huskers with an offensive spark, it will be huge for his confidence as he heads into 2010.

Win the special teams battle

Both Arizona and Nebraska feel like they have great special teams. Whoever can make the big plays in this area will have a great shot of winning the football game tonight.

A big thing for Nebraska will be to dominate the field position game and make Arizona drive the distance. If Alex Henery and Adi Kunalic can keep the Wildcats pinned back, it's going to be very hard for them to consistently drive the field.

Get in Arizona's head early

If Nebraska's defense can get in the head of Arizona's offense early, I think that will be big in setting the overall tone of this football game.

Arizona is going to try to spread the field with a short passing game just like Texas did. If the Blackshirts can shut this aspect of their offense down, it may put the Wildcats in scramble mode.

Score 20 points

If Nebraska's offense can score 20 points in this football game you have to like their chances to win.

Only two teams have scored more than 17 points on the Huskers this season and I think the time off has been very beneficial to the NU offense. I expect to see a much fresher football team take the field tonight.

I like the Huskers to beat Arizona and get 10 wins for the first time since 2003. This would be a huge step for the NU program.


Callahan's Prediction:Nebraska 23 Arizona 16
Season Record: 10-3 overall; 7-6 vs. points



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