It's a must win football game for Nebraska today against Colorado if the Huskers want to return to next week's Big 12 Championship game in Arlington.
As things get closer to kickoff, here are the five keys to a Husker victory over the Buffalos. NU enters today's game as a 16 ½ point favorite over Colorado.
Senior day emotion
It's kind of an obvious key for Nebraska today, but any time you play on senior day emotions are high. With 25 players being recognized on Friday in their last home game NU should have plenty of things to feed off of.
Particularly, I look at guys like Keith Williams, Ricky Henry, Roy Helu and Mike McNeill playing their last games on offense and Pierre Allen, Prince Amukamara, Eric Hagg and DeJon Gomes on defense to step it up. These guys have meant so much to the success NU has had over the last three seasons under head coach Bo Pelini. There's no question they want to walk off the field a winner today at Memorial Stadium.
Slow down CU's run game
Colorado has turned the corner the last two weeks mainly because they recommitted themselves to running the football with Rodney Stewart and their veteran offensive line.
Earlier in the season the Buffalos beat Georgia mainly because of their physical rushing attack. They figured out in wins over Iowa State and Kansas State that they need to go back to their ground game.
For Nebraska they need to have early down success today in slowing CU down and they need to tackle the speedy Stewart in space, otherwise he has the ability to run wild.
Create turnover situations
Nebraska's defense has played at a championship level the last two weeks against Kansas and Texas A&M, but the one thing that's been missing is they haven't created opportunities for NU's struggling offense by forcing turnovers.
A big key for today will be for the defense to force some turnovers. If they can do this, it will really take the pressure off of NU's limited personnel they will be working with on offense.
Keep the pressure off Green
As long as sophomore Cody Green doesn't feel like he has to take the world on, I think he can have some success today.
I know people are down on Green after some of the ups and downs he's had this season, but I think making a start at home should really make a big difference for him.
Green has only made one home start before, and that was against Oklahoma last season. It will also be important for Green to have some early success to get his confidence going right away.
Point the fingers at the refs all you want, but Nebraska still has had a lot of penalties and mental mistakes the last few weeks that could've been prevented.
The false starts, illegal formations, personal fouls and holding calls need to be out of NU's system today. It's almost been like a disease that's hit NU and they need to find a way to shake it. When this offense faces second-and-long and third-and-long type situations it's just not very effective, especially without Taylor Martinez at quarterback.
I like Nebraska to win today, but like a lot of people I can see why this spread has dropped, especially without Martinez and Niles Paul. I'll take the Huskers to win, but CU will cover the points.
Callahan's Prediction: Nebraska 23 Colorado 14
Season Record: 9-2 overall; 7-4 vs. points