Palouse Pigskin Picks

11 09 2010

Idaho at Nebraska (line NEB – 28)
Lincoln, Nebraska – 9:30 AM

With expectations reaching an all-time high for the Idaho football program, how they perform against no. 6 Nebraska will be a good test to see just how far they’ve come.
“They’re very talented. We respect what they do,” said senior quarterback Nathan Enderle. “We want to go in there and really kind of measure ourselves up and see where we sit.”
Enderle, a Nebraska-native, will look to do that in front of a crowd that could have plenty of supporters for the Unitas award watch list member. “It’s going to be fun,” he said. “I have a lot of family and friends who are going to be there.”
With that in mind, head coach Robb Akey doesn’t believe it will serve as a distraction to his savvy signal-caller. “I’ll guarantee you, with the amount of pride that Nate Enderle brings to the table, (he’s) got a burning desire to perform very well this week.”
In order for that to be the case, the offensive line will have to shore up their protection. After allowing five sacks against North Dakota in the season opener, according the signs the unit has shown since then, Akey believes they have. “I think the sacks we’re talking about in the last game were easy to fix. It would’ve been a very easy choice in communication that would’ve allowed us to keep that guy from coming in,” said coach. “Fortunately is happened against those guys. Hopefully we won’t let any of these guys from Nebraska come running free because they’re a little bigger, faster and stronger. It’ll hurt more,” joked the always animated Akey.
The biggest test may be for a defense that proved it’s going to contribute this fall in the season opener. After posting a 45-0 victory – their first shutout since 1997 – the Vandals now shift their focus to stopping freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. In his collegiate start last weekend, he posted the best performance ever by a rookie signal-caller in school history, rushing for 127 yards and passing for 136 more. To make things more interesting, head coach Bo Pelini will also rotate in sophomore Cody Green undercenter to show off his versatility in the run and pass game. “Both those guys are very talented,” said coach Akey. “”They’ve got a very good offensive front. They’ve got two wideouts that stand out in my mind. They’ve got good guys carrying the football at running back. They’re a well-round team. We’ve got to be prepared to handle the whole package.”

Prediction
Enderle and the offense have their moments, but in the end, facts are facts. While the Vandals are a very good WAC program, the Cornhuskers are an elite one in the Big 12. If Idaho can protect Enderle and win the turnover battle, then things could get interesting. One thing that’s for sure, they can’t afford to get down early and try to come back like they did on so many occasions last year.
Idaho will show that it can hang with the big boys by playing with the 6th-ranked team in the nation on the road, however, Nebraska will just be too tough.

Idaho 17 Nebraska 38

…as for the fan in me…

Idaho 34Nebraska 31

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