Holiday Bowl Free Pick: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Washington Huskies
(10-3, 6-6-1 ATS)
(6-6, 5-6-1 ATS)
There is only one rematch from a regular season duel in the bowl betting season this year, and this is it in the Holiday Bowl. The Washington Huskies were absolutely demolished by the Nebraska Cornhuskers earlier this year at home, and now they play on a neutral field at Qualcomm Stadium in Holiday Bowl betting action.
This is the first time that the Huskies have been in a bowl game in quite some time, and though this one really doesn’t mean a heck of a lot to the program, all eyes are going to be fixated on QB Jake Locker. Locker has all of the tools to succeed at the next level, but his stats really don’t warrant being a first round draft choice, particularly after completing just four passes against Nebraska earlier this year. He threw for 2,209 yards and completed just 56.6 percent of his passes. Locker had 17 TDs against nine picks, but he only averaged 7.0 yards per pass this year and really didn’t show that he can stretch the field. WR Jermaine Kearse averaged a healthy 17.0 yards per reception and had 56 catches for 954 yards and a dozen TDs on the campaign. However, the key is going to be keeping the ball moving on the ground with RB Chris Polk. Polk rumbled for 1,238 yards and eight scores. It took three wins in the final three games of the season just to make it to a bowl game, and though there were some impressive wins in and amongst a relatively difficult schedule, there was still no excuse to allow 31.2 points per game, ranking No. 94 in the country.
Big Red averaged 416.2 yards per game this year, 261.5 yards of which came on the ground. Freshman QB Taylor Martinez had a great game against these Huskies and was thought to be a Heisman Trophy contender after tearing them apart. He threw for 1,578 yards and rushed for 942 more, accounting for 21 total TDs. RB Roy Helu had a 300+ yard game and is now the holder of the best single game on the ground in Nebraska history. He had 1,211 yards and 11 scores on the campaign. RB Rex Burkhead had 912 yards and seven scores as well, and this trio can legitimately become the second team in the history of college football betting action to each have 1,000 yards on the ground. Leading receiver WR Niles Paul is probably out of the lineup in the Holiday Bowl, which doesn’t leave a 500 yard receiver for Martinez to throw to. Still, the Black Shirts defense always is and always will be the key for the Huskers, even as they prepare for the Big Ten next year. Nebraska held teams to 294.8 yards and 17.2 points per game this year.
Washington just isn’t ready to compete in this game. The Huskies aren’t nearly as good as the team on the other side of the field, and though Locker just has to play better than he did the first time around, he isn’t going to be beating the Cornhuskers any time soon. U-Dub should get rocked in Holiday Bowl betting action on Thursday.
Holiday Bowl Pick: Nebraska Cornhuskers -14
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