A Worthy Opponent
Previewing Louisiana Tech
For those like me who tired of seeing the Huskers open the season against I-AA competition (and setting aside for the moment that Nebraska will face a I-AA squad in week two), seeing Louisiana Tech on the schedule was a breath of fresh air. Considering the Bulldogs finished the regular season last year with the same record as Nebraska (7-4), they would seem a more than respectable choice to open the season.
In fact, had the two teams met on a neutral field a year ago, the game would have been a toss-up. Louisiana Tech managed to stay closer to Kansas, the only common opponent, than Nebraska did when the Bulldogs lost in Lawrence by a 34-14 margin. Both squads finished their season on a high note as Louisiana Tech beat then #23 Fresno State before being snubbed by the bowls. No doubt, that slight will leave the Bulldogs with a hunger to get some respect.
But unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they must travel to Lincoln. Tech was 0-2 out of conference a year ago (both road contests) and only 3-3 overall outside their building overall. While Tech fans might take solace in the record setting performance they had in 1998 that was still a game the â€˜Dogs lost by four touchdowns.
Things don't appear much easier for Tech in Lincoln this time as they bring back only two returning starters on defense and must break in a new quarterback who will be making his first start. Their special teams were nothing to write home about either, meaning they're likely going to have to put together long drives in order to score. On paper, it appears like a comfortable win for the Huskers, but at least NU faces a team that belongs on the field with them.
There are a few names to note on the Louisiana Tech sideline. First, longtime Nebraska secondary coach George Darlington will be the new defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs (after coaching their defensive backs a year ago). Regardless of what you thought of his performance over the years, he deserves a hearty round of applause if/when his name is mentioned over the loudspeaker in Memorial Stadium. Former Husker recruit Freddie Franklin will likely be the starting running back for Tech. I'll be cheering extra hard for the Blackshirts to make Franklin regret choosing to attend school in his home state over coming to NU. Finally, lost running back recruit William Griffin, also a Louisiana native, could be in attendance as he will be a true freshman for the Bulldogs. I'll be cheering for Griffin to get on the field because it means Tech has an inexperienced player in the game that can be exploited.
All in all, not a bad way to start the season for the Huskers, a winning team from a year ago that shouldn't give Nebraska too much trouble. Should be a fun day.