Tackling Must Improve Against Arkansas State
After Saturday's exhibition of how not to tackle, the Huskers will have to improve when the Red Wolves come to town. Arkansas State scored 34 points in their opener at Oregon and 33 hosting Memphis with over 500 yards in each game. Among the plays that they like to run is a lateral pass to the wide receiver, usually with another wideout to the same side. It freezes the safety because the receiver could still throw a forward pass and thus makes the cornerback have to try to tackle his man in space. It also helps keep pressure off of their quarterback. They got a number of gains out of the play against Oregon.
The Red Wolves have a maddening dual-threat quarterback in Ryan Aplin. The Ducks did a good job of containing him in the opener (though he did rush for a touchdown and pass for three more). He managed 73 rushing yards on just 6 carries against Memphis though. He passed for over 300 yards in each game. Running back David Oku, who Husker fans might remember from his time attending high school in Lincoln is averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. Aplin has spread the ball around well, though his top receiving threat has been receiver Josh Jarboe, a big wideout.
The good news for Nebraska is that the Arkansas State defense has been about as bad as the Huskers so far. So if you want to see another shootout, that may be what's in store. The Huskers are still favored by 24 in this one. Pelini's teams have been fairly resilient in bouncing back from losses. Despite some of the puzzling home losses over the years, Memorial stadium does still provide an advantage. But a win that big won't come if the Blackshirts don't show up. They need to show that they can bring opposing players to the ground.
Otherwise, it may be another long day for the Big Red.