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September 24, 2011

Wyoming keys to victory and HOL staff predictions

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Nebraska will hit the road for the first time this year when they travel to Wyoming to take on a undefeated Cowboy squad.

As things get closer to kickoff, here are the keys to a Husker victory over Wyoming, along with our staff and guest picks for the week. NU enters today's game as a 24 point favorite over the Cowboys.

Dominate the line of scrimmage

Anytime you play a non-BCS team this is an area Nebraska should always come out on top in. NU has more depth and talent across the board on both the offensive and defensive lines.

The Huskers need to impose their will in these areas and set the early tone by controlling the line of scrimmage.

The big question remains if Jared Crick will be available today for Nebraska. Even without Crick NU should be able to control the game up front.

Attack Wyoming's secondary

Even though Wyoming is 3-0, their passing defense ranks 109th in the country after playing two FCS teams and Bowling Green.

With that said Taylor Martinez and the Husker passing game needs to find a way to exploit the Cowboys inexperienced secondary. In last week's win over Bowling Green, Wyoming gave up over 400 yards passing to a below average WAC team

I would not be surprised one bit to see Tim Beck go after the Cowboy secondary immediately like he did last week against Washington.

Tackling in space

Wyoming will spread Nebraska out very similar to the way Missouri did when Dave Christensen was the offensive coordinator under Gary Pinkel.

I expect to see Christensen spread out NU's vulnerable secondary and force their young and inexperienced corners to tackle in space.

The x-factor will be if senior Alfonzo Dennard returns to the line-up today in Laramie. If Dennard comes back, he should inject some life and swagger in the Husker secondary.

Take advantage of overall depth

Today's game will be played in over 7200 feet of altitude, which is the highest altitude level of any football stadium in the country.

There is no way for Nebraska to prepare for this. NU's best option will be to utilize their overall depth and substitute regularly. However, Big Ten travel restrictions only allow Nebraska to bring 70 players to Laramie, which will keep them limited in some areas.

Don't give Wyoming early confidence

This is arguably the biggest football game ever to be played in the state of Wyoming in recent memory. Both teams are 3-0 and NU has never played in Laramie before.

With a night game atmosphere, there's going to be a lot of juice in the atmosphere. It will be important for Nebraska's defense to get some early three-and-out's and the offense needs to come out of the gates moving to take the crowd out of the game.

Callahan's weekly predictions

Wyoming will come out of the gates with a lot of juice, but Nebraska will quickly impose their will on them. The Cowboys won't be able to match NU in the line play with or without Jared Crick. I like NU to cover the spread for the first time this season and head to Wisconsin a comfortable 4-0.

Nebraska 51 Wyoming 23
Texas A&M 44 Oklahoma State 38
Michigan 38 San Diego State 33

Season Record: 6-3 overall; 6-3 vs. points

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