Five things to watch Huskers/Jackrabbits
Bo Pelini (Stewart Photography)
Bo Pelini (Stewart Photography)
Assocaited Press
Posted Sep 20, 2013


What type of reaction will Bo Pelini get on Saturday? How much will the offense look different with a new QB? Those are some of the questions coming into this weekend.

Five things to watch when the Huskers play the Jackrabbits:

1. FAN REACTION: Pelini said he couldn't predict how fans insulted by his expletive-filled rant will react to him when he enters the stadium during the traditional Tunnel Walk.

"I would think the rational people out there would understand," he said, "that a lot of times you say things you don't necessarily mean."

2. SIMPLIFYING OFFENSE: Whether Martinez plays or not, the Huskers plan to condense their offensive repertoire. Instead of practicing a wide variety of plays during the week, they focused on doing fewer things better.

The Huskers generated only 135 yards in the second half against UCLA.

3. TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: South Dakota State played a sixth-ranked Nebraska within 17-3 in 2010, a week after Martinez and the Huskers had dazzled the nation with a big road win over Washington. If the Huskers looked past the Jackrabbits in 2010, they won't this time, Pelini said.

"They are going to be sound in what they do," Pelini said. "They won't be really fancy, but they'll be sound and aggressive."

4. ZENNER'S A WINNER: South Dakota State's Zach Zenner is the best back in the FCS, averaging a nation-leading 180 yards after going for more than 2,000 last season.

Zenner runs behind a big and veteran offensive line that will test Nebraska's defensive front.

"Zenner definitely instills some extra confidence, especially for the offensive line," SDSU offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann said. "If we hit up our blocks, he can be gone. He's got breakaway speed, and he can showcase it."

5. HOMECOMING:Twelve native Nebraskans are on the South Dakota State roster, including four starters.

Naturally, this is a red-letter game for guys like center Taylor Suess, who grew up in Columbus, Neb.

"It definitely gives us a chip on our shoulders," he said. "I've had a lot of doubters even since high school who said I couldn't play at the Division I level anywhere. That's why one of the biggest reasons I wanted to play at SDSU was to prove those people wrong, and now that I get to show it against my home state, that's great."


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