Big 12: Virginia Tech Huskies

Nebraska's defensive front will be challenged by Taylor

September, 23, 2008
9/23/08
5:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

After three tune-ups earlier this season, Nebraska defensive end Zach Potter can't wait for the Huskers' first real test of the season.

The Cornhuskers rank 18th in rush defense and 22nd in scoring defense after facing a less-than-imposing early schedule that featured victories over Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State. Despite that early success, Potter is gearing up for controlling Virginia Tech and talented running quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

"We'll probably need some Advil to get ready," Potter said, chuckling. "He's a good quarterback and we're going to have our hands full trying to containing him. But we're up for the challenge."

Virginia Tech has struggled offensively, averaging only 21.5 points per game so far this season. The Hokies have not scored more than 24 points in any single game in their 3-1 start.

The biggest key for Nebraska to keep those offensive struggles from happening will be to contain Taylor, Virginia Tech's leading rusher. Passing has been a different story as the Hokies rank 114th nationally in passing offense.

"You just have to really play your technique," Potter said. "If you're doing that, your technique shouldn't allow him to be able to run. We have to make sure in the passing situations that we stay in our lanes and give him some trouble that way so he can't scramble and come out. We have our hands full."

But Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said he's relieved to finally be playing a more conventional offensive team after facing pass-heavy teams in the first three games.

"We're going to see a team similar to our offense, but they like to run the ball," Suh said. "I'm very excited for that."

The Cornhuskers' depth along the defense front will improve with return to the lineup of defensive end Pierre Allen, who missed much of the New Mexico State game with a foot injury. His return will help boost depth for a depleted Nebraska defensive front already reeling after losing 2007 leading sack producer Barry Turner to a season-ending broken leg and Kevin Dixon, who was was kicked off the team before preseason practice because of legal issues.

"It'll definitely be big for us to get him back," Potter said. "It was bad losing him against New Mexico State, but Cam (Meredith) and Clayton (Sievers) stepped up. But Pierre is a different kind of player because he's so athletic. It will be good having him back. We can sure use him."

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