Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden will see the best defensive backs he has faced so far this season when Nebraska visits Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.
Led by a potential NFL first-round pick in cornerback Prince Amukamara, the Cornhuskers lead the nation in pass defense, allowing 117 passing yards per game. And Nebraska does it largely with a man-to-man coverage scheme.
"When teams play man coverage, a lot of times (receivers) are covered," offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said. "You have to be able to identify what matchups you like and put the ball out there."
That means Weeden, who ranks among the nation's leaders in passing yardage and pass efficiency, will have to re-evaluate what he considers open against the Huskers' tight coverage.
"I've watched like eight game films on Nebraska — a couple last year and all of this year's games — and nobody's ever wide open," Holgorsen said. "They play man and they're good at it. He's going to have to identify matchups he likes and attack."
Receiver Justin Blackmon showed signs of being a playmaker in the spring and during the preseason, but nobody expected this. The sophomore has 57 catches for 955 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averages 9.5 receptions and 159.2 yards per game.
"Having almost 1,000 yards in six games is hard to predict," Holgorsen said.
Blackmon has made highlight-reel plays, like his 62-yard touchdown catch against Texas Tech last Saturday.
"The one on the sideline was as impressive a play as I've ever seen," said Holgorsen, who coached current NFL receivers Michael Crabtree and Wes Welker during his days at Texas Tech. "I thought we could squeeze it in there, it was tight and looking back on it, I would have said, 'No don't trigger that,' but (Weeden) triggered it, it got there, (Blackmon) made an unbelievable catch, his balance on the sideline, how he didn't go out of bounds ... the whole deal was pretty impressive."
Sea of Red set to invade Stillwater High
The Oklahoma Cornhusker Club has rented out the parking lot, stadium concourse and restrooms at Stillwater High School Stadium for tailgating purposes this weekend. Beginning at noon on Friday, the group has rented 475 parking spaces in the lot and expects to have more than 500 Nebraska fans in attendance for the tailgate party on Saturday.
The Nebraska spirit squad and band are expected to make an appearance along with a Lincoln, Neb.-based band named Sidetack Band.