Game Day: Nebraska vs. Michigan

Is No. 8 enough?

While Nebraska's offense has been shaky, reliable I-back Ameer Abdullah is the one sure thing. Will Abdullah's legs be enough to carry the Huskers — down two offensive linemen, including an All-America candidate — past a Michigan team with plenty to prove?

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Jon Nyatawa

Nebraska rush offense vs. Michigan rush defense

Opponents have had little success running against the Wolverines, who allow just 105.1 rushing yards per game. The Huskers didn’t break many long runs in their last two games against Michigan, but they have averaged 4.6 yards per attempt. Ameer Abdullah has 1,108 rushing yards, the most through eight games by an NU I-back since 1994. Advantage: Nebraska

Nebraska pass offense vs. Michigan pass defense

Tommy Armstrong has six interceptions in his last two games, though he’s had to work with a depleted receiving corps. The Wolverines will likely zone blitz frequently, which could leave openings for tight ends to flash open up the seam or receivers to gain separation on crossing routes. NU can’t rely on that, though. Advantage: Michigan

Michigan rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Nebraska has struggled to stop the run for three seasons, giving up 4.4 yards per carry since 2011. The Wolverines could try to mimic Minnesota’s downhill approach, or utilize the zone-read option. But they’ve been ineffective at both lately, opting to pass first to open up running lanes against Michigan State. Advantage: Nebraska

Michigan pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

At one point last week at Michigan State, the Wolverines had six offensive linemen on the field — and still gave up a sack. Their pass protection is in shambles, but having an elusive QB helps — Devin Gardner’s agility might scare Nebraska out of blitzing. Plus, he averages 9.8 yards per pass attempt, which ranks seventh best nationally. Advantage: Michigan

Special teams

Nebraska has recorded a touchback on 65.5 percent of its kickoffs, which ranks 11th nationally. And its net punting average (38.2) ranks fourth in the Big Ten. But the Huskers are also averaging just 3.4 yards per punt return, which is tied for ninth-worst in the country. Michigan, at 6.8, is not much better. Advantage: Michigan

Intangibles

The Wolverines are 19-0 at home under coach Brady Hoke but, facing plenty of scrutiny after a 29-6 loss to the Spartans, won’t carry the mentality of a favorite into Saturday’s game. Nebraska, meanwhile, still feels pressure to maintain control of its destiny, and the Huskers are riding high after last week’s miracle finish. Advantage: Nebraska

Key matchup: Michigan receiver Devin Funchess vs. Nebraska's defense

How do you match up against a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder who looks like a tight end but runs routes like a receiver? Could be up to the Huskers' linebackers. Maybe it's their safeties. Maybe this is a job for senior Stanley Jean-Baptiste. NU has been vulnerable against guys of Funchess' stature and skillset all year.

Our take

There may not be two teams in the conference more inconsistent than Nebraska and Michigan. While it may not make sense to pick an NU team recently dominated by Minnesota — which Michigan trounced — this is Big Ten football, where logic only applies if Ohio State is part of the conversation. We’re taking the Huskers.

Our prediction: Nebraska 28, Michigan 27

Live updates

 

Videos

Extras

Printable rosters

Looking for a handy reference guide that you can take to the game? Check out our two-page printable roster, sorted by jersey number and including height, weight, year in school, hometown and high school information. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Michigan game provided by the Huskers athletic department. Click here »

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks.

BRT app

iPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. Omaha.com/BRTapp and Omaha.com/android

Listen: BRT Podcast

In this week’s edition of "The Big Red Today Podcast," Jon Nyatawa and Sam McKewon analyze the fallout from Nebraska’s surprising loss to Minnesota. Why couldn’t NU stop the Gophers’ plan? And what will future opponents take from last week and use against the Huskers going forward? The staff writers also try to determine what Nebraska’s offensive strategy will be going forward. Click here »

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Ten coverage

Look for additional updates on our Big Ten page to get the best coverage of the conference from both The World-Herald and some of the best writers from across the country. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Chatelain: In final days, Husker family Milt Tenopir helped build was there to see him home

Milt Tenopir, who died Monday following a battle with leukemia, spent the last good days of his life surrounded by members of the Husker football family he helped build for decades.

Shatel: There's room and respect for everyone in Huskers' melting pot

Seven Huskers. Two acts of passion. One planned: Three players kneeling in protest during the national anthem at Ryan Field at Northwestern. One unplanned: Four players helping the Wildcat band hold up a giant American flag so it wouldn’t touch…

Husker linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey says he can’t stay silent, ignore issues of injustice

The red “N” on his T-shirt as prominent as his passion, senior Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey on Monday explained for seven minutes — uninterrupted, and in prose that quoted the bible, Martin Luther King and James Baldwin — why he…

Longtime Nebraska offensive line coach Milt Tenopir, 76, made Husker 'Pipeline' go

Nebraska built its football dynasty with a rugged and relentless rushing attack, and Milt Tenopir helped construct the offensive lines that made it go. Tenopir died Monday at his Lincoln home, according to a close friend, after battling both acute…

Husker players explain decision to kneel at national anthem; Gov. Pete Ricketts calls protest 'disgraceful'

A national conversation on race and police violence started by an NFL quarterback last month continued Monday with three members of the Nebraska football team and a high-profile critic, Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Video: Michael Rose-Ivey says 'I cannot hide from responsibilities to be a voice' on issues

Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey made an impassioned speech Monday regarding his decision to kneel during the national anthem before Saturday's game.

Video: Riley, Rose-Ivey, Armstrong speak during Husker press conference

Nebraska coach Mike Riley addressed the media Monday to recap the win over Northwestern and look ahead to the Illinois game.

Q&A: Husker junior wide receiver/punt returner De'Mornay Pierson-El

After playing in all 13 games as a freshman in 2014, junior wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El dealt with foot and knee injuries in 2015, limiting him to five games. He totaled eight touchdowns in his first 18 games at Nebraska,…

Husker notes: Tanner Farmer, Alonzo Moore look doubtful for Illinois game

It’s possible that Nebraska could be heading into the Illinois game without offensive guard Tanner Farmer and receiver Alonzo Moore, with head coach Mike Riley calling both doubtful on Monday.

Husker offense getting more long gainers, met Mike Riley’s goal in win over Northwestern

You take the offense however and wherever you can get it, but Nebraska coach Mike Riley never hesitates to say that he likes to see it come in healthy chunks from time to time. The Huskers did that Saturday night…

Barfknecht's Big Ten rankings, Sept. 26

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Sept. 26.

Huskers move up to 15th in both AP, coaches polls; Alabama, Ohio State keep Nos. 1 and 2 spots

Louisville was No. 3 in the AP rankings and fourth in the coaches poll, while Michigan was at No. 4 in the AP poll and ranked fifth by the coaches.

Barfknecht: Paul Chryst’s Wisconsin formula is basics, no bluster

Those of us who wander the Big Ten byways writing about football are figuring out that Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst is a pretty darn good coach. After 17 games, his record is 14-3, including a bowl victory. He has two wins…

Husker notes: Injury stops Alonzo Moore, but not before big catch

It got to the point in the second half of Nebraska’s 24-13 win at Northwestern on Saturday where Alonzo Moore’s teammates were telling him to shut himself down. His right shoulder was hurting. His teammates could see that. Moore briefly…

Blackshirts aren’t content with merely earning wins; Huskers have higher expectations for performance

With improvements have come higher expectations. With success has come defensive coordinator Mark Banker seeing an opportunity to tighten the weekly screws more than he thought advisable a year ago. And Banker said he hasn’t seen this unit flinch one…

McKewon: Huskers' resiliency, second-half dominance bodes well heading into October

You hesitate to write Nebraska has entirely turned a corner from 2015. You still see the leaks, and there are teams on the Huskers’ schedule that can turn those leaks into a flood. But you have also seen great resiliency.

From the sidelines: Huskers lend helping hands with flag; Slick unis; Home-field disadvantage

One of the more patriotic pregame ceremonies Saturday got an assist from a few Nebraska players.

Loss leaves Wildcats seeking answers; Fitzgerald says Armstrong looked 'like an All-America candidate'

It didn’t take long for Northwestern coaches and players to identify what went wrong in Saturday’s 24-13 Big Ten loss to Nebraska.

Quarter by quarter: Nebraska 24, Northwestern 13

World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon recaps the key plays in each quarter of Nebraska's victory over Northwestern.

Nebraska-Northwestern: Tracking the offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Jon Nyatawa takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 24-13 win over Northwestern on Saturday.

Shatel: What a difference a year makes — these Huskers are finding ways to win

This Nebraska season has a different feel, night and day from 2015. And a good place to start is at Tommy Armstrong's feet.

Video: Husker postgame press conference

Stay tuned after the final whistle for a live stream of the Husker postgame press conference.

Halftime analysis: Red zone fails prove costly, but Huskers bounce back

Nebraska fumbled twice into the end zone in the first half, but still managed to take a 10-7 lead into the break against Northwestern despite the turnovers.

Barfknecht: Wisconsin continues to defy preseason pundits with throttling of Michigan State

Four weeks into the season, we have facts, not narratives. And the facts state emphatically that the Badgers are again Big Ten title contenders. And maybe more. On Saturday, No. 11 UW went to Spartan Stadium as a six-point underdog…

New York Jets utilizing former Husker receiver Quincy Enunwa's various skills

Quincy Enunwa will leave the labels to everyone else. He’s listed as the New York Jets’ No. 3 wide receiver, but is considered by many as more of a tight end. Or, even an H-back. The answer is simple, as…

Husker game notes: Two end-zone fumbles frustrate Huskers; turnover turnaround; snapping snafu

Coach Mike Riley was clearly frustrated with one of the two goal-line fumbles that resulted in Northwestern touchbacks.

'We're gonna get you the ball back'; Blackshirts pick up offense after gaffes

The Nebraska defense could have twice been coming out to protect newly gained first-half leads Saturday night, but instead was tasked with doing some cleanup at Ryan Field.

Mikale Wilbon, Jordan Westerkamp make most of opportunities in Chicago homecoming

Nebraska’s running backs coach had a message at halftime Saturday for a hard-working and eager sophomore, who’s always seemed to be a handful of consecutive touches away from a breakout-type performance.

Nebraska-Northwestern: Five things we learned, still don't know

Five things we learned and five things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's 24-13 win over Northwestern.

Huskers overcome touchdown-killing fumbles, dance past Northwestern to open Big Ten play

In front of 40,284 fans — more than half in red — the tide turned in the third quarter, when Nebraska turned a 10-7 halftime lead into a 24-13 cushion with back-to-back touchdown drives of 80 and 79 yards.