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.

Nebraska wins if ...

It can limit the responsibilities for its quarterbacks, avoid turnovers and force a couple takeaways. The Huskers need a complete performance.

Michigan wins if ...

It finds a way to confuse and rattle NU’s inexperienced quarterback and offensive line. Also, establishing the ground game for once would help.

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

Hansen: Bo Pelini talks of core values but lacks more than a few

» EXPLICIT: Listen to Bo Pelini's final speech to the Husker players

» Read the full transcript of Bo Pelini's comments here

» University of Nebraska statement: 'We are extremely disappointed ...

Contracts for Nebraska’s new assistants are released

LINCOLN — Nebraska hasn’t officially designated roles for its four newest assistant coaches just yet, but they’ll all be compensated with a larger paycheck than a year ago.

NU ...

Book excerpt: Osborne, Kiffin take on duties for Devaney

“Devaney: Birth of a Dynasty” by The World-Herald’s Henry J. Cordes tells how Bob Devaney reorganized his staff following consecutive 6-4 seasons.

The 280-page hard-cover book, filled with photos ...

Riley discusses staff, recruits in interview

LINCOLN — Mike Riley said Thursday night that the decision to keep Charlton Warren on the Nebraska football coaching staff was an easy one.

During a brief appearance on “Sports Nightly ...

McKewon: Pelini’s message negative for team

» EXPLICIT: Listen to Bo Pelini's final speech to the Husker players

» Read the full transcript of Pelini's comments here

» University of Nebraska statement: 'We are extremely disappointed' in ...

Former Nebraska A.D. Steve Pederson fired by Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steve Pederson deftly guided Pittsburgh through conference realignment from the crumbling Big East to the rebuilt ACC. The longtime athletic director could never find stability for the football ...

Nebraska response: 'We are extremely disappointed' in Bo Pelini

» Bo Pelini insults A.D. Shawn Eichorst in expletive-filled talk during final meeting with players

» Read the full transcript of Pelini's comments here

» Instant reaction: Former players, media, fake ...

Bo Pelini transcript: I'd rather work at McDonald's, former Husker coach says

» EXPLICIT: Listen to Bo Pelini's final speech to the Husker players

* * *

In a closed-door meeting, former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini addressed his former players two days after his Nov ...

The Big Ten Roundup with Lee Barfknecht: Replay

Replay Wednesday's "Big Ten Roundup" chat with World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht to see his take on news from around the conference.

Also, check out our Big Ten page ...

Video: Bo Pelini introduced at Youngstown State

Watch Bo Pelini's introductory press conference as head coach at Youngstown State the university's YouTube channel.

See more on the former Husker coach's hiring at Youngstown State ...

Paul Chryst returns to Wisconsin, leaves Pittsburgh after three seasons

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Paul Chryst is back at Wisconsin, settling into familiar surroundings in his hometown.

This time, with a bigger office.

Chryst was hired Wednesday to coach the Badgers ...

Lineman Mike Moudy says Huskers motivated, ready to let loose

LINCOLN — Bowl games that don’t impact the national championship can be a time for fun and experimentation.

So when it was suggested to Nebraska guard Mike Moudy that he ...

Bo Pelini pumped to go to Youngstown State, work for Jim Tressel

LINCOLN — A reporter asked Bo Pelini about the terms of his still-developing contract at his introductory press conference Wednesday, and the new Youngstown State coach joked that he’d already ...

Shatel: One more round of drama for Bo Pelini, Husker football

» EXPLICIT: Listen to Bo Pelini's final speech to the Husker players

» Read the full transcript of Pelini's comments here

» University of Nebraska statement: 'We are extremely disappointed' in ...

Exclusive audio: Listen to Bo Pelini's speech in final meeting with Husker players (Explicit content)

Warning: The following audio has explicit content.

* * *

In a closed-door meeting, former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini addressed the Husker players two days after his Nov. 30 firing.

Listen to Pelini ...

Pelini slams Eichorst in vulgar talk during final meeting with players, says A.D. 'has no integrity'

» EXPLICIT: Listen to Bo Pelini's final speech to the Husker players

» Read the full transcript of Pelini's comments here

» University of Nebraska statement: 'We are extremely disappointed' in ...

Bo Pelini officially named Youngstown State coach

LINCOLN — Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is headed home.

Youngstown State, an FCS program in Pelini’s hometown, officially announced the hiring Tuesday afternoon. Pelini’s taking over the Penguins ...

Huskers Ameer Abdullah, Randy Gregory named AP All-Americans

The accolades keep coming for Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Randy Gregory.

Abdullah earned second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press on Tuesday. Gregory was awarded third-team All-America honors after ...

Husker Talk Live: Replay

Scroll through the "Husker Talk Live" chat with staff writer Sam McKewon to get his take on the latest headlines, including new Nebraska coach Mike Riley and former coach Bo ...

Warren set to remain part of Huskers’ staff

LINCOLN — Charlton Warren appears set to remain part of the Nebraska football coaching staff, news that hasn’t been announced officially but was confirmed Monday night by Husker defensive back ...

Husker notes: Mike Riley checks out bowl practice

LINCOLN — Mike Riley watched his future team practice Tuesday, and the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 will be the Huskers’ last game before the former Oregon State head coach takes ...

Husker offensive coordinator Tim Beck has pride and no regret

LINCOLN — Tim Beck had no comment Tuesday when asked what happens after Dec. 27, sharing nothing about who he has contacted since Mike Riley was named the replacement for Bo ...

Lunch with Tom: Replay

Hungry for some sports chat? Join the “Lunch with Tom” chat at 10 a.m. as World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel discusses the future of Husker football and more.

Live Blog ...

Riley says staff will include some from Nebraska

LINCOLN — Nebraska coach Mike Riley told national radio host Tim Brando that he’s already going after one assistant on the previous Husker staff and may soon reach out to ...

Tales from the hiring of Devaney

Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst’s hiring of Mike Riley as football coach was accomplished quickly and quietly.

“Devaney: Birth of a Dynasty” by The World-Herald’s Henry J. Cordes ...

Newest Husker recruit talks softly, carries big skill set

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s newest commit for the 2015 recruiting class opts for brevity when asked for his favorite high school football memory.

Dedrick Young, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound athlete from Peoria ...

Shatel: Forecast is bright for UNO hockey but a little foggy for CU and NU basketball

The local weather gurus have their winter forecast. I have mine. The difference: My six-inches-of-snow/65-degrees line runs through the middle of the CenturyLink Center. My forecast for:

» UNO hockey ...

Nebraska-USC tie in 1970 proved important

Nebraska and USC will play for the fifth time in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 with the Trojans holding a 3-0-1 record in the series.

But that 1970 tie ...

For Nebraska, it's easy to get pumped for USC

LINCOLN — In the days leading up to Nebraska’s bowl announcement on Dec. 7, senior safety Corey Cooper wasn’t all that curious about the Huskers’ destination.

The “where” didn ...

McKewon: In Bo Pelini era, nothing was a snap for Huskers

LINCOLN — The simplest — and, in a sense, most essential — aspect of any offensive play is the snap. If you don’t get the snap right, forget the rest of it ...