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

The Big Ten Roundup with Lee Barfknecht: Noon

Log on at noon Wednesday for the "Big Ten Roundup" chat with World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht to get the latest news from around the conference.

Also, check out our ...

Husker Talk Live: Replay

Replay Tuesday's "Husker Talk Live" chat with staff writer Sam McKewon to track a discussion of all the latest Husker headlines.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Noon

De'Mornay Pierson-El working overtime to make Huskers better

LINCOLN — While most players on Nebraska’s offense found their place in stretching lines at the start of Tuesday’s practice, freshman De’Mornay Pierson-El stood hip-to-hip with his position ...

Barfknecht: Wisconsin-Minnesota game finally for more than Paul Bunyan's Axe

The last time Wisconsin and Minnesota faced off in a football game with as much meaning as this Saturday’s would have been, um ... well ... a really, really long time ...

Big Ten notes: Michigan State turns to receiver for help at cornerback

Michigan State senior Tony Lippett, a strong candidate for first-team All-Big Ten as a wide receiver, has doubled his workload.

On Saturday, he is set to become MSU’s first ...

Husker notes: Still improving, Randy Gregory faces decision

LINCOLN — The statistics don’t necessarily show it, but coach Bo Pelini said he thinks Randy Gregory has given NFL scouts plenty of worthy game film to salivate over.

It ...

McKewon: Fresh sites can keep bowls from going stale

LINCOLN — I promise I’ll try to make sense of how the Big Ten now plans to select teams for its bowl games. I doubt I’ll do nearly as ...

Video: Nebraska Monday press conference

Watch video of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and select Husker players at the team's weekly press conference in advance of this week's Nebraska-Iowa game. Also watch NU volleyball ...

Lunch with Tom: Replay

Hungry for some sports chat? Replay the “Lunch with Tom” chat to get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's thoughts on Nebraska’s loss to Minnesota, the upcoming Iowa game and ...

NU’s Pelini deflects questions on his job status, says focus is on Hawkeyes

LINCOLN — Bo Pelini shut down the question like a cornerback would a wideout.

“Could we talk about Iowa, please?” Nebraska’s coach said early in Monday’s press conference, thwarting ...

Abdullah says good will come from injury

LINCOLN — Ameer Abdullah had done so many special things, and the Nebraska I-back was on his way to doing more.

Seeing that pursuit get derailed, though, has been only a ...

Q&A with Husker lineman Jake Cotton

The senior offensive lineman played his final home game Saturday and now prepares for his final regular-season game Friday at Iowa. It will be the 23rd career start at left ...

Nyatawa: 17 scholarships, little depth on Husker line

LINCOLN — It seems illogical to raise depth concerns about an offensive line unit that accounts for 17 scholarships, but Nebraska’s season-long commitment to a now-slumping starting group suggests there ...

Notes: Pelini uncertain whether Bell will play against Hawkeyes

LINCOLN — Nebraska could be without its record-setting receiver in the season’s final regular season game.

Senior Kenny Bell, the program’s career catches leader, suffered an apparent concussion on ...

Shatel: First Osborne award is a no-brainer

What do you give a man who’s done it all, won it all and been awarded every honor a coach can receive?

His own award.

The first annual Tom ...

Huskers drop out of both college football polls

Nebraska's 28-24 loss to Minnesota Saturday helped knock the team off the AP and Coaches top 25 polls in week 14.

Last week the Huskers sat at No. 21 ...

Barfknecht's Big Ten rankings, Nov. 24

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams as published in The World-Herald on Nov. 24.

* * *

1. Ohio State (10-1, 7-0)

Last week: beat Indiana 42-27. This ...

Husker QB Armstrong makes positive strides

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s starting quarterback heard the same message from almost everyone last week as he worked to rebound from back-to-back poor performances.

Coach Bo Pelini pulled him aside. Offensive ...

McKewon: NU will prove Griese right 
if it can’t stop power game

LINCOLN — Watching the game again. In the final seconds of Nebraska’s 28-24 loss to Minnesota, ESPN analyst and former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese said the following about a Friday ...

Barfknecht: Is Husker sellout streak the next cornerstone to tumble?

The best news about Nebraska football after the weekend is there are no more home games.

Imagine if the Huskers hosted Penn State this weekend, and the tired Nittany Lions ...

Quarter by quarter: Minnesota 28, Nebraska 24

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Jon Nyatawa recap the key plays in each quarter of Nebraska's loss to Minnesota.

* * *

First quarter

Mitch Leidner: Minnesota starts the game with ...

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

Five things we learned and five things we still don’t know coming out of Saturday's Nebraska-Minnesota football game.

* * *

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

1. Nebraska’s inability to deliver ...

‘No loss is easy to take, especially in this state’

LINCOLN — Inside Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, fans dressed in maroon and gold were mingling about, taking pictures and celebrating a big road win. Life was good.

Outside, many of ...

Nebraska-Minnesota: Tracking the Husker offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Rich Kaipust takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 28-24 loss to Minnesota.

* * *

TRACKING THE HUSKER OFFENSE

The ...

Video: Husker postgame press conference

Replay video from the the Nebraska-Minnesota postgame press conference with coach Bo Pelini and players Tommy Armstrong and Nate Gerry.

Gophers rally past Huskers; Pelini says NU 'didn't deserve to win'

LINCOLN — The Land of 10,000 Lakes has produced a team that can break 10,000 Husker tackles.

Nebraska had its chances. Minnesota made the plays. The Gophers won 28-24 ...

Husker Talk Live: Postgame chat replay

Replay Saturday's postgame edition of the "Husker Talk Live" chat with staff writer Jon Nyatawa to track the reaction to the Nebraska-Minnesota game.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Game ...

Notes: Pelini says deep pass on second-and-1 a 'bad call'

LINCOLN — Midway through the fourth quarter, with Nebraska leading 24-21 and humming along with its ground game, NU offensive coordinator Tim Beck dialed up a deep pass on second-and-1 at ...

‘Leaky yards’ lead to long drives for Gophers

LINCOLN — Leaky yardage.

Those pesky yards gained by Minnesota after a missed tackle or a blown or poorly executed assignment were cited by Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and Husker defenders ...

From the sidelines: Husker fans wake up to see seniors off

LINCOLN — A week after a disheartening loss at Wisconsin, the energy and enthusiasm inside Memorial Stadium were muted before Saturday’s game.

Plenty of seats in the student section and ...