Game Day: Nebraska vs. Michigan State

Can the Huskers survive gang green?

When asked this week about Michigan State's aggressiveness, quarterback Tommy Armstrong provided a glimpse into his mentality: "First of all," he said, "if you blitz, obviously, somebody's going to be open." NU coach Bo Pelini said Armstrong won't be intimidated. But Armstrong, Pelini and the rest of the Huskers are aware that moving the football against the Spartans will not be easy.

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2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Michigan State rush defense

The Spartans have the nation’s best run defense, giving up just 43 yards per game. That’s chemistry and commitment on display for defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio’s bunch. Nebraska counters with one of the nation’s best running backs in Ameer Abdullah and a budding option game with Tommy Armstrong. But the offensive line is beat up. Advantage: Michigan State

Nebraska pass offense vs. Michigan State pass defense

Did we mention Nebraska’s offensive line is beat up? So too are the wide receivers, to some extent, and they are charged with getting open against what many consider the best secondary in the Big Ten. Armstrong pulled NU through the fire at Michigan, but he’s been inconsistent. Michigan State’s blitzes are nasty. Advantage: Michigan State

Michigan State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

NU’s run defense has turned a corner in the past two weeks, and Michigan State doesn’t have the line nor the great running backs to turn the Huskers back. Spartan running back Jeremy Langford is no Le’Veon Bell, and he’s a slow starter. The Spartans abandon the run often too easily. Advantage: Nebraska

Michigan State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Connor Cook is just settling into the starting quarterback role. He’s mobile enough and has a big arm. He completes 60 percent of his passes and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. The Husker secondary has seasoned corners in Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Ciante Evans and Joshua Mitchell. MSU is about one year away from having a decent receiving corps. Advantage: Nebraska

Special teams

Michigan State punter Mike Sadler is second in the Big Ten in yards per punt. Nebraska counters with strong kick and punt coverage units. The Huskers are a weekly adventure in returning punts. The Spartans are awful returning kickoffs. Advantage: Michigan State

Intangibles

Michigan State has a plus-9 edge in turnover margin. The Spartans are the league’s most penalized team, and NU’s the second most. The Huskers will have home-field advantage, and apparently the niceness of the fans threw off Michigan State last time. Nebraska is fighting for its life in terms of a Big Ten title berth. Advantage: Nebraska

Key matchup: Connor Cook vs. Nebraska's defense

We’re counting on Michigan State’s defense being terrific and Nebraska’s offense picking its spots. So the game boils down to whether the Husker defense can continue its recent streak of shutting down the opponent. This is the biggest game of Cook’s young career. NU needs to rattle him.

Nebraska wins if ...

It picks off Cook, grabs an early lead and plays into the crowd noise on defense. Nebraska defensive coaches like their matchups against the Spartans.

Michigan State wins if ...

Its defense does its usual thing and forces a few turnovers and Cook controls the clock with a short-range, safe passing game.

Our take

Nebraska has shown a ton of heart and toughness for managing its injuries as well as it has, and quarterback Tommy Armstrong has a bright future. But this game is defined by the Husker defense. Can they match Michigan State’s bunch? We think they will well enough for a rare upset win at home.

Our prediction: Nebraska 16, Michigan State 14

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 State game provided by the Huskers athletic department. Click here »

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Listen: BRT Podcast

In this week’s edition of “The Big Red Today Podcast,” Jon Nyatawa and Sam McKewon examine how Nebraska’s now-inexperienced offense will try to move the ball against a statistically dominant Michigan State defense. The good news: The Huskers have been successful against Michigan State in the past. Click here »

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Big Red Today coverage

Nebraska-Miami: 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-Miami football game.

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Five things we learned

1. The 1994 “Pipeline” in attendance ...

Turning up the heat: Abdullah, Huskers keep pressure on in win over Miami

LINCOLN — By the end, the guts of Miami’s defensive linemen had begun to sag. The owners of those stomachs were spent, drained, gassed, softened and glazed, a wall of ...

Chat: Husker Talk Live postgame replay

Replay the Nebraska-Miami postgame chat with staff writer Rich Kaipust.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Game Day

Video: Husker postgame press conference

Watch video from the postgame press conference with Husker coach Bo Pelini and select players following Nebraska's 41-31 win over Miami.

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Video: Bo Pelini after Miami

Video: Ameer Abdullah ...

Huskers force turnovers at critical times

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s defensive performance Saturday may not always have been pretty, but it was good enough to get the job done in a 41-31 victory over Miami.

There were ...

Barfknecht: Hurricanes have no answers for Abdullah

LINCOLN — Miami came to Memorial Stadium on Saturday night ranked No. 2 nationally in rushing defense, giving up 2.0 yards per carry.

But none of the Hurricanes’ first three ...

Chatelain: Huskers ground out an old-fashioned victory

Their tickets were scattered in the nosebleeds of North Stadium. Row 86. Row 81. Two here, two there.

In a perfect world, the 1994 national championship team members would’ve ...

Emotions run high, but total Husker-Hurricane meltdown is averted

LINCOLN — Most of Nebraska’s defenders weren’t exactly sure what caused the second-half skirmishes that seemed to tightened the Huskers’ grip on the game’s momentum Saturday night.

They ...

Quarter by quarter: Nebraska 41, Miami 31

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Rich Kaipust recap the key plays in each quarter of Nebraska's win over Miami.

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FIRST QUARTER

Brad Kaaya: Nerves? What nerves? Miami’s ...

From the sidelines: Stadium basks in game-long salute to 1994 Huskers

LINCOLN — You couldn’t escape the nostalgia.

Not that a record-breaking Memorial Stadium crowd would have wanted to.

But everywhere you looked Saturday there were reminders of Nebraska’s 1994 ...

Notes: Scoop and score turns tide back Nebraska’s way

Hanging on to a slim third-quarter lead and with the momentum seemingly slipping away, the Nebraska defense dug in Saturday night.

Make that dug out.

The momentum swung back to ...

Shatel: It’s more than a win; 
for fans, it’s cathartic

LINCOLN — Better believe this was personal.

For more than 30 years, Nebraskans have wanted Miami in their yard, with their weather, on their turf, surrounded on all four sides by ...

Tracking the Husker offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Jon Nyatawa takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 41-31 win over Miami.

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TRACKING THE OFFENSE

The game ...

NU assistant John Garrison says Huskers ready to soften up Miami 'space-eaters'

Nebraska assistant coach John Garrison minced few words Friday when discussing what his offensive line would be up against Saturday night.

NU will see some size across the line with ...

NU Regents OK change worth $21 million to Huskers' marketing contract

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s athletic department will make $21 million more on its multimedia rights in the next six years under a renegotiated contract.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents ...

Mad Chatter (Part II): Nebraska-Miami, where the present tries to live up to the past

It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little, tiny bites. We’re doing things a bit differently today. I spent Thursday working on a loooooong flashback to ...

Mad Chatter: The greatest game in Nebraska football history

If the rapture had come Jan. 3, 1995, nobody in Nebraska would’ve objected. 

Four other undefeated NU teams have claimed national championships. None brought so much satisfaction to the ...

Husker kicker Mauro Bondi totals motorcycle, breaks collarbone in crash

LINCOLN — Nebraska junior kicker Mauro Bondi suffered a broken collarbone and was hospitalized Thursday night after losing control of his motorcycle in north Lincoln, police said.

Bondi, transported to Bryan ...

Barfknecht: Huskers may have best chance for a little Big Ten redemption

The Big Ten has been beaten up nationally — and rightfully so — for its football ineptitude so far this season.

The numbers are gruesome: 1-10 against Power Five foes, with the ...

Stage fright or fight? Forget the big name, Nebraska must lock in against Miami

LINCOLN — Josh Kalu flashed a smile as big and bright as the lights that will shine down on Memorial Stadium Saturday night.

A true freshman, just 19 years old, Kalu ...

Shatel: It’s not much like the old days, 
but for Huskers, it could be a start

LINCOLN — Well, that was some Orange Bowl parade of memories.

We knew this would happen. We knew this week would bring out all the old, dusty scrapbooks and photos. And ...

Things to do before Nebraska faces Miami

Don’t wait until Saturday evening to arrive in Lincoln for Nebraska’s 7 p.m. game with Miami.

There’s lots of activities planned for earlier in the day ...

Renegotiated marketing contract means $21 million more for NU athletic department

Nebraska’s athletic department will make $21 million more on its multimedia rights over the next six years under a renegotiated contract.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will ...

Notes: Knee injury sidelines Burtch for season

LINCOLN — Just when it appeared that Nebraska junior Sam Burtch was ready to return to the lineup, the reserve receiver suffered an injury that will end his season.

Coach Bo ...

Barfknecht: Not many games, but Miami-Nebraska has had enough ups and downs for a book

Miami and Nebraska have a complicated relationship when it comes to football.

The highs and lows they have handed each other are about as high and low as you can ...

McKewon: Blowout win showcases North’s O-line, including Husker recruit Decker

When you have a big, physical offensive line — at any level of football — there comes a point where you put away the fancy and try on the fierce.

Late in ...

Small at first, Barron Miles a big part of Nebraska's ’94 title

LINCOLN — One of the key cogs in Nebraska’s 1994 national title machine didn’t initially want his teammates to see him lift weights.

Cornerback Barron Miles, 5-foot-9 and 145 ...

The Roundup with Lee Barfknecht: Replay

Replay Wednesday's “Big Ten Roundup” chat with World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht to track the discussion of the latest conference headlines.

Live Blog The Roundup with Lee Barfknecht: Noon

Husker notes: Vincent Valentine looks for sack total to grow against Hurricanes

LINCOLN — It was a relentless effort that led to Nebraska’s four sacks in Saturday’s 55-19 win over Fresno State, defensive tackle Vincent Valentine said.

Now, he said, the ...

Miami notes: 1984 Orange Bowl a fond memory for assistant coach Ark Kehoe

LINCOLN — The Miami assistant coach who’s been on the Hurricanes’ staff for all five of the program’s national championships says the 1984 Orange Bowl win over Nebraska remains ...