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.

READ MORE »

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.

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 »

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 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 »

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

Recruiting report: South Dakota State walk-on commit Joe Johnson now has Nebraska as an option

Joe Johnson remains committed to South Dakota State but others have come calling, including a scholarship offer from Division II Wayne State. Nebraska offered him Saturday a preferred walk-on spot as a linebacker in the 2018 recruiting class.

Carriker Chronicles: Midseason grades for the Husker offense

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Carriker grades Nebraska's passing and rushing offense halfway through the season.

Recently inducted into the Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame, Rich Glover worked way to where he was needed with Huskers

Syracuse didn’t think he was big enough. Neither did Penn State. But when 6-foot-1, 235-pound Rich Glover met with Nebraska defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, he heard something different.

Stats aren’t adding up to a stellar Husker defense, but Bob Diaco says NU is 'just getting started'

After seven weeks, the Blackshirts rank 94th in scoring, 69th in run defense, 74th in pass defense and 76th in overall defense. Should those rankings hold, all but one would be the worst since Riley took the job in 2015.…

Husker notes: Defense’s goal is nailing down assignments; Offense lacks consistency and more

Nebraska’s defense gave up 633 yards, 41 first downs and 56 points to Ohio State last weekend, and coach Mike Riley said Wednesday he’d like to change a few things about the Huskers’ execution.

Pick Six Podcast: Midseason review, Nebraska's new A.D., Mike Riley's future

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Oct. 18 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."

Carriker Chronicles: John Parrella on his mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and more

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella about his "All Gas, No Brakes" mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and…

NU coach Mike Riley says bye week comes at 'fortunate time' with myriad of Huskers recovering after tough few weeks

A lot of Nebraska players are pretty banged up this week, coach Mike Riley said on the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Husker Scott Frost running scout team to prepare UCF for Navy's option offense

Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost knows a thing or two about the option offense, and he's using that knowledge to ready UCF to face it.

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos' contract includes $500,000 for potential bonuses, half based on football performance

New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ contract indicates that football is on the minds of those who gave it to him.

Carriker Chronicles: A full analysis of new A.D. Bill Moos

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Tuesday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos to be the next athletic director.

Regents, not intimately involved in search, give resounding support of Bill Moos hire

Members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents expressed support and even delight Monday over the hiring of Bill Moos as Nebraska’s athletic director.

Barfknecht: New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ age is no reason to question his capabilities

Contrary to current popular opinion, Social Security eligibility isn’t required to land a high-profile position in Nebraska’s athletic department. It may seem that way with Mike Riley, 64, as head football coach and now Bill Moos, 66, as athletic director.

Shatel: Bill Moos not only can raise money, but stands ground with big-money donors

I’m hearing that some of the big-money folks are making their unhappiness known over Mike Riley’s football program.

Mad Chatter: Happy anniversary, Husker fans! May your next 10 years be better than the last 10; Joe Maddon's blunder and the injured NFL

Bill Moos may be a friendly face, but your skepticism is warranted.

Carriker Chronicles: Recapping Nebraska's loss to Ohio State

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Monday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at the statistics behind Nebraska's 56-14 loss to Ohio State.

'Rural boy' Bill Moos, who oversaw turnaround at Washington State, named new Nebraska A.D.

Moos, who has been director of athletics at Washington State since 2010, will begin his tenure in Lincoln on Oct. 23.

Bill Moos calls himself 'a fierce competitor' when introduced as Huskers' new athletic director

Bill Moos said Sunday that his motto has always been the same in 25 years of athletic administration and won't change as he takes over at Nebraska: "Honor the past, live the present, create the future."

Hiring is all about fit to Athletic Director Bill Moos, who brought Mike Leach to Washington State

For Bill Moos, his first course of action at Nebraska will likely focus heavily on figuring out who fits at Nebraska, and who doesn’t.

Chatelain: Bill Moos' connections to Mike Riley add twist to situation

Picture this scene: Oregon State’s head coach (Mike Riley) sitting down with Oregon’s athletic director (Bill Moos) and telling Beaver football stories.

Shatel: Bill Moos seems solid, but he'll be judged by football success

Somebody asked Bill Moos about boots, so he rattled off a couple of his favorite brands. And sports writers nodded in agreement.

Barfknecht: New A.D.’s straight talk cuts through surprise, doubts

If there had been a national betting pool on Nebraska’s hire for athletic director, today would entail offering refunds.

McKewon: Blackshirts are beat up, but passive scheme, confusion hard to understand

Nebraska’s defensive coordinator presided over a Blackshirts surrender that produced more sorrow on my Facebook page and in my Twitter/email message inbox than I can recall since the 2012 Big Ten championship game.

Barfknecht's Big Ten rankings, Oct. 16

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Oct. 16.

From Mike Bellotti on down, those who served with and for Bill Moos praise his leadership

Bill Moos was always open with Mike Bellotti. So open that they had conversations about what would happen if Moos — then the Oregon athletic director — ever had to fire his football coach.

Huskers head into bye week looking for answers

There was a lot of talk about recovery on Saturday after one of Nebraska’s worst conference home losses ever.

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos career timeline

Bill Moos came full circle in 2010 when he was hired as athletic director at Washington State, returning to Pullman after being an all-conference football player for the Cougars in the early 1970s and starting his career in athletics administration…

Dave Rimington accomplishes goals during short time as interim A.D., likes Nebraska's future under Bill Moos

The former Nebraska center stated three goals when he was introduced as the interim athletic director on Sept. 26. All three got done under his watch, Rimington said Sunday.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska hiring Bill Moos as A.D.

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker gives his gut reaction to Nebraska's new athletic director, Bill Moos.

Poll: How do you grade Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos as A.D.?

What do you think of the hire? Vote in the poll below and leave comments sharing your thoughts.