Game Day: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

The upper hand

Minnesota plays well in the trenches, but the Gophers have holes the Huskers can exploit. Will the NU offense — led by whichever quarterback is at the helm — be able to find those openings against a relentless Gophers team? The potential return of Taylor Martinez, who has missed Nebraska's past three games, could give the Huskers a boost.

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2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Minnesota rush defense

The Huskers have the Big Ten's second best rushing team, averaging 284 yards per game, while Minnesota gives up 123 rushing yards per game. Anchored by the league's best defensive tackle, Ra'Shede Hageman, the Gophers can gum up rush lanes. But they lack great speed at linebacker and safety to run down Ameer Abdullah or Taylor Martinez, should he play. NU is missing its top lineman, Spencer Long. Edge: Minnesota

Nebraska pass offense vs. Minnesota pass defense

Martinez feasted on the Gophers' defense last year, throwing for 308 yards. Since Minnesota will likely attempt to take away the run game, the Huskers' receivers — better than Minnesota's defensive backs — should be in for a big day. Edge: Nebraska

Minnesota rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Gophers have had success running the ball this year against bad teams in nonconference play, but in three Big Ten games, they've averaged just 114 yards per game and 2.92 yards per carry. Two running backs — Rodrick Williams and Donnell Kirkwood — have been hobbled with injuries. Edge: Nebraska

Minnesota pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Ranked 121st nationally in passing yards, Minnesota's passing game is wholly complimentary to the run game. Gophers quarterbacks Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner have played extensively; neither is dynamic. The Huskers' corners are the strength of the defense; the safeties will have to watch play-action. Edge: Nebraska

Special teams

With a kick and punt return touchdown to his credit this year, Minnesota defensive back Marcus Jones is a guy to fear. The Gophers' punting and place-kicking game is solid. Nebraska kicker Pat Smith remains relatively untested in field goals, though NU kickoff specialist Mauro Bondi and punter Sam Foltz have been solid. Edge: Minnesota

Intangibles

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has taken a leave of absence to manage and treat his epilepsy, but he's still around practice, and it's unclear whether he or interim head coach Tracy Claeys will make key decisions Saturday. Nebraska's coming off a bye. Traditionally, Bo Pelini's team do well in that scenario. Edge: Nebraska

Key matchup: Nebraska's defensive line vs. Minnesota's offensive line

The Gophers don't have great offensive skill players, but they do boast one of the bigger, better lines in the league. Nebraska's defensive line is young and at times inconsistent. But it's also talented, and armed with an extra bye week of coaching. The Huskers have shut down Minnesota's run game for the last two years.

Nebraska wins if ...

it shuts down Minnesota's run game. If the Gophers can't run, they won't score much.

Minnesota wins if ...

it runs the ball well, hits a few big passes, and keeps NU's speedy skill players in check.

Our take

Nebraska has whipped Minnesota by 27 and 24 points in the last two years, and although the Gophers are fielding their best team under Kill, they haven't closed the gap enough. Regardless of which quarterback plays the most snaps — Taylor Martinez, Ron Kellogg or Tommy Armstrong — the Huskers should have enough offense to win another road game.

Our prediction: Nebraska 27, Minnesota 13

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-Minnesota 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," Sam McKewon joins host Jon Nyatawa to examine Nebraska’s defense — can the Huskers build on last week’s improvement? Jon and Sam then venture off on a few tangents: Northwestern’s ticket-selling strategy, the aesthetic appeal of Purdue’s athletic campus, the formation of the college football selection committee and more. Click here »

Recruiting updates

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Big Ten coverage

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Big Red Today coverage

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

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His own award.

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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

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Coach Bo Pelini pulled him aside. Offensive ...

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

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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.

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FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

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

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Outside, many of ...

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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'

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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'

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‘Leaky yards’ lead to long drives for Gophers

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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 ...

Gophers go from afterthought to thinking of a title

LINCOLN — Donnell Kirkwood said the magnitude of what Minnesota had just done and what was ahead took little or no time to sink in Saturday.

The Golden Gophers didn’t ...

NU escapes NC State behind Green’s major

Competing in two locations in North Carolina on Saturday, the Nebraska wrestling team came away with a sweep of a pair of duals.

The win over Duke was a blowout ...

Chatelain: Football gods now smiling elsewhere

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Shatel: Writing's on the wall for Husker coach Bo Pelini

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But there’s really nothing left to say.

This was the part where you ...

Shatel: You — yes, you, Husker fans — must bounce back, too

Hey, good morning. Yes, you with the Nebraska football tickets.

You getting up at 7 a.m. to load up the car? Got the heavy coat, the gloves, the hat ...

Barfknecht: Two weeks remain, and the West is still wild

After all the things written about the Big Ten’s ability to screw up scheduling, regardless of sport, you’ve got to like that it lucked out on these final ...