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 »

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Big Ten coverage

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Big Red Today coverage

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The fourth guy on the Big Ten’s Mount Rushmore of 2014 ...

Kenny Bell: Getting wrapped up in scores and statistics 'will make you miserable'

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Minnesota preview: Blue-collar personality fits Gophers

By the numbers

7-3: Overall record (4-2 in the Big Ten)

5.48: Offensive yards per play (74th)

5.04: Defensive yards per play (28th)

+9: Turnover margin (T-11th)

47 ...

Husker notes: Callers get blunt on Pelini’s radio show; Salute for seniors

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Huskers identify issues that snowballed vs. Wisconsin

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That’s the ...

Nebraska drops to 23 in College Football Playoff rankings

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The Huskers, ranked 16th last week, tumbled to 23rd this week. NU was tied ...

Husker Talk Live: Replay

Replay Tuesday's “Husker Talk Live” chat with staff writer Jon Nyatawa to track a discussion of the latest Husker headline.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Noon

Notes: Badgers, Gophers in control of Big Ten West

Two teams in the Big Ten West Division still control their destiny to get to Indianapolis for the Dec. 6 league championship game.

Nebraska isn’t among them.

The Huskers ...

Notes: Papuchis, players make call for some to shed their Blackshirts

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Of the 15 players initially awarded the black practice jerseys ...

Barfknecht: Abdullah no lock to make loaded All-B1G backfield

Let’s take today’s midweek run through Big Ten football in three quick steps.

1. Nebraska I-back Ameer Abdullah entered October with legitimate hope to earn first-team All-America honors ...

McKewon: It’s not just about wins; it's about 'game control'

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For now ...

Huskers can’t let one game define them, Tim Beck says

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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 Nebraska’s loss to Wisconsin and more.

Live Blog ...

Video: Bo Pelini at weekly Husker football press conference

Replay video of Bo Pelini and select Huskers addressing the media as the team comes off the Wisconsin loss and prepares to face Minnesota. 

Coach Bo Pelini

Cornerback Josh Mitchell ...

Nebraska-Iowa game will be shown at 11 a.m.

Nebraska’s Nov. 28 football game at Iowa will kick off at 11 a.m.

The game will be nationally televised by ABC.

The Huskers are 8-2 and 4-2 in ...

Nebraska players are trying to shrug off bad defeat

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Big Red’s big-game blues nothing new in Pelini era, and program is frustrated

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Chatelain: In puzzling trend, Huskers in good shape before 'flips' — then flop

We remember the embarrassing endings. The low-hanging heads. The long stares. The fourth quarters that go on forever.

Blowout losses in the biggest games have stained Nebraska’s time in ...

Notes: Westerkamp considered Minnesota out of high school

Jordan Westerkamp knows a little about Nebraska’s next opponent, because Minnesota was one of the schools he visited coming out of Lombard, Illinois.

“I was always high on Minnesota ...

College football polls show Huskers little forgiveness

Nebraska dropped in both the AP and Coaches poll rankings in week 13 after losing 59-24 to Wisconsin on Saturday.

In the AP Top 25 poll the Huskers dropped to ...

Barfknecht's Big Ten Rankings, Nov. 17

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten Conference football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Nov. 17.

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1. Ohio State (9-1, 6-0)

Last week: beat Minnesota 31-24 ...

Notes: Abdullah gives 100 percent, though not 100 percent

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Husker captain Cotton says team must get back to work, get ready for Minnesota

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Barfknecht: Badgers leave Nebraska out in the cold

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McKewon: NU offense not built for B1G Novembers; Bo’s defense stops pass, but not Badgers

ON A PLOWED ROAD OUTSIDE DUBUQUE, Iowa — Snow strips the land down to its bare essentials. Cottonwoods become skeletons. Leftover wildflowers on the highway’s shoulder wither. Only pine trees ...

From the sidelines: Braving the cold; NFL scouts; Badger students (eventually) show up

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Nebraska-Wisconsin: 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' 59-24 loss to Wisconsin.

* * *

Tracking the offense

The game ...