Nebraska rush offense vs. South Dakota St. rush defense
The Huskers' offensive line will have the size and strength advantage, while quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. — should he start — is more deft at some elements of the option game than Taylor Martinez and Ron Kellogg. SDSU, with four senior defensive linemen, will load up to stop the run. The Huskers have to be confident enough to take the challenge. Advantage: NU
Nebraska pass offense vs. South Dakota St. pass defense
The Jackrabbits are a little younger and more vulnerable in the secondary, but Council Bluffs natives Jake Gentile and Andrew Brown make a good safety tandem. The Huskers have better athletes at wide receiver, but, if Martinez doesn't play, it's a lot to expect of Armstrong and Kellogg to light up the skies. Look for the Huskers to throw off playaction. Advantage: SDSU
South Dakota St. rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Running back Zach Zenner — 540 yards and eight TDs in three games — might be the best of the FCS. He runs hard, smart and with forward lean. Jackrabbit left tackle Bryan Witzmann is an NFL prospect. The Huskers will be playing their base defense for the first time this year with guys who still lack chemistry and experience. Advantage: SDSU
South Dakota St. pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Jackrabbit quarterback Austin Sumner is tall, strong-armed and experienced. He's one of the best in FCS. But he's struggled in the biggest games — four interceptions last year at Kansas — while the Huskers' secondary has the man-to-man skills to blanket South Dakota State receivers. Sumner's not very mobile. That's usually good news for Big Red. Advantage: NU
The Jackrabbits average just 15.7 yards per kick return and 37 yards per punt. While Nebraska has many questions still to answer at punt return and placekicking — NU has attempted one field goal all year — the team with better athletes (and more of them) usually wins the special teams category. That's Nebraska. Advantage: NU
Bo Pelini has had the most tumultuous week of his tenure, trying to explain a collapse against UCLA on Monday morning and wondering about his job status by Monday night because of the Deadspin audio bombshell. Husker fans will cheer him and the team heartily Saturday. But Nebraska is likely starting a different quarterback, while the Jackrabbits are loose and motivated. Advantage: SDSU
Key matchup: Nebraska's offensive line vs. SDSU defensive line
Husker offensive coordinator Tim Beck has chosen to run a power spread offense. That means the offensive line has to block like it. If that group lacks the attitude and toughness to pound an experienced-but-undersized Jackrabbit defensive line, it could be a long night. And the momentum of NU's season may bank on this game.
The lines between the top of FCS and the bottom of FBS exist in division only. SDSU would give Wyoming a run and beat Southern Mississippi. Nebraska knows it, but now has to battle its own insecurity. Run the ball to daylight — and a safe harbor from criticism. And potentially do it with a new quarterback. The Huskers sweat, but survive.
Our prediction: Nebraska 28, South Dakota State 16
Big Red Today coverage
Nebraska built its football dynasty with a rugged and relentless rushing attack, and Milt Tenopir helped construct the offensive lines that made it go. Tenopir died Monday at his Lincoln home, according to a close friend, after battling both acute…
A national conversation on race and police violence started by an NFL quarterback last month continued Monday with three members of the Nebraska football team and a high-profile critic, Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey made an impassioned speech Monday regarding his decision to kneel during the national anthem before Saturday's game.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley addressed the media Monday to recap the win over Northwestern and look ahead to the Illinois game.
After playing in all 13 games as a freshman in 2014, junior wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El dealt with foot and knee injuries in 2015, limiting him to five games. He totaled eight touchdowns in his first 18 games at Nebraska,…
The red “N” on his T-shirt as prominent as his passion, senior Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey on Monday explained for seven minutes — uninterrupted, and in prose that quoted the bible, Martin Luther King and James Baldwin — why he…
You hesitate to write Nebraska has entirely turned a corner from 2015. You still see the leaks, and there are teams on the Huskers’ schedule that can turn those leaks into a flood. But you have also seen great resiliency.
With improvements have come higher expectations. With success has come defensive coordinator Mark Banker seeing an opportunity to tighten the weekly screws more than he thought advisable a year ago. And Banker said he hasn’t seen this unit flinch one…
World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Sept. 26.
Louisville was No. 3 in the AP rankings and fourth in the coaches poll, while Michigan was at No. 4 in the AP poll and ranked fifth by the coaches.
Those of us who wander the Big Ten byways writing about football are figuring out that Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst is a pretty darn good coach. After 17 games, his record is 14-3, including a bowl victory. He has two wins…
It got to the point in the second half of Nebraska’s 24-13 win at Northwestern on Saturday where Alonzo Moore’s teammates were telling him to shut himself down. His right shoulder was hurting. His teammates could see that. Moore briefly…
One of the more patriotic pregame ceremonies Saturday got an assist from a few Nebraska players.
It didn’t take long for Northwestern coaches and players to identify what went wrong in Saturday’s 24-13 Big Ten loss to Nebraska.
World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon recaps the key plays in each quarter of Nebraska's victory over Northwestern.
World-Herald staff writer Jon Nyatawa takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 24-13 win over Northwestern on Saturday.
This Nebraska season has a different feel, night and day from 2015. And a good place to start is at Tommy Armstrong's feet.
Stay tuned after the final whistle for a live stream of the Husker postgame press conference.
Nebraska fumbled twice into the end zone in the first half, but still managed to take a 10-7 lead into the break against Northwestern despite the turnovers.
Four weeks into the season, we have facts, not narratives. And the facts state emphatically that the Badgers are again Big Ten title contenders. And maybe more. On Saturday, No. 11 UW went to Spartan Stadium as a six-point underdog…
Quincy Enunwa will leave the labels to everyone else. He’s listed as the New York Jets’ No. 3 wide receiver, but is considered by many as more of a tight end. Or, even an H-back. The answer is simple, as…
Coach Mike Riley was clearly frustrated with one of the two goal-line fumbles that resulted in Northwestern touchbacks.
The Nebraska defense could have twice been coming out to protect newly gained first-half leads Saturday night, but instead was tasked with doing some cleanup at Ryan Field.
Nebraska’s running backs coach had a message at halftime Saturday for a hard-working and eager sophomore, who’s always seemed to be a handful of consecutive touches away from a breakout-type performance.
Five things we learned and five things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's 24-13 win over Northwestern.
In front of 40,284 fans — more than half in red — the tide turned in the third quarter, when Nebraska turned a 10-7 halftime lead into a 24-13 cushion with back-to-back touchdown drives of 80 and 79 yards.
This was Nebraska’s best offensive performance of the season — one of the best of the Riley era. The reason? For the second straight week, the Huskers unleashed the quarterback run game and Tommy Armstrong ran wild.
For all the hype and attention showered on Ohio State and Urban Meyer and Michigan and Jim Harbaugh, pause to remember that no Big Ten championship game in its five years of existence has been played without one of two…
Cast your football brain ahead to Dec. 3, and imagine, for a minute, that Nebraska’s football team won its division and made its second trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship, successfully navigating the first year of the league’s…
I have the quote of the year from Michael Rose-Ivey. But first, pass the mustard. That’s not an audible call. That’s the game plan when you come to Ryan Field and this collegial patch of Ivy League next to Lake…