Game Day: Nebraska vs. South Dakota St.

Under Pressure

Dealing with distraction and outside pressure is a part of the game at a program with the history of Nebraska's. How will the Huskers respond? Curious eyes in Memorial Stadium will be fixed on coach Bo Pelini and his team Saturday when South Dakota State, a Football Championship Subdivision school, visits Lincoln. Those in the stands will be expecting, and hoping, to see a squad show signs of transforming into a legitimate contender.

Read more »

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

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

Special teams

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

Intangibles

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.

Our take

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

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 »

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

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-SDSU game provided by the Huskers athletic department. 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.