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.

Nebraska wins if ...

The defense stops SDSU on third-and-medium and the running game does what it should.

South Dakota St. wins if ...

It chews up clock with the running game and makes the Husker offense panic.

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

Scouting Miami for a Minute

The long opening weekend of college football – plus that trusty DVR – affords a beat writer a few luxuries. The luxury of time. Time to watch full games of several future ...

Sam McKewon's Top 25, Week One

The World-Herald doesn't have an Associated Press Top 25 vote this year, but I'll still be filing a weekly Top 25 poll until the release of the College ...

Husker press conference notes: Randy Gregory doubtful for McNeese State

LINCOLN – It's darn near the worst kind of trend. 

In 2012 and 2013, Nebraska's most important offensive players – Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez – suffered first-game injuries that dogged ...

Video: Bo Pelini, Ameer Abdullah, Tommy Armstrong at Huskers' Monday press conference

NU coach Bo Pelini and several players addressed the media Monday as the team prepares for McNeese State.

Coach Bo Pelini

Running back Ameer Abdullah

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong

Video: Volleyball coach John Cook at Husker press conference

NU volleyball coach John Cook addresses the media on Sept. 1, 2014.

Lunch with Tom: Replay

Hungry for some sports chat? Join World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel at 12:30 p.m. for “Lunch with Tom” to discuss Nebraska’s win over Florida Atlantic, the upcoming ...

Ameer Abdullah wins Big Ten Player of the Week honors

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors Monday after rushing for a career-high 232 yards in the Huskers 55-7 romp over Florida Atlantic ...

Just like Huskers, our celebrity prognosticators start off on high note

Last week, we gathered five expert opinions on how the Huskers would do in week 1 against Florida Atlantic. 

No surprise, they are all now 1-0 on the season after ...

Q&A: Husker guard Mike Moudy

The senior offensive guard returned to the Huskers’ starting lineup after missing the last four games of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. Moudy and his line mates cleared ...

John Cook tells Huskers not to panic after 0-2 start

LINCOLN — The sun came up Monday following the Nebraska volleyball team’s rocky opening weekend, and since he didn’t sleep much Sunday night following Sunday’s 3-0 loss to ...

Shatel: Scheduling
 league games 
sooner is for 
the better

No offense to McNeese State, but I’d rather see Wisconsin in Lincoln this week. Starting the league season after four weeks is so 1978. I used to live there ...

Husker notes: Punt returns nothing new for De’Mornay Pierson-El

De’Mornay Pierson-El said Monday he has been returning kicks since youth football and was handling those duties as a high school freshman on his varsity team.

So the freshman ...

Competition brings out best in Husker kicker Drew Brown

LINCOLN — Drew Brown got all he could handle through August from Mauro Bondi — and relished every minute of it.

What better way for Brown to go into the season feeling ...

Nyatawa: Nothing magical about Huskers forcing turnovers

LINCOLN — So, about that séance.

Coach Bo Pelini had local reporters chuckling last week with his amended talk-is-cheap response to a question about Nebraska’s offseason attempts to become a ...

Huskers expecting the best from FCS foe McNeese State

LINCOLN — The idea of it no longer draws a gasp from college football fans. FCS teams beat FBS with enough regularity that North Dakota State’s 34-14 whipping of Iowa ...

Old injury resurfaces to sideline Nebraska's Randy Gregory

LINCOLN — The return of an old basketball injury has created a new problem for Nebraska’s already-thin defensive line.

Junior end Randy Gregory, All-Big Ten last year and a preseason ...

Huskers rally for road win

MILWAUKEE — The Nebraska soccer team rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second half Sunday to beat Marquette 3-2.

Sophomore Jaycie Johnson scored two of the Huskers’ three goals in ...

Top 100 point guard commits to Huskers’ 2015 recruiting class

LINCOLN — Nebraska tapped an old but good pipeline to gain a third member of its 2015 basketball recruiting class.

Point guard Glynn Watson from Westchester (Illinois) St. Joseph High tweeted ...

Newby says 100 was nice, but NU I-back knows his role

Terrell Newby was finishing some interviews Saturday when the Fox Sports1 crawler on the main TV in the Nebraska players lounge flashed the Huskers’ score.

Included among the stat report ...

Photos: Huskers in the NFL, Aug. 31

The National Football League regular season is almost here.

Preseason games wrapped up on Thursday. Curious to see your favorite former Huskers in action? Check out our updated Huskers in ...

From the archives: NU's top 5 most productive offensive games

In light of Nebraska's 784-yard outing on Saturday — the fifth-highest offensive output in school history — we thought we'd dig up some information on the four games from the ...

Stanford dominates Nebraska in historic loss

LINCOLN — Nebraska moved its volleyball team into the Devaney Center hoping it would become a house of horrors for opponents. But when Stanford’s fleet of All-Americans left Lincoln with ...

Notes: NU’s offensive efficiency pleases coordinator Beck

LINCOLN — Through Saturday, Nebraska’s offense had the second-most productive game in the country.

Arizona racked up 787 total yards in a 58-13 win against UNLV, 3 yards more than ...

Barfknecht's Big Ten Rankings, Sept. 1

World-Herald Big Ten writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the conference football teams after the first week of play.

* * *

1. Michigan State

Last week: beat Jacksonville State 45-7.

This week: at Oregon ...

Barfknecht: Wisconsin can't finish, can't start playoff talk

HOUSTON — Wisconsin’s calculated risk almost paid off.

By signing up to play No. 13 LSU to open the season, the No. 14 Badgers had a chance to barge into ...

Blackshirts shake off early stumble, find success

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s defensive coordinator knelt on the sideline and looked at members of a unit that had just given up a tying score on a frantic first drive of ...

McKewon: Just a week, but Husker O-line’s show merits rave review

LINCOLN — Coaches just have to love it when a hunch, even for one game, turns out to be right.

All that talk about the offensive line being as good as ...

Nebraska-Florida Atlantic: 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-Florida Atlantic football game. 

* * *

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

1. Ameer Abdullah has improved ...

Nebraska ties, Aug. 30

COACHES

Craig Bohl, Wyoming: The Cowboys beat Montana 17-14 in Bohl’s debut.

Frank Solich, Ohio: The Bobcats kicked a field goal as time expired to beat Kent State 17-14 ...

Webster, Diaz see countries’ teams fall

Two players with Nebraska ties saw action, but were on the losing end in their games at the Basketball World Cup on Saturday.

Husker sophomore Tai Webster started for New ...