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

McKewon: In wild Big Ten West, stability wins — and that means Wisconsin

When Nebraska joined the Big Ten, it did so with a jaunty step. Confidence. Remember? A few body blows later, and NU looks up at Wisconsin, the unanimous favorite in the West Division this season. The Badgers are my pick,…

Husker notes: New tackling focus lies with ball disruption; Cole Conrad settling in at center

NU isn’t using those drills anymore, said cornerback Lamar Jackson. The Huskers still practice tackling, Jackson said, and intend on becoming the “best tackling team in America.” “It’s all proper footwork, proper shoulder-foot contact, but not really rugby style,” Jackson…

Shatel: Bob Diaco may have instant impact on Blackshirts, but this Husker DC will have more time to work

Now that the sun and moon have parted ways, back to the totality of Nebraska football.

Progress of several Husker true freshmen leave some in position to play this year

Ready or not, a handful of Nebraska’s true freshmen will play this season.

Family played key role in Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan's success from early age

Max Duggan arrived, and as a teenager his athletic prowess is undeniable. The 16-year-old has been highly successful in four sports while also becoming one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2019.

Barfknecht: ‘Grandpa’ Urban Meyer’s competitive fire burns bright as ever at Ohio State

“Coach Meyer holds that child like he’s holding a national championship trophy. It’s the cutest thing in the world. I mess with him. I said, ‘The last time you smiled that big was when we won it all.’ So he…

McKewon: Husker defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has a plan, and the Blackshirts have a new vibe

Camp Feel Good. That’s the Huskers’ training camp in 2017. The players walk with a collective pep, which is odd for the August grind. Whether it lasts into the season remains to be seen, but Bob Diaco has jolted the…

All the recruits: How the Huskers' 2018 commits fared in high school games this week (Aug. 18)

A player-by-player look at how all 10 of Nebraska's 2018 recruits performed, individually and as a team, during games played during Nebraska's bye week.

Competition suits Nebraska tight ends to a tee with each Husker battling to start

Time spent on tee boxes and greens this summer is starting to help the Husker tight ends. The summer camaraderie is spilling onto the football field as Jack Stoll, Connor Ketter, Tyler Hoppes and the rest compete for the starting…

Shatel: Former Husker Adam Carriker has lots to offer in new career path

Adam Carriker will appear on Omaha.com and “The Bottom Line,” offering opinions on Nebraska football, breaking down games, answering fans’ questions and posting video reaction after games. If you haven’t ever heard him, you’re going to love him.

Recruiting: Wait winding down for Nebraska commit Cameron Jurgens

It's been more than two years since Cameron Jurgens committed to Nebraska, and the time is fast approaching when he'll officially become a Husker.

Husker redshirt freshman receiver JD Spielman ready for test after months of study

Fake it till you make it. The motto flashed through JD Spielman’s mind often during his first 12 months as a college football player. So far, there has been more pretending than the speedy wide receiver cares to admit.

WR Manuel Allen dumps Nebraska, another chapter in Huskers' receiver recruiting drama

Nebraska's 2018 recruiting class got smaller Thursday evening when Corona (Calif.) Centennial wide receiver Manuel Allen announced on Twitter he was decommiting from NU and flipping to Louisville.

Husker notes: Freshman receiver Tyjon Lindsey proves to be fast learner; New looks for offensive line

A big play at Nebraska’s Thursday practice pitted two top-100 recruits against each other.

Huskers' Dicaprio Bootle pushing for big role; small corner likes ‘beating up receivers’

He’s not a tall cornerback. He’s not built like a safety. Dicaprio Bootle is one of the smaller scholarship players on Nebraska’s 2017 roster, which lists him at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. The height seems a little generous.

Recruiting: Nebraska pursuing several 500-mile radius defensive targets for its 2018 class

The Huskers have recently offered a pair of defensive recruits from bordering states, continuing a push to close out the class on that side of the ball with targets from within the 500-mile radius.

Husker notes: Bray says linebackers are making strides; Freedom’s role in new defense and more

If and when Nebraska needs depth at linebacker, Trent Bray is more confident than ever in maintaining quality. The NU linebackers coach said Tuesday that the “4” part of Bob Diaco’s 3-4 defense has made noticeable strides in the last…

Recruiting: Nebraska extends scholarship offer to Iowa's No. 1-rated recruit

Nebraska made an entry Monday night into the recruitment of consensus four-star John Waggoner. He's the top-ranked recruit in Iowa, according to all the major recruiting services.

Barfknecht: After standout season, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is only getting better

Note to Big Ten defensive coordinators: Don’t read this column at meal time. Maybe don’t peruse it at all, so you can dodge the queasy feeling that comes with figuring out ways to slow down Penn State running back Saquon…

NU punter Caleb Lightbourn years ahead of last season, responding to approach of new Husker coaches

Lightbourn’s reality changed in the spring, when new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said he would coach punters directly. For Diaco, every detail makes a difference.

Shatel: A head-to-toe NU volleyball indoctrination; If he plays, no mop-up time for freshman QB Gebbia

It’s no secret Nebraska volleyball stands out from the other Husker sports. There are reasons for that. I might have found another one.

Speedy junior Mikale Wilbon having ‘very good camp’ in four-way battle for Husker running back job

Already having established himself as Nebraska’s fastest running back, Mikale Wilbon has been working to earn another title before the Sept. 2 opener against Arkansas State.

McKewon: With Adidas deal and coming Big Ten windfall, A.D. Shawn Eichorst has vision for Huskers’ future

Nebraska just got three times as much money and Adidas apparel per year at a time when the Big Ten’s full share is about to kick in. How did Shawn Eichorst pull that off?

Husker sophomore Mohamed Barry works to master inside linebacker role so instincts take over

With a chance to make significant contributions in Nebraska’s new 3-4 defense, Mohamed Barry has been fine-tuning two areas of his game.

Intensity of Huskers’ youthful but experienced defensive staff rubs off on players

Mike Riley has never worked with a group of defensive assistants this young. All played college football in the not-so-distant past. All are well-regarded recruiters eager to meet prospects. In the months that the staff has been together, team workouts…

Husker notes: Young Huskers exuding confidence as Nebraska takes step forward with Saturday's scrimmage

Coach Mike Riley said NU worked on third-down, red zone and “high red zone” plays — those start around the opponents’ 40-yard line — and mixed in a few drives. Unlike Thursday, when the offense struggled at times to deal…

Mike Riley 'real impressed' with Tristan Gebbia as true freshman makes case to be Huskers' backup QB

While playing as a true freshman wouldn’t be “the best thing for him,” quarterback Tristan Gebbia has impressed coaches so much during the first half of training camp that they’d consider pulling his redshirt if needed.

Nebraska chancellor expects Huskers will never host Friday night football game

At the University of Nebraska Board of Regents meeting Friday, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green told regents he'd been talking with the Big Ten, which created the Friday night TV package with Fox Sports 1, and does not think NU will…

TBL: Husker commit Cameron Brown done with recruiting, says Nebraska feels like home

Cameron Brown made one commitment to Nebraska that only lasted a month, so now that he has rejoined the Huskers' 2018 recruiting class, is he going to stick this time?

NU regents approve 11-year, $128 million deal to keep Huskers with Adidas

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will stay in an exclusive contract with Adidas and will get more than $128 million in cash and goods over 11 years.