Nebraska rush offense vs. Michigan State rush defense
Not much momentum on the side of the Huskers, who have managed just 82 and 77 rushing yards in their last two games. Getting back the quarterback run threat with Tommy Armstrong might help, but the problems seem to be running a little deeper. The Spartans won’t cut cooperate much, either, currently holding opponents to 115.5 yards per game and 3.5 per carry. NU will need to win some battles up front, but that’s where Michigan State is strongest.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Michigan State pass defense
There are some things in the Huskers’ favor, with the ability to maybe test two freshman safeties more than some recent MSU foes have done and take advantage of cornerback Darian Hicks likely being out. But Nebraska also is back to being without De’Mornay Pierson-El, and it better find a way to keep Shilique Calhoun and company out of the backfield to give Armstrong time to do something.
Michigan State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
The Huskers have started to yield some ground here after mostly stuffing the run for seven weeks, and Purdue hit them for a surprising 183 rushing yards last Saturday. Michigan State, though, is one of only two Big Ten teams averaging below 4.0 yards per carry, and don’t have a Le’Veon Bell or Jeremy Langford like NU has had to worry about before.
Michigan State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The No. 124-ranked pass defense in the nation won’t get any kind of break against Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. The senior has passed for 17 touchdowns with just two interceptions, and his knack for making the throws that matter has helped MSU convert 50 percent of its third downs. Nebraska has held him somewhat in check the last two meetings, with Cook completing just 43.3 percent of his passes (26 of 60) for 427 yards and two TDs.
Nebraska kicker Drew Brown has made five straight field goals from 40-plus yards, leads the Big Ten in scoring and ranks second with 26 touchbacks on kickoffs. The Huskers rank second in net punting, too, behind the work of Sam Foltz. Neither team is great in the return game, and NU especially has struggled with running back kickoffs, although it got a 42-yarder last week from Stanley Morgan.
This would appear stacked for Michigan State, with the Spartans coming off a bye week, motivated by their pursuit of a College Football Playoff spot and riding a 12-game road win streak in Big Ten play. The Spartans also have a plus-10 turnover margin and limit their penalties, which happen to be two areas where the Huskers rank closer to the bottom nationally than the top. NU also is staring at a season that has gotten away from it.
Key matchup: Nebraska offensive line vs. Michigan State front four
Nebraska hasn’t consistently been moving anybody around, and now comes Michigan State with Shilique Calhoun (6-5, 250), Joel Heath (6-6, 293), Malik McDowell (6-6, 275) and Lawrence Thomas (6-4, 305). Look for the Huskers to run some misdirection, but NU offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said they will have to go right at the Spartans some, too.
Nebraska might have a chance to get some things done against the MSU defense, but also needs to keep Cook off the field and stop him on third down. It just can’t afford to do anything like it has done the last two years against Sparty, turning it over five times in 2013 and falling behind 27-3 in 2014. Bottom line, though, is that Michigan State is several things that NU is not right now: Clean, confident and consistent.
Our prediction: Michigan State 38, Nebraska 28
Big Red Today coverage
What a night to be alive in Lincoln. On a mild December Saturday night, the Haymarket was electric, buzzing with pride and excitement and anticipation.
Few knew for certain the newly-hired coach would make an appearance Saturday night for the men's basketball game against No. 13 Kansas until the hanging video boards "froze over" during pregame introductions and began showing photos and clips of Frost's…
Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator stressed takeaways and sacks in turning around UCF.
North Platte senior Bryson Krull is a big, physical wide receiver with sure hands, and the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder is the latest in-state player to commit to walking on at Nebraska.
Scott Frost is a candidate for another postseason honor.
Bellevue West lineman AJ Forbes has scholarship offers from virtually every Division II school in the area. On Thursday night Forbes committed to walk-on at Nebraska.
Lincoln Southeast defensive lineman Bryson Williams has decided to shut down his recruitment and will not be taking an official visit to Nebraska this weekend.
Chris Weber is Nebraska football's 108th Academic All-American — most of any program in collegiate athletics — and the 70th first-team selection. Nebraska also has a nation-leading 330 Academic All-Americans across all sports.
Marcus Riley has been committed to Louisville since July 2016. Until recently, he was strong in that conviction. Things got interesting when Riley was among the dozen or so offers sent out by Nebraska the day after Scott Frost's hiring…
Martinez said that Thursday during an interview on "The Bottom Line," less than 24 hours after he announced his commitment to Nebraska. He added that fans can believe in Scott Frost, and the Huskers will "work our tails off" for…
It only took Scott Frost two seasons as a head coach to win one of the biggest honors in college football.
Nebraska has added two more preferred walk-on commits. Lincoln Pius X senior Chris Cassidy informed The World-Herald of his commitment Thursday morning, and Omaha Skutt's Jake Archer announced his decision on Twitter.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Carriker is joined by one of his daughters to give his quick take to the Huskers' landing a QB commit, talk about how players react…
Imagine a time when you couldn't follow a Husker football game or know its outcome until the next day's newspaper landed on your doorstep. For diehard fans in the 21st century, that would be torture. In the first quarter of…
Pending Republican tax proposals could put the squeeze on big-time college sport programs.
In less than two weeks on the job, Nebraska’s staff has sent out more than 70 known offers to prospects from the Class of 2018 and beyond. Players big and small. From the West Coast and East Coast. In junior…
Nebraska’s walk-on event Wednesday landed commitments from Lincoln Southwest’s Collin Shefke and O’Neill’s Wyatt Liewer. Liewer received a preferred walk-on offer Oct. 8. Shefke received his offer Wednesday.
Nebraska fans travel well. There was the invasion of Notre Dame in 2000. Taking over Northwestern in 2014. Tack on another badge: the constant presence at Central Florida games in 2017.
Nebraska sent out invitations and used the hashtag #HomeGrown to bring prospects to its walk-on event on Wednesday night.
Size. Nebraska’s new coaching staff clearly wants it from the receivers and tight ends who may join the Huskers’ 2018 recruiting class.
Nebraska has landed Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez, who committed to the Huskers on Wednesday. Quick takes on Martinez’s decision and what it means for the Huskers.
New Nebraska coach Scott Frost will have some story to tell after signing day. Frost has committed to lead Central Florida in its quest to finish an undefeated season and win the Peach Bowl over Auburn. That's one thing. He's…
Barret Pickering has been busy. And that won't be changing anytime soon for Nebraska's reaffirmed incoming kicker.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker is joined by NU volleyball coach John Cook to preview the Huskers' match against Penn State in the NCAA tournament final four.
Adrian Martinez — a consensus four-star prospect who’s a top-100 recruit according to ESPN — is now a Husker, announcing his decision Wednesday to pick Nebraska over Tennessee. He’ll enroll early at NU and try to win the starting job…
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Dec. 12 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."
Nebraska football recruiting and strength and conditioning were topics Tuesday on "The Bottom Line," when World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon and former Husker Adam Carriker were among the guests.
Sometimes, football players need a year to grow into their frames after high school. That’s the story of one Nebraska official visitor this weekend, City College of San Francisco pass rusher Jordan Allen.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Tuesday's episode, Carriker talks about a busy Sunday in Nebraska recruiting news and what's next on the agenda.
Iowa Western offensive lineman Noah Banks did not visit Nebraska on Tuesday as originally planned and is making other options higher priorities as the junior-college national signing day approaches.