Game Day: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

It's glow time

Nebraska hasn’t lost a prime-time home game since 2008. The streak includes some snoozers, but there have been some bright spots on the big stage. The Huskers could sorely use that mojo Saturday night after devastating back-to-back road defeats.


2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Minnesota rush defense

The Huskers are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry over the last four outings, and haven’t had more than 157 yards in a game since Oct. 1 vs. Illinois. The decline in production has coincided with injuries to the line, but NU head coach Mike Riley also spoke this week about finding a couple identity runs and riding them. It won’t be easy getting matters straightened out against a veteran Minnesota defense that allows just 3.34 yards per carry to rank No. 16 nationally.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Minnesota pass defense

The Huskers’ completion percentage has gone into the tank the last few weeks, and NU is now one of just six FBS teams hitting below 50 percent (49.2). Nebraska was waiting on the status of quarterback Tommy Armstrong all week — and preparing Ryker Fyfe just in case — but Armstrong has been struggling to find any rhythm and has just four TD passes in the last six games. Teams have thrown on Minnesota with some success, including Purdue last week for 391 yards and four scores, but Nebraska would help itself first by running the ball at least some.

Minnesota rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Success on the ground has helped fuel a four-game winning streak, which has been highlighted by sophomore tailback Rodney Smith hitting 100 yards each week and the Gophers picking up 15 rushing TDs (now 28 for the season). Nebraska is a much tougher test, however, although the Huskers have been dented the last two weeks by Wisconsin (223 yards) and Ohio State (238). Mitch Leidner has hurt NU with his legs before, so it will have to contain the Gophers’ quarterback run game, too.

Minnesota pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Gophers have just six touchdown passes all season, and four of those came against Indiana State in September. Only senior Drew Wolitarsky has more than 17 receptions and there is very little big-play threat. Last week definitely got away from Nebraska — Ohio State threw for 352 yards and four TDs — but it had been very good for most of the season. It should get cleaned back up.

Special teams

Minnesota has been fairly consistent with its kickoff and punt coverage, and Smith gives them a legitimate threat on kickoff returns. Gophers kicker Emmit Carpenter also has made more field goals than anybody in the Big Ten, connecting on 16 of 18 attempts. Nebraska still seems to be ironing things out from week-to-week, although Drew Brown has been steady as expected.


One team is riding a four-game winning streak and the other has lost two straight, but the level of opponent is a big reason why. Nebraska finally gets back home, and has been very good in night kickoffs at Memorial Stadium. Both teams are fighting for Big Ten West survival, so incentive won’t be lacking. NU will have to take care of the football, with Minnesota already forcing 21 turnovers through nine games. It also has a huge edge in head coaching experience with Mike Riley (195 games) vs. Tracy Claeys (15 games).

Key matchup: Nebraska offensive line vs. Minnesota defensive front

The Huskers haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in four weeks, but it hopes by getting some linemen healthy that it can start opening some holes again down the stretch. Among those back in the mix is left guard Jerald Foster, who might be able to supply a boost. Minnesota won’t make it easy, starting with its rugged front four, so Nebraska better match the physical part of the challenge.

Our take

Minnesota caught Nebraska right after its embarrassing loss at Wisconsin two years ago, and beat the Huskers 28-24 in Lincoln. The Gophers have the mental and physical makeup to do it again, so NU will have to be firmly regrouped or suffer the consequences. Nebraska, meanwhile, can lean on some of the success and experience that it has had in close games if this one gets tight. Minnesota made a nice four-game run, but lost at home to Iowa the last time it played an upper-level Big Ten opponent.

Our prediction: Nebraska 21, Minnesota 20

Live updates



Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Minnesota matchup provided by the Husker Athletic Department. Click here »

Husker History

Find information on every win, loss and tie in Husker history. With historical World-Herald front pages, photos, stories, key stats and more, our ever-growing Husker History Database is your new home for archiving one of the nation's most tradition-rich programs. 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. Plus, look back at historical moments in Nebraska football by following @HuskerHistory on Twitter.

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. and

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

What happened to Running Back U? Nebraska's new regime has task of restoring backfield tradition

One of Nebraska’s biggest strengths when it joined the Big Ten has now become one of its biggest question marks — despite the return of the top four rushers from last season. And the one back who flashed the most…

Huskers get first taste of early-morning practices that will be common under Scott Frost

Nebraska’s new football coach had to have a few cups of coffee Friday morning. His first spring practice began before sunrise.

Husker notes: Experienced Huskers embracing leadership; Fans welcome at Friday Night Lights

Upperclassmen are going all in with the new coaching staff, coach Scott Frost said Friday morning, and those players will continue to be key as Nebraska makes a transition to new schemes on offense and defense this spring.

Spring football: 5 Husker walk-ons that could make an impact this season

Scott Frost is all about walk-ons. He’s preached the importance of the walk-on program, he’s thrown around the idea of having 150 players at practice (meaning a large influx of walk-ons) and has said over and over he needs Nebraska…

Scott Frost will continue Friday Night Lights camp, revives women's clinic

Nebraska football announced its summer camp schedule Thursday, choosing to keep the Friday Night Lights event that was created and popularized by former coach Mike Riley.

Spring football: 5 Huskers ready to emerge as key contributors

Which Huskers are ready to evolve into valuable contributors and prove it during practices in the coming weeks? Here are five players to keep an eye on.

Huskers gained more than physical strength after offseason workouts 'pushed us to the edge'

A smile crept across Carlos Davis’ face. The rumors are true, he said. Winter workouts under new strength coach Zach Duval were as hard as everyone’s heard. Maybe even harder.

Running backs coach Ryan Held loves fullbacks, but says Huskers will transition away from the position

Plug your nose, Nebraska traditionalists. Because this one might hurt. The fullback position at Nebraska is pretty much gone.

Mo Seisay works out at NU's pro day; former Husker hoping to get second chance in NFL

A former Husker — and NFL player — worked out at Nebraska’s pro day — cornerback Mohammed Seisay.

Husker pro day notes: Chris Weber adjusting to life after football; Tyler Hoppes drills well

While many of his former teammates went through drills for NFL scouts at pro day on Wednesday, Nebraska's 2017 tackles leader sat in a balcony seat inside the Hawks Center and watched.

Tanner Lee takes matters into his own hands at Nebraska's pro day

On Wednesday at the Hawks Championship Center, Tanner Lee threw on the run, he threw deep, he threw check downs, and in the end, completed 43 of his 49 passes.

Former Husker David Knevel highly regarded by CFL, but has eyes on NFL

More Canadian Football League scouts than usual attended Nebraska’s pro day Wednesday, focused on Ontario native and former Husker offensive tackle David Knevel.

Miami Dolphins officially release former Husker Ndamukong Suh

Former NU standout Ndamukong Suh was officially released by the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.

Husker notes: No decisions yet on walk-on tryouts; Sean Beckton likes tight end competition and more

Nebraska gave members of the student body a shot at earning a spot on the football team Tuesday. On Wednesday, Scott Frost said he isn't yet sure whether any of those dreams would be realized.

Former Husker Rex Burkhead officially re-signs with the New England Patriots

Former Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead is re-signing with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

They said it: Scott Frost on the QB competition, spring practice priorities and more

Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media to discuss the opening of spring football practice. Check out a transcript below, as provided courtesy of the Nebraska athletic department.

Scott Frost focused on efficiency, repetition entering first spring at Nebraska

The press conference ahead of Scott Frost's first spring as Nebraska head coach featured many of the same qualities as the practices he will soon run. There were quick hits. There was efficiency. And most of all, there was enthusiasm.

Tre Bryant among injured Huskers for spring; Nebraska also without starting centers

Several Huskers will miss all or part of spring camp, Scott Frost announced Wednesday at his spring press conference. Among them were Nebraska's two starting centers from last season and Tre Bryant, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances before going…

Video: Scott Frost's spring football press conference

Scott Frost spent about 25 minutes Wednesday addressing the media in advance of spring football practice. Check out full video from that press conference.

Spring football: 5 Huskers who could become leaders

Coach Scott Frost seems to have a type in terms of leaders he wants or likes. He likes hard-workers, he likes guys from Nebraska and guys who get dirt under their fingernails. So we tallied up five guys who we’ve…

Shatel: Confidence from Scott Frost and his coaching staff should help Huskers spring forward

Dadgummit, there was something in the air here on Wednesday. It wasn’t insecurity. Not bravado. Not apprehension or uncertainty. It was a young coach and his staff, on the eve of a very big job, totally at ease.

Spring football: Eight 'prove-it' players for the Huskers

The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice on Friday. For some veterans looking for breakthroughs, here's a glance at eight who might benefit from getting a clean slate with a chance to…

Pick Six Podcast: Previewing the NCAA, NIT tournaments and Nebraska spring football

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Evan Bland and Chris Heady tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the March 13 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."

Spring football: 5 position battles to watch for the Huskers

The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice Friday. With a heightened importance of making a good first impression with a new staff, here's a look at five position battles to keep a…

McKewon: Corn-bred Huskers atop Scott Frost's priorities for rebuilding Nebraska

Dad couldn’t find his son. This is 2009, and they’d gone over to a friend’s house to watch the Big 12 title game — Nebraska vs. Texas — and the friend, he had played for the Huskers, and the son,…

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos names six top aides in restructuring department's senior leadership

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos announced Friday a restructuring of the department's senior leadership, the first step in Moos' "blueprint for success" that aims to improve communication, efficiency and performance.

Carriker Chronicles: Grant Wistrom on the meaning of the Blackshirts, Scott Frost returning and more

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Grant Wistrom about Scott Frost returning to NU, Erik Chinander rebuilding the Blackshirts and…

NU lineman Jerald Foster says Huskers 'all kept pushing' through demanding winter work

Nebraska players also had to adjust to some changes under new strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.

Spring football: Scott Frost talks Husker quarterback play, winter conditioning and more

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost is still in talking points mode as the Huskers prepare to begin his first spring practice next Friday.

Masry Mapieu's recruiting saga ends as All-Nebraska tackle lands at Louisiana-Lafayette

Masry Mapieu, dropped from Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class over concerns he wouldn’t academically qualify, will be another in-state prospect headed to a FBS program other than the Huskers.