Game Day: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

The upper hand

Minnesota plays well in the trenches, but the Gophers have holes the Huskers can exploit. Will the NU offense — led by whichever quarterback is at the helm — be able to find those openings against a relentless Gophers team? The potential return of Taylor Martinez, who has missed Nebraska's past three games, could give the Huskers a boost.

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2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Minnesota rush defense

The Huskers have the Big Ten's second best rushing team, averaging 284 yards per game, while Minnesota gives up 123 rushing yards per game. Anchored by the league's best defensive tackle, Ra'Shede Hageman, the Gophers can gum up rush lanes. But they lack great speed at linebacker and safety to run down Ameer Abdullah or Taylor Martinez, should he play. NU is missing its top lineman, Spencer Long. Edge: Minnesota

Nebraska pass offense vs. Minnesota pass defense

Martinez feasted on the Gophers' defense last year, throwing for 308 yards. Since Minnesota will likely attempt to take away the run game, the Huskers' receivers — better than Minnesota's defensive backs — should be in for a big day. Edge: Nebraska

Minnesota rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Gophers have had success running the ball this year against bad teams in nonconference play, but in three Big Ten games, they've averaged just 114 yards per game and 2.92 yards per carry. Two running backs — Rodrick Williams and Donnell Kirkwood — have been hobbled with injuries. Edge: Nebraska

Minnesota pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Ranked 121st nationally in passing yards, Minnesota's passing game is wholly complimentary to the run game. Gophers quarterbacks Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner have played extensively; neither is dynamic. The Huskers' corners are the strength of the defense; the safeties will have to watch play-action. Edge: Nebraska

Special teams

With a kick and punt return touchdown to his credit this year, Minnesota defensive back Marcus Jones is a guy to fear. The Gophers' punting and place-kicking game is solid. Nebraska kicker Pat Smith remains relatively untested in field goals, though NU kickoff specialist Mauro Bondi and punter Sam Foltz have been solid. Edge: Minnesota

Intangibles

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has taken a leave of absence to manage and treat his epilepsy, but he's still around practice, and it's unclear whether he or interim head coach Tracy Claeys will make key decisions Saturday. Nebraska's coming off a bye. Traditionally, Bo Pelini's team do well in that scenario. Edge: Nebraska

Key matchup: Nebraska's defensive line vs. Minnesota's offensive line

The Gophers don't have great offensive skill players, but they do boast one of the bigger, better lines in the league. Nebraska's defensive line is young and at times inconsistent. But it's also talented, and armed with an extra bye week of coaching. The Huskers have shut down Minnesota's run game for the last two years.

Our take

Nebraska has whipped Minnesota by 27 and 24 points in the last two years, and although the Gophers are fielding their best team under Kill, they haven't closed the gap enough. Regardless of which quarterback plays the most snaps — Taylor Martinez, Ron Kellogg or Tommy Armstrong — the Huskers should have enough offense to win another road game.

Our prediction: Nebraska 27, Minnesota 13

Live updates

 

Videos

Extras

Printable rosters

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Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Minnesota game provided by the Huskers athletic department. Click here »

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Listen: BRT Podcast

In this week’s edition of "The Big Red Today Podcast," Sam McKewon joins host Jon Nyatawa to examine Nebraska’s defense — can the Huskers build on last week’s improvement? Jon and Sam then venture off on a few tangents: Northwestern’s ticket-selling strategy, the aesthetic appeal of Purdue’s athletic campus, the formation of the college football selection committee and more. Click here »

Recruiting updates

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Big Ten coverage

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Big Red Today coverage

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Full coverage of Huskers' win vs. Northern Illinois

Nebraska walked out of Memorial Stadium with a 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday, and The World-Herald was there for all of it. Check out our complete coverage of the game.

Chatelain: The moments that proved Scott Frost, Adrian Martinez truly have no fear of failure

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Shatel: Huskers are still a work in progress, but we watched a winning formula take shape

There are still a lot of questions for Nebraska as we watch an identity take shape. What mattered on Saturday night was that the Huskers provided a resounding answer just when they needed it most.

Husker offense wanted to prove something — and it did with complete performance

The body language of offensive players leaving the field gave them away. Finally, they had played something close to a complete game.

Lesson learned: Huskers feeling good after starting fast, finishing strong against Northern Illinois

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Recruiting: Elkhorn South's Teddy Prochazka gets sold on Nebraska by two Husker commits

The junior from Elkhorn South was the center of attention on the sideline prior to kickoff between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.

Lane McCallum doesn't want to just be a kicker, but he'll do anything to help Huskers

The walk-on safety transfer from Air Force was minding his own business when his name was screamed by a coach on the sideline.

Husker notes: Injury watch for two players; ball hawks and more

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Video: Scott Frost's full press conference after Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

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Martinez tracker: Stock up for Husker QB after turnover-free game

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Nebraska-Northern Illinois: Breaking down the Huskers' performance on offense and defense

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Without running game, Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock says Huskies couldn’t find rhythm

It was easy for Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock to identify what kept the Huskies’ offense from scoring any touchdowns Saturday night against a suddenly stout Nebraska defense.

Winning numbers: The stats and figures that defined Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

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Tom's Takes: Unlike some Big Ten peers, Huskers walk away with a really good win

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Nebraska-Northern Illinois: 3 things we learned, 3 things we still don't know

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Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska's win over Northern Illinois

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Huskers earn dominant victory against Northern Illinois as backups see action late

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Husker left tackle Brenden Jaimes leaves NIU game with injury in fourth quarter

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From the sidelines: More Northern Illinois fans make the trip; Celebrating Bill Straub

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