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

Scott Frost wants Adrian Martinez to let it rip — and against Illinois, he should have that chance

Aggressive is how NU's head coach wants his start quarterback to stay going forward.

Husker notes: No injury updates on Brenden Jaimes, but Broc Bando 'was more than ready' in debut

No comment from Frost on the injury to left tackle Brenden Jaimes, who left the game in the fourth quarter. He said the depth chart indicated the next player up. That would be Broc Bando, who finished the fourth quarter.

It's Big Ten time: Huskers embrace the fresh start with beginning of conference schedule

For all that has happened to the Huskers in three weeks, everything resets for the upcoming nine-game Big Ten slate.

Video: Scott Frost's complete Husker football press conference, Sept. 16

Scott Frost is ready for the start of Big Ten play, and the Husker coach spent about 17 minutes Monday at his weekly press conference setting the stage for the week.

Huskers award scholarship to former walk-on, Creighton Prep grad Jeramiah Stovall

Coach Scott Frost announced Monday the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back will lose his walk-on status thanks to steady, positive production on and off the field.

Husker press conference, Sept. 16: For Scott Frost and Nebraska, it's next man up after injuries

Nebraska had its best offensive game of the season with 526 yards in a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois. But coach Scott Frost, in his press conference Monday, said the team can still play a lot better on offense.

Nebraska-Ohio State game set for ABC's Saturday night spotlight

It'll be the third straight night game in a row for Nebraska and it'll be the third straight time OSU has played a night game at NU.

Blackshirts don't want to be a side dish to the Husker offense. Against NIU, they served notice

Nebraska’s defense held Northern Illinois' offense to six points Saturday. Though it was a MAC team at home under the lights, the Blackshirts want that goal-line stand to burn into your brains. To remind you they’re not here to mess…

McKewon: While the offense finds its footing, the Huskers' Big Ten hopes hinge on the Blackshirts

This year, the Husker D is the dutiful older brother — figuratively, literally — of the younger, more explosive, more inconsistent offense.

Huskers make walk-on offer to Reis Vernon, one of highest-ranked punters/kickers in 2020

Nebraska is in the market for a kicker in its 2020 class.

Sam McKewon's AP Top 25 poll, Sept. 15

Top 10 generally remains unchanged except for Utah taking the No. 9 spot away from Notre Dame who is now in tenth.

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

Frost endured a brutal week. His team blew a 17-point lead to an old rival. And for the first time since he returned to Lincoln on a white horse, Husker fans pointed the finger at him, not his players or…

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

A line of men in red — a little fed up, a lot hungry, sensing a chance at blood — bolted toward one of the loneliest, most vulnerable positions on the football field. The punter.

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

Although Nebraska played one of the cleanest game of the Scott Frost era and beat Northern Illinois 44-8, two key Huskers may have sustained injuries that keep them out of future practice or play.

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

Nebraska coach Scott Frost spoke for nearly nine minutes breaking down the Huskers' performance against Northern Illinois.

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

Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.

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

World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' victory against Northern Illinois.

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

A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' 44-8 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

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

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.

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

Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's win over Northern Illinois.

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

On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick take to Nebraska defeating Northern Illinois.

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

Nebraska led the game 30-5 at halftime and maintained its lead in the second half as backups got to play in the final minutes.

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

Nebraska's already-thin depth at tackle may get thinner after starting left tackle Brenden Jaimes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Huskers' game against Northern Illinois.

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

Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.