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

Pick Six Podcast: Is Husker hoops an attractive job? And a spring football update

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Chris Heady tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast.

McKewon: Minnesota's P.J. Fleck rows the boat hard to catch up with Nebraska's offensive flash

Minnesota’s offense, which started eight freshmen in its bowl win over Georgia Tech, averaged 5.68 yards per play last season, ranking ninth in the Big Ten. That’s UM’s highest average in a decade.

Former Husker Brent Qvale re-signs with New York Jets

Two yards can make or break Nebraska' offense, so Huskers focus on 'plus-twos'

Ask around the offense, and "plus-twos" are as important as any conventional statistic coaches and players track. Moving a defender two yards can demonstrate a strength advantage and extra effort on an individual level.

Former Husker Ameer Abdullah re-signs with Minnesota Vikings

Former Husker running back Ameer Abdullah re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings on Monday.

Carriker Chronicles: If I could bring back any former Husker to play today, here's who I would pick

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker discusses which players in Husker football history he'd most like to bring back to play for Nebraska today, and which one's would fit the current system best.

Monday Rewind: Older, wiser, more urgent Husker defenders set good tone in spring camp

Twenty-one of the 33 upperclassmen scholarship players play defense. And 11 of that 21 are seniors. Big, bold vocal seniors who have played a lot of football. With that experience comes urgency. Wisdom. Responsibility.

Tony Tuioti offers three Husker football scholarships to Hawaiian three-star prospects

The Tony Tuioti effect for Nebraska football recruiting is in full swing.

Husker safety Deontai Williams learning to play smart, while 'putting his pads on people'

Deontai Williams said, he’s the “OG” of the safety group. He’s right, too — he and junior Marquel Dismuke are the veterans while redshirt freshmen Cam’ron Jones and CJ Smith learn and sophomore Cam Taylor bounces among safety, nickel and…

After 'miserable' first season back at Nebraska, Barrett Ruud expects 'big jump' in year two

His boss got all the attention during last fall’s miserable start, but put yourself in Barrett Ruud’s shoes for a moment. Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler returned to his alma mater and hometown in 2018 to coach his old position —…

Carriker Chronicles: If I could change one play in Nebraska football history...

On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker explores some of Nebraska football's hardest losses, and narrows down what one play in Husker history he'd choose to change.

JoJo Domann is finally healthy and Husker coaches are ready to use Cinco's versatility

JoJo Domann is one of Nebraska’s most versatile defenders. And his coaches need an array of colorful language to describe him. Leaning against a wall on the second floor of the Hawks Center, defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said Domann…

Former Nebraska running back Greg Bell transferring to San Diego State

Former Nebraska running back Greg Bell — who left the program four games into the 2018 season — is transferring to his hometown school, San Diego State.

Husker notes: Defensive line finds 'alpha males' in Daniels brothers; Defense creates pass rush

Nebraska defensive line coach Tony Tuioti wants a consistent daily mindset from his players, where linemen “press the reset button” after each practice to gear up for the next one with the same energy and enthusiasm.

Husker practice report: Defense creating turnovers; Jovan Dewitt discusses battle with cancer

If the first two weeks of spring practices are any indication, Nebraska's defense has some playmakers.

Carriker Chronicles: What Husker fans can expect from the Huskers' D-line during spring football

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker previews the Blackshirts' defensive line personnel for spring football, reasonable expectations for the group and much more.

Cancer can't keep Husker assistant Jovan Dewitt off the practice field

Even if Jovan Dewitt can’t make every meeting — even if, during practice, he has to take a knee and “get some hydration” — he’s going to be at every practice he can.

Recruiting: Iowa D-line commit Logan Jones lands Husker offer

Nebraska has given Logan Jones something to think about. The Council Bluffs Lewis Central defensive lineman tweeted Tuesday he has received a scholarship offer from the Huskers after committing to Iowa last month.

Huskers have a new group of leaders up front. This spring they're finding their voice

It's a spring of transition on the offensive line, which lost several leaders from last year's team. Now a trio of juniors holds that responsibility, and this spring is an important step in their development.

Video: Nebraska spring football practice, March 11

Videos include an interview with Scott Frost, a recap of the the practice by Sam McKewon and Evan Bland and an update on Maurice Washington.

Husker notes: Jaylin Bradley makes most of opportunity; Mike Williams vies for starting spot

Circumstances are aligning for Jaylin Bradley to prove himself. Now coaches are anxious to find out if the running back can.

Husker tight ends need to be a receiving threat. This is how they'll make that happen

Attack. That’s a buzzword for the Husker tight ends this spring. Collectively, they’re the offense's most experienced group. But there’s a higher level the coaches expect these tight ends to reach.

Husker QB coach Mario Verduzco lauds Luke McCaffrey's early progress, Adrian Martinez's velocity

So far, so good for true freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey. Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said McCaffrey, an early enrollee, has done well in spring practices to pick up the offense.

Husker practice report: Nebraska ahead of last year, but competition heavy on offense

Scott Frost doesn't even want to say the Oklahoma word. But the drill Nebraska threw out in front of the media Monday morning did look a whole lot like the infamous Oklahoma drill.

Timeline details Maurice Washington investigation and when Nebraska became aware of it

This timeline of events in the Maurice Washington investigation is based on allegations outlined in court documents, investigator reports and officials' statements.

Sights and sounds from Nebraska football spring practice, March 11

Nebraska was in full pads for its fourth practice of the spring Monday morning. The media were allowed inside practice for the first 30 minutes. Here's what we saw.

Carriker Chronicles: My favorite game in Husker history while skiing down a mountain

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker skis down a mountain and shares the story of his all-time favorite Husker football game.

Husker RB Maurice Washington self-surrenders in California, court date set for April

Husker running back Maurice Washington returned to California over the weekend to self-surrender to authorities, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

Shatel: Do the high schools need a shot clock? There is no shortage of opinions

This column might be a shot-clock violation. But I received so much feedback from emails and on Twitter last week on the idea of a shot clock in high school basketball that I thought I would spill over into this…

McKewon: Adrian Martinez has shown signs of being a leader, but Scott Frost wants more

Adrian Martinez’s head coach, Scott Frost, wants more. Much more, based on his comments last week. Don’t gloss over them. If Frost is bullish on Martinez’s potential — talking him up as potentially one of the best, if not the…