Game Day: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Well-grounded Gophers

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill’s gritty group can trip up teams with more talent. So the Gophers keep burrowing away, and Saturday they enter Memorial Stadium for an 11 a.m. kickoff with Nebraska — with their West Division destiny under their control.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Minnesota rush defense

If there's one weakness the Gophers would appear to have on the defensive side, it would be a penchant to give up big runs if their talented trio of linebackers can't make a play. Minnesota's smallish defensive line should have trouble with an inconsistent-but-occasionally-strong Husker offensive line. Ameer Abdullah is healthy enough to play, and he made a few nifty plays against Wisconsin when he had the room. NU needs more out of quarterback Tommy Armstrong in the run game.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Minnesota pass defense

The Gophers boast one of the best pass defenses in the Big Ten, and should against use a man-to-man style against Nebraska, daring the Huskers to hit big plays or perfectly execute screen passes. Minnesota's secondary, which includes Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Cedric Thompson, should match up well against Nebraska's wide receivers. Armstrong has struggled mightily in the throwing game, so look for offensive coordinator Tim Beck to give him some early rhythm throws to boost his confidence.

Minnesota rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Gophers only average 4.77 yards per carry — which ranks 39th nationally — but they are dogged in their pursuit of the running game. They'll pound and pound, specifically with running back David Cobb and quarterback Mitch Leidner. Nebraska's run defense had actually held up well this year — until Wisconsin, where the Huskers gave up 581 rushing yards and 408 to Melvin Gordon alone. Will that NU defense show up in Lincoln? Don't bet on it. But running is what Minnesota does.

Minnesota pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Gophers run to set up the playaction pass, but let's not kid ourselves: Leidner is no Joe Montana, or Rickey Foggie for that matter. As big as Minnesota's wideouts are, and as good as tight end Maxx Williams is, Nebraska still has the kind of pass defense that frustrates most excellent quarterbacks, much less a throwing running back like Leidner.

Special teams

Nebraska has made more strides in special teams this year than any other unit, and it shows in a consistent victory in the battle for field position. That said, Minnesota has an elite punter in Peter Mortell, who leads the Big Ten in gross punting average. Gophers kicker Ryan Santoso has range beyond 50 yards on field goals. Nebraska's coverage units have been strong all season, and De'Mornay Pierson-El is one of the best punt returners in college football.

Intangibles

It's Senior Day at Nebraska, and such a fact seemed to derail Minnesota back in 2012 when the Gophers made their first visit to Memorial Stadium in decades. Minnesota won't be cowed this time — not after beating Nebraska 34-23 last year. The Huskers are coming off their worst game in nearly two seasons, and the collective attitude of the team this week hovered between wanting to forget what happened at Wisconsin and wanting to gird against the inevitable criticism of losing another game. It's not a good mental state.

Key matchup: Minnesota's running game vs. Nebraska's defense

The Gophers want to pound the ball, burn up the clock, and force the opposing offense to execute. If Minnesota is able to run the ball for 200-plus yards, Nebraska's offensive efficiency — which has been lousy lately — had better be nails. NU's defense again has to carry the load.

Our take

Nebraska has the athletes and talent to beat Minnesota by two touchdowns. Don't bet on it. The Gophers have a style that frustrates many opponents, including the Huskers. A fourth-quarter game awaits, but Nebraska will be tough enough to pull it out. Remember: The Huskers are pretty good at winning close games.

Our prediction: Nebraska 24-17

Live updates

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Game Day

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will broadcast live Saturday from the Lincoln Railyard at 9:30 a.m., then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Minnesota game provided by the Huskers 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 page is your new home for taking a look back into the history of 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.

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

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 Ten coverage

Look for additional updates on our Big Ten page to get the best coverage of the conference from both The World-Herald and some of the best writers from across the country. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos wants to 'get the CFP straightened out' by expanding to eight teams

Moos says the selection committee has to better follow its protocol to measure playoff-worthy teams.

Alcohol in Memorial Stadium? Husker A.D. Bill Moos considers allowing it in some areas

Moos knows there isn’t anything broken with the Memorial Stadium fan experience, but he wants to stay ahead of the curve.

Carlos and Khalil Davis are double trouble on Nebraska's defensive line — and in the discus ring

The Davis twins have loved their time at Nebraska and laud NU’s willingness to let two 300-pounders find their way, throw some discus and sack some quarterbacks.

Carriker Chronicles: Ralph Brown on how the Blackshirts can improve, Lamar Jackson's growth and more

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Ralph Brown about how the Huskers can improve on defense, how the defensive secondary can get better in 2019, Lamar Jackson growing into a leader, Nebraska memories and much more.

Former Husker outside linebacker Breon Dixon will transfer to Iowa Western

Former Nebraska outside linebacker Breon Dixon will transfer to Iowa Western Community College, Reivers coach Scott Strohmeier confirmed Tuesday night.

Recruiting: Iowa Western defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey eyeing visit to Nebraska

Iowa Western Community College defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey has offers from several of college football's giants — including Nebraska.

Former Husker Ndamukong Suh signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Once one of the highest paid players in the league, Suh went more than two months as a free agent before finding a new team.

Dedrick Mills officially admitted to Nebraska, ready 'to get to work' in Husker RB race

Mills is now admitted to the school. He'll arrive Wednesday and immediately get to work.

Carriker Chronicles: Could the Big Ten get left out of the College Football Playoff again?

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down the race for the College Football Playoff following spring practices and give his four-team prediction for 2019.

McKewon: Illinois coach Lovie Smith needs a quarterback and an improved defense

Lovie Smith and quarterbacks? They don’t go well together.

McKewon: Big Ten standings show improvement, but Bill Moos' rebuild of Husker athletics continues

The final standings are in and roughly half of Nebraska’s teams met Moos’ base standard of finishing in the top half of the Big Ten this season.

Receiver Demariyon Houston can run a 10.71 100 meters; soon he hopes to blaze trail with Huskers

Demariyon Houston, out of Oklahoma City's Millwood High, is a 100- and 200-meter champ. He also has great hands, maybe his biggest asset in college. Not to mention he was class president. He will be the first in his immediate…

Husker signee Dedrick Mills still aiming for May arrival to Nebraska

Nebraska running back signee Dedrick Mills said on Saturday that his grades from Garden City (Kansas) Community College are in, NU is reviewing his transcript and he believes he will be in Lincoln this week — perhaps by Tuesday.

McKewon: Football players get harsh lesson on NCAA transfer portal's unexpected reality

In less than a year, the NCAA’s transfer portal is already beginning to turn against the student-athletes it was supposed to help.

Big Ten makes more money than any conference ever has — and Nebraska reaps the benefits

According to a Wednesday report from USA Today, the league had nearly $759 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.

Carriker Chronicles: A way-too-early preview of the Nebraska-Colorado game

On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his way-too-early, just-for-fun preview of September's Nebraska-Colorado game.

Husker A.D. Bill Moos talks stadium expansion, improvement and basketball roster on radio show

Bill Moos wants to improve Memorial Stadium. But he won't expand it. The athletic director spoke for the final time of the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday night. Moos said there is currently a proposal out there to put in…

Former Husker safety Cam'ron Jones lands at SMU

Former Husker safety Cam'ron Jones, who announced last month he's leaving Nebraska, is headed back to Texas.

Husker notes: Nebraska could see change in number of early kickoffs; NCAA to study player compensation

Fox announced this week it would place the best game from its weekly college football menu in the 11 a.m. CT slot.

Carriker Chronicles: When should kids start playing tackle football?

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker shares his thoughts on kids playing tackle football, what age range they should start playing, flag football and more.

Pick Six Podcast: Husker baseball on bubble; Hoiberg's roster turnover; Football position rankings

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

NU commit Noa Pola-Gates will train to play multiple positions, but views safety as his ‘niche’

When Noa Pola-Gates arrives in late May, it’s possible he could get trained at every position — defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has indicated that each of NU’s incoming defensive backs is versatile enough to do so — but he…

Former Huskers Jerald Foster, Freedom Akinmoladun sign with NFL teams after rookie tryouts

Offensive lineman Jerald Foster signed a deal Sunday with the Washington Redskins, and defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun inked with the New York Giants on Monday.

Public defender assigned in Maurice Washington case; plea hearing scheduled for June

Despite earlier reports that Washington entered not guilty pleas when he waived formal arraignment during an April hearing, there have not been any pleas entered in the case, said a Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesperson.

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.

Scott Frost talks culture, Jovan Dewitt's recovery during national radio show

Football coaches like to talk about culture, so much that it becomes a cliche. But it's still true that culture matters, and it's important to Scott Frost.

Carriker Chronicles: What are realistic expectations for the Blackshirts in 2019?

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about the youth on the Husker defense, their off-season additions and what realistic expectations are for the Blackshirts in 2019.

Husker football adds grad transfer Kanawai Noa, who could help fill need at X receiver

The 6-foot, 185-pounder had 96 career catches for 1,237 yards and six touchdowns over three-plus seasons at Cal.

McKewon: Three takes on Nebraska's graduate transfer commit Kanawai Noa

Nebraska received a graduate transfer commit Sunday from California’s Kanawai Noa.Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot, 185-pounder.

Husker running back Maurice Washington has second court date today. Here's what to expect

Nebraska running back Maurice Washington is set for his second appearance in a California court for charges filed against him in February.