Game Day: Nebraska vs. Michigan State

Changing the narrative

Nebraska coach Mike Riley would prefer not to discuss the potential narrative-altering impact that an upset win over an undefeated top 10 team could have on a disappointing debut season. To Riley, any assertion that a single game has added value over another jeopardizes the workmanlike approach he’d like his program to adopt.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Michigan State rush defense

Not much momentum on the side of the Huskers, who have managed just 82 and 77 rushing yards in their last two games. Getting back the quarterback run threat with Tommy Armstrong might help, but the problems seem to be running a little deeper. The Spartans won’t cut cooperate much, either, currently holding opponents to 115.5 yards per game and 3.5 per carry. NU will need to win some battles up front, but that’s where Michigan State is strongest.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Michigan State pass defense

There are some things in the Huskers’ favor, with the ability to maybe test two freshman safeties more than some recent MSU foes have done and take advantage of cornerback Darian Hicks likely being out. But Nebraska also is back to being without De’Mornay Pierson-El, and it better find a way to keep Shilique Calhoun and company out of the backfield to give Armstrong time to do something.

Michigan State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Huskers have started to yield some ground here after mostly stuffing the run for seven weeks, and Purdue hit them for a surprising 183 rushing yards last Saturday. Michigan State, though, is one of only two Big Ten teams averaging below 4.0 yards per carry, and don’t have a Le’Veon Bell or Jeremy Langford like NU has had to worry about before.

Michigan State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The No. 124-ranked pass defense in the nation won’t get any kind of break against Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. The senior has passed for 17 touchdowns with just two interceptions, and his knack for making the throws that matter has helped MSU convert 50 percent of its third downs. Nebraska has held him somewhat in check the last two meetings, with Cook completing just 43.3 percent of his passes (26 of 60) for 427 yards and two TDs.

Special teams

Nebraska kicker Drew Brown has made five straight field goals from 40-plus yards, leads the Big Ten in scoring and ranks second with 26 touchbacks on kickoffs. The Huskers rank second in net punting, too, behind the work of Sam Foltz. Neither team is great in the return game, and NU especially has struggled with running back kickoffs, although it got a 42-yarder last week from Stanley Morgan.

Intangibles

This would appear stacked for Michigan State, with the Spartans coming off a bye week, motivated by their pursuit of a College Football Playoff spot and riding a 12-game road win streak in Big Ten play. The Spartans also have a plus-10 turnover margin and limit their penalties, which happen to be two areas where the Huskers rank closer to the bottom nationally than the top. NU also is staring at a season that has gotten away from it.

Key matchup: Nebraska offensive line vs. Michigan State front four

Nebraska hasn’t consistently been moving anybody around, and now comes Michigan State with Shilique Calhoun (6-5, 250), Joel Heath (6-6, 293), Malik McDowell (6-6, 275) and Lawrence Thomas (6-4, 305). Look for the Huskers to run some misdirection, but NU offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said they will have to go right at the Spartans some, too.

Our take

Nebraska might have a chance to get some things done against the MSU defense, but also needs to keep Cook off the field and stop him on third down. It just can’t afford to do anything like it has done the last two years against Sparty, turning it over five times in 2013 and falling behind 27-3 in 2014. Bottom line, though, is that Michigan State is several things that NU is not right now: Clean, confident and consistent.

Our prediction: Michigan State 38, Nebraska 28

Live updates

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will start broadcasting live at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show with Mike'l and Joe Ganz. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Michigan State matchup provided by the NU 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. 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

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.