Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers at Minnesota
With just three games to go in the 2017 season, only a pair of very modest goals are within reach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in what has been a very disappointing year to say the least.
The Huskers (4-5/3-3 Big Ten) need a pair of victories to become bowl eligible, three wins to post a winning record for the second straight year under Mile Riley
The final stretch begins with a Big Ten West game at Minnesota, Saturday (November 11).
What a difference a year makes.
When these two teams met at this point last season they were each 7-2. Now they both sport identical 4-5 records.
The Gophers are reeling, losers in five of their last six.
The biggest struggle has been on offense, where Minnesota is 12th in league and has opted for backup quarterback Demry Croft the last five games.
Wide receiver Tyler Johnson is one of the best in the Big Ten, but opposing defenses have been very effective in shutting him down lately.
Running back Rodney Smith is fifth in the conference in rushing, averaging 74 yards a game.
On defense, Minnesota has the fourth best turnover ratio in the league and has the third leading tackler in linebacker Thomas Barber, but is coming off a game where they allowed 371 rushing yards to Michigan.
Kickoff is 11:00 AM, Saturday in Minneapolis. You can listen live on ESPN 99.1.
For the second straight week last week (November 4), the Cornhuskers had a game decided late, as Northwestern came to Memorial Stadium and escaped with a 31-24 overtime win, the third straight OT win for the Wildcats this season.
The Nebraska defense gave up 156 yards rushing to Northwestern's Justin Jackson in the loss, but did force a pair of turnovers, including a pick-six from linebacker Marcus Newby in the second half.
But turnovers proved to be the undoing for the Cornhusker offense. Quarterback Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, the final one allowing the Wildcats to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about the Northwestern loss and the match-up with the Gophers: