Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers Host Michigan State
It'll be a match-up of two teams trying to win in very different ways when Nebraska hosts Michigan State, Saturday (November 17) in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers (3-7/2-5 Big Ten Conference) will be trying to light up the scoreboard as they've done each of the last five games - scoring better than 30 points each time - winning three games.
The Nebraska offense is riding a school-record stretch of seven games with more than 450 yards of total offense.
The Spartans (6-4/4-3) meanwhile have been relying on their defense to win games this year.
Michigan State has the best unit against the run in the nation. The Spartans are allowing just 77 yards on the ground per game and have held opponents under 100 yards seven times in ten games. Overall, MSU is third in total defense in the Big Ten.
They'll be matched against a Nebraska offense that's 22nd in the nation running the football. The Huskers average better than 226 yards per game on the ground this season and during this current stretch of three wins in four games they've run for 277 yards per game.
For Michigan State up front, defensive end Kenny Willekes leads the nation in quarterback hits and is first in the Big Ten in tackles for loss, second in the league in sacks.
Linebackers Andrew Dowell and Joe Bachie, along with safety Khari Willis are all in the Top 15 in the Big Ten in tackles.
On offense, injuries have been the big story with 11 different starters missing a combined 35 games so far this season.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke has thrown for nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's been nursing a shoulder injury and has been splitting time with Rocky Lombardi.
Michigan State is without two of their top offensive weapons - running back LJ Scott and wide receiver Felton Davis III are out for the season. Without them, the Spartans are next to last in the league in scoring and total offense and haven't scored more than 24 points in a game since late September.
One player to watch on special teams is Darrell Stewart, who is second in the Big Ten with 35 yards per kickoff return.
Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is 11:00 AM, Saturday. You can listen to the game live on ESPN 99.1.
Last Saturday (November 10), the Huskers won for the third time in four games with a 54-35 victory at home over Illinois.
The two teams combined for 35 first-quarter points as Nebraska torched the Illini defense for 120 yards on the ground on the first two possessions, finishing with 316 yards rushing on the day.
Divine Ozigbo lead the rushing attack with 162 yards on 11 carries.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez accounted for 345 yards of the Huskers 606 yards of total offense. The freshman threw for 290 yards and three scores and ran for 55 yards and another touchdown.
Stanley Morgan had a big day with eight catches for 131 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Tre Neal forced two fumbles and had ten tackles. Mohamed Barry led Nebraska with 11 tackles.
The Husker special teams had a big day, recovering a pair of fumbled Illinois punts and blocking another punt for a safety.
Overall, the Illini turned the ball over five times.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers' Greg Sharpe about Illinois win and the match-up with Michigan State: