EAST LANSING — Michigan State (5-4, 2-3) will be facing their third ranked opponent in three weeks, as the 20th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-2, 3-1) come rolling into Spartan Stadium this Saturday.
The Cornhuskers entered the Big Ten in 2011 and defeated the Spartans 24-3 in their only conference meeting. However, the Spartans and Cornhuskers have met six times in history with Nebraska winning all six. The Cornhuskers last came to East Lansing in 1995 when they were ranked #2 in the nation and defeated MSU 50-10.
It’s now a new millennium and both programs are facing different challenges. They both are still in contention for a Big Ten Championship, and Nebraska is leading that charge to Pasadena as they are currently atop of the Legends division. Michigan State must win the rest of their games and get a little help from their Big Ten foes to find their way to the Rose Bowl.
Nebraska will be bringing with them to East Lansing the nations seventh best rushing attack and the best scoring offense in the Big Ten. The Spartans will counter with the nations seventh best rush defense and the Big Ten’s #1 scoring defense.
Michigan State held the Badgers to only 19 total rushing yards last week, and the play of their linebackers was arguably the best it had been all season. Junior linebacker Max Bullough had 9 total tackles for the Spartans and linebacker Denicos Allen added eight solo tackles.
There aren’t many rushing attacks in the Big Ten that can produce more than the Badgers, but the Cornhuskers are definitely one of those teams who can. Sophomore Ameer Abdullah leads the Cornhuskers in rushing with 716 yards and eight touchdowns. Dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez is second on the team in rushing with 461 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
While the Spartans defense is one of the best rushing defenses in the nation, they’ve lost every game this season in which they have gone against a premier dual-threat quarterback. Martinez is as good as they come, and aside from his rushing accolades, he is the most efficient passer in the Big Ten. The Spartans defense will have their hands full trying to stop the versatility of the junior quarterback who also has 16 touchdowns passing this season.
Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell is coming off a solid game last week as he had 216 yards and two touchdowns in the Spartans overtime win against Wisconsin. The MSU passing attack has failed to fully click as a unit, due to injuries to tight end Dion Sims and inconsistencies from the wide receiver position, and this may be the first week where the passing game is able to hit on all cylinders.
Michigan State 20
Watch for the matchup between the Spartans rushing defense and the rushing attack of the Cornhuskers because this may be the most physical matchup in college football this weekend.