The Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off one of its worst losses in program history against Purdue. Nebraska, now sitting at 3-6 on the season is desperate for a win.
With Michigan State coming to town it won’t be easy. However, they have a chance. Here is how the Huskers can take down Sparty.
Michigan State’s Pass Defense:
Michigan State does not have many weaknesses, but one big one is its passing defense. The Spartans are allowing 241 passing yards per game, which ranks 81st in the country. Opponents are averaging 7.5 yards per attempt which ranks 82nd in the country… oh by the way, Nebraska is allowing 7.5 yards per attempt as well. The difference in the two passing defense is Michigan State is seeing 32 pass attempts a game, where the Huskers pass defense is seeing 42.3 attempts per game. Finally, Sparty has allowed 12 passing touchdowns compared to Nebraska’s 16. If Nebraska is going to win this game, it is going to be through the air.
Nebraska is Motivated:
The Nebraska players know how big of a game this is for Michigan State. The Spartans are undefeated and looking to make a run at the playoffs. As bad as it sounds, Nebraska is looking to play spoiler the remainder of the season. They have an opportunity to kick two teams out of potential playoff appearances. Maybe the biggest difference in these two teams is how they perform in crunch time. All but two of Michigan State’s games this season have been decided by 14 or fewer points, including a three point victory over Purdue. If this game is close in the fourth quarter we will see if Nebraska can flip the script on MSU.
Tommy Armstrong Returns:
We talked about the MSU passing defense, and while Ryker Fyfe put up big numbers against Purdue, I think we can all agree Armstrong is on a different level. The ability for Armstrong to create plays with his feet, improvise and keep his eyes downfield is what sets the two apart. For Nebraska to stay close in this game Armstrong is going to have to play out of this world. He is how Nebraska will win this game. He will have to avoid turning the ball over and keep the Husker defense off the field. If Tommy can do this, look for Nebraska to have a good chance towards the end of the game.
Nebraska HAS to Avoid Turnovers:
This one is pretty obvious, but look at what happened last week. Nebraska turned the ball over four times inside their 25-yard line. Purdue got the ball on the Nebraska 16, 22, 19, and 6 yard line on Saturday. Nebraska is going to have to play nearly perfect to take down Sparty. If Nebraska gives the ball up on its side of the field, look for it to be a long day.
Hold MSU to Field Goals when they reach the Redzone:
Another fairly obvious one. Michigan State has kicked just 10 field goals this season, which ranks as the 89th lowest total in the country. Compare that to Nebraska’s 21 field goal attempts, which ranks first nationally. Look at Nebraska’s previous two games and you will see that Nebraska has struggled to stop its opponents inside the redzone. Northwestern and Purdue scored on 10 of 11 drives once they got into the redzone. Northwestern didn’t score on its final drive of the game when they ran out the clock. If Nebraska is going to beat MSU they are going to have to create a turnover and get a stop or two once MSU reaches the redzone.