In the two seasons I’ve been writing these articles it has always been easier to write why the Nebraska Cornhuskers will win compared to why they will lose. This is the first week it has been far more difficult to write why Nebraska will win rather than lose.
Nebraska has a tall task this weekend. The Huskers are taking on the undefeated and 6th ranked Michigan State Spartans. While there is a chance the Huskers pull off a huge upset, it is not looking promising… and here’s why.
Connor Cook vs Nebraska Pass Defense:
There is going to be a ton of passing yards for both teams this Saturday. Both pass defenses struggle to stop the opposing teams passing offense. Nebraska has yet to face a QB as talented as Connor Cook. NFL scouts may only need to watch one game for Cook’s NFL scouting videos. I fully expect Connor Cook to eviscerate this Husker defense. Cook has been unreal this season, throwing for 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He is completing nearly 60% of his passes and has thrown for over 2,000 yards on the year. I’m not going to dive into Nebraska’s passing defense numbers, simply because I have done so every week. By now you know how pathetic it has been. Connor Cook may throw for 500 yards on Saturday, and honestly I wouldn’t be shocked. If Nebraska can’t put pressure on Cook, look for Michigan State to roll through this Nebraska defense.
Nebraska’s Rush Defense is beginning to crack:
Purdue and Northwestern punched Nebraska in the nose with the running game. This Nebraska rush defense is still ranked inside the top-15 nationally, but recently they have been anything but spectacular. Purdue and Northwestern combined for 339 rushing yards and five touchdowns. They combined to average over 5 yards per carry. If Nebraska can’t stop the run and we know they can’t stop the pass, the only thing to stop their opponents will be the goal line. If the MSU can run the ball with ease on Saturday look for Sparty to roll to an easy victory.
MSU knows how to win the close one, Nebraska doesn’t:
I touched on this in the why Nebraska will win article, but MSU has been in as many close games as the Huskers. All but two of the Spartans games have been decided by 14 points or less, including four by a touchdown or less. Nebraska has been in several close games this season, and finds a new way to lose them each time. If this game is close late in the fourth quarter, it will be interesting to see how the teams react. Will Nebraska follow the trend and fold up? Will MSU continue its late game heroics and pull through one more time?
Even if Connor Cook is having an off game, Burbridge is a guy who is going to make plays. On the season Burbridge has 830 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Burbridge has been a big play threat all season, averaging over 15 yards per reception. I fully expect Burbridge to have several big plays on Saturday. Nebraska has given up the second most passing plays of 30 yards or more, and the most passing plays of 20 yards or more. Look for Burbridge to put up some scary numbers on Saturday leading to an easy MSU victory.
MSU is coming off of a bye week:
This is the second straight opponent Nebraska will be facing who is coming off of a bye week. Nebraska is beaten up, worn down, and in dire need of a bye week. MSU is fresh and healthier than they have been since the start of the season. They have also had an extra week to look at this Nebraska team and figure out how to pick them apart both offensively and defensively. Look for MSU to come out firing, and if it is close late, the team with the fresher legs may be the one to win.