When it comes to #NebVsMinn there is one big question on everyone’s mind. Ok, so the starting quarterback question makes two but you know which big question I’m talking about, right?
Will the Broken Chair be on the sidelines this Saturday?!?
Nebraska returns to Lincoln for a two game Big Ten homestand, beginning with a key West Division matchup against Minnesota on Saturday night.
Nebraska enters the game with a 7-2 record and a 4-2 mark in Big Ten play, leaving the Huskers in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West. The Huskers are coming off a loss at No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday night. Despite back-to-back losses NU remains in the thick of the race in the West Division. The Huskers are tied with Minnesota and Wisconsin atop the division, and would need to win its final three games and have Wisconsin lose a game to earn a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.
Nebraska continues to rank in the top 25 in this week's polls, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll and 20th by the coaches. Minnesota enters Saturday's game on a four-game winning streak that has moved it into Big Ten West contention. Since losing its first two league games, the Gophers have outscored their opponents 149-90, including a 44-31 win over Purdue on Saturday. The Golden Gophers have relied on a strong running game, averaging better than 210.3 yards per game on the ground. Defensively, Minnesota ranks among the top defenses in the Big Ten Conference, holding opponents to less than 350 yards per game and 23 points per contest.
Date/Time: November 12, 2016 6:30 p.m. CST
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE Capacity: 86,047
Surface: Field Turf
Series Record: The Golden Gophers hold a 31-23-2 advantage in the all-time series. Since becoming conference opponents in 2011, the Huskers hold a 3-2 advantage.
The earliest meeting of these teams was in 1900. The Huskers (Bugeaters?) and Gophers played 13 times between 1900 and 1913 with the Gophers winning 10 of those (and one tie - a 0-0 “classic” in 1908). Things did not get better for the Big Red when a near-annual series resumed in 1932. Between ‘32 and ‘54 these teams played 21 times with the Huskers only coming out on top on 3 occasions.
The tide finally turned in 1963 when a coach by the name of Devaney started a 16 game Husker winning streak that lasted until 2012. The Gophers won back-to-back games in 2013 and 2014 (the first Broken Chair trophy game) before the Huskers won the chair for the first time in 2015.
TV: The game will be televised on BTN with Kevin Kugler, Play-by-Play; Matt Millen, Analyst; and Lisa Byington, Sidelines. With a login from your cable or satellite provider, you can stream the game on BTN2Go. Playstation Vue streaming includes BTN in their Core, Elite, and Ultra packages but not the Access package.
More audio streaming options: The official Huskers app is available on iTunes. The app is free but accessing live audio costs $4.99 (per season). The app is available for Android users for free but the live content requires a payment (I could not see the amount but assume it is similar to the other). I often use the TuneIn app for game audio.
Weather: At kickoff, the temperature will be a brisk 46 degrees with clear skies and decreasing winds from the south around 8 mph.
Odds: Nebraska is favored by seven points.
Nebraska and Minnesota are both among the Big Ten's top teams at controlling the football. The Huskers average 32:44 of time of possession to rank fourth in the Big Ten, while Minnesota averages 32:01, good for fifth in the conference. Nebraska has held a time of possession edge in eight of nine games this season.
Coach Riley on offensive guard Jerald Foster who has been out since suffering a knee injury in fall camp.
“I’m really not worried too much about Jerald, except for probably the conditioning of playing in a game. We are going to play him. Exactly how we do that at this moment is not decided. We wanted to take a look at today’s practice before we finally decided something. But he looks ready, and feels good. And again, he has been totally cleared by our medical staff.”
Coach Riley on running repeatable plays on offense.
“Well we try to get some rhythm on offense and have repeatable running plays in the game. That is our goal for sure. And I think that in the game plan we have the ability to do that, we feel obviously confident about that. I’ll only be able to answer that question about 9:30 Saturday night. That will be really when we can tell. We just need some rhythm, we need to run the ball well. In everything, life goes a lot better when you can do that. It’s a big goal of ours and we haven’t been very consistent for a while. At least we know where the problem is in what we need to do to win games. So we’ve tried to address it, we’ve practiced it and we’ve got a good plan and we’ll try to put it into action Saturday night.”