Nebraska vs. Michigan State: Complete Game Preview

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2012

Nebraska vs. Michigan State: Complete Game Preview

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    Who: Nebraska at Michigan State

    When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Central

    Where: East Lansing, MI

    Stadium: Spartan Stadium (natural grass, 75,005)

    TV: ABC regional, ESPN2 nationwide

    Radio: Husker Sports Network (Gary Sharp play-by-play, Matt Davison color)

    Satellite Radio: SXM 1994 

    Internet Stream: Huskers.com

Depth Chart for Nebraska

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    OFFENSE

    WR X – Kenny Bell, Tyler Evans

    LT – Brent Qvale, Jeremiah Sirles, Brandon Thompson

    LG – Seung Hoon Choi, Cole Pensick, Jake Cotton

    C – Justin Jackson, Cole Pensick OR Mark Pelini

    RG – Spencer Long, Broderick Nickens, Ryne Reeves

    RT – Jeremiah Sirles OR Andrew Rodriguez

    TE – Ben Cotton OR Kyler Reed, Jake Long OR Conor McDermott

    WR Z – Quincy Enunwa, Steven Osborne

    WR A – Jamal Turner, Tim Marlowe

    QB – Taylor Martinez, Ron Kellogg III

    IB – Rex Burkhead OR Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard, Imani Cross

    FB – Andy Janovich OR Mike Marrow OR C.J. Zimmerer

     

    DEFENSE

    DE – Eric Martin OR Jason Ankrah

    DT – Thad Randle, Kevin Williams

    DT – Baker Steinkuhler, Chase Rome, Aaron Curry

    DE – Cameron Meredith, Joseph Carter

    BUCK – Sean Fisher, Alonzo Whaley OR Max Pirman

    MIKE – Will Compton, Sean Fisher, Trevor Roach

    WILL – David Santos OR Alonzo Whaley

    CB – Stanley Jean-Baptiste OR Andrew Green, Antonio Bell

    S – P.J. Smith, Harvey Jackson, Corey Cooper

    S – Daimion Stafford, Courtney Osborne, Justin Blatchford

    CB – Josh Mitchell, Mohammed Seisay, Daniel Davie

    NICKEL – Ciante Evans

     

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    PK – Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    P – Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    LS – P.J. Mangieri, Joseph Rotherham

    KO – Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    HOLD – Jase Dean

    KOR – Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, Braylon Heard

    PR – Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner

     

    Original located here.

Depth Chart for Michigan State

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    OFFENSE

    X – Aaron Burbridge, Tony Lippett

    LT – Dan France, Donavon Clark

    LG – Blake Treadwell, Jack Allen

    C – Jack Allen, Ethan Ruhland

    RG – Chris McDonald, Nate Klatt OR Connor Kruse

    RT – Skyler Burkland, Michael Dennis

    TE – Dion Sims, Paul Lang OR Andrew Gleichert OR Derek Hoebing

    Z – Keith Mumphery, Andre Sims Jr. OR DeAnthony Arnett

    F – Bennie Fowler, Macgarret Kings Jr.

    QB – Andrew Maxwell, Connor Cook

    FB – Lawrence Thomas, Trevon Pendleton, Niko Palazeti

    TB – Le’Veon Bell, Larry Caper OR Nick Hill, Jeremy Langford

     

    DEFENSE

    DE – Marcus Rush, Shilique Calhoun, Jeremy Gainer

    DT – James Kittredge, Micajah Reynolds, Tyler Hoover

    NT – Anthony Rashad White, Damon Knox

    DE – William Gholston, Joel Heath, Denzel Drone

    STAR – Taiwan Jones OR Chris Norman, Darien Harris

    MIKE – Max Bullough, Kyler Ellsworth, TyQuan Hammock

    SAM – Denicos Allen, Ed Davis, Steve Gardiner

    FC – Darqueze Dennard, Mitchell White

    FS – Kurtis Drummond, RJ Williamson, Demetrious Cox

    SS – Isaiah Lewis, Jairus Jones, Mylan Hicks

    BC – Johnny Adams, Arjen Colquhoun OR Trae Waynes

     

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    KO – Kevin Muma, Dan Conroy

    PK – Dan Conroy, Kevin Muma

    P – Mike Sadler, Kevin Muma

    SN – Taybor Pepper, Leland Ewing

    HLD – Mike Sadler, Andrew Maxwell

    KR – Le’Veon Bell OR Nick Hill, Larry Caper, Bennie Fowler

    PR – Andre Sims Jr. OR Le’Veon Bell

     

    Original located here.

What Happened to the Cornhuskers Last Week

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    Host Nebraska beat Michigan, 23-9.

    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was injured late in the first half while the game was still close. He did not return.

    Michigan’s offense without Robinson was anemic, and Michigan's defense ultimately wore down, allowing Nebraska to pull away for a comfortable win.

What Happened to the Spartans Last Week

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    Michigan State earned a season-saving, 16-13 overtime win over Wisconsin in Madison.

    Michigan State held Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing and knocked out Badgers quarterback Joel Stave for the season. The win ended the Spartans’ two-game losing skid as well as breaking Wisconsin’s 21-game home-winning streak.

What It Means to Both Teams

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    With the win over Michigan, Nebraska sits in first place in the Legends Division and controls its destiny. However, Nebraska is only ahead of Michigan on a tie-breaker because of its head-to-head victory over the Wolverines last week.

    This means that any slip-up for NU would open the door for Michigan to take back control of the division.

    Michigan State’s scenarios for winning the Legends Division are a bit more complicated, but the Spartans still have a chance to defend their division title. But to do so, they absolutely must defend their home turf against Nebraska.

Key Player for Nebraska

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    Justin Jackson, center.

    Michigan State is fifth nationally in total defense, seventh in rushing defense, 14th in pass defense, and 10th in scoring defense.

    For Nebraska to be successful on offense, it will need to be at least competitive against the Spartans’ ferocious defensive line. The primary responsibility for that falls on the center, senior Justin Jackson.

    In previous weeks, Jackson has struggled with penalties and inaccurate snaps. A repeat of those performances in East Lansing could cost Nebraska yardage—or an offensive possession—at a pivotal moment.

Key Player for Michigan State

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    Le’Veon Bell, running back.

    Andrew Maxwell is, to put it charitably, a work in progress at quarterback for Michigan State. His receivers are nowhere near as talented as the group Kirk Cousins was throwing to last year. And Michigan State’s offensive style is a bad matchup against Nebraska’s defense.

    All of this means that Bell will need a superlative performance to keep Nebraska’s defense honest, allow Maxwell time to throw and keep Nebraska’s offense on the sidelines.

Nebraska Will Win If...

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    …it can score more than 20 points. Michigan State’s offense has struggled mightily this season, unable to score more than 17 points against BCS opposition not named Indiana.

    The Spartans defense will be the best Nebraska faces all season, but Nebraska’s defense sets up very well to stop Sparty on offense. If Nebraska can, by hook or by crook, get to 20, that should be enough for a win.

Michigan State Will Win If...

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    …Nebraska turns the ball over.

    The Spartans’ offense this season has been anemic at best. Michigan State is ranked 64th nationally in pass offense and 89th nationally in rushing offense. Without help, it seems unlikely Michigan State will be able to move the ball.

    Of course, Nebraska has been very helpful to opponents with their turnovers, gifting opponents points, field position and momentum. If Nebraska is loose with the ball in East Lansing and gives away points, Michigan State’s defense is good enough to close the door.

Prediction

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    In the last two weeks, Nebraska’s defensive performances at Northwestern and home to Michigan have given cause for optimism to the Children of the Corn.

    Michigan State’s offensive struggles—combined with the bad matchup of the Spartans’ offense against Nebraska’s defense—suggests that points will be at a premium. Michigan State’s defense is the best Nebraska will face all year, meaning that Nebraska’s offense may be kept under wraps, and the game could turn into a field goal-kicking contest.  

    If that is the case, then the advantage goes to Brett Maher and Nebraska.

    If Nebraska can avoid turnovers that lead to points for Michigan State, NU’s offense should be good enough to outpace a struggling Spartan offense in what should be a low-scoring contest.


    Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 16, Michigan State 9


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