They'll need plenty of additional help, but the Michigan State Spartans can keep their hopes of playing in a second straight Big Ten Championship Game clinging to life with a win over Nebraska on Saturday.
Remembering the outcome of last season's matchup, the Spartans know it won't be easy—even at home.
One year ago—almost to the day—State traveled to Lincoln, Neb. fresh off a thrilling win over Wisconsin and in control of the Legends Division. When it left, 60 minutes of dominant football had been played—but it was the Cornhuskers who handed out a 24-3 beating on the field at Memorial Stadium.
This year it's Nebraska, 6-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play, who holds the top spot in the Legends Division coming into the game, and the Cornhuskers defense has been heating up in recent weeks. The Spartans, once again coming off an uplifting victory over the Badgers—this time a 16-13 overtime win—know they'll have to step up their game in order to taste victory this time around.
Here are five keys to the game which will be crucial for Michigan State (5-4, 2-3) and its chances for victory in East Lansing this weekend.