Nebraska vs. Michigan State: Key Performers for Cornhuskers in Big Ten Clash

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 3, 2012

Sep 29, 2012; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers safety Daimion Stafford (3) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium in the second half. Nebraska won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Nebraska's top offensive stars, Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell, will no doubt be at their best on the road Saturday against Big Ten foe Michigan State.

Therefore, the key to a Cornhuskers' win will be the timely performances from some of Bo Pelini's other key players. The 'Huskers will need a strong all-around effort on offense, defense and even special teams in order to get their fourth conference win this fall. 

Here, we highlight a trio of key names who must step up for Nebraska at Michigan State on Saturday.


Brett Maher, K

In a game against the 10th-best scoring defense in college football, field goals will be absolutely crucial. Nebraska sunk Michigan last weekend thanks to three third-quarter field goals by senior kicker Brett Maher, who also handles punt duty.

After a rough start to the season, Maher has found his groove and hasn't missed a field goal attempt since September. Only one of Maher's five misses has come from inside 40 yards out, while two have come from beyond 50 yards. 

Michigan State is famous for forcing opponents to settle for three points, and that will put added emphasis on Maher's play Saturday afternoon in East Lansing. 


Quincy Enunwa, WR

Nebraska's second-leading wide receiver, Quincy Enunwa has flown under the radar this season thanks to the brilliance of Kenny Bell on the outside. Enunwa has 25 receptions (only three fewer than leading WR Kenny Bell) for 300 yards and a touchdown this season, but he had the best game of his career the last time the Cornhuskers were on the road.

The junior wideout recorded six receptions for 110 yards in Nebraska's one-point win over Northwestern two weeks ago, helping his team erase a mighty deficit to win in a hostile environment and remain in contention for a conference title at season's end.

If Bo Pelini's 'Huskers are going to keep those hopes alive in Week 10 at Michigan State, they will need the speedy 6'2" receiver to be at his best.


Daimion Stafford, S

Senior safety Daimion Stafford has been a consistent force for Nebraska's defense this season, making tackles in the running game and defending every bit as well in the passing game. 

The California native will need to bring his A-game to East Lansing on Saturday, though, as the Cornhuskers square off against a passing attack in Michigan State that is averaging nearly 230 yards through the air per week.

Stafford has tallied 23 total tackles in three road games this season and recorded his first interception of the year last week against Michigan. He may not be the most talked about playmaker on the defensive side for Pelini's program, but he will be critical for Nebraska in Saturday's epic Big Ten clash versus Michigan State.


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