The Spartans are facing a halftime deficit in Lincoln as they trail Nebraska 10-3. If Michigan State wants to keep their Big Ten Championship Game hopes alive, they must make a few changes before the second half kicks off.
1. Abort the Deep Throws
Nebraska is playing a two-high safety look, which means all down-field throws for Kirk Cousins are being taken away. Yet, the Spartans quarterback has forced multiple deep throws into double and even triple coverage.
Michigan State needs to start to look for tight ends over the middle and screens to the running backs coming out of the backfield. The Spartans have an unacceptable 84 yards of total offense in the first half.
2. Pound the Rock
Michigan State needs to exploit the numbers game. With both Nebraska safeties playing as much as 15 yards off the line of scrimmage, the Spartans need to run the ball between the tackles.
All of the outside runs and pitches give the speedy Husker defense time to adjust and string those runs out for little to no gain. The Spartans can put together a long, sustained drive using tough running to get back in this game.
3. Special Teams Splash
This game has all the makings of a classic Big Ten slugfest (which is ironic since this is Nebraska's first year in the Big Ten). Both defenses are playing inspired football. Scoring will continue to come at a premium.
The Spartans need to make a big play on specials teams, whether it be a kick return touchdown (Nick Hill had a 62-yard kickoff return in the first half) or a blocked punt, the Spartans special teams needs to come up big in the second half.
Look for the Spartans to continue attacking Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, who has zero passing yards in the first half. Also, while the deep pass is being shut down by the Nebraska defense, it is highly unlikely that B.J. Cunningham will go without making some noise in the second half.
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