Conference play begins this week for the Big Red as they face 19th ranked Michigan on the road, in the Big House. Nebraska of course, is coming off of a 24-19 loss over Troy as they fall to 0-2. Michigan is boasting a 2-1 record with a big win over SMU 45-20. This game between Nebraska and Michigan will be won at the line of scrimmage.
This Michigan team under the direction of Jim Harbaugh isn’t very flashy, but they have a transfer quarterback from Ole Miss that does a nice job of managing the game. Shea Patterson, a junior, has a completion percentage of 70%, 589 yards, and six touchdowns. Senior running back Karan Higdon is a big time player. Higdon is averaging 114 yards per game in the two contests he’s played. He also has two touchdowns on the year. Donovan Peoples-Jones is the big play threat receiver for the Wolverines. Peoples-Jones is averaging 53 yards per game and already has four touchdown receptions on the year.
The Michigan defense is the main reason this team is ranked and is tough. Junior defensive lineman Rashan Gary is a potential top pick in the NFL draft. Gary has 14 tackles and causes a lot of problems as he already has three hits on the quarterback this year. The leading tackler of this defense is junior linebacker Devin Bush. Bush already has 22 tackles on the season.
For Nebraska, a lot of questions need answered. The number one that will be addressed in this game is special teams. That was the difference in game last week against Troy. On the offensive side of the ball, Adrian Martinez is somewhat of a question mark heading into this game as he still battles a knee injury, but he has been practicing all week. If it’s Martinez or sophomore Andrew Bunch, going into a stadium with more than 100,000 fans will be a daunting task.
The running back play has been solid, but the numbers that the group has put up could be better. The offensive line play has had it’s problems, but if they can control the line of scrimmage, the Huskers will have a good chance against this tough Michigan defense. So far, Devine Ozigbo has 91 yards and the lone score for the running backs. Greg Bell is the leading rusher with 162 yards and a 6.2 yard per carry average. The freshman, Maurice Washington, has showed off his ability to make big plays and be reliable.
Wide receiver play with senior Stanley Morgan and sophomore JD Spielman have showed out as Morgan has 139 yards and a touchdown and Speilman has 112 yards and a pair of scores.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Blackshirts allowed 17 points. In most cases with the offense firing on all cylinders, that will win ball games. With Mohammed Barry coming back after the targeting call, that will help. The defensive line will need to create more pressure again this week. Sophomore Ben Stille has gotten into the backfield a number of times, but has just the one sack.
For the secondary, that level of the defense will need to be on the lookout this week. Michigan is known to lull teams with the run, then throw the ball in play action. Junior Lamar Jackson was able to nab an interception, the first time a cornerback has had a pick since October of 2016 for the Big Red. A lot of times, the secondary is the toughest aspect to change in a defense, and this group will be tested this week.
You can hear the game on Nebraska’s longest running affiliate 880 KRVN and 106.9 FM with pregame beginning at 8 A.M. and kickoff is set for 11:00 A.M.