Michigan State Set for Saturday Night Showdown with Nebraska

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East Lansing – Saturday night, the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans head to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers in a primetime matchup on ESPN.

“Nebraska is my favorite place to play when we go on the road. The fans are extremely welcoming,” senior linebacker Darien Harris said.

“They pack the house, so it is a blast to play in that type of environment. They are extremely passionate,” Harris continued.        

Nebraska has one of the most loyal fan bases in all of college football, setting the record for most consecutive sellouts dating all the way back to 1962.

“Nebraska has a tremendous amount of tradition. I have a great deal of respect for their fans, and how they do things,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said.

Between the two programs, the Huskers have the upper hand, leading the series 7-2. This includes a 4-1 record against the Spartans in games played in Memorial Stadium. In Big Ten contests the series is knotted at 2-2, with the Spartans edging past Nebraska as of late taking the last two meetings.

This year, Nebraska is limping through a season of heartache, losing close game after close game, which is something any Spartan fan can relate to.

Michigan State lost five games in 2012 by a total of 13 points. For the Huskers, their first five losses were by a margin of 13 points as well. To put the season in perspective – the Cornhuskers’ last loss came to the hands of Purdue by a final score of 55-45. A margin of 10 came between the Huskers and a victory, which is also the largest margin of defeat this campaign for Nebraska.

One thing the Huskers do extremely well is converting first downs and moving the chains. Nebraska ranks first in the Big Ten and 20th in the country in number of first downs (203). Meanwhile, the Spartans have moved the chains 182 times this season, putting them fourth in the Big Ten and 36th in the nation.

There are a lot of similarities between the Cornhuskers and the Indiana Hoosiers – Michigan State’s last opponent before the bye week. Both the Hoosiers and the Huskers have a weak, sluggish defense that surrenders a lot of points. And on the opposite side of the ball both squads have fast-paced offenses. This could spell an easy adjustment for the Spartans, as Michigan State buried Indiana in the final quarter of play two short weeks ago.

For the Nebraska faithful however – this is contrary to what “The Sea of Red” is accustomed to. During the Tom Osborne years, and the golden era of what was national supremacy for Nebraska, the Huskers dominated the ground and had one of the toughest defenses in college football. Those days seem a distant memory for any Big Red fan. The Huskers pass defense is one of the worst in the nation, allowing 315.9 yards per game. Meaning senior quarterback, Connor Cook and company will look to exploit the Huskers through the air.

On the flip side, the Huskers have the second best pass offense in the Big Ten, throwing for 276.9 yards per game. This matches up well against a lackluster Spartans secondary that has given up on average 241 passing yards.

Both programs have a long history of tough defenses, but this game might turn into a high-scoring showdown with both teams putting up big numbers offensively.