Jan 1, 2013; Jacksonville FL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats players including defensive lineman Bo Cisek (1) celebrate with fans after their Gator Bowl game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at EverBank Field. The Northwestern Wildcats beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Nebraska Cornhuskers Football: 5 Pivotal Games for The Huskers

November 3, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers

 

While the 2013 schedule looks much easier than it did in 2012, it is filled with trap games. Ohio State and Wisconsin are absent and have been replaced with the Fighting Illini of Illinois and The Purdue Boilermakers. While these two games should not present a problem for The Big Red, familiar foes will stare them eye to eye. Here are five pivotal games for the 2013 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

5)  Saturday November 16th vs Michigan State: While no one is picking Michigan State to be real contenders for The Big Ten Legends Division, Sparty is not a team to sleep on. When Nebraska travels to Spartan Stadium to take on MSU, they will be coming off of battles with Northwestern and Michigan. It will also be that time of year when players start to break down from physical Big Ten play. This game leads into a trip to Happy Valley, so for The Huskers this game is a must win.

4) Saturday November 23rd at Penn State:The Penn State Nittany Lions have absolutely nothing to lose all season long. They will be on a mission to take out as many contenders as they can since every game is essentially their bowl game. Uncertainty at the quarterback position makes Penn State seem like an unlikely world beater, but they will knock a few contenders down in 2013. With this game just six days before Iowa, Nebraska would be best served by grabbing a big lead early so that starters can watch the fourth quarter.

3) Saturday November 2nd vs Northwestern:We all remember what happened the last time Northwestern came to Lincoln. I can still hear the groans and loud, enthusiastic conversations that followed. Last year almost ended the same, but Nebraska found a way to walk out of Chicago with a 29-28 win. While Trevor Siemian does not pose the same duel threat as Kain Coulter does, the two form quite a dynamic duo at quarterback. Northwestern is a team to be very weary of. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald will have his team focused, as he always does. This gritty Wildcat team is always good for an upset or two every year. Nebraska needs to make sure they are not one of those casualties.

2) Saturday September 14 vs UCLA: This game is by far the second most important game on the schedule for the 2013 Nebraska Cornhuskers. While the early 11am kickoff might seem early, it will kick off a day when most eyes will be watching college football from sunrise to sundown. The Bruins embarrassed Nebraska last year in a game when the entire nation was watching. They ran through the Husker defense like Mack Trucks down the interstate. Nebraska need to make a statement early in the season if they want to build credibility with football pundits and pollsters late in the year. This game could seal the fate of the Huskers before the season really gets started.”

1) Saturday November 9th at Michigan:Nebraska is 1-1 vs Michigan since joining The Big Ten. Each team has held serve at home, and this year something has to give. The two favorites to win The Legends Division should both be on top of their perspective games in this one. Devin Gardner is a duel threat that will cause problems for a young group of Blackshirts. This game might be a shootout. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck will need to draw up the best game of his career. Taylor Martinez will need one of his best as well. If Nebraska wants to play for a Big Ten Championship, this game is a must win.

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