The Matchup (Michigan State)

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How can Nebraska win?

Nebraska can win by overcoming the blitz. Michigan State’s defense ranks in the top 10 nationally in almost every category, and they like to bring the heat. If quarterback Taylor Martinez can keep his cool and make his reads quick, the Huskers may be able to dismantle the Spartans’ defense. Once the Spartans have to respect the pass, Nebraska will be able to do its thing and run the ball.

On defense, the Blackshirts should have an easy go in the rushing game, as Michigan State has struggled to move the ball on the ground. Their passing game, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, is a different story. Look for the Spartans to single out new starting cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste as well as safety Daimion Stafford. If these two can step up, the Blackshirts should shut down Cousins.

How can Michigan State win?

Michigan State can win by making Martinez uncomfortable. If the Spartans can frustrate Martinez, like they appeared to do against Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, then they could win big. Martinez at his worst is Michigan State’s best weapon.

On offense, Michigan State can take control of the game early by establishing a rhythm in the passing game. While Nebraska cornerback Alfonso Dennard will pose a problem for Cousins, there are a number of soft spots in Nebraska’s secondary that the Spartans can expose. If the Spartans can get on a roll in the passing game, their normally weak rushing attack will have some room to shine.

The most interesting thing to watch for will be…

Nebraska’s rushing offense versus Michigan State’s rushing defense. Nebraska’s rushing offense ranks 7th in the nation while Michigan State’s rushing defense ranks 8th. Husker running back Rex Burkhead is the player to watch in this game, as his performance will ultimately dictate who wins this matchup, and could ultimately decide the winner of the game.

Who will win?

Michigan State’s defense looks overwhelming right now. Unlike Nebraska’s defense last year, the Spartans have a viable offense to back it up. After seeing Michigan State play Wisconsin to a last second victory last week, it seems that the Spartans will be a bit too much for the Huskers to handle in a close game.

Michigan State – 24, Nebraska – 21

Photo courtesy Associated Press.

By Chris Peters.