Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Conference play is almost here for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but there is one final tune-up against South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Nebraska Offense vs. South Dakota State Defense
The Cornhuskers offense has will be different today with senior quarterback Taylor Martinez doubtful to play. Tommy Armstrong Jr., a redshirt freshman, is expected to make his first career start. Armstrong will help an already stout rushing attack for the Huskers. South Dakota State possesses an opportunistic defense that creates many turnovers at the FCS level. The Huskers must hold on to the ball to have success and avoid giving any chances to the South Dakota State.
Matchup Outlook: Look for the Huskers to physically control the line of scrimmage with their offensive line and impose their ground game early and often against a slightly smaller South Dakota State defensive line. The Huskers also have an advantage on the outside with their physical receivers.
South Dakota State Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
The Jackrabbits love to run the ball. They are led by quarterback Austen Summers and running back Zach Zenner. Zenner is an All-American at the FCS level and a home run threat. The good news for the Huskers defense this week is that they are not facing a spread offense attack. The Jackrabbits run the ball the majority of the time. The key for South Dakota State is their offensive line opening holes for Zenner and their other backs. If they can look for them to compete with the Huskers.
Matchup Outlook: Look for South Dakota State to run the ball early and often. The Huskers may put eight in the box for most of the game, but if they can force the Jackrabbits into passing situations it will make life hard for their offense.
Special Teams Preview
Special Teams shouldn’t have an impact on this matchup unless both defenses end up playing so great that the offenses are paralyzed. That is when field position or a huge return could turn this game around.
Overall Game Outlook
The Huskers have better athletes than the Jackrabbits, but this game has the potential to be closer than many people think. I see the Huskers pulling away in the second half.
Huskers 42 Jackrabbits 20