College Football

Path to Victory: Nebraska vs. Michigan State

It’s been a long season, Husker fans. Feel free to listen to some music while you read, it might help the healing process of losing to … Purdue. What do you blame for Nebraska’s 3-6 start? Bo Pelini’s recruiting, Mike Riley’s coaching, injuries, weather? The answer is: yes. All of those things have contributed to the season so far and it’s been a bad, bad season. We’re losing games in the last second, losing players on celebrations, losing games to Purdue, our pet’s heads are falling off. All is not well in Husker Nation.

However, the season is not over and Nebraska has a huge opportunity to find pride as well as wreck the playoff hopes of two teams. Let us not fret, Husker fans, for our lost season. Let us instead find joy in the destruction of others. Now switch to this song while you’re reading and let’s try to play the villain for a couple of weeks. After all Nebraska’s next opponent, 8-0 Michigan State, has looked far from invincible and so-far unbeaten Iowa is just a few weeks away. Follow me off the Path to Victory and instead take the Path of Destruction.

3rd Down Electricity

Michigan State is converting 50% of their 3rd downs on offense. That’s ridiculous. Nebraska’s defense has to find a way to get off the field on 3rd down. Bringing an extra man is a gamble that leaves Nebraska’s porous secondary exposed but it might be necessary on Saturday. Show Sparty defensive looks they haven’t seen before. Put it all on the table and put QB Connor Cook on the ground.

Cook could give NU's secondary fits.

Cook could give NU’s secondary fits.

Ball Control

Better yet, keep MSU’s offense on the bench. MSU has been somewhat susceptible to the pass but Nebraska coaches need to check their game plan. The desire to chuck the ball 40 yards downfield needs to be replaced with a strong screen game. Short, controlled passes couple with Tommy Armstrong’s scrambles give Nebraska a shot in this one. If Nebraska can limit turnovers, or at least finish with more takeaways, then their chances to win go way up.

Kill

Run faster and hit harder than you have all season. The woe-is-us attitude needs to evaporate from the player’s minds this week in practice. Play with pride, focus your energy and your frustration on every green thing you see. The Huskers haven’t played with enough fire when it mattered most this season. In a game like this, against an opponent like this, fire might be the only thing that can get you to a victory.

Prediction – Nebraska 6 – MSU 24

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