Game Day Guide: What you need to know for Nebraska-Michigan State
Nebraska is one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016. Does that happen Saturday against Michigan State?
Hello and happy game day. Saturday has the potential to be a big day for Nebraska (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) and it’s hard not to think about what a win over Michigan State (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) would mean.
First, it would give Nebraska its first four-game win streak since the 2016 season. You know what else happened during that 2016 season? The Huskers became bowl eligible.
On Oct. 15, 2016, Nebraska defeated Indiana, 27-22, for its sixth win of the season. The Huskers were ranked within the top 10 and things were looking good. Seven years later, Nebraska has a chance to recapture that feeling and qualify for a bowl game.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. Nebraska still has to face Michigan State on Saturday, and coach Matt Rhule is doing his best to keep his team as level headed as possible. We, as the media and fans, may look at what Rhule and his staff have done so far this season and look for comparisons.
In some ways, it feels like the Huskers have skipped over the Year 1 woes that Rhule faced at places like Temple and Baylor. Rhule’s taking each week as it comes, but even he admitted this Nebraska team has surpassed what he’s seen elsewhere.
“My challenge to them has been to double down on it one more time here and see what you can do,” Rhule said on Monday. “See if you can go get another win this week and see if you can go 1-0. See if you can truly be 1-0 mindset. Don’t say, ‘Yeah, we would love to get X,Y and Z done but we are going to try and go 1-0 this week’. Truly buy into that process of, ‘Man, what do we have to do this week to play well?’
“They are far ahead of where they were in our second years at Temple and Baylor.”
Michigan State has the chance to play spoiler in this game, but interim head coach Harlon Barnett just wants the Spartans to focus on winning. Following Michigan State’s 27-12 loss to Minnesota last week, Barnett sees the next four matchups as an opportunity more than anything else.
A random note but Saturday also marks Senior Day for Michigan State. While the Spartans’ Black Friday matchup is technically a home game for the team, it’s also set for Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. With Michigan State’s next two matchups on the road at Ohio State and Indiana, Saturday is the Spartans’ last official home game.
And with that, cheers. Let’s game day.
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Nebraska versus Michigan State: Everything you need to know for game day
TV Channel: FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman)
Date: Saturday, November 4
Time: 11 a.m. CT
Live Stream: FoxSports.com (with TV provider)
Radio: Nebraska fans can listen to the game on the Huskers Radio Network. Internet radio, as well as a Spanish broadcast, will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies. High of 53 degrees. Winds light and variable.
Line: Nebraska -3
Head coach Matt Rhule on addressing Nebraska’s ball security woes:
“I hate to say this because it’s embarrassing to say, but we coached it better (this week). We coached it better. We sat down as a staff on Sunday and went through every single fumble, why they’re happening, a lot of them have been on the center quarterback exchange, but why they’re happening and what we could do better. We just created drills based upon our body of work to help us. We do ball security every day, but the results weren’t showing that we do ball security everyday. To me, you don’t change, you do things better. If you still do something better and you don’t see any change then you have to change something. So we just changed the impact with the drills that we were doing and I hope it shows up this Saturday. Sometimes they don’t show up right away, sometimes it takes a couple weeks. I feel good about our process this week that we really put our guys in the position to be successful, because if we’re having this many fumbles, if we’re leading the nations in fumbles then I as the head coach am not doing my job. No one wants to fumble, they’re not careless fumbles. We have to improve that.”
Michigan State interim head coach Harlon Barnett on Nebraska:
“I think they’ve found themselves a little bit here now and got a rhythm going and they’re playing well.Credit to them. I believe they found out what they’re good at as a team, as a coaching staff, and they’re just trying to use that to put guys in the best positions to be successful.”
Other games we’re watching
(All games in CT)
Morning - Texas A&M at No. 10 Ole Miss, 11 a.m., ESPN
While Texas A&M has won nine out of its 14 meetings all-time with Ole Miss, the Rebels’ are currently on a three-game winning streak against the Aggies. Can Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss make that four straight? It’ll be an interesting matchup, that’s for sure. A&M’s defense is good, and the Aggie’s have a tough duo on offense in receivers Evan Stewart and Ainias Smith. Ole Miss is a 3.5-point favorite, and home field should be an advantage for the Rebels here. If they win, it will likely be a bit ugly but hey — a win is a win no matter how it looks.
Afternoon - No. 9 Oklahoma at No. 22 Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m., ABC
Farewell, Bedlam. This is the final meeting between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the foreseeable future, and that’s pretty sad. These matchups are truly the most disappointing loss in the shift of conferences and college football as a whole. For now though, this is shaping up to be a pretty great matchup between the two. The Sooners and Cowboys are both vying to take hold of the Big 12 — there are currently five teams tied for first — and this feels like it has the potential of a shootout. It would be a fun way to see Bedlam come to a close.
Evening - No. 14 LSU at No. 8 Alabama, 6:45 p.m. CT, CBS
Another big-time rivalry, but obviously this one will march on after this season. Alabama comes into this matchup on a six-game winning streak, while LSU looks to defeat the Crimson Tide in two straight years for the first time since 2010 and 2011. Alabama is a 2.5-point favorite in this one, and computer models have the Crimson Tide hanging on for the win. However, we know you can run 100 different scenarios and we’ll never truly know what we’re getting until we see it play out on game day. Should be a fun one.
Morning - No. 23 Kansas State at No. 7 Texas, 11:00 a.m., FOX
There’s really nothing not to like about Kansas State’s path to 6-2 at this point. The Wildcats lost by three to now No. 12 Missouri on the road, and the eight-point loss at Oklahoma State, which looked bad at the time, doesn’t look so bad any more with the Cowboys at 6-2. This is one of two games this week featuring two of the five teams tied for first at 4-1 in Big 12 play. No. 9 Oklahoma visits No. 22 Oklahoma State in the 2:30 slot, which might be the last playing of Bedlam. This is movin’ and shakin’ weekend in Nebraska’s former conference.
Afternoon - No. 12 Missouri at No. 2 Georgia, 2:30 p.m., CBS
From a Nebraska perspective, there’s plenty of Big Ten intrigue in the afternoon slot. Illinois-Minnesota is a big game for division-title reasons, and Iowa’s trip to Wrigley Field to face Northwestern is intriguing from a title-race perspective but also as the Hawkeyes’ first game since offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s fate was seeled. I’ll keep a close eye on both those games, but the game that really gets the wheels spinning is Mizzou’s trip to Athens. Georgia finally has a chance at a quality win. Are the Tigers up for challenging that assumption? Let’s find out.
Evening - No.5 Washington at No. 20 USC, 6:30 p.m., ABC
After close scrapes against Arizona and California sandwiching losses to Notre Dame and Utah, the bloom is sort of off the USC rose. Here’s a chance for the Trojans to change the narrative. They need to beat Washington to stay in the Pac-12 race. Meanwhile, the Huskies haven’t been burning it up since beating Oregon three weeks ago, beating Stanford and Arizona State by one score. If Washington is really a national-title contender, it will handle business here on the road.