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Get to Know the Opponent: Nebraska

The Huskers offense has started to get rolling, but the defense remains beatable.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Two games left for the Spartans in the regular season. A win this week gives them a pretty good shot at a New Year’s Day bowl, which would be a pretty acceptable outcome considering the ups and downs of this year.

This is the final road game of the season for Michigan State, who has gone 3-1 on the road so far, including winning all three Big Ten road games. The opponent this week is Nebraska, the first time the teams will face off since 2015.

School: University of Nebraska

Nickname: Cornhuskers

Conference: Big Ten (West Division)

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Head Coach: Scott Frost (1st season)

Record: 3-7 (2-5 in Big Ten)

Mascot: Herbie Husker

All-Time Series: Nebraska leads 6-2 (Huskers lead 3-2 since joining the Big Ten)

Nebraska alum Scott Frost took over the program this year after leading UCF to an undefeated season last year. His tenure got off to a rough start with the Huskers losing their first six games of the season, including a home loss to Troy. The Huskers are 3-1 since then with their loss being a close one to Ohio State in Columbus.

Team Stats

Scott Frost’s background is on the offensive side of the ball, so it is no surprise that the offense is ahead of the defense at this point. The Huskers are currently 41st in the nation averaging 32.3 points per game.

They have been strong on the ground, averaging 226.50 yards per game, good for 22nd in the country. They are even better when it comes to yards per attempt, ranking 17th nationally with an average of 5.65 yards per carry.

Through the air the Huskers check in at 43rd overall at 256.1 yards per game. They are 42nd with an average of 7.8 yards per attempt, and 50th in passer rating.

Defensively, it is a different story. The Huskers are 102nd in the country in scoring defense allowing 33.8 points per game.

They are 90th in rush defense allowing 194 yards per game on the ground and are allowing just over five yards per carry, ranking 103rd in the country.

The pass defense is 101st overall, allowing 255.4 yards per game. They are better at yards per attempt, where they allow 7.2 yards per pass, checking in at 64th overall.

Nebraska has been turnover prone this year, coughing it up 19 times through 10 games, which is 106th in the country. However, they have been able to force 18 turnovers on defense, 28th most in the country, to make up for some of the turnover issues.

Key Players

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez has had some expected growing pains this year, but has the look of someone who will be really tough to deal with over the next few years. Martinez has thrown for over 2,200 yards and 15 touchdowns, while being picked off seven times. He averages 8.1 yards per attempt and over 245 yards per game.

Oh, he’s also the team’s second leading rusher, with 535 yards on 116 attempts. He also has seven touchdowns and averages 4.61 yards per carry.

The team’s leading rusher is Devine Ozigbo, who is closing in a 1,000 yard season at 958 yards. He is averaging 7.54 yards per carry and has 12 TD’s on the ground. Ozigbo also has 17 catches for 164 yards out of the backfield.

The Huskers have a pair of big time receivers. Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman both have over 800 yards receiving. Morgan has a slight lead in yards (856), while Spielman leads the team in receptions (66) and touchdowns (8). He also is averaging over 17 yards per punt return and has a return TD.

On defense Luke Gifford holds the team lead with 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Ben Stille has five sacks on the season and five tackles for loss.

Linebacker Mohamed Barry leads the team with 93 tackles and is second with 9.5 tackles for loss.

Lamar Jackson and Deontai Williams each have a pair of interceptions for a defense that has picked off opposing QB’s 10 times so far this year.