I already hate this game.
A Nebraska team with moxie, on the road and with a certified boondoggle going down on offense.
Let’s see how MSU can win this one, what key stats are worth looking at and if we can keep this best bet heat check going.
3 Things We Want To See
Own the possession game
We all could use a little bit of TOP.
MSU needs to own this game because, if they don’t, this could turn into a shootout. We all know by now that Mark Dantonio has zero problem sitting on that ball like a mother hen…but can this offense actually execute that game plan?
With Nebraska’s struggling run defense (averaging 5.2 yards per carry), the Spartans should be able to run the ball consistently and slow the game down. Again, should be. After watching this run game for 10 games, we know that’s far from a guarantee.
The pass defense still balling out
MSU’s pass defense has been stellar the last few games since Josiah Scott returned (imagine that). On the contrary, Nebraska’s passing game behind Adrian Martinez has also improved as the freshman has thrown nine touchdowns and two interceptions with a completion percentage north of 70 in the last four games combined.
Justin Layne at receiver
Now, this might be a point where if a coach read this they would scoff and say “the heck is this idiot talking about?”
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. Justin Layne – a converted receiver – looked great in his few moments at receiver against Purdue. Sure, the stat line says he had one catch for 11 yards, but that really could have been two touchdowns. He didn’t get a lot of run at receiver, but when he did he was seen open down the field twice, burning his guy to an absolute crisp.
Now, unfortunately, Rocky Lombardi was a little too jacked up and sailed both passes. But Layne has big play potential if this game gets to shootout range.
2 Key Stats
That’s how many 100 yard-plus rushing games senior running back Devine Ozigbo has had in the last five games for Nebraska. In that same stretch he’s had three games where he averages more than 10 YARDS A CARRY. His lowest average carry performance in the last five games is still a solid 4.3 yards against Ohio State.
MSU’s run defense is great, but can they contain arguably the best running back in the Big Ten with Nebraska’s offensive line picking up confidence with every week?
That’s Nebraska kicker Barret Pickering’s field goals made/attempted clip this season. This game could be close – hence the spread we’ll get to later – and special teams will play a factor. Just go back to last week to see how important special teams is. I think Ohio State just downed another punt at the three.
Anyway, that clip is pretty standard for a college kicker. What’s notable here is that field goal attempts over 40 yards, he’s 0/3 on those for the year. However, the fact they trotted him out for a 54 yard attempt earlier says that this kid does have the leg for it.
1 Best Bet
(MSU -1.5, O/U 48.5)
Last week was the easiest money made, hitting on the unofficial under and the official OSU cover.
This week? This is a really tough one. I hate the spread because I don’t know who MSU starts at quarterback. And if Rocky does start, is his confidence shook by what happened last week? MSU’s defense has been stout, but can they answer the call of a tough task yet again?
As for the over/under, can MSU’s offense keep up with Nebraska’s to hit the over? On the other hand, will MSU’s defense even let Nebraska take flight?
So many mysteries here. I’m going to go with the over here. I think both teams at least get into the mid-20s here, and I also think this is a “first team to 30” sort of game.
What’s your best bet for Saturday?
This poll is closed