After avoiding a letdown in the game after reclaiming the Paul Bunyan Trophy, MSU comes back to East Lansing with an 8-0 record to take on once-upon-a-time powerhouse Nebraska. Oh, but how the mighty have fallen. As a casual observer, I feel the Cornhuskers’ collapse began right when they moved to the Big Ten in 2011. I guess something about how those farm boys play football fared better in the Big XII than in the B1G.
While Nebraska does hold a 9-3 advantage in the all-time series, MSU’s three wins have all come in the last five matchups including the only game Mel Tucker has coached against them. This certainly is not the same program that won the first 7 all-time matchups against MSU. In fact, Nebraska has not had a winning season since 2016 and last year may have been their worst. While finishing only a game worse than MSU, the Huskers did lose a non-conference home game to Georgia Southern.
I don’t expect Nebraska to turn it around in 2023, either. Looking at their schedule, I see them coming into the tilt in East Lansing with a 3-5 record, 4-4 as a best-case scenario. No matter what, though, MSU will be in peak form at this point and will be ready to inch one game closer in the all-time matchup.
This won’t be like the Minnesota game where MSU relied on trickery to earn the victory. In this one, expect MSU to play more straight-forward football and demonstrate that they just have better football players. Also, Nebraska will have a new head coach in 2023 as former Carolina Panthers H.C. Matt Rhule has been hired to try and right the ship. But similar to his tenure in Carolina where he attempted to make Sam Darnold his quarterback, Rhule will make some poor decisions with his quarterback position here and by midseason, the Cornhuskers will have themselves a QB controversy. In the game against MSU, they will tap Chubba Purdy to take his first start of this season, making him their third starting QB of the year. Chubba is the younger brother of San Francisco 49ers starter, Brock Purdy. Doesn’t matter. The result will be what you expect for a team without an identifiable starting quarterback going against an 8-0 team. And with the win, MSU will be the first team in football history to beat a Penix and a Chubb in the same season.
6 days until the opener. Make sure that fridge is stocked with beer. You won’t have time to do it during the week.