Following their upset win over the Wisconsin Badgers on an improbable Hail Mary, the Michigan State Spartans now control their own destiny in the race to the Big Ten Championship and ultimately, the Rose Bowl. They're the only undefeated side in the Legends Division (I laugh every time I type this) with a pack of one-loss teams behind them. One of those teams is their opponent on Saturday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (noon ET, ESPN; march here for Nebraska-Michigan State score updates and here for game stories from around the country).
Nebraska blog Corn Nation believes that the game is going to come down to a battle in the trenches, which can be said for a lot of Big Ten matchups. Nebraska's offensive line is performing well, but Michigan State's defensive front provides a tough matchup.
On offense, it'll come down to a battle in the trenches between Nebraska's improved offensive line and Michigan State's powerful defensive line. Nebraska's strategy of fast-paced play worked out, in the end, against Ohio State and might be a blueprint against Michigan State. Early on against the Buckeyes, it didn't appear that way. Up until the middle of the third quarter, the Nebraska rushing attack was stuck in neutral, but something was happening at the time that wasn't immediately apparent. While the yardage wasn't coming, the Buckeyes were wearing down with Nebraska's fast tempo. As the game wore on, the Buckeyes became tired, and the rushing game opened up like a dam breaking.
Michigan State blog The Only Colors is confident in their run-stopping ability, but just to be safe, they would like to bait Taylor Martinez into actually throwing the ball, instead of just running it.
Martinez is extremely effective when he keeps the ball in his hands; he averages 5.78 yards per carry - coincidentally, the same amount as Burkhead. This rushing prowess is starkly contrasted with his passing game, as he ranks 68th in the FBS in pass efficiency. His completion percentage is even worse, as he is 89th in the FBS at 55.0%. The defensive game plan for Nebraska will hopefully be much the same as it was for Michigan - stack many defenders in the box, force third and longs, and make Martinez beat MSU through the air, where Robinson, Lewis, Adams, Dennard et al. will be waiting.
Game date, time: Saturday, October 29, 12:00 P.M. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
TV channel: ESPN/ESPN3
Spread: Nebraska favored by four points
Series history: Nebraska leads 5-0
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Nebraska Cornhuskers blog Corn Nation and Michigan State Spartans blog The Only Colors. Here's this week's college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub for more.