College Football
Preview
Michigan State at Nebraska
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 17, 2018
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska

Michigan State looks to bounce back from a tough loss when it travels to face a resurgent Nebraska squad in a Big Ten Conference matchup Saturday. The Spartans fell to No. 8 Ohio State at home 26-6 last week, while the Cornhuskers won for the third time in four games, topping Illinois 54-35.

The Michigan State offense struggled against the Buckeyes, with coach Mark Dantonio going back and forth between quarterbacks Brian Lewerke and Rocky Lombardi as neither had much success. As much as the offense has struggled, the Spartans' defense has been outstanding, leading the nation in rushing defense (76.5 yards per game) and ranking 14th in third-down conversion defense (.320), led by defensive end Kenny Willekes (Big Ten-best 17 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks). Nebraska will give Michigan State defense a test, though, as the Cornhuskers have averaged 45.8 points over their last four contests. Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez is at the helm of coach Scott Frost's offense, throwing for 2,212 yards and 15 touchdowns, while running back Devine Ozigbo is the top ground gainer (958 yards, 12 touchdowns) for a Cornhuskers running game that ranks 22nd in the country (226.5 yards per game).

TV: Noon ET, FOX. LINE: Michigan State -2.5

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten): Dantonio has been playing a juggling game at quarterback with Lewerke, a junior, limited because of a sore shoulder but the more experienced of the two Spartans signal callers, and the freshman Lombardi. Lewerke remains listed as the starter on the team's depth chart, but he was 11-of-28 for 128 yards and an interception against Ohio State. Lombardi was 7-of-20 for 92 yards, rushed for a team-best 49 yards and led the only two Michigan State scoring drives against the Buckeyes but was pulled in the fourth quarter in favor of Lewerke after a pair of turnovers, making it anyone's guess who Dantonio will go with this week and for how long.

ABOUT NEBRASKA (3-7, 2-5): The Nebraska defense hasn't been exactly stout this season, allowing 33.8 points and 449.4 yards per contest, but the Cornhuskers have started to create turnovers in the last few games, which has coincided with the team starting to pick up wins as well. Nebraska had five takeaways last week versus Illinois, the most by the team since having six in the second game of the 2016 season, and the Cornhuskers have recorded three or more takeaways in each of the past three contests. Safety Deontai Williams and cornerback Lamar Jackson each have two interceptions to lead the team while three safeties -- Tre Neal, Williams and JoJo Domann -- lead the Cornhuskers with two forced fumbles apiece.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Michigan State is the only team in the FBS to use five different punters this season, with redshirt freshman walk-on Bryce Baringer and freshman walk-on William Przystup splitting the duties last week.

2. Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr. needs four receptions and 91 receiving yards in the final two games to become the school's career leader in both categories.

3. Ozigbo passed the 2,000-yard career rushing plateau last week (2,072) and needs 42 to be the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Cornhuskers since 2014.

PREDICTION: Nebraska 27, Michigan State 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Michigan State 6-4 L1 21.7 19.7 3-3 3-1 4-4 0-0 4-3
Nebraska 3-7 W1 32.3 33.8 3-3 0-4 0-1 0-0 2-5
Last Meeting
Michigan State Nebraska
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/7/15 MSU 38 NEB 39 491 143 348 499 179 320
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Michigan State C. Cook 62.2 335 4 1
Nebraska T. Armstrong Jr. 57.6 320 2 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Michigan State G. Holmes 22 117 5.3 1
Nebraska I. Cross 18 98 5.4 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Michigan State A. Burbridge 10 164 16.4 1
Nebraska J. Westerkamp 9 143 15.9 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Michigan State M. Kings Jr. 2
Nebraska T. Armstrong Jr. 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Michigan State B. Lewerke 54.4 1868 8 9
Nebraska A. Martinez 66.9 2212 15 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Michigan State C. Heyward 74 359 4.9 5
Nebraska D. Ozigbo 127 958 7.5 12
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Michigan State F. Davis III 31 474 15.3 4
Nebraska S. Morgan Jr. 59 856 14.5 7
Touchdowns Player TD
Michigan State F. Davis III 5
Nebraska D. Ozigbo 12
Quickchart Matchup
Michigan State Michigan State Off vs  Nebraska Nebraska Def
Michigan State 351.7 yards
Nebraska 449.5 yards
Michigan State 3.5 yards/rush
Nebraska 5 yards/rush
Michigan State 6.3 yards/attempt
Nebraska 7.2 yards/attempt
Nebraska Nebraska Off vs  Michigan State Michigan State Def
Nebraska 482.6 yards
Michigan State 327.3 yards
Nebraska 5.6 yards/rush
Michigan State 2.6 yards/rush
Nebraska 7.8 yards/attempt
Michigan State 6.4 yards/attempt