This week, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are heading north once again and hoping that they will find different results than they did last time they left their home state for a Big Ten matchup. Coach Bo Pelini is taking his team to visit coach Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines.
The Huskers are looking to start a winning streak in Ann Arbor after their stunning last-second victory over the Northwestern Wildcats. On the other side of the ball, the Huskers will be staring down a Wolverines team who just lost the Paul Bunyan Trophy to Mike Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans.
The Huskers still feel like they can be a contender in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. The Huskers will have many obstacles to overcome to get to that point. The most daunting hurdle will be in two weeks when the Spartans visit Lincoln, but for now the Cornhuskers must focus on the Wolverines.
The Huskers will be facing Devin Gardner this week, who is infuriating both as a runner and a passer. In fact, Gardner is infuriating to many Wolverine fans as well as he has not had the season many had predicted. He has a tendency to make errant throws and sail a ball once in a while.
The Huskers have a very opportunistic defense. The secondary is full of ball-hawking defenders who love to get their hands on the ball. The defense also has been coached to play with their hands up, which has produced some very exciting plays for Nebraska — just see Avery Moss’s interception for a touchdown last week.
To defeat the Wolverines, the game plan for Nebraska doesn’t need to be much different than what it was this week. Yes, Nebraska will look to take the ball away, but the Wolverines would be well advised to expect some added pressure at times. The Huskers are likely to watch the game film of the Spartans’ defense against the Wolverines’ defense, which will show the difficulty Gardner had getting rid of the ball.
The Huskers will send blitzes from various places on the field, allowing some of their more athletic players an opportunity to get to the quarterback.
The Huskers can start any of their quarterbacks on the roster. It would seem that all are equally capable of producing a victory. It would be nice to see the Huskers wide receiver corps back in full force and even better, to see a healthy Taylor Martinez. These are all very effective offensive tools, but the most effective for the Huskers is their I-Back Ameer Abdullah.
Abdullah is an all-Big Ten talent at running back in a conference with some very effective running backs. The Huskers have not done enough to get the young man the ball this season. On the road in a very loud stadium would be an outstanding venue to allow Abdullah to shine. In fact, how about letting him return some punts like he has in seasons past? This would give the Huskers’ dismal return game a big spark.