The Huskers have seen an immense turnaround in their performances since starting the season with six consecutive losses, but question marks still swirl around the Blackshirts.
Nebraska surrendered 383 rushing yards to Illinois, 187 of which came against former Husker quarterback A.J. Bush. “Last week obviously (we) had a lot of run fit issues,” defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. “(There) were a lot of eyes in the wrong place… they (Illinois) did a good job of running that offense.”
This week though, things could get interesting for the Husker defense. Michigan State has used two quarterbacks their last four games. Their starter, Brian Lewerke, has thrown more interceptions than he has touchdown passes this season. That said, Lewerke could still reach the 2,000 yard single season passing mark against the Huskers on Saturday, as he is sitting at 1,868 yards for the season right now.
Freshman Rocky Lombardi is the other QB that’s been vying for playing time, having entered the game for the Spartans their last four games. Over that stretch, Lombardi has thrown for over 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“With their two guys, it’s kind of, what plays they run,” Chinander said. “I don’t know if the skill set is completely different. I think they both do a good job of running their offense.”
In terms of Michigan State’s run game, it ranks 116th in rushing offense in the FBS, averaging just over 118 yards per play on the ground. The Spartan’s most experienced running back, L.J. Scott, is out for the season. Michigan State will most probably need to beat Nebraska through the air, despite the Husker’s struggles in their run defense against Illinois.
It’s senior day at Memorial Stadium, kickoff set for 11 A.M. Central Time. The game will be televised on FOX.