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Greg Sharpe on Michigan Win, Michigan State Match-up for Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

After this weekend, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have two games remaining on the 2013 regular season schedule (Penn State, Iowa).  But what significance those games have will gratefully depend on what happens Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The Huskers host Michigan State, the top team in the Big Ten’s Legends Division, with just one game separating the two in the standings.  A Nebraska win moves them into a first place tie and gives them a tie-breaking edge over MSU should it come to that.

Nebraska v Michigan
ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 09: Zaire Anderson #13 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers brings down Devin Gardner #98 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Last weekend, the Cornhuskers ran their latest win streak to two with a 17-13 win at Michigan.

It was a dominating day for the Nebraska defense, holding the Wolverines to -21 yards rushing and sacking quarterback Devin Gardner seven times.  I asked the ‘Voice of the Cornhuskers’ Greg Sharpe about the play of the defense:

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Nebraska v Michigan
ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 09: Ameer Abdullah #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs away from Jarrod Wilson #22 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Offensively, another standout day for running back Ameer Abdullah, 105 yards rushing, accounting for both of Nebraska’s touchdowns with a running and receiving score.  This week, the junior was also named a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, for the nation’s top running back.

With quarterback Taylor Martinez now sidelined indefinitely, I asked Greg is this was Abdullah’s offense now:

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One of the big questions this weekend will be the status of the offensive line Abdullah runs behind.  With guard Spencer Long out for the season, guard Jake Cotton out indefinitely, and now tackle Jeremiah Sirles injuring a knee at Michigan, what can fans expect up front from Nebraska Saturday in Lincoln:

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Michigan v Michigan State
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 02: Shilique Calhoun #89 of the Michigan State Spartans drags down Devin Gardner #98 of the Michigan Wolverines in the third quarter at Spartan Stadium on November 2, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 29-6.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Nebraska’s offense will be tested against the Big Ten’s top defense.  Michigan State has allowed just nine points in the last three games, hasn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher this season, and is holding opponents to a Big Ten low 26% conversion rate on third down.

Sophomore Shilique Calhoun is #2 in the conference behind Gregory in sacks and tackles for loss on a unit that plays well as a team:

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Offensively, the Spartans made a change at quarterback earlier in the season, with Connor Cook taking over.  Michigan State is next to last in the Big Ten in passing, and relies heavily on the ground game and running back Jeremy Langford, who has rushed for 6 touchdowns in the last four games, going over 100 yards each time.

The Nebraska defense will be trying to make the Spartans one dimensional in this game:

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Where the Huskers and Spartans currently sit in the Legends Division standings makes this a must win for Nebraska Saturday:

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Kickoff in Lincoln is Saturday at 2:30pm.

You can listen to the game live on your home for Huskers football in the Sioux Empire, ESPN 99.1!

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