Nebraska vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Cornhuskers try to avoid a third straight loss when they face the Golden Gophers in a crucial Big Ten West battle.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Nebraska not only suffered a demoralizing 62-3 loss to Ohio State last week, but it also had to endure a scary scene when quarterback Tommy Armstrong was taken off the field in an ambulance. Armstrong briefly was knocked unconscious, but after further testing at the hospital, he was released and returned to the sidelines to be with his teammates. Coach Mike Riley said he’s not sure if Armstrong will be able to play against Minnesota.
That might be a major development as the Huskers try to snap a two-game skid against a Golden Gophers team looking for a signature win. They enter with a 7-2 mark and are tied with Nebraska and Minnesota atop the Big Ten West. A victory would give Minnesota the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Huskers and would set up a potential matchup for the division title against the Badgers on Nov. 26.
What To Know About Nebraska
Riley said that Armstrong is day-to-day with a concussion, and his progression – or lack thereof – would determine his playing status for Saturday night. If Armstrong can’t go, it’s likely that Ryker Fyfe would get the start. Fyfe entered against the Buckeyes and went 5 of 18 for 52 yards and an interception, not exactly glowing numbers. The defense he or Armstrong he’ll be facing this week isn’t nearly as good as Ohio State’s, though, as Minnesota ranks 13th in the conference against the pass and has allowed the most touchdowns through the air in the Big Ten.
Ohio State scored two of its touchdown off interception returns, but the defense still allowed 590 total yards and simply couldn’t contain the Buckeyes. Nebraska is allowing an average of 4.61 yards per carry, ranking 11th in the Big Ten in that department.
What To Know About Minnesota
Minnesota’s leading rusher might be a little hobbled, though. Rodney Smith ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 44-31 win over Purdue, but he limped off the field with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game after having his ankle re-taped, but there could be some lingering effects. Coach Tracy Claeys said he wasn’t concerned about Smith, whose 13 touchdowns lead the conference and 954 yards are second behind Saquon Barkley.
Smith has rushed for at least 100 yards each time during Minnesota’s four-game winning streak, but those wins haven’t exactly come against great competition while facing Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois and Purdue. The defense has done its job, though, holding the Boilermakers to 23 yards rushing last week.
Offense: Even – Without knowing Armstrong’s status, it’s tough to put either team ahead of the other here.
Defense: Nebraska – Mitch Leidner might be in four a tough day throwing. The Huskers’ 15 interceptions lead the Big Ten and are tied for third in the nation.
Special Teams: Nebraska – Only Jabrill Peppers is averaging more yards per punt return than De’Mornay Pierson-El in the Big Ten.
Coaching: Even – Claeys is helping the Gophers become relevant in the conference again, while the Huskers could be heading toward another spiral if they can’t pull this one out.
Intangibles: Minnesota – The Gophers have won the last two meetings when Nebraska entered as a ranked team.
Matchup To Watch
Smith against Nebraska’s run defense
This will decide if Minnesota pulls off the upset. If Smith gets going and has another 100-yard effort against a Nebraska defense struggling against the run, the Gophers could leave Lincoln with a victory.
Spread: No line as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post
Nebraska vs. Minnesota Prediction
The line won’t be released until there’s more of a clear indication whether or not Armstrong will play. Even if he does, he won’t be the one having to stop Smith, who will get 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in Minnesota’s win.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota final score prediction: Minnesota 24, Nebraska 20