Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/27/11

The Michigan State Spartans are in prime position to take the Big Ten this year, but going on the road to face the 14th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers could prove to be quite the challenge.

The Cornhuskers represent the third consecutive ranked opponent for the Spartans, with each opponent being ranked no less than 18th. As they were last week, the Spartans once again come into the game as underdogs.  This will be the sixth meeting between Michigan State and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers lead the all-time series 5-0, including a 3-0 record in games played in Lincoln.  A Spartan class that has accomplished many firsts will try to get their first win against Nebraska, while also trying defeat three ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time in school history.

 

The Spartans are showing program stability for the first time in quite some time, and are building what Dantonio hoped for; a consistent winner. Michigan State has won four of its last six games played against Associated Press Top 25 teams (2010-11). With a victory at Nebraska, Michigan State would close out October with a perfect 4-0 record, including wins over three of the top-five winningest programs in NCAA Football history (No. 1 Michigan, No. 4 Nebraska and No. 5 Ohio State).

 

If Michigan State looks to continue its quest for the Big Ten title a win against the Cornhuskers would be huge boost, as well as a huge boost to the program becoming a consistent winner. The Spartans certainly have the ability to come out with a victory, but it won’t be easy. Here is what the Spartans will have to do to come away with a huge road win.

 

 

 

Get the offense going-

 

The offense has struggled severely on the road. In their first road game the Spartans offense put up 13 points in a loss and just 10 in the second, a win against Ohio State. The offense was impressive against the Badgers, but has been somewhat streaky all season; just like the Spartans two star running backs. It will be imperative for the Spartans to get the running game going and that starts with Le’veon Bell and Edwin Baker. The two running backs can’t seem to get on track in the same game, but if they can both get going their mix of power and speed should help the Spartans offense take control.

 

The Spartans get back suspended defensive end William Gholston this week (Al Goldis/Associated Press)

Contain Taylor Martinez and the option attack-

The Spartans have faced Heisman candidates in consecutive weeks, and both of those players were mobile quarterbacks. Taylor Martinez may not be a Heisman candidate, but the Cornhusker quarterback is an explosive player. The key to stopping the Martinez will closer resemble the game plan against Denard Robinson, rather than Russell Wilson. One added aspect to Martinez and the Cornhusker offense that the Spartans will have to account for is the option. The Spartans have yet to face a team that runs the option with the frequency that the Cornhuskers do. It will be interesting to see if the Spartans can contain the option attack.

 

 


 

Keyshawn Martin-

BJ Cunningham has been playing well all season, but Keyshawn Martin just recently hit his stride. The Spartans offense is more versatile and a lot more difficult to contain when they mix Martin in by getting him different looks. Whether those looks come on end arounds, screens, or the conventional pass, Martin needs toget involved early.

 

The stretch of games has been brutal for the Spartans, and coming off an emotional win against the Badgers they may be drained. I think the Spartans will learn from last year’s let down in Iowa and come out and punch Nebraska in the mouth.

 

Prediction- Michigan State 24 Nebraska 14

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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